A/N: This is the sequel to Part Human, and I strongly recommend that you read that first before reading this one. It's still a WIP, but I have it mostly plotted out in my mind and have the first 16 chapters finished. I am intending to post one chapter a week, on the weekend, while I am still trying to finish this.
Many, many thanks to bittie752, spooky-knight, and BittyBlueEyes for reading over the prologue for me.
Disclaimer: The BBC owns Doctor Who. If I owned it, the last few seasons would have been very, very different.
A public car park at midnight near a London underground station on a Thursday night would seem an unlikely spot for a meeting, but he received the call on that mobile, the one especially purchased for just this situation. Despite waking him from a sound sleep, he had immediately gotten out of bed and made his way there, as he always did. Not to do so never occurred to him.
He had parked in a completely different car park near a completely different station and took the underground to where he needed to be. Taking the tube at that hour always made him a bit nervous, as the train was not completely empty. There were usually groups of people returning home from parties and other nights on the town, the occasional drunk sitting alone half asleep, but there was usually one person, usually a man but occasionally a woman, who raised his hackles and looked like he either needed to be sectioned or in prison.
This time was no different.
There was a raucous group of teens, either pissed or high, possibly both, sitting near the door. There was the usual drunken businessman, probably risking the wrath of his wife for returning home so late. There was the couple, tourists most likely as they had the look of Americans, who were probably returning to a hotel. There was one couple, off to the side, looking incongruously as if they were returning from the theater because they were much too well dressed for the underground. And then there was the one, sitting in the corner, surveying everyone, with long, dirty hair and far too many tattoos who looked like he had just been released from prison.
He had chosen to sit near the well-dressed couple.
He had not been sleeping well recently and between the bumping and shaking of the railway car and the lateness of the hour he almost fell asleep. Had it not been for the need to watch for his stop, and keep an eye on the tattooed man in the corner, he was certain he would have dropped off. As it was, for most of the trip he had to force his eyes to remain open. The closer he got to his destination, however, nervousness over the meeting made him become more alert.
The kidnapping of Rose Tyler had been a mistake, a stupid, foolish mistake. Yes, they had learned vital information, and the information was significant and far reaching and possibly crucial. However, they might have eventually learned the information anyway given enough time, and what they had lost was far more significant than what they had found out.
And now the wrong people would be suspicious. And would be on guard.
He had tried to contain the situation as best he could, had managed to handle it quickly without prior warning, and done as much damage control as possible. He had done the best he could given the circumstances, but he wasn't sure the others would see it that way. And he knew, from observation rather than experience thankfully, how they handled things. On the other hand, if he had had the experience of them handling him, he wouldn't even be aware of it. If he was lucky.
Eventually the train pulled into the station and he got off and made his way to the nearby car park. As usual, there were few cars there, possibly only a dozen or so. By the light provided by the streetlamps, he easily found the correct one. It was a nondescript older model sedan, painted some sort of dark color, with enough dirt on the number plates to obscure the numbers. It was a distance away from the others, far from the lights and some distance away from the entrance. When he found it, he opened the passenger side door and got in.
"It's taken care of," he said without preamble, trying not to show his anxiety. He looked straight ahead. It was an unwritten rule between the two of them that he do so at all of their meetings. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. The person in the driver's seat always managed to sit in shadows at all of their meetings and usually wore a hooded sweatshirt. It didn't really matter. He knew exactly who was summoning him to these meetings, but the other preferred the illusion of anonymity and so he went along with the pretense.
"Are you certain?" the other asked quietly.
"Absolutely. I made certain of it before I dumped her off. Hallett remembers nothing of the past several years."
"Is there any chance of her recovering her memory?"
"No," he said flatly. "None whatsoever. Ret-con is extremely effective in that regard. I am unaware of even a single case of anyone recovering memories lost due to it being administered."
"So where is she now?"
"In Torchwood's medical wing. She's being monitored 'round the clock for now. They're trying to determine the cause of her memory loss."
"And what of her assistant, Callahan was it? What about him?"
"Sean Callahan is being held in the medical wing as well," he said. "Callahan knows nothing. To be safe, he was Ret-conned as well, but Hallett never told him about my involvement, let alone yours."
The other was silent. And then finally, "And no one suspects?"
He paused before answering. "Tyler suspects, but he can't prove anything. But he trusts me and he would have no way of knowing about you."
"What about his daughter, or that boyfriend of hers, Smith?" The other's voice contained a hint of concern. "Do either of them suspect anything?"
"I don't know. Possibly." He surreptitiously glanced at the occupant in the driver's seat before continuing. "Rumor has it that they are too wrapped up in each other to even notice a bomb going off."
"Was Hallett's information correct about him?"
"We can't verify that. At initial glance he appears to be who, and what, he says he is."
"What about that report from Torchwood Three?"
"We can't verify that either. Hallett said she saw it, but we've been unable to locate the records. We can't even be certain there was a report."
"Still, we best take precautions. This was set in motion months ago, and we will not let one person stand in our way, no matter who, or what, he is. I want you to get me a copy of everything you have on him, no matter how insignificant it may seem."
"I'll take care of it," he said.
"If Hallett saw the report, she may have downloaded it. If she did, it might still be on her computer." The other leaned back, arms crossed. "We need that computer."
"Agreed. They won't have left it lying about, so they probably have already archived it. As well as anything else of hers that Torchwood has. If they have, it will just be a matter of retrieving it." He glanced over at the person in the driver's seat. "That explosion near Griffith Street, was it really a gas main blowing?"
"There is no evidence to the contrary," the other answered, "but both the timing and the location seem too coincidental to be plausible. We already know that the lorry accident at the substation was caused by Torchwood. A Burpee's Baby Formula lorry? They didn't even try to hide their involvement. There's every reason to believe that the explosion was Torchwood as well. If it was, that would mean they knew about the beacon. And if they knew about the beacon…." There was a pause, and then, "Is there any way you can find out?"
He was silent as a list of known gossips at Torchwood ran through his head. It was a long list. "Perhaps," he answered finally. "I'll try to look into it. But it may take a little time. I need to be discrete. I don't want anyone to trace any of this back to me." He glanced quickly at the person in the driver's seat and then looked away. "And if they trace it to me, they might be able to trace it to you," he warned.
The other nodded. "Quite right. Things are coming to a head, and it is essential that none of this is traced to me."
"I understand," he replied.
They fell into an uneasy silence. When the other continued, it was with a tone of frustration that was so completely out of character that he was startled.
"This whole business is turning into a nightmare."
"So what do we do?" he asked.
"We start over. And this time we do it right."