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Myfanwy 2

November 2017

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Ghosts of the Collider - Chapter Two

Ghosts of the Collider - Chapter Two
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Toshiko/Kathy
Warnings: Language, Violence
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E4, "Meat" and the radio play, "Lost Souls"
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of the radio play, "Lost Souls".  I decided to use the real-world dating for the activation of the LHC instead of what the radio play inferred, and that put this right in the middle of Series Two.  It actually makes a really good segue into "Adam", which you'll see later. 

This is also the first minor crossover between this universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It's only one character crossing over and he really isn't in it that much, so I'm not putting any sort of warning or anything for it.  But, with Patricks' background, it was bound to happen eventually.

A/N2:  I am so sorry, this should have been up ages ago.  But there was a major crisis at work and Mom ended up back in the nursing home and I admit this took a backseat.  I'm still not overly happy with this chapter, but I wanted to post something.  You've all been really patient!  Hopefully the next chapter won't take so long...

SummaryAfter a call from Martha Jones at CERN, Jack sends Ianto, Toshiko, and Patrick in to investigate.  Can they discover the secret of the Collider before it's too late?



9 September 2008

When Jack had called her last night and told her she and a small team were going to CERN to investigate something strange going on there, Toshiko had been so excited that she hadn’t been able to sleep until Kathy had finally taken her to bed and had thoroughly tired her out and had left her sweaty and sated and finally able to doze off for several hours.

Still, Toshiko had practically bounced out of bed that morning, needing to arrive at the Hub early in order to get things done before leaving for the airport. Kathy had simply rolled her eyes and had stayed in bed, since she had a couple more hours before she had to be up and out the door. Her fiancée made Toshiko grin as Kathy pulled the sheet up over her head in an over-exaggerated show of trying to ignore her as she packed her suitcase, whining about how unnatural it was for someone to be happy about being awake that early in the day, let alone also anticipating a boring airline flight.

Her arrival at the Hub was greeted by a smiling Ianto holding a steaming mug; it was herbal tea, and Toshiko was grateful that it wasn’t caffeine. She really didn’t need it; she was hyper enough already at the very thought of being able to be at CERN for the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider. Particle physics wasn’t really in her skill set, but she knew this project would push forward the boundaries of science and would open entire new worlds of experimentation and knowledge that would echo across the years – and even decades – to come. She desperately wanted to be on the ground floor of that sort of history.

Not that Torchwood wasn’t fulfilling to her. Toshiko loved her job fiercely and would never leave – not even when her five-year contract was done in November – but there was something about being even peripherally involved in a project that would be written about in science texts that made her feel almost as giddy as she had been when Kathy had asked Toshiko to marry her.

Well, to be fair, she was still giddy over that.

They had scheduled to release their guest, the space whale, tomorrow, but Jack decided to move it to that morning so that she and Ianto and Patrick could be there. They’d all fallen just a little for the creature; it was a peaceful soul, once it had come to realise that they weren’t going to hurt it, and while they couldn’t communicate all that well it reacted to them gently and was careful about how it moved around them on the abandoned dock where they’d managed to transport it to from that hell that had been the warehouse where it had been tortured. It seemed to be particularly taken with Owen and Ianto: Owen, because he was the one helping it to heal; and Ianto, who was the one who came closest to being understood by it. The two of them would sing together, and Toshiko had made certain there were plenty of recordings of their duets as their entwined voices echoed through the Hub, and she hoped to someday be able to translate the haunting songs using the program she’d been working on for nearly a year.

Seeing the whale accept its freedom was a beautiful thing. There wasn’t a dry eye on the dock – even though Owen complained bitterly about getting all that splashed salt water in his face – as the alien slid slowly into the water after Jack had cranked open the door to the bay. Ianto had serenaded its leaving, and they’d all watched as it vanished under the water.

Toshiko didn’t know if they’d ever see it again, but she wished it all the best.

After that, it had been a whirlwind of preparation for the three of them to be gone for the time it would take to investigate Martha’s claims.

Toshiko had spent the morning with Rhys, showing him around the CCTV programs in order for him to be able to help coordinate if Jack and Owen happened to get called out. This wasn’t something that she’d usually show someone who’d only been with them a little over a week, but Rhys seemed to get what she was showing him. Already he was proving that Jack and Ianto had made the right decision in hiring him, and with both him and Patrick now in the team it was beginning to feel almost like they’d just adopted two new family members.

She admitted to herself though that she was just a bit concerned about Martha meeting Patrick face-to-face. Toshiko knew of the horrors of that Year, but Martha and Ianto had been in the thick of it while Toshiko had been safe in Ddraig Llyn. They’d been the two who had dealt with the fallout of Saxon’s attack on the remnants of SHIELD, and had actually seen what had happened to Patrick and the Resistance cell that had grown up around SHIELD’s former Director, Nick Fury. From what she’d been told it had been horrific, and Toshiko thought she knew Martha just well enough to wonder how she would react to seeing him after knowing how he’d died.

Of course, Ianto had been fine, but the dragon was more inured to losing people than Martha was…not that it made it any easier on her friend, but Toshiko knew that Ianto could hide it better than most.

Still, Toshiko trusted both Jack and Ianto and the decision they’d made about this mission. The division of the team made the most sense, plus she really loved working with Ianto. They’d always made a great team, and were more often than not paired up on missions. Adding Patrick to the mix would be interesting, since she really hadn’t worked that much with him yet. Ianto had, being the one who was doing more of the out of Hub training, and had mentioned that he was impressed with Patrick and his ability to cause all sorts of damage.

In fact, Ianto had had to put his foot down about carrying personal explosives around, even if he didn’t object to the sheer amount of deadly weapons Patrick liked having on his person. He really was like a walking arsenal, and Toshiko had to wonder just who had taught him where to hide all of it.   She was almost afraid to ask, since she did know just what sort of ‘professionals’ made up Patrick’s immediate family.

She was aware that Jack was planning on having the former FBI agent do all of the gun training from now on, once his training was complete, and Toshiko couldn’t say she was disappointed. Sometimes Jack had a tendency to get out of control with the touching…at least he had with Gwen and to her and Owen to a smaller extent. His training with Gwen though had bordered on the pornographic, and had given the former police officer the wrong impression when it had come to Jack’s feelings for her.

Thank the Great Dragons she was gone. The team didn’t need that sort of divisive personality.

They made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare – even though Patrick was given a hassle going through security; he was still on his American passport, which made an allowance for a single firearm under his old FBI credentials. Toshiko was dying to ask him how it felt to be without everything he usually carried, and she did once they’d all passed through and were on their way to their gate.

“You all have such a skewed idea of just what I like to have on hand,” Patrick groused. “I’m not some sort of walking weapons locker, you know.”

Ianto snorted. “You are aware that there are weapons’ scanners all over the Hub, right?”

“There was that one time,” Toshiko teased, “where it read you carrying four knives, three guns, a half dozen flash grenades –“

“Where did you even get all that?” Ianto asked. “I know for a fact we don’t have any flash grenades on the Hub inventory.”

“And don’t forget about the explosives,” Toshiko added, laughing. “Ianto actually confiscated several different types from you.”

“I can’t help it if I have relatives with high security clearances and access to deadly weapons,” Patrick answered primly.

Now Ianto was laughing. “You mean your parents send you care packages full of grenades and guns and such?”

“I thought parents were supposed to mail cookies and cakes?” Toshiko grinned.

“My mother is an excellent baker,” Patrick snarked back. “I just don’t bring anything like that into the Hub because Owen would steal it.”

Toshiko joined Ianto in laughing; Patrick was so right about Owen and sweets. Their doctor just couldn’t keep his hands away from baked goods, especially homemade ones.

“I really want to know which one of your family is misusing their security clearance to make sure you’re well supplied in items that cause mass amounts of damage,” Ianto said, seeming to get his laughter under control.

“No,” Patrick rebutted, “you really don’t.”

They had fun speculating about Patrick’s familial connections while they waited at the gate, and then moved on to other topics. It was pleasant conversation, and Toshiko was enjoying herself very much. She knew she loved spending time with Ianto, but Patrick was quickly becoming a favourite as well. Being around him actually made it easier for her to put aside what she knew about his fate during that Year, surprising as that was. It was as if they were becoming two different people in her mind, and she was grateful for it. But then, she really hadn’t dealt all that much with the SHIELD resistance cell in what had once been New York.

She wondered how Ianto felt about it, and promised herself that she’d ask once they had some time alone. Toshiko felt a bit bad for not inquiring sooner.

They were calling seat assignments for boarding when Ianto turned to them and said quietly, “I should admit now that I despise flying on airplanes.”

Toshiko’s mouth dropped open, and she didn’t have to look at Patrick to know he was just as surprised as she was.

Before she could ask, the overhead PA system announced their section, and the three of them stood and moved to the line that was forming to board. Only Toshiko was carrying a bag onto the plane; there was no way she was packing away her precious laptop into her luggage.

“I would’ve thought it would be relaxing not to have to fly yourself,” Patrick commented, just as quietly. “And you’d have a distinct advantage if something should happen.”

Ianto shook his head. “I wouldn’t have the room to transform inside the plane’s cabin, even if I didn’t have to worry about anyone accidentally getting hurt when I changed shape. I would be as trapped as anyone else inside if there was a problem…unless the side of the cabin was torn open, and then I could escape. But I wouldn’t be able to take many with me. I would be worse than useless in any sort of emergency situation.”

Toshiko shivered slightly. She could certainly understand why Ianto felt the way he did, now that he’d explained it. He would be as helpless as the humans who would be sharing their flight if anything did happen.

“Well,” Patrick said, clapping the dragon on the shoulder, “we’re just gonna have to distract you from the flight then. I bet Toshiko studied up on the Large Hardon Collider when she was supposed to have been sleeping last night.”

Toshiko nearly choked on his mispronunciation. “It’s the Large Hadron Collider, Delaware,” she corrected roughly, smacking him in the arm. The attendant on the jet way gave her a funny look, but accepted her boarding pass and wished her a good day, which the tech expert returned. “Ianto, he’s already been around Jack far too much if he’s coming up with that!”

Ianto’s face had gone slightly red, and she guessed it was from trying to stifle laughter than from embarrassment. Their footsteps echoed down the sloping jet way as they began boarding. “Tosh, Jack would have come up with something worse.”

**********

“Dragon!”

Toshiko turned in the direction of the voice, immediately recognising the happy tone. Martha Jones was grinning like a maniac as she approached them at the luggage carousels, dodging through the crowds easily. She was dressed in a pencil skirt and suit jacket, looking very professional even if her body language was communicating almost child-like excitement.

“Nightingale!” Ianto exclaimed just as happily, moving to meet her.

Toshiko followed, glad to see their friend even if it was under strange circumstances. She watched as Martha practically launched herself into Ianto’s arms, both of them laughing as they embraced. She couldn’t help but smile; those two had been through so much and had come out at the far end so much stronger because of it.

Martha and Ianto broke apart, both of them still grinning. Then the doctor turned to Toshiko, her smile just as bright. “Cherry Blossom!” she greeted, pulling Toshiko into a slightly less frantic hug. “Engaged life is really agreeing with you! You look fabulous.”

Toshiko felt herself blush just a little; she still couldn’t believe that Kathy had asked her to marry her. There was still that little bit of surprise left in her that made her question if it was really true. “It’s so good to see you,” she answered. She leaned back a little, letting a smirk grow. “And just when are you and Tom going to make it official then?”

Martha rolled her eyes. “He hasn’t asked me yet, but then it’s only been three months. I’m sure he’ll get around to it eventually.”

So was Toshiko. Tom was a good man, and she was honestly fond of him. She was really hoping it would work out for them both, because both of them deserved to be happy.

“Martha,” Ianto said, “I want to introduce our newest team member to you.”

Something flickered within Martha’s dark eyes, and Toshiko hoped only she’d seen it because she was still standing so close. It was gone in an instant, and Martha was pulling away, aiming her bright smile toward Patrick, who was standing slightly separated from the three of them, looking just a bit uncertain.   “So, this is Patrick then?” she asked playfully, holding out her hand. “Tish may have mentioned you a couple of times.”

And here Toshiko had been worried about how Martha would react to him.   She needn’t have.

Patrick accepted the hand, his own face developing a smile as well, although this one was somewhat less bright. “Yeah, and I’m sure she’s lied about everything,” he answered, chuckling.

“Knowing my sister,” Martha replied, “she has. Oh, and you have my permission to keep trying to set her up with Eoin. It’s irritating her to no end and I’m enjoying laughing at her about it.”

That seemed to break whatever ice there had been between them, because Patrick outright beamed. “Don’t worry; I plan to. They’d make a lovely couple even if they won’t admit it.”

Ianto’s eyes widened. “You’re trying to set up Tish and Eoin Gwynne?”

“How’s that going for you then?” Toshiko asked, as surprised as the dragon. There hadn’t been any hint whatsoever that Patrick was trying to play matchmaker, and for the normally gregarious American that was some really good secret-keeping.

“Pretty crappy,” Patrick admitted cheerfully, “but I’m sure they’ll get it before it comes to the part where I knock their heads together.”

Martha snorted. “Yeah, but Tish is stubborn so you might want to be prepared for violence.” Then she grinned. “C’mon; I have a car to take you all to the hotel where I have your reservations.”

It didn’t take long for them to retrieve their luggage and then go through customs – although it still would have been shorter if Patrick’s gun hadn’t been involved. The customs agent hadn’t really wanted to let it through, but a short conversation between Ianto and the woman’s supervisor cleared the path for them to finally leave the airport and head out to the car park.

Toshiko would have loved to have heard just what her friend had said to the man, but she’d just have to content herself with asking later.

The vehicle Martha had seconded was an older model minivan, and she slipped behind the wheel as the three Torchwood operatives climbed inside. Ianto took the passenger seat after calling ‘shotgun’ on it, and it was all Toshiko could do not to roll her eyes at him. Calling shotgun was a Torchwood tradition that was usually ignored, especially when it came from Owen.

“Okay,” Ianto said as Martha pulled out into traffic, “so what exactly is going on? I got the story from Jack, but I’d really like to hear it from your own words.”

Martha nodded as she navigated the minivan toward the E62. “This mate of mine, Julia Swales, works at CERN as a doctor and a few weeks ago she noticed that people were being taken ill with symptoms no one could really understand. So, because no one here could do anything, the patients were sent to some sort of specialised hospital across the border in France.”

“Makes sense,” Patrick put in, leaning forward a little toward the front seat, blocking part of Toshiko’s view of Martha’s face. She didn’t say anything; just sat back and listened to Martha speak.

“Yep,” Martha agreed. “Problem is, when Julia contacted the hospital to check in on the workers, she found out they never arrived. They’d vanished…all eleven of them.”

No, that didn’t sound good at all. Toshiko wondered who would have wanted to make eleven sick people disappear. Someone on the project, of course; but there was no reason why that she could come up with. Something had to have been going on at CERN, and she could see why Martha would have wanted to look into it.

“No clue at all as to where they might have gone?” Ianto asked.

“No,” Martha shook her head. “Julia was worried, so as soon as I got here with the rest of the UNIT team, she told me about it. I told my superiors…and I’m sure Jack told you how well that went.”

Now that made Toshiko angry. Martha had more than earned her place in UNIT; no one had done more to save this planet than she had, during that Year. It wasn’t her friend’s fault that most of the events of the Toclafane invasion were so highly secret that only a handful of people who hadn’t lived through it were aware that it had even occurred.

“But now Julia’s vanished,” the dragon prompted.

“Yeah,” Martha sighed. “And I can’t very well investigate on my own; I’m being watched by my commanding officer. He’s just waiting for me to screw up so he can pack me back off to London with my tail between my legs and an “I told you so” letter to Colonel Mace.”

“We’re glad you called us,” Ianto answered. “We’re family, and we help our own.”

It was true. Toshiko knew that any one of them would have come to Martha’s aid, no matter the reason. They’d all been through too much to ignore a member of their family when they called for help.

“Tomorrow is the perfect time to investigate,” Martha went on. “The LHC is being turned on, and UNIT will be run off its feet, what with the dignitaries and the ambassador’s reception. We should be able to stay out of their way while we poke around.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Ianto agreed. “Jack said you’d have covers for us?”

Patrick had leaned back just enough for Toshiko to catch Martha’s sheepish glance toward the dragon. “You could say that…”



Chapter Three




Comments

Ooh, I'm looking forward to Martha's cover story. Loved watching the space whale swim off to freedom. And the idea of Ianto and the whale singing together is beautiful. I get tingles down my back just thinking of their music together.
Great update! It's so nice to see the whale set free.
No worries about the delay. I hope the crisis has calmed down and you're mom's doing well. *hugs*

Aww, so happy to read about the space whale! Hope it's happy in it's new home.

Really loved this chapter and the chemistry between the main players so far. Patrick's fast becoming my favorite OC in a Torchwood AU. :)
All the best with your mum and other crises!!!

Just yesterday I was thinking; haven't read any dragon stories for a long time..Let's look milady up tomorrow..
and lo and behold..I hav to think about you and your dragon more often. It helps!!!

Thanks for the update!!!!!!It cheers me up!

Edited at 2014-08-14 09:02 am (UTC)
First off, I'm sorry to hear you had family stuff as well as work stuff to deal with, and I hope it's all gone well.

Secondly: Yaaaaaay! Here be dragons! :-D Great update, can't wait for the next chapter :-)
This is shaping up to be an interesting addition to the series. I like how you are adding a bit more to Patrick Delaware as a character. It was hilarious when you had him mispronounce the Hadron Collider.

I hope things are going a bit better with life and family.
So glad to see the Dragon stories back!
Tosh and Ianto are the dream team really, aren't they? I am really curious about Patrick and what he did to inspire such intense reactions and feelings... I am loving this so far ! :)

I do not like this episode. I think it's because it's a radio.
But reading your version is always interesting!