Chapter 15

Chapter 15


It was over. Over and done. They were home. They were safe. He, Nick and Stephen were living together and loving together and their scars were slowly fading, both internal and external. Ryan was getting better, and, Connor smirked as he thought about it, fingers idly clicking across the minesweeper board on his laptop, Lyle never seemed to leave his side. The thought of Lyle sitting beside Ryan's injured form made his thoughts turn to Mariko, and her vigil anytime Ianto got hurt.

He tilted his head to the side, clicking on a new game of minesweeper as he lost his old game, "Where are they…?"

Minesweeper was forgotten as he opened up a search engine. He frowned at the window for a moment before dismissing something so pedestrian as Google and using every computer skill he had, those of both legitimate and dubious legality, to attempt to find the three people they had fought and survived with.

Spanner, aka Sallyann Mitchell-Drayson, was, to Connor's surprise, the easiest to find. On the website for Walnut Tree Walk Primary School, smiling with her arms around two redheaded boys at a sports carnival. Her sons… Connor blinked, remembering the story Mariko had told them. Sallyann Mitchell-Drayson… Connor stared at the computer screen. She never became Spanner, never had a reason to…

"Mum! Mum, look I won!"

Sallyann smiled widely at her eldest son as he raced over to her, blue ribbon flapping behind him as he tried to talk a mile a minute. She pulled him into a hug, shifting her youngest son on her hip and waiting for a pause in the chatter so she could congratulate him.

"Blue!" her youngest announced proudly, pointing to the ribbon.

"That's right, precious, it's blue," Sallyann turned back to her eldest, pushing one of her braids over her shoulder, "And I'm so proud of you."

Ianto Jones was a little harder. Jones wasn't exactly the most distinguishing of last names, after all. But Connor found him, in the employee records of Morgan Walker Solicitors. He smiled a little, reading through the 'Employee of the Month' awards. His smile dimmed a little as he saw 'Marital Status: Single' on Ianto's records. Connor checked it again. Single? He wasn't with Mariko?

Connor frowned. If Ianto wasn't with Mariko… then where was Mariko? Connor's hands flew over the keyboard. Mariko Katsukaro… No. Too young. Too old. Wrong spelling. Died too long ago. Not in the UK. Connor began to mutter to himself as he opened and closed windows, finding and dismissing search results before retrying other avenues.

His mutterings soon turned to vulgar curse words, prompting Stephen to look up from the book he was reading, feet cushioned against Connor's side, "I don't think that's anatomically possible," he said mildly, turning the book over to rest on his chest.

Nick stuck his head around the door, backing through it awkwardly, three mugs of coffee in his hand, "I know that's not anatomically possible. What's put a burr up your butt, Connor?" he set the mugs down, passing one to Stephen, one to Connor and keeping one for himself.

"I can't find her," Connor muttered absently, sipping at his coffee and typing one handed, left thigh turned out to accommodate a knife that wasn't there.

Nick and Stephen exchanged looks, Connor in this mood normally meant sleepless nights and not a few bruises, "Can't find who?"

They exchanged another look as he replied matter-of-factly, "Mariko."

Connor looked away from his screen and sighed at the wariness on his lovers' faces, "I'm not going mad, really. I just… want to see if they're still around. You know? Mariko, Spanner and Ianto. I want to see if they're here, but we never met them."

Nick and Stephen relaxed slightly, nodding, "Fair enough," Stephen tried to look over at the screen.

Connor teasingly shifted the screen so Stephen couldn't see it, making Nick grin and ask, "Alright, I'll bite… What've you found?"

Connor moved the screen so all three of them could see it, "I found Spanner first," he pointed to the picture, "Remember what Mariko told us about her sons? She never had to become Spanner in this world."

"God," Stephen shook his head, "That's almost surreal. Who was next?"

"Ianto," Connor said, clicking onto a new window, "Employee of the month at a law firm. Torchwood doesn't exist here. I mean, really doesn't exist, not just 'you didn't see anything' exist," then he trailed off.

"And you can't find Mariko?" Stephen finished.

Connor shook his head, the dark scowl sliding back over his face once more.

Nick stroked a hand over his shoulder, "Have… have you tried just Googling her, Conn?"

Connor's hands froze, poised above the keyboard, "Erm… no?" he grinned sheepishly at Nick, "I'll just…" his hands moved over the keyboard once more, calling up a new window.

Connor shot Nick a flat look, "And there she is. Sharpe Fairbrother Chartered Accountants," he smiled, "She's still a tax consultant."

Stephen snorted a little, "So Spanner's a stay-at-home mum. Well, we knew she was before the Toclafane. And Ianto is a legal secretary and Mariko is a tax consultant."

Mariko Katsukaro leant back in her chair and sighed. Her eyes flicked behind her glasses to the second drawer in her desk. She sighed again and pulled open the drawer, drawing a set of papers towards her and placing them on the desk in front of her. She'd had them for nearly three months now, the Army Reserve application forms. But she still hadn't filled in even her name at the top. Her hand reached for a pen. This time…

The door was pushed open, revealing her next client, "Hello?" a low, lilting voice was accompanied by a pair of the bluest eyes Mariko had ever seen.

Mariko pulled the file over to cover her Army Reserve forms, mentally cursing herself, face flushing with embarrassment, "Hello. I'm Mariko. You must be Mr. Jones?"

She stood up to her full 5'1 and held out a hand, noting that 'Mr Jones' was at least a foot taller than her and a good deal broader. He gave her a shy, but friendly smile and shook her hand.

"Ianto," the smile turned a little wicked, "Mr Jones sounds like I'm from a bad spy movie."

Ianto's taxes turned out to be stupidly complex, making Mariko sigh as the clock ticked over to five-thirty, "Look… Ianto… you may as well head home. I'll get these done, not a problem, but it's going to take me another three hours at least."

Ianto looked slightly affronted, "I can't leave you here, by yourself, with my taxes. Especially not without buying you dinner," he finished on a blush, "If… that's alright with you…"

It was very alright with Mariko. And it was with a shy, but still beaming smile that she and 'Mr Jones' exchanged numbers over empty Chinese take out boxes and finally finished tax returns.

Connor frowned at the screen in front of him, Stephen's words echoing in his ears. Spanner a stay-at-home mum. Mariko a reserved, meek looking tax consultant. Ianto a legal secretary. He sighed, closing down the laptop and pushing it away from him, suddenly wishing that he hadn't bothered looking for the three people that they'd fought and bled with in the bizarre alternate universe.

Because these people, the ones he had found, they weren't the people Connor knew. The names were the same, hell, they may even sound the same, have similar quirks, like their tea made the same. But Mariko Katsukaro, Spanner and Ianto Jones, the ones he knew, would forever stay memories now.