21 January 2007
"Jones…you managing to keep Himself in line?"
Ianto smiled, tucking the mobile against his shoulder as he worked at his computer. "Detective Swanson," he greeted her. "Always a pleasure. What can we do for Cardiff's finest?" It had been several weeks since he'd last heard from her, and he was genuinely glad to have gotten the call.
"Got a report I thought was right up your alley," Kathy answered. "There's been music coming from an old, abandoned dance hall on Sage Street. Neighbors say it's been going on for the last couple of days."
The dragon was intrigued. "No sign of a break-in?"
"Nope. Place is boarded up tight. We contacted the property manager, and he denied letting the place out for any sort of party."
"That does sound interesting." Ianto typed some commands into his computer, to see if there was a record of anything like that in the Archives. "What was the address?"
Kathy gave it to him, and he put that into his search as well. There were some records dating from 1941, but they hadn't been digitized as yet; only a file number existed in the database. He frowned; all of those papers should have been entered; he couldn't imagine why he hadn't, unless the file had been misplaced. Knowing the people who'd been caretakers of the Archives before he'd arrived, that was most likely the case.
Still, he felt it personally, and would take a look for it as soon as he could.
"Can you get us in?" he asked.
"Told the manager – creepy guy named Manger – that we'd be sending someone round to investigate, and to have the place open for when they arrived."
"Thank you, Detective…for both the heads' up, and the assistance in gaining entrance to the scene."
"No problem, Jones. This is more your style than the local coppers'. You're more than welcome to it."
Ianto chuckled. "I was wondering if you'd be interested in dinner at some point."
"Are you asking me on a date?" she laughed. "What would Himself say?"
"Oh, he'd get jealous and most likely stalk us throughout the meal," he joked.
Kathy snorted. "Just what I need to be put off my dinner. You're on. Let me know when and where. Oh, and somewhere nice, and not the local chippy. I know you damned well get paid more than I do, and can afford to treat me."
Ianto rolled his eyes. "I think you're just using me for my expense account."
"Damned straight. Now, get to work, so the locals aren't scared shitless to go out at night."
"Don't be cheeky. Take care, Jones."
"You too, Detective." Ianto flipped his phone closed, not bothering to get up out of his chair. "You know I always know where you are," he teased.
The distinct sound of boot heels on metal announced Jack's presence. "That's just so unfair. Remind me never to ask you to play Naked Hide and Seek; you'd cheat."
Ianto spun around in his chair. Jack stood just outside arms' reach, looking a bit miffed. "And you wouldn't?" the dragon asked, arching an eyebrow in Jack's direction.
"Point taken. So…what did the lovely Detective Swanson want, besides flirting with my lover?" There was a slight tinge of jealously in Jack's voice.
"How many times have I told you that you don't have to be jealous?" It was actually cute, in a way. "And I asked her…she didn't ask me." Ianto stood, getting right up into Jack's personal space. He could feel the immortal's slightly higher body temperature against what little skin was exposed around his suit. "You have nothing to worry about, now stop being this way, all right?"
Blue eyes met blue, and Jack darted his head forward just enough to press a very quick kiss to Ianto's lips. "All right," he said. "Now, did Detective Swanson have anything for us?"
"She did." Ianto stepped back, turning back to his desk. He grabbed a post-it and a pen, and scribbled down the address Kathy had given him. "She says that there's music coming from a boarded up dance hall. The police have checked it out, and there's been no sign of break-in."
Jack plucked the note from Ianto's fingers, letting his own caress the dragon's hand. "Did you get us access?"
Ianto nodded. "She spoke to the property manager and he's going to leave it open for you. I did check the Archives but there's only a single file listed from 1941, and it hasn't been scanned into the system yet."
"There's something you didn't get sorted?" Jack teased. "Shame on you."
The dragon barely resisted the urge to smack him. "Why don't I go and find the file, while you and Toshiko check it out? I'll get you on the comm. when I find anything."
It had just been the three of them for weeks, since Owen had decided that climbing into a cage with a Weevil was a really good idea, and Gwen had earned herself a suspension for misusing Retcon…and on her own boyfriend. Ianto didn't understand the purpose of doing it; why attempt to get absolution for something when the other person didn't remember being asked for it in the first place?
They'd discussed both problems. Owen's increasingly strange behavior was bordering on the unhinged, and Jack had actually considered sending him out to Flat Holm for a bit. But Ianto had talked him out of it, not certain that that was what their medic needed. Owen wasn't even coming in most of the times he was called, and when he did he came in drunk. And, on the rare days he came in to actually work, he'd get into rows with Jack over the smallest things. Owen blamed Jack for Diane's leaving, and didn't make a secret about it. Why her leaving should affect him so badly, Ianto had no idea, and it had been by her own choice anyway.
As for Gwen…Jack had decided that they would let up the suspension as of Wednesday; that would give her three weeks off, and hopefully she's used the time to get some perspective. However, there were other reasons as well, Owen not coming in the main one. It was becoming increasingly difficult for just the three of them to handle things, and Ianto wondered how they'd ever managed back when it had been just himself, Jack, and Suzie. They'd been the only members of the team for three years, before Jack had hired Toshiko. He recalled that it had been difficult, but they'd handled it. It just seemed that things were busier now, and it was getting too much for just them. Toshiko thought there was something in the equations to point to the increase in activity, and she'd been working on a program to figure out what was going on, but he wasn't certain if she'd found out anything. She'd become convinced that she could open the Rift using those equations, but Jack had been adamant that they not try. Messing with the Rift was just too dangerous.
Also, there was something off about Toshiko. Both he and Jack had tried to broach the subject a couple of times, but their friend had simply shrugged it off, saying it was just her being tired. Ianto wasn't sure why he didn't believe her, but it was puzzling as to why she wouldn't share what was bothering her. Although Ianto knew for certain that she'd tried to speak to Owen about his behavior, and to Gwen about what she'd done, in an attempt to get the team working together again.
It apparently had not worked.
Ianto had tried as well, with the same result. When Jack had done the same, Owen had called him every name in the book – still blaming him for Diane's leaving – and had slammed his flat door in Jack's face. Gwen had simply asked when she could come back, but had not asked for any sort of forgiveness, even though it was obvious she'd learned her lesson.
The team was falling apart, and Ianto didn't know how they could stop it from happening short of a major incident bringing them back together.
Jack leaned down and quickly bussed Ianto on the cheek, then practically bounced away, calling for Toshiko as he did so. That was something else: Toshiko had planned on going to her grandfather's birthday today, but had cancelled her plans. Ianto had tried to convince her to go, but she'd refused, saying she was needed in Cardiff with the team down two members. Ianto couldn't argue with her, but he didn't want her putting her family life on hold for Torchwood.
Ianto turned back toward his computer, trying to find more information on the dance hall. It had been called the Ritz, and it had been in use since before World War Two, and up until 1989, when it had finally been closed. There hadn't been any sort of recorded Rift activity – except for whatever Torchwood had investigated back in 1941 – so Ianto hoped that it would be nothing. He really wanted to consult that file, and wondered how long it would take him to locate it. Jack had been teasing, but he'd been right: Ianto had left something unsorted, and now it was coming back to haunt him.
Well, with any luck Jack and Tosh would figure it out if he couldn't find the information.
Slipping his comm. in his ear, Ianto headed down to the Archives just as he heard Jack and Toshiko exiting toward the garage entrance. The dragon considered the Archives as a part of his hoard, and had spent much of his time getting it cleaned and organized to just the way he wanted it. He took great pride in the job he'd done, and just knowing that a loose file was rattling around in it was enough to upset his sensibilities.
He headed straight into the 1940's section, toward the long row of file cabinets that held all of Torchwood's field reports for the decade. Not many people knew just how extensive the Archives were; certain sections even ran under the Bay, while others burrowed deep into the bedrock under Cardiff itself. There were sections of the Cardiff Hub that Ianto hadn't even seen; although he knew at some point they would become as familiar to him as the common areas were.
The dragon made his way to the cabinet marked '1941' and stared at the drawers, his hands on his hips. The three drawers had handwritten cards on them, separated by month. Sighing, Ianto started at the top, January-April.
The file he wanted was in the January section.
Ianto frowned. He pulled an envelope out of the cabinet, the reference number in black marker in his own hand. He held it, weighing it absently as he wondered why he would have marked it and put it away without scanning it.
From the weight, there was something substantial inside. Ianto closed the cabinet back up, then taking the envelope he headed back up into the main Hub, interested in what he'd found and wondering what was inside.
"Hey, gorgeous," Jack's voice came over his comm. "We're here. Place is pretty much deserted."
Ianto toggled on his own comm. "According to the town planning records, it was called the Ritz. It was in use up until 1989, when it was abandoned."
"I remember places like this," Jack reminisced. "They were…wait…Toshiko, do you hear that?"
Ianto thought he could barely hear something through his lover's comm., even as Toshiko was answering Jack's question.
"I hear it," she said, wonder in her voice.
"Shall we go in?" Jack asked, almost playfully.
"Be careful, you two," Ianto said, making his way to Toshiko's workstation, the better to pull up the CCTV for the area. He only found one working camera, and all it showed was the SUV, parked at the curb across from what had to have been the dance hall, although Ianto couldn't really see it from the angle he had.
"Oh yeah," Jack said enthusiastically. "Look at that chandelier. No neon lights back then…just handsome young soldiers and pretty young ladies."
Ianto couldn't help but smile. Jack had a certain fondness for the 1940's, despite the war that hung over most of the decade. He'd done his best to convert Ianto to the music of the decade, and despite the dragon's best efforts to remain untainted he had to admit it had worked. It helped that Jack liked to dance to it, and Ianto wasn't averse to enjoying the closeness dancing provided.
A sudden whooping from Toshiko brought a smile to Ianto's face; he could imagine Jack grabbing their friend and swinging her around the once-beautiful dance floor. "Put the technician down, Harkness," he warned, not disguising the smile in this voice.
"You're no fun, Jones," Jack teased back. "There's nothing here, just memories and dust."
Ianto was about to recommend them to come back, when he felt the unmistakable sensation of a Rift spike building.
When the Rift was inactive, the combination of space/time energy caressed his exposed skin or scales like a gentle wave. However, the incoming spike was like an approaching tsunami, thundering toward him inexorably.
"Jack," he barked, "there's going to be a Rift spike. You might want to head back."
He heard Jack acknowledge, telling Toshiko that they needed to get back to the Hub.
And then, with a final crackle, the comm. went dead.
The Rift alarm sounded throughout the Hub.
21 January 1941
"Jack," Ianto's voice echoed over Toshiko's comm., "there's going to be a Rift spike. You might want to head back."
Jack looked somewhat disappointed, but he turned. "C'mon," he said, "Let's head back to the Hub. We can come back later and check things out more thoroughly."
Toshiko let herself be ushered toward the entrance. Behind them, the unmistakable sound of a live band rose behind them, and the hair rose on the back of her neck. Muted voices followed them as they left, and only Jack's hand on the small of her back felt like an anchor to her only reality.
She'd taken her PDA with her, the better to get readings on what was going on within the old dance hall. She still held it, and when it suddenly squealed it startled her so badly she almost dropped it.
Jack cursed, urging her forward. He knew, just as she did.
The spike was there…at the dance hall.
Toshiko's heart speeded up, and adrenaline flooded her body. The entrance was a few steps away, and she hoped they were out of the range of the spike.
They stepped outside…
It was night, when it had been daytime when they'd gone in to investigate.
Toshiko looked around. The SUV – which Jack had parked haphazardly across the street – was gone, as was the trash and the 'Vote Saxon' posters and the run-down buildings that had surrounded the dance hall. There were no lights on in the area, but it was obvious that things had changed just from how clean everything looked.
They'd been taken by the Rift. It was the only explanation.
She wanted to panic. She really did. Toshiko panned her PDA around, hoping to get some sort of reading she could work with, something that would get them back to where they'd been.
"We've been moved in time," Jack said. He had his wrist strap opened, and she knew he was taking readings as well.
Toshiko turned to look at him, her eyes catching a poster on the wall, barely illuminated in the pale moonlight. It declared that there was a 'Kiss the Boys Goodbye' Dance, 21 January 1941, in the very dance hall they'd just left.
"Exactly 67 years," she murmured. She glanced down at her PDA; the area was swimming in Rift energy, denoting quite a powerful spike. That sense of panic returned with a vengeance, but she controlled it.
"C'mon," Jack said. "Let's go back inside. That's where we crossed over. Oh, and you might want to put the tech away, since it hasn't been invented yet."
Toshiko nodded. That made sense, so she shut the PDA down and tucked it back into her coat pocket. Jack offered her his arm; she took it, and they headed back into the dance hall.
The place had changed, as well.
It was softly lit, the chandelier glowing overhead. Couples milled about; men in their uniforms and women in brightly colored dresses mingled together, quiet conversation and laughter echoing around in equal measure. Music was playing from another room; that must have been the actual ballroom, and judging from the people moving in and out, it was quite busy.
She certainly hoped no one noticed her trousers and boots. They certainly weren't the style there, and she was afraid that she'd stick out like a sore thumb.
Jack maneuvered them toward the wall, to be out of the way. "We're really in 1941," Toshiko murmured.
"Yep," Jack said, sounding inordinately pleased with the idea.
"You don't have to be so happy about it," she snapped, carefully keeping her voice pitched low. "We need to figure out a way to get back."
"The Rift spits out flotsam and jetsam all the time," Jack said soothingly. "We'll get back. Besides, we have a dragon working on our side, and there's no one I'd trust with getting us home more than Ianto Jones. Well…there's you too," he added, winking.
Toshiko rolled her eyes at the platitude. "Only problem is, I have the readings here that Ianto might need." She absently patted the pocket that held her PDA.
"Ianto can scan the area too. Plus, he has those senses of his. He'll figure it out."
She knew Jack was right. She simply had to relax and wait. "There's also the fact that I'm Japanese – "
"Don't worry," he said, smiling down at her. "You're with the Captain. I'll look after you. Come on, let's try to blend in a bit."
Toshiko really just wanted to hide out somewhere and wait for Ianto to find some way to find them, but she let Jack lead her deeper into the dance hall. She didn't like being there, and it wasn't because they were trapped away from their own time. It was the feeling that something was going on around her, beyond the Rift spike, that she couldn't escape from.
Ever since the Fire Dragon had come to her, Toshiko had been on the lookout for anything strange going on. She'd watched as the team got farther and farther apart. Owen blamed Jack for Diane leaving, despite Toshiko's own efforts to convince him otherwise. She simply couldn't understand why he was taking it so hard; he could actually contact her anytime, Diane having reached Toshiko via email several times over the weeks since she'd left. Toshiko had even left the address for Owen, but according to Diane's last email he hadn't gotten in touch. If he loved her that much, then why wasn't he emailing her?
As for Gwen…she seemed genuinely sorry for what had happened, and for that Toshiko had been grateful. She might not get along with the woman, and Toshiko really couldn't condone what Gwen had done, but they were teammates and should be able to stick together. But Gwen still didn't trust Ianto at all, and when asked she'd claimed it was because the dragon was keeping secrets, Toshiko had pointed out that everyone had secrets, even Gwen, and did she want to share hers with the rest of the team? At that Gwen had gone back into stubborn mode, and the technician had left with a bad feeling about it all.
She'd often thought about telling Jack and Ianto about her fiery visitor…and would always decide against it. If the Fire Dragon was right, then the pair were in the middle of it all, and Toshiko didn't want to make things worse by upsetting either of them. Both of them seemed to be getting closer and closer as the days progressed, and Toshiko had decided that settling in to watch out for trouble was the best thing. She honestly didn't want to worry them; and, what if telling them brought about the very danger that the Dragon had foretold? No, Toshiko would do as she'd promised: she'd watch, and wait, and make sure to be ready if something did happen.
It helped that she had back-up in the form of Rhiannon Davies, who'd also claimed that there were two other dragon-friends out there who she could contact if needed. Toshiko didn't know who they were, but she trusted Rhiannon despite never having met her.
Jack escorted her to the bar, where he ordered a water for himself and a brandy for Toshiko. She really didn't want to drink anything alcoholic, feeling the need to keep her wits about her, but she couldn't very well turn it down once he'd ordered it.
"I haven't seen you around here before."
Toshiko turned at the voice. It was a young man, wearing an RAF uniform, practically smirking at her.
"Three and six, sir," the bartender said, drawing her attention back to Jack, wondering just how he was supposed to pay for the drinks when the only money they had was from their own time?
"I'll get them," the airman offered, sliding the money across the bar.
"Thank you," Jack said, picking up the brandy and setting it in front of Toshiko.
"On one condition." Toshiko wasn't certain he liked his smile, even though it seemed perfectly friendly.
"What's that?" Jack asked, frowning slightly.
Toshiko found her hand grabbed, and was being pulled out onto the dance floor before she could protest. The airman pulled her toward him, and began to dance.
She was hideously uncomfortable. It wasn't the dancing; Toshiko enjoyed it, and felt she didn't get to go clubbing enough anymore. But this…with a total stranger, in a time not her own, and being from a race that were being considered possible enemy combatants at that moment…it just felt wrong.
Toshiko got a glimpse of Jack; he was grinning at her predicament. It was all right for him; from his stories, he'd lived through this time, and he knew what to expect. She didn't, and she was working without a net. It wasn't pleasant, and she wished that Ianto would hurry up and get them back home already.
The young man tried to engage her in conversation, but Toshiko didn't oblige. She didn't feel like talking. It surprised her that this situation was spooking her so badly; after all, she was Torchwood, and she'd been in worse situations than dancing to a live band in the arms of a handsome soldier. It was the disconnect, she realized; the disconnect between what she was seeing and what she was feeling. What she was seeing was a dance hall in the 1940's; what she was feeling was endangered. And there was nothing to indicate that she was in trouble in any way; everyone appeared normal to her, or as normal as war-torn Cardiff could.
"Mind if I cut in?"
Her thoughts were derailed by Jack's voice at her elbow. She was pitifully glad that he was there.
"I'm only borrowing her, mate," the airman said, his arms tightening around Toshiko's waist.
"What if I don't want to be borrowed?" she asked sharply, not enjoying the feeling of being an object someone would just pick up and use until they were done with her.
The soldier looked surprised. Before he could say anything, Jack interjected. "You could always dance with me if you like," he leered. It was a deliberate offence, given the time they were in, and Jack didn't look at all repentant.
That comment got her released from her would-be partner's grasp. The airman in turn pushed Jack away, and Jack simply grinned.
"Okay, you can even lead," her friend said teasingly. With that, Jack pushed the young man back. He took Toshiko's hand. "Let's go, Toshiko," he said, drawing her away.
That earned a punch to Jack's face that almost had them both on the hardwood floor.
Toshiko fought to regain her balance, and a large hand on her elbow helped. She looked up into the blue eyes of a very handsome man, with dark hair and wearing what looked to be a Group Captain's uniform. He smiled softly at her. "Are you all right, miss?" he asked solicitously, his accent obviously American.
"Yes," she answered, nodding. "Thank you."
"Anytime." The captain kept his hand on her elbow as he turned to look at the belligerent airman. "Cut it out, kiddo," he ordered softly.
The airman pulled back the fist he was about to let fly. "But Captain – " he started.
The captain shook his head. "I think you owe the gentleman an apology, George."
George blushed slightly. "I was only dancing."
"I think it was your fist he was objecting to," the captain commented, "and not your foxtrot."
The young man couldn't look Jack in the eye, but his "I'm sorry" certainly sounded contrite.
"It's okay," Jack said, "you barely got me."
The crowd chuckled in relief, and it was at that point that Toshiko realized just how much attention they were garnering. She wanted to curse, but knew it would be frowned upon in this time. It was just something ladies didn't do in that time.
"I think the lady deserves an apology as well," the captain added.
George did meet her eyes, and he looked suitably chastened. "Sorry, Miss."
"Apology accepted," Toshiko said, wanting to break up the tension that had risen because of the altercation.
A couple of soldiers pulled George away, one of them offering to buy him a drink. Toshiko turned back to her rescuer, in order to thank him properly.
"It's all right, Miss," he said pleasantly. "The boys are just a bit lively tonight, since it's the last day of OTU tomorrow. They're just blowing off a bit of steam."
"It's fine," she said. "He just caught me off guard."
The captain turned to Jack. "Are you a volunteer, too?"
"Yeah," Jack answered, seeming to easily fall into the persona of a World War II flyer. He held out his hand to the captain, who shook it firmly. "I'm Captain – " Then laughed, as the captain had said the exact same thing. "You first, please."
The captain laughed as well. "I'm Captain Jack Harkness, 133rd."
Toshiko froze, looking between both men in shock. Captain Jack Harkness?
Of course, she knew about Jack; about how he'd been born in the future, and how he'd come to the past where he'd met the Doctor. He'd explained it to her, the night he'd confessed his immortality to her. Jack hadn't gone into a lot of detail, but she'd assumed that Jack Harkness was his real name.
If she didn't know her Jack as well as she did, she would have missed her bosses' own surprise flash across his face. He opened his mouth to speak, but an obsequious voice interrupted what Jack had been about to say.
"Look this way, please."
It was automatic to do so. Toshiko turned, and found herself looking at an elderly man, dressed in a suit with a cravat instead of a tie. He looked normal…but there was something about this eyes that disturbed her.
Then a camera came up in front of his face, and a flash blinded her.
21 January 2008
Ianto cursed. He dropped the envelope down on Toshiko's station, using her more sensitive equipment to pull everything he could up on the Rift spike. He hadn't even considered that the spike would have been located at the dance hall; but he should have, since they were there to investigate for weird occurrences just like what would be caused by Rift activity. A spike should have been expected to happen, but instead Jack and Toshiko had been caught up in one, and anything could have happened to them.
He tried to control his panic, and barely managed. Ianto was well aware of just what the Rift could do to those taken by it. He'd seen the survivors dropped back; had taken them out to Flat Holm for care. It had been a fluke that John Ellis, Diane Holmes, and Emma Cowell had survived their trip intact. More often than not those stolen by the Rift were left broken, and he shuddered at thinking of his lover and best friend being at the mercy of one of the most capricious forces of nature.
The dragon shook his head, concentrating on what Toshiko's computers were telling him. The PDA that Tosh had taken with her had been recording and transmitting readings up until the Rift spike, and Ianto studied them closely, as if they would give him the answers he sought. The instrument had caught the ramp-up of the spike, but nothing beyond that. He cursed again. This wasn't going to get him anywhere.
He needed to go and take readings onsite.
Ianto chewed his lip absently. If he did go, it would mean time lost in trying to figure out just where Jack and Toshiko had gone. The readings confused him; normally only negative Rift spikes took people, and this hadn't been one. Negative spikes felt different; they were like the icy chill of winter, whereas a normal spike was all summer thunder and fury. No, the Rift had done something different this time and Ianto knew that, if he could figure out why, then he'd be on the way to understanding what had happened to the two people he was closest to in the world.
There was only one thing for it: he needed to call in help.
He considered his options as mainframe chewed on the various calculations involved in the spike. Owen knew the way around the equipment, but Ianto knew getting him to do anything would be like pulling teeth, and he was most likely drunk. Gwen had been trained on the equipment, but had never used it out in the field. However, she'd be the easiest of the pair to call in, and Ianto was willing to deal with her hostility as long as it got Jack and Toshiko back home.
Ianto sighed, pulling his mobile out. He used speed dial to call, and waited while the phone on the other end rang.
Just as he was thinking it would go to voice mail, it was answered. "What the hell do you want, Dragon Boy?"
Ianto almost sighed with relief. It had been a gamble to try Owen first, but he was taking experience over availability at the moment. "You have a portable Rift scanner." It wasn't a question; everyone should have a fully stocked kit in their vehicle, and that included the scanner.
"Fuck off, I'm not interested."
"The Rift took Jack – "
"Good riddance." There was a tone of glee in Owen's voice. "Best news I've heard in weeks."
Ianto growled. Owen's attitude toward Jack was so twisted, there'd been times when the two had argued that Ianto had been concerned that there would actually be blows…or gunplay. But he wasn't about to let the medic's bad opinion of his lover get in his way. "I can't believe you'd think that, but be that as it may…Jack's not the only one. It took Tosh at the same time. Now, you might want to wish harm on Jack, but Toshiko hasn't done a damned thing to you; in fact, she's tried to be your friend. Now, are you going to condemn her, just because you think Jack's responsible for your own misery? Or are you going to get off your self-pitying arse and do your fucking job?" His voice had gotten higher and tighter with rage, and he didn't care how it sounded. He was sick and tired of Owen and his mood, and it was time the man got over it.
There was silence on the other end, and it lasted just long enough that Ianto was certain Owen had hung up on him. Just as he was about to disconnect and call Gwen, Owen answered. "Fine. You're right. Tosh doesn't deserve to be abandoned. Where do you want me to go?"
Ianto gave him the address, keeping the relief from his voice. He didn't want to owe Owen anything, and making him know how gratified he was would do just that. "Get as much information as you can," he said. "I'm going to need it, if I'm going to even attempt to work out where the Rift might have taken them."
"Yeah, okay. I'm on my way."
The audible click of disconnect sounded, and Ianto tossed his phone down so he could use both hands on the keyboard. Ianto got onto the internet, hoping to find out anything about the Ritz dance hall he could. He'd done a perfunctory search before Jack had left, but hadn't really managed anything in depth as yet.
It didn't take long; there really wasn't much to find, and what he did was in newspaper articles and various property records. The Ritz had been opened in 1932, and closed in 1989. Apparently it had been one of the buildings that had survived the Cardiff Blitz, and Ianto found all sorts of pictures of men in uniform, against the backdrop of the actual building, and the dragon couldn't help but think just how young they were, to be going off to war.
There were other pictures; of dancing couples, the hall decorated for some sort of occasion. Ianto remembered the war years; while he hadn't personally gone off to fight – it would have been far too difficult to explain the slight differences in his human form to one of the doctors – nearly all the young men in the village had gone, and more didn't return than did. If Ianto had to be honest, Ddraig Llyn had irrevocably changed during World War Two, growing a bit smaller, a bit more insular; pulling in on itself in an effort to protect what was left of its identity.
Ianto shook his head, not wanting to lose himself in memories. He kept flipping through the few articles and pictures, hoping for some sort of clue about what made the Ritz so special. He glanced toward the envelope he'd brought up from the Archives, and was just about to give up the internet search to go through its contents, when another picture caught his eye.
His heart lurched.
It was a picture of Jack, Toshiko standing next to him. He was shaking the hand of a handsome man, wearing a Group Captain's uniform.
Ianto glanced at the caption; it didn't identify the man in the photograph, but it was dated 21 January 1941.
The dragon would have yelled 'bingo' if it were in his nature to do so.
Quickly, he minimized the picture, going back to the equations that mainframe was currently running. He knew, of course, what Toshiko had been working on, in order to find a way to predict Rift activity. She'd also been certain that she could open the Rift safely, once she had enough information to pinpoint the specific coordinates she'd need to calculate where and when. Jack hadn't liked that idea; Ianto hadn't either, yet at the same time he could see the uses. Right now, the dragon thought if he had enough to plug into the equations, then he could get them both back.
The trick was, knowing exactly what they'd need to do so.
Ianto wasn't anywhere near the mathematical genius Toshiko was. Certainly, she'd shown him things, and the dragon had a fairly good grasp on what he considered the basics…but, in truth, was pretty advanced for most people. However, he was no scientist, and Ianto sighed, hoping he was up to the challenge.
Fingers dancing over the keys, Ianto input the date of the photograph into the equations. He also fed into them what he did know about the spike…which was very little. Owen would be sending him more information once he got out to the site, and the dragon prayed to the Great Ones that it would be enough to bring his lover and his friend home.
"Oi, Dragon Boy," Owen's voice crackled over the comm. "I'm just going inside."
Ianto touched his comm. on. "Be careful, I don't want you to get pulled into whatever it was that took Jack and Tosh."
"You and me both." Ianto could hear the telltale sounds of Owen walking. "You find out anything?"
Ianto linked made certain that mainframe was getting the readings that Owen was sending. He explained about the picture he'd found, and how he was hoping that the program Toshiko had been working on would get them back.
"I didn't know Tosh was working on a way to open the Rift."
There was an odd tone in Owen's voice, and Ianto frowned, trying to identify it. "Yes, she has," he answered slowly. "She's been on it since the Rift became more active, just lately. You haven't been around to know." He knew he sounded slightly accusatory, but he didn't care.
Owen didn't seem to notice. "Tosh is brilliant, if anyone can do it she can."
Ianto was about to reply, when a soft 'ping' from the terminal stopped him. He glanced up…and his heart sank.
The equations weren't complete.
He sighed, closing his eyes. Despair threatened to wash over him. The program wasn't all there; Toshiko must have been working on it elsewhere, and not added that part to mainframe. Opening his eyes, he glanced around, hoping to find his friend's laptop. If the rest of the equations existed, that was where they would be.
It wasn't there.
Ianto closed his eyes again, trying to recall if Toshiko had brought it in with her that morning. He didn't think she had, but he had to be honest and say he hadn't been paying attention. Jack had been a very enjoyable distraction.
"You got enough now?" Owen's voice broke through his thoughts. "I'm freezing my bollocks of in this drafty hole, and I'm getting a serious case of the creeps."
Ianto checked the readings; from what he was seeing, they'd have enough. "Yes," he answered. "But I need you to make a stop on your way back to the Hub."
"What am I, the fucking errand boy now?"
Taking a deep breath to calm his ire, Ianto said, "I need you to stop by Tosh's flat, and see if her laptop is there. The equations she has here at the Hub aren't finished, and they have to be on that computer. And, if it's not there, I know damned well she would have made a back-up."
"Yeah, that girl is anal. Okay, I'll stop off. I don't have a key though…"
"She keeps a spare inside the weatherstripping under the front door."
"Do I wanna know how you know that?"
It was all Ianto could do not to react to Owen's challenging tone. "I helped her hollow out the cubby hole under the jamb," he barely managed not to snap. "She wanted to make sure I or Jack could get in at any time."
"And what if she took the laptop with her?"
"Then we may very well be screwed." Ianto punched off his comm. with a bit more force than was required, accidentally flicking himself in the cheek.
He didn't want to think that they wouldn't be able to get Jack and Toshiko back. He couldn't. He leaned against the desk, head in his hands. Intellectually, he knew Jack would be fine; he'd lived through the war before, and could conceivably do so again.
No, it was really Toshiko he was worried about.
Japan had been gradually cutting out a swath of China at that point in time; they were condemned for it, but they weren't officially at war with anyone else…yet. That would come later in the year, when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place. Still, Toshiko wouldn't have an easy time of it, before or after, and while Ianto knew Jack would take care of her, he couldn't help but be worried.
There was also the chance that Ianto would never see his friend again.
Jack could take the slow path back, and look the same as he always would. Toshiko, though…if she survived the persecution of those times, then she would grow old and die, waiting to be rescued.
Ianto leaned back in the chair, running his fingers through his hair. No, he couldn't allow that to happen…either scenario. He wanted his lover back soon after they'd been taken away, so he wouldn't have to live alone through those long decades. And he wanted to see Toshiko again, whole and young.
His eyes found the envelope again, and he felt a small surge of hope. If Torchwood in 1941 had investigated the Rift spike that had deposited Jack and Toshiko back into the past, then perhaps there was some clue as to how they got back in the first place…
His resolve restored, Ianto picked up the envelope. He tore it open, and was surprised to not only find a report, but also an old, threadbare diary. The dragon started with the report, hoping to get some sort of clue as to what had happened, and what was so important about the diary.
It was a basic, handwritten report, much like the hundreds that Ianto had gone through when he'd begun his Archive project. It was signed off by Dr. Matilda Brennan, the then-leader of Torchwood Three – and who, Jack had once said, had hated the immortal with a passion – and read like some sort of dry catalogue of events. She'd sent a team in to investigate a strange white light that had appeared during one of the dances for the soldiers, and when they'd arrived everyone claimed not to know anything. The report had an addendum by Greg Bishop, stating that they'd tried to investigate everyone present at the time of the Rift event, but as most of the witnesses had been posted overseas, it had been impossible.
At the foot of the page was yet another note, this one written by Llinos King and dated a year later, saying that one of the alleged witnesses had been killed in action, and that Torchwood had managed to take possession of their diary, and it had shed a little light on the happenings at the Ritz, even down to naming two people who had supposedly disappeared into the Rift: a man named Captain James Harper…and a Japanese woman he'd called Toshiko.
Ianto's heart beat faster. There was evidence that Toshiko had come back through the Rift…but James Harper? He frowned, wondering who that had been; but then his face cleared, as he realized that Jack must have used yet another false name in order to divert attention from himself. After all, he'd been somewhere in Cardiff in 1941, as well as in London. He would have wanted to avoid Torchwood scrutiny at all cost.
Hoping that the diary would give him some sort of clue as to what had happened back then, Ianto picked it up and, flipping to the nearest entry to 21 January 1941 – which was the day after – he began to read.
21 January 1941
By the time Toshiko had managed to get over the surprise at finding out her boss's name wasn't, in fact, her boss's name, the odd-looking man had snapped their picture, and had managed to take a second one with him in it. She didn't pay much attention to him, only to notice that he was a bit creepy, as she thought about what she'd just learned.
She wondered if Ianto knew about this part of their Jack's life. Then, she realized that he must have done. If she was any judge, it didn't seem that Jack hid all that much from Ianto anymore, not since they'd become serious.
The obsequious little man vanished, leaving the three of them standing there, and Toshiko was feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Jack had turned back to the other Jack – she found herself calling him the Captain, in order to avoid the confusion going on in her normally logical and tidy mind – and had made 'excuse us' noises.
The Captain nodded, but said, "I didn't catch your names."
"Toshiko Sato," she found herself answering, her own innate politeness coming to the fore.
"I'm James Harper," Jack said, offering his hand. "With the 71st."
"The 71st?" Captain Harkness said, shaking hands. "That's where I'm hoping to be posted. Let me buy you both a drink…"
"In a bit," Jack said. "I really need to talk to my lady friend here for a second."
"Sure, whenever you're ready." Releasing Jack's hand, the captain headed back into the main part of the hall.
Jack took Toshiko by the elbow and guided her away from the crowds, down a darkened corridor toward what looked like office space. She was buzzing with questions, wanting to know exactly what was going on. Just who was her boss and friend? And who was the man claiming the name Jack Harkness?
He stopped down toward the end of the hallway, turning to face Toshiko. He looked embarrassed, and upset, and she wanted to hug him.
Instead, she crossed her arms and waited for the explanation she knew was coming.
Jack actually shuffled his feet, as if he was a child caught with his hand in the biscuit jar. He finally met her eye. "Jack Harkness isn't my real name," he admitted.
There were so many questions she could ask, but only one came out. "Does Ianto know?"
Jack actually gaped at her for a moment, then he shook his head, one corner of his mouth curling upward in an awkward smile. "Yes, he knows. He…even knows my real name."
Toshiko wanted to ask, but stopped herself. It really wasn't her business what name Jack had been born with. "So, why do you have that man's name?"
He took a deep breath, as if bracing himself. "When I was here, before I met the Doctor…I was a conman. I took his name to blend in; he was a hero, and was just what I was looking for. But damn…I didn't know he was so hot!"
Rolling her eyes, Toshiko slapped him on the arm. "Behave, Jack."
Jack pouted, rubbing his arm. "But that's no fun!"
Toshiko snorted. "All right…then how could you take his name, when he already existed in this era?"
Sadness passed over her friend's features. "I was only able to take his name because he was killed in action. It didn't take much to change the records, and to step into his shoes. He was perfect for what I needed."
He looked ashamed, and Toshiko couldn't help but hug him. "That's not you anymore," she murmured. "You're not the same person you were before."
His arms tightened around her. "Thanks," he whispered, kissing her temple.
A soft throat clearing pulled them apart. Toshiko couldn't help but shiver slightly as she saw the strange photographer, standing just down the hall, staring at them with those odd dark eyes of his. "What are you doing down here?" he asked politely. Yet, there was a tone in his voice that Toshiko didn't like.
"Just wanted a little…alone time," Jack said, taking a step forward and holding out his hand. "Captain…James Harper. And this is Toshiko Sato, friend and mathematician."
The man glanced down at the offered hand, looking as if he was about to refuse. Then he took it, shaking once then letting Jack go. "I'm Bilis, the manager. You're not in full uniform, Captain."
Jack's smile slipped for just a second. "I'm on leave."
Toshiko got a good look at the camera Bilis was holding; she frowned, recognizing it as technology that didn't seem to belong in the 1940's. Fallen through the Rift, perhaps? "That's an interesting camera," she said, hoping he'd give something away.
The odd little man looked at the camera proudly. "It takes pictures instantly."
"I didn't know they could do that yet," Jack questioned, a sharp tone in his voice.
"Where did you get it?" Toshiko asked.
"I think you should both rejoin the dance," Bilis replied, standing aside for them to pass.
Jack's hand on her back, Toshiko moved past the man and back toward the main dance hall. She glanced up at Jack; there was a look on his face, as if he was trying to figure something out. "It's not right here, Toshiko," he said, just loud enough for her to hear. "That camera…and I refuse to think it was coincidence that the man I happened to adopt the identity from is here, just where the Rift decided to dump us. No, there's something going on, and I think we need to figure out what it is."
Toshiko agreed. "You have a plan?"
He grinned. "Since when do I ever have a plan?"
"Goddess, no sense of humor…okay, I think we need to talk to a few people, get the lay of the land. If there's some sort of influence going on around here, maybe we can find some evidence of it."
Together they headed into the actual dance hall, which was bright and cheerful despite a war going on beyond its walls. But to Toshiko, there seemed to be a darkness under the cheer, and that knowledge sent a chill down her spine. She wanted to go home; it no longer had anything to do with the fact that Japan would soon be involved in the war, or that if they didn't escape she's be facing such things as camps and discrimination, or worse. No, this was the sudden sense of wrongness she had at Jack's words that being there might not be due to some capricious fault in the Rift.
"Jack." Toshiko touched his arm, stopping him before they complete rejoin the party. From where they were standing, she could see the captain, laughing with his men. "You said the real Captain Harkness dies. What happened?"
He looked as if he didn't want to answer, but then she could see the change of mind in him. "Tomorrow is their last training day," he whispered. "They'll go out on a sortie and will be surprised by two formations of Messerschmitts." He swallowed. "He'll destroy three of the enemy. His men will hear him whooping over the radio. But then…it will all go quiet. He won't be able bail out because his whole plane will be on fire. But, his men will all make it home."
Tomorrow. Toshiko glanced back toward the man, a lump in her throat. She hadn't known him at all, and yet the very idea that he would be gone this time tomorrow…
"Come on," Jack urged. "Standing here will just bring more attention onto us."
As she followed him into the room, Toshiko thought back on her best friend, forward in 2008, trying to get them home. She had faith that Ianto would be able to use her equations to open the Rift again. He knew her well enough that, once he found that her program wasn't complete at the Hub that he'd go looking for her back-up. And he'd find it.
They just had to be patient.
Which was easier said than done.
"– and I say, 'Look love, it's raining bombs and fire, so get down that cellar," George was saying. "And she says, 'But I can't, there's rats down there!'."
The group Toshiko was in chuckled in response to the story. Once they'd gotten back into the main dance hall, she'd found herself at a table with some of the youngest of the pilots. George had once again apologized and had bought her a drink, and had behaved like a perfect gentleman. He'd introduced the others to her, although Toshiko hadn't really kept track, knowing that after tonight she'd never see any of them ever again. It really brought home to her that she'd actually travelled in time, and that everyone at this table had either already died, or were elderly.
She wondered how Jack had been able to do it. It also gave her a bit of perspective into John Ellis, although she still couldn't condone his behavior.
She glanced up toward the bar. Jack was there, chatting with the other Captain Harkness. They looked at ease, Jack leaning against the dark wood, one hand in his trouser pocket, his coat hitched back over his hip. He looked as if he really belonged in this time, and she wondered vaguely where his current self was, and what he was doing.
Toshiko hoped that Jack would be able to find something out from the man. She couldn't relax; the very idea that something was wrong kept her from enjoying the humorous stories that the men were telling. Her attention went back to her table-mates, and she tried to listen with half an ear, wishing she could take her PDA from her pocket and make a quick scan.
And then, when she looked up once more a while later, Jack and the captain were gone.
Her heart raced. Making an excuse for having to use the ladies', Toshiko made her way around the room, searching for her friend. Jack had made a point of staying within sight of each other, back when they'd separated; she couldn't see him leaving by choice, not with their current doubts that this was a normal Rift event.
She was just beginning to become really worried when she heard Jack's voice, almost so soft that she almost missed it.
"– no one," Jack was saying. His voice was coming from a secluded corner on the balcony she was currently searching. "There's no one."
Another voice said something, but it was too low for her to hear. Toshiko crept closer, feeling guilty for spying on her friend like this, but something about the situation was ringing her alarm bells, and she didn't know what it was.
"I might have to leave before the night is out," Jack answered whatever it was the captain had said.
Toshiko was finally able to bring both men into view, and she barely held in her gasp of surprise.
Jack and the captain were sitting on a small sofa, near enough that their legs where touching. Their heads were bent together, so close their hair almost mingled.
They were holding hands.
Toshiko couldn't believe what she was seeing. The whole scene was so very intimate it made Toshiko's chest hurt. She felt betrayed, and yet Jack hadn't actually done anything; she was well aware of his affectionate nature, and how tactile he was. Anywhere else, and she wouldn't have thought twice about it.
But this was 1941. Men didn't do this sort of intimacy, out of fear of being arrested…or worse. It wouldn't matter if it was innocent; two men together like that could very easily be branded as homosexuals, and being such was still illegal.
Jack would know that.
Then why was he being so close to Captain Harkness like that?
What about Ianto?
No, this didn't mean anything. Jack had told her that this captain was going to die tomorrow; he was most likely giving some sort of comfort in a way that wouldn't tip the other man off.
Yes, that was it.
Then why did it look like Jack was going to kiss Captain Harkness?
But then, Jack pulled away. Still staring at Captain Harkness, he said, "Is there something I can do for you, Toshiko?"
The captain stiffened, yanking his hand away from Jack's as if he'd been scalded. His head turned, and he looked directly at her, his blue eyes glazed.
Then he seemed to snap out of it, and he jumped to his feet. Yanking down his uniform jacket, he gave her a nod. "Miss Sato," he greeted her stiffly. "James – the captain – and I were just discussing tactics." The blush on his features belied that logical answer.
She nodded, unable to speak. The man looked completely mortified, and she couldn't blame him. To have been caught out like that…it was a very compromising position, and anyone else might have reported it.
Captain Harkness scooted past her, leaving her and Jack alone. Her shock and confusion was suddenly overwhelmed with anger; for herself, for having seen what she had, and for Ianto, forward 67 years and trying to save them.
"What are you doing?" she hissed, stepping up to him.
Jack stood, lazily rolling the sleeves of his blue dress shirt up past his forearms. "It wasn't want you think," he began.
"Oh? Then it wasn't you making a pass at that man?"
He glanced down at his feet, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "Okay, it was what you think."
"How could you?" Toshiko wanted to rant loudly and furiously, but didn't dare, not in their current surroundings.
"It was surprisingly easy – "
"Jack!" She couldn't believe he was being so flippant. "You can't go and seduce another man!"
He actually looked puzzled. "Why not?"
Toshiko couldn't believe she was hearing this. This was from the person who once told her that he wanted to try to find a way to have a permanent mating with Ianto; that he wanted to spend eternity with the dragon. This was the person who swore to her that he'd never hurt Ianto again. This is the man who promised to be faithful.
"You can't!" she cried, the feeling of betrayal crushing her heart. "What about Ianto?"
Jack cocked his head, looking confused. "Why should I care what Ianto thinks?"
21 January 2008
Ianto sat back in the chair, letting the diary fall closed to the workstation top, stunned by what he'd just read.
He didn't know if he was hurt, disappointed, or angry; perhaps all of the above? The emotions were churning through him like a whirlwind. Of course, there'd been things he'd accepted about his lover, but this…
He pressed his hands into his eyes until sparks crossed against the darkness behind them. Now, more than ever, did he need to get Jack and Toshiko back, to find out just what had happened back in 1941 to have made the soldier who'd written down events believe what he had. There had to be an explanation, because if there wasn't then Ianto would have to admit that he hadn't really known Jack Harkness at all, for him to have…
No. Ianto couldn't think that, couldn't go there right now. He had to work out how to get them home first. Then he could take the time to ask Jack what the hell he'd been thinking, when he'd done what he had.
He had to remind himself that this was the man who'd promised…who'd sworn…that he'd never hurt Ianto deliberately.
There had to be a reason.
And Ianto would get it once Jack and Toshiko were home once more.
The alarm on the cog door went off, and Ianto didn't even bother turning; he could hear Owen grumbling well enough. "I got Tosh's laptop," he reported, practically slamming the computer down on the desk. "Also found a stack of other shit you might want." A grocery sack followed the laptop. "There better be something in there that'll work, cause I don't want to be the one to explain why I had to ransack Tosh's flat more than once."
Ianto pulled open the bag, to find several zip drives, SM cards, and actual discs. There was enough to keep them busy for a while, if Toshiko hadn't left the rest of the equations on the laptop.
Setting the bag aside, Ianto opened the laptop, and booted it up. The main worry the dragon had now was the levels of security his friend had put on the equations he was looking for, and if he'd be able to crack it in time.
Luckily, he had the Torchwood mainframe. Their computer had the most sophisticated code breaking software available on the planet, and the dragon could use it to hack Toshiko's computer.
When she got back, he's apologize for invading her privacy…although Ianto knew that she was aware that he'd do anything to get them back. She'd understand.
After rooting around in Toshiko's desk, Ianto found a network cable that he could use to hook up the laptop to the mainframe. Judging from the laptop he would, indeed, need a password, and that was something Ianto didn't have.
"You gonna be able to crack Tosh's security?" Owen asked, sounding almost excited.
"I don't know," the dragon answered honestly. "But I'm going to give it my best shot. This could be the only chance we have of getting them back safely."
He began working, accessing Toshiko's hacking programs and setting them at the laptop. Ianto could only hope that his friend hadn't been too clever, and had made the security too tight on her personal computer.
Ianto found his gaze going back to the diary he'd found in the Archives. The innocuous looking journal disturbed him, and he found himself putting it back into its envelope. He had to keep in mind that he'd already found evidence that Jack and Toshiko were picked up by the Rift again; that they had, in fact, made it home in the end.
He just had to work it out in order to make it happen.
"How long has she been working on a way to open the Rift?" Owen interrupted once more.
Ianto barely stifled a sigh. "As I said: only a couple of weeks. The Rift's been a bit busy, and she's been taking the readings and feeding them into equations that she thought she could use to open the Rift relatively safely. From what I can tell, the maths are good…unfortunately I'm not a genius at them like Tosh is."
"So…if this works, then the Rift can be opened whenever we want."
"In theory, but I don't see it happening."
"But why not?" Owen protested. "Aren't we all tired of living in fear of the Rift? If we can control it, then we can do whatever we want!"
Ianto turned away from his work, to regard Owen. He looked…expectant, and the dragon wasn't sure why it would be so important for the medic to actually care if they could open the Rift or not. "Why are you so interested?"
Owen didn't do shifty all that well. "You said it: to get Jack and Tosh back."
"All right…I'll buy Tosh, since that's how I got you working in the first place. But you could care less about Jack; you've made that abundantly clear. Plus, you seem inordinately interested in using it besides saving our colleagues." He crossed his arms, waiting for the reply.
"You're too suspicious by half, Dragon Boy," Owen scoffed. "Like you said, it's not like we'll ever open it past this one time."
"You are a horrible liar, Owen Harper," Ianto snapped back. "You've been acting off for weeks, and it's not just you missing Diane. And now, you're showing more interest in opening the Rift than is exactly healthy. Now…are you going to be honest with me, or do I order you out of the Hub?"
He could see the war going on in Owen's eyes. If this was an issue with opening the Rift for any reason, then Owen would need to stay; if it was something else, then certainly he'd storm out in his usual huff?
Ianto could hear the soft whirring of the computers around him, as he waited for Owen's answer. When he got it, to say he was surprised was an understatement.
"I need to open the Rift," Owen admitted grudgingly, "to get Diane back."
Ianto's eyebrows shot up. "What do you mean? Diane doesn't have anything to do with the Rift."
Owen shook his head, looking wild. "When she left me, as she was taking off from the airport, the Rift re-opened and swallowed her."
Where had this delusion come from? "Owen, Diane wasn't taken by the Rift," he explained slowly. "She's in Alaska – "
"No, she fucking isn't!" Owen exclaimed angrily. "The Rift took her!"
"How do you know?" Ianto had to get to the bottom of this; if he couldn't, then there was no telling what the consequences would be. Was Owen actually capable of throwing himself into the Rift in order to chase this fantasy? At this point, the dragon didn't doubt it.
"I saw her," Owen answered. "The first time, I was at a pub, and she appeared next to me, telling me she was trapped in the Rift. She's come to me other times, and she said we needed to open the Rift to get her out."
What Owen was saying just wasn't possible; it was totally absurd. "If she had been a Rift victim," Ianto pointed out, "she wouldn't have been able to appear to you. She'd be gone completely."
"No, she explained that! Said there were weak places in the Rift, where she could interact with the outside world. She just wasn't strong enough to get out herself."
This was worse than anything Ianto had ever thought. How would Owen react to the truth? Would he even accept it? The dragon had to try.
"I know for a fact the Diane is safe," he said.
"You can't know that!"
"I can," Ianto went on. "On the day that Diane left, there were no Rift spikes. Nothing. I didn't sense one, and nothing showed up on any of the instruments. There was no spike, Owen; none at all."
The medic was shaking his head in denial.
Ianto continued. "Also, both Toshiko and Deborah have been getting emails from her. I know for a fact that Tosh tried to give you the email address. In fact, Diane has been wondering why you haven't contacted her. She's been really upset about it, and I think she did try to call you once but you never answered, and she left a voice mail." Now he knew why Owen had ignored it all…he'd somehow been convinced that Diane was gone.
But how? And why?
"No," Owen growled, "you're just trying to convince me to forgive Jack for her leaving."
Another piece of the puzzle slotted itself into place. This was why Owen had been so confrontational toward Jack; if Diane hadn't gotten that job offer, then the Rift would never have grabbed her away. "Of course I want you to forgive Jack, since he didn't have any control over whether Diane stayed or left. But Owen…there was no Rift spike. Diane is safe and living her life in Alaska. I can even bring up pictures she sent Tosh of her home in Fairbanks and her latest email if you want."
Owen looked as if he were trying to swallow a very large and bitter pill. Ianto turned back to the computer, getting into Toshiko's email very easily, and bringing up the email in question. He was also able to find the pictures; she'd shown them to him the day they'd been received.
This explained so much about Owen's behavior. He'd honestly been convinced that Diane was gone forever, and Ianto could see why he'd blame Jack, even though it had been Diane's decision to leave. And as for seeing her, and her telling him that the Rift had opened up on her…
Something was going on. Ianto just didn't know what it was.
He could feel Owen breathing over his shoulder as he looked at the pictures. There was even one of Diane herself, standing next to her plane, smiling happily. She was wearing current times' clothing, which would have put paid to him accusing Ianto of showing him an old photograph or doctoring one up for his benefit.
Whatever was going on, it all came down to the Rift.
Ianto suddenly had doubts about opening it, even to retrieve Jack and Toshiko. Someone – or something – had tried to convince Owen that opening it would bring Diane back, even though she was safe and sound in her new home. What would be the benefit of opening it? Did what had done this to Owen know about Toshiko's equations? Or did it want a blind opening? What was the point?
"I don't understand," Owen mumbled. "If Diane is really in Alaska, then what the fuck was I seeing?"
"I think something wants us to open the Rift," Ianto said aloud. "But we already do, if the report that Torchwood at the time could be believed."
"Then we should get on with it," Owen said, "and once Jack and Tosh are back, we figure out what's going on."
Now, that sounded like the old Owen. Ianto went back to the mainframe, minimizing the email screen, and was gratified to see that the security in Toshiko's laptop was now cooperating. Whatever had been on her personal computer was being slotted into the equations currently on the mainframe, and Ianto turned to get back to helping it along. From what he could see, everything seemed to be present; it was just up to completing the work and running simulations.
"Is it all there?"
"It is," the dragon said in relief. "I'll want to check to see if it works before we even try it…"
"Makes sense. Then we can get the others back and figure out what the hell is going on." Owen paused, then with a healthy dose of contrition he said, "I'm sorry about my behavior. God knows, you all must've thought I was a prick."
"It's fine," Ianto assured him. "It wasn't you. We don't know what it is, but we'll find out. Now, I'm not sure what the time difference is, but I bet Diane would love to hear from you." He pulled Diane's emails back up. "I think her number is on one of those. I'll get us a coffee while you talk to her."
Ianto got up, leaving Owen to sort through the emails for the contact number. Yes, he really needed a coffee; but, at the same time, his mind was trying to work out the puzzle that was being laid out in front of him. If someone was trying to influence Owen into opening the Rift, then it was entirely possible that Jack and Toshiko's disappearance was to do the same thing.
But, if the Rift taking his lover and his friend had been a trick in order to get them to open the Rift…well, then why didn't whoever manipulated the Rift like that just do what they'd obviously been trying to get Owen to do? And why target Owen, who really didn't know anything about the manipulator or the equations needed to do just that? It would have made more sense for Toshiko to have been influenced.
As his hands worked the machine, his thoughts went back to the envelope, and the diary. His chest hurt, and he rubbed it absently. He really couldn't deal with it; if it was true, then he had some decisions to make.
No, he couldn't. Not now. Now, he had to concentrate on getting their teammates back safe and sound.
By the time he'd finished with his and Owen's coffees, the medic was just saying goodbye to Diane. There was such a look of peace on his face, for the first time in about a month, and Ianto was glad for one thing: that losing Jack and Toshiko had been the catalyst for him discovering what had been going on with Owen in the first place.
Not that knowing was necessarily a good thing.
It had simply led to more questions than answers.
21 January 1941
Toshiko felt her mouth fall open. A part of her wanted to slap Jack; another wanted to shriek at him; and yet another wanted to take the nearest gun and shoot him for such a cruel and casual remark.
Instead, she glared. "Yeah, right…Ianto's only your mate, Jack! Of course you should care what he thinks!"
If she hadn't been so intent on staring him down, Toshiko would have missed the tiny flicker of surprise in Jack's eyes. Why would he be surprised by me calling Ianto his mate? The thought tickled across her mind.
"Tosh," he said carefully, "I don't know where you got that idea – "
"From you," she answered, narrowing her eyes.
"– but you're wrong. Ianto isn't my mate."
"So, you've completely forgotten what the Earth Dragon said?" This wasn't right. Something was terribly wrong. Jack should not be acting like this.
"Look," he answered, "it doesn't matter. I can't keep lying to myself anymore…I don't love Ianto. I honestly thought I did, but that was before…" He glanced back in the direction the captain had gone, a wistful expression on his face. "He's perfect, Toshiko. I knew he was a hero before…but I had no idea just how amazing he truly was. And to think, I stole his identity…I could never be even half the man he is. I don't deserve his name."
"Jack," she snapped, her heart plummeting. Things were falling apart so rapidly, and she wasn't sure how she could stop it. "You're the one who said something was wrong here – "
"Well, I was mistaken," he said. "There's nothing wrong here, only that we're in a place we weren't meant to be. Because now I have to save him, and tearing apart Time is something you don't do lightly – "
Toshiko gaped at him. "You can't! You'll create a paradox!"
"I don't care," he hissed. "I'm not going to have him die, when I can prevent it!"
"You're the one who's always lecturing us on the sanctity of the timelines. You know better than all of us that you cannot change a fixed point in time! Without him dying, you don't become who you are!"
She was feeling herself begin to panic. This wasn't Jack talking. It couldn't be Jack talking! All of these events had happened before; they had led to the man who was her Jack Harkness becoming who he was now, and all of the good that he'd done.
"You'd change over one hundred years of personal history, undo all the good works you've done, just because of an…an infatuation?" she exclaimed.
"And you'd curse me to a lonely, immortal existence?" Jack returned, anger playing across his features. "Because if he doesn't die, I might not become cursed like I am!"
"But you don't know that! And you aren't alone! You have Ianto!" Toshiko was getting more and more frustrated. She didn't know what was going on, and her fear was beginning to spiral out of control.
"But I don't want Ianto," Jack growled. "Quit trying to make it into something it isn't, Toshiko."
"I'm not," she insisted. "It was you who said they wanted the mating. It was you who swore you'd never hurt Ianto, no matter what. It was you said you loved him. So tell me…how am I making this into something it isn't?"
He didn't even have the common courtesy to look ashamed. "I was wrong."
"That's all you have to say? You were wrong?"
"I don't know what you want me to say!" Jack asked, frustration twisting his features. "I'm not going to lie to you!"
"You cannot change history, Jack. You know that, and it doesn't matter how you think you feel."
"How I think I feel? I know bloody well how I feel, don't you dare lecture me on feelings, little girl. I've been alive a lot longer than you have!"
Toshiko was stunned by the insult. "I might not have years of experience like you," she slammed," but you're the one saying you don't even know what love is!"
"I don't have to put up with this." Jack brushed past her.
"Yes, run away," she snarled. "You're such a coward!"
Jack spun on her, and the sharp grin on his features was the last thing she'd expected to see. "Now you know the truth," he chuckled darkly. "It's good to see you're at least that observant."
He turned and walked away, leaving Toshiko feeling like she'd been kicked in the stomach.
Toshiko didn't know how long she stayed there, too stunned to move. When she finally was able to get her whirling thoughts to slow down, one thing kept coming back to her: Jack's comments about something not being right there, in that place. That them being taken up by the Rift to right then, to where the very man who would start Jack out on his journey to becoming their leader, wasn't a coincidence.
And now, Jack was acting out of character. Toshiko flatly refused to believe that these were Jack's real feelings, and that something – or someone – was somehow twisting him into this…whatever it was.
However, he'd once told her, back during the incident with the pendant, that it was nearly impossible to get into Jack's head. That he'd been trained against mental influence, and that his immortality also had something to do with not being able to get into his thoughts. Toshiko chewed her lip, hectically. If that wasn't the reason for Jack's odd behavior, then what was?
It was time she poked around a bit.
It meant leaving Jack on his own.
That scared her; he could easily make good on his threat to warn the captain about tomorrow. But Toshiko knew she had to take the chance, because if she had any hope of finding out what's going on then she had to investigate.
And she thought to start with the manager, and his advanced camera.
Finding the office was easy. It was down the same hallway that she and Jack had talked in before, and there was a small, discrete plaque on the door, announcing Bilis Manger, Manager in equally discrete calligraphy. Toshiko knocked, to be on the safe side; there was no answer, and she carefully eased the door open, peering around the corner to make sure the man just hadn't answered.
The office was empty.
The decor seemed to fit the period, even though Toshiko was struck by the sheer number of clocks and chronometers scattered about the place. She made her way to the dark wood desk; the camera sat on the top and it was even more obvious that it was completely out of its own time. Pulling her PDA from her coat pocket, Toshiko ran a scan of the room, and finding several small sources of Rift energy that she managed to locate: the camera, two clocks, and a pen set that wouldn't have looked out of place on the desk of a top executive in the 21st century. They'd obviously come through the Rift.
One rather large reading came up with a disc-shaped object, which she found in one of the desk drawers. It resembled one of the Rift keys that she'd once studied before Jack had decided it was too dangerous and had curtailed her research. Toshiko frowned, wondering how it had gotten there, and she pocketed it, not trusting to leave it uncontained.
Under the device she found an unmarked file, and she pulled it out, flipping it open.
Her heart clenched, and she couldn't believe what she was seeing.
It was full of pictures…of the team.
There were photographs of Owen, with both Gwen and Diane; of Gwen, and a pleasant-faced man Toshiko recognized from the background check as Rhys Williams, and woman that just had to be her mother; of herself, alone, and with either Jack or Ianto, and even one with Rhiannon Davies, when she'd come to visit after they'd arranged for John Ellis to go to Ddraig Llyn, to explain about what being a Dragon-friend meant.
But there were even more pictures of Jack and Ianto, together and separate, and with other people as well.
She recognized Estelle Cole and Emma Cowell…now Deborah Morrison. There was one of Jack, with a dark-haired woman and a blond boy who she'd never met before, and who looked enough like Jack to have been some sort of family. Ianto and Kathy Swanson, sitting in a pub together; and one of Detective Swanson at what looked like a crime scene.
In the photos with Jack and Ianto, it was obvious to see their true feelings for each other, which really threw what Jack had just told her into another entire realm of wrongness. If Toshiko hadn't known that they were in love before, it would have been after seeing those. The looks, the touches…Ianto and Jack were mates, in everything but name.
The very last photo in the file was of Ianto…in dragon form.
Toshiko really wanted to panic. This file was proof that someone had been stalking the Torchwood team for a while now, and had been sneaky enough to get away with actually getting evidence of the dragon. Plus, this file was in a desk, in 1941. That shouldn't be possible. At least one of these pictures was recent enough that Toshiko knew whoever had taken it could not have been in the past a week ago.
She quickly gathered the photos back together and also put them in her pocket. There was no way she was going to let them stay there. She felt dirty, almost violated, to know that someone had been watching her, and the entire team. Her stomach roiled, and it was all she could do not to be sick in the trash bin by the desk.
For the first time, she was truly sorry she hadn't shared what the Fire Dragon had said. Perhaps they could have found their stalker, and stopped them before things had gone too far.
The team had been changed. Toshiko couldn't lie to herself about that. Something or someone had changed her team…her family. Owen had become depressive, argumentative, and borderline suicidal. Gwen had actually Retconned her own boyfriend because she'd needed absolution. And now, Jack was apparently pining for a man who had been dead for decades, and was dismissing Ianto as not important to him any longer when Toshiko knew that simply wasn't true.
It was like three-fifths of the entire team had had some sort of personality transplant.
It suddenly struck her; what if she'd been influenced as well, and hadn't noticed? After all, she'd kept the Fire Dragon's warning to herself, when she should have gone straight to Jack and Ianto with the revelation that something was working within the team to tear it apart. Toshiko felt tears prickle her eyes, and she cursed herself for obviously falling into the same trap as the others had.
She couldn't sit there and wallow, though. Toshiko had to find a way to fix this, and the first thing needed doing was getting Jack back to 2008, and away from the real Captain Harkness. This was a disaster waiting to happen, and had the distinct smell of a set-up.
Toshiko took one more look around the office, making sure there wasn't anything else that she should be 'liberating' from its current owner. It became obvious that whoever this Bilis Manger was, that he was either a willing accomplice, or that he was behind everything. How he managed to go between times was a mystery, and one that she knew they'd need to solve. But Toshiko knew that the team had to come first, that fighting a hidden enemy as fractured as they were, they would most certainly lose.
Checking outside and seeing the coast was clear, Toshiko headed back down toward the main dance hall, feeling the overwhelming need to find Jack. She prayed that Ianto had found her equations, and had managed to get the program to work, to bring them home. There was no way either one could stay in this time. If she had to knock him out and drag him into whatever opening in the Rift the dragon managed to engineer, she'd do it.
Upon entering the room, she saw her Jack and Captain Harkness sitting at a table, drinks in front of each of them. They were far too intimate for anyone not to notice, and Toshiko shivered. This was too dangerous, they shouldn't be that close, not in this time and place. Jack should know better, and yet he didn't seem to care.
For someone who professed to love another, he didn't seem to be averse to putting that love in harms' way.
The music changed, and suddenly Jack stood. He looked down at the captain…then offered his hand.
Toshiko gasped, beginning to shake as she realized what was going to happen next.
Captain Harkness looked at Jack, and then at the offered hand. Toshiko didn't even know she was begging him silently to refuse, to move away from Jack before things went too far.
He accepted the hand.
The entire room went silent as the two men moved to the center of the dance floor. Only the music still played, but Toshiko thought there were more missed notes than there should have been. She wanted nothing more than to run over to them, grab her Jack and haul him out of there, but her feet were rooted to the floor as they began to dance.
Anywhere else, it might have looked romantic. But not there, not in 1941, where two men dancing that intimately with each other could be seen as a crime. What Jack had done by asking the captain to dance was ruin the man. Even if he wasn't arrested for lewd behavior, Captain Harkness' career and reputation would be destroyed.
Was this then? Was this Jack's way of keeping the man from flying tomorrow, and for dying a hero?
This was wrong.
Toshiko didn't know how long she stood there, watching the two men dance. It was too late to do anything to save the situation. God only knew what was going to happen.
What did happen was a loud crack, and a white light shining from a large crack in midair.
She'd never been so glad to see the Rift in her life.
Toshiko practically ran forward, grabbing Jack by the arm. "We have to go!" she cried. "We need to get out!"
Jack looked from her, to the Rift, and then to the captain, who was stunned by the sudden appearance of a space/time event in the middle of the hall.
Toshiko knew she wouldn't have a chance to pull him into the Rift; he outweighed her for one, and he was stronger for another. And yet, in that one glance at Captain Harkness, he seemed to come to a decision. "I have to go," he murmured sadly. "It's my duty."
Jack allowed Toshiko to tug him away, but in an instant he was out of her grasp and back in front of the captain…
Kissing him with a passion that had to have been evident to everyone in the room.
Jack had just condemned the man.
Did he even care?
They broke apart, and Toshiko once again grabbed Jack, this time by the shirt sleeve, and practically yanked him into the Rift.
21 January 2008
By the time Ianto had finished making the coffee, Owen was chatting quite animatedly on his mobile. The dragon couldn't help but be happy for him; yes, he'd been certain that Owen had set out to seduce Diane, but his reaction to her leaving – even if he was being influenced – had been heartfelt, if just far too extreme. Long distance relationships didn't often work, but he held out hope that, someday, Owen and Diane could at least be good friends.
He set Owen's coffee down on the desk he was sitting at as he chatted, then headed back to the equations running on Toshiko's computer. Yes, everything was checking out, and he wanted to run one simulation before attempting to use them to get Jack and Toshiko back.
The dragon was torn. On one hand, he wanted to open the Rift just that much to bring them home. On the other, if someone wanted them to open the Rift in the first place…well, it was just a risk they would have to take. Plus, they'd apparently already taken it, if the original report was to be believed.
If the diary and the report were to be believed.
He set up the simulation, banishing those thoughts. He'd talk to Jack when he got back.
"How's it going?"
Ianto glanced up at Owen. He looked at peace for the first time in weeks, and he was glad that everything had come out. They really needed to address what had happened, but they could do that once the entire team was there.
"I'm running a test on the program," he answered. "But so far it's good."
Owen nodded. He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it…then opened it once more. "Look," he said, sounding almost contrite, "I wanna apologize for all the shit I've given you over the last several weeks – "
"No need to apologize," Ianto said. "I think we know now that you were influenced in some way."
"Yeah, but I should have said something before now."
"I'll agree with that," the dragon answered. "You really should have trusted your team."
"Yeah, I should have."
"It's over now, and we can move on. Something wanted this team in tatters, and they achieved that."
"I think we need to find them and kick their fucking arses," Owen said fiercely.
Ianto grinned. "I'm with you – "
The terminal made a little chime, signifying that the simulation was done. Ianto checked it carefully; maybe he was being overly cautious, but with everything that was going on he wasn't about to take any risks. "Looks good," he said. "I think it's time to bring our teammates home."
"Then do it!"
The dragon needed no other encouragement. He began the program, watching as the equations worked their way through the Rift Manipulator, hoping against hope that everything would work out. Neither Ianto nor Jack had ever attempted this; not with the little bit of sabotage Torchwood One had done when they'd been forcibly ejected from the Hub after he and Jack had taken over. But he knew Toshiko would have taken that into consideration, even if she hadn't really known about the missing key, because she was simply that good. He vividly remembered her work on the sonic modulator that had landed her in UNIT custody. She had a natural talent, and Ianto had no doubt that the equations would work.
He could feel it; the build-up of Rift energy signaling an incoming spike. This time, though, it felt slightly different, less intense than a natural spike. The program that Toshiko had written was working, it was controlling the spike.
In what seemed like seconds, but was more like minutes, the controlled Rift spike faded, and Ianto sat in his chair, holding his breath for some sign that it had worked. Had it stayed open long enough? Had Jack and Toshiko been nearby when the Rift had opened? And, just when seemed his nerves were going to fray beyond redemption, he got his sign.
"Ianto!" Toshiko's welcome voice came over the comm. "We're back. We're okay."
A huge grin broke over the dragon's face. "Tosh!" he exclaimed. "Welcome home!"
Owen punched the air at the same time, and did a strange little hip wiggling motion that Ianto tried hard not to laugh at. He was relieved that it had worked, that the two people he cared for most in the world were safe. It could have been a disaster, even though the records had indicated that the Rift had opened, and that two people had gone into it. There had still been that bit of uncertainty, and Ianto was so glad everything had turned out all right.
"We're on our way back to the Hub," Toshiko went on. "We should be back shortly."
Ianto let out a huge sigh of relief. "I'll get the coffee on then," he offered.
"I could use some. See you soon."
He thumbed off his comm., turning to Owen. "Thanks for your help," he said sincerely.
"No need to thank me, dragon-boy," the medic shrugged. "Just doing my job…which it's about time I started doing again."
"Welcome back to you, too."
"It's good to be back. Oh, and Diane says 'hello'."
"Let's get this mess cleaned up," Ianto said, "then I can start the coffee."
The coffee was just finishing when the cog door alarm sounded.
Ianto glanced toward the door, in time to see Toshiko hug Owen, and to see Jack striding toward his office. The dragon frowned; his lover kept his eyes forward, not looking at anyone, and he shut the office door behind him. He also appeared to be missing his coat.
He looked down at the innocuous-seeming diary that rested on the counter. He'd pass the coffee out first, then he'd check on Jack. He felt suddenly very nervous, as if this was their first meeting instead of having seen each other almost every day for over seven years. Ianto decided he didn't want his coffee, and poured it down the sink.
Tucking the diary under his arm, Ianto headed out of the kitchen area, mugs for Owen and Toshiko in his hands. He managed to pass Owen's off to him before Toshiko was wrapping him into a hug, her arms tightening around him almost painfully. He could feel the crackling and popping of the Rift energy she'd been saturated in, and it tingled against his skin as if his entire body had fallen asleep.
Ianto embraced her as best he could with one hand full and something under his arm, and he eventually had to ease back when it seemed as if she didn't want to let go. He looked at her closely; the expression on her face was one of pitiful gladness, her eyes wide and her lips twitched upward in a watery smile. "Ianto," she began, "something happened when we were back in time – "
"I know," he soothed her, setting her coffee down on her workstation.
Her brows drew together in a frown. "How could you know?"
The dragon held the diary up. "This was written by one of the captain's men," he answered quietly, trying to hide the pain he was feeling from her. He wasn't sure he succeeded. "Torchwood investigated the sighting back in 1941, and they got their hands on this. It was how we knew your program would work, because it had already happened. But…" he cleared his throat. "Well, I'll tell you later. Right now, I need to talk to Jack."
"I don't think that's a good idea," she said. "When we were there, Jack…changed."
Ianto's heart clenched painfully in his chest. He simply nodded though, knowing his friend would have guessed how he was feeling. "Have Owen tell you what happened to him, and I think you'll find this team has been under some sort of influence for some time. I'm…not surprised it hit Jack, too. I'm going to see if I can snap him out of it."
With those words, Ianto headed up to Jack's office, making a quick stop for the mug of coffee he'd made his lover. Butterflies the size of Myfanwy fluttered in his stomach, and his heart began beating even harder than before.
Jack had to be under whatever influence Owen had been. That was the only explanation for what had happened.
Ianto couldn't accept otherwise.
He knocked on the door, then let himself in as he usually did. Jack was seated at his desk, working at his computer, a look of concentration on his face. He didn't even acknowledge Ianto's presence; he simply kept working, his fingers tapping across his keyboard in an almost frantic fashion. Rift energy sparkled around him, itching Ianto's senses.
Ianto cleared his throat. That seemed to get Jack's attention, and he looked up, frowning. "I do hope there's a reason for this interruption?" he practically growled.
The dragon wasn't used to that sort of reaction to his presence, but he let it slide. He took into consideration that something had been at work within the team, and that what he'd read in the diary had something to do with it. He needed to get all this out in the open, like he had with Owen. Then, perhaps, they could work on figuring out who – or what – had been behind it all.
He set the coffee down on Jack's desk, and his lover looked at it in disdain. "I'm not really in the mood for coffee," Jack said, turning back to his work.
If Ianto had needed any proof that Jack wasn't acting normally, that would have been it. "If you're not interested in coffee," Ianto replied, "then perhaps you can tell me what happened while you and Tosh were in 1941?"
Jack simply shrugged. "Nothing much," he answered dismissively.
"So you meeting the real Captain Harkness wasn't much?" Ianto pressed.
Jack sighed, pushing back from his computer. "What do you want from me, Ianto? To admit that I met the man, and that I kissed him? I can certainly do that, if it makes you feel better."
Ianto felt ill, but continued on. "Jack, you kiss others like most people shake hands. No, that's not what I meant at all."
"Then perhaps you meant for me to admit that I fell in love with him?" Jack asked snidely.
The dragon felt like he'd been punched in the chest, but at the same time he grew incredibly angry. "Oh, is that what you call it?" he demanded. "Do you know what I call it?"
Jack made a dismissive gesture, his eyes narrowed.
"I call it betraying a good man by 'outing' him in front of a roomful of people, during a time when homosexuality was illegal!" He held out up the diary. "This was written by one of the captain's men, and it came into Torchwood hands after the man died. It details yours and Toshiko's visit to the past, and how the two of you vanished into a flash of light. However, it also tells what really happened to Captain Harkness after you kissed him."
Jack rolled his eyes. "I know what happened to him; he was killed in action. He died a hero."
Ianto couldn't believe how cavalier Jack was being about an innocent life. This wasn't like him at all, and he had to wonder just how far the influence went. "No, Jack. That's what the official records say, the ones you changed when you took his identity; how his men wanted him to be remembered." He couldn't believe how angry he was. It didn't seem that anything he was saying was getting through to Jack at all.
He leaned forward, slamming the diary down onto the blotter. "After your rather touching goodbye to the captain, there were several spectators who wanted to report the captain right away. It was his men who managed to talk them out of it, mainly because they noticed that he was acting out of character. They knew him you see…they knew he had a girlfriend, and that he would never act like a lovesick fool over another man. So they got him out of there, and took him back to the officers' quarters."
Ianto stared Jack right in the eye, not liking what he was seeing in those blue depths. He continued on with what he'd read in the diary, needing to finish this confrontation and try to bring Jack to his senses. "However, the next day, Captain Harkness seemed distracted and unsure of himself. He apologized to his men for what had happened, swearing that he didn't know what had come over him. His men believed him, and were perfectly willing to blame you for it…which, of course, they had every right to do, since it was your kiss that caused all the ruckus in the first place." Ianto didn't even bother keeping the anger and condemnation from his voice.
"They went on the mission as scheduled. But over the channel their captain's plane suddenly took a nose dive right into the ocean. He didn't even try to bail out. His men knew at once what had happened, and when they got back to the base they made up the story about the German planes in order to make certain their captain went down as a hero…and not a suicide."
Ianto leaned forward even farther, planting both hands on the desktop. "This was the man you professed to love, Jack…to escape the shame, he killed himself. You might as well have murdered him yourself, with your selfish actions." He was angry, but his chest ached as he realized this was it; this was the third time that this man would break his heart, unless he could somehow break him out of whatever control he was under.
But his words didn't seem to be getting through to Jack at all. He looked blatantly unrepentant. "I only kissed him," he answered. "It was his decision to kill himself. And yes, I did love him, and it showed me that what I feel for you isn't love at all, but simply an infatuation. You need to deal with it and move on."
Ianto wondered if this was how a heart attack felt. He could barely breathe. "If this is how you show you love someone," he managed to whisper, "then I'd hate to see how you treat the people you dislike."
It wasn't working. Jack wasn't seeing that he'd been acting wrongly, that what he'd done, while it hadn't been evil, it had been stupid and negligent and it had gotten an innocent man killed.
No, Jack was simply sitting there, looking relaxed, as if he didn't have a care in the world. He wasn't even mourning the man whose death he'd been in part responsible for. No remorse; no denial.
Ianto couldn't take it anymore.
He turned and left the office, walking past Toshiko and Owen, and heading out of the cog door. He had to get out of there; he to get away from a Jack Harkness who wasn't acting like the Jack he knew and loved.
He had to get out.