Disclaimer: Not mine.
Chapter 1 – Reactions: They brought her back to the Hub – what else could they do? It was Gwen, wearing vintage clothes and with really long hair, but still Gwen. She didn't wake up when they got her back, so they put her in the medical bay. Owen didn't do the examination – Martha said he couldn't, he was too attached.
She seemed fine, except for being unconscious. Brain waves were in a normal sleeping pattern, heart rate steady. There was no reason why she shouldn't wake up at any second, but she didn't. Maybe it was the Rift energy running through her, Martha thought. Because that was the only thing unusual about Gwen; she had huge amounts of Rift energy running through her. There was no previous incident on record of someone having so much.
Martha sighed as she finished the examination, wondering what, exactly, she was going to tell the others. She rubbed her temples, trying to fend off a headache. Just then, a pair of arms snaked around her waist. "Alright there, love?" Ianto murmured in her ear. She sighed, leaning back against him.
"I'm not sure. I mean, I never met Gwen, but from the stories you told me, I feel like I do. And I wish there was something to explain what's happening here, but I've got nothing."
"We don't expect miracles from you."
"You might not." But Jack would. The Doctor had Rose, Martha thought, and Jack had Gwen. That was part of why Ianto had ended things with Jack, because he'd known that. And because she'd seen the Doctor's reaction when Rose's name came up, she'd seen it in Jack. She wanted to give her friend good news, but all she had was one fact that only increased the mystery. Damn it all to hell.
Owen and Tosh were alone in the main part of the Hub. Ianto and Martha were in the medical bay, and Jack had holed up in his office. They were silent, uncertain as to what to say, or even to think.
"What do you think happened to her?" Tosh ventured finally, when the silence became too heavy to bear.
"No idea," Owen said, shaking his head. "I guess she must've been sent back in time, or something. She must have been trying to get back." He wondered what kind of determination – or desperation – that would have to take. But then, this was Gwen they were talking about. The one who'd pulled them all together after Jack's disappearance, whose own disappearance had nearly shattered them all again. And what had she been through in the two years since? Did they even want to know?
"I just hope she's OK, once she's been back awhile," Tosh whispered. Owen put an arm around her shoulder – he didn't know why, it just seemed like the thing to do.
"Me too, Tosh, me too."
Jack sat alone in his office, staring at the glass wall but not really seeing it. Gwen was back. It didn't seem possible. He'd told himself she was gone, had replayed all the times in his head that he now saw as wasted chances. He'd always figured there'd be another chance. Let her be normal as long as possible. He wasn't normal, he wanted her to have normal. She deserved it. But then he'd lost her, and he wondered why the hell he was still alive. Even what Rose had done shouldn't have been able to cause him to survive the pain he'd gone through. And now... she was back. He couldn't be that lucky; he didn't deserve it. Which meant this miracle was going to be, if possible, worse than what had gone before.
She dreamed of fire again. Of fire and ghosts, voices in her head and images of things that hadn't happened yet. She dreamed of a blonde woman with kind brown eyes and a man with sad, piercing blue ones. "I'm sorry," he whispered. Sorry for what? What had happened? What was happening to her?
Gwen's eyes flew open, and she gasped for air. The machines she was hooked up to went wild.
A/N: OK, I know it's not what I promised, but this is what the muse came up with. I try not to go against that too much.