AN: I'm sorry for how long it took me to update. I've been wondering… do people let their sheep out in November down there? Mah.. they do in this story :P
Chapter rating: PG-13
I'd like to dedicate this chapter to my great-grandma, Rósa, who passed away a few days ago.
I hope it's better this way for you, amma.
Cardiff, 1st of December, 2006.
Ianto was still fighting with himself over whether he should talk to Jack or not as he prepared the coffee. Judging by the sideway glances he received from Jack whenever they were in the same room, Ianto guessed that Jack himself was mentally deciding when and where it would be best to corner Ianto and get him to talk. Surely Jack wouldn't confront him while the rest of the Torchwood team was still here, would he?
He brought the team their coffees in silence. Tosh was the only one, really, who acknowledged his presence, she gave him a small smile as he put the cup on her desk. Owen was engrossed in a tricky game of minesweeper and didn't so much as look at him. Gwen was on her mobile talking to PC Andy Davidson, judging from what he heard of the tinny voice on the other line. To Ianto it looked like she only recognized the hot beverage and not the person that handed it to her. She was still wary of him. In a way they all were. What he wouldn't give for his best friend's banter right now. Parker would know what to do, how to cheer Ianto up, he always did.
Ianto finally walked into Jack's office, mentally steeling himself for the conversation to come. He handed the Captain his cup of steaming black coffee but as Jack opened his mouth -whether to thank him or question him- Gwen walked in with her phone clutched to her chest as she leaned against the doorway.
"Jack?" she said. The man in question looked away from the team's youngest member to the newest. "I just got off the phone with my old partner Andy. He was talking about some case the police has got going on and I thought it might be something we should look into?"
"Why?" Jack asked. He wasn't really in the mood for dealing with the police., especially if it turned out that it wasn't a Torchwood matter after all.
Ianto went to tidy up Jack's desk. Picking up candy wrappers, crumpled up papers and the cup from the last coffee-round.
He was only half-listening to Gwen until he heard her mention the farm he had 'visited' last night. He heard her describe the sheep carcasses and lost his grip on the empty coffee cup. Both Gwen and Jack turned to look at him as the cup hit the floor, luckily not breaking.
"You alright?" Jack asked.
Ianto cleared his throat.
He picked the cup up off the floor and gave Jack a reassuring smile when the man looked at him with concern in his eyes.
"Anyway," Gwen continued, "apparently the farmer's dog found the carcasses. They were buried a few meters away from the field where they keep the sheep."
Fuck! How had he not thought about the bloody dog finding it? This was bad…
Ianto hurried out of the office and into the small kitchenette. He rinsed out the cup with shaking hands. He shouldn't have eaten the third sheep, he knew it, he knew it, he knew it. If he had only eaten the two, like he had planned, the farmer might not have bothered taking his dog to look for them. Oh, no, no, no, no.
Ianto was not sure why he was there, really. Of course, Jack had been trying to get him out in the field more but, damn it! Hadn't he just told him how much he hated the countryside? Hadn't he noticed how incredibly uncomfortable he felt?
Little did Ianto know that Jack had, indeed, noticed how he was fidgeting and avoiding his team members' eyes. That was exactly the reason why he brought him along. He knew his young lover hated the countryside and he knew why. But if this was what it took to break him and get him to spill his guts, then so be it. He was not letting another one of Ianto's secrets endanger someone.
The smell of grass hit Jack, Ianto and Gwen the moment they exited the SUV.
About five meters in front of them stood a man around fifty in a scruffy looking maroon coat, grey wool vest and worn trousers. He was chatting to a tall policeman with blond hair.
Gwen quickened her pace until she was walking ahead of Jack who, Ianto could tell from the Captain's body language, was not too happy about it.
"Oh, Andy, hey!" said Gwen cheerfully.
When the PC's face brightened, Ianto wondered if every male on this bloody planet, except for himself, was infatuated with the woman.
"Hi. Um, this is Mr Arnold Gibbs. He owns the farm," the constable said.
"Okay, thanks Andy, we can take it from here." Gwen shot him a gap-toothed smile. Ianto couldn't believe she had just brushed him off like that. Ianto watched as the police officer's smile vanished and he gave her a sad nod before walking over to the other two PCs that were talking enthusiastically about rugby, Ianto could hear, even though they were some distance away. Gwen mustn't have been aware of how she had hurt the poor bloke.
Now Jack had also reached the farmer. He gave him a winning smile and offered the old man his hand. "Captain Jack Harkness. Tell me what happened here Mr Gibbs? How did you find the carcasses?"
"Well, it was just a coincidence, really. My wife, Laura, we were having tea – Laura makes the best tea in Wales, that I can tell you- she said she had a dream about those big sheep of ours, the best ones. So I when I went out to check on my flock I noticed that Daisy, Donna and Diva weren't there. I thought it was very odd and so I took Copper, my collie- wonderful dog, I'll have you know. He was our old bitch's pup, like mother like son, eh?"
Amazing, Ianto thought, how old people (and especially farmers) tended to babble. To blurt out all sorts of unimportant and uninteresting trivia.
Okay, so now he was getting snappy in his head. That was not good. His palms were also getting sweaty, even in the chilly wind.
"Anyway," Mr Gibbs continued, "so we were just walking around and all of the sudden the dog starts barking and digging into what I could then see was fresh dirt. We dug and dug until we found the bones. That was really all that was left, you know. And the heads. Bloody disturbing." Gibbs wrapped the coat tighter around himself.
"Okay, can you show us where they are?" The Captain asked. Mr Gibbs nodded. They had only taken a few steps when a black and white Border Collie came rushing towards them, barking like he was possessed.
Ianto could see that the ferocious gaze was focused on him. The dog looked like it wanted nothing more than to attack him. Ianto knew the dog recognized his scent. When the dog was close enough to them to do anything serious, Arnold tried telling his dog to shut up. "No, Copper, shut up. No. Quiet!"
The dog kept staring at Ianto and growling. Ianto straightened his back to show his power and snapped his fingers in the direction of the dog. "Hush!" he said, not loudly, but deep and sternly. The hound stopped dead in his tracks and looked at Ianto with something like wonder.
"Amazing," Mr Gibbs stated, looking back and forth from Ianto to Copper. "He never obeys anyone but me. Especially not strangers."
"Yup. Ianto here is our very own dog whisperer," Jack said and Ianto couldn't help but notice that the grin on his face looked a little forced. Ianto gave him a small smile anyway. "So. Carcasses?" he asked and pointed in the direction of a small hill. Mr Gibbs nodded.
Gwen, Jack and Arnold turned around and headed that way. When Ianto turned to follow, Copper nervously trotted towards him with his tail between his legs. He nudged his nose into Ianto's palm in a way Penny sometimes did to apologize. Ianto stopped and crouched down to pet the dog. After a few strokes, Ianto resumed his stride after the others. Copper followed and watched him with what could only be described as adoration.
When Copper and his new best friend were stood at the all too familiar area, Gwen was standing in the large hole waving a scanner over the skeletons.
"Anything?" Jack asked Gwen.
She shook her head but then nodded. "I'm not sure Jack. It's not the usual readings we would get for… you-know-what energy," she hesitated as she looked in Mr Gibbs' direction. "But there is definitely something unusual about this."
Jack walked towards Gwen with a curious expression. He stood beside her and took the scanner off her hands, a look of pure concentration on his face. He shot a glance at Ianto. Ianto was avoiding the Captains eyes, pretending to be looking around. Admiring the view.
Jack tried clearing his throat. Both Gwen and Mr Gibbs looked at him but Ianto kept looking away, visibly tense. "Ianto," Jack called.
Ianto finally, but reluctantly, turned around and looked at Jack with an innocent smile.
Jack cocked his head in Arnold's direction. Ianto received the silent order loud and clear.
"Um, Mr Gibbs," Ianto began and lay his hand on the farmer's back adding gentle pressure, encouraging him to turn around. "You've been standing out here all day, haven't you? Why don't we go back to your house and you can prove to me that your wife makes better tea than I do?"
Gibbs gave him a soft smile, reminding Ianto a little of his grandfather, or, well, pictures of him. He seemed like a very kind and loveable person, and Mr Gibbs gave him that impression, as well.
Talking to Mr and Mrs Gibbs in their quaint, old-fashioned kitchen was quite nice. Mrs Laura Gibbs was a very witty and energetic yet laid-back woman. And her tea was indeed better than his (and that was saying a lot!).
But Ianto could feel something like guilt creeping up on him. He hadn't realized that the farmer and his wife loved their animals so much, and he had killed three of them. Well, what's done is done. Circle of life, right?
Fifteen minutes into a very interesting conversation about their plans for Christmas (apparently, they were going to San Francisco to visit their daughter Emily and her family) Gwen came in and told Ianto they were ready to go back to the Hub.
Jack was ready in the driver's seat and Gwen called 'shotgun!' so Ianto got in the back.
If the smell was anything to go by, they had taken everything that was left of every sheep (and some of the dirt as well) and neatly tucked it all into the SUV's boot. Ianto was surprised they managed it, Gwen usually went to the bathroom to wash her hands every half an hour and Jack usually didn't even pick up the crumpled up papers discarded on the floor, he left it to Ianto when he delivered Jack's coffee.
Of course that could quite possibly be an excuse for Jack to have Ianto bend over. He wouldn't put it past the Captain.
Jack drove away and the charged silence in the car was about to blow Ianto's head off.
"So," he began "did you figure out the readings?" He was doing his very best not to rub his hands together nervously or bite his nails.
"No," Jack sighed. "I'll have Tosh take a look at it when we get back to the Hub."
Gwen was obviously uncomfortable and turned on the radio. The rest of the drive was in complete silence, save for the auto-tuned voices of girls that sounded like they had yet to reach puberty and men who sounded like they were 15 foot tall smokers. Gwen seemed to like it, though, as her head bobbed slightly to the beat.
Hours passed, terribly uneventful. Owen was down in the autopsy bay with one of the sheep's carcasses, trying to get anything. Tosh was at her computer terminal trying to understand the readings the alien scanner had given them. Gwen was also at her own desk, searching for any police reports for anything similar. Ianto doubted she would find much (if anything).
Then there was the Captain. Jack had been very… distant. When they had gotten back from the countryside he had gone straight to his office after giving Tosh and Owen a briefing and instructions. He hadn't come up for air since then.
Ianto had hid down in the Archives. He was working on his W-Project. Ianto knew he was organized but writing down stuff from memory was terrible. Everything was out of context and very little made sense. He sighed. Maybe he shouldn't be doing this. He should leave this to some other Wolf, someone with more knowledge, not just good memory. Besides, the Werewolf-Project was just a special project of one of the most respected scientist at One, it wasn't something that was going to be taught in schools. Why was he even doing this when he really didn't need to? Perhaps it gave him some kind of peace? He supposed, in a way, yes. It also gave him a reason to hide in his precious Archives.
Ianto sighed again. He put the papers back in place and closed the folder. He opened the top drawer of the desk and slipped it inside before closing and locking it.
Time to give the team their coffees, wouldn't want them going into withdrawal and get all cranky. They were bad enough as it was. Ianto groaned inwardly. His mood was getting noticeably worse and he was getting cranky.
Best get that bloody coffee, then.
Owen didn't even acknowledge him when he put the steaming cup of hot liquid on the steps of the stairs that lead to the autopsy bay. Well, at least he was engrossed in his work, not minesweeper.
Tosh gave him a small smile and a quiet 'thank you' when he delivered hers.
Gwen took hers also gratefully. "Is one of these for Jack?" She asked and nodded towards the two cups on the tray Ianto was holding.
"Unless there are more caffeine dependent creatures in the Hub I'm not aware of?"
Gwen giggled. She got the image into her head of Ianto sitting in Myfanwy's little nest drinking coffee with the pterodactyl. "Well, could you ask him to come down? I think I might have something."
Ianto gave her a curt nod and headed up to Jack's office. His knuckles tapped the door a few times before entering. Jack looked up from the report he was reading as the young man entered. The cup was passed silently but their fingers brushed, sending a slight tingle through their hands.
Ianto cleared his throat before picking up his own cup and tucking the tray under his arm. "Uh, Gwen wants to see you, says she might have something."
Jack nodded and stood up from his desk. He walked towards Ianto with a predatory grin. He slid his arm (the one that was not occupied with a coffee cup) around Ianto's waist and stuck his tongue down the other man's throat.
All too sudden for Ianto's liking the hot wet mouth disappeared and Ianto grunted with frustration.
"Hey, you're the one who wanted discretion," Jack smirked before trailing his hand down lower and pinching Ianto's arse before that disappeared, too, and so did Jack, out of the door.
But seriously, what was it with the Captain today? One minute he was moody and locking himself in his office, the next he was pinching Ianto's bottom and mapping his mouth!
Well, that was Jack Harkness in a nutshell for you.
Ianto decided to go see what Gwen had discovered.
"I know it's not much, but you've got to start somewhere, right?" Gwen said behind the thumbnail between her teeth. Jack and Owen were both already at her terminal. On the computer screen was a short list of photographs. "These are all cases somewhat similar to ours." She scrolled down and Ianto mentally checked that one is mine, that one is too, that is not mine. Ianto was surprised to find that not all of the cases were his monthly meal.
"Okay, so what is the latest case before ours?" Jack asked.
"Um, three days ago." Gwen replied.
So there was a new Wolf in town, Ianto thought when Gwen opened the case file. The carcasses were too brutal to be a pack's job. And the packs Ianto knew of in Wales definitely wouldn't be careless enough to leave the scene like this. No this was either a young and inexperienced Wolf or a reckless and ferocious one. A sadist. Bones were broken, to inflict maximum pain it seemed.
"Jack!" Tosh called. The Captain looked up. Tosh rolled her chair back a little so she could see him clearly. "There's been a murder, sounds a bit like a weevil but I can't be sure."
Jack nodded. "Where is the body now?"
"The police are at the scene right now."
Jack sighed. "Right, that's all we need. I think I'll soon be out of my monthly patience-for-the-PCs quota." Gwen snickered.
Suddenly red lights started flashing all over the Hub and all of the computers' speakers played a very familiar tune. "In touch with the ground, I'm on a hunt I'm after you…"
Ianto grinned and ran up the stairs, heading for the Tourist Office. "…And I'm hungry like the wolf."
Jack stared after him "Ianto!"
Ianto didn't bother turning around or replying, his mind was only set on getting upstairs.
Tosh was at her terminal trying to turn off the music and lights. It didn't take her long, though. It wasn't like it was complicated. The intended message had been delivered.
"Tosh, show me the CCTV of the Tourist Office." She did as Jack told her. The first thing Jack noticed was Ianto in the arms of another man. Their arms were tight around each other's body.
Ianto was running up the stairs and down the corridor, towards the Tourist Office. The secret hatch was already open and a few steps away from the opening stood a man. No, not a man. A Werewolf. His best friend.
The two men grinned at each other.
Parker's emerald eyes were just as green as ever, his black spiky hair hidden under a dark charcoal fedora. Beneath the grosgrain ribbon he had stuck a snowdrop. He wore an almost black, pinstriped tailcoat, a large decorative steel safety pin attached to one of the lapels, and the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing the Cobweb pack's symbol tattooed on his right forearm. Underneath the jacket he wore a black T-shirt decorated with green, purple and pink splatters of paint. His look was completed with blue faded jeans. Parker was a little wrinkled around the edges and looked to be in his mid-thirties. Ianto knew, though, that Parker was a lot older than he looked, most Werewolves were.
They embraced one another and laughed, seemingly for no reason at all.
At that moment the Captain came rushing in. Parker and Ianto broke apart and Parker turned towards Jack, still with an arm on Ianto's shoulder.
"Well, well, well," said the English accent. Parker smirked and sniffed the air slightly. "Captain Jack Harkness. Been taking care of my pup, I see." Seeing Jack's brows furrow slightly and feeling Ianto tense under his arm told Parker more than words ever would. He turned to look scolding at Ianto. "You haven't told him." It was a lot more of a statement than a question.
Ianto had the decency to look slightly sheepish and was about to reply with some witty remark when Jack spoke.
"Told me what?" he asked, tilting his chin up and crossing his arms over his chest, trying to look commanding. It irritated Ianto that Jack actually thought he would get an answer from him by demand.
"Nothing. It's not a big deal." Ianto did his best to smile reassuringly at Jack.
"I wouldn't exactly say that," Parker shot in.
"Well then, it's nothing to worry about," he said sternly to Parker.
Jack stood there getting really confused and a bit angry about the fact that this man seemingly knew more about Ianto than Jack did. It also unnerved him greatly that this man knew who Jack was, yet Jack didn't know who he was.
"Who the hell are you, anyway?" he asked the stranger warily.
"Oh, right, how rude of Ianto not to introduce me," he said and Ianto rolled his eyes. "I'm Parker Andrews." Parker saw understanding dawning in Jack's eyes and stretched a hand towards Jack, who shook it firmly, almost possessively. Possessive of Ianto, no doubt, Parker thought. He could smell those two all over each other.
"Right, Ianto's best friend."
Before Parker had a chance to say anything, three curious team members came jogging in to the fake tourist office. The girls nearly bumped into Owen when he stopped. He nonchalantly walked over to stand beside Jack.
The doctor tilted his chin up, trying to look down on Parker, even though the wolf was taller than him. "Who are you then?"
Ianto stepped forward. "Parker, this is Owen, Gwen and Toshiko. Guys, this is Parker."
Parker smiled at Owen and winked at the girls, who blushed.
"You're Ianto's mate?" Owen asked a little surprised. He didn't really think Ianto had friends. Wow, that sounded horrible.
Both Parker's and Ianto's eyes widened in horror.
"Um, no thank you."
The four people in the room that didn't know what a Mate meant to Ianto and Parker looked very confused.
"No, we're just best friends," Parker corrected.
That didn't clear anything up for Owen. He shook his head. "Bonkers, you are."
"So, Captain," Parker said "Can I steal Ianto away from you for a few hours or so? You know, catch up?"
Jack looked reluctant. "Actually, we were about to head out. Murder to investigate."
The team looked up at Jack wide-eyed. What the hell? Why was he telling this to a stranger? They were supposed to be working in a tourist office, for fuck's sake!
Parker seemed to sense their feelings and turned around to address the team. "I was at Torchwood London." He went back to looking questioningly at Jack.
"I'm sorry, we'll probably need him—"
"You know it's not that big a deal, we can probably manage without Ianto," Tosh shot in. Ianto gave her a grateful smile while Parker was looking her up and down grinning.
"Hmm, I like you, Toshiko. You must be the one who turned my music off so quickly. You can turn it on anytime you like, you know," he leered.
Tosh blushed. Ianto rolled his eyes fondly at his best friend's terrible come-on.
"How did you do that anyway?" Gwen spoke for the first time since meeting the strange man.
"Not that difficult. The computer up here is connected to the ones downstairs. Just a question of wires and where to plug an iPod." Parker smiled proudly. He turned to Jack. "So?"
Jack stared calculatingly at Parker for a few seconds before nodding. "I want him back in one piece."
"Oh, you don't have to worry about that." Parker smirked and took Ianto's arm already pulling his friend towards the exit.
"Wait, I have to grab my coat." Ianto gave Parker a meaningful look.
"Right, I'll wait outside, then?"
Ianto nodded and Parker walked out.
"Well," Owen began "he is… interesting."
"He's cute" Tosh said, then her ears turned pink when she realized what she had said. Gwen nodded, nonetheless.
The Captain turned to Gwen, Tosh and Owen. "Get us ready for visiting our friends, the police, will you?" They nodded and walked back up the corridor.
"You alright?" Ianto asked Jack as he grabbed his coat from the back of the chair behind the desk.
The older man nodded. "He's trustworthy?"
Ianto gave him a small smile. "Jack, I don't let people get close to my heart unless I trust them." He walked to a spot that he knew was not covered by the CCTV and gestured for Jack to come. The Captain did, and Ianto pushed him against the wall for a passionate kiss. "I'm sorry," he whispered as he drew away.
He was out of the door before Jack could say anything.
Jack growled. This was so not working. He was so confused about what was going on, he might as well just assume Ianto was an alien. Of course, Jack's reasoning was far fetched and the team would probably think he was crazy. He couldn't very well ask them for help! Hey, guys, I need you to help me find out if Ianto is an alien. The thing is, he runs really fast and there is nothing in his personnel file… plus I'm addicted to his kisses and the bite marks and scratches he left after we fuck won't heal as quickly as they should. Yep, he could see where that would go wrong.
But something was definitely up and he would get to the bottom of it.