Ianto looked on in wry amusement as his team filed back into the Hub.
He had sent them out in search of the supposed meteorite, wanting to make sure that that was all it was. Things hadn’t gone quite how he had hoped: the army and police had arrived at the crash site before Torchwood leading to yet another round of cross-agency rivalry, and then when the team actually did get through to the meteor, a moment of carelessness from Gwen caused an unknown gaseous creature to escape from within the rock.
Judging from the jibes and apologies Ianto had heard in the background over the comms Owen certainly wasn’t being backwards in letting Gwen know his feelings on the matter. It was immediately clear to Ianto as they walked in that the squabbling he had heard when Jack called through was still happening. The four of them marched straight down to Autopsy, taking no notice of Ianto, with Gwen apologising so many times that Jack finally had heard enough.
“Seriously, stop saying that!”
Rather that quietening her down, all that did was start Gwen off on another round of apologies. “But I am! I mean, really, I mean really, really sorry. God, I can’t believe it.”
“Didn’t they teach you Health and Safety in the police?” The tone of Owen’s voice made her feel even worse.
“You two chucked tools at each other, so I…” her voice trailed off as Owen glared at her.
“We didn’t miss!”
“I’ll sort it. Whatever’s happened, I’ll deal with it.”
Tosh and Owen continued past her and put the equipment and samples they were carrying down on the table.
Gwen looked earnestly at them both. “What do you think has happened? I mean, it was just gas, wasn’t it? That can’t be too bad, can it?”
“Right, because gas never did anyone any harm!” Owen shook his head in exasperation.
Ianto thought it best to interrupt them before the situation got too out of hand. He moved to the top of the stairs and staged a cough. Everyone stopped and looked up at him in relief.
“This might help,” he read some details off a clipboard. “Nightclub death, been phoned in to 999. Circumstances sound… a little unusual.”
Ianto looked at Gwen as she rushed up the stairs and practically ripped the clipboard from his hands in her haste to get away from the others.
“Might be connected.”
Ianto sent Jack, Owen, Tosh and Gwen off to the nightclub to investigate. They were all shocked by what had occurred there. After they found out everything useful the nightclub owner knew Jack took a copy of the CCTV footage from both inside the nightclub and from the alleyway beside the nightclub. Then they returned to the Hub to give Ianto an update of what they had found. Ianto had made them a coffee each and was handing them out as they ran the CCTV footage through the Torchwood identification software. Jack smiled in thanks as he took his cup from Ianto.
“He just came and went,” Jack couldn’t wait to repeat his line from earlier to Ianto, earning himself a now-familiar eye roll from the director.
Gwen meanwhile was not faring so well. Her emotions had spent the day zigzagging back and forth. From initially feeling sorry and embarrassed about her rookie-like mistake, to feeling depressed and guilty knowing she was ultimately responsible for the death of the young lad in the nightclub, to an overwhelming over-eagerness to do absolutely anything she could to get the case resolved, she had certainly felt it all.
Ianto saw the effect it was having on her and decided to call her into his office to talk to her. As relieved as she was to get away from Owen for a bit, she felt a bit apprehensive about what Ianto would have to say. This was her first major case since Ianto had started with Torchwood 3, and it had gone so terribly wrong for her. Ianto stood at the door of his office watching the remaining three. With Gwen gone Owen had stopped his snarky comments and they had all settled down to seriously tracking down the mysterious woman from the alleyway. He shut the door and turned back to Gwen.
“So what happened out there?” Ianto sat down behind his desk.
Gwen stared down nervously at her fingers, and shrugged. “I don’t know. I screwed up, I guess.”
Ianto smiled gently at her. “You made a mistake, that’s all.” Ianto raised a hand as he saw Gwen was about to interrupt. “That’s all it was, a simple mistake. A tragic mistake granted, but next time you’ll know better. And remember; don’t try too hard. You don’t have to impress anyone to fit in here. Just be yourself, and let it come naturally.”
Ianto stood up and walked around to Gwen’s side of the desk. Placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder he continued on. “From what I’ve heard and seen you’ve done very well since being here, don’t let this one thing get you down.”
Gwen finally looked up from her inspection of her fingers and smiled weakly. “Thanks Ianto,” she said gratefully. She was about to say more when a shout from Jack caused them to get up and rejoin the team.
“We’ve found her!”
After sending the rest of the team back out again, this time to hunt for the young girl from the CCTV footage, Ianto took the opportunity to take a closer look at Jack’s Vortex Manipulator. Since looking at it the previous night he had been thinking of ways he could find out more about it. Given Jack’s reluctance to talk about what it was for in the past, he didn’t hold much hope of Jack opening up to him.
Taking out a scanner he had brought back with him from London, Ianto was able to work out that parts of the device had broken down. He wasn’t able to tell what the parts actually did however, which meant it wouldn’t be easy for him to work out how to fix it. It was a bit hard to put something right when he didn’t actually know what ‘right’ really was. He took some more scans of the manipulator and put all of the results onto a thumb drive to study in more detail later.
Putting the thumb drive away in his suit pocket, Ianto sat down and looked at the cover of Jack’s file. Reaching a hand out he decided to read through the contract instead. It was time to find out the full extent of his ‘ownership’ of a certain Captain Jack Harkness.
Carys Fletcher entered the Hub timidly. She looked round nervously, and looked so flighty that she might have bolted the first chance she got, and if it wasn’t for Gwen holding on to her upper arm, she probably would have tried to run right then. Jack instructed Gwen to take her down to the cells and find out what she could.
Owen and Tosh went to find out what they could from the scans made at the crash site and to set up scans on the cell that Carys was in. That left Jack to arrange something for their lunch. He decided on Chinese.
Gwen entered the boardroom rather sheepishly a short while later, where the others were setting up for lunch. She desperately hoped none of them had seen the footage of her snogging Carys. She’d had enough teasing from Owen Harper for one day. The others looked up at her briefly before resuming their conversation. She sat down, recognising immediately what case it was they were talking about, and was very relieved she appeared to have gotten away with it.
They shared a few of the more humorous cases Torchwood 3 had come across with Ianto, up until during a lull in the conversation when they could hear the faint sound of crying. Gwen asked what the noise was so Owen turned the monitor on and they could all see Carys crying on her hands and knees down in her cell.
Gwen immediately felt all of her guilt returning. “What are we doing having Chinese while a girl fights for her life?”
Ianto saw she was getting upset again, and spoke quietly. “Gwen, why don’t you put together one of your character profiles on Carys. It will help us understand her so we can hopefully give her a reason to keep fighting and remind her to hold on to who she is.”
Gwen nodded and left straight away, grateful to have something constructive to do. Owen took some of the leftover food down to Carys. Ianto and Jack remained in the boardroom.
Tosh went back to her desk to view the results of the data analysis and when she realised the effect the alien creature was having on Carys’ body she called everyone over the comms. Everyone but Owen came over to hear what she had to say.
“This is the normal chemical composition of the air in that cell. And these are the readings from the last hour. The alien’s secreting an ultra-powerful blend of airborne pheromones.”
They all stared at her.
She obviously needed to clarify it for them. “Sex pheromones. A thousand times more potent than anything we’d normally experience.”
Jack’s eyes widened. “She’s a walking aphrodisiac!”
They all looked at each other. “Owen!”
Gwen and Tosh took off down to the cells – they thought it best for Ianto and Jack to stay there – to find Owen handcuffed and stripped naked with Carys nowhere to be found. A search on the Hub’s internal CCTV showed that Carys had used Owen’s swipe card to escape the Hub. Neither Gwen nor Tosh could keep a straight face as Owen explained what happened. Gwen even considered whether she could use the footage of Owen for blackmail material at a later date.
Back up in the main area of the Hub they reviewed the profile Gwen had gathered, trying to find any clues as to where Carys might have gone. Tosh made a likely suggestion, so they all piled into the SUV, leaving Ianto behind to co-ordinate once again.
After a dash around town to various places Carys could have been, they eventually ended up in Conway Clinic. It was a fertility clinic that Carys was currently temping for – it was also a perfect source for the orgasmic energy the alien creature craved, without it having to worry actually finding the willing young males. Carys was there, but unfortunately she had already killed five more men before they arrived.
Owen found Carys trying to escape the clinic and called the others to him. Seeing that Carys was growing steadily weaker, Gwen offered herself to the alien as a replacement host. Tosh wasn’t sure this was the wisest choice but Jack had secretly brought an inflatable cell from the Hub and managed to catch the alien as it attempted to pass from Carys’ to Gwen’s body. The cell only had a limited battery life but luckily, it lasted just long enough for the alien to die. It ended up as a pile of dust on the floor.
Carys had lost consciousness as the alien left her so Jack carried her out to the SUV. On their way back to Carys’ house, she woke up but was unable to remember anything that had happened. Ianto called ahead to her father to let him know that Torchwood would be bringing her home. He didn’t tell him anything about the deaths but instead just told him she had been found at the scene of a crime.
It was a much more subdued team that returned to the Hub this time. All of Owen’s snarkiness had disappeared and both Gwen and Tosh were unusually quiet. Jack was still Jack, but even he was more restrained.
Ianto monitored Carys over the next couple of months and was glad to see there nothing to indicate she had ever regained any memories of the alien possession. He was even able to pull some strings to get her a permanent job which paid her enough to be able to get a flat of her own. The self-confidence she gained from her improved status led her to meeting a decent man, and they got married eight months later.
The others had gone home, and Ianto was sitting at his desk finishing off the paperwork for the Fletcher case when Jack came in. Ianto had assumed he was just passing through on his way to the bunker under his office so he was surprised when Jack stopped and sat down at his desk. Ianto looked at him curiously.
“Ianto,” he began. Jack took hold of Ianto’s arm and looked pensively at the fading mark on his wrist. “I need to tell you about Flat Holm Island.”