milady_dragon (milady_dragon) wrote,

To Be Human - Chapter Two

To Be Human - Chapter Two
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Toshiko/Kathy, Owen/Diane
Warnings: Language
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E2, "Sleeper"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better. 
Author's note:  Here we are, the Dragon-Verse version of "Sleeper".  I know there have been a few detours before getting to this, and I hope it's worth the wait.  As usual, dating is taken from several fan-made chronologies, especially Ianto's Desktop, and other information from the TARDIS Index File.

A/N2:  Next chapter will most likely be delayed next week because of Mom being released from the nursing home.  I'll try to work on it, but there are no promises.  Thanks, everyone!

Summary: An attempted home invasion puts the team on the trail of an alien sleeper cell intent on invasion, and Gwen gets a lesson on what it means to be human. 

29 June 2008


Ianto stifled a yawn as Jack pulled the SUV up as close to the scene of crime as he could, but with all the emergency vehicles in the way that was easier said than done.

It wasn’t how Ianto had wanted to spend his night, not after yesterday.  But the early morning call from Andy Davidson had he and Jack calling both Owen and Toshiko out – and Kathy hadn’t sounded happy in the background when Ianto had phoned – in order to check out with the PC had thought would warrant Torchwood’s attention.

At least it wasn’t a Rift alert.  The dragon would have felt that.  No, this was something else, and Ianto was hoping they could debunk it so the four of them could go back to their homes.  Not that he really held out all that much hope for it.

Once in the SUV Toshiko had hacked into CRIMINT and had pulled what details she could about the call-out.  Two in-custody males; one dead, the other in critical condition after falling from a fifth-floor window and onto a police car.  It had apparently been an attempted burglary, and from what the technician had been able to determine the owners of the flat – Mike and Beth Halloran – were both at hospital, although the wife had not been obviously injured. 

It had apparently been the nature of the thieves’ injuries that had tripped PC Andy’s spooky do radar from what Toshiko could interpret.  Plus, there had been a very bizarre-sounding 999 call that had began quite normally with the wife calling in the intrusion.  Toshiko managed to pull the recording, and the screams had caused a shiver to race down Ianto’s spine.   

The road of flats that Jack had pulled into was wall-to-wall pandas and ambulances.  The building that they were parked in front of looked plain and unassuming…except for the shattered fifth-floor window.  Ianto climbed out of the front passenger seat, just behind Jack who, with his usual energy, had practically exited the vehicle before pulling the parking brake and turning the engine off.  Owen and Toshiko followed, but it was obvious when Owen had noticed the first victim, splayed across the windscreen and bonnet of a partially-damaged police vehicle, just from the cursing alone.

The medic darted around Ianto, making a beeline for the injured man, his bag already off his shoulder.  “Bloody hell!” He motioned to a bobby awkwardly holding an IV bag, the line having already been inserted.  “Has he been stabilized?”

The copper nodded, and Owen began his own examination.  Ianto could smell the coppery tang of blood and stepped aside to let Owen work, knowing that the man’s chances had improved now that their own medic was on the case.  Yes, he and Owen sniped at each other, but the dragon respected the hell out of him.

“Owen,” Jack ordered, in full captain mode, “go with him to the hospital.  See if he’s able to tell us anything.  While you’re there, check on the husband and wife and get their stories.”

“You got it.”

“Ianto,” Jack continued, “why don’t you go and sweet talk the local constabulary while Tosh and I check out the scene.”

Ianto nodded, peeling off from the team.  He watched as Jack and Toshiko headed into the building, then turned to locate the reason they’d been pulled out of their beds in the middle of the night.

Andy Davidson stood at one of the barricades, and the dragon strode toward him, smiling as the PC noticed him approaching.  “PC Davidson,” Ianto greeted.

“Mr. Jones.”  Andy returned the smile.  Ianto hadn’t really been familiar with the constable before Gwen had joined Torchwood, and Kathy had nothing but good things to say about the young man.

“I hear congratulations are in order.”

Andy looked surprised.  “What do you mean?”

“I understand you’ve taken the detective’s exam.” 

He looked confused for a second, and then nodded.  “DI Swanson tell you, then?”

 “She did.”  Ianto didn’t add that Kathy was hoping to be assigned as Andy’s training officer, she was that impressed by him.  She’d confided that she really hadn’t paid much attention to the PC until after Gwen’s leaving, but then she’d seen just what a good investigator he was.  Of course, Kathy had confessed that it was because of Gwen that she hadn’t really gotten to know Andy, and she felt somewhat guilty for it.  She’d come to feel that Andy would be an excellent detective, now that he was out of the brash Gwen Cooper’s shadow.

“Yeah, well we’ll see.  There’ll be a lot of training involved, but it’s something I want to do.”  Andy looked at him sideways.  “You don’t happen to know something I don’t, do you?”

Ianto chuckled.  “I assure you, Constable, that I’m as in the dark as you about the outcome of the test.”  He glanced up at the building.  “Can you tell me why you though an attempted home invasion is something Torchwood would be interested in?”  He’d caught what had been in the CRIMINT report, but wanted to get it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

“I’ll trade information for coffee.”

The dragon shook his head in amusement.  “Why did I think you would say that?” 

“It doesn’t take a detective to notice the flask you’re carrying, does it?”

Ianto thought he really needed to get to know Andy Davidson better.  The man had a sense of humour that the dragon could understand.  “Very well,” he answered, unscrewing the cap of the insulated flask he’d brought with him just for this purpose…minus the Retcon, of course.  That particular flask was still in the SUV, just in case.  “With those superior observational skills, you’ll be a detective in no time at all.”

Andy smirked as he accepted the flask’s lid, filled with hot coffee.  He took a sip, and sighed.  “Are there any openings in Torchwood?  ‘Cause I’d come to work for Himself if it meant getting coffee like this all the time.”

“Information, please,” Ianto answered mildly.  He wondered if the constable had what it took to work for Torchwood, and thought to bring it up to Jack.  Perhaps it was time to start expanding the team…

“Yeah, business before pleasure.”  Andy took a sip, looking as if he were gathering his thoughts.   “We got a call from the wife, about burglars in the house.  Me and my partner were called out, and what we found…one victim, dead of multiple stab wounds, but there wasn’t a knife anywhere in the room.  The only weapon we found was a cricket bat on the floor.”

He took another drink of coffee.  “Then there was the bloke who got thrown through the window.  Now, the husband was unconscious and the wife was cowering in the corner, in shock and covered in blood.  There was no way she could’ve tossed anyone out of the window, ‘cause I doubt she weighs any more than your Japanese friend.”

“When your life is in danger, you’d be surprised what someone could do.”

“Nah, I’ve seen too much on this job.  And, believe me, no matter how scared she was, Mrs. Halloran just isn’t capable of that sort of thing.  Plus, she says she didn’t do it, and I believe her.”

Ianto could feel his curiosity building.  “Sounds like the classic ‘locked room’ murder.”

Andy nodded.  “None of the neighbors heard or saw anything…no big surprise, there.  Oh, and then after the fact we were told about the creepiness of the call the wife placed to the police.”  He shuddered dramatically.  “Apparently the only voices screaming on the thing were male.”

 “It had to have been either the husband or wife,” Ianto pointed out logically.  Of course, in his line of work it could have been anything but that, but he was curious about how Andy would answer.

“Yeah, maybe.  But I don’t buy it.  There’s too much weirdness in this for that, which is why I called you in.  Something about the scene just screamed ‘spooky do’ at me and I’ve learned not to ignore my instincts.”

Ianto thought that Andy would make an excellent detective, especially in a place as spatially and temporally unstable as Cardiff.  It seemed he had a good intuition for the job.  “Well, we’ll certainly take a look at the scene and let you know.”

He could hear Jack suddenly chattering in his ear, and he didn’t react.  “Yeah, this is really strange,” his mate said.  “Even if this wasn’t one of ours, I’d still want to know what happened in this flat.  Tell your friend out there that we’ll be taking over.”

Ianto poured Andy a little more coffee.  “Looks like we’re going to be investigating this ourselves.”

“One of those talky things in your ear, huh?  Well, I’m not surprised, since you blokes have some of the best toys.” Andy drained the small cup and handed it back.  “I’ll let the lead detective on site know.  Oh, and thanks for not stomping in and just taking over like the Captain usually does.  We poor working sods appreciate the courtesy…and the coffee, of course.”  With a nod, Andy walked away in order to find the officer in charge. 

Ianto sensed Jack getting closer, and he turned in time to see his mate and Toshiko exiting the building.  The dragon headed over to join them.  Jack was looking somewhat pensive.  “There was nothing in that room to tell us anything,” he groused. 

“Except for the lack of murder weapon and a lot of blood,” Toshiko corrected.  “And the window had definitely been broken outward, so that burglar had gone through it with a bit of force.”

“Andy says that the wife isn’t physically imposing,” Ianto reported, “and doubts she has it in her to toss someone bigger than her through plate glass.” 

Jack touched the comm. in his ear.  “Owen, anything?”

“I’ve left the burglar with the trauma people, they’re best to handle his injuries,” the medic answered.  “I’m gonna see about the husband and I’ll get back with you as soon as I have anything.”

“Keep us informed.”  Jack toggled off his comm.  “Okay, we have a bit of a mystery on our hands.  Ianto, I want everything you can dig up on the happy couple, as well as the would-be thieves.  I want to know if the Hallorans were targeted for some reason, or if this was just random.   Toshiko, you go over the readings you got from the flat.  See if there’s anything weird up there that might give us some sort of idea as to what happened.”

“There were some odd electromagnetic signatures,” the technician mused.  “I don’t know what it means yet, but I’ll get on that when we get back to the Hub.”

“I hate to say this,” the dragon said, somewhat delicately, “but Gwen might be the best person to talk to the Hallorans.  She can put her so-called compassion to good use.” He let just a hint of his natural sarcasm leak through.  “Owen has the bedside manner of a Weevil in heat.”

Jack frowned.  Just after the original phone call they’d received back at the house, he’d asked Jack if he’d wanted to call Gwen in as well, but his mate had said no, still irritated by what Owen had told them earlier in the evening.  And, while Ianto might not have thought much about the way she was prone to treating her teammates, Gwen did have a certain rapport with normal people, and Jack had to concede that, even though the dragon knew his mate really didn’t want to.

Finally, Jack sighed. “You’re right.  Gwen would be the best person to interview the husband and wife.  I’ll call her in and send her to the hospital.  But I’m going to warn Owen to keep an eye on her.  The moment she shows any of sort of condescending behaviour, she goes on Hub duty.  I’m on my last nerve with her.”

Toshiko was looking at both Ianto and Jack, her face curious and concerned at the same time.  “Has something happened?” she asked.

Jack ran his hand through his hair, tugging at the strands in frustration.  “You could say that, yes.  It turns out she had a confrontation with the other-dimensional Ianto, and Owen witnessed it.”

“Thank God he did,” she replied.  “But why?  The other Ianto was nice.  He was different from our Ianto, but not so much that you could hold it against him.  He was in a place that was confusing to him.  He didn’t need to be confronted by anyone, let alone Gwen.”

This is one of the many reasons Ianto loved Toshiko.  While she had a very healthy skepticism concerning the unknown, once a person proved themselves to her, she accepted them.  Certainly it had gotten her into trouble in the past, but Ianto would never have her change.  “Yes, but him being not so different from me was what she most likely held against him.”

“I couldn’t help but see she wasn’t happy with him being there, but honestly…he was lost!  That should have been the first priority for her once he’d explained himself.”

“But you know that’s how Gwen is,” Jack sighed. 

“Jack,” Toshiko murmured, stepping a bit closer, “perhaps it would have been different if she’d been around during that Year.  She hasn’t grown the way the rest of us have.  I think we’ve all simply left her in the dust, so to speak.  I know you want to give her a chance to prove herself, but maybe it’s time to let her go.  I hate the idea of being a team member down…”

“This is her last chance,” Jack said softly.  “If she doesn’t put her best foot forward on this, even if it turns out this isn’t a Torchwood case, then she’s on Hub duty permanently.  She knows her way around the system enough to act as a coordinator for the outside team.  And, if she manages to mess that up…then yes, I think it would be time to consider Retcon.”

“The only problem is,” Ianto added, “is that Gwen has now been with Torchwood long enough that such a large gap in memories could be the very thing that might trigger everything in coming back.  Also…I want to meet Rhys.”

Toshiko’s eyes widened.  “You think he might be Torchwood material?”

“I’ve no idea.  But I’m hoping he might at least be able to rein Gwen in, if he’s trustworthy enough to be brought into the circle of loved ones who are even just slightly involved.”

“Look,” Jack interrupted, “this is all fine and dandy, but we have a murder to try to solve.  I’m going to get Gwen up and to the hospital to meet Owen.  I want her to question the Hallorans, and Owen to sit on that other burglar until we can get something out of him.”

He stepped away, pulling his mobile out.  Ianto watched him, frowning.  He knew how much this issue with Gwen was getting to his mate, and he was beginning to suspect that Jack was considering more than just losing what could be a decent field agent. 

Gwen had been the first person Jack had hired on his own since Suzie had been kept after they’d evicted the others from Torchwood One forcefully from the Hub when they’d taken over.  And what had happened to Suzie…well, Jack might not have come out and said it, but the dragon was beginning to guess what his mate could be thinking: that he was a failure, and that Torchwood was suffering from his bad decisions when it came to personnel. 

Ianto wished he could reassure Jack that wasn’t the case, since it had been his mate to have found Owen and he’d worked out brilliantly, but the dragon also knew that his mate’s confidence had taken a big hit from the Doctor’s attitude toward him as well.  He really didn’t think Jack would accept anything except from what he worked out on his own.  And Ianto knew when to pick his battles.

“Tosh,” he said, turning back to the technician, “let’s not bring up Gwen again, at least not in this context, all right?  We all know there are issues but it’s up to Jack to decide what to do about her.”

Toshiko nodded, accepting the mild rebuke.  “Okay.  But you know I’m right…the four of us have had too many things happen to us, and it’s brought us all closer.  Gwen’s on the outside, looking in…and she doesn’t even realise it.  I’m not trying to justify her behaviour – she had absolutely no right to treat your counterpart with anything but compassion and respect – but there’s such a gulf between us now, I just don’t see how she can possibly fit in anymore.  And, before you say anything, yes I know we had problems before the Toclafane, but she was actually starting to fit in.  I can’t help wondering if her changes in attitude have more to do with what she doesn’t know, than what she does.”

“Perhaps part of it,” Ianto conceded, “but that doesn’t explain her attitude beforehand.”  He glanced back over to his mate, who looked as resigned as he’d ever seen him.  “We’ll work it out.  Now, we have a job to do.”

Toshiko nodded, although the expression on her face told Ianto that she wanted to continue their conversation.  At least she recognized the subject dismissal for what it was.  “You’re right, of course.  Finding out what happened is more important right now.” 

Ianto was glad that she was dropping it, but he knew this was far from over.  He only hoped that Gwen wouldn’t distract from what they needed to do…even if she wasn’t around.

Chapter Three

Tags: au, dragon-verse, to be human, torchwood

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