A/N: After watching the piece of bloody brilliant tragedy that was Children of Earth (RUSSELL T DAVIES MUST DIE! DIIIIIIIE! TIE HIM UPSIDE DOWN TO THE RAFTER AND BURN HIM ALIVE!!!!!!...sorry, that happens once in a while. Call it RTD Derangement I still think the man brilliant. Oh, screw it all...

...anyway, after watching...that, I was viciously attacked by a plot bunny. Nasty little things, lots of sharp teeth that are tipped with poison which makes your imagination go haywire and your priorities worsen...well, no, I do that bit to myself.

This is the result. It's meant as a one-shot, a short of assurance that Torchwood will go on after its future was left very much in doubt (damn you RTD!), even if its only in my imagination. Still, I have some thoughts and possible plotlines written down, so maybe, if the plot bunnies start nipping at my heels again, this might become the start of something. GMS remains my priority, and the next chappie is being beta'ed and the one after that is 3000 words in. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Guardians of the Rift

It was always a good idea to lead with your gun, especially when tackling corners. Now, if you were under attack from all sides, that wasn't always possible. But when the option was available and the situation dangerous, it was a good rule of thumb to follow.

The 9mm Glock automatic nosed around the corner, the small, pale hands of its petite owner following it. After no shots rang out, indeed, nothing at all happened, the owner swung into the alley, pointing her weapon and an affixed torch into the inky blackness. The light revealed a series of rubbish bins and a few small animals, which scattered as the powerful beam tore into the shadows.

Gwen Elizabeth Cooper, happily married to Rhys Williams…well…yes, she was happily married…examined the alley again, more closely this time, to make sure she hadn't missed anything. She was starting to shiver a bit in the cold rain, her hair becoming increasingly plastered to her head, but she didn't let such minor sensations bother her at the moment. She had a job to do, and she would do it even if it killed her, just as it already had killed or broken her entire team in the past couple of years. She willed herself not to think about that, not to mourn until she could be sure that she and the people of Cardiff were safe.

She was frustrated as she examined the fire escapes on the building to the right of her, which revealed nothing but rusted metal soaked with the afternoon's rain. She checked the rubbish bins again, flipping the largest one, and the only one capable of concealing an average-sized humanoid. Nothing except the foul smell of days old garbage met her. She wrinkled her nose as she turned her torch on the opposite staircase, expecting similar results.

Instead, her beam found a crouching form, bald, burned skin red and ragged, one eye a blackened ruin, the other almost twice its size and bright purple, two sets of leg-like appendages, four sets of spikes extruding from its back, and the claw-like hands that had already left four dead across the city. She fired as she saw the glint of madness in its eyes, but he was too quick for her, her shot glancing off the fire escape as he lunged for her, slashing its 'fingers' at her throat. She went down instinctively, rolling away and trying to get up and shoot all in one motion. Unfortunately, she lost traction on the soaked ground and lost her balance for an instant.

Her stumble cost her dearly, as the creature slashed a claw across her gun arm, even as she fired again into the darkness. She bit back a scream from the pain and tried to roll away from the thing that had once been Alan Yates, a 24-year old construction worker from Hay-en-Wye. That is, before he'd been taken by the Rift, 28 years ago. Before he'd been ripped from his own time into some other dimension, an experience which had left his body and mind changed. What had happened, why things had turned out this way, who or what had transformed him from a mild-mannered human being with a bit of a drinking problem to a bloodthirsty mutant… these were all unknown to Gwen. These were questions she would have asked Jack, questions that he might have been able to answer by just looking at the creature once it was safely locked in a cell in the Hub. "Oh, I haven't seen this for ages," he'd say, recalling some other time in his colorful past. Poor bastard ran into…"

Her mental reconstruction of Jack's voice was broken by a harsh scream as the creature lunged at her again. It seemed unsteady on its feet, as if still adjusting to this new body. Gwen fired twice as it came, and one bullet ripped through the creatures' left shoulder, the other impacting its gut, causing it to slow, crying out in agony. Gwen pushed herself up against a wall and regained her footing, aiming her gun with her good arm at the creature's head, then pointing it away as it stayed where it was. "Okay…there's no need for any more of this. I just want to help you. Can't let you stay out here just slaughtering people. Do you understand me? I'm Torchwood, and I can help you."

The creature responded with a harsh growl. Maybe something of Alan was left inside the wounded monster before her. She needed to get a little closer to use her stun-gun, which she was fumbling with her right hand. The creature moved closer, rage still burning in its eyes, but seeming to be less of an immediate threat. It let out a moan of pain, perhaps a cry for help. Gwen saw her opening, and tried to pull the stun-gun and jam it into the creature's flesh. Her wounded arm gave out on her though, and the weapon fell from her hand and clattered to the ground. Any trust that had existed between her and 'Alan' instantly vanished, and he lunged again as she twisted out of the way. A razor-sharp claw cut through her jeans, gashing the outside of her thigh, but she avoided the main blow aimed for her heart. The creature bounded away as Gwen recovered, firing multiple times at the fleeing target. She thought a few bullets hit as it disappeared with a scream. She picked up her stun-gun and tried to follow, but hissed in pain and stopped, cursing, then activated her headset. "Lois, it got away," she breathed. "Where it is headed?"

"Toward the waterfront, I think," the newest employee of Torchwood replied. There was a bit of uncertainty in her voice. "Looks like it might be heading for Cardiff Bay."

"Damn, if he makes it there we'll never find him. He's killed four people in the last week."

"I know Gwen," Lois assured her. "Are you in pursuit?"

"I'm…I'm wounded, a bit. Can you pick me up and we'll try to chase it down?"

"I'm nearly to your position – watching it you sodding idiot! – sorry, nearly got clipped by somebody speeding in a shiny sports car. Estimate…30 seconds…"

"Damn, you're good Lois," Gwen said, smiling in relief, seeing the SUV tear around the corner. She waved both arms in the air.

"Yeah well, I try," Lois Habiba, former secretary to John Frobisher and Bridget Spears, and now Torchwood Three's…well, everything that wasn't Gwen's job…said. "I see you now."

Seconds later, Gwen hopped into the passenger seat of the heavily-modified matte-black Land Rover, one of the few surviving pieces of equipment inherited from Torchwood 3's previous incarnation. "You're bleeding, Gwen," Lois observed with some alarm as the interior lights revealed the blood dripping from her two wounds.

"Nevermind that, drive!" she ordered. Lois changed up and hit the accelerator, as Gwen quickly found 'Alan' on the built-in GPS tracker in the center console. He'd managed to cross two and a half blocks in the time it took for Gwen to get going again. He was definitely heading for the bay. Gwen flicked on the flashers and the accompanying siren, which wailed into the Welsh night. They gained quickly; what little traffic there was quickly pulled aside to let them through.

They hit the docks, and Gwen was out the door before Lois had brought the SUV to a halt, ignoring the burning pains in her arm and leg, gun and torch pointed down as she ran toward the waterfront. She saw blood before her, and what appeared to be drag marks, two sets of them, as if something was crawling forward with only its arms. She kept moving forward, her torch and the headlights of the SUV the only illumination anywhere nearby, and nearly tripped over her prey. It was in agony, trying desperately to keep going, but unable to support its own body weight at this point. She moved around to the front, as she saw Lois get out of the SUV and run toward them, her weapon held uncomfortably in her hands.

Gwen looked down at the pitiful sight before her. The creature's claws were still sharp enough to do serious damage, but it appeared to lack the energy to make any sort of aggressive movement. The thing coughed, blood splashing onto the ground. Gwen looked into the violet eye of the creature that just recently had been trying to kill her, and saw everything she needed to make her decision. She fired two rounds into its head. The writhing stopped as the thunder of the gunfire faded away, leaving just the pungent smell of gun shot residue in the air.

Lois reached her at that moment, looking shocked. "I thought we were going to capture it," she said, sounding upset. Sounding, for all the world, just as Gwen had during her first month or so as part of Torchwood. "It was down already, you didn't need to kill it."

"I put it out of its misery, that's all. What were we to have done with it, anyway? It was too dangerous for Flat Holm, at least right now. Is killing him here worse than letting him rot in a cell in the vaults?"

"I suppose not," the younger woman said. "Which one is it, really?"

Gwen shook her head in confusion.

"I meant, which is it, a 'he' or an 'it.'"

"It was a he. It was Alan Yates. Now…I really don't know, Lois." Gwen took a closer look at the body. "Gills."


"That's why he was going for the Bay. He had gills. I didn't notice them before. Well, I guess it's a good thing he didn't make it, he could have swum away from the city entirely. Probably wouldn't have heard from him again…well, until more bodies turned up. But that won't happen now. He's done killing."

Lois took in the sight before her, asking the question Gwen expected to hear, and knew that she could not answer. "What happened to him? You think he was originally human?"

"I don't think, I know, Lois. He was just a construction worker, a lorry driver, actually. Orphaned, no family on record. Not many to miss him except his co-workers."

"How did you know it was him? I mean, he doesn't look like that picture you showed me."

Gwen was getting frustrated, and tried to hide it. It would do no good to start shouting at her new employee. She'd asked plenty of dumb questions when Jack had first recruited her, she was sure. And Lois hadn't even set lose a killer sex-seeking alien yet. "I ran facial recognition software, compared the CCTV images we had with the missing persons file, and got a conclusive match. It's Alan Yates, I'm positive. Or, at least, it used to be. I don't know how much was left of him when he died."

"Do you know what happened to him? I mean, those hands, the gills, the extra legs, those spikes on the back…"

"He looks like he was used in some sort of sick medical experiment. Or maybe some kind of radiation – Jack told me once that we have all kinds of dormant DNA inside us that if activated could make us look like just about anything…but the bottom line, Lois, is that I don't know anything for certain. All I know is that when the Rift took him he was just a man, and when he got spat out again, he wasn't. Jack would know. Jack would know what to say. Jack would have some kind of clue what was going on…" tears prickled in her eyes, and she wiped them away. She missed the former leader of Torchwood 3 desperately, in more ways than she could imagine.

"I'm sorry," Lois said gently. "I didn't mean to upset you."

"Oh, it's alright," Gwen said bitterly. "I'm on my own now. Got to be the big girl, chase down all the bad aliens on my own. Don't have any one else to rely on now. I'm the only one left. Just waiting my turn, I guess…" She clapped Lois on the shoulder. "You just keep things tidy and get me where I need to go, yeah?"

"Yeah," Lois said with maybe a dash of real confidence. "But you aren't alone, Gwen. Jack's gone, but I'm here for you. I know I've got a lot to learn.

Gwen shook her head to clear it of thoughts of Captain Jack Harkness, waving her hand in Lois's direction to assure her that she wasn't in any way the problem. She glanced down at her wedding ring. It was a reminder that she'd already pledged her love to a man, and she felt not the slightest twinge of regret that she'd taken him as her husband. Maybe Jack was more exciting, more intoxicating, like some kind of drug that seemed harmless at first until you started to use heavily…the truth was, Gwen was still in love with him. But Rhys was hers, and she was his, and nothing was ever going to change that. Her thoughts shifted to her dead teammates: Owen, irradiated saving Cardiff from a nuclear meltdown; Toshiko, shot by Gray, sacrificing her life to aid Owen, even as she bled out…and Ianto, who suffered the most senseless death of all, just standing by his lover's side. "We should get going. Help me get the body into the back of the SUV. We'll stick it in cold storage until Martha comes around."

"First, I'm bandaging you up," Lois insisted. "I don't know why it slipped my mind for so long, but those wounds look nasty. Sit down and let me have a look at them."

"What, you the team medic now too?"

"I have First Aid training. I wanted to be a nurse at one point. My test scores were rubbish, but I'd always hoped to earn some money working as a government secretary and take a shot at medical school. Instead I end up here."

"Ow," Gwen hissed as Lois pried away the clothing surrounding the wounds, covered with sticky blood.

"This is worse than I thought. Maybe I should take you to a hospital."

"No, there's something back at base that I think will do the trick. UNIT found a box of human-compatible nanogenes a few years back." If only we'd had that for Tosh… "They'll fix me right up."

"Are you sure? Sounds like alien technology."

"Positive, and it is, but the good sort…when used correctly, that is," Gwen said, grunting as she rose from the pain of both wounds. "Now, let's get our friend out of sight, and hightail it back to the Hub. We might have a new co-worker starting tomorrow."

Lois seemed excited by the prospect. Gwen still wasn't sure if she should be or not. She had two interviews scheduled. One she had a good feeling about. The other…well, they'd see.


Lois slammed the door the freezer door shut, sealing in the newest inhabitant of the cryo-lab. Gwen stared at the door, lost in her own thoughts. They'd lost the previous inhabitants of the medical workstation in the blast that had destroyed the original Hub, which included Jack's frozen brother, Gray. Just another loss, though one that Gwen didn't feel the need to mourn. Gwen remembered a conversation between Jack and his old Time Agency partner, John Hart, that she'd stumbled across while reviewing the CCTV footage, trying to determine how Hart and Gray got inside. The cameras in the Hub had audio. John had told Jack that perhaps killing Gray would give the tormented man the release he needed, but Jack, desperate for a real reconciliation that didn't involve nearly destroying Cardiff and killing the two most senior members of his team, had resisted. In the end, the decision had been made for him. Almost nothing of Gray had survived.

"Alright, Gwen?"

Torchwood's raven-haired leader blinked twice, remembering where she was. She glanced up at Lois, who looked concerned. Poor girl, she thought. Her leader, her only source of information and advice in this bloody job is falling to pieces around her, and she doesn't even understand why, because she hasn't lost four teammates in the last year.

Gwen had lost more than that, of course. But that was somewhere she had no desire to go. "Not really," she admitted. "Lois, you did good work today. Why don't you go home, familiarize yourself with more the basics of Torchwood operation? I'll take care of the paperwork."

"Are you sure? Maybe I shouldn't leave you alone?"

Gwen nodded. "Darling, I'm sure. I appreciate the sympathy, but I need to do this on my own. Besides, I won't really be alone."

Lois looked unconvinced. "I suppose, if you count it as company."

"I do," Gwen said unflinchingly, perhaps a bit harsher than she'd intended, judging by Lois's wince. "I do, and I always will. You're relieved, Lois." She smiled. "Go home and study. You may be quizzed on the material."

"Well then, I'll have to do my best," Lois countered, a bit halfheartedly. She could tell her presence was no longer desired. Gwen hated herself for making things so difficult for their new employee, but she lacked the ability to do it any other way. It spoke volumes of Lois's character and resilience that she was still here, and showed no signs of losing enthusiasm for the job. She was just like Gwen, back when she was still thinking like Cardiff PC Gwen Cooper. She thought Jack had been a bit rough on her when she attempted to apply everything she knew from police work to her work at Torchwood. Now she understood. Lois would too, eventually. It was Gwen's duty to make sure that she had as much time as possible before she really knew what it was like to be a Torchwood operative. "Have a good night, Gwen. I'll see you tomorrow. And I'll bring coffee."

The thought nearly caused her to wretch. But the reality was that she missed that morning boost of steaming caffeine. It wouldn't be Ianto's coffee, but it would be coffee. And it would be a way Lois could feel like she was contributing. God, it had to be difficult for her. "Thanks," she said, flashing as enthusiastic a smile as she could manage. "Lois, you've been a real trooper so far, with me moping about and being pretty rubbish at showing you the ropes."

Lois reached out a hand, touching Gwen's shoulder. She almost recoiled at the contact. Jack used to do that, when I got all worked up. She smiled weakly. "I know you've lost a whole lot," she said softly. "I know I can't understand the magnitude of it all."

"It's quite…a lot to handle," Gwen admitted. She drew her new employee into a friendly embrace. "I'm glad I'm not doing this all on my own."

"I'm glad I can be here for you," Lois replied, squeezing back just as fiercely.

Gwen let go, shaking her hair and tears out of her eyes. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Lois picked up her handbag, and mock saluted, as she'd started to do each time she left for the evening. "Yes Ma'am."

Gwen chuckled despite herself. "Get out of here, Lois."

"Bye Gwen," she said as she headed through the airlock door, the alarms marking her exit.

The door shut, and Gwen was alone. Well…in a sense.

"TOSH, rise and shine, darling," she called. Several computer screens blinked into life, including a computer-generated face of Torchwood 3's late tech and computer expert.

TOSH was a truly amazing piece of computer engineering. A self-aware digital personality, programmed to mimic many of Toshiko Sato's distinctive quirks and above all, her boundless curiosity. When Ianto had terminated Tosh's account following her death at Gray's hand, a hidden video message had emerged onto the screen, a bright and cheerful Toshiko assuring them all that despite her death, things would be alright, that she was happy she'd made a difference, and that she loved them all, not least of all Owen, who had in a twist of cruel irony predeceased her. But that hadn't been all the brilliant computer engineer had left behind in the Torchwood computer network. She'd been working on a secret project, one none of them knew about, in part because she was the computer expert, and the others just trusted her to do what should be done. And although there were still glitches, and Gwen had reason to believe she was engaging with a half-finished programme, the sheer humanity of the result was still mind-boggling. It was almost…not completely, but almost…like having Toshiko Sato back at her workstation. It gave Gwen a badly needed sense of normality. Tosh was back at base, being her brilliant self, helping them to save the world…

It still wasn't the same, and she knew that, but given the events of the last year, she needed any help or stability she could get.

Her losses hadn't just been Torchwood 3 team members. When she'd last seen Jack, the last to leave her, though the first not to do so in a bodybag, she'd been heavily pregnant with her and Rhys' first child. She had trouble envisioning herself as a mother, to be perfectly honest, especially after Jack Harkness had transformed her life forever that cool evening in Cardiff two years ago. It turned out that she needn't bothered fretting about that possibility: Geoffrey Ianto Williams had been born almost two months premature, and in his short life had spent barely seconds outside a protective shelter, be it his mother's womb or the NICU. Even the best medical technology 21st century Cardiff had to offer wasn't enough. She and Rhys had lost their first child before ever getting to know him. Rhys probably took it harder than Gwen, mostly because his wife had little emotion left to pour in after losing so much in so short a time. Then she'd had a visitor:

**** Three weeks earlier ****

A day later, as she prepared to return to their flat, a fistful of brochures detailing a wide range of counseling options and the like stuffed into her purse, she'd been paid an unexpected visit. Martha Jones looked deeply uncomfortable as she approached the bed side, wearing a dark UNIT uniform. "I'm so sorry, Gwen," she said, and Gwen could tell it was genuine remorse. She didn't know Martha terribly well, but Jack trusted her, and that told her a great deal.

"Me too," Gwen replied softly, tears prickling her eyes. Rhys squeezed her hand tighter, bringing it up to his lips and kissing it.

"I'm sorry to ask, but do you know what happened?"

Gwen sighed. "There are a lot of reasons that babies are born premature. In this case, I'd imagine it had to do with all the bloody radiation and chemicals I've been exposed to while working for Torchwood. Human body isn't built to handle that sort of thing."

"No, it isn't," replied Martha, in a voice that said she knew that fact better than most anyone.

"Checked the records, actually. There have been 3 other pregnancies of employees in the history of Torchwood 3. One miscarried, and the other aborted the fetus when it became clear some major genetic mutation was occurring. And the last, well...she gave birth to Alice Carter. Got lucky, I suppose. Then again, with what happened to her grandson, maybe not..."

"Oh God, Gwen. That's horrible…"

"At least I know I'm not alone. But I expect there's something more to this…why have you come, then? No offense meant, but the uniform…"

Martha smiled uncomfortably. "Ah, you've found me out. Gwen, it's been months since the Hub was destroyed. But the Rift hasn't gone away. It's never going to go away. And since that incident a during your first year at Torchwood, it's been active on an unprecedented scale."

"That Rift has been in Cardiff a whole lot longer than Torchwood," Gwen reminded her. "The city's still here."

"The difference is that we live in a world defined by scientific understanding and a desire for and expectation of security. You can't pass off sightings of aliens as superstition that no one should pay attention to. The dangers are real. People know about alien life, but they don't understand it. A lot don't really care to. I think the idea of strange ships and lights in the sky scares them a whole lot less than dangerous materials and creatures being dumped haphazardly into their midst."

"Is this a long way of saying you want Torchwood back?" Gwen snapped, irritated.

Martha seemed a bit taken aback, but recovered quickly enough. "Yes. UNIT just isn't built to handle such a wide variety of problems. We're not a secret special ops group, so much as a small army. That's not what Cardiff needs. They need a group of experienced professionals who can keep their work mostly quiet and protect this city from whatever that Rift throws at us."

"Experienced professionals?" Gwen asked, fighting to sit upright. Rhys helped her so she could stare right into the other woman's eyes. "Do you see any experienced professionals here? I'm the new kid, Martha. Jack's gone. The rest are dead. The bloody Hub is in ruins. And you expect me to make things go back to normal? How should I go about that, Martha Jones?"

Martha grimaced. "I know this isn't going to be easy."

"You're damn right it's not going to be easy," Rhys finally snapped. "My wife's lost her whole team, and our child, and you want to drag her back out there? The British government destroyed Torchwood, and now they want it to just pop back on its feet? Not a chance."

Gwen elbowed her husband weakly. "Martha didn't have anything to do with that."

"Yeah, well, her bosses did. UNIT was certainly no help."

Martha came closer. "Rhys, you have no idea how utterly helpless and angry I felt when I heard what was happening. My fiancé and I cut short our honeymoon without the slightest hesitation, but by the time I was back in England, it was all over."

Rhys nodded, placated by that. Martha looked at Gwen. "The Hub is in the process of being rebuilt, as accurately we can manage. The blast didn't really reach the lower levels, and the Rift manipulator survived surprisingly well. Even if you say no, we need it for whatever UNIT team is going to replace you."

"But you don't want that."

Martha shook her head. "No one has any idea what they're doing; it'll be a wonder if they fix the Rift manipulator without blowing themselves up or tearing a hole in the fabric of reality. I know that you were the least experienced operative in Torchwood 3, at least in terms of time served. That still makes you our leading expert on operational procedures and alien life and technology from the Rift. You took over the team when Jack went off with me and the Doctor, you've shown you can do this."

"I had Owen, and Tosh, and Ianto then. All I had to do was keep Torchwood together. Now I have to rebuild from scrap."

"I'll do everything I can to help you. I can't promise I'll join your team, but believe me, it's being considered. It's just that UNIT needs me just as badly."

"Not sure that's true," Gwen said. "Are you sure you want to work for Torchwood? After seeing what it does to people?"

"I've dealt with death before, Gwen. Almost all of my friends stationed at the UNIT Headquarters in New York and London were killed by the Daleks when they invaded."

"I'm not sure any of that can prepare you for Torchwood…in any case Martha, we need a doctor."

Martha smiled wistfully for a moment, then her expression turned serious. "I'll do everything in my power to try and make that possible. I just can't promise anything. You know how it is…"

"Yeah," Gwen said, remembering some of the truly baffling personnel decisions made during her days in the Cardiff Police Department. "Look, Martha, I'll think about it. That's the best I can do."

"It's more than we have the right to ask," she replied quietly. "Thank you, Gwen. Not just from UNIT, but from me. You're a real hero."

Gwen scoffed at the idea. "Now you get out before my head gets so big it explodes!"

Martha laughed, said her goodbyes, and walked out the door.

Gwen turned to Rhys. "Where are you on all of this?"

Rhys looked her straight in the eyes. "Gwen, I want what you want. She's right. I hate her for it, but dammit, she's right! Someone has to watch the Rift…it was so much easier when I didn't think to worry about these things."

"So much simpler," Gwen agreed.

"Yeah, well, those days are over, and they aren't coming back. Gwen, I love you with all my heart, and I want you safe."

"Torchwood isn't safe," she reminded him, unnecessarily.

"I know that, Gwen. But that's your calling. I've seen you over the years. You were born for this job. You know that time when that old friend of Jack's blew up half of Cardiff, and you stood there in the police station and read everybody the riot act?"

"How could I forget? I don't know what got into me."

"I never loved you more than at that moment. Gwen, you are an amazing and strong woman. Can't really understand what you see in me, useless tub of lard that I am, but I just count myself lucky."

Gwen tried to speak, but Rhys shushed her. "Hey, let me finish…Gwen, I want you to be happy. More than that, I want you to feel like you are doing something that means something to you." There were tears in his eyes, as he struggled to get the words out. "You are Torchwood. You always have been, and you bloody well always will be."

Gwen was crying now. "So you want me to go too?"

"I want you to go because I know that you want to go. I want to take care of you, but you aren't meant to be shut up in a flat, a hauling operators' wife…you are meant to be out their on the front lines, saving the lives of people that will never even know your name."

Gwen lunged from the bed and captured her husband in a fierce embrace. "I love you, Rhys Williams, do you bloody well know that?"

"I love you too Gwen…look, ultimately, the choice is yours. And I'll back you either way."

"That implies I have a choice." Her voice softened. "Rhys, you know that some day I might go to work, and not come back ever again, don't you?"

"Of course I do. And I'm bloody terrified of that day. And I'm going to find Jack on that day and kill him, wherever he is. But I'm not going to live in fear. That's what the government did with the 456. They let fear drive them to do the most horrible things. Those kids, Gwen…they were going to hand over a bunch of innocent kids, because they were scared. I'm not going to let that happen to me."

Gwen took all of that in. "So, when should I call Martha?"

"Give it a few days. I think both of us should think about it. Emotions running a bit high right now."

Three days later, Martha Jones picked up her mobile as she stood in the cleaned out crater that was once the Hub of Torchwood 3, a small army of techs swarming over the remnants of the Rift Manipulator. "Jones," she answered.

"Martha, it's me."

"Gwen? Oh God, I didn't think I was going to hear from you."

"Rhys and I needed some time to make sure we made the right decision."

"Which was?"

"You'd better clean off my workspace, Martha Jones. Torchwood is back."