Hours later, and after exhausting the Hub’s entire hot water supply, Ianto and Jack finally dragged themselves out of the shower. A supposedly quick shower to wake themselves up properly had soon turned into an invigorating “Round 2” that returned the two men back to the hot and sweaty state that had led them to the shower in the first place.
Compared to the care and consideration shown by Jack for their first time, their session in the shower was more fun and experimental as Ianto became more and more comfortable being with Jack, and more prepared to try out different things.
Too tired to do any cooking afterwards, they decided to treat themselves to dinner at a nearby restaurant before retiring to Ianto’s flat for the night. Tired as they were neither man had much energy afterwards, but that didn’t stop them for a final round of leisurely sex before falling asleep for the night. Making up for lost time, was Ianto’s last thought as he fell asleep in Jack’s arms.
In the mall, at “A Stitch in Time”, the two senior committee members and a third committee member stood by patiently watching while their leader decided what his next move would be.
Bilis was relatively happy with how things had turned out with Suzie Costello. She and her little love-bird looked to be on rocky ground, Suzie was close to being suspended, or worse, from Torchwood and she was most definitely on the outer with most of the team.
And there was an added bonus; Gwen Cooper also seemed to get herself in trouble with her decision to take Suzie out of the Hub. Maybe she would be a good candidate to work on next. She had certainly appeared easy to manipulate.
Nodding his head in satisfaction at his plans, he closed his eyes and held a hand out, open and palm facing up, in front of him. Muttering something under his breath, a bright blue light appeared above his hand. When the light died away, a blue ball-shaped object had appeared. He held the object out to the third committee member waiting there.
“Take this to Mr Garrett, he’s a science teacher. He plays golf; he plays really badly and will be stuck in the first bunker, striking away at all the sand. Make sure it falls out of the sky and falls beside him so that he knows it is alien,” he ordered.
The committee member bowed in acknowledgement and Bilis waved his hand at him, causing the committee member to disappear from sight, sent back in time to 1992. The two senior members gathered quickly near their leader and they stood in a circle, the three men beginning to chant quietly. The two committee members combined their skills with their leader’s, to help him make sure the third man got back to the time Bilis needed him to be in.
They needed to make sure that only the events that Bilis wanted changed were actually changed, and no others. Bilis needed some happenings changed, but he also needed to make sure that everything else stayed on track, so that the future he was aiming for could still happen. He wasn’t going to stop chipping away at Jack Harkness’ companions until that much anticipated future came about.
At the flat, Ianto cried out in his sleep and Jack instinctively tightened his grip around him to protect his lover, but neither man was woken up.
And all around them, time shifted.
The committee members stopped their chanting and Bilis Manger looked up and smiled ominously. It was done.
“He’s dead!” Gwen burst into the Hub the next morning in tears.
Ianto came out of the office to see what was going on. Tosh and Owen were sitting at their desks, open mouthed at her appearance. When he saw how upset she was, Jack immediately raced over to hold and comfort her.
“Who’s dead?” he asked gently.
Ianto was about to ask who Eugene was but then he shook his head in exasperation as it all came flooding back to him. Of course he knew who Eugene was. They all knew Eugene very well. Too well in fact.
Eugene Jones. He was one of the first people Ianto had met when he came to Torchwood 3. The night that Suzie was retconned, he had turned up outside Sarah Pallister’s house before they had a chance to get away. Eugene was disappointed to find that Gwen wasn’t there at the time, and he had soon disappeared. He was also hanging around the car park the day that Jack first took Ianto out to Flat Holm Island, but was again upset that Gwen wasn’t with them. Ianto realised he didn’t actually know when Eugene had gone home either time; he just appeared to have vanished into nothingness. But then, Eugene had always been very good at turning up out of nowhere and then seemingly disappearing soon afterwards.
Eugene had been treated as a bit of a joke by the Torchwood team over the years, especially after he developed his not-so-subtle crush on Gwen. He would continually turn up wherever the team were and was continually trying to give Gwen copies of his research about whatever his latest alien theory was. Owen would barely even speak to him, even Tosh and Suzie ignored him whenever he turned up, and Ianto and Jack tried to brush him off as best they could. It was only Gwen who ever spoke to him, and even though that was mostly to tell him he needed to leave and that they couldn’t help him, he still took it as a sign that there was something between the two of them.
Ianto couldn’t understand the attraction; actually, he couldn’t understand what everyone saw in Gwen in the first place. There was her boyfriend Rhys, who worshipped the ground she walked on, she was having the affair with Owen, she hero-worshipped Jack who always responded in kind with the flirtatious Harkness charm and there was this Eugene kid as well.
Jack continued to comfort Gwen, who was insisting they needed to investigate his death. She thought that there might have been something important in what he had been trying to show them after all and she suggested someone might have been trying to silence him. Jack was the only one who didn’t scoff at that suggestion and Ianto watched them carefully to see how the two of them were interacting.
More in an effort to keep Gwen quiet, rather than because he actually believed there was a case there, Ianto eventually sent her out with Jack and Tosh to investigate the scene. To Ianto, it sounded like a stock standard road accident, but he could see how much it meant to Gwen, so he let them go and have a look around to satisfy her curiosity.
Getting them out of the Hub did at least give him the advantage of being able to decide what to do about Suzie in peace. He sent Owen, who had absolutely refused to go to the scene with the others, down to the cells to check up on her and make sure she was all right, health-wise. Ianto went and sat down in his office to deliberate over what to do about Suzie.
Try as he might though, he found himself unable to think about Suzie, as his mind kept drifting back to the previous day and afternoon and night with Jack. It seemed like he had waited so long to shag Jack and now that it had finally happened he couldn’t really remember why he had been so unsure about it all. It had been so much better than he could have ever of hoped to imagine.
Ianto shifted in his chair, trying to get a bit more comfortable as recollections of the previous afternoon caused his body to react in a very unprofessional way. He leant back in the chair a bit, trying to relieve the sudden tightness in his trousers and placed his hands behind his head, a half-smile on his face.
“Bloody hell!” Owen exclaimed, unexpectedly entering Ianto’s office and seeing the look of satisfaction on the director’s face. “Looks like someone got lucky last night.”
Ianto sat back up quickly, trying to suppress a grin at that statement. “Don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replied.
“Oh, don’t give me that! You finally let him shag you didn’t you.”
Ianto looked down at the desk, suddenly needing to occupy himself with straightening an already tidy pile of papers, unable to look Owen in the eye. Despite himself, a smile crossed his face.
“I knew it! So what was it like?” Owen stopped and screwed up his nose. “Actually no, don’t answer that. They’re not mental pictures that I want to have!”
Luckily for Ianto, his desk phone started to ring, saving him from any more questions. He waved Owen out of the office and picked up the phone.
“Major Tomich!” Ianto greeted one of his contacts in UNIT. “What can I do for you?”
Jack, Tosh and Gwen came back to the Hub, Eugene’s body in tow. The body was taken down to the Autopsy Room and placed in a drawer until they had decided whether to investigate further.
Before that could happen however, Ianto needed to inform the team what would be happening with Suzie. He called them all into the boardroom.
Everyone looked at Ianto in shock as he told them that Suzie would be sent back to UNIT for an indefinite time. She would be demoted to an administration role; similar to what she was doing when she first joined UNIT.
Publicly, the murders of Alex Arwyn and Mark and Sara Briscoe had been attributed to Max Tresillian, and even though Kathy Swanson had been present when Gwen had asked what Compound B67 was, the detective had nothing to pin on anyone in Torchwood for the murders. This meant any punishment of Suzie would be an entirely internal matter.
“You’re sending her away?” Tosh asked quietly. “For how long?”
“I don’t know Tosh. It depends on her, and how she acts. I have a friend in UNIT who will look after her and make sure she gets any treatment she needs, we’ll see what he says.”
“Look after her? I know exactly how UNIT look after people!” Tosh replied bitterly.
Ianto reached out and placed his hand gently over Tosh’s hand. “Tosh, I know how you feel about UNIT and I understand that. But she does still technically work for them, not us, and any disciplinary actions have to come from them. Major Tomich is a friend of mine, and I promise he won’t let anyone hurt her.”
Tosh looked back at him silently.
“I promise,” Ianto repeated firmly.
Tosh finally nodded back.
“She’ll be escorted to UNIT later this afternoon, so if you want to spend some time with her, don’t worry about this case for the rest of the day. You can go downstairs and be with her instead. But make sure you don’t let her out of the cell. Under any circumstances, OK?”
Tosh nodded again and fled the room.
Ianto looked around at the others and told them that was the end of the meeting. They would go out to Eugene’s house a bit later, but he had a couple of other matters to deal with first. As the three started to leave the room, Ianto asked Gwen to stay behind. Jack shut the door behind him as he left.
Gwen sat back down again, reluctance clearly showing all over her face. She knew what was coming – that admonishment to Tosh not to let Suzie out of the cell? She knew it was directed at her.
Ianto looked at her thoughtfully.
“How are you feeling?” he asked.
Gwen sighed. “The day off helped, after that thing with Suzie.” She shuddered. “I can’t believe I came so close to dying! I can’t believe Suzie would do that to me.”
“Then why did you do it? Seriously Gwen, what were you thinking when you took her out of the Hub?”
“I… I…” Gwen shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know. She told me about her father – did you know he’s dying of cancer – and how he’s been in hospital for so long, and no one’s been to visit him, and I just wanted to help.”
“You know there’s no record of her father on file Gwen? According to her files, he is listed as unknown.”
Gwen shook her head, wide-eyed.
“UNIT have also told me that she had tampered with all her files, so who knows what is true and what is not, but regardless of what the truth with Suzie is, one fact remains. Once again, you have shown a serious lack of judgement, one which again could have had fatal consequences!”
“But it was me who nearly died, not anyone else,” Gwen exclaimed indignantly.
“Yes, this time. But what if it wasn’t you who took hold of that piece of metal she had from the glove? What if it was some innocent bystander that she gave it to? What then, Gwen?” Ianto asked angrily.
Gwen blinked rapidly a few times, trying to process what Ianto was implying. She hadn’t thought about anyone else getting hurt, she had been so in shock about what had happened to her that she simply was unable to think beyond that. She didn’t want anyone else to get hurt; she was just trying to do the right thing.
“We stopped her though,” she replied.
“No. Not we. It was Toshiko, she was the one who got through to Suzie and got out of her what needed to be done to end it. Tosh, who was already hurting, had to come in and save the day for you.”
“But I was just trying to help…”
“Gwen, I don’t doubt that for a minute. But things aren’t always that simple. You need to think things through a bit more before you act, you need to see the bigger picture and act accordingly. Rushing head first into things, just because it seems the right thing to do, is just going to get people hurt. Or worse.”
Gwen looked down at the table, unable to face Ianto.
“Gwen,” Ianto continued, more gently this time. “Think about what I said. I need to be able to trust you, I can’t have anyone in my team doing their own thing.”
She nodded her head slightly.
“So, consider this an official warning. No action will be taken against you, but don’t do anything like this again. OK?”
When Gwen nodded her head again, Ianto sighed in relief. He asked her what they had found out about Eugene. Gwen wanted to go to Eugene’s house and see if they could find anything relevant.
“Fair enough,” Ianto replied. “I want to talk to Jack before you go though.”
Ianto stood up as Gwen left, and he walked over to the doorway to watch her go down to Jack. They talked to each other for a bit – Ianto couldn’t hear what they were saying from where he was – before Jack gave her a hug. Ianto frowned as he watched how they held each other, he seemed to have memories of other times they had hugged, or had other physical contact. It seemed to be just those two though, neither of them seemed to be so touchy feely with anyone else in the team.
“Jack!” he called out, a bit more harshly than he had intended. “I need to speak to you.”
Jack eventually broke away from Gwen and looked up at Ianto, flashing him one of his brilliant smiles. “Coming!”
Ianto sat back in his seat, and motioned at Jack to sit down too when he came back into the room.
“What’s up?” Jack asked, puzzled by the look on Ianto’s face. He reached out to Ianto, but was shocked to see him pull away. “Ianto?”
Ianto sat there, his eyes seemingly searching Jack for something. “I just spoke to Gwen about what happened the other day.”
“She did mention it,” Jack replied.
Ianto frowned at the interruption and carried on. “I told her that I needed to be able to trust my team members. That means all of them Jack, including you.”
The concern on Jack’s face was replaced with disappointment. “You can trust me Ianto! I thought we’d moved on past that, I thought you had forgiven me over Lisa?”
Ianto looked puzzled for a minute. “No, no, no. I don’t mean about Lisa, I meant about what happened the other day. You went off the handle at Suzie. You threatened to kill her, and even when I told you to stop, you threatened her life again.”
“She was killing Gwen, Ianto! I had to stop her!” Jack leant forward angrily as he spoke.
“I’m aware of that, Jack, but this is my team. I am the one who decides what happens to my team members, not you.”
“You put me in charge…”
“Of field missions only,” Ianto interrupted. “I am still in charge here, it is still my call what happens here.”
Jack sat back and looked coldly at Ianto. “Yes, Director,” he answered almost sullenly.
Ianto sighed, he didn’t want to argue with Jack but by the same token, he didn’t want things to get out of hand either. He was about to suggest the two of them go out for lunch, wanting to smooth things over between them, when Jack stood up.
“Was there anything else you wanted, boss?” he asked.
All thoughts of lunch faded away when he heard the tone of Jack’s voice. He’d better give Jack some space instead.
He shook his head. “No, that’s all.”
Jack turned and left without another word. Ianto stayed in the boardroom a while longer, wanting to give the others time to process what had happened this morning without their boss breathing down their necks.
When he finally came out, Owen and Gwen were at their desks, Tosh was still down with Suzie and Jack was nowhere to be found.
“He’s gone,” Gwen replied, giving Ianto a scathing look. “Whatever it was you said to him upset him so much that he left without taking either his comms or his phone.” She held up the devices and brandished them accusingly at Ianto. “I have no idea where he is.”
“Already checked,” Owen interjected before Gwen said something she shouldn’t. “But he’s managed to avoid the cameras. He’s been around long enough, he knows how to get to places without being seen.”
Ianto looked away in disappointment, trying to hide the hurt he felt. The day had started off so well. He woke up wrapped in Jack’s arms, feeling the safest and most secure he ever had, but since they woke up, things had gone downhill drastically.
What had changed?