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Myfanwy 2

April 2018

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Cry of the Space Whale - Chapter Five

Cry of the Space Whale - Chapter Five
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Toshiko/Kathy, Rhys/Gwen (past)
Warnings: Language, Violence
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E4, "Meat"
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of "Meat".  As usual, dating and research thanks to the TARDIS wiki and Ianto's Desktop.


SummaryWhen one of Rhys Williams' employees is killed in a road accident and Torchwood investigates, he is determined to get to the bottom of what happened...and to find out what just was wrong with the meat that had been in the back of his friend's lorry.




2 September 2008

Rhys entered into his office the next morning, making his way past Ruth’s desk with a half-hearted greeting, his mind on what was going to happen that morning. He hadn’t slept well the night before, but he was so hopped up on adrenaline he doubted dozing off behind the wheel would be any problem. Also, the coffee he’d practically guzzled on an empty stomach certainly added to his nerviness, but the very idea of food didn’t do his stomach any favours.

He grabbed the sign-out clipboard as Ruth gave her own overly chipper “Good morning!” She got up from her own desk, bustling around the side. “I got you some tea and a Danish…your favourite.”

“Thanks,” he said, checking the list of available lorries and choosing one with refrigeration, just like Leighton would have done for the delivery. “I actually just popped in to get my jacket and to sign out a van. I’ll be making Leighton’s run today,” he added, knowing she would be curious as to why he was suddenly going out on a delivery when he didn’t have to.

Out of the corner of his eye he watched Ruth put the mug and the napkin with the Danish down on his desk. There were times when she could be rather lazy and would disappear God knew where, but ever since Gwen had left she’d taken it upon herself to look after him. It drove him a bit batty at times, but Rhys honestly did appreciate it, even when the sight of that Danish made his gut roll slightly.

“Looks like I’m in the wrong job.”

Rhys turned to see Ianto come into the office just as Ruth was turning away from her errand at his desk. He was wearing a sharp wool coat over a dark suit, and he was smiling as he entered, the expression aimed at Ruth who seemed a bit flustered by the fact that a handsome bloke was paying attention to her.

“We do have job vacancies,” she said, sounding just a bit breathless and giving Ianto a bright smile.

“Would I need a special license for trucking?” the dragon asked teasingly.

“Oh yes…but then you could go the distance.”

Rhys choked on air at the flirting.

Ianto’s eyes were twinkling as he leaned forward and whispered something in Ruth’s ear. Whatever it was it flustered her so badly she actually fluttered her hands and turned as red as a tomato.

Before he could say anything, his phone rang. “It’s them,” he said, answering it. “Yeah?”

“You on the way?” a voice said, and honestly Rhys couldn’t tell which Harris it was.

“Getting the lorry now.”

“Fine. We’re ready when you get here. Don’t mess about on us, or you’ll get the consequences.”

Rhys didn’t even bother hiding the rolling of his eyes at the comment; it sounded like something out of a camp police show. “No worries,” he reassured him.

Whoever it was hung up without saying another word.

Ruth was introducing herself to Ianto as he put the phone away. Rhys signed his name on the sign-out sheet, grabbing the keys from their hook on the wall where all the keys were kept. “You ready?”

Ianto looked at Rhys and nodded. He turned back to Ruth. “It was nice meeting you,” he said cordially.

“Come back anytime,” Ruth practically gushed. “We accept applications all the time. I’m sure you’d be a perfect fit here.”

“I’m glad you think so,” he answered sincerely.

Rhys grabbed his Harwood’s jacket, slipping it on over his button-down. “Let’s get out of here,” he said gruffly, amused by it all. He hadn’t expected Ianto to be such a flirt, but then he’d been around Harkness and figured the dragon had picked it up from him.

Together they headed out into the yard, toward the van Rhys had checked out. “I’m not even gonna ask what you told Ruth to get her so aflutter.”

Ianto smirked. “Don’t tell Jack I was flirting; he gets jealous.”

He didn’t look very worried about it, and Rhys just snorted at the comment. “Like he has any right to, I’ve seen him in action that one time.” While he’d more often spent time with Ianto – and it really wasn’t a lot of time at that – the once he’d been around Harkness after Gwen’s Retconning the man had been a slick operator. He’d often wondered just how many phone numbers he’d gotten that night at the pub.

“That’s just Jack,” Ianto answered. “If he ever stopped flirting I’d check him for alien possession.”

Rhys wondered what it would be like, to be in a relationship with someone who seemed to flirt with just about anyone, and then decided he really didn’t want to know.

They made it to the refrigerated lorry, Rhys climbing into the front seat. The sound of the passenger door closing followed him as he fastened his safety belt and put the key in the ignition. “So, where’s the others meeting us?”

“At the service station where the original pick up was made,” Ianto answered. “We figured it would be the best place, since the team wouldn’t have to stay inside the refrigerated back of the lorry for all that long.”

That made sense, and reminded Rhys to cut on the unit in the back, so it would be cold enough when he reached the warehouse. He didn’t want to raise suspicion by not having the back cooled down to the proper temperature.

He pulled out of the yard, and it was quiet for the first several minutes of the drive. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence, which surprised him. Rhys had the sudden urge to break it, because it wasn’t fair that he should be that way with someone he really didn’t know all that much about, besides him being a dragon and knowing some of Torchwood’s pretty important secrets.

“Why me?” he finally blurted out.

“What do you mean?” Ianto sounded confused.

“Why did you tell me all this about yourself and Torchwood on our first meeting, when you waited so long to tell Gwen?”

There was a pensive pause, and just when Rhys was going to risk taking his eyes from the road and look over at his passenger, he heard Ianto sigh.

“That is an interesting question,” the dragon murmured. “All I can say is that I trusted you almost immediately, whereas I didn’t feel that way toward Gwen.”

“But why? What’s it about me that made you trust me?” He was confused. “I’m just a manager at a haulage company. I just don’t get it.”

There was another silence. “I know you said your grandmother told you stories about dragons.”

“Aye, she did.”

“Then you know my kind is closely connected to the Earth, and to the magic that is natural to this planet.”

Rhys nodded. His Gran had been fond of telling him bedtime tales of dragons, and of magic, and the heroes of the Old Religion. They’d stayed with him even into his adult life, and had led him to asking questions about his heritage from his Mam when he’d been old enough to appreciate the answers and had learned that his Great-Gran had been a true healer, with real magic; not the small conjurings he’d seen his Gran do.

While he didn’t quite understand much of what he’d discovered, he’d certainly come to respect it. And, if sometimes he lit candles for his family’s ancestors then no one really needed to know that, did they?

“When I was a child,” Ianto explained, “my mother was very fond of telling me to follow my heart, that I could see inside a soul and know if they could be trusted. There was a time when I didn’t do that,” and he sighed again, the small sound full of sadness, “and it nearly lost me everything. But, it really made me realise that my being able to see that sort of thing was a gift, and while I don’t have a great deal of magic this was something special to me. You recall me saying something about a darkness within Gwen?”

Rhys thought back to that night, when he’d gotten too many answers to his questions and had seen just what his Gwen had become. “I remember. I asked my Mam about it, and she said what you did: that sometimes something touches a person and they don’t even know it. It could be attached to the family, and get passed down; or else it could be a purposeful curse.”

“Had she seen it too?”

Rhys nodded once. “Yeah. Only she didn’t say anything because she knew how much I loved Gwen, and wasn’t willing to lose me over it.” His Mam could see it, that Rhys might very well have left with Gwen if she’d said something against his girlfriend. He’d been so in love with Gwen, but it had been obvious that Brenda Williams hadn’t been fond of her son’s choice in lover.

Now, he wished she had said something. There might have been less heartache then. And he had to be grateful to his Mam for not rubbing his face in it, because she’d have been within her right to do so.

“I’m not saying that the darkness isn’t in others,” Ianto hastened to add. “There are some who go throughout their lives with such a taint and nothing happens. But I’ve learned to avoid those people as much as I can, because in the end nothing good comes of carrying such darkness within your soul.”

It came to Rhys then just what his passenger was intimating. “Are you saying I don’t have that sort of darkness, then?”

Ianto snorted. “Well, there aren’t any perfect people, and everyone carries something with them, but Gwen was tainted. It’s very hard for me to explain without some sort of context, and in fact Jack thinks it’s all just instinct with me even though he rolls with it. But you…you’re from a magical family, and you have a bit of magic in you…not enough that you could use, but it’s there nonetheless.”

Rhys was unbelievably proud to know that.

There was a sudden, pensive silence, and Rhys turned to regard his passenger. Ianto was staring right at him, and Rhys felt very uncomfortable, so he faced front once more. He could feel the weight of that stare, like the dragon was studying him or something. He wanted to tell Ianto to stop it, but couldn’t get the words out.

“There are so many things you should know,” Ianto murmured. “When this is over, we’ll need to have a long talk.” He huffed a laugh. “You and me…several pints…a karaoke machine...count on it.”

Rhys laughed at that. “Don’t expect me to get up in front of a crowd of drunk Welshmen and sing, mate.”

“You haven’t lived until you’ve sung Endless Love in front of the rugby crowd.”

“No bloody way!” Rhys exclaimed. “You got a death wish or something?”

“No…just a mate who knows how much to give me to drink in order to make a complete arse out of myself.”

“You’re both insane!”

Ianto laughed. “You’re not the first to have noticed that, actually.”

“It’s bleeding obvious, innit?” Rhys couldn’t help but laugh as well.

A short silence filled the cab of the van, and Rhys could feel his nerves fade just a little. He blamed that for the fact that he opened his mouth and said, “There was another reason for me going to that warehouse,” before he even know he’d spoken.

“You mean, besides the fact that you didn’t trust Torchwood to tell you what Leighton had been up to?” The question was soft, but for some strange reason Rhys got the impression that this wasn’t a surprise.

Still, he ploughed ahead. “Yeah. I went in there because of Gwen.”

Rhys could practically feel the confusion emanating from his passenger. “I…I wasn’t expecting that,” the dragon answered slowly.

“What…did you think it was because I had the urge to show off?”

Ianto barked out a laugh. “Well, you and Jack are alike in a few ways, so yes…I could see that.”

He didn’t know whether to be insulted by that or not, and he certainly didn’t see it himself.

“So,” Ianto went on, “why do you think you went in there because of Gwen?”

Rhys sighed. He really wished he hadn’t said anything, but then his brain did have a tendency to be on a delay when it came to his mouth. After all, there was a reason he’d had the nickname ‘Rhys the Rant’ for so long.

“That night,” he began, “the night before you Retconned Gwen…she kept saying that she only wanted to protect me, like I couldn’t look after myself. And then she really thought I wouldn’t be able to handle what Torchwood did…I guess, I guess I just wanted to prove her wrong. Even though she’d never know it, I wanted to prove that I could handle it. And, you know, I really didn’t handle it all that well.” He was embarrassed to admit it, but seeing that poor creature, being cut up like that…of course it had made him sick. Anyone with a conscience couldn’t have reacted in any other way.

“Rhys.” A warm hand rested on his shoulder. “Personally, I think you did just fine. What you saw in that warehouse was fantastic, and not a lot would have accepted it. You kept your head, even though you saw something being tortured in front of you, and you came up with a way to get us inside and hopefully save that alien.”

“Yeah, but if I hadn’t gone in, this might be over and that creature in there wouldn’t be in pain anymore. Just because I had to prove to someone who would never know that I wasn’t the damsel in distress she seemed to think I was.” Saying it out loud, it sounded horrible, and Rhys was ashamed of himself even though he hadn’t realised his motivation until he’d stood in front of the alien, its cloudy purple eye staring at him as if begging him to do something to rescue it…and all he’d been able to do was vomit.

“We don’t know that,” Ianto reassured him. “We were actually heading into the warehouse when Patrick noticed you. We would have gone in blind, but now we know what we’re dealing with and we’ve planned accordingly.”

He made it sound so logical, that Rhys hadn’t put his foot right into it, and a knot in his stomach that he hadn’t even known existed loosed. He hadn’t slept well last night, worrying that he’d condemned that poor thing to even more pain because he’d gotten involved and had kept Torchwood from doing their job properly.

“We’re here.”

Rhys blinked, seeing the service station coming up quickly. He made the turn, pulling the lorry up behind the building, where the very familiar Torchwood SUV was parked. The team was standing there, and Harkness began striding toward the van before Rhys had gotten it parked.

He climbed down from the cab as Jack greeted him. Rhys had to admit he couldn’t make up his mind whether that greatcoat the man wore made him look like a ponce or a hero, and left that particular thought alone.

The rest of the team gathered around the back of the refrigerated lorry, bundled up in jackets and coats. “We all know the plan,” Harkness said as he, Rhys, and Ianto joined them. “Deborah is back at the Hub, and she’ll be monitoring our communications. If things go pear-shaped, she’ll be on the phone with Kathy and Andy and begging them to come and save our asses.”

“You know she’ll enjoy that,” Toshiko smirked.

It took Rhys a few seconds to realise who they were speaking about. So, Gwen’s former partner also knew about Torchwood? He wasn’t quite sure how to think about that, to be honest. Andy was a nice enough bloke, even if Rhys hadn’t really gotten along with him. He could admit to himself now that he was just a wee bit jealous of the time Gwen had spent with her partner, and looking back on it now it really hadn’t made a lot of sense. But then, he now had proof that she’d been perfectly willing to cheat on him, so how could he know what might have happened if she’d remained with the police?

No, that was just borrowing more heartache, with the what-might-have-been’s. He’ll never know any of that, since Torchwood had come into their lives. And he was beginning to think this was a good thing.

Harkness had the back of the van thrown open, a wave of cold wafting from the interior. “Everyone in.”

Patrick stopped just as he was getting into the back. “Hey Jack…have you ever eaten alien meat?”

The captain looked vaguely surprised by the question. “Yeah, sure I have.”

Something flitted across the man’s face that Rhys wasn’t sure what it was. “And it was okay?”

“Well,” Harkness said, his lips curling upward into a sly smile, “he certainly seemed to think so.”

Rhys couldn’t help but groan, but he wasn’t alone; the rest of the team did the same, their comments ranging from, “Jesus Christ, Harkness!” to a snort of laughter from Ianto.

Patrick put his face into his hand. “I walked into that one, didn’t I?”

“You’ll learn,” Toshiko said, patting his arm in comfort.

“But until you do I’m gonna have so much fun,” Jack laughed. “Get in the lorry.”

The team climbed in, Harkness helping as needed. Once everyone was inside, he turned to Rhys. “As soon as you can, get clear,” he told him. “You’re going in unarmed and we don’t want to risk your life. Got that?”

“Yeah, I got it,” Rhys agreed.

Harkness gave him a short nod, and then proceeded to get up into the back of the van, Ianto and Patrick giving him a hand. Rhys took one quick look inside, saw the team settling in, and closed and latched the door.

Taking a deep breath, Rhys got back into the driver’s seat and pulled out, very much aware of the load he was currently carrying.


Chapter Six





Comments

Loved the banter between Ianto and Rhys..and i do want to be in that pub when they start the karaoke!!
Patrick has to learn when to ask Jack questions and when to leave well enough alone. Until then, he's bound to walk unsuspectingly into one of Jack's sex anecdotes on a regular basis. Then again, a bit of humor to break the tension is always good.

It's too bad Rhys' mother hadn't been able to say something to him about the darkness she saw in Gwen without the fear of losing him or he couldn't have seen it himself. It would have saved him a lot of heartache. I wish he didn't feel he had to prove himself even though Gwen will never know about it. I'm glad Ianto was able to tell him something about himself to make him feel better. I think the two of them on a night out together sounds like a brilliant time. They should definitely do that. Now I just hope this part of their day goes to plan and no one gets hurt.


I love Jack!!!! I can't believe Patrick walked right into that :D
Loved the epilogue!!Patrick really did walk into that one :)
Awesome update! I loved the banter between Ianto and Rhys.

Oh goodness, poor Patrick! *giggles* (I could almost see him pull an expression just like his uncle Phil's!) ;)
Patrick really has a lot to learn about conversing with Jack. I always love seeing a jealous Jack, I love that Ianto knows and flirts on purpose... Poor Ruth. I love how your Rhys is a lot more soulful and introspective and in some ways a lot stronger than the cannon Rhys. :)
Great update! Look forward to the next chapter, as usual :-)
Ianto who flirt with Ruth ... LOL
I love it.
Dialogue between Ianto and Rhys is very interesting. I like the idea of the evening offered Ianto. an interlude??
It worthwhile to see Ianto and Rhys get drunk and sing ...

You always have a beautiful writing of history.
Thank you for sharing.