Title: Sweets From Strangers
Characters: Rhiannon, Ianto, Jack (implied Jack/Ianto)
Rating: PG
Summary: Rhiannon already knows what her brother does for a living.
Warnings/Spoilers: up through COE, mild child abuse
Summary: Rhiannon already knows what her brother does for a living.
AN: Written for a prompt at The Women of Torchwood Commentfic Fest


Rhiannon saw her first alien when she was nine. She and her mates were out late at the playpark, but Mam didn't mind and Dad wasn't home, and an alien ran through the swings. She saw it, Amber saw it, Catherine said she saw it but she was looking the wrong way. Three adults chased it and caught it. One came back, a man with a big grin.

"What did you see?" he asked, and the girls told him, and he nodded seriously. Then he offered each one a sweet. Amber and Catherine ate theirs but Rhiannon didn't take sweets from strangers, and gave hers back.

The big grin faded.

The next day, Mam got a visit from the police, saying Rhiannon had been seen messing about after dark, and to keep a better eye on her. She got an earful from Mam and a hiding from Dad, and both of them yelled at her to set a better example for her stupid, snotty little brother.

Amber and Catherine didn't remember anything about the alien. Rhiannon thought bitterly she should have eaten the sweet.


She saw her next alien when she was thirteen. She and Mam were in the car, and it dodged out of nowhere, smacking into the bonnet and leaving a huge dent. Mam screamed, Rhiannon screamed. When they got out to see the poor bloke Mam was sure she'd killed, they both saw the slavering creature. It had two heads.

"Get back inside," Mam said in a quiet voice, and they managed to lock the doors before the enraged monster hit the windows on Mam's side.

Rhiannon heard a gunshot, and the thing fell. Adults swarmed around the car. A lady with a long ponytail said she was a doctor, and she checked out Rhi and her mother. Off to the side, gathering up the "escaped gorilla," Rhi saw a grin she recognised. When the lady offered her a drink, Rhi pretended to swallow.

Mam took a long, long drink. Rhi noticed, and kept her own thoughts when the car was replaced out of the blue the following day, when Mam started having trouble remembering loads of things, when Dad took so much time away from work to drive Mam to doctor after doctor.

If she told what she knew, they'd make her forget, the way Amber and Catherine and Mam had. When her stupid, snotty brother started spouting his own stupid, snotty theories, she slapped him in the mouth and went into her room to cry.


Living in South Wales meant knowing about strange things, and paying attention when "ghosts" turned out to be robotic monsters. She wasn't sure about the terrorist attack at One Canada Square, but she knew what to do when the weird came calling: point to the Bay.

Then her stupid, snotty brother got a job working by the Bay, and if he barely had spoken to her when he was in London, he said nothing at all until he showed up one night, eyes red from crying, like he'd just noticed that his girlfriend had died months ago. He wouldn't talk about anything, but she supposed he wasn't there to talk, only to be comforted.

She saw her fifteenth or sixteenth alien - God knew she'd stopped counting - in the ASDA. It was ripping through cheeses like it was Christmas, and she knew enough now not to scream, just to get away very quickly. She waited in the crowd outside as some showy black SUV pulled up.

Her stupid, snotty brother was driving it.

She remembered Mam, and Amber, and Catherine. Rhiannon left her packages and got into her car quickly, before the memories could go away, but not before she caught the smile on the man leading the way into the shop.

There were ways she could play this, she thought, driving home. She could tell Ianto he'd been seen, and watch him squirm. She could pretend nothing had changed. She could go to the Bay herself, go in the shop where he worked, and tell him she knew.

She pulled over, and texted him on her mobile: Meet me later. We need to talk. And before she could scare herself out of it, she hit SEND.

After a moment, she sent a second text: Bring your friend with the nice smile.

That should get his attention.