A Good Man – Chapter 16

When they heard the big gun go off, and were sure the Cyberwoman had been destroyed, the rest of the team came out cautiously from their various hiding places. They stood around the edges of the main Hub area, nobody exactly sure of what to do next. None of them were comfortable looking at Ianto and seeing the utter misery radiating from him.

He was kneeling on the floor next to the remnants of Lisa’s body, crying uncontrollably. He didn’t look to be physically hurt, but they all knew he was hurting nonetheless.

None of them were in any rush to make eye contact with Jack either, although that was more out of anger, rather than because of how he might happen to be feeling.

Jack had not moved since shooting the Cyberwoman. He was caught between wanting to comfort Ianto and wanting to disappear somewhere far away, never to be seen again.

He put the gun down and moved over to Ianto, who was now hunched on the floor, and placed a hand on his shoulder. Ianto flinched at his touch and curled up into himself even more, trying to avoid Jack’s touch. Jack reached out again, desperately wanting to do whatever he could do to comfort Ianto, but every time he touched him, Ianto shook him off. Jack refused to take the hint though, and kept trying.

“Get off me!” Ianto eventually yelled, unable to take it anymore.

“Jack!” Suzie said in warning, when Jack reached out for him again regardless.

Jack tried to take him into his arms but Ianto’s miserable keening in distress spurred Owen into action. Rushing over to them, he grabbed hold of Jack and roughly pushed him away from Ianto. Suzie had followed close behind Owen, and placed herself between Ianto and Jack.

“Get away from him, you bastard!” Owen snarled. He looked over at Suzie. “Get him out of here. Put him in a cell until Ianto’s ready to deal with him.”

Suzie nodded and guided Jack out of the room.

Once Suzie and Jack were gone, Owen, Tosh and Gwen gathered together to discuss what to do next. They needed to look after Ianto, but knew they had to deal with the remnants of the Cyberwoman and the cyber technology downstairs. They decided to send Tosh to stay with Ianto, figuring she would be the least threatening to him in the state he was in.

She gently encouraged him to his feet and, putting her arm around him, went to lead him over to the sofa. Ianto stood up at her prompting, but stopped moving as he turned back to look at Lisa once more.

“Don’t worry Ianto, we’ll take care of her,” Gwen said gently. “I promise.”

Ianto looked from her to Owen and back again and nodded.

As they were walking over to the sofa, Ianto stopped to pick up the two sections of the faceplate Lisa had dropped earlier. He was horrified to see they were not actual cyber technology, but were in fact man-made. Someone had custom-made them to deliberately fit over her face. He dropped them to the floor again, unable to touch them any longer.

Tosh sat Ianto down and poured him a stiff drink to try and calm his nerves a little. He sat on the sofa and stared blankly into the distance. Tosh sat next to him and placed a comforting arm around him, but didn’t try to say anything, knowing that he wasn’t ready to talk yet.

Owen and Gwen cleaned up as much as they could. Once Suzie returned, the three of them started moving Lisa’s body to the Autopsy Room. Suzie and Gwen then cleaned the rest of the mess while Owen worked on the body.

Owen removed as much of the cyber technology from Lisa’s arm and face as he could, and removed the bloodstains. He then dressed the body in a hospital gown and tidied her up. The body would eventually be incinerated, but Owen knew that Ianto would need to see her again for himself before that happened. After having believed once already that she was dead, only to have her appear again, and in such a terrible way, he would need to be able to reassure himself that she really was dead this time.

Once they were done, they all walked over to Tosh and Ianto to let him know they were finished.

“Are all of you OK? Did she hurt any of you?” It was the first time Ianto had spoken since he yelled at Jack.

“We’re fine Ianto,” Tosh answered for them all.

Ianto nodded in acknowledgement but then resumed staring into space again.

“Ianto,” Suzie knelt in front of him to get his attention again. “We’ve finished with the bo… with Lisa. We’ll need to cremate her.”

Ianto focused on Suzie for a moment. He hadn’t thought that far ahead yet, all he could see, over and over again, was Lisa dying when Jack shot her, and he couldn’t think of anything else.

“Cremate her?” Ianto looked lost.

“Yes,” Owen said. “I’m sorry mate but we can’t risk anything else. Not with this sort of technology.”

Ianto looked at the floor. “Where is she?”

“Still in Autopsy.”

Ianto looked at the three women. “You guys should go home, it’s getting late.”

“Are you sure Ianto?” Gwen asked. “We can stay and help.”

“I’m sure,” he said tiredly. “I’ll see you all tomorrow. Besides, I’m sure Rhys is probably wondering where you are by now.”

Suzie, Tosh and Gwen slowly gathered their stuff and left for the night.

While Ianto was with Lisa, Owen took some food and drink down to Jack. As soon as he saw Owen coming, Jack stood up.

“How is he?”

“Get back from the door.” Owen ignored Jack’s question.

“Owen, please.” Jack stood back from the door while Owen placed the tray on the end of the bed. He didn’t move again until after Owen had relocked the cell.

“Let me out Owen, please. He needs me. He’ll have such bad nightmares without me.”

“Yeah, ‘cause he really needs someone who experimented on his supposedly dead girlfriend’s body!” Owen didn’t even try to hide his disgust and stormed off.

Ianto spent the night in Jack’s bunker. Owen decided to stay at the Hub, rather than leave Ianto alone. He slept on the sofa so that he could hear Ianto if he needed anything.

In the early hours of the morning, Ianto had a bad nightmare. When Owen found him, he was huddled at the far end of the bed and was screaming over and over. Owen tried to wake him up, but in his terror, Ianto kept pushing him away, unable to distinguish Owen from whatever it was that was attacking him in his dream. Shaking him had no effect, and Owen was beginning to tire from Ianto continually fighting him off. Ianto’s screams eventually subsided, but he was still caught in the nightmare and was muttering something repeatedly. Owen realised he was calling for Jack.

Owen went down to the cells and explained what was going on. He stared at Jack hard. “You’d better not mess me around. I’m only letting you out for Ianto’s sake. I can’t get him out of this nightmare and he’s in danger of hurting himself. Any funny business and you’re going straight back into the cell.”

Jack nodded. Owen frowned and reluctantly let Jack out. Jack took off at full speed, anxious to get to Ianto. When they got back to Jack’s bunker Ianto was huddled into a ball in the corner of the bed, still trying to get away from whatever he thought was coming after him. Jack reached out and tentatively put a hand on Ianto. Ianto instinctively huddled in on himself even further.

Jack spoke to him softly, reassuring him he wasn’t alone, urging him to wake up. Jack kept on talking to him calmly and steadily, and eventually he was able to put his hand back on Ianto’s shoulder without him reacting. Jack slowly got closer to Ianto and started rubbing his hand in soothing circles on Ianto’s back while stroking his other hand through Ianto’s hair. Ianto’s breathing gradually slowed down and Jack started pulling Ianto closer to him. Eventually he got Ianto leaning against him and he rested Ianto’s head against his chest, holding him firmly. Rocking him gently, Jack started singing the same Boeshani lullaby he had sung to Ianto on the first night he had calmed Ianto down after one of his nightmares.

By the time the lullaby was finished, Ianto’s breathing had returned to normal and he appeared to be sleeping normally again. Jack laid him down carefully on the bed. Standing, he covered him up and placed a tender kiss on his forehead. Jack looked down at him longingly. He wanted to get in the bed next to Ianto and hold him all night. Jack reached down and was about to run his fingers through Ianto’s hair again, when Ianto opened his eyes and looked up at him. Jack looked back at him.

“I’m so sorry Ianto. I really didn’t know it was her. She would tell me stories about her gorgeous boyfriend all the time, but I never had any idea it was you she was talking about.”

Ianto said nothing, he looked at Jack a bit longer and then rolled over, deliberately turning his back on Jack. Jack could hear Owen shuffling around behind him and looked around to see Owen watching him uneasily.

“I have to go, but please, please, Ianto. I hope you will forgive me.”

Owen had stood back while Jack spoke to Ianto, to give them some level of privacy, and glanced around him. He had been down in Jack’s bunker several times before, and every time he had been there, the place had looked like a bomb had hit it. Jack had never been renowned for being particularly tidy and Owen was surprised to see the place looked a lot neater than he had ever seen.

Glancing at Ianto and Jack, he went to the bunker’s bathroom to get Ianto a glass of water. As he walked back, he was surprised to see two of Ianto’s suits hanging neatly at one end of Jack’s wardrobe. He guessed that explained a bit about Ianto’s response to Jack when he was trying to coax him out of the nightmare.

“Alright Jack, it’s time to take you back.”

Jack stood up and reluctantly allowed Owen to herd him up the ladder and back to the cell.

When Jack woke up in the morning he saw a shadow from the corner of his eye. He sat up to see Ianto sitting on the floor outside his cell, slumped against the glass wall. His head was leaning against the glass door while he waited for Jack to wake up. Jack went and sat down on the opposite side of the glass.

“Ianto?” Jack said softly.

Ianto stirred and looked through the cell door at Jack. He had obviously not slept much after Jack had been brought back to the cell. His eyes were red and sore, and when he spoke, his voice was very hoarse.

“You said she spoke to you, told you stories about me. What did she say?”

Jack looked at the ground as he thought back to some of his conversations with Lisa.

“She loved you very much,” Jack began. “She thought you were one of the handsomest men she had ever met. There was one suit of yours in particular that would take her breath away every time you wore it. It was the black one with grey pinstripes.”

“I wore that on my first day here,” Ianto murmured softly. Tears shone in his eyes.

“She said that you had always said you didn’t love her for what she looked like. Last time you said that, it was a Saturday. You were both hung-over. You made cheese toasties, and moaned she hadn’t de-scaled her kettle.” Jack sighed and continued on.

“She told me that night, you camped on a beach in Brittany. It got so freezing you wore your coats and shared one sleeping bag. When you woke up the next morning…” He paused, an embarrassed grin on his face.

“…a dog was pissing on our tent,” Ianto finished, the tears flowing freely now. “I’d have given anything to be able to speak to her again.”

“Ianto, I’m so sor…”

“No! Stop saying that Jack. I… I… I just can’t deal with any more of your damned lies right now.”

Ianto got to his feet. “I don’t even know why I came down here.” Ianto turned around and walked out, before Jack could see him break down completely.

Jack didn’t move for a very long time, he just sat there and leant his forehead against the glass where Ianto’s was just a few minutes before.

“I don’t understand though Jack.”

Ianto came back a bit later, after he had calmed himself down somewhat. Jack had moved back to the bed.

“Why would you even do something like this? Even ignoring who she was. You’ve been out in the universe; you’ve seen the damage they can do. Why, Jack? Why would you do something so stupid?”

Jack looked up at Ianto, wondering what he could say. What could he do to make this better for Ianto? Jack lowered his head again as he thought back to how this had all started.

One month after the Battle of Canary Wharf – Cardiff

The Torchwood team were responding to an alert. Tosh had seen some reports come in about monstrous looking creatures that had appeared from nowhere. She showed the reports to Suzie, who decided the four of them should all go to investigate. Gwen was still a month away from joining Torchwood.

Five Weevils had come out of the sewers and were behaving oddly. The fact that they were in a shopping centre car park in the middle of the day was unusual enough, but the fact that they were just standing around doing nothing was even stranger. The Weevils may not have actually been doing anything while they were there, but their appearance alone was enough to cause panic. The team had to get out there and subdue the Weevils, before the panic became so widespread that they would have to Retcon most of the city.

It was only when the team arrived that the Weevils started to react. They separated into three groups, which forced the team to split up to take care of them all. Tosh and Suzie went after a smallish trio; Owen went after one of the remaining Weevils while Jack was left chasing the biggest and strongest one.

The one that Jack had gone after suddenly started running away from the shopping centre, and Jack lost sight of the rest of the team as he chased after it. After the Weevil turned up an empty street, Jack was surprised to see it suddenly collapse. He ran up to the Weevil and leant over it to see what had happened. He had just seen a tranquilliser dart sticking out of its neck when he felt a sharp sting at his neck. He lifted his hand up to find a dart sticking out of his own neck. As his vision started to blur, and he started to fall to the ground, he saw two of his worst nightmares come and stand over him.

When Jack awoke, he found himself handcuffed and tied to a chair that was bolted to the floor. He looked around him and saw straight away he was inside a large glass tank. Jack sighed; he remembered this tank only too well. This was the tank where Emily Holroyd and Alice Guppy had played one of their favourite games, How Many Times Can We Drown Jack In One Day, all those years ago. He looked up to the top of the tank, and sure enough, there it was: a hose draped over the top corner, ready to fill the tank with water. He was surprised the tank was still in one piece – he had thought it destroyed when it was removed from the Hub, after he had signed the contract with them.

Jack only barely managed to conceal a laugh as the two committee members from earlier came into the room. Hundreds of years of the committee and they still wore cravats.

“Hello freak,” one of them sneered.

“You know, sneering isn’t a good look on you!” Jack retorted, shaking his head defiantly.

“I’d watch your mouth if I was you,” the second man replied.

“Why? What’re you going to do? Kill me? Think we’ve been there before!”

“We have a file here,” the first one said, holding up a folder.

“Wow!” Jack said with a sarcastic grin. “You lot have always got files. You couldn’t live without them.”

“We have a job for you to do.”

“Sorry, not interested.”

“That’s alright, if you won’t take this file, we have another one here that we can use for our own… pleasure.”

The second man handed a folder to the first man who held it up to Jack. The smile fell off his face immediately when he saw the photo attached to the front of the file. It showed a young blond-haired boy holding the hand of his mother, a woman with short, dark, curly hair. A chill ran through him.

“Alice Carter, formerly Alice Sangster, formerly Melissa Moretti, and her son Steven Carter. Lots of names there, freak, but never once a Harkness. How does it feel knowing your own daughter refuses your name?”

Jack said nothing, any smart-mouthed replies forgotten as he waited to see what the threat against his family would be. He stared steadily back at the two men.

“What, no reply? Cat got your tongue?”

The second man joined the first one, standing closer to the tank.

“He’s looking a bit dry there, don’t you think?” he asked the first man. “Want a drink freak?”

The men looked at each other and nodded.

The first one spoke again. “If you don’t want to co-operate we might have to use a bit of persuasion.” He pressed a button and water started flowing through the hose into the tank. “There, have a drink, while we go off and decide how much… fun… we can have with your daughter and grandson if you don’t do this job for us.”

Jack continued staring back at the men before looking up at the hose again. He wasn’t afraid of drowning, but he was afraid of what the committee might do to Alice and Steven if he didn’t cooperate. Unlike him, there was no coming back for them. He didn’t have any idea how the committee had even found out about them. His daughter’s identification, after her mother had left Torchwood, should have been undetectable. Even by Torchwood. Especially by Torchwood.

“OK, OK!” he burst out. “Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”

The men smiled smugly at each other. They hadn’t actually expected the freak to capitulate quite so quickly. He must really care about that family of his; that was something they would need to remember for future use.

The first one switched the water off and allowed it to drain from the tank before flicking the switch that would raise the glass off the ground and release Jack. They brought him over to a table and started spreading out the contents of the original file. Jack looked at it in horror.

“Are you out of your minds?” he yelled. “Have you not seen what these things can do?”

The men looked back at him.

“We know exactly what we are doing!”

Jack shook his head in despair. “No, I don’t think you do,” he said quietly, more to himself than to them.

He looked at the file again and pieced together what the committee had done.

After the battle, they had come across a number of partially converted Cybermen. Deciding they wanted to keep the technology for themselves, the committee tried to stabilise them themselves. They were eventually forced to bring in a cybernetics expert from Japan though, after most of the subjects had died before they could do anything with them.

A month out and Test Subject 12 was now fully stabilised, but still unable to be disconnected from the equipment and survive. With the remnants of the Torchwood London building due for demolition, the committee needed to find a safe and reliable power source somewhere else. This was where Jack and Torchwood Cardiff came into the equation.

The committee decided to relocate the test subject to Cardiff, where Jack was to ensure it remained safely hidden and he was also to keep working towards making it independent of the equipment. Once that was done, the committee would take over. The file didn’t say what they intended to do after that happened.

“What are you going to do with it once it is off the machinery?” Jack asked.

“None of your business!” the second one replied. “The test subject will be brought to you tomorrow. Your team will get another Weevil alert just after lunch, so make sure you stay behind. You better make sure you have a hidden area set up for us before we get there.”

Jack nodded. With the conversation apparently over, the men released Jack and escorted him out of the building. The men didn’t want Jack around them any longer than necessary.

“Oh, and one more thing,” one of them called out. “If something happens, the committee isn’t involved in this.”

“What do you mean?” Jack asked, puzzled.

“I mean exactly that. If something happens, if you or the test subject gets found out, the committee will deny all knowledge of this matter. If you are found out, it’s all on your head. You’ll have a new owner coming soon and if this person finds out about it somehow, we are not taking the blame.”

“And how do you expect me explain this away, if I can’t say where it came from?”

“We don’t care. It’s up to you to decide how to handle it. I guess you better pray they never find out. He or she might not be very forgiving of you for harbouring a Cyberman!” The men smirked knowingly at each other.

“What will happen if I do tell them? How will you even know?” Jack asked.

The second man held up Alice’s file and brandished it at Jack. “Do we really need to answer that?”

Jack roused himself from his thoughts. He looked over at Ianto who was still standing there waiting for a response. Ianto’s face was carefully blank, and Jack couldn’t tell if he was waiting patiently, or waiting angrily, for Jack to reply.

But what could Jack tell him? The committee had made it perfectly clear what would happen if Jack told anyone the truth. Was the life of his daughter and grandson worth risking for a potential relationship with someone he might be leaving behind soon anyway? What choice did he really have?

“Ianto, you have to believe me, I’m sorry for what happened to Lisa, but I can’t tell you any more. I swear I never intended to hurt you. I didn’t even know anything about you when this all started.”

“When this all started? So, she’s been here the whole time, and you didn’t tell me. Even knowing what had happened to my girlfriend, what happened to me? Not even after we started to…” Ianto trailed off.

“Ianto, trust me, I…”

“Trust you?” Ianto interjected. He laughed bitterly. “I don’t bloody think so! The last thing I’m going to do is trust you Jack Harkness!”

Ianto turned away from the cell, not wanting to see the look of sadness on Jack’s face. He needed to not see him anymore. In fact, right now, he would be happy if he didn’t have to see Jack ever again.

For an offense like this, execution or retcon would normally be the options. But execution wouldn’t work for Jack, and Ianto couldn’t risk retconning Jack either. He rubbed his arm where the committee had injected the tracker. If Jack was retconned and decided to leave Cardiff, for whatever reason, it would set the tracker off. He could keep him in the cell and leave him there to rot, but he knew the others would not take kindly to that. He could imagine Gwen arguing with him over that sort of decision even now.

Ianto took a deep breath, turned back to the cell and opened the door. Jack looked at him.

“I want you out of here. As of now, you are on an indefinite suspension. I’ll escort you back upstairs where you will pack your things and then leave the Hub. While you are on suspension, you will not leave Cardiff and you will not return to the Hub until I say you can. Do you understand?”

Jack looked at Ianto. “But where will I go? Everything I have is here.”

“Wherever, anywhere, just as long as it’s not here. You can sleep in the fucking streets for all I care!”

Jack didn’t say any more. He could see that Ianto was barely keeping it together and didn’t want to make it any worse by provoking him any further.

Ianto took Jack back up to the main Hub and, ignoring the stares from the rest of the team who had just arrived for the day, they went into Jack’s bunker so he could pack a bag.

When that was done, they went back out and Ianto told the team of his decision. They all looked shocked, especially when he told them Jack would not be at the Hub whilst he was on suspension.

“But you can’t do that!” Gwen exclaimed. “This is his home!”

“I’ve made my decision Gwen.”

Owen reached a hand out and placed it on Gwen’s arm in warning when she opened her mouth to argue further.

“Leave it,” he said quietly.

“But he…”

“Gwen! Enough!”

Gwen glared at Owen, but he ignored her. He knew Ianto would need some space, and some time, to get over this. It would be hard enough for him to deal with as it was, let alone having to face Jack everyday as well. He was surprised by Ianto’s decision, but knew he had done the right thing.

When no one else said anything, Ianto stalked off and shut himself in his office, locking the door firmly behind him.

Jack said goodbye to the others and, with one last, regretful glance towards Ianto’s office, he turned and left the Hub.

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