Gwen was on the phone to PC Andy Davidson as she was walking into the Hub. 'I tell you, Gwen' Andy was saying, 'This is right up Torchwood's alley. Young girl found wandering naked on the moors, mute and blue'
'If she was on the moors naked in this weather, I'm not surprised she was blue' laughed Gwen.
Andy tutted in annoyance, 'Blue is her colour' he said, 'it's her skin pigmentation. Gwen she's obviously an alien. You helped out with Freda – why won't you help with this?'
Gwen had dumped her bag at her work station and was wandering toward Ianto's pantry to get herself a coffee. 'Andy, I'd like to help, I really would but it's not my call' she said, 'It's up to Jack, I can ask him for you if you want but I'm pretty sure I know what he will say...'
Suddenly Jack's voice rang out loudly from open door of the hothouse, 'Oh God, yes, YES!'
'I heard that, that's excellent' Gwen heard Andy say, 'I'll bring her straight round to the bay – meet you there. Thanks Gwen, I owe you one' and he rang off. Brilliant she thought to herself, another waif and stray and guess who'll be expected to babysit?
When Jack and Ianto finally emerged from the hot house, flushed, unbuttoned and extremely pleased with themselves some ten minutes later, Gwen had worked herself up into a real temper; a temper that was not improved by Jack collapsing into laughter when she explained to him what had happened.
'I don't know why you're mad at me' Jack sniggered; 'It was Ianto's fault, I don't know where he gets his filthy little tricks from!' and he pulled Ianto close to him and kissed him with enthusiasm.
Ianto went bright red and murmured, 'not on duty, Sir'
'...or in front of the help' added Gwen, smiling in spite of herself.
Since Jack continued to insist that the whole situation was Ianto's fault, it was Ianto who was detailed to go to meet Andy and bring the alien girl into the Torchwood base. He made his way to the coffee shop where he had agreed to meet them.
Andy was sitting at the back of the shop next to a slim figure hunched inside a duffle coat with the hood pulled up to hide her face. Ianto sat down opposite them; he ducked his head down to try to look into the girls face, but she kept her head lowered.
'Hello' he said softly, 'My name is Ianto, can you tell me what your name is?' The girl kept her eyes down. 'Can you tell me where you are from? Are you travelling alone?'
Andy shook his head –'we've tried all this but she either can't or won't speak'
'Thanks, Andy; we'll take things from here.' Ianto stood up, 'Come with me' he smiled, 'I have a friend who will be able to help you' he held out his hand, the girl took it and Ianto felt electric tingles run up his arm. For the first time the girl raised her head, Ianto saw her face and blanched, 'Lisa?'
Ianto hurried the girl back to the Hub and handed her over to Jack and Gwen as quickly as he could. He made his excuses and took himself off to his butler's pantry to make himself a coffee. He was shaken. And he needed time to think. He knew, of course, that the girl wasn't Lisa but bloody hell, she looked just like her, she moved like her, she smelt like her and Ianto noticed that she even had the tiny scar next to her left eye that Lisa had from an accident when she was a child. Ianto remembered how he used to kiss it softly when they made love. How could that possibly be?
In the medical bay Jack was scanning the girl, who was sitting compliantly on the steel table, with the Bekaran deep-tissue scanner.
'Andy told me she was blue' said Gwen but she looks more mocha to me – could she be a chameleon species?'
'It's possible' conceded Jack, He looked up at Gwen, 'She's mute because she has no vocal chords at all, not even vestigial ones.' He said, 'she must be from a race that communicates telepathically'
'OK' replied Gwen, 'I'll go check the species database; see what we have on blue, mute, chameleon telepaths – there can't be that many of them, shouldn't take long!' she headed out to the Hub.
Jack bent down and looked into the girls eyes 'Where are you from? What do you want? How can we help you?' Silently she looked back at him with her head on one side.
'More to the point, what are we going to do with her' Ianto was standing at the top of the stairs, looking down into the well of the room, 'we can't lock her in the vaults, she hasn't done anything wrong.' Ianto sounded really upset.
Jack looked up, surprised, 'What do you suggest then? Just let her wander round Cardiff? Book her into a B&B?'
'No of course not' said Ianto, 'It's just – well, I sometimes think we are too quick to lock people up.'
Jack frowned, 'Well I suppose we could ask Gwen to take her although Rhys might not be too happy, he's never that keen on houseguests '
'She can stay at mine, if you like'.
Jack considered, 'Ok, you spend most your time here anyway, take her to your flat, pick up what you need and come back'
Ianto looked away, shiftily, 'I can't just dump her there and leave her to get on with it, Jack' he protested, 'I'll settle her in and we'll see how it goes eh?'
'Fine' said Jack, 'whatever.' He felt a little rejected.
Ianto ushered the mute girl into his flat. 'Here we are' he said nervously, 'Living room through here, bathroom over there; this will be your room, there are loads of clothes in there that will probably fit you – just help yourself. Erm I don't know what you call you – do you mind...would it be too weird or would it be OK if I called you Lisa?'
The girl moved close to him and laid her hand on the side of his face. In his head Ianto heard Lisa's voice 'OK Welsh Boy.'
Ianto recoiled, 'Welsh boy? That's what Lisa used to call me' he whispered, 'How could you possibly know that?'
The girl smiled at him and clasped her arms around his neck, 'Aren't I Lisa, then?' she murmured. Ianto, lost in her big brown eyes, smiled back and bent to kiss her.
Jack was pacing around the Hub, restless and irritable, when Gwen arrived the following day, he didn't look at all happy.
'Hiya' chirruped Gwen, 'what's occurring?'
Jack frowned, 'I don't know where Ianto is. He hasn't come in yet and he's not answering his phone and I'm starting to get really worried'
'Bloody hell, Jack', laughed Gwen, 'you don't own him you know. Isn't the poor guy entitled to a day off from the constant shagging occasionally?'
Jack looked grim 'Gwen, he went home with the mute alien last night. He was supposed to check in with me when they got in and again this morning and he hasn't. Does that sound like Ianto to you?'
Chastened, Gwen shook her head, 'No, sorry, Jack. Ok, what you want to do?'
Jack was already on his way out of the Hub. 'You keep an eye on things here, I'll be in touch' he threw over his shoulder as he disappeared.
Ianto was woken up by a persistent ringing of the doorbell punctuated by violent hammering upon his front door. He groggily disentangled himself from Lisa's warm embrace, rolled out of bed and, half asleep and still naked, shuffled towards the door. As he was reaching for the lock, the door was kicked open and Jack Harkness stood there, Webley pointed straight at him.
'Jack! What the hell!'
Jack holstered his gun and swept Ianto into a hug. 'Are you Ok? Why aren't you answering your phone? Where's little Miss Blue Skin?'
Ianto blinked at Jack, 'Stop yelling questions at me. I've just woken up' he said, 'I can't even think straight until I've had some coffee...' his voice trailed off as he realised that he had lost Jack's attention. Jack was staring past Ianto's shoulder to where a beautiful naked brown skinned woman was standing in the doorway to his bedroom, staring at him with intense curiosity.
'Ianto, you want to introduce me to your friend?' Jack managed to get out.
The woman walked towards him, 'Lisa' she said, 'Lisa Hallett – you must be Jack; Ianto has…mentioned you.' She stood behind Ianto and wrapped her arms around him possessively.
'Oh Gwen is going to love this' said Jack.
It had taken all Jack's powers of persuasion to get Ianto and what he supposed he must call "Lisa" to return to the hub with him. Lisa had kept insisting that she was fine, that Jack had no jurisdiction over her and Ianto had supported her although he clearly just wanted to get her back into bed. Jack was a little irked that Ianto had opposed him, it so rarely happened. However Jack had prevailed and now he had Lisa in the medical bay once more and was running a hand held body scanner over her, he looked up a Gwen and Ianto, 'she reads as human' he said, 'she even has vocal chords now'
'So we can go then?' asked Ianto.
'If you feel you must' said Jack 'but Ianto, I want you to check in every hour – got that? Miss an hour, be late even by a minute and I'll put you both in the vaults'
Jack was talking to himself, Ianto and Lisa, hands tightly clasped were already heading out of the Hub. Jack realised that Gwen was looking at him with a strange expression on her face, 'What?'
'Nothing' said Gwen hastily
'I don't like this' he said, 'I'd feel happier if I knew where little Miss Blue Skin was from and what species she was'
'According to your latest scan, she is our species' pointed out Gwen
'That's another thing' said Jack, 'everyone seems way too quick to accept her and to assume that she's harmless, am I the only one that thinks this whole thing is just too weird?'
Gwen had that look on her face again, 'Everyone, Jack – or just Ianto?'
Jack didn't reply, he swept out of the medical bay and headed towards his office. He needed to be on his own for a while to figure out what was going on.
Ianto and Lisa were wandering around the quay, with their arms round each other; every so often Ianto would stop and kiss her, 'I missed you so much' he told her, 'I thought I would die when I lost you.'
'Well, I'm here now' said Lisa, 'and I'm starving, that French restaurant looks nice, shall we try it?'
'No, not there' said Ianto quickly, it was a place he went to often with Jack, it didn't feel right taking Lisa there. Jack liked their little quiches remembered Ianto with a pang and a small smile 'there's a nice Greek restaurant just on the next corner – remember that one we used to go to in London?'
Lisa smiled, 'The one where you first told me you loved me' she said softly, 'yes' She ran her hand up Ianto's back under his jacket, slid her hand under his shirt and stroked his skin 'remember our first date? The first time I touched you and we both got so horny that we just left the restaurant and ran to your flat to shag?' Ianto nodded, Lisa looked into his face, 'wanna do that again?' she asked, wickedly.
Ianto grabbed her hand, 'God, yes and I know just the place' he laughed, 'c'mon!'
Jack was so focussed on what he was watching on the hub CCTV system that he didn't hear Gwen come up behind him. She glanced over his shoulder to see what it was that Jack was so intent upon. The screen showed an ante-room of the archive vault, Ianto was pushed up against the wall and Lisa was kneeling before him with his cock deep in her throat and her fingers buried in his arse. Although there was no sound on the feed it was clear that Ianto was groaning loudly and close to coming. 'Jack!' protested Gwen, 'what do you think you are doing?'
Jack turned to face her, Gwen was shocked by the look of jealous misery on his face, 'she may look and behave like Lisa' he said, 'but she isn't Lisa. We killed Lisa, Gwen. You and me and Tosh and Owen – we executed her. I seem to be the only person who is concerned about this. I don't know what is down in the archives with Ianto at the moment but it's not Lisa Hallett. It's an alien and we don't know what its motives are or what danger Ianto may be in'
Gwen nodded; she could see Jack had a point, but she still thought he was over reacting, the girl seemed so harmless. 'Could it be some kind of emotion feeder like the succubae? Maybe, it's targeted Ianto because he's still secretly grieving for Lisa?'
Jack shrugged, 'Could be I guess,' he mused, 'but succubae feed and kill. They torture, they hurt - and Ianto...' he voice died away.
'Yeah, he's feeling no pain' laughed Gwen without thinking, 'I don't think I've ever seen him so relaxed and happy, whatever she is – she's just what he needs.' Then she saw Jacks face again and could have bitten out her tongue. She put a gentle hand on Jack's back, 'how difficult is this for you?' she asked quietly. Jack shrugged her hand away and didn't answer her.
In all of his very long lives Jack Harkness had known and loved many people. He remembered them all; he worked hard to do so. Some he had left, others had left him. Usually when his affairs ended it was by mutual agreement and with enduring love and respect on both sides: those of his lovers who were still alive he kept an eye on and made sure they were always safe and comfortable, those that were dead he grieved for. Jack acknowledged that some remained dearer to him than others, Michael, Greg, Angelo; but, when he had spied on Lisa and Ianto, when he has seen Ianto touch Lisa in the way Jack had taught him to touch, when he had seen Lisa lick Ianto's chest and known precisely what she was tasting, when he had watched the shiver of Ianto's skin and known exactly how close he was to coming, he was re-discovering a pain that he had hoped never to experience again. For the first time in a very, very long time, Jack Harkness's heart was breaking.
Later that evening the door bell of Ianto's flat rang in a more civilised fashion, looking through the spy hole Jack could be seen standing in the hallway, head bowed, hands deep in the pockets of his greatcoat. The door opened and Ianto stood there in his bath robe. He looked at Jack for a long time in silence until eventually, 'Come in' he said, stepping to one side. Jack entered.
'Ianto' he said, 'we need to talk.'
Ianto looked at him and said nothing but led the way into his living room, Jack close behind him. They stood in the middle of the room looking at each other; Jack took a deep breath, 'Ianto. I know you think that you have Lisa back but you must surely see that this isn't true. You saw Lisa die and...'
Ianto interrupted, 'I saw you murder, Lisa, yes'
Jack closed his eyes and swallowed hard, 'either way, Lisa is dead, this, this facsimile is alien, Ianto, we don't know what drives it, we don't know what it wants and we don't know how dangerous it is but you seem to be spending all your time with it as far as I can see. Why do you trust it so much?'
'I don't care about what you don't know' said Ianto, 'and its she not it. Why wouldn't I trust her, she has all of Lisa's memories if she's not Lisa she's the next best thing.'
Jack grabbed hold of Ianto's hand, clasping it tightly, he felt a brief prickle of electricity, 'Ianto, it's a shadow puppet; it can only mimic the love Lisa felt for you. What about us? Will you take a hollow sham over what we have?'
Ianto was standing very close to him now, his eyes looking deeply into Jack's, 'and what exactly do we have, Jack?'
Jack took a deep breath, God it shouldn't be this hard to say he thought. 'Ianto, I love you. Seeing you with this Lisa is killing me. I want us to be together. It should be you and me, she can't, she can't love you anywhere near as much as I do. We belong together, what we have is amazing' He pulled Ianto closer and kissed him fervently. As Ianto kissed him back, Jack slid the bathrobe from Ianto's body running his hands over the soft skin of Ianto's back and then circling his nipples with his thumbs. He could feel Ianto's hands busy with the belt of his trousers and the heat of his own erection pressing against the younger mans, when Jack heard the front door slam.
Behind him, Jack heard a voice say, 'what the hell is going on here?' He turned shocked. Ianto stood in the doorway bags of shopping at his feet. Jack turned back to face...Lisa. He gaped at her, then realised she was naked, he was still holding her tightly in his arms and she had her hand inside his pants.
Ianto was looking at them with such a hurt expression of betrayal on his face that, despite his innocence, Jack felt his own face burn with shame.
'I don't believe this,' said Ianto slowly, 'Jack? Lisa? What are..? Why would you do this to me?' He looked from one to the other of them, Jack couldn't find any words, Lisa just looked calmly from one man to another. Ianto looked at Lisa and continued sadly, 'I should have known. Why would you even want me when you can have him?' he turned his gaze onto Jack, 'It's all so easy for you Jack isn't it – you waltz through life, never short of someone to love you, they stay, they go it's all the same to you because there's always another one, always a queue, always someone to pass the time with. I-I can't be like that, I'm no good at casual, never have been, so it's only ever been you and Lisa. I have only ever loved you two and now...now...' He slid down the wall to the floor, arms wrapped around himself in an attempt to contain his anguish. Jack released Lisa and hastily moved towards Ianto, who tried back away from him, 'don't touch me!' he whispered. Jack came to an abrupt halt, his eyes fixed on Ianto.
Into this tense atmosphere came the trill of Jack's mobile. It was Gwen. 'Jack the creature database has finally come up with a hit – Miss Blue Skin is an Eltrepian empathy android. She scans our memories through touch and remodels herself to allow for those memories to be recreated; her empathy field extends to allow multiple users to perceive her as real, that's why we were all so ready to believe in her. But she's not malevolent, she doesn't have an agenda; she's a plaything, Jack, a toy. I'm sending a schematic to your PDA, she even has an off switch!' Jack hit the speaker button, 'say all that again, Gwen' Gwen obliged.
Ianto gave a small sob and rested his head on his knees, both Jack and the Lisa droid made a move to him but it was Jack to whom he turned. As Jack held Ianto in his arms he met the eyes of the Lisa droid over the top of his head, she gave him a smile and the smallest of approving nods, then turned herself off.
Jack and Ianto had transported the Eltrepian empathy android back to the Hub and placed it in a secure storeroom. Now, alone in the room, Ianto stood facing it, it looked like Lisa again.
'Why did you do this to me' he asked softly
The droid looked at him, 'I am programmed to respond to need,' she said, 'your need to see your love again was so strong, your memory of her so clear and fresh that I had little choice but to respond'
Ianto nodded sadly, 'You made me remember what we had' he said, 'you dredged up all those feelings, all the love, the sex, everything...' his voice failed
The Lisa droid moved close to him, 'I can also offer you the chance to say good–bye properly, the way you would have wanted to' she said gently.
Ianto looked at her, God it was just like looking at Lisa. He touched her face gently, her skin felt like Lisa's. He took her into his arms and kissed her hair, the tiny scar by her eye and then her mouth. 'I loved you, Lisa. You made me so happy; I never got the chance to thank you for that. When I fell in love with you I had never felt so alive, you were wonderful and although losing you nearly killed me I wouldn't have missed our time together for the world'
Lisa smiled at him 'and now you have Jack'
'Jack' repeated Ianto flatly.
'I see how he looks at you, I see how you respond to him – you are perfect together, you love each other'
Ianto blushed, 'I love him and I want him to love me' he said simply, 'but one day I know I'll lose him just like I lost you. He is an expert at walking away. I'm not sure I can do that again'
The Lisa droid gently touched Ianto's lips, ' I think Jack is a better man than you give him credit for, he need you more than you know. Have the courage to love and be happy for the present Ianto, let the future take care of itself. Goodbye…Welsh Boy'
The moment broke as Jack walked into the room, 'Ok, then' he said, 'I've sent the shut down commend to the automaton's CPU, she'll be going to sleep soon'. He moved next to Ianto and put a protective and loving arm around his shoulders. Together they stood looking at the android which as it reset itself to its neutral state stood facing them impassively. Jack turned to Ianto and kissed the top of his head tenderly, 'I'm so sorry' he said softly, ' I know that what you saw looked like a terrible betrayal, but please believe me – at first I really thought it was you'.
Ianto smiled, 'I know' he said, 'I know how real she could appear. Even though deep down I knew she wasn't Lisa, when she touched me it was like having Lisa back again, it was like...being with...Lisa again' He hesitated, then asked, 'but…when you kissed her, it, could you tell it wasn't me?'
'Of course' lied Jack
'So the things you were saying to her were like a sort of test – yes?'
'What did you hear?' asked Jack uneasily.
'Not much, just something about us being amazing together, that's all' Ianto reassured him. He knew he would never tell Jack that, having studied the schematic that Gwen had sent them he had found the playback command. Before she had given him the chance to say farewell to Lisa, the Eltrepian empathy android had shown Ianto everything that had gone on before his return to the flat - including Jack's declaration of love. He was holding that knowledge in his heart and it sent warm threads of happiness throughout his body
Jack took hold of Ianto's hand and held it very tightly. This whole episode had made him realise just how very, very dear to him Ianto was. The strength of his jealousy had disturbed him but had also shown him the depth of his feelings for the younger man. 'C'mon' he said, 'It's time for bed, let's go and be amazing again'