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Myfanwy 2

October 2019

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Dragon-Verse icon

To Be Human - Chapter Six

To Be Human - Chapter Six
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

 

Jack strode toward the Autopsy Bay, entering and leaning on the railing overlooking the circular area.  His gaze took in the tableau: Ianto and Owen standing by the exam table, where Beth Halloran sat; and Toshiko, by the scanners that were taking readings of the woman as she was being physically examined. 

Beth wore an expression of horrified fascination, while Owen and Ianto were staring at each other as if they were having some sort of silent communication.  Toshiko looked just plain curious, as if she’d seen something she’d love to be able to explain but, at that moment, couldn’t.  Her eyes kept darting back to her instruments, and then back to Beth.

“What’s going on?” he asked, ignoring Gwen’s appearance by his side.

Ianto glanced up, giving Jack the full force of his concern.  “Owen can’t take any blood.  The needles keep breaking.”

Jack frowned.  “What about –“

“We even tried the special needles Owen keeps on hand for…” his voice faded, but Jack nodded, knowing what he was trying to say.  “They won’t penetrate her skin.”

“Just a sec,” Owen said, turning toward his tray of instruments.  Jack watched as he grabbed a scalpel, and without warning plunged it toward Beth’s exposed forearm. 

The woman barely had time to cry out before the scalpel rammed home…only to have the sharp tip break off and fall to the tile floor with a quiet clatter.

“When was the last time you were in hospital, Beth?” Owen asked, his voice sharp.

Beth was shaking her head.   “I don’t remember.  I don’t think I ever have been.  Oh God, it’s true, isn’t it?”  Her eyes went up to Ianto.  “I really am…” she swallowed, shaking her head in denial.

Ianto put his hand on her shoulder in a gesture of comfort. 

“Any operations?” Owen persisted.  “Check-ups?”

She simply kept shaking her head, her eyes getting wider and wider.  Jack knew the implications of what was going on were settling themselves in her brain, and she just didn’t want to believe it.

“When was the last time you fell ill?” Owen went on.  “Caught a cold?  Anything?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been sick.  But I take a lot of Vitamin C!”

Jack suddenly felt very bad for her.  Beth Halloran’s world was being turned upside down.  If there had been any doubt that she knew she was alien and had just been a really good liar, it was being wiped out by her reactions to what was going on around her.  No one was that good an actress.

“Hell of a lot then,” the medic muttered, dropping the broken scalpel back on the tray.

“Okay, Beth,” Jack said, knowing he had to bring it home for her, “you give out electromagnetic energy and we can’t penetrate your skin.  Now do you believe you’re an alien?”

“But I don’t remember!” she wailed.  “I want Mike!  I want to go home!” 

Ianto put his arm around her shoulders in a one-armed hug, and she leaned into him, accepting the support she obviously needed. 

Jack heard Gwen leave his side, and watched as she took the steps down into the Autopsy Bay and head over to the exam table.  She practically pushed Owen aside and stood in his place, taking Beth’s hand in hers.  He didn’t miss the glare that she sent toward Ianto, but the dragon paid it no attention, focused on comforting a near-hysterical Beth.

Ianto’s eyes found Jack’s, and he could see the determination in them to help Beth.  Jack nodded slightly, letting his mate know that he agreed with him, but they needed to find out just what Beth was in order to do that. 

“I don’t know anything about my skin or that other stuff,” she finally managed, pulling her head away from Ianto’s shoulder to look up at Jack with reddened eyes.  “But how do we find out?  I want to know.  I need to know.”

“I can’t find anything different about her,” Toshiko said. “My scans show her as perfectly human.”

Jack sighed.  If they couldn’t find any physical differences…then they’d have to try to find mental ones.  “I know what we can try.”

**********

What he wanted was in the Secure Archives, and it took Jack no time at all to find it. 

As he came back down into the main Hub area from his office, Jack began to have second thoughts about what they were about to do.  Yes, they needed to know if Beth posed a threat, and the mind probe would find anything hidden within her mind, but it was a dangerous piece of alien tech…which was the reason it was kept in the Secure Archives. 

Ianto was bringing out one of the metal restraint chairs as Jack carried the box containing the probe down toward Toshiko’s station.  It would be up to her to monitor the probe and its progress, while Owen kept an eye on Beth’s vital signs.  They had to do this carefully, and yet at the same time it was important to know just what Beth was, because if she was a threat then they would need to act.  They couldn’t afford to sit still and wait for something to happen.  And, if she wasn’t, then they would help her all they could.

“I thought we weren’t going to use that again,” Toshiko said, standing by her station, her arms crossed and looking worried.

“It’s just a mind probe,” Jack tried to pass it off, not wanting to admit that he wasn’t sure about it, either.

“Remember the last time we used it?” Ianto asked softly, his own expression doubting.   Still, he went about checking to see if the chair was ready, even sitting down on it to test its strength.

Jack remembered, all right.  It hadn’t had a very good ending.  “That was different,” he answered, making the attempt to rationalise what had occurred.  “That species had extremely high blood pressure.”  It wasn’t a lie; the Larsians did, in fact, have one of the highest blood pressures in about five different galaxies, and Jack hadn’t realised that the probe would exacerbate it that badly.  Still, he had felt guilty about it, even though they’d managed to gain the Larsians’ invasion plans before the worst had occurred.

 “Oh, right,” the dragon replied darkly, “their heads must explode all the time.”

Gwen, who had been approaching from the Autopsy Bay, gasped, her eyes going very wide.  “You can’t do this!” she exclaimed.  “What if she’s human?  It could kill her!”

“First of all,” Jack growled, “it’s patently obvious that she isn’t human.  Second, she agreed to it.  Third, we need to know that letting her go back to her life isn’t going to come back and bite us in the ass.  Fourth, I told you to stop questioning me and follow orders.  Now, go and get Beth and bring her up here.”

Gwen’s eyes went from wide to narrow, and she tried to stare Jack down.  He met her gaze squarely, knowing she wasn’t about to intimidate him or get him to back down.  She just didn’t understand that, sometimes, distasteful things needed to be done for the best reasons, and that there was no way he was going to change his mind on this.

“Don’t worry,” Toshiko said, stepping in between the two of them, “I’ll stop at the first sign of trouble.”

“Or first sign of exploding,” Ianto muttered. 

“You’re not helping,” Jack snapped, jabbing a finger in his mate’s direction.  He could understand where Ianto was coming from, but this was serious enough without the dragon’s comments.  He knew very well what might happen if things went wrong; he didn’t need to be reminded.

His mate slumped into the chair, and Ianto nodded, the apology implicit in his expressive blue eyes.  Jack returned the nod, accepting it readily.  “Gwen, bring her up,” Jack reiterated, turning back to her and punctuating the command with a sharp jerk of his head in the direction of the Autopsy Bay. 

Gwen looked as if she wanted to argue, but spun on her heel and practically stomped her way toward Owen’s domain, where the medic and Beth were waiting.

Jack wondered if she could act any more like a child who’d lost an argument with her father.

Then he shuddered.  If Gwen had been his daughter he sincerely hoped that she would have turned out better than this. 

Ianto stood, took the five steps over to where Jack was, and touched his mate on the arm.  Jack rested his hand over his mate’s, touching his cheek to Ianto’s in the dragon form of a human kiss.  “You’ve become close to her,” he whispered.  He really should have expected it.  After all, Ianto was a dragon who looked human, and Beth was an alien who was the same.  It made sense.

Ianto pulled away gently.  “I just think she deserves to know everything that’s going to happen,” he answered just as quietly.  “She honestly doesn’t know who she really is, and she does want to know. I also think she’d accept the consequences if it was proved she was an unfriendly.  She seems not to want to hurt anyone.”

“That’s good.  You know if there was another way –“

“I know.  I can’t help but feeling sorry for her, that’s all.  And the mind probe isn’t pleasant…”  Ianto sighed.  “Let me get her some water.  She’ll need it.”

“All right.  Hurry back, I’m sure she’ll want you here.” 

Ianto stepped back, heading toward the kitchen.  Jack stifled the sigh that threatened to escape.  He couldn’t help but be proud of his mate, and once more it struck home to him just how very ‘human’ the dragon actually was.  He wondered why he’d thought that Gwen would ever have taught them all anything when it was Ianto who was the true heart of Torchwood. 

Hiring Gwen was another failure for him, and Jack hated it.  But there wasn’t anything he could do about it, and it proved to him that he truly needed Ianto more than anyone else.  They’d have to talk about what they were going to do with Gwen after all this was over.

“It’s going to work out,” Toshiko murmured. 

Jack glanced in her direction.  “Yeah, but for the best or the worst…”  He let her fill in the rest, which, judging from her expression, she had.

“Here we go,” Owen’s voice pulled his attention away from his technician.  Both he and Gwen were escorting Beth up from the Autopsy Bay, and he had one hand resting on the woman’s elbow in a show of support.  “Have a seat, darlin’.”

Beth did as he bid, looking almost dwarfed by the metal chair.  Toshiko came forward, helping the medic strap Beth’s arms down with the leather restraints.  “Not too tight?” she asked.

Beth shook her head.  “Just try not to kill me, yeah?”

“No one dies on my watch,” Owen answered.  

“That’s good to know,” she said weakly, her voice quivering.

Jack opened the containment box holding the mind probe.  It was a simple metal helmet with long cables attached, and he and Toshiko began hooking it up to Toshiko’s station, wanting to make certain that nothing could go wrong with the device.  The last thing Jack intended was to endanger anyone, but there was a certain risk with the mind probe.  He needed to minimalise that risk as much as possible.

“Here,” he heard Ianto say, and Jack knew he was speaking to Beth.  “You’ll get a bit dehydrated during the procedure.” 

There was a pause, and then Jack heard Beth thank Ianto.  Jack looked over from his work to see the dragon pull a bottle of water away from their guest, a bendy straw stuck in the mouth of the bottle.  He really couldn’t help but love his mate more in that moment; knowing that he could care for Beth, even knowing that she could be dangerous, brought a warm feeling to Jack’s chest and he fought the urge to rub at it. 

“We’re ready,” Toshiko reported.  Jack examined the connections, nodding in response.  He then took the helmet and placed it carefully on Beth’s head, positioning it just right.

“Okay,” Jack said, straightening up.  “The mind probe drills down through your consciousness, so if anything is there it will pop to the surface.”

“Is this going to hurt?” she asked, her voice almost child-like with fear.

“Yeah,” Jack admitted, wanting to be honest with her.

A very small smile crept up onto her lips.  “Your bedside manner’s rubbish.”

Jack had to respect her for that.  Even being as afraid as she obviously was, Beth was still trying to take whatever humour she could from the situation.  He’d seen it before, as a response to stress, and he was glad she could fall back on that in order to deal with things.

“You should see his manners in bed,” Gwen piped up.  “They’re atrocious.”

Jack’s jaw dropped.  What the hell?

Ianto leveled a glare full of anger right at her, and both Toshiko and Owen looked just as shocked as Jack felt.  Beth glanced up at Ianto, and then at Gwen, confusion on her face. 

Gwen seemed to get that she’d just said something wildly inappropriate.   “Apparently,” she stammered.  “So I’ve heard…”

“Not from me,” Ianto growled, sounding very possessive.  “And for your information, it would be none of your business anyway.”

Jack shivered slightly at Ianto’s tone, loving the idea of his dragon being that protective of him.  Yes, Jack knew he had a certain reputation, but most of it was just talk, and he’d never do anything to endanger his relationship with his mate.  Also, poking fun at him in front of a possible hostile wasn’t a good idea, and Jack’s shock twisted into fury.

“We’ll talk later, Gwen,” Jack promised, voice low. 

Gwen paled slightly, as she realised that she’d overstepped her bounds.

“Right now,” he got back on track, “we have other business to attend to.” He regarded Beth, who was still looking somewhat confused by what had just happened.  “Toshiko is going to be controlling the probe,” he explained.  “Owen will keep an eye on your vital signs and make sure everything is all right.”

Beth nodded, licking her lips nervously.  “And what will you be doing?”

“I’ll be asking the questions,” Jack said. 

“Okay.”  She turned her eyes up to Ianto.  “Will you stay here with me?”

The dragon nodded.  “I’m not going anywhere, Beth.”  He touched her shoulder gently, then stepped away, still holding the bottle of water, ready if she needed it.

“You don’t have to do this,” Gwen said defiantly. 

“Yes, I do,” Beth answered, frowning.  “I have to know the truth.”

“Are you ready?” Jack asked.

She took a deep breath.  “No, but let’s do this.”

Jack felt another stab of pride in her, as he motioned to Toshiko to begin.  The sound of fingers tapping on a keyboard echoed through the now-silent Hub, and a hum began to build from the probe.  Beth gasped, grabbing onto the arms of the restraint chair reflexively.

Owen checked his own station.  “Everything’s steady,” he reported.

Jack nodded.  “Then, we’ll begin.”


Chapter Seven

 



Comments

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Bless you, it was wonderful to find this update waiting, after a shocking start to the day.

Now, can I just say that the way you wrote it is exactly how that little "manners in bed" exchange should have gone, and I will very much look forward to reading Gwen's attempt to explain it away!

I love the way you're portraying Jack's inner confliction. He knows what he has to do, knows it won't be pleasant, but he feels for Beth at the same time. Thank goodness for Ianto. And boy, does it look like Gwen was only annoyed because Ianto was showing more consideration and compassion to Beth than she was. Silly woman.

This was a great update - as always, well worth waiting for.
Sorry you had a bad day!

I hated that exchange, because the only person who would know that was Ianto, and I can't see him telling Gwen of all people about it. It was simply uncalled for.

Glad you like it! It's not going to be easy for either Jack or Ianto when it turns out they can't do anything. Well, it's Gwen, and she seems to think she has a monopoly on compassion.

Thank you! :)
You know, I, too, always wondered about the manners in bed comment. Seemed so...out of place.
I've always hated that comment, because Gwen would have no idea what Jack was like in bed...unless Ianto told her, and I just can't see that. It's always bothered me. :)
Thank you for fixing that manners comment. It's something about the ep that has always irked me because I just can't see Ianto confiding in Gwen. (The scriptwriters who love Gwack inserting hints of more than friendship into the script during S2 remind me of little kids who didn't get their own way but are still sulking and petulantly reminding everyone that they think they should have won.)
Glad you liked it! Yes, I agree...I just can't see Ianto sharing that sort of thing with Gwen.

Sorry, I contend that Gwack is the sound a sick duck makes. *nods*

ianto!dragon fix abated (for now ^_^) thanks to...

an update!!! yeah! :)

Gwen just keeping digging that ditch she's in...kinda, sorta hoping she doesn't get out.

“You should see his manners in bed..." oh to know the story behind that remark. (yes? no? maybe? they did just leave it there in the show after all)


Re: ianto!dragon fix abated (for now ^_^) thanks to...

Glad I could help you today with an update. *grins*

Yeah, that ditch keeps getting deeper and deeper, doesn't she? Personally, I don't think Ianto would have shared a thing with Gwen, and she was blowing it out of her arse. *nods*
This is just what I need after a truly dreadful day. I like seeing the thought processes Jack's going through here, seeing the larger picture. And that "manners in bed" comment has always felt inappropriate and out of place. I'm interested to see what Gwen will have to say about it.
I'm sorry you had a bad day. I'm glad I could help a little.

I had a lot of fun getting into Jack's head here, so I'm happy that you liked it. As for that comment...it really was inappropriate. We'll see how Gwen justifies it when Jack gets his second whack at her later. :)
I've always hated that scene - I just cant see Ianto confiding anything to Gwen, let alone Jack's manners in bed. Thank you for fixing that.
I know, I hated that scene too. Ianto certainly wouldn't have said anything to Gwen about his sex life with Jack, so she had to have been just blowing it out of her arse, which was just wildly inappropriate.

Glad you liked it! :)
Can't wait to see what happens next, oh who am I kidding I can't wait to see what happens with Gwen ;)
Haha! We'll see, she won't escape unscathed. :)
Yay An update! Just what i need after a day of babysitting.

I don't get why the "manners" comment was put in the ep. Gwen is engaged to be married but that comment made it sound like the supposed "heart of Torchwood" is a no good rotten cheater.

Ianto has class, he would never tell gwen.
Glad I could help out your day a little. *grins*

I have no idea why the writer thought that comment was a good one, because it really did make Gwen sound even worse than she usually is, didn't it?

Oh yes...Ianto wouldn't share that sort of thing with Gwen.
Always hate the manners comment by Gwen. Looking forward to the explanation and the bollocking by Jack. Pretty please can he sack her now?

It really is one of my least favorite lines. Glad you liked my fix for it. *grins*

Oh yes, Jack's not going to let her get away with it, I promise. As for sacking Gwen...we'll see. :)
OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE GET THEM TO FIRE HER!!!! *puppy eyes*
Hey, welcome back! *hugs*

Well, we'll have to see what Jack and Ianto come up with. They won't let her get away with anything. :)
I am loving this verse! But don't leave us dnagling here too long please...
Thanks! More up next week, I promise. :)
I think we all agree that comment had no place in the ep and we all appreciate you fixing it. That bit of fail sits on my list right next to her spending days watching over Jack's body post Abaddon, where Ianto should have been, instead of being at home with Rhys, and having her kiss be what helped bring him back.

It's obvious RTD likes Eve and therefore tried to make Gwen the second most important character next to Jack, but he was torn between that and trying to cater to the fans who liked Ianto with Jack better. I don't know how many of the writing screw-ups were the writers fault and how much was him trying to be everybody's favorite person. I guess that's why we have fanfic.

I can't wait to see Jack knock her back yet again, after dealing with poor Beth, of course.
Nope, that comment was completely off-base. I have to agree with you, her playing grieving widow for Jack while Rhys is left at home just bugs the crap out of me. As for kissing him to bring him back...this isn't a fairy tale, it doesn't work that way.

I don't know if it was so much RTD as the writers. Because RTD has already said he doesn't care about the fans. He would have shoved the Gwack down our throats with a really big spoon if he could have.

Jack will have something to say, all right. There's a lot hanging on how she acts during this mission. :)
Hoo Boy! A comment that was highly inappropriate the first time just got a million times worse! Our dragon is not happy! I love that he gives off such a kindly, almost paternal energy with Beth, it's really nice. Ianto makes a great parent. Poor Jack, it must be torture to be faced with your own mistakes every day. Loved the chapter, as alwasy I look forward to the next. :)
It did, didn't it? *laughs*

Ianto doesn't know what to do with Beth yet, but he wants to help her. It's going to be bad when he finds out there isn't anything that can be done...

Glad you enjoyed it! :)
I always thought that line was an unfixed problem. The first time I watched the episode I swore up and down Ianto said it (imagine my surprise seeing it again). So I have always assumed Eve said the wrong line and they decided WTH we'll leave it that way. This works too though. Loved the chapter I wait patiently for the next update, this story is really the highlight of my week.
That could have been but who knows? I'm glad my version works for you! Thanks you!

Next chapter up next week. :)
Even in the show i always liked Beth. But you bring her out so much more and im really liking her and its going to be so sad when she dies, well thats if you go that way who knowslol. I love how your bringing the episodes in and twisting them your way, so much better than the show :)
I did too, and felt so sorry for her. It's not going to be easy for her, I'll say that, but at least she has Ianto who will be honest with her.

Glad you're enjoying it. :)
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