Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story will have depictions of graphic violence, torture, and naughty language.
In Plain Sight
Ianto tossed the papers he was holding down onto the table, scrubbing a hand over his face in exasperation. Gwen's persistence was wearing his patience thin.
"I'm tired, Gwen. I have barely slept, none of us have, and now you think we should go investigate this." He motioned to the scattered pictures and newspaper clippings cluttering the table. They had been at this discussion for nearly an hour, and he was ready to walk out.
"Yes, I think we should. Someone, or something, is out there torturing people, Ianto, tearing them apart. We can't just ignore it. Jack wouldn't—"
"Jack isn't here, Gwen," Owen snapped. "Ianto's right. This isn't our problem."
Gwen's lips pursed. "Tosh, what about you?"
Tosh's gaze flitted around the table as she tugged her bottom lip between her teeth. "I think we need to keep on doing our job, especially without Jack here. It's our duty."
Owen scoffed. "Figures you would side with her."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Gwen snapped.
"Nothing." Owen shook his head. He folded his hands, resting his elbows on the table. "So, it seems we are at an impasse. Fucking delightful."
Ianto sighed. There was something off about the case Gwen wanted to investigate. Everything that was left behind at the scenes practically screamed for Torchwood's attention, and that alone was a concern. Torchwood had been around long enough to develop an impressive back catalogue of bad encounters. Something which made them very unpopular among quite a few people.
"There is something suspicious about this whole thing. It seems too much like a setup," Ianto said, rubbing the back of his neck.
Gwen's brows knitted together. "But we have to—"
Ianto raised his hand, stopping her. "But, I guess we can do something. It's clear you aren't letting this go, and I guess maybe we shouldn't."
"Fucking Hell," Owen said. "So much for sticking together on something."
"Shut up, Owen," Gwen snapped. "Go on, Ianto."
"As I was saying, we can't pretend we haven't seen what's blatantly in front of us, but we should take some precautions." Ianto turned to Gwen and Tosh. "You two should stay behind and Owen and I will check out the house."
"Where do you get off making the decisions?" Owen said, irritably.
"Someone needs to act like an adult, and it's clear you can't."
Owen pushed back in his chair and made to stand, face contorted in anger.
"Oi!" Gwen shouted. "Everyone calm down! Owen, sit. Now!"
Ianto couldn't stop the smirk from tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Ianto, you too." Gwen gave him a stern look. "Wipe that smile off your face."
"I agree with Ianto," Tosh said. "It seems like the best idea."
Owen stood. "Whatever, you want to go then let's go." Owen stormed out of the boardroom.
Tosh's eyes were wide. "Well, I'll get the equipment ready." She fumbled with the papers, gathering them and placing them back into the folder.
There was a feeling in the pit of Ianto's stomach, like there was something terrible about to happen. It was the same feeling he'd had the week before the battle of Canary Wharf. He swallowed hard and stepped out of the room, following after Owen.
"Ianto." Gwen's voice came from behind him. He turned and looked back over his shoulder. "Thanks," she said.
He shook his head. "Don't thank me. I'm not doing it for you."
Owen tossed his rucksack into the back of the SUV and moved around toward the driver's side door.
"You really don't think I am going to let you drive?" Ianto raised a brow.
Owen tilted his head to the side. "Yeah, I do. Now move so we can get going. I have shit to do tonight, unlike some people." He shoved a hand into Ianto's chest, knocking him back a few inches.
Ianto wasn't in the mood to deal with the irritating Londoner today, not that he ever was really. He turned his body and drove a well-placed elbow into Owen's ribs. The doctor gasped and Ianto used the momentary distraction to pop open the door and slide into the seat.
Owen scowled and slammed his hand against the window, making Ianto jump.
"Fucking useless tosser." Owen grumbled as he walked around to the other side of the car.
Owen and Ianto hadn't been on good terms since the Abaddon incident. Owen was pissed that Ianto had shot him, and Ianto was pissed that Owen had made him.
The whole experience had highlighted just how far each man was willing to go for their own agenda, and it made them both hate each other just a little more. Working together had been nearly unbearable ever since. It was a miracle that they hadn't killed or maimed one another.
Thankfully the ride was quiet and Owen kept his thoughts to himself. It wasn't a long drive, about a half an hour.
The house they were heading for was on the outskirts of Butetown. According to the records Gwen had dug up, it had been unoccupied for nearly a decade. All the bodies that had been discovered were each found within the house at different times, even after the police had cordoned it off.
Detectives had deemed it likely the work of a serial killer, but Gwen didn't think it was. Whoever had done this had done an unnaturally good job cleaning up after themselves, and the police were unable to find any forensic evidence at the scene.
The people that had been found over the last month had all been—at one time or another—people that had crossed Torchwood's path, specifically Torchwood Three's. It was clear someone was trying to get their attention. Ianto just wondered what they were going to do with it now that they had it.
"Take a right up ahead," Owen said, glancing up from the GPS.
The house was stately and styled in a way that it stood out against the surrounding area. The pictures Gwen had supplied didn't capture it's near hypnotic grandeur. Every corner, every small nook, was decorated with ornate carvings. A person could easily get lost in the architecture.
Gathering their supplies, they approached the house. That feeling of unease was still sitting heavy in Ianto's stomach.
They ducked beneath the caution tape that cordoned off the area and walked up the cobbled path to the door.
Owen set his bag down and pulled out the scanner. He ran it over the doorway. "Nothing out of the ordinary."
Ianto nodded. "Well, we should go in I suppose."
Owen grabbed the old brass handle and swung the door open. The lights were off but it was easy to see that it was just as richly done as the outside. It wasn't the kind of place one would associate with murder, let alone the torturous deaths those people had met here.
"Now what, almighty wise one?" Owen was examining a painting that hung by the door.
Ianto rolled his eyes. "Might as well start here and work our way toward the back."
They each took their scanners and began checking over the rooms carefully. There was nothing. Not a thing was out of place. It was almost like they were being taunted by the house's perfection.
Eventually they came to the kitchen where the last body was found. There was only a trace of the victim's blood left, a single drop artfully placed against the white tiled floor.
"I really don't know what Gwen thinks we're going to find." Owen was opening the cabinets and poking through their contents. "Huh, that's a bit odd."
Ianto turned, frowning. "What is?"
"Well, there's no actual food in here, unless you count the seriously outdated tins of soup."
Ianto stepped around the droplet of blood and stood beside Owen, eyeing the cabinet's contents.
There was a knocking noise and they both turned.
A prickling of fear spread through Ianto. "What was that?"
Owen's hand went to his sidearm. "I don't know, PC Plod maybe?"
There was another noise, this time it was clear as to what it was. A door clicked closed somewhere nearby.
Ianto tensed, swallowing hard. "Hello?"
Footsteps echoed through the open house, getting louder as they approached.
"Fucking great. I knew this was a bad idea." Owen pointed his gun toward the open doorway to the dining room.
They both watched the dark shadows, waiting for them to shift as the footfalls drew closer.
Suddenly, the doors slammed shut and a hissing sound filled the air.
"What—" Ianto was cut off by the coughs that began to tear from his chest.
Everything grew fuzzy and gravity seemed to become impossible to battle. Ianto slumped down to the floor, unable to stop himself. Dizzily, he looked over to where Owen was moments before, only to find he too was collapsing to the floor.
The tile felt cool against Ianto's face as he lay helpless. The footsteps stopped, and Ianto blinked, coming face to face with a pair of black boots.