- Dark Themes
- Death-Major Character
- Death-Minor Character
- Episode Related
- Science Fiction
Ianto felt like he had gotten barely any sleep at all, even though he had actually had ten whole hours of downtime after he had reintroduced Jack to Brac and Tirion Kendrick, who where unofficially the leaders of the Sentinel and Guide community of Cardiff.
There was no official structure or organization in the Sentinel and Guide population, but they tended to seek each other out if they lived in the same territory. And there tended to form a natural hierarchy in every of their groups. Those who were leading the local communities were often elder bonded pairs and they took care of organizing get-togethers, training and support for individual persons or whole groups, and communication with the authorities if it was needed. Their communities were tight knit but open to newcomers and the families of their members.
Ianto had known the Kendricks since he had been a teenager and come online as a Guide at the death bed of his mother. They had been a great support for him and his sister after their father had been unable to handle the slow and painful death of his wife in any way that left him being able to care for his children.
When Ianto had come back to Cardiff he had given them a quick call, but otherwise had kept his distance. He could never have kept the secret of Lisa from other Guides and later on he had been to ashamed of his actions to face them. He had to endure a long lecture from Tirion, when he had shown up on their doorstep. She had not let him explain why he had finally visited them until he had promised to visit weekly in the future. He already knew the next few visits would entail a lot of mediating and counselling to get him emotionally and emphatically back on an even keel.
Brac an Tirion had invited Jack but send Ianto away, after he had taken care of a short introduction. Ianto did not know why they had even asked that of him, as they already knew Jack, but he had been to tired to question it. Jack had send him home with the instruction to get a full night of sleep and after a short phone call to Tosh Ianto had indeed gone home.
He found Tosh in the technical lab working on the severs arm of Beth, as he arrived in the Hub the next morning. Ianto grimaced. “I should have eaten before coming here!”
Tosh laughed. “And that’s a lesson you should have learned month ago, too!”
Ianto sighed. “Don’t I know it. – Anything new?”
“Not much.” Tosh frowned. “I have only just started with the arm. But … Owen suspects that Beth wasn’t as fake a personality as we thought.”
“The arm was the only thing in the body, that wasn’t entirely human. Owen is still running a few tests, including a DNA-analysis, but he suspects that whoever they are, they took actual humans, implanted their technology and send them back on their way.”
Ianto paled and had to fight against another sort of nausea. “Like the Cyberman?”
Tosh shrugged. “Similar, but not the same. The Cyberman wouldn’t go for total annihilation right away. They need humans to convert them into their soldiers and kill only those, that can’t be converted, right?” She looked up and her eyes widened in shock as they met Ianto’s. “Oh God, I’m so sorry! That was so insensitive!”
Ianto forced himself to smile. “It’s all right. I … I have to live with it. It wouldn’t help to pretend it never happened.” He sighed. “Jack helped me a lot with it, you know. He made me talk about it a lot.”
Tosh raised an eyebrow. “So, you two actually do something other than shag?”
“Yes!” Ianto rolled his eyes exaggerated. “Back to the topic at hand … yeah, just forget I said that!” He sighed about Tosh’s snickering. “If they kidnap actual people to program them into their agents they don’t need to bother to create a background for them. And that means it’s harder for us to find them.”
Tosh sobered immediately. “Impossible to find them. Expect if I find a way to detect their technology.” She regarded the arm with a frown. “But I’m not sure if I have the right knowledge for it.”
“Just do your best.” Ianto patted her shoulder “And maybe this is the right opportunity to remind Jack that we need more people. For example someone with experience in engineering.”
Tosh sighed. “Especially with the whole situation with Gwen.”
“What situation?” Ianto looked frowning to her workstation. “She is late again?”
“Not late. Jack gave her two days of downtime, read suspension.”
“What happened?”, Ianto asked surprised. There had been a lot of situation in the past, where Gwen should have gotten a suspension and Jack had let slight. On the other hand, in the past Jack had not been a Sentinel and there would be a lot of things he would not be able to tolerate now that had not bothered him so far.
Tosh shrugged. “I’m not sure. She waited for him in his office after you left. It ended with her getting two free days and Jack asking me to monitor her and her fiancé’s communication.”
Ianto ran his fingers trough his hair. “That’s not good.” He blew out a breath. “But not surprising. She was … appalled and somewhat disgusted when I told her and Owen that I had felt Jack come online.”
“I should have asked Jack, for what exactly I should look out!” She removed her gloves cursing and went to her computer. “Anti-Sentinel or Anti-Guide rhetoric, what do you think?”
“Both, just to be thorough”, Ianto answered warily.
Tosh huffed while she started typing. “When is Jack coming in?”
“Baring any emergencies he’ll bring our lunch. At the moment he should get his first lessons in what not to do, so that he won’t loose control of his senses. Jack won’t be ready to go into the field for weeks.”
“Another reason to recruit a few new people!”, Tosh muttered.
Ianto nodded. “The first candidates will probably be other Sentinels and Guides. Which means we’ll need to make a few changes to the Hub. If you got an idea where we could build a few isolation rooms, that would be great.”
Tosh looked at him with furrowed brows. “You had no problem with working here until now.”
Ianto shrugged. “But I’m a Guide, not a Sentinel. And I had my abilities locked down tight for the most part of the last eighteen month. The Millennium Centre has isolation rooms and the four or five times I did need the psionic buffering, I went there. That’s not a solution for a Sentinel or even if there are more Guides around than just me.”
“What does that mean, that your abilities were locked down?” Tosh sounded and felt worried.
“It’s something a Guide can do in potentially traumatic situations, to protect themselves from the empathic impact”, Ianto explained. “If I had subjected myself to all the ambient emotions of Canary Wharf I would have crawled into some hole and died right there. I nearly did exactly that after I felt the anguish of the first people being converted. They didn’t die right away, you know? They lived inside these monsters for a while, trapped in their own bodies.”
Ianto shuddered and did not protest, when Tosh wrapped her arms around him. “Is that the reason why you brought Lisa here, because you could still feel her being alive?”
Ianto shook his head. “Not exactly. I had it all completely shut down for a long time after … I didn’t want to feel her hurt and her desperation. But these first few minutes of the invasion were the reason I still had hope she could be saved. – It took a long time before I was able to open myself again to my empathy. As a Guide I’m still not where I was before Canary Wharf.”
“Do you need any help?”, Tosh asked softly.
“Thank you.” Ianto pressed a kiss against her forehead before he stepped out of her hug. “Tirion, that’s the Guide of the pair who I send Jack to, has already scheduled mediation and counselling for me. This is something were I need another Guide’s help for.”
“But if you need anything…”
“I’ll come to you”, Ianto promised. “Let’s get back to work, okay? – Did Gwen finish the cover story for Beth’ disappearance?”
Tosh shrugged. “I’m not sure. But I wouldn’t count on it.”
Ianto sighed. “That’s my first task for today, then.”
It was a quite morning and Ianto was thankful for it. With how much they needed to organize, they could use every hour of rest the rift would give them.
To create the cover for the last day was handled in less than an hour. Mike had died on the operation table and so Ianto changed the records of the burglary to show, that he and Beth had sustained grave injuries during the fight with the burglars, which had led to both of them dying in the hospital.
Afterwards he immersed himself into the plans of the Hub. Isolations rooms was just the first thing on a very long list of improvements they needed to make. And because Ianto was of the opinion that they should make good use out of it, if they put the Hub under construction anyway, the list kept growing and growing.
When Jack eventually came to the Hub with a late lunch for them all, he looked much more relaxed than on the evening before. All four of them shared lunch in the board room, and afterwards Owen detailed what Ianto had already learned in the morning from Tosh. Every test the doctor had run during the morning seemed to confirm his first suspicion.
While Owen and Tosh went back to their tasks after lunch, Ianto followed Jack into his office. “I take it, Brac and Tirion could help you?”
Jack nodded and let himself fall into his chair. “Yes, and with more than just my senses. Although, I’m not looking forward to the schedule they have put together for me.”
“You’ll need the training”, Ianto reminded, sitting down on the edge of the desk beside Jack. He was searching for the physical proximity, because he was feeling as if Jack was distancing himself and Ianto had no idea why.
“I know. But they barely left time for work!”
Ianto grinned. “I’m sure they left the normal working hours free for you.”
“And since when could we ever keep normal working hours?”, Jack asked condescending.
“Never.” Ianto shrugged smirking. “But you’ll be no help in the field as long as you haven’t learned to use your senses. – It’s a good time to get on with hiring more people. That was the plan before Suzie died, wasn’t it? I never quite understood why you froze all those plans.”
Jack averted his gaze. “I’m not immune to … the toll this job is taking on all of us. After first loosing Sebastian and than Suzie … I just needed a break and to determine where I went wrong with them. But instead of that, I just made all the same mistakes again with Gwen!”
“You made mistakes with Gwen”, Ianto acknowledged. “But neither Sebastian nor Suzie were your fault. Sebastian was an entitled little prick, who got handed everything to him by his parents, including his job here. And Suzie … what we need to learn from her death is, that we need a way, to get every one of us a mental evaluation on a somewhat regular schedule.”
“I’m pretty sure we’ll lose Gwen, and it has nothing to do with my mistakes with her.” Jack sighed. “After the things I have heard yesterday from her, I’ll never be able to send her out with you or another Guide.”
“Are you sure it’s not just a problem with me?”, Ianto asked sceptically. She had resented him for a long time and questioned his continued presence after Lisa more than one time.
Jack shook his head. “No, it’s definitely Guides in general. – Brac recommended a bonded pair to me. They are ex-military as of half a year ago and didn’t want to join the police. It will be a start.”
“Tosh needs someone to help her with the tech, she can’t handle it all on her own. And we’ll need a doctor who knows how to handle the care of Sentinels and Guides. Someone, who maybe doesn’t act as a field agent at all! It’s hard on Owen to act as both.”
“Make a list with possible recruits”, Jack requested. “Ask Owen and Tosh for recommendations. The Kendricks offered to help with the vetting. That will make the process easier and much less time consuming.”
Ianto frowned. “I’m surprised of how trusting you are of them.”
“I was sent out as a soldier in a lot of conflicts in the last century and that is where a lot of Sentinels and Guides come online. They were the only ones I could ever fully trust with my immortality. And for Brac … he saved me from a very bad place a long time ago and we kept in contact since then. The only reason I haven’t spoken to him in more than eight years was Yvonne Hartmann.”
“I still don’t get why they insisted on me reintroducing you!” Ianto shook his head.
“They wanted to see us interact, but they didn’t explain why.” Jack shrugged.
Ianto regarded him thoughtfully. “How are you feeling aside from your senses?”
“I’m angry.” Jack swallowed. “Furious, really. But it won’t change my situation. It’s just not easy to get over it.”
“What are you angry about?”, Ianto prodded.
“I shouldn’t have come online!”, Jack said with a hard voice. “An immortal Sentinel? That’s just utter bullshit! And if the potential was there all along, why couldn’t it have happened when I could have really used it? I can’t … I can’t stop to think that I could have saved Grey, if I had been online at the time!”
Jack took a shuddering breath. “My younger brother. He … When I was fifteen, our home was invaded and Grey … I lost him. We never found his body, so we had to assume he was taken by the enemy and that’s … Death would have been a kinder fate.”
“Did Hart speak about your brother when he vanished into the rift?”, Ianto asked appalled.
“I think so.”
“If he ever decides to show up here again, I’ll shoot him!”, Ianto promised darkly. “In the head!”
Jack grinned. “I won’t stop you.”
“Do you think he told the truth?”
Jack shook his head. “No. I can’t … I don’t want to believe it. I don’t want to imagine the live he had to endure if he survived that day.”
Ianto took Jacks hand in his. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
He could understand why Jack was wondering about not coming online then after he had just been reminded of it. But no one was able to tell what exactly triggered the awakening of a Sentinel or Guide. There were a lot of theories of course and any one of them could give them some kind of answer to Jack’s question, but Ianto knew that nothing of it would be of any help to Jack. Even with a definite answer it would not stop the hurt.
Jack interlocked his fingers with Ianto’s. “It’s futile to think about it, I know.”
“But that doesn’t make your grief in any way invalid”, Ianto muttered. “You are…” He stopped surprised when he felt a deep warmth build in the hand that was holding Jack’s.
“What…?” Jack stared at their hands and Ianto could feel his confusion more clearly than ever before.
Ianto took a steadying breath. “That’s … the first sign of a bond starting to form.”
He flinched hard when Jack withdrew his hand as if he had been burned and even sprang out of his chair to flee to the other end of the room. More clearly could a rejection not have been. Ianto closed his eyes and let his chin fall to his chest. It felt like his heart had been ripped right out of him.
“I can’t bond!” Jack was nearly shouting, his voice full a panic.
Ianto swallowed hard. “I understand.” He wrapped his arms around himself. “I really shouldn’t have expected anything else, right?”
“This has nothing to do with you!”, Jack ground out. “Or with trust. I do trust you! – But I’ll never be able to allow myself to be bonded to any Guide!”
Ianto turned to him frowning. “What?”
“I’m immortal, Ianto! How do you think that would work?” Jack scoffed. “What would happen to a bond when I die and come back? Or let’s say I actually manage not to die in the – say, next century and you manage the same? For that to work we would have to stop working for Torchwood of course, but that’s another story altogether. So let’s just say you manage to die of old age, and I really hope you do, okay? But eventually you’ll die. Everyone dies in the end, expect of me. So, you’ll die and I’ll still be here with a broken bond for all eternity.”
Jack paused and crossed his arms. “I have seen Sentinels loose their bonded Guide and go crazy over it. I have witnessed how they needed to be put down themselves, so they wouldn’t be a threat to everyone around them. How do you think that would work for me, when I just come back every time I’m killed?”
Ianto sighed. All the anger about the rejection, that had been growing in him, died instantly in the face of Jacks utter desperation, but it could not lessen the hurt in any way. He knew Jack’s concerns were valid, if a little bit out dated. “The last Sentinel that was killed after loosing his Guide because his fellow soldiers couldn’t get him under control was in World War II. We have learned a lot since then to help Sentinels and Guides in such a situation.”
“But they still never get over the broken bond completely, right?” Jack shook his head. “It’s just not an option.”
“We are drawn to bond. Our kind, I mean. You’ll be drawn to other Guides in the future, that will never stop.” Ianto worried his lip. “Maybe you’ll have another reaction to a broken bond to accommodate for your immortality. Nature provides, that’s been true for Sentinels and Guides for many thousands of years.”
Jack scoffed. “Not for me, because I shouldn’t even exist. I have been reliably informed, that I’m a mistake, that my whole existence is wrong.”
Ianto flinched and swallowed down his anger. Whoever had said such a hateful thing to Jack should better hope to never cross his path. “And did the person who said that to you even know how your immortality was created?”
“As he was there when it happened…” Jack shrugged. “Anyway – I thought sex was needed to form a bond.”
Ianto frowned, but even without feeling Jack’s reluctance or the blatant change of topic, it would have been clear by just looking at Jack, that he was not willing to talk about it any further. “Not required but it often does help, especially for pairs that don’t know each other very well.”
“What is required for a bond then?”, Jack asked.
“Intimacy and a certain knowledge of the other person. The Guide needs to form an emotional impression of the Sentinel and the Sentinel needs to form an imprint of the Guide with all his senses.” Ianto sighed. “Sex can create that. But so can battles fought together or intimate relationships formed before one or both of the pair came online. And it is speculated that there needs to be a certain compatibility between the abilities of the Sentinel and Guide, although it’s not clear how that could be measured. But there are cases of pairs who couldn’t form a bond, even so they were both emotionally invested in each other.”
“Fuck!” Jack leaned against the wall and let himself slide to the floor, burying his face in his hands. “That’s the thing I’m really furious about, you know? The whole fucked up year I was gone I kept myself sane with the thought of eventually coming back to you. Specifically you, Ianto! And now this bullshit is making it impossible to…”
Ianto felt gutted by this revelation. He stared at Jack, wishing he could do anything to help, but there was nothing to be done. There was no way they could continue to build on the relationship they had started to form in the last few weeks if Jack was so adamantly against a bond. And as much as it hurt, Ianto could understand Jack’s reluctance about it. Ianto himself would be willing to risk it, but then he was not the one damned to an eternal life.
The silence was broken when Tosh stormed into the office without knocking. “Jack, you need…” She hesitated, looking from Ianto to Jack and back, clearly startled. “I’m … sorry to interrupt, but you need to see this! Both of you.”
When Jack did not react, Ianto said: “We’ll be with you in a moment.”
Tosh nodded. “I’m really sorry!”, she repeated quietly, before she left again.
“That no one here knows how to knock!”, Jack growled.
“I’m pretty sure, that is something Tosh learned from you.” That only earned Ianto a dark look from Jack and he sighed. “I’m sorry, Jack. I wish there was something I could do to help you. Or to take this burden from you. I … enjoyed the last weeks with you very much.”
“Is there anything that could stop the bond from forming?”, Jack asked.
Ianto shook his head. “I’m sorry.”
Jack rubbed his hands over his face. “Right, it just wouldn’t do for me to get what I really want only one time, would it?” His voice was full of self-loathing and Ianto had to stomp down hard on the urge to hug him, while Jack stood up. “Let’s see what Tosh needs to show us so urgently.”
Ianto carefully kept his distance as he followed Jack to Tosh, who looked and felt ready to explode. Owen stood beside her with crossed arms and a pinched face. Ianto suddenly was not sure any more, if he really wanted to know what Tosh had found out.
“You should have really told me yesterday what exactly I was monitoring Gwen for, Jack!”, Tosh said, before they had even reached her. “I would have found this sooner.”
Jack crossed his arms. “I had hoped, you would find nothing.”
Tosh sighed deeply. “To tell the truth we should have found this in her background check. The damn police should have found it in her background check before hiring her.”
“What are you talking about and why wasn’t it found in either background check?”, Ianto asked.
She pointed to her monitor, where a marriage certificate was opend, alongside an audio file. “Because no one thought to follow up with the second marriage of her grandmother, that let er widowed before Gwen was even born.”
“The grandmother whose husband came back from the war as a Sentinel?”, Jack asked worried.
Tosh nodded. “Yes, that one. The marriage ended in 1950 and she remarried eight years later, a man called Justin Corry.”
Ianto dropped down on the next chair and Jack cursed loudly, only Owen was looking at her confused. “I think I missed something.”
“Justin Corry is responsible for the attack on the festivities to the twenty year anniversary of the end of World War II here in Cardiff”, Tosh explained. “The explosion he caused killed 37 people, barely any Sentinels and Guides among them, even though he had tried to target them specifically. He was killed two days later when he resisted his arrest. His sons tried to sue the police for his death without success and consequently founded Rhyddid i’n Lluoedd, which means Freedom for our Forces. This group demands that Sentinels and Guides are banned from military service and the police, stating that those that were already there were forcing others to come online. They would like to detain every single Sentinel and Guide in specially prepared villages to separate them from the rest of the population.”
“And that is Gwen’s step-grandfather?”, Owen asked incredulous.
Tosh shrugged. “There is no evidence of any contact between Gwen’s family and Corry’s sons after his death. His widow never made an appearance, outside of the interview taken by the police in ‘65 and it all happened ten years before Gwen was even born. But yesterday evening Gwen used her fiancés cellphone to call Robert Corry, Justin’s youngest son and the man who is suspected to lead the Rhyddid i’n Lluoedd nowadays.”
Ianto frowned. “Suspected?”
“They are very secretive”, Tosh answered. “The group is suspected to be responsible for several attack on Sentinels and Guides and organizations associated with them, but there could never be found any concrete proof. Outwardly they are only organizing protest, petitions and the like.”
“Gwen said yesterday, that it would just seem like I had come online and that Ianto would be responsible for the deceit.”
Ianto scoffed. “That is exactly their rhetoric.”
“There is an open warrant for Robert Corry, but supposedly no one knows where he is. He has a daughter, but she insists to have had no contact to him for more than a decade.” Tosh scoffed. “So, yesterday Gwen makes this call to a man she calls Uncle Robert, told him about two unexpected free days and asks if she can visit him to get out of town for a while. The number she called is registered to Robert Corry’s daughter. After I knew were to look it was nothing to find the connection.”
“That doesn’t sound as if there was no contact between them”, Owen said.
“No evidence of such contact and no contact are two different things!”, Tosh scolded.
“Where is Gwen now?”, Jack asked.
Tosh shrugged. “No idea. As I didn’t know what I was looking for, my program wasn’t set up to inform me about her plan to leave, it was just recording and I would have only been notified if she started to talk about Torchwood or aliens. She was picked up by a car in the morning, but she has left er phone at home. I tracked the car through CCTV, but I lost them when they left the city.”
Ianto furrowed his brows. “Can you trace the phone she called?”
“Already tried that, but they seem to be prepared. I keep monitoring Rhys in case she contacts him.”
“Just wait a moment.” Owen held up his hands. “What are we talking about here? Do any of you really think Gwen is some kind of spy for this organization?”
Jack shrugged. “The best case would probably be, if she actually had only minimal contact to her step-family until yesterday and only reached out because she lost her shit about me coming online. Or Ianto being a Guide. Her grandmother wouldn’t have needed to be involved with this group to teach her children and grandchildren the same ideas.”
Tosh continued: “And the worst case would be, she did have regular contact with them throughout her life and the Rhyddid i’n Lluoedd planed all along to put her into a place in the police. Then she would have been groomed for this role from a very young age and we have no idea who she really is. Her mother has two sibling, right? Maybe we should look into their children.”
“She isn’t exactly subtle or unassuming, as one would expect from a spy”, Owen protested. “And then, why come here instead of staying in the police?”
“That’s the problem with trying to groom children you don’t have in your control 24/7, you can’t know how they turn out.” Jack frowned. “And who knows what she thought she could gain by working for us.”
Ianto snorted. “I know exactly what she wanted to gain by following your invitation. And yesterday she lost her shit because she had to know that she lost any chance to get it.”
Owen rolled his eyes. “Not everyone wants to shag their boss.”
Ianto looked at Owen but waved his hand at Jack. “Oh come on, we all know she would crawl all over Jack if he would just let her.” He grinned when Owen grimaced and Jack snorted. “And in the minds of those people, to want a Sentinel or Guide is probably the most heinous thing ever. So, because Gwen hasn’t gotten yet what she thinks is her due, Jack just can’t be a Sentinel!”
Jack laughed. “I feel so objectified!”
“You are owning it and using it most of the time!”, Ianto stated unaffected. “But you misjudged Gwen’s reaction, who never seemed to get that you were flirting with everyone to the same extent, and who thought you flirting with her actually meant something.”
“But what do we do with Gwen?”, Tosh asked.
Jack looked at some point at the other end of the room, his face grim. “To go to such an organization just hours after a co-worker came online is reason enough for a termination of her contract. So, Retcon or execution, but both are probably problematic with her already involving outsiders.”
“We let the police handle it”, Ianto suggested. “At least at first.”
“What?” All three of his co-workers looked at him surprised and appalled.
Ianto shrugged. “They missed this, too. They’ll want to know it and Gwen is probably meeting with a wanted person. – I think she’ll come back without suspecting anything. The police can take her in for questioning and can determine how much she is involved in this group. As they know that she works for us, she’ll be questioned by officers in the know, and thus can’t use any information against us or to be let go. The Rhyddid i’n Lluoedd is not in our mandate. We shouldn’t do anything other than call the police.”
“And after the investigation is closed?”, Jack asked.
“That depends on what happens to her. If Tosh’s scenario is the right one, she’ll probably go to jail. If not, we can still give her Retcon or organize an accident.”