At Torchwood, a different kind of clean up was happening. Ianto had already locked the glove and knife away the previous night, but he and Jack still had to go through Suzie’s computer and remove any case files relating to her research. They had also recovered a few items of alien technology during their sweep of Suzie’s house and needed to make sure that there was nothing to link any of it to the glove and knife.
Once they were satisfied that the Hub was clear they waited for the two girls to arrive for work. Ianto had decided only to tell them that Suzie would not be in for the rest of the week and that she had been retconned, but not why. He was concerned their opinions of Suzie might be adversely affected by the knowledge of what she may have done. He wanted to Suzie to have a fresh start when she came back next week, even though he intended to keep a close eye on her.
Neither Tosh nor Gwen argued with him when he explained why Suzie wasn’t there. They could both see how tired Ianto looked and realised that something major must have happened for him to take the actions he did. Owen wasn’t in either, having been given permission to come in later after his late night call out.
A little later Tosh saw that the glove and knife were missing but didn’t say anything. She had always felt uneasy around the glove, and didn’t really like the fact that Suzie had been using it to bring dead animals back to life. Even if they only survived a couple of minutes, it still felt like they were playing with things they shouldn’t. And they all knew what had happened to London when they played with things they shouldn’t have.
Mid-morning Ianto left for his meeting with the committee. They were meeting him in a coffee shop nearby. Thoughts of his previous dealings with the committee ran through his head while he was waiting.
The committee had been formed in 1879, shortly after Queen Victoria had founded the Torchwood Institute in Scotland. Torchwood reported only to the crown, but as the Queen was unable to directly run the organisation and her duties as the head of the royal family often prevented her personal attendance, the committee was set up to run Torchwood on her behalf. The committee established the London branch to act as the main administrative centre, and as the rift in Cardiff became more and more active, they soon set up Torchwood 3.
After the fall of London, the committee decided to make Cardiff the main public focus of Torchwood. They had initially planted stories about the Canary Wharf building having been attacked by terrorists and the ghosts that had turned out to be Cybermen were to be dismissed as mass hoaxes. It was soon realised that whilst the terrorist story seemed to be generally believed, the mass hoax story was not. Too many people in too many places had died or had simply gone missing to cover the Cybermen up. Interestingly enough though, they had more success with covering up the Daleks’ involvement. Maybe because their attack had mostly been centred on London and Canary Wharf, and there was less information to be re-written.
After the Battle of Canary Wharf Ianto had many meetings with the committee. They were supposedly there to take care of him and the 26 other survivors, but he never felt at ease with them. There seemed to be ulterior motives in everything they said or did, but he could never quite work out what they were.
Ianto never knew exactly how many people were on the committee and he often wondered if they even knew themselves. Whenever he had to meet with them, there were only one or two different people present. They always changed who attended the meetings, but there were one or two people who came more often than the others. Ianto didn’t trust any of them.
When they first offered him the position at Cardiff, he was flattered they would consider him up to the task. But as he found out more about the job – and especially the contract with the alien that was apparently owned by Torchwood – the more he began to wonder if there was something else going on. They supplied him with limited files on Torchwood Cardiff and all the staff, but nothing on the alien.
Captain Jack Harkness was well known to the staff of London but Ianto hadn’t known, until he was offered the Cardiff job, that Jack was actually an alien.
Ianto had even seen him one time when Jack had accompanied Alex Hopkins to a meeting with Yvonne Hartman. The meeting had left Yvonne in a foul mood for over a week. There had been a lot of gossip about what had left her in such a mood, but there was even more gossip surrounding Jack Harkness. Some people found him enormously arrogant, while others were equally adamant about how charming he was. His ‘sexy’ smile seemed to be the big winner. He had certainly left an impression on everyone who saw him.
Ianto had been sitting in the back of the staff kitchen when Alex and Jack had entered during a break in their meeting, and he saw for himself the blinding smile Jack had given to one of the tea ladies. She was an older lady who had the reputation of being able to reduce even the strongest man to tears with one well-placed glare. But to the amazement of everyone watching, Jack had her wrapped around his little finger almost instantly. As they left the room, someone snarkily commented on how poncy Jack looked waltzing about in such an old fashioned looking coat. Ianto disagreed – he thought the look suited him.
The committee gave Ianto a few days to decide whether or not to accept the role. A phone call from his sister tipped the scales in favour of returning to Cardiff. She was concerned how he was coping without Lisa, and if he was honest with himself, the thought of being near what was left of his family again was a surprisingly pleasant idea. Ianto let the committee know he would accept the job.
They arranged his move back to Cardiff and let him know they would meet with him on his second day on the job to complete the change in command and the sign over of Jack to Ianto. They had not signed Jack fully over to Suzie, knowing she was not permanently the director, and Ianto wondered what else they could possibly have to tell him about Jack.
Ianto looked up as two pairs of feet stopped at his table. When he saw exactly who had turned up for the meeting it took a lot of self-control not to let his displeasure show. Through all his meetings with the committee, he had found these two especially distasteful. These particular two had given him the creeps. They both wore cravats and “Vote Saxon” pins even though the election was months away, and the candidates hadn’t even been officially announced yet. But questionable fashion aside, the fact was that the two of them simply made Ianto’s skin crawl. Whether it was the way they looked down at everyone and everything, or the way their stares were so intense it seemed they were staring all the way through you, or the way their skin felt like cold fish when they shook your hand, Ianto didn’t know why. He just knew he didn’t like them.
As with all the committee members they had never said what their names were.
The first one spoke as they sat themselves down. “So how’s the freak going?” The man could barely keep the sneer from his face as he spoke.
Ianto looked at them both. He knew what they meant, but wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of acknowledging the derogatory word. “What do you mean?” he asked.
“The freak,” the second one said. “That disgusting freak of an alien masquerading as an army captain.”
Ianto spoke carefully. “Jack is fine. Why wouldn’t he be?”
“Keep an eye on it. You don’t know what it is capable of,” the first one replied.
“He has been fine. He’s been extremely helpful.” Ianto replied, still being careful to keep his voice neutral.
The second one shook his head dismissively, reached down into his briefcase and brought out a folder. “This is the abomination’s full file and contract. Make sure you read them thoroughly.” He held the folder out to Ianto and as Ianto reached out a hand to take the folder the first man grabbed his wrist and held it tightly.
The second one smiled grimly and brought an instrument out of his pocket and painfully injected something into Ianto’s arm.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Ianto growled angrily. He knew now why they had insisted he sit in one of the booths; no one would have seen what they had just done. Ianto felt his arm shake in pain as whatever they had injected him with started spreading out. He clutched his arm to his chest and wondered if they had poisoned him.
“Settle down,” one of them said. “We’ve injected you with a liquid tracking device for your pet alien. It integrates itself into your blood and attaches itself to your DNA, making it impossible to remove.
“If the freak gets away from where it should be, you will feel it. Let it get too far away and you will really feel the pain. I believe one previous director said that it felt as if his blood was boiling!
“So we recommend you keep tight control over the freak.”
When Ianto got back to the Hub, Jack was the only one there, the girls having gone with Owen to get some lunch. In response to Jack’s unspoken question, he told him the custody transfer had been completed.
Jack noticed that Ianto was holding his arm uncomfortably. He grabbed Ianto’s hand, pulled back his sleeve to reveal the red mark where the formula had been injected, and nodded.
“So they’ve given you the injection then,” he stated. He looked Ianto in the eye and smiled, trying to lighten the mood, knowing how much pain Ianto would be in. “So, does that mean I have to call you ‘Sir’ now?”
Ianto looked back at him and, recognising the distraction for what it was, decided to play along. “Why, Captain Harkness, are you flirting with me?” he asked.
They smiled at each other for a moment as Jack absently rubbed his thumb along the mark on Ianto’s wrist. He took a breath. “Come with me.”
He led Ianto into the office and took out a jar of cream from a cupboard near the hatchway leading to his bunker. “I’ve had lots of directors to get this right.”
He rubbed the cream gently into Ianto’s wrist and forearm. To Ianto’s surprise, the pain disappeared quickly. They looked at each other again, and Jack felt a sudden urge to run his fingers through a lock of Ianto’s hair that had fallen out of place. He let go of Ianto’s hand and stepped back abruptly to put himself out of range.
“Jack, they said one of the directors said it felt as if his blood was boiling when this thing triggered,” Ianto gestured at his arm. “Have you tried to escape from here?”
Jack looked at the floor. “I’m not going to do anything that will hurt you.” He looked up again. “Ianto, up until now Suzie had been a good person, and you could have had her executed for what she was trying to do, but you didn’t. And for that I will be forever grateful. I promise you I won’t leave Torchwood without permission.”
The cogwheel door alarm sounded and they saw the rest of the team walk in. Ianto nodded at Jack, “OK then.”
They smiled at each other again and went down to join the rest of the team for lunch.