A/N: Protectors of the Plot Continuum was founded by Jay and Acacia. Excerpts in italics are taken from Last Resort by Rockchick28.
"A resort, that's a holiday destination, isn't it?" Emma asked. She turned her swivel chair away from the console and addressed her partner who was on the floor of the Response centre packing her duffel bag.
"Resort, noun, first meaning, a place that is a popular destination for vacations or recreation," Tasmin replied without looking up. "Or which is frequented for a particular purpose."
Emma chuckled. "So is a pub, or a railway station. Never thought of a railway station as a resort."
"Resort, second meaning, the action of turning to and adopting a strategy or course of action, especially, a disagreeable or undesirable one, so as to resolve a difficult situation."
"Are you ready to find out which resort is meant in this story?"
"Yes." Tasmin stood up and at the same time pulled the cord to close her duffel bag.
"Let's go in as Mary."
"By that I hope you mean the body Mary stole from that nineteenth century whore. And by hope I mean you better not be suggesting the other one."
"Hey, I know you by now. You always want to go in as regular people. And I have learned to accept your limitations." Emma quickly opened a portal and hopped through.
The portal had brought the two PPC agents to a suburban street. About twenty yards down the street Jack and Gwen were just disembarking the SUV. They headed for a house and rang the doorbell. A woman opened the door and let them in. The woman was relieved that they had finally come to pick up the girl.
"If this girl is an alien, or alien possessed, I can see Torchwood do this," Emma said.
"Can I gather from your choice of words that neither is the case here?"
"Didn't you read the Intelligence Report?"
"I heard the beep, I packed the bag and by the time I was done you had the portal open. There wasn't really any time to do anything else."
"You should always read the Intelligence Report. Not just so that those Intelligence people don't feel totally ignored and neglected, but how else will you know what to pack?"
"You're telling me this Sue can't be killed with a gun?" Tasmin frowned at her partner.
"She can, as far as I know, but do you need that much luggage for just one gun?"
"And the bullets and the silencer and a whole bunch of equipment."
Jack had reached the Sue's bedroom. She was standing in the middle of it, surrounded by a mess of clothes, books, furniture and Owen. Jack grabbed the girl by the wrists.
"Look at me" he said holding the wriggling girl and after a brief struggle she looked at him "Now you know what's happening and you're coming with us whether you like it or not so we can either do this the hard way or the easy way and I know which one I'd prefer"
The Sue opted for the hard way. Owen pulled out a syringe and stuck the needle into her arm.
"Owen just happens to have a syringe with a sedative on his person."
"It's called smart packing," Tasmin said. "He knew he was going to have to pick up a Sue, so he went in prepared."
"Well, I still think it's strange."
"I don't. You don't even have make that much of a stretch and claim canon on this: Owen had one when he treated Gwen's shotgun wound."
Emma pondered for a moment. "I'll have to give that one a miss then."
"It seems you have to."
"Can I still charge her for going limp almost immediately. Even if her heart rate is three times as high as it should be due to agitation, it should take some time for the sedative to take complete effect."
Tasmin shrugged. "Owen could just be carrying potent stuff."
"Enough to knock out a Weevil."
"Or a Sue. I told you he came prepared."
Jack carried the Sue down the stairs, followed by Owen who toted a bag with some of her clothes. As Jack walked out of the house the woman who had let him in shouted some abuse to the Sue.
"By the way, that is not the Sue's mother."
"Obviously not someone who cares. And also, not someone that Social Services has talked to recently."
Jack put the Sue in the back of the SUV and Owen sat beside her when they drove back to the Hub.
"She looks so innocent" he murmured
"I missed the note of sarcasm," Tasmin said. She studied the Words in the distance.
"There wasn't any." Emma pulled the Remote Activator from her shoulder bag and opened a portal to the Hub. "This story is showing a softer side of him."
"Lemme guess, that softer side is just there, and not brought on by alien involvement or a lobotomy."
"You could consider the Sue alien involvement."
"I thought you said she wasn't alien?"
"I don't think I said that. I think I implied she wasn't."
"Same difference," Tasmin grumbled as she stepped through the portal.
The agents just stepped into the Hub as Jack was telling the others who the Sue was. She was called Ruby Summers, her parents were unknown, she had lived most of her life with foster families, and the last person she had lived with was a distant aunt.
"How-" Emma started but Tasmin shushed her. Jack hadn't finished yet.
So Ruby was given to us for one of two reasons, number one we're sort of a last resort and number two she has the ability to use Precognition
"If she was given to them, does that mean they get to keep her? You know, like a puppy."
"Only if they manage to get her house broken."
"But what I wanted to ask before: if they know it's an aunt of the Sue, doesn't that imply that they know at least one of the parents. Or does British Social Services just give children to anyone who walks through the door and says they'd like to have one?"
"They gave one to Torchwood."
"Not entirely the same thing."
"No, I know what you mean. Parents unknown generally means that you don't know who the family is. Which would include distant aunts."
Jack explained that the Sue could be useful to Torchwood, or at least, her power could be useful. But he also pointed out that the Sue needed help. That was seconded by Owen who sat reading through her file. The Sue had been treated for self-harming and numerous eating disorders.
"You'd think that one disorder would be plenty."
"Perhaps she was treated multiple times."
"Isn't that just called a relapse, rather than a new disorder?"
The sedative wore off, and as soon as the Sue had control over her vocal-cords again she started screaming. Jack picked her up and took her to one of the cells to cool off. For hours Jack just sat outside the cell and watch as the Sue kept on screaming.
The agents looked at the scene via Torchwood's internal CCTV system.
"I'd hoped she would have been hoarse from screaming much sooner than a few hours later," Tasmin said.
"I believe she's had much practice," Emma replied. She paged through the Social Services records of the Sue. "Why isn't this file digital? You know, so Social Services can put it on CD or USB flash memory and lose it in the post, or on the back seat of a rental car."
Eventually the Sue stopped kicking and screaming, to the relief of Owen who had come to sit with Jack. Even though the Sue had been introduced by the Words as a teenager, Jack crouched down and talked to her as if she were an eight-year-old. The agents chalked that up to Jack not routinely having to deal with anyone under the age of eighteen.
The Sue promised she would stay calm and Jack unlocked the cell door. He took her back to the medical bay of the Hub where he introduced himself and the rest of the team.
Emma and Tasmin had no idea where the medical bay was, but they were glad it was hooked up on the internal CCTV system so they could follow the proceedings of the story without getting too near the Sue.
Owen took some blood from the Sue, and did some unnamed tests. Then the Sue was taken upstairs to the meeting room where Ianto laid out some food. The Sue turned green at the sight of the food. Owen confirmed that the medical tests had shown the symptoms of eating disorder.
"That would be so true, if eating disorders could be diagnosed by taking blood samples," Tasmin said. "Eating disorders are diagnosed using questionnaires. Digestive diseases, which are more likely to make a person turn green at the sight of food, can be diagnosed by blood test. Some of them anyway."
"Then you'll be glad to hear that Owen isn't just relying on the blood test, he's talking to the Sue too."
"We have to bring it up" Owen said and after a long and emotional talk Owen found that his fears were right and she did suffer from an eating disorder that was out of control which linked in with the self harming.
"Show, don't tell is such an underused style element."
Emma chuckled. "If this fic had had the long and emotional talk in it, and it was any kind of realistic, we would not have been here." She pulled her note pad from her shoulder bag. "A talk like that would have made for a great story. It would have had no place in a Torchwood story, at least not if it took place at the Hub, but a well-written intense and emotional scene were it's dragged out of a person what's wrong with them could be finger-lickingly good." Emma made a note of Jack and Owen becoming amateur social workers and out of character.
"Finger-licking good," Tasmin corrected.
Emma grinned. "Glad you agree."
The Sue's recovery from the mental problems that had resulted in the eating disorder and the self-harm was fast if anything. Owen told her she needed to get some sleep; the Sue went to bed and slept, and when she woke up she was back to normal.
This was the real Ruby once again, it looked like Owen had got through to her and that few hours sleep had done her the world of good.
"And on Sunday's Owen does miracle cures for the local church."
The Sue even managed to force down some food, which she soon after wanted to throw up. But Owen told her that she was a fighter and that he believed in her, and she didn't throw up. Working closely with Owen the Sue learned to eat and a few weeks later she was back at a healthy weight.
"I think we can conclude from that that the Sue wasn't actually dangerously underweight."
"At the very least we can conclude that the Sue has no idea what it actually is like to have an eating disorder."
"Wasn't that obvious? I thought that most eating disorders were related to perfectionism and having control. What they eat is about the only thing in their lives that they can control. Yet, this Sue was screaming uncontrollably for the first few scenes we've seen her."
"You could argue that screaming at the top of her lungs is a way of having control over what everyone else is hearing."
"Is that what you are arguing?"
Emma shrugged. "I'm arguing that there's not enough alien stuff in this story to make it a Torchwood story."
Tasmin nodded. "I can agree to that."
"I think her precognition ability is supposed to make it a Torchwood story."
"We haven't seen her precog ability yet either."
"That's because she first had to be cured from her eating disorder before she could start having premonitions."
"I'm fearing this argument is going to run in circles."
Jack complimented Owen on the great job he had done with the Sue. After a while Owen even saw it fit to send the Sue back to school. But after her second school day she returned to her old behaviour of pushing food around her plate and being quiet. Owen decided that they did not want her to relapse. He also thought that she would not open up to him.
"Even though she had opened up a lot to him already, so much even that he had been able to help her deal with her disorder."
The next day Owen waited outside the Hub for the Sue to return from school. He witnessed the Sue being bullied and beaten by two schoolmates. Owen chased them off and took the Sue into the Hub to treat her wounds. He told her she should have told him. The Sue argued that he had told her that she should take care of her own problems now.
"I think that the thing to tell a person with any kind of behavioural disorder is that they can always come to you with their problems. The last thing you want them to do when on the road to recovery is relapse because they have to deal with everything on their own. That's what got them in trouble in the first place."
"Just comes to show," Emma said, "Owen's a medical doctor, not a psychologist. He said he'd seen some cases when training as a doctor, but he doesn't actually have any experience with the proper treatment of these problems."
"No person becomes an expert on a subject after superficially studying two cases."
The Sue went to her room.
"Is she still living at the Hub?" Emma exclaimed. "Why am I even surprised? Sues always move into the Hub. Although, most of those Sues come to the Hub for Jack, not Owen."
"It seems your question is about to be resolved." Tasmin pointed to the screen as Owen made a dramatic entrance into Jack's office.
"Jack you know what her past was like and you brought her here to give her a new start, but you know as well as I do that it's not the right environment for a young girl to be brought up in"
Then Owen suggested the Sue should come and live with him.
"After all, Torchwood hunts aliens and that is no place for a little girl."
"We've been her now for several weeks -- well, so the story says. Thanks to several time skips we've only been here a few hours -- and we have yet to see the first alien. Or anything else related to Torchwood."
"True, there's not even been any Jack-Ianto smooching. So far the only Torchwood activity that has taken place in this fic is that they ordered in food and ate it in the meeting room."
"But what about the whole precognition thing?"
"Finally." Tasmin threw her hands in the air. "One of them remembers. And here I was starting to think that Torchwood had re-evaluated its mission statement and become an institution that offers therapy for people with behavioural disorders."
Owen, however, dismissed it as a problem. Jack said the Sue could live with him. The Sue was also in for the idea. Then Owen went home to paint the walls of his spare room lilac as this was the Sue's favourite colour. The next day the Sue moved in.
Because Torchwood did not have CCTV set up in Owen's flat -- Emma argued that really they should -- the agents had to follow this part of the story through the Words.
"I know…but it's your new start and I promise you don't ever have to be afraid again because I will always be here for you and now matter how you're feeling I'll always be ready to talk with you and you can always talk to everyone back at the hub ok?"
"How did he manage to say that without pausing for breath?" Emma asked. "Or needing a bucket?"
"Well, if this story is actually set after A Day in the Death where it was shown that Owen doesn't breathe any more... Although, I don't think canon explored whether that meant that Owen gained the ability to talk in run-on sentences."
Owen and the Sue played happy families, and Jack was happy for them.
The agents were able to follow most of this play through the internal CCTV system as it took place at the Hub. To pass the time they played a game of dare.
"I dare you to take character measurements here," Emma said.
"Thanks, but I don't need my equipment to blow up in my face to know that these guys are out of character. The canon blowing up was plenty of a give away."
"Jack when I was a kid, I never had a good relationship with my parents, all I wanted was someone to understand me. You know like take the time to see how I was feeling. I was lost like Ruby and all I needed was someone to look out for me and take care of me. I was lost in the darkness but then I found meaning in my life, being here made me feel worthwhile and I just want Ruby to have someone in her life to depend on and look out for her and prove to her that there are good people in this world and in the darkest times there is always that glimmer of light even if it seems so faint it's always there" Owen said and Jack nodded sympathetically
"Jack then slowly backed away and called for emergency back up." Emma rolled her eyes. "Seriously, what the fuck? 'I was lost in the darkness?' Unless you went for a walk at night in a place you didn't know it's called puberty. It's confusing, but quite normal."
"This kid is supposed to have gone from one foster family to another. She probably has not been able to bond properly ever. She's not going to bond properly now. Not to a guy she's only met a few weeks ago and says he understands here. The most likely responses are that she either is very distrustful of him and she will only look out for herself; or she will be very clingy, hanging on to him all the time to show him that she needs him in the hope that he doesn't leave her. This kid is screwed up, and she's going to be screwed up for a very long time."
"The exception to the theory. She lived through a very traumatic event without picking up any mental trauma because of her strong mind. Many professionals in the field even doubted it was possible." Tasmin pointed in the general direction of where the Sue might be. "That is, however, not the case for this Sue. She does not have Natascha's strong will-power; she's already proven that by having a eating disorder and inflicting herself with self-harm. Those are bad behaviours that take time to develop, and they will take time to conquer."
At the end of the day Jack said he needed both Owen and Ianto to come with him on a Weevil hunt. Owen said he couldn't because of the Sue. Jack insisted he needed Owen. The Sue interfered.
"But Jack needs your help and you told me that you should always try and help people who need your help"
"Can I slap her?"
"The PPC disapproves of torture."
"One slap doesn't constitute torture."
"I know, but if you hit her once, you probably want to keep going. Then it's torture."
"I'd be beating her to death. It's a form of execution." Emma shrugged her shoulders.
"Tricky," Tasmin replied. "I'll have to look into that when we get back to head quarters."
Jack promised he would keep the Sue safe.
when have I ever let you down before
"When you resurrected my body, you tit," Emma replied in Owen's place.
"We don't even know whether that took place in this story's universe."
Emma frowned. "Gwen is said to be on her honeymoon. Owen's death and resurrection took place before that. But it could also be it's just ignored in this story. Which is too bad for them now. Owen's resurrection apparently made him king of the Weevils. Could have been useful."
Tasmin tapped the keys of Tosh's computer and tried to find some live feed from the outside with which they could follow the proceedings of the story.
Owen finally agreed the Sue could come along with them. He told her to stay close to him at all times.
"You know if the options are: leave the Sue home alone, leave her in the SUV alone, or take her on the Weevil hunt, you'd think that a clear thinking Owen, Jack or Ianto would have suggested to take the least dangerous of these options. And I doubt Weevil hunt would have been the least dangerous option. Or do they think she will self-harm again when left alone with sharp pointy objects?"
"What makes you think any of them was thinking clearly?"
"Well, Jack and Owen obviously not. We've established that. Ianto seemed pretty sane though."
The Sue needed a lot of reassuring and comforting that everything was going to be all right, and that Ianto wasn't going to shoot her with his gun. Then they finally got out of the car and started searching for the Weevil. After an hour of walking around they still hadn't found it. Just as they decided to call it quits a Weevil jumped out and attacked them. Jack pulled out his Weevil spray and told Owen to take Ruby back to the SUV.
They ran back, but the Sue fell and before Owen could pick her up they were surrounded by five Weevils.
"Ruby when I say three I want you to run as fast as you can till you get to the SUV" he said pressing the keys into her hands
"What exactly does he think surrounded means?"
"Generally, it means all around. And unless this fic is going to tell me differently, I'm going to assume that the five Weevils stood in a circle equidistant from one another."
"Perhaps he's using the Sue as a decoy so he can get away safely?"
"That would be out of character both for canon!Owen and this out of character version of him."
The Sue ran away and Owen managed to scare off the Weevils, but before the Sue reached the SUV another Weevil got the jump on her. He wounded her, but was also scared off by Owen shooting his gun at him.
"Now would be a good moment for the Sue to have a complete relapse into not trusting Owen. He said he could keep her safe, but she got wounded."
The Sue was grabbing her wounded side and trashing wildly about.
"That ought to smart," Emma said. "Whenever I have a pain in my side, moving wildly is the last thing I want to do. Could this be interpreted as a relapse into self-harm?"
Tasmin thought about it for a moment, then shook her head.
"I know but the sooner you let me look at your wound the sooner I can make it stop hurting" and that was enough persuasion for Ruby as she let go of her side.
"In a proper relapse she'd need more than a little persuading that he'd help her. She'd be right back at the trust level she was before she met him."
Ianto and Jack returned to the SUV and helped Owen take care of the Sue. Despite that there had been at least six or seven Weevils out on the attack earlier, and Ianto and Jack had barely caught the one -- they seemed to have left it alone after subduing it -- the vulnerable little group was not attacked again. The Sue had lost a lot of blood before Owen managed to stop the bleeding. He said she should be taken back to the Hub quickly.
"Because a proper hospital is out of the question. You'd think with the number of Weevils around in Cardiff, and the number of people they seem to be attacking, occasionally they attack when Torchwood isn't around and the victim gets taken to Casualty at local hospital. I'm sure that by now they know how to treat these vicious dog bites."
"Sew them up and give them a tetanus shot."
At the Hub Owen started cleaning the Sue's wound without even mentioning the possibility of painkillers. The Sue just bit her lip to deal with the sting from the disinfectant. When he was done the Sue mentioned pain and Owen mentioned pain relief for when it got really bad.
"I thought having half your intestines torn out by Weevil would constitute as really bad," Emma said.
"I guess she just got some superficial cuts. It probably could have pretty much been sorted by Owen giving her a cup of tea to make it all better."
The Sue didn't want Owen to leave her side. He said he had to, because he needed to have a word with Jack. Ianto would stay with her instead. Just outside the door Owen hissed at Jack that he had not kept his promise. Jack felt very guilty.
"Even though it is probably mostly Owen's fault the Sue got hurt. Him sending her through a front line of Weevils and letting her run on her own to the SUV, and all."
"Jack doesn't know all that. He only knows that he okayed that she could come."
Owen walked away from Jack, back to the Sue, who had apparently heard them yell. She asked if Jack was going to hit him.
"When I lived with my Aunty and she got angry with me she hit me"
"Wow," Emma paged through the Social Services file of the Sue. "Child abuse is not in here. Physical abuse that is. Neglect and emotional abuse is covered."
"It's also the first time Owen hears of it."
"You'd think that one had come up when they were working so closely on beating her eating disorder."
Tasmin rolled her eyes. "I think we have covered the bad representation of how to treat an eating disorder enough."
After the Sue fell asleep Owen told Jack and Ianto that the Sue's aunt used to hit her. This brought tears to Jack's eyes.
Emma looked at Tasmin. "Have we also covered the fact that Jack is out of character and a woobie enough?"
The next day the Sue was fit enough to walk out of the Hub to go home. Ianto and Jack watched them go.
"He's a great parental figure and he's a great influence on her"
Nothing eventful happened in the rest of the story, other than that Owen smiled so much his colleagues thought it was unnatural. Emma scanned the Words till the end of the story.
"Apparently, the Sue's going to catch some kind of alien infection and the only cure for it is induced memory loss. She's going to lose all her memories of Torchwood and Owen and is returned to the Foster care system."
"Does that induced memories loss also mean that she no longer will have the capability of precognition?" Tasmin asked. "After all, that was the reason Torchwood took her in in the first place."
"They're probably dumping her because she never had the ability anyway."
"Let's meet up with this Sue before she catches her infection and charge her."
The portal Emma had opened brought the two agents to the street just outside the Hub. The Sue was just returning from school and nearly bumped into them. She tried to get around the agents, but Emma side stepped her and blocked her way again.
"Ruby Summers, we have to talk."
"We're Protectors of the Plot Continuum and we have to talk to you about the crimes you've committed again Torchwood fanfiction." Emma pulled her notepad from her shoulder bag. "We charge you with having a bad idea for a plot why Torchwood would take you under it's wing. Precognition is not really their thing, neither is taking care of troubled teenagers. We charge you with seemingly having serious problems, but apparently they were easy to fix. We charge you with having both Jack and Owen out of character. We charge you with using poor plot devices, to wit, being taken on a Weevil hunt so you can get attacked by a Weevil. Jack would never suggest to take a little girl with them on a Weevil hunt. If you wanted to get attacked by one you could have just gone out for a walk with Owen.
"We charge you with the fact that the Weevil attack did not shatter your trust in Owen. It did not even make a scratch in your trust in Owen. We charge you with being taken to the Hub despite needing serious medical attention. We charge you with bad punctuation, and with not even getting your own characterisation straight." Emma closed her note pad and returned it to her bag. "Look, a story about a young girl who has put up with a lot of shit in the foster care system and developed some serious behavioural problems, could be a very interesting story, if done well. Done well means research the subject matter: what does it mean to have an eating disorder, how does it develop, what are available therapies to beat the thing. And trust me, none of those therapies are going to be easy.
"We charge you with telling the drama rather than showing it. Though, a proper drama about a troubled teen probably has no business as a Torchwood story."
"You don't have to be so mean to me," the Sue cried.
"Mean? I'm not really being mean. I'm just telling you as it is. Torchwood is not a halfway home for troubled teens and Owen and Jack are not social workers. Tasmin's the one who's going to be mean."
Tasmin nodded. "Ruby Summers, you have been charged. Your punishment for these crimes is death. You will be executed now." Before the Sue could make a run for it Tasmin shot her through the head.
A/N: There are all kinds of reasons Torchwood could come into contact with people. A teenager with an eating disorder and precognition abilities is about the worst reason I've ever seen. Both are not problems Torchwood ever deals with. Also, to write a good story about a person with a behavioural disorder -- which an eating disorder in a sense is -- research how this disorder could be a result of trust issues and problems with bonding to people. It's called a disorder for a reason, and it's not going to be fixed with a few kind words from a stranger.