Left Turn – The Mission
Turning the corner Bronwyn looked around her, then at the small scrap of paper in her hand with a growing feeling of dread. This was getting more than embarrassing. She thought she had this sorted after the last time. That last time been mortifying enough, Owen in particular had been very cutting and she could hear his verbal barbs still ringing in her ears. This would be followed Tosh's kindness with Gwen's sympathy and that look of bemusement on Captain Harkness face.
Captain Harkness, Jack, she reminded herself, had sent her to return an artefact to the artefact archive. She had only been there twice and she had found herself nodding when Captain Harkness has asked if she knew where she was going. This time she had raced to her desk and drawn a crude map. The last thing she wanted was a repeat of all the times she had gotten lost. Six times alone in past two weeks; her stomach turned over at the thought.
The route firmly in her mind she went down the stairs, turned left, along the corridor past the current resident Weevil apparently called Janet. Why Janet she thought and why not call the next one Brad? Gwen had explained that Jack had this habit of calling all the weevils by woman's names. Janet was called Janet because she didn't suit being called Barbara.
'What did the creature throw up all over him when she first heard it?' she had asked.
'You know you are going to fit in her really well,' Gwen smiled at her quip.
Moving passed the Weevil she had gone down the stairs and come to a fork. Glancing at the map she took the right fork, down more stairs along the corridor then turned left again. The archives were on the left hand side…or should have been. She checked the large painted sign on the wall; no, this was Level 3, corridor 7. She was supposed to be on Level 4 corridor 1. Tracing her steps back up the stairs she took the left fork down another corridor and more stairs. She felt sick as she found herself in dark nasty corridor which looked none too stable from the collapse down the end. Covering her mouth she gagged at the horrible smell of rotten food.
Pressing her finger to her earpiece she cleared her throat.
'Gwen,' she said softly.
'You're lost aren't you?'
'I am so sorry,'
'Well, you've been gone so long we were about to send out a search party because Jack is whining he hasn't got his coffee.'
'Shit,' Bronwyn said under her breath. 'Please tell Captain Harkness I'm…'
'Sorry,' Gwen replied for her and she winced as she realised what she was going to have to endure.
'Okay, Bronwyn, you know the drill. On the wall somewhere there should be a large painted number and letter on the right hand side about a meter up.'
She began searching. 'Cor, it don't half pong down here,' she told them couching as the odour grabbed at her throat. She tried to sweep the dust off the wall with her hand. She kept rubbing but it was clear even in the poor light any lettering was long gone. 'Sorry; no lettering. It's gone.'
'Tell me what you can see?'
'Arched corridor, one end looks collapsed.' She moved a bit closer. "Looks like the whole ceiling has come down,' she added.
'I found you using the heat scanner.' she heard Tosh's voice. 'You're in corridor 14 level D.'
'Right my love, according the schematics this is a long corridor. At one end you should see a large pair of very sturdy doors; don't go down there. Turn around…'
Bronwyn squinted into the distance. 'I don't see any doors, all I can see is a pile of rubble. I told you it's looks like the roof has caved in or something and there is a horrible pong down here.'
Gwen turned and called Tosh over to her work station.
'Can you check this for me?' Gwen asked. 'According to the schematics all there should be is a long corridor sealed at one end.'
'That's where she is,' Tosh agreed tapping Gwen's keyboard and bringing up the result of the heat scan and it overlaid the schematics as Jack now joined them.
'Gwen, go get her. Check out the area. It could have been weakened when…' He left the rest unsaid.
'Jack, I can't go down there…' Gwen reflected as Jack put his hand on her shoulder.
'Too many ghosts,' he saw her nod as Tosh equipped herself with a powerful torch, her scanner and headed down.
'Bronwyn, Tosh is on her way down. Move away from the collapse to the clear end of the corridor and stay there,' Jack ordered.
'Yes Captain Harkness,' he heard a soft reply and he began to chuckle at her repentant tone tinged with relief and shook his head.
'Am I glad to see you,' Bronwyn burst out as Tosh appeared. Tosh immediately put her hand over her mouth as the foul odour hit her.
Flicking on the torch she walked cautiously down the corridor towards the collapse. From the schematics there should have been two strong wooden doors there. She threw light onto the floor and along the walls and saw they had been blown apart and were scattered in pieces, most now underfoot. She beckoned Bronwyn forward and handed her the torch while she turned on her scanner.
'There is a residue so there was a small but powerful explosion causing a cave in,' Tosh reported back.
'Why would anyone set off an explosion down here? I mean, I only found this place by accident. It's like a bloody maze, one wrong turning…' Bronwyn pointed out.
'We don't come down here, either. Too many bad memories,' Tosh said as she continued her analysis.
'We don't like to talk about it.'
'Sorry,' Bronwyn said as Tosh took back the torch and began to survey the collapsed ceiling and the pile of rubble, and there was a strange looking thing, like sole of a shoe. She moved forward and took another look.
'Everyone, you need to get down here now,' she forced herself to speak.
'You're not lost an all are ya? Bloody hell Tosh,' Owen retorted sarcastically.
'Please Owen, and bring Gwen and Jack with you,' she said.
'I am not coming down there and you know why,' Gwen told her bluntly.
'There's a dead body down here,' Tosh told them.
'Stop playing games Tosh,' Owen grumbled.
'This is not a game, she said looking up from her scanner. The DNA scan confirms it's Ianto.'
'You said he had packed up his flat and you had proof he had moved on,' Owen said, turning in anger towards Jack as they stood before the pile of rubble.
'I went there. His flat was empty. He had handed in the keys to the rental agency. I checked the CCTV footage and it was Ianto leaving in his Audi,' Jack argued, a tremor in his voice.
'All this time, he's been here,' Tosh burst out as she viewed the rubble.
'He died alone down here in this stinking hole,' Gwen said and burst into the tears.
'Owen, we need to find out what happened. Gwen, take Tosh and Bronwyn back upstairs. Go and get some ceiling stabilisers and spotlights then bring them back here and set them up,' Jack ordered.
'Are you okay Jack?' Tosh asked. She saw him shake his head as he stared at the pile.
'I'll start getting the gear down ere,' Owen told him leaving Jack on his own.
Not able to speak Jack stood in silence, unable to move until the others returned.
Owen glanced up at Jack, who had not taken his eyes off Ianto's remains now concealed in a body bag lying on the examination table in the autopsy room.
'He died from a single gunshot to the head. From the destruction to the back of his skull and the few bullet fragments I've found he used a particular type of bullet designed to do the maximum amount of damage on exit. From the angle the bullet entered the back of the throat. It's a clear indication that Ianto took his own life.'
Tosh now spoke up. 'The blast came from a small explosive device that caused enough damage to cover the body with rubble but allowed the structure, the wall and roof to retain their integrity,'
'He planned this down the last detail, didn't he?' Gwen added sadly.
'What did he do with his stuff? I mean it's not like he sold it or did he just give it away?' Owen said as Tosh looked at him and put her hand over her mouth.
'What Tosh?' he said looking at her.
'The lock ups. I think we need to check them.'
Retreating to his office Jack closed the door. Before him were four cardboard boxes recovered from the back of one of the lock ups. Opening the first he found a sheet of paper in a plastic sheet noting the contents of each box.
There was very little, a few suits, clothes, books, CD's, his collection of science fiction DVDs, his comic collection, personal papers, and his will. Ianto had very little but after the sale of his car he had donated what he did have to Annie's parents.
Reaching into the last box he picked up the final book. It was a journal. He flicked through the pages and then turned to the front page and began to read.
Picking up his mobile phone Jack pressed speed dial. He let it ring and after several moments a gruff voice grunted at him.
'Owen,' he stated.
'Jack.' Owen replied.
'Did Ianto ever approach you about being in pain? I mean physical pain…so your post mortem showed he had several cracked vertebra that were partially healed …I see that was not my question Owen, did Ianto come to speak to you about how much pain he was in?'
'Jack, what good do you think this going over this will achieve? Ianto killed himself. I imagine it was a combination of guilt over the death of Lisa and...'
'Owen… did he approach you?'
'He might have I really don't recall. It's 3.30 am, Jack. It's been the worst possible day and if you don't mind I would like to get back to wallowing in guilt in private.'
Jack closed the phone, cutting off the conversation, and turned to the next page.
Coming now to the final page Jack stood and walked across to where Ianto remains lay sealed within a body bag. In a small shallow container were the objects they had found on his body. Taking the container he pulled up a chair.
'I have to confess that once you had left I haven't given you a second thought; I genuinely thought you had packed up and gone. I guess that was the plan, well it worked.' Jack shook his head.
'That's not completely true; I did think about you. I think part of me knew and that's why I never looked for you, not seriously anyway.' He took a breath.' No, I need to be honest here. I was angry with you, you conned me, you conned the con man. So when I found you had gone it was with a sense of relief that I didn't have face a constant reminder that you had hurt me.'
'You were so convincing and I felt myself falling for someone. This is one of the tragedies of this: I would have forgiven you, I had forgiven you. I was just so angry, I didn't know how to stop being angry. I tried but I was just so goddam mad with what you had done and angry at myself for allowing you in…to feel… to find it was all fake, it hurt more than I can put into words.'
He pulled out the list from the shallow container. It was a badly stained list of names. It had puzzled them at first but after Tosh had done some research they found it was a list of those killed at Canary Wharf. Ianto's last act had been to add Lisa then own name and dates of their deaths then place the list into his inside jacket pocket.
'Ianto, honestly it never crossed our minds that you were the last one left alive. Torchwood One was misguided and run by a woman who had serious issues of megalomania. I won't lie, Ianto; I hated them, I hated Yvonne, I hated that their hubris nearly caused the end of the world as we knew it. But the people you knew weren't responsible for any of that. All I can think of is if Owen and I had not indulged in our petty tirades, maybe you could have come and spoken to me about this. We could have held some commemoration no matter how small in honour of the people you knew.'
He opened the body bag and placed the sheet back inside and zipped it shut.
'Ianto you need to hear some home truths. Your father was a bastard, you did amount to something, and you weren't a waste of space. He was a mean spirted, spiteful man who was twisted inside. Your mother didn't die because you didn't love her enough.'
'You were worthy of love, Ianto. Look at the lengths you went through to save Lisa. What a man was the son of Elsa Jones…brave, loyal, loving, resourceful. I would have been privileged to have you love me. You and me…it wouldn't have been easy; I'm a complete bastard, selfish, self-absorbed, I get jealous, I've been waiting for someone for over 100 years. I would most likely have run out on you, flirted with everything that moved, hungered over my connection with Gwen, but in the end you and me it could have happened.'
Jack stood up. 'You did good. You saved Tosh's life, you were the best assistant I ever had. I swear to god your coffee was orgasmic and you looked spectacular in a suit. And despite your claims there are five people who are devastated that you ended your life. I haven't told your sister yet, that's my task for today and that will make six.'
'I keep thinking what if I had got back here in time, I could have saved you. What if I had stopped wallowing in my own self righteous indignation and reached out or just stopped and thought….didn't stop for that coffee, and came straight back here.'
'The bottom line is, Ianto… my failure to see the pain you were in became the bullet that killed you, you ended your life and now I am going to end this. You are going to be the last life Torchwood cuts short. Enough is enough. Tomorrow, I am going to begin dismantling this place stone by stone with my bare hands if necessary. I was waiting for someone but that is pointless now. I stayed far too long. I need to travel amongst the stars again, get some perspective and find a way to redeem myself.'
'Humanity can arm itself for the future. It sounds like I'm being selfish but losing you…' he placed his hand on the body bag, 'has made me look at my life in an unexpected manner. I guess what I'm trying to say is Ianto, and I'm sorry seems so inadequate, but you suffered, Owen was neglectful, Gwen was…well, Gwen. Tosh I think cared but she has her own problems. You were the most in need, struggling with the loss of everyone you knew and not one of us cared enough to even ask if you were okay.'
'I do agree with one thing: this was a selfish act, because you denied us you. You denied us the opportunity to help and you denied yourself a future. I'm not blaming you; the fault lies squarely with me.' Jack put his head into his hands then wiped them over his face. 'Our lives will be a lot less rich, Ianto, without you here. I know I am saying this all too late, but you were worth more than a lonely death in some forgotten corner.' Standing now he kissed the top of the bag and held himself there for a moment then stood and walked away.