"Rose River" AU
'Four Five Six'

Chapter One

The day started out as any other. People waking up on a Monday morning, eating their breaky, and going to work, school, Uni, or other things.

At least in theory.

Gwen was the first of the team that noticed it, even though she didn't understand what it was at the time. She was in the middle of getting some money from the ATM, when two kids stopped walking... much to the chagrin of their parents. It lasted a full two minutes, and then they were off again like nothing had happened. One was even confused at the threats his mother gave him.

At the same time, Rhys was trying to get to work and was stopped by the kids who paused at the crosswalk. Honking his horn didn't help, and the shouting only got confused looks from everyone else. And like with Gwen, they continued their walking after two minutes.

While all this was going on, Mickey and Martha were doing their level best to get to the Hub on time. They were stopped by yet another gaggle of children who decided it was funny to pause in the middle of the street. Leaving Mickey behind the wheel, Martha got out and took some video with her upgraded mobile... the same mobile that she had when she left the Doctor, so long ago. Even though it was extremely outdated by now, the Doctor's jiggery-pokery made it outshine most of them that were still on the drawing boards.

Jack and Ianto, on the other hand, were busy trying to retrieve a 'hitchhiker' from a cadaver. All was good until they were interrupted by the doctor that was in attendance. Thinking quickly, they rattled off a lot of nearly unintelligible technobabble at the man, while cleaning up after themselves and making a hasty retreat.

That same doctor followed them to their updated SUV. Updated, as in the removal of the stamped 'Torchwood' on the sides. This was a very good suggestion by both Rose and Martha, whom thought it was extremely silly for a secret organization to advertise their presence to the general public. Didn't help this time though, as that doctor called them out with stories of cadavers going missing. While it intrigued Jack, Ianto pointed out the paperwork involved. Needless to say, Jack brushed the man off as they drove away.

Jack and Ianto came into the hub to find a flurry of activity going on at Mickey's station. The other three of the team were huddled around his computer and talking rather loudly.

"Mickey," Jack shouted over the din, "I need you to look up one Doctor Rupesh Patanjali, and do a standard background check."

Gwen didn't stand up from her bent over position. "Do it yourself, Jack. We've got bigger problems going on."

While Ianto snorted on his way to drop off his overcoat, Jack stopped abruptly on the stair to his office. Turning his look of shock towards Gwen, he blinked and frowned. Chucking his WWII coat over a chair in his office, he came back down to see what the hell had his second in such a mood. "What's happened?"

Gwen got out of the way and moved to her station without saying anything. Martha looked up from her fiancé's monitor and had her full professional mode on, full blast. "Children all over the place just paused this morning. No warning, no explanation. There are reports of several near traffic accidents from kids simply stopping in the middle of the street."

Jack frowned and looked over Mickey's shoulder. "Any rift activity going on?"

Mickey shook his head. "Already checked, and it's been rather quiet. Here's the thing, though, boss. It's not just us." He pulled up a map of the UK up on his third monitor, and started pointing. "London, Aberdeen, Portsmouth, Leeds, Manchester... Hell, the whole bloody country is flooding 999 with calls about it."

Gwen got their attention when she spoke up. "Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Sweden..." she paused as another list came up. "China, Japan, Austraila... Everywhere there was daylight, the kids just stopped!"

"Probably in America too, but most of them are asleep," Martha muttered.

"Yeah, okay. This trumps a weird doctor with a corpse fetish," Jack said. This got a look of disgust from Martha. "Don't ask."

"Oh my god," Gwen said quietly. "It's happening again!" She turned to look at Mickey. "Pull up the outside CCTV of the bay." When he did, Jack and Martha were out the door first. Gwen and Ianto were right behind them. Mickey was too distracted with new reports coming in to leave his computer.

Martha reached the lady with the little girl first. "I'm a doctor, its okay." Jack was right after her, with Gwen and Ianto on his heels. Ianto had the foresight to bring a camcorder.

"She's just playing silly buggers," the lady complained. "C'mon. Stop it, Molly."

Everyone stepped back when little Molly opened her mouth and let out an ear piercing wail. Hearing similar sounds from other directions, the team looked to see other kids doing the same thing.

The sound died out a few minutes later, and the girl as well as the other children around the Centre started chanting the word 'we'. It changed to 'we are', then finally to 'we are coming.'

Gwen pointed to the girl and looked at Jack. "Oh My God!"

Martha tried talking to the girl while she was chanting that phrase, but nothing seemed to register to her. This entire thing reminded her of that ATMOS plant. "Who's coming?" she asked for the third time.

The girl blinked, and then grabbed her mother's hand. "C'mon, then!" She acted like nothing happened. Looking around, they realized the other children didn't know about it either. One asked if they were going to be on telly when he noticed Ianto filming.

Completely alarmed, Martha stood up and pulled her mobile out of her jacket. Flipping it, she pressed her thumb on the number one on her speed dial.

"Who're you calling?" Jack asked.

Martha gaped at him. "Who the hell do you think, Jack?" Her attention was diverted when the other end of the line picked up. "Rose? Get your husband. We need you!" she shouted.