Chapter 1 – the would-be Funeral and the girl with a gun.
Disclaimer: I don't own torchwood. I was attacked by a plot-weevil and nearly died kicking the Christ out of it. Pity me. For summary see the thing below the title on the main page. Flames will be used to burn your houses down! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Kidding! I'm not that bad (grins).
To: Captain Jack Harkness
From: Gwen Cooper
Subject: Ianto's Funeral.
I don't care if you're in another Galaxy, if you don't arrive for Ianto's funeral I will hunt you down and tear you limb from limb. You are going whether you like it or not.
To: Gwen Cooper
From: Captain Jack Harkness
Subject: Re: Ianto's Funeral.
I'd like to see you get to the Medusa Cascade and back in time to make me get to Ianto's Funeral.
To: Captain Jack Harkness
From: Gwen Cooper
Subject: Re: Ianto's Funeral.
Like I said, I'll hunt you down and feed you to Mefanwe if you don't come. I'm being serious.
To: Gwen Cooper
From: Captain Jack Harkness
Subject: Re: Ianto's Funeral
Fine, but I might be a bit late.
Jack arrived on the day before Ianto's funeral and insisted on seeing Ianto's body before it was buried. He sat by the coffin and looked down at the corpse that had once been his love.
"I'll miss you," he whispered as he stared at the face of the man who was now lost to him forever, "Always,"
"Jack?" Gwen asked, poking her head around the door, "it's nearly twelve. Rhys was going to get something at the café down the road. Do you want anything?"
Jack looked up.
"No thanks," he replied, "I'm not hungry,"
Gwen smiled understandingly and left. Jack stared at the door for a few moments, reflecting on all the times he had spent with Ianto.
"Since when did I turn into a vampire?"
Jack turned on the spot to face –
"Ianto?" he stuttered in disbelief, "But… it can't be –"
"I was last time I looked," Ianto replied, clambering out of the coffin and dusting down the suit, "How long have I been in that thing?"
"About 3 days," Jack replied, "Your funeral's tomorrow."
"Strange," Ianto mused, "I've just come back to life – if that's what I did – and yet here we are discussing my funeral," he grinned, "What happened to the 456?"
"Gone," Jack replied, "we killed them,"
Jack winced, "I'd rather not talk about it."
Ianto nodded understandingly.
"Jack I really think you should get something to –" Gwen stopped dead when she saw Ianto standing in the middle of the room, "But – how –?"
"No idea," Ianto replied, "But I really want to get out of here. Now. It's too depressing."
"So, what's it like to die?"
Ianto shrugged, "I can't really remember," he replied, "one minute I was dying the next I woke up in a coffin. Maybe there's just nothing after you die."
The conversation was interrupted by the door opening. Everyone turned and gawked as two very familiar strangers walked into the room, both completely spotless and very much alive.
"Tosh?" Jack asked incredulously, "Owen?"
"The one and only!" Owen grinned, flopping down on an office chair, "what've we missed?"
So Jack, Gwen and Ianto launched into catch-up stories.
Elsie hated parties.
The main reason was that when she had been dating James Winlock at college he had dragged her to every single party he could to show off the chick he had on his arm. The other reason was the walk home.
She was walking down a deserted street, alone, in the jeans and T-shirt combo she had changed into to prevent running in the 3-inch heels she had worn to the party, contemplating why she ever decided to go out with such a loser when she heard footsteps behind her. She smiled, remembering how her current boyfriend, Ash Warren, used to sneak up behind her to see if she was paying attention. She kept an ear out now out of habit. Thankful for her boyfriend's U.N.I.T training, some of which he had passed on to her, she walked at the same pace as she had done before and pretended she was unaware of her stalker, listening out in case he picked up pace. She looked at her watch, swore loudly and set off at a half-run that looked, to people who didn't know her, like it was the fastest she could go. There was a laugh from behind and two more people joined the chase.
Shit Elsie grumbled, letting them catch up and almost grab her before she put on a sudden burst of speed and shot down an alleyway.
This is stupid, she thought to herself, I could run into a wall or-
She pressed her palms against the wall and kicked off to the side. A waist-high wall was coming towards her and, thanking her mum for giving her all those athletics and gymnastics lessons, she placed her hands on the top of it and flipped over, landing with a thud in the lower ground of Roald Dahl's plass.
"Ianto, can you run up and get the pizzas?"
Ianto looked up, "sure"
He took the lift and got out of the tunnel into the tourist office.
What happened next surprised him more than anything that had happened in Torchwood.
Elsie, running as fast as she could and keeping to the shadows as much as possible, scanned the area for an open shop. Even the coffee shop where she worked was shut. Great.
Just as she was about to give up, she saw a light in the tourist office. If someone was still there, she could get help.
Taking an incredibly stupid risk, one she was sure that Ash would have yelled at her for if he was there, she bolted across the large, well-lit area to the tourist office, praying that the light wasn't some cruel hallucination…
Ianto was alerted to the visitor by the way that she crashed into the door. He'd forgotten that he'd locked it earlier in the day. He approached the door and the frantic woman behind it with caution before he unlocked the door and let her in.
"What's going on?" he asked before he saw the slightly frightened and distinctly peeved look on her face, "is everything alright?"
"No it bloody well isn't!" the woman replied, tucking a strand of glossy black hair behind her ear, "I'm being stalked by a bunch of morons!" her tone became kinder when she asked; "I don't suppose you know anywhere I can hide?"
Ianto nodded and made his way to the desk.
"They'd look there if they're serious," the girl replied; Ianto looked up with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
"Would they look there though?" he pushed a button behind the desk and watched as the young woman's eyes, which were large and nearly black in colour, widened to give her the impression of a startled rabbit.
"What the hell?" she asked before she was shoved in violently by Ianto. She gave a little shout of protest before she realised that her stalkers were closing in on the office and he needed to close the door before they arrived. The secret passageway was blocked within seconds and Ianto looked up to see three very burly-looking men enter the tourist office.
"I'm sorry but I was just about to close," he told them calmly, pretending that he didn't know what they were looking for, "If you have any questions you'll have to come back tomorrow."
"We can't wait for that," the tallest and more muscular of the men replied, "We're looking for this girl," he showed Ianto a picture of a young woman with glossy, black curly hair and large doe-like eyes standing in front of a coffee shop. He blinked in surprise.
"What's she supposed to have done?" he asked.
"You know her?"
"I've met her once or twice," Ianto replied, still sounding clueless, "She used to work in the coffee shop across the road."
"Used to?" the leader of the three men asked suspiciously, narrowing his eyes in an attempt to look threatening.
"Got hit by a car a couple of weeks ago if I remember rightly," Ianto replied, "She's still in the hospital in London."
"Impossible," the man replied, "we saw her a few minutes ago."
Ianto frowned and shook his head, "That must've been her twin, Rosie. She came to visit a few days ago and she's supposed to leave tomorrow."
"You know the twin?"
"Of course I do!" Ianto exclaimed, "We used to work together before I lost my job in the police. She got transferred but we stayed in touch. I only found out she had a twin a couple of days ago when she told me about the accident –" he stopped when the man pulled out a gun and pointed it at his head.
Elsie had heard everything, right down to the cocking of the gun.
"Where is she?" a deep voice growled on the other side of the door.
Elsie looked around for something – anything – to use as a weapon. She was startled to find 2 loaded guns just lying on the floor. Without thinking, she picked them up and opened the door.
"Looking for me?" she asked innocently, smiling inwardly when the men widened their eyes at the sight of the guns.
"Shoot me and I'll shoot your friend here." The leader, a big muscley brute who clearly didn't use his brain much, told her, getting ready to fire.
"Uh, hate to burst your bubble," Elsie replied, putting a definite sneer into her voice, "but you'll be dead. You won't be in a position to shoot anyone."
"But my friends will shoot you for shooting me,"
"Will they?" Elsie jumped at the sudden sound of an American accent to her right. A man in an RAF greatcoat had come out of the staff room, one gun in each hand, pointing them at the three men, "What if I shoot them first?"
The stalkers decided not to risk it and ran out of the office, shouting obscenities all the way.
"What the hell are you doing with those?" the American suddenly turned on Elsie who, despite the fact that these two men had saved her life, immediately bristled.
"It's not my fault if you decide to leave loaded firearms in the corridor," she snapped back, putting the guns on the table, "Who the hell are you anyway?"
"Hey, we just saved your –"
"I don't care!" Elsie interrupted, "I thought Torchwood was supposed to be saving the earth, not yelling at –"
"What are you talking about?"
"Secret passageways? A guy in period military? That doesn't sound like your average tourist office." Elsie glared at him, well aware that he could shoot her at any moment, "And besides; I've been retconned before because I found out what my boyfriend was really working for –"
"What?" both men suddenly exploded, causing Elsie to wince.
"Your boyfriend works in Torchwood?" The greatcoat guy asked.
"Not Torchwood," Elsie replied, "U.N.I.T." she wasn't surprised when both men burst into laughter; she knew that Torchwood considered U.N.I.T to be amateurs.
"Is his name Ash Warren by any chance?" the younger man, the one who'd hid her in the first place, asked. Elsie nodded.
"We've had a few run-ins with him," the greatcoat replied, "remember when we ran into the Slitheen and he showed up with his squad?" that set them off laughing again, muttering between gasps about gasmasks and riot shields.
"Never worked out why they brought vinegar with them," the other guy sniggered.
Elsie bristled again, "Slitheen are calcium-based beings," she addressed them as if she was talking to a pair of 3-year-olds, "Calcium is Alkaline, Vinegar is acidic, they react and the Slitheen explodes." Both men fell silent, as if they were surprised that she knew something so scientific (probably because of her appearance).
"I did pass my science A-levels, you know," she explained, "with full marks."
"Pretty, feisty and smart," the greatcoat man commented, "I like this girl,"
"Back off," Elsie replied, "Whoever you are."
"Name's Jack Harkness," greatcoat responded, "I'm head of Torchwood three. This is Ianto Jones, he covers up for us and makes sure that everyone gets to places on time."
"And let me guess, I'm gonna get retconned because you don't want me to know about Torchwood?"
"How do you know about Retcon?" Ianto asked.
Elsie rolled her eyes; "I've told you, I got retconned because Ash told me who he really worked for."
"You brought your memory back?"
"No, I never lost it." Elsie responded, "Mum had a genetic resistance to drugs that she passed on to me. It's been pretty useful." The corners of her mouth twitched upwards, "It's not like anyone would believe me anyway. I never told anyone about Ash's job, according to everyone else he just works in the army."
She was felt a sharp pain in her neck and her vision went black.
"Ow, ow," Elsie sat up, "ow my head, my flipping head it hurts"
"What were you drinking at that party?" she heard her father's voice as he helped her sit up straight, "You were barely conscious when you reached the door,"
Elsie frowned, "I only had a couple of drinks," she replied, "I didn't have enough to be that inebriated,"
"Then why do you have a headache?"
"I don't know," the past 12 hours were a sort of blur for Elsie; she couldn't remember anything after leaving the party, "I remember leaving the party and the rest is kind of fuzzy."
Her father smiled good-naturedly. "Well, we'd best get to work!" he gave her a couple of aspirin and left her to get ready. She shrugged on her uniform shirt and tried to work out what had happened the night before. She left the party early because she had work the next day; she remembered something about a man following her but it wasn't very clear.
"I've just had a phone call; the shop's staying closed today."
Elsie ran down the stairs, "Why?"
"There have been reports of some kind of wild animal attack in Roald Dahl's Plass in central Cardiff this morning. The special operations team are inspecting the damage…"
Elsie stared at the TV in shock. Behind the black SUV were 4 people. One of them was wearing an RAF greatcoat.
"Jack Harkness." She muttered to herself as her memories flooded back.
"Nothing," Elsie smiled, "I've got to go somewhere." she ran upstairs, changed her shirt and grabbed her bag before running out of the house through the shop. She saw reporters and police crowded around outside, clearly trying to head for one of the Alleyways to find clues or scoops. Elsie just shrugged it off and slipped out of the house.
"So who's for pizza?"
"Jack, that poor girl was murdered and you're talking about pizza?"
The SUV sped off past Elsie, nearly knocking her off her feet.
"I'm not even going to bother," she muttered to herself. He knew she wouldn't be able to get to them without being retconned for the fourth time in her life.
"Excuse me; you can't hang around here,"
Elsie turned round to see a policeman with blond hair and blue eyes trying to push her away from the coffee shop.
"I live just there," she replied, pointing at the shop, "What's going on? The news said it was some kind of animal?"
"I can't say anything," the policeman replied, eyes darting around nervously as if he was looking for anything that could do such a thing, "Besides; it's not something for week stomachs."
"I happen to have a very strong stomach, thank you," Elsie replied, nettled, "I've seen things you wouldn't believe."
"Try me, love," the policeman replied.
"Cybermen in my mum's office, converting people into them." She told him, not expecting him to believe it. True enough, the policeman burst out laughing.
"Pull the other one!" he chortled, "That's the best story I've heard all day!"
Elsie rolled her eyes and walked away. She hadn't been lying when she'd talked about the Cybermen; she had seen them dragging her mother away and strapping her to the conversion unit, she'd seen the conversion go wrong. That was the reason why she had to take sleeping pills to get a decent sleep on most nights. She angrily kicked a coke can that had been lying around in the street.
She jumped at the sound of the voice and whirled round to face the man who had saved her life only the day before.
"Ianto Jones," she stated it in a cold, dead voice, "What do you want?"
"What did I do?" Ianto looked hurt.
"Try to make me forget about Torchwood?" Elsie responded angrily, "inject me with some kind of sedative that makes me fell like I have the mother of all hangovers –"
"In my defence," Ianto interrupted, holding up one hand, "that was Owen. And the hangover thing was because you appeared to be allergic to it so we had to inject you with something else."
"It hurt like hell."
"I know, you screamed."
"That has nothing to do with it." Elsie bristled, "it's not my fault I get nightmares."
"Nightmares?" Ianto asked, sounded extremely curious.
"Mind your own." Elsie practically snarled at him. He made a quick jerk of his head that, to Elsie at least, looked like a nod. They stared at each other in stony silence before he suddenly blurted-
"Your mother used to work for Torchwood didn't she?"
Elsie blinked, "What?"
"That's why you knew about us," he pressed, "I read your file."
"How the hell did you get my file?" Elsie demanded, "I thought the files of Torchwood operatives and their families were on level one clearance."
"So how did you get one?"
Ianto hesitated before he replied, "I used to work in torchwood one. Your mum was the second in command." He took a deep breath and continued, "I remember you helping out before Cathy got taken by the Cybermen. I was the one who retconned you."
Elsie stared at him in shock.
"You're kidding me." She muttered, shaking her head, "You're flipping kidding me."
"It's not something I'm proud of," Ianto admitted, "It was only your first day at Torchwood so they figured you could forget about it easily."
"They obviously didn't know mum very well then," Elsie responded, "Everyone in the family knows I inherited her resistance to drugs of any sort."
Ianto's mouth twitched upwards, "Jack's probably going to kill me for this, but…" he handed her a piece of paper, "Fill it in and give it back to me within 24 hours," he told her, "You know where I am,"
"Of course." Ianto vanished before she could ask him any more questions. Without thinking about it, she slipped the paper into her pocket and made her way back to her dad's shop, hoping to be able to fill it out and hand it back by the end of the day. This proved to be impossible, owing to the amount of policemen and news reporters swarming around and blocking off all access to the shop; as a rule, Elsie avoided the alleyways because of the horror stories she used to hear in London. She realised now that the choice had been one of the wisest she'd ever made; there had been another Alleyway murder during the time she had been talking to (and being confused by) Ianto Jones. She sighed and attempted to push her way through the crowds of people to the front of the shop, but everyone was packed together so tightly that it was impossible for her to make her way through them.
"Excuse me, excuse me," she tried, unsuccessfully to force her way through the crowds to the front of the shop.
"Let the lady through, she's got a job to finish!" Elsie recognised the strong American accent instantly. People parted like water as he and his team charged their way through. Ianto was trailing after them with a large toolbox.
"What's going on?" Elsie asked, unaware of the latest tragedy.
"There's been another murder," Ianto explained, hefting the toolbox further through the crowds, "It's going to be a tough day."
"Need a hand?" Elsie asked him, knowing that he was struggling with the box.
"No thanks, I'm fine," Ianto replied, still struggling.
Elsie just took the box from him and carried it through the vast crowds as if it weighed no more than a small handbag, "I do weight training every weekend," she explained when they reached the other end of the crowds by the police line, "I'm always lifting boxes for dad." She handed the box back to him and started to walk back towards the shop before she stopped, "If you want I could stick some coffee on for you guys if you need a break."
"That'd be great, thanks," Ianto smiled gratefully and ducked under the police tape; Elsie somehow managed to get back to her dad's shop and turn on the coffee machine when her dad came storming down the stairs.
"I've called you several times!" he vented, pulling her into a rough hug, "Why did you turn your phone off?"
"I told you yesterday, dad it broke." Elsie replied, hugging him back, "I couldn't help it."
"Your boyfriend called by the way,"
Elsie's heart skipped a beat, "Seriously?"
Her dad nodded, "His unit's been transferred down here to help with the investigation. He said he wanted to see you as soon as he arrives,"
Elsie beamed at her dad; she hadn't seen Ash in several months because of his job with U.N.I.T.
"Thanks dad," she hurried to the door when a familiar American in an RAF greatcoat appeared.
"Hello?" she asked, opening the door and letting him and his team in.
"Elsie, the shop's meant to be closed today," her dad warned.
"It's alright, dad I'll pay for it," Elsie replied, pulling out her notebook in traditional waitress fashion.
"Two teas and three coffees, please," Jack Harkness informed her.
"Any particular kind of tea or coffee?" she asked, "We got some new stuff in yesterday, dad was going to start selling them today but…" she drifted off, not needing to elaborate further on the point.
The order ended up with one camomile and ginger tea, one regular tea, two regular coffees and one of Elsie's specialities known by many of the patrons as "fruit-spice". Thanking whatever god happened to be listening for her part-time job as a waitress since she had been 16; she prepared and served the drinks in good time, not failing to notice the gun sticking out of Captain Harkness's pocket just as her father left the shop to take a phone call.
"If you have to carry a gun around can you at least make it look inconspicuous?" she asked, shaking her head exasperatedly. Jack grinned and concealed the gun with a swish of his greatcoat. She looked up just in time to see Ianto mouth "form" at her and went back to the bar. While filling out the form, she heard little whispers of conversation; from the sounds of it they were trying to guess who, or what, could've caused the brutal attacks. She approached cautiously to give Ianto the form and heard that her second guess of "what" could've attacked so brutally was correct.
"Weevils?" one of the women, who appeared to be of Chinese origin (Elsie had never been able to differentiate very easily) suggested.
"Couldn't have been," the third man in the group, who Elsie guessed was Owen, replied, "The marks don't look like weevil marks at all."
"What do you think, Elsie?" Jack suddenly turned to her.
"No idea," she replied, "I'd have to see a picture to even begin to get a theory."
"Not a problem," Jack pulled out a picture of a corpse so horribly mutilated that it made Elsie want to throw up. She shook her head.
"There's no way in hell anyone's going to believe that was an ordinary animal," she knew she was pointing out the blindingly obvious before she noticed something strange about the body. She took the picture out of Jack's hand and stared at it.
"What?" Ianto asked.
"What's that?" Elsie asked in reply, pointing at the scattered dirt footprints that surrounded the body.
Jack took the picture and put it on the table with a simple command, "Tell me what you see,"
Elsie knew she'd read way too many detective stories when she was a kid and pointed to the footprints; "These ones here were made by the police. Correct?" the Torchwood team nodded and Jack winked in encouragement, so she pressed on, "but these ones," she pointed to a different set of footprints, "were made by something a bit more sinister than a human. Look at them," she pulled her notebook pen out and turned to Jack. He shrugged.
"Go ahead," he told her, "Show us what you're so worked up about."
Elsie rolled her eyes, drawing over the set of prints, she continued with her explanation; "whoever made these prints had a limp in his left leg and a kind of lurching gait," she highlighted the areas that gave her that information, not realising that Jack was actually testing her. Taking a closer look at the actual body, her stomach lurched, "there's something else, something a lot more disturbing."
"And what's that?" Jack asked, sounding intrigued.
Elsie circled the marks on the victim's neck, the feeling of nausea getting ever stronger.
"Whoever – whatever – did this," she explained slowly, "ripped her throat open with its teeth."
Well that's it for now! (Throws confetti) review and tell me what you think! Flames may not be used to burn your house down, but they will be used to burn Dorian Gray's painting! Hooray! (Grins) REVIEW!!!!!!!!