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Myfanwy 2

January 2018

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To Be Human - Chapter Twelve

To Be Human - Chapter Twelve
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Toshiko/Kathy, Owen/Diane
Warnings: Language, Character Death
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.

A/N2:  Here is the last chapter of this particular story.  Next up, at least one short before we move on to "To The Last Man".  If you want the PDF, you can find it on my AO3 Profile, because Mediafire deleted my account with them based on some third-party bot that fit some keywords and reported that I was uploading stuff I shouldn't.  If you're looking for anything else you want a PDF for, you can get one from AO3 from now on.

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

 

“How could you?” Gwen shouted, storming down from the gantry and practically flying into the main Hub.

Jack stepped in front of her, blocking her way.  “Toshiko did what she had to do.  You were in danger –“

“I wasn’t!  Beth wasn’t going to hurt me!”

“I couldn’t take that chance,” Toshiko said coolly, sliding her gun back into its holster at her waist.  “She was holding you hostage and Ianto was out of position to get the best shot.  I was just in the right place to take it, so I did.”

Jack was, in fact, pitifully grateful that someone other than Ianto had been able to do what needed to be done.  He’d been in his office when he’d heard the altercation, and had just been coming into view of the gantry where Beth had been holding Gwen when the shot had rung out.  Jack had only noticed that Toshiko had her weapon up and pointed toward the gantry area at about the time Gwen had come screaming back down into the main area.

He glanced upward, and saw Ianto still on the walkway overhead, kneeling next to Beth’s body.  His heart went out to his mate as the sound of singing echoed down through the Hub.  It was a song of mourning; not the one that his mate would use for a family member, but Jack thought it might have had something to do with dying a hero’s death.  Which Beth had.

He hadn’t been lying when he’d told her that she was more human for being scared about not being human.  Beth Halloran had been a good person, who hadn’t deserved what had happened to her.  She’d deserved to life her life with the man she’d married, and her husband would never know what had she’d done to save the planet, at the cost of her own life in the end.

“I’m gonna go up and help Dragon Boy,” Owen muttered, making his way to the stairs leading up to the gantry. 

Jack was going to thank him when Gwen interrupted, “You killed an innocent woman.  How could you be so heartless?”

“Heartless?” Toshiko exclaimed.  “So, you’d have preferred me to let her stab you?”

“She wasn’t going to hurt me!”

“You keep saying that –“

“Just shut up,” Ianto’s soft voice carried down to them.  Jack looked up, and saw his mate glaring down at Gwen.  “Beth deserves better than to have you arguing over her.”

Toshiko looked contrite.  “I’m sorry, Ianto.”

“It’s fine, Tosh,” the dragon said sadly.  “In the end, it’s all about what Beth wanted, and that was to be stopped if she was ever going to hurt someone.  Thank you.”

“I should have expected that out of you,” Gwen snorted.  “You wouldn’t know how to be a human being if the world depended on it.”

“That’s enough, Gwen,” Jack snapped.  “Since it’s escaped your notice, I’ll gladly point out that Ianto has been acting more of a caring human being than you have during this entire debacle.  Beth relied on him and trusted him to do the right thing.  She didn’t trust you to do that.”

“That’s only because none of you would give me the chance to get close to her!”

“No, Gwen.  It’s because you lied to her almost from the very beginning.  Beth deserved the truth.”

“How is trying to give someone hope a lie?”

“When there is no hope to give.”  Jack held up his hand to cut off anything else she was going to say.   “Meet me in my office, and you can rant all you want.  Right now, Beth deserves our respect.”

“We’ll get her down to the Autopsy Bay,” Owen called down to them.  “Ianto and I will take care of her, Jack.”

“I’ll help,” Toshiko added, moving away toward the bay.

“I want to help too,” Gwen complained.

“No,” Jack said.  “You need to go and wait in my office.  It’s a bit too late for you to think about respecting Beth’s decisions now.”  He really didn’t want to listen to her go off yet again, but it needed to be done.

“But Jack –“

“Please, Gwen.  Just go.”  He couldn’t deal with this right now.  He could tell how much this was hurting his mate, and he wanted to go to him and just hold him.

Something of the atmosphere in the Hub must have communicated itself to her, because Gwen left without any further arguing.  Thanking any God or Goddess happening to listen, Jack waited at the bottom of the stairs, falling in with Ianto and Owen as the dragon carried Beth’s body to the Autopsy Bay, the soft strains of the song he was singing washing over Jack like both soothing balm and a wash of sadness. 

Ianto carefully placed Beth down on the metal exam table, moving the bladed arm out of the way.  She looked peaceful, Jack thought, and she most likely was.  She hadn’t wanted to be dangerous to anyone, and while Jack had thought that putting her in cryo-freeze again would have been a good solution this might have been for the best.  He hated even thinking that, but Beth had died on her own terms, even if Toshiko had been forced to pull the trigger.

He wrapped his arms around Ianto as the song faded.   “I am sorry it had to end this way,” he murmured as Owen began to prepare Beth for her final rest.

“I think it was always going to,” his mate sighed.  “The last thing Beth wanted was to hurt anyone, and that was her biggest fear.  She took the decision out of our hands, and I would have done it if Toshiko hadn’t.”

Owen was bustling around the exam table, taking his final readings.  Jack tuned him out and looked down at Beth’s slack face.  She did look at peace, and he avoided the obvious bullet wound in her chest not wanting to see the cause of her death. 

“Let me take care of this,” Owen said.  “We all don’t have to be here for this.”

“I’ll help Owen,” Toshiko volunteered.  “Jack, why don’t you get Ianto out of here?”

Jack shook his head.  “I still have to talk to Gwen –“

“That bitch doesn’t deserve your attention, Jack,” Owen swore.  “Isn’t about time you Retconned her and got it over with?”

“There are certain…issues with that,” Jack admitted, “but her time here is very limited.”

“It’s because she’s been here so long, isn’t it?” Toshiko guessed.

Ianto nodded.  “We need someone to know what we’ve done, and to watch her.  It’s why I want to meet with Rhys Williams.”

“That other-dimensional Ianto said that their Rhys had been set to watch the other Gwen,” Owen realised.  “You think it’ll be the same here?”

“Which is why I think it would be a good idea to read him into Torchwood,” the dragon answered.  “We need to know if he can be trusted.”

Jack was torn.  He wanted nothing more than to Retcon Gwen and get someone else in on the team, but telling Rhys Williams about Torchwood…it was one more person who would know what they did, even if it served their purposes beautifully.  It could possibly put an innocent at risk, and there were enough of those already.

But no.  They needed to fire Gwen, and if they did it without taking into consideration that she would most likely remember because of the more actual memories she had, and because of the more people who she would have told she worked for ‘Special Ops’.  There were just too many ways those memories could be triggered, and they would have to avoid that unless they wanted her knocking on their door again in the future.

“Gwen doesn’t fit in here,” he said, “and I’m sorry to all of you for hiring her.”  He was.  It had been a horrible mistake, one he’d made with the best of intentions but hadn’t paid off in the way he’d hoped.  He’d wanted Gwen around to help Ianto see what they were still fighting for, back when the dragon had seemed to have developed a hatred for humanity, and it had completely backfired.  He really should have listened to Ianto, that night on the roof, after Suzie had committed suicide.

But he was the leader, and he’d taken on the responsibility to hire Gwen himself, when previously it had been the pair of them consulting on new personnel, which they had with Toshiko and Owen.  Gwen and Suzie had been the two that Jack had brought on by his own decision, and they’d both turned out bad.

As if reading his mind, Ianto said, “None of this is just on you, Jack.  I was so focused on…other things, that I didn’t push you on it.  And I should have, instead of just assuming the worst of you.” Ianto twisted in Jack’s arms, so that he faced his mate.  “I did, you know…think the worst of you.  For that, it’s my turn to apologise.”

“Okay, so you both screwed up,” Owen commented as he worked.  He had removed Beth’s bloody clothes, and was carefully washing her body down.  “What are you gonna do about it?”

Trust Owen to cut to the chase.

It was time for Jack to make the decision that had been coming for a long time now.  “Tosh, when you finish up here, I want you to create two new backgrounds for Gwen – one if she and Rhys stay here in Cardiff, and another if they’re in another city, most likely Newport.  Make it your best work, because it’ll need to stand up to a particularly nosy copper.”

“I will, Jack,” the technician answered solemnly.

“Ianto, find Rhys Williams.  Take a copy of the Official Secrets Act for him to sign if he wants to know about Torchwood.  You can even bring him here if you feel the need.”   He hoped it wouldn’t lead to that, but it was best to be prepared.

“I have a few things to do first –“

“No, Ianto.”  Jack took him gently by the shoulders.  “You’ve been through enough today.  Let us take care of this, and you take off.  I’ll see you back at home later, all right?”

Ianto sighed.  “All right.  I won’t lie and say I’ll be glad to be gone.”

Jack kissed him softly.   “Call me and let me know what happens with Rhys, okay?”

“I will.”  The dragon gave him a faint smile, and then reluctantly left the circle of Jack’s arms.  Toshiko hugged him as he moved past, and Owen thumped him lightly in the shoulder.  

With one last, lingering look back at the body of Beth Halloran, Ianto was gone.  Seconds later, the alarm on the main door sounded, letting Jack know that his mate had, indeed, gone.

“I’m going to talk to Gwen,” Jack informed his teammates.  “I won’t Retcon her until we know what we’re going to do and if Rhys is going to be involved.  But don’t doubt that she will be gone as soon as we can get things set up.  For now, she’s on Hub duty.”

“Go do what you have to,” Toshiko encouraged.  “We’ll take care of Beth.”

“Thanks, the both of you,” he said gratefully.  “After this is all over…we all need a night together, just us and our family.  Preferably before you and Kathy go on vacation, Tosh.”

“Sounds like a plan,” she smiled.  “Now, go and get things over with, so you can get out of here and take care of a certain dragon.”

“After you’re done here, both of you take off.  I’m sure Kathy wouldn’t mind having you home for dinner, and I bet Diane will happily Skype with you until all hours, Owen.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Just don’t forget my own vacation, Harkness.  And remind Dragon Boy of his offer to get me a discount flight.”

“Anything to get you out of here for a week,” Jack teased, feeling a bit more grounded with their usual banter.

“Are we going to be all right with three people?” Toshiko asked worriedly.  “I can put things off until we staff up again –“

“No, don’t even think it,” Jack answered.  “You and Owen deserve time off.  You don’t need to be here when we wake up Tommy, and I think it would just be awkward if you were.”  He knew that the World War One soldier had feelings for Toshiko, and he knew it would be uncomfortable for his technician to be around and have to hide her relationship with Kathy.  It was going to be difficult enough for him and Ianto…

“You’re right,” she admitted.  “There was a time when I thought…well, you know he’s so sweet…”

“No need to explain.”  He’d seen the feeling between Tommy and Toshiko, but Jack was glad that she’d moved on to someone who could spend their time with Toshiko instead of being frozen in a drawer.

“Now,” he went on, “I have a date with a certain Ms Cooper.  I’m not looking forward to this…”

“I know.” Toshiko hugged him.  “But the sooner you’re done…”

“The sooner I can go home.” He wanted to thank her for everything, but the words just seemed utterly unable to express how he felt.

“Yeah,” Owen looked up from his work.  He’d started removing the implant.  “Get out of here, all right?”

“Yes, Sir.”  Jack mock-saluted, then headed up toward his office.   He could see Gwen pacing inside, and he recalled telling her she could rant at him.  This was going to get ugly.

“Jack,” she exclaimed the moment he’d set foot inside.  “How can you let Ianto leave like that?  He needs to answer for what happened to Beth!”

“No, he doesn’t.”  Jack closed the door behind him.  “He did everything right.  You, on the other hand…what were you doing up in the lab with Beth, anyway?  Hadn’t it been made plain to you that she didn’t want to speak to you?”

“I needed to make sure she knew we’d help her,” she answered, standing with her feet planted and her arms crossed.

“There was no help for her.  I don’t see why you can’t understand that.”

“She was human!”

“No, she was alien.  Beth Halloran was simply a construct of an alien invasion force.  It was a façade, Gwen.  A very good one, and one that I’m certain Cell 1-1-4 hadn’t meant to go rogue, but it was a façade all the same.”

“There was no reason to shoot her.  She wasn’t really going to hurt me!”

“You don’t know that.”  Jack hadn’t seen what had occurred, but it had been obvious that Beth had planned this, in order to die as a human.  And yet, there was that niggling doubt that the programming was being broken, and that the alien was coming through.  He didn’t blame Toshiko in the least for what she’d done.  In fact, she was glad she’d been able to take the shot and saving Ianto from keeping his promise.

“She was desperate.   You all made her desperate because you took away all her hope!”

“There was no hope,” Jack growled.  “Beth was never going to be free of her hidden personality.”

“You don’t know that!”

“Yes, Gwen…I do.  I’ve seen the aftermath of an invasion led by the cell, and there was nothing that could have been done.  Quite honestly I’m sick and tired of you not accepting that I know what I’m talking about.”  He stepped up into her personal space, staring her down.  “You forget, child, that I’ve seen things that would make you shit your big girl panties.  I’ve lived a very long time, and I’ve travelled in both time and space.  You’ll never know just what I’ve witnessed, so don’t even think you know better than I do.  You are out of your depth, and I’m not dealing with you thinking you’re always right anymore.  You are on permanent Hub duty, as I said before.  You are going to sit here while the rest of the team goes out on missions.  You will not see the outside of this place unless you’re coming in from home or going out after hours.  This will not change until you can prove to me that you will no longer take any of your teammates for granted, that you are willing to watch their backs, and that you will not longer question my knowledge and experience.  Do you understand?”

Gwen’s face had gone red with fury.  “I’m not going to just accept your orders, especially when they’re wrong!”

Jack smiled, and he was well aware of just how shark-like it must look.  “That’s just it…you don’t know if my orders are wrong or not, which means you’re questioning me for the wrong reasons.  Until you’ve had to do what I’ve done you have no experience with which to disagree with me.  You are not in charge here, Gwen.  I am.  It’s my decisions that count.  Do I make myself clear?”

“Then maybe it’s time we have a different leader around here?” she challenged.

“Is that mutiny?” Jack purred.   “Because, if it is, then you might want to know that the punishment for mutiny in Torchwood is death.”

She went from red to pale.  “You wouldn’t dare kill me!”

“You seem to be really sure of that.  I’d like to know why that is.”

Gwen’s mouth opened, and then closed, and if anything she looked even angrier.

Jack smirked.  “I see you’re putting together just what you know and don’t know about me.  You’d be best to remember that I haven’t shared as much with you as you think I have.  Now, if we’re done here, I have things to do.  Go home, Gwen.  I don’t want to see you back here until Monday.  Think about your own definition of humanity while you’re at it…I’m quite certain it’s not what everyone else would agree with.  I know I don’t, and I’m sorry I ever hired you because I thought you’d bring humanity to our work.  I’m not ashamed to admit I was wrong.  We’re not missing humanity…you are.” 

“No, you are wrong, Jack…very wrong,” she answered, and Jack could practically hear her grinding her teeth, most likely to keep from saying something that really would make him put a bullet into her brain.  “None of you know what true humanity is.  You’ve all been corrupted by that dragon.”

Jack laughed.  “It’s more like I corrupted him!”

“This isn’t a laughing matter!”

“No,” he answered, suddenly glaring down at her, “it isn’t.  Personally, I hope you take what you’ve seen today to heart and learn something from it.  I doubt that’s going to happen, because I know you by now, but I really do wish you’d at least think about it.  Now, go home.  I need to complete the paperwork revoking your field agent status.” 

Without another word, he turned away and walked around his desk, taking a seat and rifling through the drawers for the proper form.  He found it handily, and wondered if Ianto hadn’t put it where he could locate it quickly.

“Please don’t do that, Jack,” she pleaded.  “You need me out in the field.”

He didn’t answer.  Instead, he began filling out the form, and he tuned out her voice as he did so.  He really didn’t want to hear anymore; she’d burned her bridges, and no amount of back-pedaling was going to change his mind on this.

This was only a stopgap measure.  They would be Retconning Gwen; it was just getting all of the pieces in place to ensure she could never be triggered to remember.

He found himself smiling.




Comments

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Ohhhhhhh, poor Beth, poor Ianto, but at least she died a hero. Are we going to see the talk between Ianto and Rhys? I really really want to see it.

I like that Jack didn't lose his temper in this last fight, that way we could see clearly the difference between them.

And I wonder, how was Gwen planning a mutiny when no one will be in her side? ;P
Yes, Beth did die a hero, and she knew it. Oh definitely, Ianto will meet up with Rhys in the next little story. I'm working on it now.

I think Jack is just tired of dealing with Gwen at this point. But he did show he was much more mature than her.

LOL! Very true! Just another example of Gwen not thinking things through.
Oh, at last! And yet, I can't help suspecting that even this plan of action is not going to go smoothly. I reckon all hell will break loose if Gwen gets a sniff of what is being planned for her...

Brilliant chapter, and I loved Jack's verbal smack down of Gwen. I can't wait to see where you take it from here!
Well, you know me, and you know I like to throw things in there to surprise people...I shall say no more. *winks*

Thank you! More up soon, but first Rhys.. :)
whooooaaaaaaaaa!
It's Tosh . I went to see what I put in the last comments ... I was totally undecided. except that in a moment of madness, I thought Gwen could shoot ... I still believe in Santa Claus! LOL
Tosh ... in a way that is best suited because it is soft. So she didn't shoot to the ligther.
Gwen really does not see anything. she's really unrecoverable!
I look forward to the meeting between Ianto and Rhys. Poor Rhys ... I wonder how he will react.
and what he will take how decision. for me, the best is to leave Cardiff otherwise, sooner or later she will fall on something that she will be remembered TW.
Yep, Tosh. She was the best one really to do it. She could sympathize with both Beth and Ianto.

Gwen is gone, she just doesn't know it yet. *grins*

There's always the chance that she might remember... :)
Hi MD. Sorry I've been a stranger lately - not been conscious enough to either read or write [and not at all happy about it i can tell you!!!] All I've been doing is work and sleep. :-(
Have dl pdf from A03 for this fic and will read asap - missed it so much *sigh*
Hope you ok...
D xxx
Hi, D! Oh dear, hope everything is better now? *hugs*

I'm doing all right, thanks hon. :)

See ya!

Poor Ianto, but finally Gwen is getting her just desserts.
Ianto will be okay. But yes, Gwen is on her way out. *grins*
Awesome...

I found it interesting that Jack called Gwen a child like TARDIS!Ianto did it would be interested to know if Gwen realizes the similarity.

Sad to see such a great plot device go ;)
Haha! I didn't even think about that! But she really is just a child when compared to Jack and Ianto, and even Owen and Tosh because they've seen so much.

Yeah, but even a good plot device needs to be retired when its usefulness is done. :)
-Thank you Milady I enjoy your Dragon-verse and look forward to every post.
No, thank you! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. :)
Loved the update - I would love to read the meeting between Ianto and Rhys.
Thank you! The meeting of Ianto and Rhys is up next. :)
oooh can see it now: they fire & retcon Gwen and hire Rhys...though probably as a minder for Gwen...which I don't think is right 'cause what if Rhys ends up hating Gwen?!?

Anyways, great chapter.
Loved Jack pointing out his experience being vastly greater than Gwen's.
Loved the team's treatment of Beth, the respect they show her in death. (even Owen was on best behavior for a change)

Hate that Gwen might never learn/accept how wrong she is about...everything.

.
.
.
and why am I suddenly thinking about Gwen & the Master?!? Ugh! *shudders*
Me too! I was thinking about Gwen colluding with someone against Torchwood. Regaining memories after being retconned would give her another excuse (besides being a Class A B and idiot) to blame Ianto for everything and try to bring Jack down.
*bounces* Soooo glad that Ianto wasn't the one that had to shoot Beth.
They would be Retconning Gwen; it was just getting all of the pieces in place to ensure she could never be triggered to remember.
This put a song running through my head.... "Ding, dong the witch is dead" or, more accurately "Ding, dong, the bitch is Retconned. FINALLY!!!"

Poor Rhys being saddled with watching her though. Too bad they can't find a way to free him from her clutches too.
It made sense it was Tosh...she would want to save Ianto from having to do it, and she would understand why Beth would make that sort of move.

LOL! Now I have that song in my head!

It's not the end of Rhys and Torchwood, but I shall say no more.. :)
I love your version of this episode. Beth was such a hero, and you've honoured that. I wish the tv episode had Gwen getting sacked, I really do.
I love that dragons have a song of mourning. I wish that humans had something like that also.
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Beth really is a hero. She saved the planet and yet she knew she could very well be a danger herself.

Ianto will mourn her. He did like and respect her.
Beth always did what she had to do which was sad. Hopefully people will learn from this. Going to be interesting how you deal with Gwen and Rhys. Looking forward to Tommy and that scene.
K
xx
Beth did what she had to do. It was sad but she did go out a hero. As for Gwen...Ianto and Rhys's meeting is up next.

As for that scene...well, I haven't written smut in a while for the boys, have I? *grins*
I'm so glad it wasn't Ianto that shot Beth, but I have to admit, I really never even considered it being Tosh. Thinking about it, she was probably the best choice out of all of them because she's so quiet and mild mannered, but definitely steps up to do what needs to be done. She's very loyal, clear-headed, professional and logical about things, and head and shoulders above Gwen in the humanity department.

Jack has admitted he was wrong for hiring Gwen, has realized he'd hired her for the wrong reasons and taken full responsibility, and blame, when it totally backfired on him. There wasn't really any way to predict though how delusional she'd become over her importance to the team. I was thrilled to see him finally smack her down over her constant questioning of his orders when she doesn't know what she's talking about. I somehow don't think she was thinking too straight when she popped out with the idea that maybe they should have a different leader. Just who the hell does she think would back her up on that one?

Please bring Rhys in soon and retcon her back to nappies. I bet Rhys would be more than happy to go along with the plan if he knew people, including her, could get killed if she stayed, and therefore her staying is not an option. It's too dangerous for the team to have a loose cannon like her around. She definitely couldn't be trusted to have Ianto's back.
It just made sense it was Tosh...she wouldn't have wanted Ianto to do it, and yet she knew it was what Beth would have wanted, to keep herself from hurting anyone.

It did backfire on Jack, but at least he's willing to admit that now. I hope he's grown a lot since he's become Ianto's mate, and this is just one more step in his journey. And yeah, Gwen was being a bit silly about that whole "new leader" thing.

Rhys is in the next story, and he'll still be in my version of Meat. He has a part to play, besides I do love him. :)
It might be wise to put Gwen behind bars in case she does a runner....
Glad the decision is finally made.
Still cry for Beth, she was so courageous. And nobody will ever know she saved the world..
Gwen won't run, because she won't know what's coming.

Yep, she's on her way out. *grins*

Beth was a real hero, and you're right...no one will ever know.
I think the idea about hiring Rhys for Torchwood is excellent and sadly underused. He has really good potential. It would be a waste to just let him watch over someone who doesn't appreciate him enough.
Also, Jack standing up to Gwen is perfect. Thank you for this.
I think Rhys would be perfect, to be honest. He's level-headed and you can count on him to back you up. But he won't be gone forever, there's still Meat to come...

You're welcome, and thank you! :)
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