Written for the 2011 Torchwood-fest Christmas fic exchange on Livejournal.
Title Rain, Rain, Go Away.
Word Count/Size of art 3400
Pairing None. Gwen + Ianto friendship (With background Gwen/Rhys and Jack/Ianto.)
Summary It's chance that Gwen and Ianto are out of the Hub when it goes into lockdown. Now they need to find out what is going on and how to stop it.
Contains one mild swear word, some innuendo.
Setting/Time Mid series 2 before Reset.
Beta mcparrot and choccy-grl
Disclaimer Torchwood belongs to the BBC, and not to me.
“Kent?” Gwen says incredulously. “You're going to Kent. Well, that's just brilliant.”
She looks at the clock that’s half buried under paperwork on her desk. Then says, “Okay, I'll see you tonight, let you know how it goes. I suppose it'll all work out. See you later.”
Putting down her phone, Gwen rests her head on the keyboard in front of her.
Walking over to her, and placing a mug of coffee on the workstation, Ianto asks, “Is something wrong?”
“Just Rhys' job,” Gwen says glumly. “He was supposed to be sorting out a suit today.”
Leaning against Gwen's workstation, Ianto takes a sip of his own coffee, and then says, “For the wedding?”
“Yes.” Gwen sighs. “We wanted to get it out of the way, otherwise it'll be Karen's Civil Partnership all over again.”
“Rhys' cousin, lives over in Abertawe.” Gwen takes a packet of biscuits out of the workstation drawer. She takes a couple for herself and then offers the packet to Ianto.
“Thank you.” Ianto takes one, and then says, “So what went wrong?”
“Not wrong exactly. Rhys just left getting a suit until the last minute and then we couldn't get one with sleeves that fit. He spent the whole day trying not to lift his arms too much.” Gwen smiles at the memory. “He says they don't make suits to fit blokes like him.”
Ianto covers a laugh. “I take it you're going bespoke then?”
Gwen nods. “Rhys was supposed to be going to Amery's, now he's halfway down the M4 with a load of machine parts that need to be at Dover by teatime because the guy who was supposed to drive it hasn't turned up. Rhys is too nice for his own good sometimes.” Gwen sighs again. “And I can't cancel with Amery's or it'll be too late to get it rescheduled.”
“I could come with you, if you like,” Ianto suggests.
“You're volunteering to go clothes shopping?” Gwen looks at him surprised.
“Suit shopping,” Ianto says like there is a world of difference between the two. “And I know Glyn Amery. He worked with my father for a while, it's a few years back now though.”
Gwen looks relieved. “You don't think he'll mind that Rhys isn't there?”
“He'll be okay,” Ianto reassures her. “You've got measurements for Rhys, haven't you?”
“He'll be able to work from that to start off with,” Ianto says. Thinking for a moment, he puts down his mug and says, “Today should mostly be picking the style, material and colour of the suit you want.”
“Doesn’t sound too bad,” Gwen says finishing her coffee. “Might even be fun.”
Collecting their now empty mugs, Ianto says, “I'll let Jack know we're going out.”
Walking over to Jack's office, Ianto looks round the door. “Is it okay if Gwen and I take an early lunch together? Rhys has had to go to Dover.”
Jack looks up from the report that he's reading and says teasingly, “Should I be getting jealous or am I invited?”
“Sorry to disappoint you, we’re just going shopping,” Ianto says with a laugh. “It's okay though? We’re not expecting anything to happen in the next hour or so?”
“The amount of rain out there,” Jack says, pointing at the CCTV of the Plas that's playing on one of the monitors in his office. “I think the only things likely to want to invade would be fish people.”
From somewhere in the Hub, Owen calls out, “If there are any lonely mermaids out there send one my way.”
“They're fish from the waist down,” Tosh calls back.
“He's right, you just have to be a bit more creative,” Jack says joining in. “There was this one time, when...”
“And that I believe is our cue to leave,” Ianto says walking back to Gwen. Offering her his arm, he says, “Shall we?”
Gwen takes his arm with a smile. “Definitely.”
* * *
It's nearly afternoon by the time they leave the tailor’s shop. Gwen and Ianto make sure they are far enough away that Amery can't see them, then turn to each other and start to laugh.
“Is he always like that?” Gwen asks.
“Yes.” Ianto smiles fondly at the memories. “He used to drive my dad crazy some days with it, that and practical jokes.”
“Do you think the Fast Show based the 'suits you, sir' tailors on him?” Gwen says as they start to walk back to the Hub.
Ianto gives her a confused look.
“You've not seen it?” Gwen says surprised. “Right, I know what we're watching next video night”
“Alright,” Ianto says, looking forward to it. “You get the DVD and I'll get the takeaway.”
“Talking of food,” Gwen says, glancing over. “We've got a few minutes, let’s get some lunch.”
“There's a nice coffee shop not far from here,” Ianto says, pointing down a side street.
The lunch time rush has already set in when they get to the coffee shop.
The queue moves slowly , and as they reach the front of it, Ianto says, “Shall we just get it to take away?”
Gwen looks at all the now full tables in the coffee shop. “Okay. We might as well get something for Jack, Tosh and Owen.”
“I'll give them a call,” Gwen says taking out her phone.
Once Ianto has given their own order, he says, “What do they want?”
“I don't know. I can't get through to any of them.” Gwen shows him her phone. “It's not connecting.”
Ianto frowns and then tries his own phone.
“Nothing?” Gwen asks sounding worried.
Ianto nods. “And that's the landline. There's only one reason everything would be down like that. lockdown.”
The woman behind them in the queue grumbles something under her breathe about the lack of manners of young people these days, and how things were so much better before mobile phones were invented.
“We've got to get back,” Gwen says hurriedly. Turning to the woman behind them she says, “Excuse me.” And then pushes past.
Handing the barista a £20, Ianto says, “Keep the change.” Then hurries out after her.
The rain has eased slightly, and they run through the rain-soaked streets of Cardiff.
Reaching the tourist information office just off the Plas, they pause at the door and listen. There's no noise from inside, and they cautiously open the door.
The tourist office is just as they left it, apart from the fact that the lights are all out.
Using their phones as torches, Ianto and Gwen step inside.
“All the electrics are off,” Ianto says, flicking a few switches under the counter. “It's not a lockdown, there's no power at all.”
“Most of the doors are so heavy that without power you can't get them open at all.” Ianto gets a couple of torches out of a box under the counter. He hands one to Gwen.
“What are we going to do then?”
Silence stretches out between them as they both try to think of a plan.
Suddenly Ianto's phone beeps loudly breaking the silence, and they both jump.
“It's from Tosh,” Ianto says, holding the phone so that Gwen can see the message as well.
Using battery pack, only enough for one message. Hub flooding. Locked in with Owen, safe for now. Jack stuck in lift. Fuses are blown. Repair and manual system restart.
On our way. Ianto texts back. “I hope she gets it,” he says with a worried frown.
“I'm sure she will,” Gwen reassures him. Shining her torch round the office, looking for anything that looks like it might help, Gwen says, “Do you know where the fuses are?”
“They're just off sub level three,” Ianto says without even a pause to think.
“Do I want to know how you know that?” Gwen says amused. “Because if the answer contains the words naked and hide and seek, it's going to be a no.”
“I pretty much know the Hub's entire electrical system inside out.” Ianto looks slightly uncomfortable about mentioning it. “I used to need to.”
Realising that Ianto means when he'd been hiding Lisa, she takes hold of his hand and gives a squeeze. “You okay?”
“Yes, and thank you.” Ianto smiles sadly.
Moving aside a couple of boxes containing leaflets about upcoming events and tourist attractions in Cardiff, Ianto points at a hatchway that they had been covering.
“Please don't tell me that’s the sewers,” Gwen says hopefully. “Not when we've not got any weevil spray.”
“It's not, it's a storm drain.” Ianto pulls back the bolt on it.
Taking a handle each, they lift the heavy cover off to reveal a thin metal ladder bolted to one side of a narrow shaft.
“We're climbing into a storm drain to get into a flooded building while it's still raining,” Gwen says peering down into the darkness.
“It's not one of our better ideas, is it?” Ianto says taking off his suit jacket, and hanging it over the back of the chair.
Taking a couple of glow sticks out of desk drawer, Ianto snaps them, and then drops them down the open hatchway.
They fall to splash in water many feet below, their eerie green light still just visible in the gloom.
Looking at them, Gwen says, “At least the water isn't that deep.”
“Let's hope that it stays that way,” Ianto says and then starts to climb down.
The ladder is old and rickety and creaks as they descend. It holds though and they eventually reach the bottom on the shaft.
It's cold, damp and the steady drip of water is unnerving. Ianto and Gwen keep close together as they make their way through the tunnel. The water gets deeper the further they go, from ankle deep at the base of the ladder to swirling around their knees by the time they reach the end of the corridor.
At the end of the corridor there's a metal door with the capital T inside a hexagon that Gwen and Ianto recognise from old Torchwood paperwork, it having been the logo of choice before the T made of hexagons had taken over.
Holding her torch in her teeth, Gwen searches for a handle. Not finding one she says, “How do we open it?”
“We can't,” Ianto says glumly. “Not from this side.”
“That doesn't make any sense,” Gwen says sounding frustrated as she pushes against the heavy metal door.
“The people who designed the Hub also tried to include an underground train line to London, I don't think sense or practicality ever entered into their heads,” Ianto says somewhere between amused and annoyed.
“Don't forget the invisible lift and the water tower,” Gwen adds, checking the hinges to see if they might be removable.
“Those were Jack's ideas.”
“Oh.” Gwen gives up on the hinges and starts to look for any other way into the room. “I can sort of see the water tower. Although you know what they say about over compensation.”
“He really doesn't need to.”
Gwen's torch flicks round in time to catch Ianto blushing.
“Don't tell him I said that,” Ianto says with a laugh. “His ego is big enough as it is.”
“Apparently it's not the only thing,” Gwen says laughing as well.
Shining his torch up at the ceiling, Ianto says. “I think I've found our way in.”
About four feet above their head is a hatchway. Little more than two feet square, the grill across the front almost completely rusted away.
They look at the hatch and then at each other.
“Just as well I'm not claustrophobic,” Gwen says, as she searches for a way to reach it.
“You don't have to do it,” Ianto says, looking at the hatchway. “I can try.”
“I'm not sure I'm going to fit, and there's no way you're going to be able to get your shoulders through.”
Ianto doesn't look happy about it, and says, “I don't like splitting up. If anything happens I'm not going to be able to help you.”
“I'm only going to be gone a minute or two,” Gwen reassures him. “We need to get the grill off.”
“If I lift you up, do you think you can get it loose?”
“Won't know until I try. How do you want to do it?”
“You could get up on my shoulders,” Ianto suggests, not sounding entirely certain it's the best plan. “You'd have both hands free then.”
“Are you sure you can hold me?” Gwen says doubtfully.
“It's not going to be for long.” Ianto crouches down, the water around his chest.
“This must look so dodgy,” Gwen says getting one of her legs over Ianto's shoulder.
Ianto smiles and shakes his head. “You ready?”
“Hold on.” Ianto stands slowly, keeping his hands braced against the wall. Once he's standing, legs shaking with the strain, he says, “Have you got it?”
“Yes.” Gwen takes hold of the edge of the grill.
“Okay, pull on three.”
Gwen tightens her grip. “Okay.”
“One, two, three.”
Gwen pulls as hard as she can, and Ianto leans back adding his weight. The grill gives way suddenly, and they both fall backwards into the water.
Soaking wet from head to toe, they scramble to their feet.
Giving Gwen a boost up to get into the opening, Ianto says, “If you think you're going to get stuck, come back and we'll find another way in.”
“I'm not going to get stuck,” Gwen says as she starts to crawl through the narrow space.
“Are you alright in there?” Ianto calls up as Gwen's boots disappear from view.
“Yes.” Gwen's reply is slightly muffled. “I'm nearly there.”
A few moments later there is a clunk and a splash from the other side.
“Gwen?” Ianto asks concerned.
“Just a minute.”
The door hinges give a creaking groan as Gwen opens it, water flooding out of the room. The level slowly stabilises as it merges with the water already in the corridor.
With a relieved smile that Gwen is okay, Ianto hurries to the room.
The fuse box, which is on the other side of the room, is only a couple of feet above the surface of the water. Opening it they look inside. The fuses are oversized to deal with the Hub's massive power usage, each one about the size of a can of beans. The one that has failed is clear, the ends of it pitted and tarnished.
“Can we swap them round?” Gwen suggests.
“I don't know what they are all for, I could make it worse,” Ianto says, looking at the faded and illegible labels above each fuse. “We need a spare. There should be some in here somewhere.”
They look around, the light from their torches noticeably dimmer now than when they'd first switched them on. Neither of them want to voice it, wanting to avoid the thought of what they'll do if the batteries run out before they fix the fuses.
The water is starting to rise again as Gwen calls out, “Found one.”
Handing it to Ianto, she says, “Be careful, you don't want to get a shock.”
“I shouldn't do, not when it's switched off,” Ianto says sounding more hopeful than certain of this.
Removing the old fuse, Ianto slots the new one into place.
For a moment nothing happens then the emergency lights begin to flicker, before eventually holding steady, their dim red glow filling the room.
Gwen tries the light switch on the wall, but nothing happens. “Why didn't it work?”
“It did work,” Ianto says closing the fuse box, “We’ve just got to get to the mainframe.” He hurries over to the door on the far side of the room. “We got to restart it before the water gets any higher and shorts out the fuses again.”
Gwen looks at the water. It's already higher than it had been when they'd opened the door. “We're not going to have long, are we?”
“I know.” Ianto opens the door that leads to the lower levels of the Hub. “But it should be enough.”
“It's like a maze down here,” Gwen says as they hurry as fast as the nearly waist deep water will allow, down corridors lined with doors.
“It was a backup in case anything happened to London,” Ianto says aware of the grim irony of it. “They thought that there'd be time to load the archives and the staff on a train and get them down here.”
“So the underground line wasn't such a bad idea then?” Gwen says, glad to have something to talk about to keep their minds off the steadily rising water. “Why didn't they build it?”
“They forgot about the Bristol Channel.”
“They forgot?” Gwen says incredulously. “How?”
“I suppose underestimated would be a better description. They hadn't thought about how deep it was,” Ianto says stopping next to one of the doors. He opens it, to reveal another corridor. At the end of it is another door.
“Let me guess,” Gwen says looking at the wheel in the centre of the door. “One of the designers had a submarine fetish?”
“Possibly,” Ianto says, taking hold of the wheel. “But this is just a bunker.”
“Why do we have a bunker?” Gwen helps him turn the stiff mechanism and open the thick metal door. “This isn't anything to do with Jack's 'the 21st century is when it all changes' thing, is it?”
“No. Well, I hope not.” Ianto walks into the short section of concrete lined corridor beyond the door. At the other end of it is another identical door. “As far as I know it was cold war paranoia, but it does mean that the mainframe's CPU is secure from just about anything that might want to attack it.”
Opening the other door, they stand side by side and look into the cavernous space beyond. The room is empty apart from a raised metal platform which supports the mainframe.
Looking like a cross between a heap of scrap metal and a rather strange pipe organ, the mainframe computer hums quietly, while the pipes glow softly, filled with the same twisting blue light and patterns as the workstation displays.
“It's really is alive, isn’t it?” Gwen says eyes wide in amazement.
“Tosh and Jack seem to think so.” Ianto climbs the steps up on the platform.
Joining him, Gwen asks, “And you?”
“I don't know.” Ianto presses a few keys on an old computer keyboard that has been attached to the mainframe. “But I suppose knowing that it might be looking out for you is rather a nice idea.”
A prompt for codes and passwords appears on one of the numerous small screens clustered above the keyboard. Imputing their authorisation codes, they wait for it to reverse the lockdown.
The emergency lights go out, then are replaced a moment later by bright, fluorescent strip lighting. A few more seconds pass, and then they can hear the distant noise of machinery whirring into life and the rumble and gurgle of pipes filling with water, as the pumping system starts to drain the flood water from the Hub.
Relieved that everything is once again working as it should, they lean back against the railing around the edge of the platform.
“We look a sight, don't we?” Ianto says, glancing down at his saturated clothing.
“There must be so many jokes about wet, dirty and getting into tight holes,” Gwen says pushing wet hair out of her eyes.
Wringing water out of his tie, Ianto says, “Do you think we could think of one that Jack hasn't heard before?”
“We could call Amery, I bet he'd know a few.” Gwen smiles mischievously. “Can you imagine them in a room together?”
“I don't think I can unimagine it now,” Ianto says, his expression one of slightly horrified fascination.
Gwen climbs down from the platform. “They could be a double act.”
“We could sell tickets.”
Laughing, they close the door behind them and go to rejoin the rest of the team.