A Good Man – Chapter 21

Out of all the thoughts that had flown through Tosh’s mind over the last couple of days – be they those of her own or those of others – none were more frantically bewildering than those that started swirling about her head while Suzie was kissing her.  And then when to her surprise, she found herself returning the kiss just as deeply, she felt like her mind would explode.

Never in her life would she have expected that Suzie Costello, of all people, would want to kiss her.  To Tosh, Suzie was a woman who sometimes times could seem so distant and so haughty, but at other times would display a brilliant mind and could accomplish so much.  Why would Suzie Costello be even remotely interested in someone like her?  Tosh couldn’t see any reason why she would even be noticed by Suzie.

For one brief moment she thought that perhaps Suzie was simply trying to make her feel better, or trying to distract her from worrying about Owen or Mary, but no sooner did that thought start to form when Tosh realised that it could not be right.  Surely there was no way that anyone could fake the tenderness in Suzie’s touch, or the urgency she radiated?  Suzie’s kiss spoke of an intimacy and affection that couldn’t possibly be faked.

When they finally pulled away from each other, they both immediately noticed that Mary had disappeared.  They sat there, looking back at each other, breathing heavily, neither knowing exactly what to say next.

Suzie was the first to speak.  “Tosh?” she asked quietly.  “Was that OK?”

Tosh continued to look at Suzie and then nodded slowly, utterly unable to speak.  She raised a tentative hand and stroked Suzie’s cheek uncertainly.

A car suddenly roaring loudly down the street interrupted their quiet moment and Tosh sat back abruptly, suddenly aware of where they were.  She gestured towards her front door.

“Shall we…” she trailed off, unsure of exactly what was supposed to happen next.

“OK,” Suzie agreed quickly.

They got out of the car, both of them surreptitiously looking around to see if Mary was still hanging around, before crossing the road.  When they couldn’t see anyone there, Tosh unlocked the door and they went inside.

Once inside, Tosh suddenly felt overwhelmed by guilt.  Her bed was still a mess from the night before with Mary.  For someone who had been alone for so long, the fact that she had slept with Mary the night before and now had only just finished kissing Suzie, made her wonder exactly what type of person she was turning into.  It certainly wasn’t like her at all to skip from one person to another.  What would Suzie think if she knew?  Would she consider Tosh as someone who would tumble into bed with absolutely anyone?  And more importantly, would that mean that Suzie would no longer want her?  To her surprise, the thought of that distressed Tosh greatly.  Surprise because less than an hour ago the thought of something happening between her and Suzie wasn’t even conceivable, and now here she was, worrying that she might have jeopardised anything from happening before it even started.

Some of her discomfort must have communicated itself to Suzie because she walked up to Tosh and carefully started to put her arms around her.

“Come here,” she said to Tosh.  Suzie held Tosh against her and started rubbing a hand up and down Tosh’s back comfortingly.  They stood there for a long while, before Tosh finally spoke.

“So what happens now?” she asked.

Suzie shrugged.  “Nothing that you don’t want, there’s no pressure here.”  Suzie paused.  “Did you sleep with her last night?”

Tosh froze.  If she said yes, would this mean the end of something that hadn’t yet begun?  She eventually nodded, unable to lie.

“Then maybe I should leave,” Suzie said gently.  She raised a hand to cut off Tosh’s protests and then cupped her cheek.  “I know you too well Tosh.  If you sleep with her one night and me the next, you’ll go on a massive guilt trip, and that will spoil anything we could possibly build together.”

Tosh nodded reluctantly.  She was disappointed that Suzie wouldn’t be staying, but she could see the wisdom in what she was saying.

Suzie gave Tosh one more kiss and then prepared to leave for the night.  “Don’t worry, I will be back.”

After Tosh and Suzie left the pub, Ianto and Jack decided they would leave as well.  They had intended to head straight back to the Hub, but as it was a nice evening they ended up taking a walk along the bay instead.

Owen and Gwen stayed a while longer, but Owen found himself increasingly distracted by memories of the body of a young girl that had been brought into the hospital where he was practising just six months after he had qualified.  What was her name?  Lucy Marcham?  Marmont?  Marmer.  When he finally remembered her name, he knew he would be unable to wait until the next day to check the records for her.  He made his excuses to Gwen and went back to the Hub to investigate further.

As he walked along with Ianto, Jack thought over a conversation he had had late in the day with a Detective Inspector Henderson.  Ianto had received a phone call from Andy Davidson, Gwen’s former partner in the police and Torchwood’s main contact, saying that someone wanted to speak with him.  Even though he had managed to hide it from the rest of the team, Ianto was still suffering from the headache from yesterday so he sent Jack in his place.

The story Henderson told him got him thinking.  Henderson had told him about how Tosh had saved a woman and her kid from being murdered by her ex-husband.  The DI had also said that Tosh had claimed she heard the ex-husband muttering to himself as he was walking along, and that’s what tipped her off.  Jack told Ianto afterwards that he thought that was weird, because if he was about to murder someone, he would be really careful not to talk to himself about it while he was in the street.

To Jack, the events of the past couple of days slowly began to seem related.  The object they had found at the dig site, Tosh’s odd behaviour, the strange pendant that Suzie had mentioned her wearing, the way he felt someone scrabbling around in his mind when Tosh had spoken to him, Ianto’s sudden and unexplained headache; they all had to fit together somehow.  He hadn’t quite worked out where the body came into it though; there must be some pieces of the puzzle they hadn’t discovered yet.

As they passed a building that Jack was very familiar with, he grabbed hold of Ianto’s arm and pulled him into the building.  When Ianto looked at him questioningly, he grinned back at him and raised a finger to his lips, indicating for Ianto to be quiet.  Jack took him to one of the supply lifts at the back of the building, up to the roof and then led him towards the edge of the building.

“Jack?”  Ianto queried.  He started to pull back a bit, not comfortable with being so close to the edge.

Jack grinned again, and wrapped an arm around Ianto’s waist, holding him closer.

“It’s alright, Ianto.  Just relax.  This is where I do some of my best thinking.  Just relax and take in the sights of the city,” Jack soothed.

Ianto looked at him like he was mad, but decided to take Jack at his word.  He stood there looking at the view of Cardiff.  Eventually he found himself relaxing enough to be able to stand there without Jack holding onto him.  The two of them stood there together watching over the city, watching the lights of the city, the traffic passing beneath them, the people getting on with their lives blissfully unaware of the dangers they were being protected from.

He stole a glance at Jack’s face and was surprised to see a look of peace on Jack’s face.  He didn’t see that look very often, mostly only when Jack was asleep.  Ianto looked back over the city again, a half-smile on his face.  It was nice to see Jack like that and that alone made Ianto content to stay there on the roof with Jack for as long as he needed.

While Jack was aware of Ianto watching him, he continued thinking over the last couple of days.  When Tosh had come in that morning, late – which was unusual for her – she had sought Jack out and asked him about Greek Mythology and the archer Philoctetes.  Jack had wondered why she had asked him instead of finding out for herself, but he didn’t get a chance to ask as he was trying to concentrate on Ianto’s phone call to the Prime Minister at the time.

Ianto too was thinking about the events of the past few days.  After Suzie had raised the topic of Tosh’s strange looking pendant, he had started researching similar items.  There wasn’t anything in Torchwood 3’s records but as he still had access to London’s back up servers, he ran some queries there as well.  While they were standing on the roof, the results were pushed through to his PDA.  The results showed that the pendant was made by a race of aliens renowned for making devices that enhanced or simulated a whole range of psychic abilities including things like telekinesis and telepathy.  Ianto was about to show the results to Jack when he was interrupted by a phone call from Owen.

“You need to see this,” Owen simply said and hung up the phone.

When Ianto and Jack got back to the Hub and heard what Owen had discovered about ‘Operation Lowry’, the commission set up to investigate a range of murders similar to that of the body that they had found, and that it covered cases that dated back over a hundred years, Jack realised that that was the information that was missing.  Ianto immediately called both Gwen and Suzie back to the Hub.

Owen asked why they weren’t calling Tosh in as well, but both Ianto and Jack had separately come to the conclusion that Tosh may have been compromised and Ianto wanted to talk to Suzie before deciding anything else.  He had seen the two had gotten closer recently, confirmed by Suzie’s concern when she told him about the pendant, and thought that Suzie might have a better insight into what was happening with Tosh.

The Hub’s proximity alarms were triggered while they were planning what to do and Owen brought up the CCTV footage to see Tosh was approaching the Hub.  Suzie was disappointed to see Mary with her.  Mary must have come back again after she had left Tosh’s house, she realised.

They decided Jack should do the talking and operate the device, figuring that he would be better prepared to reset the device if their plans didn’t work first go.  Also, if Tosh used the pendant on Ianto again, they weren’t sure if it would have the same effect as last time, despite having found a counter-acting bracelet in the archives.

As soon as Ianto had told Jack what he had found out about Tosh’s pendant, Jack realised they had just the thing they needed in the archives.  It hadn’t been catalogued properly as yet, but Jack knew it was there all the same.  This bracelet would supposedly cancel out the effects of the pendant, but they didn’t want to risk the transporter getting into the hands of Mary too early, should the bracelet not protect Ianto after all.  Suzie, Owen and Gwen had not felt anything uncomfortable while Tosh had been around, nor had they suffered from the headache that Ianto had, so Ianto and Jack hoped that they would not need the bracelet.

Everyone hid from sight just as Tosh and Mary entered the Hub, waiting to see what they would do.

Tosh entered the Hub sheepishly, with Mary trailing close behind her.  Mary looked around the Hub in amazement.

“‘In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure-dome decree:  Where Alph, the sacred river ran, through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea.’”  Mary quoted.  “So, where is it, lover?”

“Stay here,” Tosh answered.  “Jack, or my boss, has got it.”

Mary grabbed hold of Tosh as she went to pass.  “Be quick.  I’ve a long journey ahead of me.  I might need something to eat before I go.”

“This what you’re looking for?”

The sound of footsteps caused them both to spin around and look up to one of the walkways, where they saw Jack holding the object, the transporter, they had found at the dig site.

“Jack!”  Tosh exclaimed in surprise.  She spun around again as Ianto came out of his office.  He was wearing a bracelet around his wrist which she had never seen before, but looked to be of a similar design to the pendant that Mary had given her.  She frowned in confusion.  “Ianto?”

After Jack had given his spiel about his friend Vincent, who came back as Vanessa, the cogwheel door sounded and they all looked around to see Suzie, Owen and Gwen appear from various parts of the Hub to surround Tosh and Mary.

Tosh saw the look of disappointment on Suzie’s face as she stood there with Mary; she looked away quickly not wanting to see.  She found herself looking helplessly between Jack and Mary as she finally found out the truth about what Mary actually was and why she was stranded on Earth.

The revelations of what Mary had done while she had been stranded horrified Tosh, she couldn’t believe that she had helped a murderer get into the Hub and had been going to let her walk off with the transporter.  She looked back at Suzie in shame.  To her surprise though, Suzie did not seem to be angry with her, instead she almost looked sympathetic.

Owen chose that moment to make a move, but with blistering speed Mary raced over to the artefact table, grabbed a knife and came back to hold it to Tosh’s throat.

“Let her go Mary!”  Jack yelled.  He was the closest to the pair but, even still, he knew he would not be quick enough to be able to stop Mary from slitting Tosh’s throat should she feel threatened enough.  He thought quickly, the pendant Tosh was wearing gave her some form of telepathy.  He had felt Tosh trying to read him, and the only other person in the team with any form of psychic abilities, Ianto, had been nearly incapacitated after Tosh had tried reading him.

Toshiko…  Don’t move.  Don’t do anything until I say.”  Jack sent to Tosh mentally, making sure that Mary was unable to hear him.  To her credit, Tosh stood there and didn’t physically react to Jack’s unexpected message.

Jack negotiated with Mary to swap Tosh with the transporter.  The second Mary let go of Tosh Suzie raised her arms to Tosh who ran over to her.  Suzie wrapped her arms around Tosh and held on to her while the transporter was activated and Mary disappeared.

Tosh turned around to look at Jack and Ianto.  “What did she…?  Has she gone home?” she asked uncertainly.

Jack glared at her.  “I reset the co-ordinates.”

“Where to?”

“To the centre of the sun.  It shouldn’t be hot.  I mean, we sent her there at night and everything.”

“You killed her.”

“Yes!” snapped Jack unapologetically.  He and Tosh glared at each other for a few minutes before Jack turned around sharply and followed Ianto into his office.

Tosh turned back to Suzie and sobbed helplessly.

Hours later, Ianto sat wearily at his desk, swinging the pendant back and forth in front of him.  After Suzie had sat with Tosh to get all the details of the case to be able to complete the paperwork for Ianto, she had brought the pendant in to Ianto.  Tosh had wanted to destroy it straight away, claiming it was a curse, but Suzie had wanted to bring it back to Ianto for him to decide what to do.

Jack came up to the office and stood in the doorway and watched Ianto watching the pendant.

“Do you know what you’re going to do with it yet?” he asked quietly.

Ianto looked up quickly, he hadn’t noticed Jack standing there.  He started to shrug and then looked towards the Secure Archives.

“No, I’m not sure yet.  I guess I’ll put in there for now.”  With a sigh, Ianto stood up and opened the safe door.

Jack moved behind him wondering, as he always did, which container his Vortex Manipulator was in.  He looked at all the containers he was able to see from his angle, but there was nothing to show which one it was in.  He thought about asking Ianto about it, but seeing the tiredness in Ianto’s stance, he decided it wasn’t a good time.  Ianto shut the safe back up and Jack put it out of his mind for the moment.

Eight men, all wearing their standard cravats, entered a particular building feeling more than a little nervous and apprehensive about what was about to happen.  A meeting of the entire committee was practically unheard of; it had been over forty years since the last time a full meeting had been held, and longer still since their leader had deigned to attend one.  It had only served to heighten their misgivings about the meeting when the men had heard that their leader would also be in attendance for this meeting.

When the men had seated themselves, they waited patiently for the senior committee members to finish their preparations.  These two men, both of whom were very familiar to Ianto and Jack, entered the room precisely ten minutes after the other eight had been told to be there ready to start.

They proceeded to seal everyone into the room by surrounding the building with a perception filter to ensure they were not disturbed.  Once that was done, they started the meeting by activating a white sphere that sat in the middle of the table.

All ten men lowered their heads in respect as their leader suddenly materialised behind the two senior men.

“Gentlemen,” he said.  “Welcome to ‘A Stitch in Time’.”

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