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Myfanwy 2

June 2018

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To Be Human - Chapter Nine

To Be Human - Chapter Nine
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:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of "Sleeper".    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 was dreading what would happen next.

Owen’s idea of freezing Beth was a good one, but he was positive that she’d never be awakened.  The thought of her remaining in limbo for eternity disturbed him, and yet he couldn’t see himself willfully killing her before she ever became a danger to anyone.  He wasn’t a murderer, and neither were his teammates despite what Jack sometimes claimed about himself.

Beth seemed almost calm as they made their way down to the Autopsy Bay.  He was proud of her, and yet so very afraid for her.  He wanted this to work out, for Beth and Mike to have their happy ending, but at this point there wasn’t one of those in sight for the young couple. 

“We were going to go on holiday,” Beth murmured as they drew near Owen’s domain.  “Nothing much, just a couple of days away.  I was really looking forward to it…”

“I’m sorry.”

She turned a sad smile to him.  “I know you are –“

Beth stopped in her tracks, her face going pale.  She bent over, gasping, her left hand squeezing her right arm tightly, right where the implant was.  “Oh god…” she moaned.

Ianto’s wrapped his arm around her waist, although whether it was for support or to restrain her he wasn’t even sure himself.  “What is it?” he asked urgently.   Out of the corner of his eye he saw Toshiko coming up the Autopsy stairs, and he shook his head to keep her from getting closer in case Beth would activate and the alien within her do something.

“Those men…” Beth was shivering against him.  “I…really did kill those men, I can see myself doing it…”

The dragon wanted to curse.  It was obvious she was remembering what had happened at her home, which couldn’t be good.

“The real memory is coming back,” Jack said, coming to stand on the other side of Beth.  “It could be destroying the human persona.  The sooner we get this done, the better.”

Beth took a shuddering breath, standing upright.  “It’s gone,” she said, relieved.  “Thank god.”

Ianto looked over her head to Jack; his mate looked angry, and somehow Ianto knew it wasn’t about Beth recalling last night.  A sudden flurry of movement signaled Gwen storming past, not giving any of them even a glance.  He wondered what Jack had said to her, and he hoped whatever it was it would curtail some of Gwen’s need to give Beth any false hope.  Beth deserved every bit of truth they could give her.  She needed to be informed of what was going to happen, in order to make the best decision possible…not that there weren’t many she could actually make.  It would be so much easier on all of them if Beth cooperated, and she was perfectly willing to do so as long as she knew the situation.

“Jack will take you down to Owen,” Ianto said to her, “while I get you paper and pen to write your note to Mike.”

Beth nodded.  “Hurry, okay?”  Her face was drawn and tired, and Ianto hugged her one-armed before releasing his grip on her waist.  He watched as Jack led her away, sighing as the sheer unfairness of this whole thing struck him once more.

Grabbing a pen and tablet of paper from his desk, Ianto headed down into the Autopsy Bay, where Beth had taken a seat on the exam table, her whole demeanour projecting exhaustion and defeat.  Ianto didn’t like to see her so helpless, but there really wasn’t anything anyone could do.  The situation was such a bad one all the way around, with no way out.

She straightened as he approached, taking the paper and pen from him with a soft word of thanks.  The dragon touched her shoulder in sympathy, then stepped back to give her a bit of privacy while she wrote her goodbye to Mike.

Owen bustled around the room, getting his equipment ready for the freezing.  Toshiko did the same, fiddling with her computers and scanners, anything in an obvious attempt not to look at Beth.  Ianto didn’t have to see it to know that Toshiko was feeling almost as badly as he was, and he wondered if she also thought that they were failing Beth in some way, as Ianto did. 

He wanted there to be a way to help her, and there wasn’t.  It was one of those tragic times when there really wasn’t anything anyone could do.  It brought up memories of Lisa, and how he’d tried so hard to save her, and in the end he just hadn’t been able to, she’d been too far gone. 

Ianto didn’t have the emotional connection with Beth that he’d had with Lisa, nor was the woman sitting on the exam table one of his own kind.  But, in a way, they were similar, in that they’d had this done to them, and that there was no cure.  Sometimes there just wasn’t any hope.

Jack had retreated to the upper level, and was standing beside Gwen, who looked like she’d bitten into something sour.  He wondered what had happened, or if she was just bothered by what was going to happen now.  He couldn’t blame her, but at the same time she just wasn’t getting it that Beth was the important one, and deserved to know what was going on.  No false platitudes were useful now, and Gwen always did have a problem with knowing when to do the right thing…well, the right thing for herself and not for anyone else. 

Beth finished her letter, and Ianto moved forward to take it, folding it without reading it and sliding it into the inner pocket of his suit jacket.  They would have to, of course, to make certain there wasn’t anything in it that would be detrimental to Torchwood’s security, but he was pretty certain it would pass muster.

“Promise me something,” she said, touching his arm and keeping him from getting out of Owen’s way.

“Whatever I can,” he answered.

“If you can’t figure out a way to keep me human, then I don’t want you to wake me up.  Just turn everything off.  Okay?”

Ianto wanted to refuse.  He wanted to rail against whoever was responsible for Cell 1-1-4, for creating Beth Halloran and for making her so very human. 

“I promise,” he said instead, squeezing her hand.

There was a sound of shoes scraping against the tiles, and Ianto glanced up.  Jack had his own hand on Gwen’s arm, and he was practically looming over her.  Gwen was staring up at him belligerently, and the dragon wondered what his mate had stopped the ex-copper from doing.  No telling really where Gwen was concerned.

Then he released Gwen, and turned to look down on Beth.  “You have our word,” Jack told her, favouring her with a small, albeit comforting smile.

“Thank you,” she said gratefully. 

“Don’t give up hope,” Gwen called down.  “We’re gonna do anything we can to help you.”

Beth didn’t answer.  Instead, she lay back onto the table, Ianto helping her get as comfortable as she could on the cold metal.  “It’s funny,” she said, “but I’ve always had this feeling that I didn’t quite belong, that I was meant for something else…little did I know just how right I was.”  A single tear tracked down the side of her face, and Ianto reached over to lightly brush it away.

Toshiko cleared her throat.  “Okay, I’m going to hit the transceiver with an electromagnetic pulse.  It won’t hurt, I promise.”

“Do it,” Beth practically ordered, her body tense.

Ianto moved to the wall, in order to keep out of Toshiko and Owen’s way.  He kept his eyes on Beth, watching her reactions as the technician ran a piece of tech over the area where the implant had shown itself.  “This will also take out the force field generator.”

“Good.  I don’t want to be invincible.” 

There were so many undercurrents in that single phrase that Ianto wanted to shiver.  It would make her easier to kill if need be, was the one that floated to the top of the morass that was his thoughts, and the dragon hated himself for it.

“After that,” Owen added, “I’m gonna sedate you, then freeze you.  It’ll be just like going to sleep…only a hell of a lot colder.”

Toshiko held her device over the implant, and from what Ianto could see on the monitor it seemed to stop working.  She stepped back in order to let Owen get to work.

The medic slid a needle into Beth’s arm, and she flinched.  Then her dark eyes met Ianto’s from across the bay, and she smiled. 

“Thank you,” he heard her say just before the sedation took effect.

Ianto really had no idea just what she was thanking him for.

**********

The dragon was waiting down in the vault for Beth’s cryogenic chamber.

The rumbling of the lift down from the Autopsy Bay came to his ears, and he waited patiently for the casket to arrive.  When it did, he pulled it from the lift and onto a stretcher, and Ianto wheeled it over to the drawer he had prepared. 

Through the frosted window in the chamber Beth’s face looked peaceful, rimed in ice, and he wondered if she’d really gained some measure of peace knowing that she wouldn’t be hurting anyone now.  As he pushed the wheeled stretcher along, he let one hand stroke across the icy transparent material, and he said a prayer to the Great Dragons that she would indeed find some measure of peace within her frozen sleep.

With the utmost care Ianto slid Beth’s cryo-chamber into the open vault, and he paused for a moment before shutting the door and locking it. 

Then, with a single glance backward, he walked away, heading back up into the main areas of the Hub.  The sound of paper crinkled softly in his pocket.

**********

Ianto entered the work area, heading over to his desk.  He meant to get Beth’s letter checked over and then out to Mike as soon as he could.  He could feel eyes upon him, and he didn’t have to look up to know it was his mate checking up on him.  He was grateful that Jack was there, and he glanced upward into his caring blue eyes.  Ianto nodded once, and then pulled the letter from his pocket.

Dearest Mike,

I’m sorry you’re getting this letter, but it was the only way I could face you with what happened.  I was the one who killed those men, and although it was to protect you I can’t help but feel terrible about it.  Taking another person’s life was something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do but I did.  It’s too hard, and I’m sorry but I can’t deal with it.

So, by the time you read this, it will be too late.   I don’t want you to feel like anything that’s happened is in any way your fault, because it isn’t.  Everything I do is because I love you, and I hope you never forget that.

Goodbye.

Love always, Beth.

Ianto had to wipe his eyes.  What he’d just read was basically a suicide note.  He honestly hadn’t known what to expect, but he found that this wasn’t it.  It was for the best this way, so that Mike would be given some small sense of closure, but still…there had been really no hope of Beth ever being free, and it wouldn’t have done any good to lead Mike on. 

He sighed, reaching into a desk drawer for an envelope.  He would make certain the letter got to Mike at the hospital –

The lights suddenly went out.

An alarm began blaring, and the emergency lighting came on.  Ianto quickly got onto this computer to see where the security breach was coming from.  He could hear Jack cursing from somewhere in the direction of his mate’s office.

“Can someone tell me what the hell is going on?” Jack demanded.

“Checking,” Toshiko called out, saving Ianto from having to answer.  His fingers flew over the keys, and he managed to trace the alarm to…

“It’s Beth,” he said over the sound of the alarm.

“Turn that damned thing off,” Jack snarled. 

Less than a second later, the Hub was silent once more.  In another moment, the lights were back on and the Hub was back to normal.

“What do you mean, it’s Beth?”

Ianto looked up at his mate.  “The drawer I put her in is open.  She’s gone.”   The evidence was on his screen, courtesy of the CCTV cameras down in the vaults.  

“How is that possible?” Gwen asked from her own station, posing the question that had to have been on everyone’s minds.

“It isn’t,” Owen growled.  Ianto felt him leaning over his chair, staring at the monitor where the empty drawer was apparent.  “All of her vitals were at zero.  She was frozen!”

“She isn’t now,” Ianto hated to point out. 

“What did she do?” Jack wanted to know.  “Some sort of virus?  A lockdown?”

“I’m checking the systems,” Toshiko said, her own eyes not leaving her terminals.  “From what I can see, it looks like she just turned the lights off.”

“She knows everything about this place,” Jack growled.  “It’s all in her arm…the Hub’s layout, the tunnels, security codes…everything.  She could have shut us down, blown us up…anything!”

“Why didn’t she?” Ianto asked.  He knew he had to be careful, that hoping for the best in this situation was the wrong way to go, but something within him was practically screaming that, if she’d meant them harm, she could very well have killed them all before they’d even known what was going on. 

“I swear she was frozen,” Owen exclaimed.  Ianto felt him push off the back of his chair, and the dragon watched him begin to pace. 

“Toshiko,” Jack said, “you did turn off the transceiver?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, I was...until you asked. “ Her eyes were darting fitfully across whatever readings that were appearing on her screens.  “As far as I can tell, it was shut down.”

“Hang on,” Owen interrupted, “everything about her is a lie.  We know it is.  She’s an alien with a weird thing in her arm that we can’t see unless she wants us to.  She made us think she’d been frozen when apparently she hadn’t been.  Who’s to say she didn’t completely fool the equipment before?”

“You’re saying she wasn’t really frozen then?”  Gwen scoffed.  “How is that even possible?”

“Don’t forget that at least the forcefield generator was disabled,” Toshiko pointed out.  “You were able to inject her.”

“But a lot of that had to have been faked,” Owen added.  “We all thought she was frozen, and yet she got up out of the cryogenic chamber.”

“That would take a hell of a lot of power,” their technician whistled.

“Look,” Jack said, stepping in the middle of their group, “enough theories.  Right now we need to find her.  We have to assume she’s been activated and is on the loose somewhere –“

“No, you don’t.”

As one, the entire team turned in the direction of the voice.

Beth stood at the top of the stairs leading down into the bowels of the Hub, looking terrified.  

Chapter Ten



 



Comments

Can't wait for more!!!!

Gwen, you're in for a rude awakening
More in a couple of days! :)

Oh, she is... *grins*
Great update - Poor Beth, she's not in control of her self, but she is trying.
I know, I do feel so sorry for Beth. She really has no choice and yet she's doing her best.
I was hoping beth hadn't gotten far away. Then I realized it isn't an entirely good idea for her to be near the team either, especially if she's activated. I can't decide what the best outcome will be so I'll just hang here on this cliff while you decide:)
Beth isn't safe to be around, period. But she still has a role to play. :)

Hoo Boy! This is going to be very (VERY!) interesting. I am gladd that Mike (so far1) hasn't died and that Beth got the chance to write him a letter. Gwen is really clueless isn't she? If she wasn't such a pill I would feel sorry for the fact that she doesn't even realise how clueless she is. I am looking forward to seeing where you go with this now that everything is so different. :)
I hated that Mike got stabbed, and that Beth had done it. That was like the ultimate unfair thing to happen, and yet it pointed out that Beth really had no control over her own actions.

As for Gwen...well, that's just the way she is unfortunately.

More up soon. :)
You wicked woman..adding more suspension and drama to an already dramatic story...

Love ya!
I know, I'm horrible. *grins*

Thanks, hon! :)
you give even more sad the fate of Beth.
She is so human, unlike Gwen who is for the wrong reasons.
The letter .... snif!
Beth's fate is horrible, and I feel so sorry for her. She really is very human.

*hands tissues*
thanks for the tissues
Oh dear we all know that this isn't going to end well - sad really.
K
xx
Sorry...but yes, it's going to get really sad. *hands tissues*


Noooooo! What is going to happen? You can't leave it at that! This is torture T_T

Thank you for this chapter, I admit I was kind of loosing interest in Torchwood because of a new fandom and you made me remember why I like it and that I can love both of them... err all of them ;P
Sorry, but I had to. More up soon though!

You can have more than one fandom! I know I do, but Torchwood is my first love. There's enough to go around! :)

Oh man, this is the part I hate the most. *wibble* Waiting to see which way you go with it.
I know, I hate it too. More up soon. :)
Loved this :) Love not knowing exactly how this is gonna do :) Looking forward to the next chapter :)
Thank you! Don't worry, more up soon. :)
More interesting twists to the story. I can't wait to see how this all goes down.

Beth's letter to Mike and her making Ianto promise not to wake her up if they couldn't keep her human was so heartbreaking. It really is too bad they can't help her.

As for Gwen, you know there's a drawer down in cryo-freeze just sitting there going to waste now that Beth's gone walk-about. Just saying.
Thank you!

Beth is just such a heartbreaking character. She is so tragic. There's not a thing anyone can do, and they all know it...except for Gwen, of course.

Why do I have a feeling that this will the be second most heart-breaking chapter in this particular story series? Beth, at least, stayed in the Hub instead of leaving to find Mike. In the original series, it broke my heart that she stabbed Mike and that mom left her baby in the middle of the street. This will have a 50% better ending by the fact that Mike will remember his wife with love and not a stabbing pain after an attempted murder by her alien half.
You may be right about that. I was the same when she killed Mike, but it did prove she had very little control over her actions. At least the letter will give him some sort of peace, perhaps.
Whoa, she didn't go the the hospital? Interesting...
I like to think she had a bit more support than she did in the original episode. :)