milady_dragon (milady_dragon) wrote,

To Be Human - Chapter Five

To Be Human - Chapter Five
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.

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 left Jack and headed down to the interrogation room where they’d left Beth.  He wished he could be there with his mate when he confronted Gwen, but he knew this was something that Jack had to do on his own. 

It wasn’t that he disliked Gwen; he honestly didn’t.  But Ianto just didn’t know how to take her moods and her accusations.  Things had calmed down when Jack had been gone, but now…it was just as bad as before.  He only hoped Jack could make her see reason.  And, if not, then of course there was demotion or termination. 

Ianto was personally going for demotion, and not because he really wanted Gwen around anymore.  It was because they’d have to take so much of her memory to let her go now, and there were enough people out there who knew she’d gone to work for ‘special ops’ that, at some point, it was almost a foregone conclusion that she’d somehow regain what she’d lost.  Of course, he’d help set up any sort of background that would be required, but then there was Rhys…it would almost be better if he somehow knew about Torchwood; knew what to look for if Gwen began remembering.  In the dimension he’d visited that had been Rhys Williams’ actual job with Torchwood, but then that other Gwen had been somewhat touched.  Their Gwen wasn’t, though she still had a host of issues that would have to be taken into consideration. 

They would need someone to watch her if Retcon was the choice made…and the best person for that would be Rhys.

It was paramount that Ianto meet with the man now.

He glanced down into the interrogation room from the high window.  Beth was still there, sitting in the chair, her head down and every line of her body reading defeat.

His mother had been fond of telling a young Ianto to follow his heart, and it would never lie to him.  He’d learned the hard way that she’d been correct; everything to do with Lisa and Jack had taught him that to ignore his feelings was to court disaster.  He’d not paid any attention them, and had tried to save a psychotic dragon and had almost lost his mate.

He was getting very conflicted feelings about Beth Halloran.

Taking her on face value, Ianto would never have thought that she could be responsible for the deaths of two men.  It was obvious that she was exactly how she looked: a distraught young woman who had been thrust into a situation she couldn’t understand.  He believed that outer appearance implicitly; he almost couldn’t help it.

But there was something within Beth Halloran that wasn’t…right.  Ianto didn’t know what it was, but it was there, hidden away, and he could swear it was waiting for its moment to pounce.  He was also certain that Beth had no idea of this, which made his impressions all the more confusing. 

Ianto had no doubt that she’d killed those two criminals, and she’d done it from a true need to defend herself, her husband, and her home.  But how she’d done it, and not recall the events…if it were some sort of chemical memory blocker, Owen would be able to find out. 

He was firmly convinced that she wasn’t lying when she claimed not to know anything.

However, that didn’t make her any less a danger.  They simply needed to know just how much of a threat she was, and if they would need to contain her.  Jack had been correct; Beth Halloran was an unknown quantity, one that they would need to assess in order to discover just what would need to be done.

Ianto took the steps down into the room. At his approach Beth raised her head, looking at him with large, frightened eyes.  “Are you coming to let me go?” she asked, her voice quavering.

“I’m afraid not.”  He leaned against the table, examining her closely.  She looked exhausted, her eyes red-rimmed and puffy and her lips irritated where she’d obviously been biting them.  There was nothing even remotely threatening about her in that moment, and Ianto couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for her.

“Beth, I know you have no idea who I am, but I swear to you now that I will not lie to you, no matter what.”  Ianto had no idea where this vow had come from, but the moment he spoke it he knew he’d meant it.  He felt she deserved to know what was going to happen to her, the bad or the good. 

“How do I know you’re not lying now?” she tried to joke, but it fell flat.

He gave her a soft smile.  “You don’t.  But I want to be honest with you.”

“All right.  I’ll believe you.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  And my name is Ianto.”

“That’s a nice Welsh name.”

His smile widened.  “I have been told that I’m a nice Welsh boy.”  He didn’t add that, technically, he wasn’t Welsh and he wasn’t a boy.

Beth sighed.  “Except for the kidnapping me from the hospital and holding me against my will part.”

Ianto lost his smile.  “If it helps, I believe you when you say you don’t remember anything.”

“Then why keep me here?”

“Because there’s something else going on here, Beth.  During the earlier questioning, when you became upset you emitted a pulse of electromagnetic energy that blew the light bulb overhead.”

Beth’s face went grey.  “That was me?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“But how?”

“We don’t know,” Ianto admitted.  “But we want to run some tests to find out how.”

“What sort of tests?”

“Scans, blood work, things like that.”

“And…if you find out I’m…” she choked out a laugh.  “Oh God, I can’t believe I’m buying into this alien shit!”  She looked as if she wanted to cry again.

“One of two things,” he said, taking the seat opposite her. “If, after our tests, we discover that you’re an innocent in all this, then we let you go back to Mike.  We’ve helped stranded aliens before, and we have certain procedures, so as long as you follow a set of rules we leave you alone.  We’ll also support you and Mike if anything happens that has to do with your race…that is, if you prove to be a benign alien.”

 At this point, Ianto was leaning toward that being the case.  There had been cases where aliens had arrived on Earth as children and were taken in by human families, and grew up without knowing anything about their true heritage.  Since Beth didn’t seem to recall being different, that could very well be what happened.

And yet…

As much as Ianto wanted to believe her, there was still something niggling at the back of his mind, and he couldn’t dismiss it.  Beth had been able to overpower two grown men, and had killed them both even if it had been self-defence.  Chances were a peaceful race wouldn’t have the tools to defend themselves like that.

The weapon hadn’t been found, which was an issue with Ianto’s belief in Beth’s passive façade.  Where had it gone? Where had she even gotten it from to begin with?

There were just too many questions right now to even try to make any sort of educated guess.

“And…” Beth swallowed hard.  “And if I don’t?”

“Then, it’s containment.  In whatever way we can.”  He leaned over toward her, putting his hand on hers.  She flinched slightly, and Ianto knew immediately that it was his slightly warmer than human hand that had caused it.  “We would need to protect any innocent people that you might hurt.”

A single tear tracked down Beth’s cheek.  She nodded convulsively.  “I…I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone.”  She looked him straight in the eye, and the dragon’s heart constricted at the obvious distress in her gaze.  “I really killed those men, didn’t I?”

“We’re pretty certain, yes.”

“But why don’t I remember doing it?  You’d think I’d…” She scrubbed a hand across her face.   “I should know if I killed somebody, right?”

Ianto sighed.  “That’s what we also need to find out.  If there was something chemical that caused the holes in your memory, then chances are you’ll get them back eventually.  But, if it’s a part of an alien biology we don’t know, then we really have no idea.”

“But how could I be a friendly…alien…if what I did was wiped from my mind?”

“If your race was conditioned not to kill, and you did, it could be psychological.”  It had happened to him, in the wake of his family’s murder, and it had been years before he’d fully recovered those memories outside the nightmares that, even now, still haunted him occasionally.

“But why wouldn’t I know if I was someone else?”  Beth seemed to be getting more and more upset, but Ianto knew she needed all the answers he could give her.

“There are times when a being arrives on Earth and they’re too young to recall where they came from,” he explained.  “We had one case of a baby that was found by the police.  She was adopted by human parents, and grew up thinking she was their child…until she turned sixteen, and her race’s mating instinct took over and she tried to kill her boyfriend after their first time together.”

“What did you do?” she asked, her eyes wide.

“We managed to stop her.  All it took was a cocktail of hormones and herbs and she was fine.  The last time she checked in with us, she was still at University and studying to be a theoretical physicist.  As long as she continues taking that supplement the mating frenzy won’t come over her.  And, if there would come a time when it doesn’t work, then we’ll tweak it until it does.”

“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” she whispered.   

The dragon believed her. “We’ll figure this out,” Ianto said, confident that they would, indeed, work out where Beth was from.   “We have a great many resources we can use, plus there are some of the smartest people on this planet who will be working to do what we can to get to the bottom of this.”

Beth seemed to visibly screw up her courage.  She looked Ianto straight in the eye.  “Okay.  Let’s get these tests done.”  She held up her wrists, and the handcuffs jingled slightly with the movement.  “Do I have to keep these on?”

Ianto considered.  He knew that Jack would want them on until they determined whether Beth was a true threat, but he had this feeling that Beth would be all right for the time being.  “How about a compromise?  If you can wait until we get up to the medical bay, then we can take them off.”  He grinned slightly.  “This is only because I don’t have the key with me.  Otherwise I would remove them.”

That confession caused Beth to laugh, albeit weakly.  “What sort of place is this, that you don’t have a handcuff key handy when you need one?”

“Would you believe I left it at home?  My partner and I had the cuffs out the other night –“

The laughter got stronger, and it was worth Ianto embarrassing himself slightly with the story.   “Does the boss know you’re using company property as sexual aids?”

Ianto winked at her.  “He is my boss.”

Beth’s jaw dropped.  “You mean…”  She shook her head.  “Well, he’s fit, I’ll give you that.  I can’t honestly say anything else nice about him though, after his questioning me.”

“He had to,” Ianto felt the need to defend his mate.  “He thought if he could provoke you, then you might slip and give something away.  It really was nothing personal.”  Besides, Jack had actually been rather easy on her; the dragon had seen him interrogate obvious threats before, and it hadn’t been pretty.  In fact, it had been fairly arousing, although he wasn’t about to admit that to her. “And he did, in a way…that light bulb that blew out?  That was you.”

Beth frowned.  “What…by using the power of my mind or something?”

“We don’t know, only that it was some sort of electromagnetic burst when you were at your most upset.  So you see, this is why we’re all convinced you’re not from Earth.  Human beings just can’t throw off energy pulses like that.”

“I really have no idea what that means,” Beth admitted. 

“Let’s get you upstairs and the scientist among us can explain.”  Ianto helped her to her feet.  “And maybe, after the tests, we can get you a cup of coffee or tea.”

“I would kill for a coffee.”  Then Beth seemed to realise what she’d said, and she stammered, “I mean…I didn’t mean…”

“I know,” he answered kindly.  He’d heard Owen say the same thing many times, and while he never took the saying at face value, knowing that Beth could, in fact, kill for a coffee…

He followed her up the narrow stairs, and then down the hallway toward the main Hub.  Beth’s jaw dropped when she got her first look at her surroundings.  “You people work here?”

“We do, yes.”  Ianto ushered her toward the Autopsy Bay, where he knew Owen and Toshiko were waiting.  He glanced toward Jack’s office, and could make out his mate at his desk, speaking to a seated Gwen.  She didn’t look happy, and the dragon wasn’t surprised by that.

“This is amazing!”  She looked around the Hub, and Ianto had to guide her when she stumbled from not paying attention to where she was walking. 

Myfanwy took that moment to let out a screech, and spiral around the water tower, her wings catching the warm updrafts from the Hub floor.  Beth gasped.  “Is that…?”

“A pteranodon, yes.”

“I think…I think I might actually be beginning to believe this alien thing.”  She sounded breathless.  “I suddenly feel very, very small.”

Ianto took her arm and led her toward the Autopsy Bay steps.  Toshiko and Owen were moving around the area, still preparing their instruments.  Beth came to a halt, staring warily at the high-tech equipment.

“It’s about time, Tea Boy,” Owen said, not even turning around.  Ianto was grateful that he remembered not to call him ‘Dragon Boy’ around their guest.  “Now, let’s get this show on the road.”

“Never mind him,” Ianto encouraged Beth as they made the rest of the way down.  “He’s a cranky bastard.”

“That’s Doctor Cranky Bastard to you,” Owen sniped back, finally turning around.  “Now, let’s get you up on the table, shall we?  The sooner we get started, the sooner we’re done and the sooner I can get some coffee.”

“Oh, please,” Beth pleaded.  “I want to know what’s going on.”

Owen dug out his handcuff key – after teasing Ianto about not having his, which the dragon took good-naturedly – and removed the cuffs so Beth could climb up on the table easier.  “Now,” the medic said, “we’re gonna run a battery of tests to determine just where you come from, darlin’.  Tosh has some scanners that she’s gonna use while I get the blood and skin samples.”

“Ianto said you could explain about the electromagnetic thing,” Beth replied, looking at Toshiko.

The technician glanced at Ianto, and then back to Beth.  “As soon as I know more about it and why it’s happening, I’ll be glad to.”

The woman gave Toshiko a faint smile.  “Thank you.”

Toshiko nodded, and went back to her equipment.

“Now,” Owen went on, “let’s see if we can find a vein here…”  He lifted Beth’s arm gently – for him, proving that he wasn’t so big a prat after all – and felt around until he found what he was looking for.  Then he took a syringe and pressed the needle against her skin.

The needle broke.

Owen frowned.  “What the…” He shook his head, and grabbed another syringe.

This needle broke as well.

Ianto glanced over Beth’s body to look at her arm.  It was unblemished.

“Try one of mine,” her murmured.  The dragon knew that needles had a hard time getting through his own tough skin, but that was also why Owen kept a special supply of syringes just for him available.

The medic stepped over to the cabinet, opening one of the drawers and taking out one of the stronger syringes and then heading back to the examination table.  He lifted Beth’s arm once more, positioning the needle.

The needle snapped.

“What’s going on?” Beth asked, starting to sound scared once more.

Ianto touched the comm. in his ear.  He didn’t even get to say anything before Jack was snapping, “Can it wait?”

The dragon barely hid the cringe.  Things must be going badly in his mate’s office.  “No, Jack.  You need to come to the Autopsy Bay immediately.  It’s about Beth.”

“I’m on my way.” The unmistakable sound of Jack’s comm. switching off was almost like getting a phone slammed in his ear. 

Ianto had a feeling things were only going to get worse.

Chapter Six

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

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