Lost and Found by Mustang_bex1126
Summary: Torchwood seems to be a cause of death for many people, but surprisingly it brings them back as well. At the same time, something sinister is going on in the Torchwood organisation, and Ianto and Jack are determined to uncover it before anyone gets hurt.
Rating: All Ages
Characters: Other Character(s), Owen Harper
Genres: Angst, General
Series: To Err is Human
Chapter 1: Part 1
Chapter 2: Part 2
Chapter 1: Part 1
Author's Notes: This part of the story is rated for some scenes and images which may be disturbing to others: please be warned for suicide, heavy drinking, and death.
This story would never have been possible without the dedicated work of my fantastic beta jo19844.
At 0600 the dark room was suddenly filled with unintelligible sound effects, and the very loud voice of the morning disc jockey. After a couple of seconds a hand and arm snaked out from under the sheets and knocked the alarm clock off of the nightstand, silencing it.
“Shit”, a muffled voice cried from under the heap of blankets.
Owen Harper flung the blankets and stood stretching for a moment on the rug before padding towards the hallway, his feet bare. There was a flushing sound, and then the hiss of the shower. The second body in the bed slowly slid her feet to the floor and stiffly stood up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She listened to the sounds from the hall for a moment longer before heading to the hallway and in the opposite direction of the lavatory.
Owen wiped the condensation from the mirror and checked out his reflection. Behind him the door opened and a hand holding a coffee mug slid in through the crack.
“Are you decent?” Called an Irish accent from the hallway.
“Come ‘ere”, he took the cup with one hand and pulled the figure through the doorway with the other; A beautiful blonde woman with light freckles slipped through the gap. “What do you care if I’m decent anyhow?” He kissed her deeply.
“You’re cheery this morning- what have you done with my husband? Maybe you know him: surly, tall, bit wiry…” She kissed him back, straightening out the collar of his shirt as she did.
“You forgot brilliantly talented, and devilishly handsome.” He held the coffee mug she’d brought him and inhaled the fumes. “Oh, you’re a tease- bringing me a hot cup of love like this when you know I’ve got to work.”
“Everything is sex to you- go on now, get going, or you’ll be late.” She laughed and slapped him on the arse.
“Oooh, that’s harassment, if you don’t behave I’ll tell my wife.” He smirked at her, and drained the last of his coffee. “Right, off to save the world, you take it easy today- a woman in your condition…”
She punched him in the arm. “My condition, come on now doctor Harper, I’m pregnant, not infirmed!” She ran her hands over her protruding belly through her nightgown. “Women have been having babies for eons, even those not living in a gaff in Penyrheol. I have some painting to do today.”
Owen placed his hand over hers on her belly. “Right Shannon, you win, but no heavy lifting, or climbing up too high… I just don’t want you to get hurt…” He looked her in the eyes, “Either of you…” He added pointedly before kissing her again, his hand lingering on her stomach.
“Alright Owen, I promise not to try climbing Everest whilst you’re at work. We’ll save that for when he’s at least a couple of months old.”
“You’re a blooming nut, you know that? Why’d you go and marry a guy like me?” He checked his watch again. “shit, never mind, I am going to be really late- Sam wanted to have a chat before I spoke.” He fidgeted with his tie again. “Right- so, tell me: Do I look like an expert in experimental medicine?”
“You look great, very smarmy professor, don’t worry the students will love you. It’s only one lecture and then you can return to hiding in your lab and avoiding people unless they bring you coffee!” After another sweet kiss he swept from the room.
Owen Really was late getting to Swansea University- there’d been an accident on the M4 that delayed him- so he missed meeting with Sam entirely and had to simply meet him in the hallway before the lecture began.
“Doctor Owen Harper!” Sam called enthusiastically, slapping him on the back.
“Yeah, sorry Sam, traffic, the missus, you know. Are we ready?” Owen fidgeted with his tie more.
“Right mate! Never thought I’d see you all nerves and jitters- they’re students, not aliens, you talk, and they’ll listen.” He checked his watch. “Now, I’m going make your introduction, you enter when you hear your name. They’re gonna love you!”
Owen exhaled heavily and shook his head, working to psych himself up. “You are Doctor Owen Harper, you work with all sorts of nasty, dangerous diseases…” He tried out his best arrogant smirk. “Right, they’re just students.” Upon hearing a smattering of applause he straightened his sport coat and strode into the room.
“…And this bloke…” Sam snorted with laughter. “And this big bloke says, ‘What the fuck do you know about it then? What are you a pervert?’ And Owen… Owen just says ‘No you stupid bastard, I’m a doctor.’ Looks down at the git’s rod again, and says ‘Looks painful, hope he was worth it’ and smiles!” Sam and the young woman sitting next to him were smiling and laughing loudly.
“Right, and that’s when the stupid sod punched me.” Owen sipped calmly from his bourbon, smirking.
“That’ll teach you to chat up men in the pisser!” Sam held up his glass, “Cheers mate, to you and your missus!” They clinked their glasses together and Owen checked his watch.
“Fuck me, I’ve got to get going- I’ve got an hour and a half drive ahead of me!” He pulled out his mobile to dial his wife, and noticed that the screen said 15 missed calls.
An hour and forty minutes later Owen burst in through the doors of Cardiff University’s Critical Care unit and stormed up to the empty desk.
“Hey! HEY!” He was frantic, and shouting and didn’t care at all who he disturbed. “Where are the bloody…” a hand clamped down on his shoulder. Owen spun around ready to shout some more but the hand belonged to Shannon’s friend John.
“Owen! Owen, calm down. Where the bloody hell have you been!?”
Owen ignored the question entirely, only one thing mattered. “John, where is she? What’s happened, I need to know what happened…. Where is my WIFE!” He was shaking the other man by the shoulders and panting.
“Owen calm down. She’s here Owen-“ He gripped Owen’s shoulders firmly. “She’s here, they called Sherrie and me when they couldn’t get you, but we haven’t got a status report, they’ve been waiting for you…”
Owen blanched- he knew what that meant; he was a doctor after all- they were waiting for next of kin. “Oh God… oh dear God no…” He frowned and shook his head. All the shouting had brought quite a lot of attention. A doctor emerged from behind the secure doors and approached him and John.
“Doctor Harper? Doctor Harper, I’m your wife’s specialist, Charles Martin- if you’d please have a seat, all of you.” John and Doctor Martin guided Owen back to the sitting area. “We need to talk about your wife’s condition.”
Owen was speechless, and his head was swimming. He hated this man, Doctor Charles Martin, for his sympathetic, professional demeanor. Sherrie moved to sit beside him, gripping his right hand in her own. Suddenly Owen worried he may throw up.
“Doctor Harper, I’m afraid your wife, Shannon, she’s had a hemorrhagic stroke.”
Owen shook his head, as if by simple rejection, he could alter or stop what Doctor Martin was saying. “No… no, no, no. Not my Shannon, we’re, we’re having a baby…”
“I’m sorry, but sometime late this morning the postman discovered her and called for an ambulance. They stabilized her at the local emergency, and then transferred her here to my care.”
Owen continued to stare at the floor. “No, no, no, no…”
“Doctor Harper, you work at the University, correct? I’m sure you know, we’ve the highest standard of care here, the finest Doctors on staff worked on your wife. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long she was down before being brought to hospital…” He trailed off a little. “Sir, I’m sorry, your wife’s brain was deprived of oxygen for too long, the damage to her organs was widespread. There was nothing more we could do. I’m very sorry.”
Sherrie was the first to speak up. “And the baby?” The words were almost too painful for Owen to bear.
“I’m afraid there was nothing we could do for him.”
The words echoed in Owen’s head. Their dreadful finality threatened to crush the air from his body. He slid to his knees on the floor and let out a devastated wail. “Shannon!” He cried, balling his hands into fists and pressing them to his eyes. “Oh my God, not my Shannon.” His body was wracked with uncontrollable sobs; he let out another agonizing moan.
The funeral and aftermath were a whirlwind. Shannon’s parents and two youngest siblings came in from Limerick and stayed with him. They’d left a week ago, and now he was alone in his house, their house. Once again he found himself sitting in his son’s unfinished nursery. The room still smelled like fresh paint, and oak. Owen sat on the floor leaning against the wall. Shannon had been in the middle of painting a mural of Irish faerie stories on that same wall the day she died. She’d been such a talented artist and she wanted their son to be proud of his heritage.
“Oh God, Shannon.” His whisper was horse and quaking. Moira, Shannon’s mum, had tried to pack away the nursery, hoping that she could somehow shelter her son-in-law from the most painful reminders of his loss. Owen had blown up at her, shouting and swearing. She had insisted there was no need for an apology, but Owen knew his actions had hurt her; she’d lost her daughter and grandson, after all.
Sitting in this room, thinking about his last moments with his wife brought on another fit of sobs. He grasped the bottle of gin and rose to his feet, wobbling slightly. He knocked into the fully assembled bassinet and recoiled, bumping into the dresser they had planned to use as a changing table. He leaned against the smooth, cool wood, looking at his reflection in the mirror. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He’d told her to be careful, but she was healthy. She wasn’t supposed to die. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. They were having a baby. A son… his son. Another gasping sob escaped his lips. He punched the mirror, shards of glass cutting his left hand and dislocating a couple of his knuckles.
“Fuck…” he grabbed a discarded dishcloth and wrapped it tightly around his hand. Without a second thought he reset the bones in their sockets. He winced from the pain, but he’d be damned if he was going to hospital. Not after Shannon.
Owen stumbled down the hallway, leaving a small bloody smudge here and there as he steadied himself on the wall with his free hand. He tipped his head back draining the rest of the gin and let the bottle fall to the floor. After another few steps he tripped over a couple of Shannon’s painted canvases stacked against the wall and landed on the floor.
That was where he awoke some hours later, it was still dark outside, but the blackness had begun to pale and fade at the horizon- it was going to be light very soon. Owen’s head was still swimming, but he rose to his feet with a great determination. He had something he needed to do.
Owen had purchased the handgun on the sly after getting shot in the shoulder during a mugging. When Shannon moved in 3 months later she had demanded he get rid of it; another promise to her he’d broken. He tugged up the loose board in the cupboard and removed a small box of ammunition and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. He’d forgotten just how cold the metal felt and it took him a couple of moments of fumbling to find the clip release. Internally he kept debating with himself how many rounds to load.
“Yeah, but if I miss…” He had been sitting in silence for so long he didn’t recognize his own horse voice at first. He loaded two rounds, just for good measure. The simple addition of two rounds seemed to increase the weight of the weapon in his hand exponentially. Despite his better judgment, Owen stuffed the handgun down the back of his trousers and rose to his feet.
In the back garden the sun had risen, bathing everything in a burning golden light, and melting off the dew and patches of fog. Squinting against the ever-increasing light Owen took a seat at the little bistro set Shannon had painstakingly refinished immediately after their wedding. The metal was cold through his clothing, causing an involuntary shiver.
From his front pocket he removed the gold chain she’d taken to wearing round her neck when her fingers began swelling too much for her to wear her wedding band. He turned the ring over in his hands, the smooth metal catching glints of sunlight; another sob escaped his lips. Crying again he draped the chain over his own neck, pressing the band against his heart.
He dislodged the 9mm from his waistband and placed it on the tabletop. For minutes he simply stared at it, willing his hand to grasp it. Two days after he’d buried the love of his life, a woman he’d only known for 8 months, he’d made the decision. He had never believed the church stories of heaven and angels and afterlife, but Shannon had believed it, and he was convinced she was there now. He simply had to act.
“It’s easy,” he started to explain to himself, the shake in his voice barely audible, “A projectile passing at high velocity through the brain, entering under the chin and exiting the back of the head… The damage from this sort of injury is catastrophic.” For a moment he had a flash of memory, a small black hole in pale flesh, a yawning void surrounded by long dark hair matted with blood and brain tissue; déjà vu? He furrowed his brow, trying for a moment to hold on to the thought. “The uh… the proximity of the weapon upon firing can lead to severe burns at the site of contact… but uh… Well, mate, you won’t feel it long.” His morbid laughter threatened to turn into another cry.
Owen steadied himself, fighting back another wave of grief, biting down on the knuckles of his uninjured right hand. Once his breathing had calmed again he sat up straight, popped his neck, and grabbed the handgun off the table. He ran his fingers over its rough grip, and along the harsh angles of the barrel and slide. In his dreams, for some reason, he always used an old revolver, an antique, with smooth edges, and an ancient, worn grip that seemed to mold to his hand. That gun didn’t have a safety lock, but this one did- Owen flicked the lever to the ‘off’ position.
Owen let his eyes drift over the garden, somewhere one of the neighbors was mowing the lawn; soon the lab would be ringing to inquire about his whereabouts. He pressed the side of the pistol against his forehead, the metal cool against his skin. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply through his nose. He could smell the sun-warmed paving stones, and the rich moist earth of the potted plants. Owen thought he could even smell the petrol from his neighbor’s lawnmower. It was all so perfect. It was time.
Owen pushed all sense of the outside world from his thoughts and focused on Shannon, on her face and all the good memories of their life together. They’d known each other for such a short time- he desperately tried to recall every contour of her body, every freckle and mark on her skin. He willed himself to remember the day she’d come home and told him he was going to be a father- the way her voice rose with excitement and surge of energy and pride he’d felt after their first ultrasound appointment.
He remembered her eyes, how beautiful, but sad her eyes had seemed, pools of green-blue so deep he’d been lost in them from the moment she sat next to him on the plane. He was still imagining her eyes when he felt something click, deep in his memories. A plane- there was something about a plane. And a red dress, but Shannon didn’t have a red dress. He focused again on her eyes, and made the image reappear. But they were wrong- these were brown eyes, soft and warm, he knew he should recognize them, but he couldn’t make his brain work it out. And in an instant they were gone again, replaced with Shannon’s once more. He opened his own eyes and wiped the tears from his eyes.
“This is it.” He said to himself, closing his eyes again. He pressed the muzzle of the gun to the underside of his chin and inhaled, holding his breath. He poised his finger over the trigger. “I love you Shannon.”
With a steady hand he squeezed the trigger. There was a women’s voice in his head, ‘there’s something waiting in the dark…’
There was nothing, only a barely audible click, and his eyes flashed open. He exhaled sharply, drawing in another deep breath, with tears pouring down his cheeks. He’d forgotten to load the chamber. Quickly he drew the slide back and put the gun to his head again. He was frozen, the voice echoing through his head, and he couldn’t pull the trigger again. A wail of frustration and grief escaped his lips and he threw the 9mm into the garden. He took his head in his hands and cried- in the house the phone started ringing.
Four weeks later Owen paced around the small flat he’d just rented in Splott, speaking loudly into his mobile phone.
“I don’t care if I take a loss, just sell the bloody thing!” He slammed the phone shut. He didn’t know why he’d moved here, of all places, but he knew that he couldn’t stay in the house anymore. Everything about that place made him want to scream. He found himself overwhelmed by a curious sense of déjà vu from time to time. On top of having nightmares about his late wife, he kept having the recurring dreams of things that hadn’t happened. Every night it was different, but somehow still familiar. Sometimes he dreamt about things that only ever happened in science fiction- dinosaurs, and robots, and aliens. Other nights he’d find himself in the plaza of the Millennium Centre.
He had hoped that the change of environment would shock his senses enough to put a stop to it all but the last three nights he’d once again dreamt about the Millennium Centre. It was so odd, so vivid. He was always coming upon the water tower monument from underneath, emerging from some dark place into the open air. He couldn’t make any sense of it all. He’d only ever been down there once before, to see the symphony with Shannon.
In the bathroom, Owen splashed water over his face and looked at the small digital clock on the counter top- it was 3am. He resigned himself to the fact that he wouldn’t be getting back to sleep and settled down on the couch in front of the TV. There was some old War movie on Sky- something with pilots and British ingenuity or some other rubbish. Owen rested his head on the back of the couch and closed his eyes, barely able to hear the dialogue of the film.
The scene changed, and Owen sat upright. There was that feeling again, the feeling of something familiar. A swaggering American Soldier was giving some sort of pep talk to the brave British boys, something about preparedness. Owen was transfixed- there was something here he was missing. Something about that voice, that he couldn’t place.
Owen sat on the edge of the couch waiting for another hint, another spark in his brain that could tie all this together for him. He was certain that somehow, if he just could understand what these feelings meant, it would all be worth it, Shannon’s death, and his life. Everything. Owen watched the entire movie and the one after it before finally falling asleep there on the couch.
Owen couldn’t see very well, the room was full of mist. There were people moving around him, he could make them out when they came close enough, but their faces were always hidden from him. He could hear their voices, but they weren’t making any sense, the words all overlapped, he thought he saw Shannon moving to his left, but when he turned there the space was empty. Out of the corner of his eye, a red dress fluttered, but once again, when he turned he was faced with nothingness. One phrase rang out clear suddenly.
“There’s something waiting in the dark…”
Owen turned his head upwards towards the sound desperate to see where the voice was coming from. Overhead the Millennium Centre water tower loomed, black and foreboding, urging him to remember.
The phone rang- startling Owen from his slumber on the sofa. He made no move to answer it. It was Maren from work. He knew that. He let her leave a message while he tried in vain to hold on to his dream.
Owen leapt to his feet and ran to his bedroom. He emerged only seconds later, wearing a pair of trainers, crumpled jeans and pulling on an equally crumpled shirt as he grabbed his keys off the hook by the door. In the hallway he nearly collided with a young couple snogging against the wall.
“Hey! Watch it!” He snotted at them. “Get a fuckin’ room!” Owen rushed to the lift and stepped in before it could close, pressing the button for the first floor.
“Sorry,” the man responded; and there was another flash of déjà vu. Owen tried to get a better look at the man, but only caught a fleeting glimpse of his dark, tailored suit as the lift doors slid shut.
Owen left his car in the public garage and walked down to the ferry dock. The whole of Cardiff Bay stretched out before him, and each inhalation filled his lungs with the scent of fish, and diesel, and the sea. Owen turned around. Behind him, in the distance was the domed roof of the Millennium Centre and the black obelisk that kept appearing in his dreams.
Suddenly Owen remembered the scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey where the primates were driven mad by the towering black obelisk- leading the monkeys to create weapons and thus starting their evolution into mankind. Owen burst out laughing for the first time since Shannon’s death. That was it- this was him descending into madness. And it honestly couldn’t have been funnier.
After a couple of moments he was able to regain his composure. Tears had formed at the corners of his eyes; a great feeling of relief had flushed over him, a feeling he never thought he’d know again. He walked around the quiet streets for a couple of hours, basking enjoying the sun and fresh air. He fought off a twinge of guilt that threatened to ruin his good time as he stood and strolled along in front of the shops.
“You don’t go crazy every day, right mate?” He asked to nobody at all. Another fit of laughter took him as he pushed open the door to a pub.
Owen hopped onto a stool at the end of the bar and took out his wallet.
“I’ll have a shot and a beer!” He beamed at the bartender and slapped 20 quid on the bar.
“Ok mate, coming right up.” He returned very quickly with both drinks and picked up the note. “Anything else for you?”
Owen smiled again, tossed back the shot, and chased it with a swallow of beer. He made a satisfied smacking sound with his lips. “Actually, now that you mention it,” he pulled a fiver out of his wallet and set it on the bar, “I’ll have another.”
Owen downed the second shot and turned on his stool to lean against the bar, his pint in his hand. He really was enjoying himself now that he knew he was going mad. A cute bird at a table in the corner was staring at him; Owen raised his glass in salute and drank deeply. The woman reached her hand up to her ear just as Owen swiveled on the stool, turning himself back to face the bar. He busied himself with taking another 20 out of his wallet, looking at the mirror just in time to see the woman leave through the door behind him. For a moment he caught the flutter of a long grey-blue, wool coat as the door swung closed.
Owen had another of those pesky memory flashes, but this time he shook it off and ordered another round for himself.
“I should really go mad every day!” He said cheeringly to the bartender when he set the order down on the bar. Owen toasted with the shot, “Cheers mate!” and downed it. Yes, fuckin’ gorgeous day to go crazy.
Owen was very drunk when they finally stopped serving him and he stumbled out into the street. The sun was low in the sky, and the streets and shops were beginning to fill with refugees from the workday. He dodged shoppers and made his way to an open bench in the empty plaza. His back was to the monument and that was damned fine by him; saw the bloody thing enough in his dreams he thought to himself and smiled.
Owen leaned his head back and closed his eyes, listening to the goings on around him. A smile crept to the corners of his mouth as he thought about his behavior this morning. He’d been so bloody stupid; thinking all of these ridiculous things could be connected. That a case of fuckin’ déjà vu could possibly help him understand the universe. He was a doctor after all, and doctors are scientists. No respectable scientist goes around thinking a huge black obelisk is somehow directing his life. He started to recount things out loud to himself.
“You stupid sod: of course you had a flashback about head wounds, there was that sad girl when you first qualified… left most of her brains for her mother to find all over the fucking garage! All these visions just prove you’ve seen too many damn films.”
Owen opened his eyes and stared up at the monument. “And you, you expensive piece of shit, what exactly do you have to do with it?” He laughed to himself and sat up straight.
“Right, where was I? Girl with the gap-teeth was probably just checkin’ out the merchandise… What else… Oh yeah, the skinny bloke and his Asian bird, probably saw ‘em in the lift before, or down at the tourist office…”
Owen froze, and his heart rate increased. What tourist office? He rose from the bench and turned in a circle, looking around to see if anything would help him make sense of what had just happened. He stopped again facing the monument.
“WHAT TOURIST OFFICE?” He shouted.
He felt a hand tap him on the shoulder and spun around to face a very young and very wary looking PC. “Sir- is everything alright?”
“No, right, sorry… uh… my wife had told me to meet her at the tourist office, but I think she got the address wrong…” Owen hoped that he didn’t look as crazy as he was feeling.
“Oh, you’re nearly there Sir. Just right down there and around the corner- why they’d put a tourist office where no one can find it I don’t know. Do you want me to take you there?”
Owen swallowed hard, not sure how to proceed; he recovered himself quickly. “No, no, that’s not necessary.” He started to move in the direction that the man had indicated. “Right down this way you said? Thanks- best not keep the missus waiting.” Owen flashed a weak smile and turned to head off in the direction he’d been pointed. After checking behind him that the PC had gone, Owen quickened his pace to a jog.
Owen stood in front of the dingy looking door, unsure what to do next. His palms were sweating. Again he felt another spark of recognition, just standing here in front of the door; he swore he’d done it before. He reached his hand out towards the doorknob and noticed he was shaking.
“Bollocks!” He stuffed his hands in his pockets and paced a bit.
After calming himself down Owen reached for the doorknob again. Owen had expected it to be locked, but it turned easily. He took a deep breath and pushed the door inwards, stepping into an immaculate but full little office. Owen was alone, but he was fairly certain he could hear somebody moving around in the room that was concealed by a gaudy beaded curtain.
The feeling of familiarity was still nagging him as he carefully examined the walls and racks around him looking for some sort of clue. There were brochures everywhere outlining the nearest and greatest places to do the drollest of activities. Owen was examining a bus schedule when somebody behind him cleared their throat, causing him to spin around so quickly it took his eyes a moment to refocus.
A man had come through the beaded curtain without making a sound. He was a bit over dressed for the place, wearing a vintage looking waistcoat and pocket watch. He was also wearing a heavy, military style wool coat
Owen’s eyes widened dramatically-- the coat. Everything, it was the bloody coat! Owen was paralyzed, breathe caught in his chest, with images of that coat flying through his mind. He knew this man, he knew all of it.
Owen stared at the man for another moment in complete shock. When he finally spoke it was barely more than a whisper. “Jack Harkness…” not quite a statement, not quite a question.
Jack let out a weary sigh, and braced his hands on his hips. “Welcome home Owen.”
~~**~~ ~~**~~ ~~**~~ ~~**~~ ~~**~~ ~~**~~
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Chapter 2: Part 2
Author's Notes: Thank you to Silver_x_cross for the beta and thank you to anyone who has been reading.
“Fuck me” Owen had responded at the shock of his memories of Torchwood returning.
Jack couldn’t resist the bait, “Well if you insist, although Ianto might not approve.” He flashed his playboy smile but it never truly reached his eyes.
Owen got over the shock just long enough to look disgusted and incredulous before continuing to sort out what had just happened. “Gwen, Tosh, Ianto, they’ve been following me…”
“Since you moved back to Cardiff, yes.” Jack dipped behind the beaded curtain again and returned with his coffee mug.
Owen swallowed down an overwhelming need to vomit. “Right, since I moved into that stupid flat. And…”
“And unfortunately your memory has been triggered and all of Tosh’s hard work reinserting you into your life was wasted.” Jack was neither surprised nor angry- they’d seen this sort of memory recall with Retcon before- it’s how they’d wound up with Gwen.
“Oh fuck me!” Owen exclaimed again.
“Right, I thought we were past that- do you want to go and say ‘hi’ to the others, or would you prefer to wait until one of them is tailing you again and spring it on them?” Jack couldn’t allow himself to enjoy the situation even if there were so many hilarious possibilities.
“But…” Owen tried to continue, but had to pause a moment to gather his thoughts. “But I work at the University, I’ve got friends; I had a wife, we were going to have a baby, a son…” he felt a jolt in his stomach as the words left his mouth but he continued on. “I met Shannon 9 months ago- what…” he couldn’t quite remember enough to figure out what he was trying to ask.
“You’ve been gone about 18 months.” Jack pushed the button for the hidden door and the wall behind Owen swung open. “Shall we…” he gestured for Owen to go through the door and into the corridor.
Jack followed Owen through the corridor running through the situation in his head. In 18 months they’d returned to what could be called normal: Tosh was filling Owen’s role admirably, Ianto and Gwen had a good handle on the tech and data work, and Jack had finally managed to land a PA who seemed up for the task of covering and cleaning up for a top-secret, non-governmental, alien hunting and tracking organization. Owen was once again a liability.
The rolling security door opened slowly, lights flashing, revealing the interior of the hub. Owen’s head was swimming and his heart was racing. Jack had been silent since they’d left the tourist office upstairs. It was impossible to believe that this morning he’d been getting pissed at the pub- it seemed a lifetime away. They ducked through the round entrance into the cavernous main chamber and his head swam again.
“Easy there.” Jack reached out and steadied him. “This sort of memory recall can have a nasty effect.”
Owen was too busy struggling with another bout of nausea and the effects of having two different sets of memories competing in his head to respond. He shook his head and allowed Jack to help him navigate the steps as he guided Owen to a sofa against the wall.
“Jack, what-“ Tosh stopped in her tracks as she caught site of Owen seated on the sofa, looking rather pale and shocked. She looked Jack in the eyes; he nodded and she approached tentatively.
“Hallo Owen.” She stopped at the corner of one of the workstations. “How’re you feeling?”
Owen blinked and refocused his gaze on her face. “Tosh…” he stopped suddenly, drawing in a shuddering breath. “I’m going to puke.”
Jack pushed the waste bin into his hands just in time and he and Tosh looked around uncomfortably as Owen wretched noisily into it. When it seemed the wave had passed he rested his head on his arms and panted; trying to regain his breath.
Tosh broke the silence. “Jack, Gwen and Marcus should be returning from interviewing those witnesses at the hospital any minute now.” She glanced at Owen again before continuing. “And… and Ianto is just down in lab finishing up that report for One.”
Realisation dawned on Jack. “Ah, yes- the audit right? Damnit.” He turned to Owen who was looking a little less clammy but still hardly looked fit. “You could have picked a better time.”
Owen opened and shut his mouth wordlessly, taking a couple more deep breaths before placing the waste bin back on the floor and running his hands through his short hair.
“Right- let’s look at what we’ve got here: Auditors coming this afternoon, and a decommissioned agent randomly returning and practically pissing himself in our tourist office.” Jack tried to force a light smile, but the underlying strain was obvious. He opened his mouth to start talking again but closed it as Ianto emerged from the lab.
“Jack-“ He too was struck silent upon seeing Owen. He approached slowly, looking to their leader for a cue. “Jack?”
“It’s alright Ianto, just your average recall.”
“Right sir.” Ianto gave a tight nod and turned to Owen. “Nice to see you again Owen.”
The heavy silence hung in the air before Jack took control again. “Alright. We’re in this situation now, and we have to deal with it. Owen, I’d like you to accompany me to my office. Tosh, please find out where the hell Gwen and Marcus are and get them back here. We have two hours to get things straitened out before the audit team arrives, and I, for one, certainly would rather avoid any uncomfortable questions. Move it.”
The stillness that had preceded Jack’s speech was instantly gone as Tosh and Ianto moved quickly to their workstations, and Jack took Owen by the arm and helped him from the couch, guiding him quickly up the metal stairs and into his office.
Jack offered Owen a seat, and strode around to his own on the opposite side of the desk. He looked the younger man in the eyes for a moment before opening a drawer in the desk and removing two short glasses and a bottle of amber colored liquid. He poured two equal portions and set one on the far side of the desk, closest to where Owen was seated.
“We have a big problem Owen.” He put the glass to his lips but didn’t drink, watching for any reaction.
Owen looked at the glass waiting him, but did not meet Jack’s gaze.
“How much do you remember?” Jack continued.
“I don’t know- I cant… It just keeps flashing.” Owen paused and waited, taking in a deep breath. Jack sat silently waiting to see what else came. “I shot you.”
Jack chuckled but the sound lacked humor. “You don’t know the half of it.” He rose from his chair and moved to sit on the far side of the desk, putting the glass of bourbon in Owen’s hand. “You might need this by the time we’re done. You’ve put us through a lot Owen Harper…”
Ianto tossed another quick glance over his shoulder; Jack’s office door was still closed, and thankfully there was no shouting. He turned back to his computer screen and scrolled through the data he’d been working on for weeks. They weren’t talking about it openly yet, but there was definitely something going on within Torchwood. Months back Ianto had begun documenting the flurry of changes that were taking place: new employees, expansions of existing branches, the resurgence of the bureaucracy that had once been Torchwood One, Canary Warf. Without warning the small research branch in Scotland had grown exponentially, going from one daft researcher and his new assistant to a full staff of 15 and a brash former Royal Marine heading up recovery and information suppression efforts- Torchwood Two was no longer a joke. They had been told to expect an audit team consisting of board members, the directors of both Two and One, as well as the newly created Torchwood Europe, affectionately labeled Five. This sort of thing didn’t happen, and the team at Three knew it. There was simply too much going on, and he needed to find out why. After the rift was opened there had been a surge in activity, culminating with a spectacular incident involving a functioning alien craft, but after that things calmed down. After barely surviving Canary Warf and the damned Ghost Shifts Ianto wasn’t prepared to trust the Torchwood bureaucracy just yet.
Ianto checked the comparison engines he’d been using to search for inconsistencies and coincidences that may shed light on the situation before pulling up the site-to-site messenger.
Now contacting Torchwood Two, Torchwood Two connection, run connection test. Connection secure. Now connected, Torchwood Two, online I. Jones, online T. Sato, online M. Pape, online E. Green, online R. Smith, online M. Jones, online R. Donovan, online L. Fitzgibbons, online K. Jasper, online D. Evebus.
Ianto selected Erin’s name from the list and opened a secure connection.
I. Jones: Hallo Erin, how’s the great north?
E. Green: Bloody raining again. Why does everything feel the need to act up to it’s stereotype today?
I. Jones: Well, at least rain can be expected. Any other odd occurrences lately?
E. Green: Aside from the audit, same as you. Anything else on your end?
Ianto hesitated and looked towards Jack’s office. He turned and read the question again.
I. Jones: Owen’s back.
I. Jones: Moved to Cardiff a month ago and apparently stumbled into the building this afternoon.
E. Green: Ok.
I. Jones: We’d been following him since then, trying to figure out what was going on, but apparently something triggered his imagination. He’s in the office with Jack now.
I. Jones: Erin?
E. Green: I’m still here.
E. Green: I don’t know what to say- is he ok? What’s Jack going to do? What about the audit?
E. Green: I thought RetCon was supposed to be permanent.
Ianto considered her questions, not knowing what to say. The security door rolling open startled him from his thoughts. Gwen and a short, but extremely well built, black man entered burdened with evidence cases.
“Alright Marcus, we need to get these stored in the archives right away, I’m going to find out what was so important that we rush back here before picking up lunch.” Gwen made her way to Tosh’s station as Marcus went off in the other direction. Ianto gave Gwen a wave as the two women began whispering conspiratorially to one another- he only had another moment.
I. Jones: I wish I knew. RetCon has occasionally been problematic for us.
E. Green: Tell me about it.
I. Jones: Sorry, forget sometimes. The others have arrived- I have to go. I just thought you needed to know. Keep your head down, and I’ll call you this evening.
E. Green: Best of luck.
“What? How, where is he?!” Gwen’s voice echoed around the room. Ianto crossed to where she and Tosh were sitting- Tosh looked considerably uncomfortable with the whole situation.
“Gwen-“ Ianto started.
“Gwen, there’s no need to shout.” Jack came down the metal stairs; Owen wasn’t with him. “He’s in my office, and that’s where I need him to stay right now. I need the rest of you to get everything ready for the ‘Inquisitional Squad’, because I have a feeling they’re not likely to be late.”
Gwen and Tosh moved to finish re-shelving the litter of alien tech that covered every surface between their workstations as Jack turned back towards the stairs.
“Jack-“ Ianto tried not to sound worried. “How much are you telling him?”
“All of it, Yan, everything.”
When Jack reentered his office he found Owen just as he’d left him, hunched over with his head in his hands. At the sound of the door clicking closed, Owen sat upright and turned to look at him. His eyes followed Jack as he moved to lean on the desk.
“Why... h-how… Wha…“ Owen couldn’t form the words, he sighed heavily.
“We might never know for sure. It could have been the shock from your wife’s death,” Jack noted Owen’s flinch at the words before continuing, “or the move back to familiar surroundings. Maybe we didn’t dose you well enough. What matters now is what we do from this point on. First, we have to get you out of the Hub, and fast. It wouldn’t be good for the people from One to show up and find a former Torchwood employee, one who’s supposedly deceased, just sitting around with all the highly classified alien tech.”
“I…” Owen looked down again, and clutched at his hair. “I have nothing left.”
Jack put his hand on Owen’s shoulder. “Owen, I fired you, and you came back and shot me, and I still let you come back. I was prepared to do the same last time after we’d undone the damage from the Weevil venom, but you made that choice. You are a damn fine doctor, and you were a member of this team- we’ll get this sorted.”
There was a knock at the door and both men rose to their feet as Marcus entered carrying coffee mugs.
Jack grinned immediately, covering the sense of worry that had hung in the air until now. “Marcus! You’re fantastic, thank you. How are the archives and secure records looking?”
Marcus handed the second mug to Owen without taking his eyes off of Jack. “Very good sir, everything is in order.”
Jack took another swallow of his coffee. “Excellent! Marcus, meet Doctor Owen Harper- he used to work here with us.” Marcus brightly offered his hand, which Owen shook with little enthusiasm. “I need you to give him a ride back to his flat, and then come right back here. The last thing I need today is to have to explain why one of my team isn’t in the office for inspection.” He downed the rest of his coffee and placed the mug on the desk.
Marcus gathered the mug, and Owen’s still full one. “I’ll just wait for Doctor Harper downstairs then, shall I sir?”
Jack met Owen’s eyes. “Perfect, he’ll be down in just a moment.” And with that Marcus left, closing the door behind him.
Owen looked at the door for a moment, before turning his gaze to his shoes. Minutes ticked by as Jack waited patiently. At last Owen brought his eyes level with Jack’s.
“Jesus Jack-“ He swallowed hard. “I don’t- there’s nothing. I nearly killed Gwen, and the sodding teaboy-“
“I don’t think Ianto would appreciate being called that anymore, especially as it’s no longer accurate.”
“I mean- what happened to Reggie? I practically kidnapped her…”
“Reggie has been taken care of, she’s living a new life.” He gripped Owen firmly by the shoulders and looked directly in his eyes. “You have already apologized for all of that, but I won’t stop you from doing it from time to time. What you have to remember Owen, is that it’s been 18 months since you nearly died from neurotoxins related to a Weevil bite and the adverse mental side effects.” Jack took a breath and continued more firmly. “We have new problems to deal with now, and nothing can be said or done to change what happened. Nothing. Right now I need you to go with Marcus, and stay at your flat until one of us comes to get you, do you understand me?”
Owen took a deep breath before squaring his shoulders, and standing up taller- it was the closest Jack had seen him look to the old Owen, the cocky doctor he’d wanted to shag nearly as often as throttle. He offered a curt nod before turning and gripping the handle of the door.
“Owen, I’m sorry about your family.”
Owen stepped through the door and closed it behind him without another word.
Jack’s face hurt from his forced smile and addressed a tall, thin gentleman with salt-and-pepper hair behind him. “As you can see Chairman, the Cardiff Rift is in good hands. This monitoring equipment is capable of detecting the slightest fluctuations and notifying us immediately. We can reasonably assess the location of anything that may have come through and dispatch a recovery team in mere minutes…”
“Yes, yes Jack. It all looks fine on this end. What do you think Evebus? Rather impressive for such a small team isn’t it?” Chairman Michael Finne turned to the stiff looking man with dark hair and a thick mustache standing behind him- Two’s new director, Daniel Evebus.
“Very good sir.” He gazed around overhead, his eyes following the ascent of the tower. “Rather unconventional location, isn’t it?” He continued without awaiting a response. “And you do weapons research here- on the things that come through the rift?”
Ah, at last we come to the point! Jack thought wryly to himself. “That’s correct director. Once we recover a piece of technology we work diligently to analyze it and determine first if it’s a threat, second what it’s function is, thirdly whether it is functional or repairable, and lastly if it’s useful to the defense and advancement of the Nation. The same as your office I’m sure.”
“Have you come across much weaponry?” Director Evebus may have been indifferent throughout the last two hours of touring and inspection, but Jack certainly had his undivided attention now.
“The weapon that was used not long ago to destroy the Sycorax ship was worked on in part by this team. A few other things, such as compound 67B was developed here, as well as some of the small arms technology currently used by our agency.” Jack smiled again. “We work very hard to serve our charter.”
“Ah yes, and how does an American become so intrinsically involved in a secret organization established by Her Majesty’s charter? Certainly we’re not running some sort of NGO Agent exchange program these days.”
There it was, underneath the pathetic attempt at a joke, the general distaste. “No, certainly not director. I was actually a member of the United States military before a… vacation to visit distant relatives was disrupted by an alien threat. I offered my services, and they accepted. The rest was simple hard work and climbing the ranks.”
Whether or not he sensed the slight rise in tension in the room or not, Chairman Finne broke in. “Yes, well it’s certainly nice to see these things in such capable hands. Director Evebus has built a strong team as well in Scotland- many former military and intelligence agents all helping to defend the country.” He smiled at both men and the additional members of the delegation.
“Very true Chairman, I always say, ‘you’ve got to be ready.’ Wouldn’t you agree Director Evebus?” Jack addressed the other man without looking at him, but smiled at the Chairman all the same.
“Absolutely Director Harkness, ever ready.” At that Jack finally turned and looked at him, noting the cold look in his eyes before smiling broadly again and placing a hand on Chairman Finne’s shoulder.
“Well gentlemen, ladies, I think there’s one last thing I’d like to show you all, I know you’re all likely to be eager to get back to your hotel rooms and see what excitement the City of Cardiff has to offer.” He offered his own chuckle at the joke and guided the group towards the invisible life, never taking his eyes off of Evebus or the two underlings to whom he was now eagerly whispering. They ceased their discussion and followed the rest of the group. Jack looked to the back of the room. Ianto met his gaze and nodded. Whatever was happening, one thing was certain, it was likely to be worse than they thought.
Owen laid on the bed in his small flat staring blindly at the ceiling. He hadn’t moved since Marcus had dropped him there some hours ago. He simply continued to run through what Jack had told him as well as his rapidly returning memories, attempting to wrap his mind around it all. Everything about it seemed so ridiculous- faeries, cannibals, aliens, sex gases- but the longer he lay there, the more of it he could recall. Everything except the incident that had lead to him leaving Torchwood. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t really remember the violent attack on his teammates. Even memories of Diane, weevils, shooting Jack, Reggie, waking in Hospital, and the aftermath seemed slightly jumbled in his head. The memories from the attack itself were either entirely missing, or blurry flashes full of red light and unintelligible images. A brisk knock on the front door brought Owen back to awareness. Walking to the door he shook his head to clear the remainders of the frustrating memories and looked to the window; it had long grown dark.
Of all the people to show up at his flat tonight, Ianto was the last person he thought they’d send. Trying not to look shocked he stepped aside and gestured for Ianto to come in. Owen bolted the door once again and turned to face the man who was now gazing quietly around his flat.
“I know it looks like shit, but it’s the fact that it smells like shit that counts, right?” He put on what he hoped was a sarcastic smirk before continuing. “Did they send you to RetCon me again, or is this a social call?”
Ianto maintained a blank expression while looking Owen over. He then withdrew a packet from inside his jacket and sat on a chair facing the worn sofa. “No Owen, I haven’t come to make you disappear again, and I’m not even technically here on Jack’s orders.” Ianto paused, noting Owen’s surprised look, before gesturing for him to sit down. “I volunteered to come here and check on you. Jack gave me some things to discuss with you, but before we get to that there are some things I need to give you.”
Years of cleaning up after a Torchwood branch can instill an individual with talents that might not otherwise seem useful or acceptable to the outside world. Ianto Jones had become a master of many of these talents- most notably altering data, or making it disappear completely.
Unsure of what state Owen’s memories where in, Ianto started at the beginning. “You know what happens when an operative leaves the organization?’
“If you mean when they die or we fire them we bury their belongings and lives in storage, then yeah, I remember.” Owen replied curtly.
“When you decided to leave, the responsibility of gathering and sorting your personnel effects fell to me as the Chief Archivist and Jack’s PA.” Ianto continued calmly, not wanting to betray how truly nervous he was. “Your letters, photos, etc., all went into a secure storage box in the safe in Jack’s office… except one thing.”
Owen leaned forward, elbows on knees, and looked him directly in the eye for the first time since he’d returned. “Are you saying-“
“What I’m saying, is that one thing which was bound for the incinerator never made it there.” Ianto took a deep breath; deceiving Jack like that had been hard, but continuing to gather and keep documents and evidence that seemed too important to destroy had been taking a toll on him. He knew how he had to continue this conversation, but he hesitated momentarily:
“Do you remember what caused you to leave once and for all?”
Both men sat in silence, their eyes locked, trying to read each other, until Owen’s eyes finally dropped to his clasped hands. His response was barely audible; “I nearly killed you.” Once more his gaze met Ianto’s. “I dragged Diane’s daughter into the hub, and nearly killed you, and Gwen, because I was so angry.” He clenched his fists tight.
“If you tell me that I can’t blame myself because of the weevil venom, I’ll fucking hit you.”
“I wasn’t going to say that- you were a prat before you let that weevil bite you. Good to see the RetCon hasn’t altered your personality.”
Owen was looking at his hands again, a small smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. “You still shaggin’ the boss then?”
Ianto couldn’t resist a small smile himself. The tension in the room lessened instantly with the old balance of their relationship verified. Owen leaned back against the couch, his postured more relaxed.
“Alright, this document of mine you ferreted away under Jack’s watchful eye- let’s have it.”
Ianto drew an envelope containing a folded piece of A-4 from the packet he’d brought with him and held it out to Owen. “It’s a letter,“ Owen reached to take it, but Ianto held it for a moment longer. “… from Regina Martelli.” With that he let go.
Owen looked at the envelope he held in his hand. He had no memory of it’s existence at all, but his memories of what had happened with Reggie were clear enough for him to understand why Jack would want to be rid of it. He withdrew the sheet carefully, as though it were something fragile, and unfolded it. His eyes trailed over the careful script slowly. After finishing the letter, he read it again, and once more for good measure, dwelling on the last paragraph.
I hope that one day you’ll stop feeling miserable when you think about my mother. Thank you for saving my life and for the lovely night out. Take care of the others for me, and be nice to them. I’d ask you to do it as a tribute to my mother, but truth is you owe them that courtesy. As long as I’m allowed to keep my memories, I’ll never forget you.
I forgive you~ REM
He re-folded the letter and placed it and the envelope on the coffee table. Everything that had happened after Diane had gone left him angry and hopeless, and he’d suffered through the worst time of his entire life. He’d technically kidnapped and nearly killed a girl with his carelessness; he’d nearly killed his coworkers, and the closest he’d had to friends, because of his temper and the consequences of his own self destructive desires. Having his failings laid bare in the last 24 hours had drained him utterly- unshed tears welled in his eyes.
Ianto watched as Owen silently mulled over the letter and worked to keep his composure. After some time Owen finally seemed to reach some sort of conclusion and spoke.
“I never deserved forgiveness, from her, or any of you. Do you want to know why I had to leave?” There was no shake in his voice, he continued without letting Ianto respond. “I sat there with my arm bandaged, reading Reggie’s letter and I realized I had done all of that stupid shit because I thought I was in love with some woman I’d known for a week! One bloody week, and I was moaning about love lost; I nearly let a weevil kill me.”
Ianto wasn’t sure what to say, and shifted uncomfortably on the chair. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, Owen started talking again.
“When I saw Reggie, I thought she looked so much like her mother- I had to talk to her. I was so pathetic!” Owen gripped his head with both hands.
“Owen-“ Ianto began, seeing that this was actually becoming counter productive.
“Don’t you understand? I dragged this girl into the world or Torchwood and ruined her life because I thought I was in love with her mother- and to top it all off, she fucking forgave me.”
Owen hissed out the last words, and then it was done. He’d finally been able to admit the truth, not so much to Ianto, but to himself. Four weeks ago, had he known about any of this, he would have thought that leaving Torchwood was the best thing that had ever happened to him, damn the reason why. His new life had led him to Shannon, even if he lost her. All any of this new knowledge meant to him now was that he had stolen a second chance at being a decent man, and he had never really deserved her or that life.
“Owen.” Ianto spoke from where he was now standing, directly in front of him. Owen hadn’t even seen him move- he stood up so they were once again face-to-face.
Ianto gripped Owen by his biceps, jolting him slightly. “Yes you’re a miserable prick, and yes you did horrible, unforgivable things to people, but as much as I like watching you suffer a little for it, this isn’t getting us anywhere. We need you back at Torchwood- I need your help. That’s why I volunteered to come here tonight. Something has changed and it’s not for the better.”
“The Audit you kept hearing Jack talk about today was just the latest concern. Here.” He smacked the portfolio he’d been holding into the center of Owen’s chest. “This is everything Jack had on the recent changes, plus some things I’ve gathered myself.”
Owen withdrew a stack of papers and a couple of computer disks from the pack. “You want me to come back to work like nothing’s happened?” He asked incredulously.
Ianto let out an exasperated sigh, “No, Owen, not like nothing’s happened. We want you to come back because there’s no other choice right now, and Jack is right- as insufferable as you are, you’re very clever, and I have a feeling we’re going to need all the help we can get.”
Ianto retrieved the letter from the coffee table and slapped it into Owen’s hand. “Don’t let Jack know you have this. I kept it, and gave it to you, because I thought you needed to have it. Not just because she deserved her say, but because you shouldn’t get off without a reminder of what you did.” The heavy silence hung between them. “I’ll show myself out.”
With that Ianto crossed to the door and left.
Ianto sat parked on the side of the street; he glanced at the car’s digital clock- 12:30. Damn Owen and his time wasting. Ianto withdrew his mobile from an inside pocket, attached the device that made it impossible to track or record their calls, and dialed Erin’s mobile.
The groggy sounding voice and the fact that it took more than the normal amount of rings convinced him he had woken her up, despite her insistence otherwise.
“Have you secured your end?” He couldn’t risk anyone being able to overhear them, especially now.
Erin yawned loudly. “Yeah.” She cleared her throat. “I set it up a couple of hours ago just in case. What’ve you got for me?”
“What do you know about Evebus?” Even with Tosh’s extra security measures, Ianto felt hopelessly exposed. “Finne said something about your unit being almost entirely ex-military?”
“When I got here there was just ‘Old’ George, but about two months later he had a heart attack. I don’t think he was even cold before Evebus showed up. He’s alright at first, had war stories and such from his time in Chechnya, but I had to go completely through the clearance process again- he was suspicious about me being an American with Citizenship papers I think. Thank God the story Jack put together held…”
“He questioned Jack about his loyalty today too; called him out like he was questioning a subordinate right in front of the entire Audit Team.”
“Next thing I know, we’re not just archiving and collecting: I’m being field trained, spent a could of weeks in London for certification- it was like a secret agent crash course. It was still just the two of us for about 6 months, but then the others came. Like you said, nearly all ex-military, and all of them friendly with Evebus. At the same time, we started having more and more visitors from London.”
“Were all the new recruits from the Royal Marines then?” Ianto knew most of this already, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was just missing something; something small that was the key to everything.
“No- because of the records being sealed I couldn’t get all the facts, but they were from all over the military, and some ex-MI5 and MI6 too I think. I think that’s Richard Donovan and Katherine Jasper respectively, though they’re technically the same level here that I am. I just can’t make any sense of it Ianto- something isn’t right. We need to see what’s in those personnel records.”
“I agree, but don’t do anything stupid. If they’re all with Evebus, you snooping around could put you in danger. I think Jack would agree that we still need you there. Jack won’t say anything, but I don’t know how much longer we’ll all be able to work in the open. Today’s audit made me certain- Torchwood’s been infiltrated.”
“Ianto, who by? What purpose?”
“Whomever it is, they’re smart, and efficient- and that’s dangerous.”
Neither said anything for a moment, allowing all the unsaid possibilities to hang between them. Erin finally broke the silence.
“What about Owen?”
Ianto hesitated for a moment before answering. “I’ve just seen him. With what happened today, Jack wants to bring him back in- says we need all the support we can get.”
“That’s entirely understandable.” Her voice was steady but there was a protected formality about her words.
“I gave him back your letter, and the intelligence we’ve gathered so far- he was his usual gracious self.”
Erin laughed, genuinely at that, “I can just imagine the two of you staring each other down across the room in his dingy flat.”
“Something like that.” Ianto himself was starting to feel the length and strain of the day.
“You didn’t tell him about me did you?” The mood changed instantly. “I think.. I think he’s been through quite a lot, and perhaps knowing I’m working for Torchwood now-“
“I didn’t tell him.”
Erin let out a deep breath. “Well, that’s good. I’m sure Jack’ll tell him eventually, when it’s time. I’m knackered. You’d better get some rest too Ianto- “
“Right, ‘night Erin. Dream well.”
“Everything will be alright Ianto.”
He closed his phone and stowed it and the scrambler in the glove box before starting the motor, and heading home.
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