Ianto walked back to the Hub, reflecting on his first week as Director of Torchwood Cardiff. Whilst he hadn’t really expected a quiet week, he certainly hadn’t been prepared for such an eventful one. The fact that it only was one week made it even more surprising.
Admittedly, some things had gone better than expected. The few major issues or cases like Flat Holm Island and the Carys Fletcher case had been resolved relatively quickly. And there hadn’t been any major clashes between him and the rest of the team. There were a few times when Owen’s behaviour had come across as unfriendliness or a lack of respect, and Gwen’s naivety could sometimes blind her to the truth. But underneath it all, they were an extremely competent team.
Of course, not everything had gone how he would have liked. The deaths that had occurred during the Fletcher case cast a definite blight on the week, and he sincerely hoped that Gwen had learnt her lesson from that.
And of course, there was Suzie. The effects of that incident were still yet to be fully known.
After breakfast with Jack earlier, the pair nutted out the remaining details for looking after the Flat Holm Island facility. One thing they immediately agreed on was that the rest of the team should never be told about the rift victims or the facility. If the committee ever found out about Flat Holm, hopefully they couldn’t do anything to the others over it, if they didn’t even know about it. It would only be Ianto and Jack that the committee would have to deal with. And although he didn’t say so, Jack was perfectly prepared to take sole responsibility for the facility with the committee should the worst happen, and he would do his best to keep Ianto out of it.
Once they had finished, Ianto had left the Hub to go home and get changed, ready for the new day. As he walked back to the Hub, he found himself walking past a car yard where an Audi drew his attention. He had always wanted to get an Audi, but Lisa never liked them, so he never did. Ianto had to get back to work relatively quickly – he had asked everyone to be in early that day – so he kept walking.
When he arrived back, the entire team, except for Suzie, was already there. Even Gwen and Owen, neither of them exactly known for punctuality, were there. He wanted to discuss any issues that the team might have with Suzie’s return, prior to her arrival. They were sitting in the Boardroom, waiting for their morning dose of Ianto-coffee. He smiled to himself – some things never changed. At Torchwood 1, he sometimes thought he was only ever invited to as many meetings as he was because they wanted his coffee, and not his actual input into whatever was being discussed at these meetings. Once he had made them all a coffee, he got down to business.
The amount of retcon given to Suzie meant she was not going to remember that Ianto had been named Director. She would definitely not remember meeting him. So, not only would she be facing the awkwardness of returning to work after something had happened that she had no memory of, she would also be coming back to find that her job had gone.
With the team had assembled in the boardroom, Ianto reminded them all not to speak to Suzie about either the glove or the knife. They weren’t to speak to her of anything even vaguely likely to trigger her memories. Gwen started to ask more questions about what had actually happened, claiming it was unfair that she had been kept in the dark, but one look at Ianto’s face soon quietened her down again. She was still extremely self-conscious of the results of her error with the meteorite, and it slowly occurred to her that maybe she shouldn’t push it. Not too much anyway.
The sound of the cogwheel door alarms going off caused the team turned to face the boardroom door. Suzie had arrived.
It was a very nervous Suzie who came to stand in the doorway. She looked at Ianto sitting in her seat in surprise, and with a fair bit of trepidation. Who was that sitting in her chair? Had she been fired?
A smile from Ianto made her relax somewhat.
“Suzie, please come in.” Ianto gestured to the seat beside him. Suzie came over and with a glance at Owen, who used to sit in that position, she sat down.
They had decided it would be best if Jack spoke to Suzie about what had happened. He explained to Suzie about who Ianto was and why he was sitting in her seat. He then gave her his and Ianto’s agreed upon story of why they had retconned away so many months of her life.
He told her that an artefact, that had since been destroyed, had come through the rift and had somehow imprinted into her mind that she needed to harm herself. They were unable to reverse the effects of the object and eventually had to destroy it as it kept putting more and more negative thoughts into her head. Destroying it though wasn’t enough to get the harmful thoughts out of her head, so after much deliberation Suzie had apparently requested retcon.
Both Ianto and Jack had viewed the disk Suzie had recorded for herself, telling herself not to try and break through the retcon, and felt the story they came up with would not clash with anything she had said there. Ianto also thought that by telling her she was the one who had requested the retcon, she was less likely to think it was done against her will and so would hopefully be less likely to try and break through it.
Once the meeting had finished, the team went back to their workstations. Suzie was given some time to herself so she went back to her desk and looked at the artefacts assembled there. She logged onto her computer and was soon lost in her files.
The day ran smoother than expected. Ianto watched as the various team members went up to Suzie separately to welcome her back in their own ways. Suzie was grateful they all seemed to be glad to see her. One of the things she had worried about during the week was how they would treat her. She assumed they all knew what had happened, and not knowing what it was herself, she didn’t know if she had done anything to any of them or anything that had affected any of them.
Ianto took them all out later for a welcome back lunch for Suzie, and that seemed to get them through any lingering awkwardness the day had brought. He went out alone after lunch to go back to the car yard and have a closer look at that Audi that had captured his attention earlier. Managing to bargain the car dealer down a few thousand pounds and also get a few freebies thrown in, Ianto ended up buying the car on the spot.
When Ianto got home that night he went into the spare bedroom and opened one of the boxes he hadn’t touched as yet. The box contained a number of things he had retrieved from the wreckage of Torchwood London. He was looking for one file in particular.
This file contained research of various alien objects that Ianto’s department had been dealing with. These objects were believed to be related to time travel. None of them worked and they didn’t appear to originate from the same planet, but they were being compared to each other in order to try and find their similarities.
One of the many things missing from Jack’s files was how he had actually arrived on Earth. And especially how he had arrived when he did. Jack had always been happy to say what time he came from, but never how he travelled in time. Ianto didn’t have the answer to those questions, but there was something he wanted to investigate.
Ianto grabbed a software disk from out of the folder and inserted it into his laptop. The disk contained the software Torchwood 1 was using to review their data on the instruments. He pulled the thumb drive out of his suit pocket that contained the data from his scans of Jack’s Vortex Manipulator and copied the data over to his laptop.
As he waited for the software to analyse the new data, Ianto’s attention was caught by one of the devices he had in the box. It was a portable rift activity locator. The city of London didn’t have a rift running permanently through it, but it did on occasion have rift activity occur at random locations which needed monitoring.
He switched it on and idly flicked through the settings. His eyes widened in surprise as a result came through almost immediately. He stared at it for a moment. It didn’t look to be anything dangerous so he decided he’d go and check it out. It mustn’t have registered on any of the Hub’s equipment either, as he had set himself up to be notified via SMS whenever something came through, and he hadn’t received any such notification. Ianto left the software to finish running on his laptop and got into his new car.
He tracked the source of a signal to an abandoned warehouse in an industrial area. Getting out of the Audi, he looked around cautiously. Suddenly he saw something large fly in through an open door. Ianto stopped in shock.
Was that a…? Ianto stopped that thought – it couldn’t possibly be that.
He went cautiously up to the door and looked inside to see what he could find.
Jack had just settled down with his dinner to watch some TV in his bunker when a text came from Ianto asking him to meet him out at the industrial estate straight away. Jack sighed. Just when he had begun to believe Ianto wouldn’t be like the other directors who made him jump at their beck and call, here he was being expected to come running, just like that. This has to stop, he thought to himself wistfully. But he knew he couldn’t say anything like that to a director, no matter how much he wanted to.
While he waited for Jack to arrive, Ianto tried to find things to distract the creature. It had eyed him quite closely a couple of times, and Ianto didn’t fancy becoming it’s dinner. Closing the warehouse door behind him, he went and looked in his car for something to distract it with. He had only bought the car this afternoon so it hadn’t had time to accumulate much junk. Ianto’s glance fell on the box of chocolates given to him by the car dealer as a thank you for his business sitting on the back seat. That would have to do, he supposed.
He went back into the warehouse and started throwing random chocolates at the creature to see how it would react. To his relief, it started eating some of the chocolates and started to ignore Ianto. He noticed with some amusement it had only eaten the dark chocolates and left the rest there. Ianto had always preferred dark chocolate too.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the creature to start getting restless again and Ianto decided he had better go outside and wait. Jack was most likely still five minutes away at least. There was a 24/7 grocery store open just down the road and Ianto thought it might be a good idea to go and get some supplies.
Ianto got back just at the same time that Jack rolled up in the SUV. He stood in the beams of the SUV’s headlights, waiting for Jack to get out.
Jack got out of the SUV and slammed the door. He strode up to Ianto and looked at him questioningly, still angry about being called out like that. Jack was totally unprepared for what he heard next.
“So, you gonna help me catch this pterodactyl then?”
When Jack finally managed to close his mouth again, he moved the SUV closer to the warehouse door, to make it easier once they had caught the pterodactyl. He opened the back of the SUV and started assembling an enormous syringe. Ianto looked at him in disbelief.
“OK, that is the only special equipment you’ve got?”
“Yeah, ‘cause I keep dinosaur nets in the back of the SUV!”
“Torchwood London would have!”
Jack just glared at him; he’d already made his opinion of Torchwood London quite clear to Ianto. He wasn’t going there again.
The men made jogged over to the warehouse door and Jack burst through the door, Ianto right behind him. The pterodactyl was flying the length of the warehouse but the moment it saw Jack, it headed straight for them, squawking loudly. With a “nope” from Ianto, they ran back outside again. They leant against the door, panting.
“How’d you find it?” Jack asked.
“Rift Activity Locator.”
Jack looked at him in surprise. “Torchwood London?”
“See, quality kit.”
“Yeah, it’s quite excitable.”
“Must be your aftershave.”
“Never wear any!”
“You smell like that naturally?”
“51st century pheromones. You people have no idea. Ready for another go?”
“I’m game if you are.” Ianto’s expression said otherwise.
“Three, two, one…” Jack pulled the door open again and they went back in, only to see the pterodactyl head straight for them again.
“Split up!” Jack yelled.
They ran in opposite directions around the warehouse and the creature ended up flying between them to land near the door. It turned back and looked at them.
Jack smiled, in absolute awe of what he was looking at. He called out to it. “We’re not gonna harm you. You can’t stay here. Come back with me. We’ve got somewhere nice and big where you can fly around.”
“What exactly is your plan?” Ianto asked.
“I’m gonna be the decoy.”
“And it will rip you to shreds.”
“Dinosaurs? Had ‘em for breakfast. Had to, only source of pre-killed food protein after the asteroid crashed. Long story. Here you go.” Jack handed the syringe to Ianto. “One injection to the central nervous cortex. I’ll keep it occupied.”
“No!” Ianto shook his head.
“What?” Jack looked on in surprise as Ianto handed the syringe back.
“It knows me. I’ll be a better decoy.”
“No, way too dangerous.”
“No, I’ve got a secret weapon. Chocolate. Preferably dark.” He pulled a block of chocolate out from his suit pocket and brandished it at Jack. He walked away without another word, leaving Jack looking at around in surprise.
Ianto edged his way slowly towards the pterodactyl, whistling. “Got your favourite, yeah.”
He kept walking closer, keeping the pterodactyl’s attention away from Jack who was slowly getting closer from the other side of the creature.
“It’s good for your serotonin levels. If… you’ve got… serotonin levels.” Ianto wasn’t really sure what to say, he was just saying anything that came to mind to keep it distracted. He tossed the chocolate onto the ground just in front of the pterodactyl.
The creature started to peck at the chocolate but its attention was suddenly diverted by Jack. Not having any time to lose, Jack ran at the creature but before he had a chance to sedate it, it took off grabbing hold of Jack.
“Whoa!” Ianto yelled. There was nothing he could do as the creature flew off with Jack hanging on to it trying not to fall.
“Argh! Whoa! Ianto!” Jack finally managed to inject the pterodactyl with the sedative. The pterodactyl started flying towards Ianto’s end of the warehouse. Jack waited until it flew near Ianto before letting go and, without thinking, Ianto put his arms up to catch Jack as he fell. Jack landed on him with a thud, squashing the air out of Ianto’s lungs temporarily and nearly kneeing him in a particularly sensitive spot.
“Sorry!” Jack said breathlessly.
Simultaneously they realised the pterodactyl was falling to the ground above them and, still huddled together, they rolled themselves over and over. They came to a stop a few metres away, and as they watched the pterodactyl fall to the ground, it suddenly occurred to them both how crazy the whole situation was. They burst into relieved laughter.
Ianto looked down at Jack lying beneath him. As his face got closer to Jack’s and their noses nearly touched, he could suddenly smell the aftershave he had smelt earlier when resting in Jack’s bunker. Except now, he knew it wasn’t aftershave; it was Jack himself. It was Jack’s own scent that had relaxed him.
He couldn’t help himself from thinking that as nice as Jack might smell, he just wasn’t Lisa. Ianto realised the smiles had fallen off both of their faces and Jack was looking at him carefully, their mouths almost close enough to kiss. Ianto closed his eyes to shut out the vision of Jack’s blue eyes.
“I should go.” Ianto pushed himself away from Jack abruptly and walked away.
“Hey! I’ll see you at work first thing tomorrow.” Jack stood up and cocked his head slightly; unsure of exactly what had just happened.
With only a slight pause, Ianto continued walking away. He got into his car and drove straight home, not even staying to help Jack clean up and put the pterodactyl in the SUV. He didn’t know why but he just had to get out of there, he had to get away from Jack.