Working Title: The Torchwood Canary
Episode Title: CardiffDisclaimer: I do not own, nor ever will, Torchwood or the characters within.
Notes: A series of interconnected episodes starting from Canary Wharf and leading into Season 1 and probably beyond
Summary: Captain Jack Harkness found Ianto Jones in the aftermath of Canary Wharf and now he's brought the winged man to Cardiff and into the Hub of Torchwood Three.
After The Battle
This is the second episode following on from After the Battle...
Cardiff – Part 1
“Archives are on the right, cells and lower levels are on the left and up this way is the centre of the Hub,” Captain Jack Harkness said, pointing to various openings in the brick lined walls of an intersection as he led Ianto Jones through Torchwood Three. Ianto followed dutifully and tiredly behind. He was regretting his earlier dozing on the drive here as it was harder now to keep the exhaustion at bay.
The quiet and cool passages looked as if they had once been part of an underground railway station. Or maybe an old sewer he thought as he eyed the pipes that ran along the walls. There was a faint musty smell but it was not unpleasant and Ianto found himself trailing his fingers over the brickwork as he walked. So very different to the straight sterile concreted lines of One.
He stepped up the small slope and then stopped. Nothing at One had prepared him for the sight of the central Hub of Torchwood Three. It was a large open area and his head went back as he looked up and up to the ceiling so far above him. A ceiling of rough stone and rock that gave way to smooth brickwork and then to metal, gleaming everywhere from handrails to grated flooring. Water ran smoothly down a massive tower and wound its way along culverts in the floor under grated bridges. Computers beeped and there was a continual hum of machinery. Bundled lengths of cables ran alongside metal stairs up to the open levels. Ianto looked around with wide eyes. With glassed walls and open work areas it was the underground base of every little boy’s dreams and Ianto had been no exception. Torchwood One had quickly broken any dreams and notions Ianto had had about secret agencies, but the sight of the Hub brought some of them back in a heady rush.
Jack grinned at Ianto’s obvious awe and delight, and made his way over to the small couch set against one wall. He dropped the box onto the table in front of it. He was pleased with Ianto’s reaction so far.
“He has wings.”
Jack turned at the soft whisper and found Toshiko Sato at his side. She had left her desk and wandered over to join him near the couch but her eyes were fixed on Ianto.
“I didn’t quite believe what Owen said but…they’re lovely,” she added.
“So is he,” Jack whispered back and winked at her when she frowned at him.
“Behave,” she reproved with a small shake of her head, but she smiled as she looked back at Ianto. “It’s a bit early to flirt with him isn’t it?”
“It’s never too early to flirt,” Jack informed her, grinning. “I’ve known him for hours now.” The Welshman was still standing and looking around him. Jack waved cheerily at him. “Ianto! Come and meet my Toshiko,” he called.
Ianto started slightly and looked around for the Captain and saw a Japanese woman at his side. She must be the Tosh that he had heard very little about. He took a deep breath and began to walk into the main Hub area, his footsteps loud on the grating. He wasn’t used to that and he found himself trying to tread lighter to minimize the sound. The Japanese woman was watching him, her eyes flicking from his face to the wings and back again. She was looking at him with an expression he was familiar with. Curious and trying hard not to stare. He saw her eyes flitting from his face to his wings and back again. Most people who saw him for the first time wore that expression. He kept his wings close to his back with the right one dragging lower than before, his aching muscles protesting.
“Toshiko Sato meet Ianto Jones,” Jack said as Ianto got closer. “Ianto’s going to be our Archivist.” The woman smiled shyly at him and he smiled back trying to look as harmless as he was. He was surprised when she extended her hand to him without hesitating and he took it gratefully. “Tosh is our computer and tech genius,” Jack continued as they shook hands briefly and Ianto saw her faint blush at the Captain’s words.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Ianto said politely.
“And you,” Toshiko replied with equal politeness, keeping her grip light. She kept her eyes on his face resisting the urge to look at his wings. She had questions but didn’t know how to say them in a way that didn’t sound silly or offensive, and given what the young man had already been through today Tosh didn’t think he’d appreciate having to cope her curiousity as well. Tosh knew how to be patient.
They lapsed into silence and Ianto disengaged his hand from hers gently. He wasn’t quite sure what to say next. He wasn’t used to taking the initiative in conversations. And he’d always had someone from One beside him who would ensure the conversation did not go anywhere it shouldn’t whenever he met anyone new. Not that he’d been allowed to meet many people.
“Ianto will be living here,” Jack said as the other two seemed unable to say anything else. He looked at Ianto. “I have to return to London so we can billet you in one of the bunks for now and then set you up properly when I get back.” Ianto nodded his face expressionless. He hadn’t expected to stay anywhere else.
“How long will you be, Jack?” Toshiko asked looking away from Ianto.
“I don’t know. We can’t really afford to be away for any more than a week and I don’t intend to stay any longer than that.” He smiled at her. “I’ll send Suzie home as soon as I get back to London and if you need us, you know we’ll drop everything to get back here.”
“I know,” Tosh smiled back at him.
“When Ianto wakes up you can show him around and maybe set him up with some basic accesses.”
Ianto and Tosh both frowned at the Captain. “Wakes up?” Tosh queried with a quick look between the two men.
“Owen gave him a sedative to take,” Jack told her before he gave the young man a pointed glare. “Which he will take before I leave.”
Ianto didn’t know what to say. He was rather put out that the Captain had remembered the doctor’s sedative and even more bemused by the implication that Ianto wouldn’t take it if the Captain wasn’t here. Which, Ianto was honest enough to admit, he wouldn’t. Ianto wondered if the Captain was just guessing or if he had actually figured Ianto out.
“I’m not really tired…” Ianto began.
“No, you’re exhausted,” the Captain interrupted and Ianto stared at him. “It’s pretty obvious Ianto.” Ianto looked away and saw Toshiko nod in agreement before she realised Ianto had seen her and she blushed. A silent sigh and Ianto’s shoulders dropped slightly his right wing slipping further. Denial was only going to last for so long and it was obvious he wasn’t going to be able to keep on denying just how tired he was.
“It's been a long day,” Ianto almost mumbled. He really didn’t like admitting it and he was grateful that the Captain showed nothing but understanding in his face when Ianto risked a glance at the older man.
“I’ll show you where you can sleep. I don’t want to seem to be pushing you too fast here but I’d really like to get back to London as soon as I can, and Owen won’t accept anything less than an eyewitness account of you taking that pill.”
“Doctor Harper is a prat,” Ianto grumbled.
“So you’ve said. Several times,” the Captain laughed. He looked at the Welshman. He didn’t know why the young man was so reluctant to admit to being tired. It seemed to go beyond worrying about the possible nightmares sleep could bring. “Come on, let’s get you to bed.” Jack leered gently at the Welshman and was pleased with the answering eye-roll and slight lessening of Ianto’s stance.
“Do you always do that?” Ianto asked with a small shake of his head.
“Do what?” Jack questioned back with an attempt at innocence that was lost as soon as Toshiko spoke.
“Yes, he does.”
Jack was quite taken with the smile that appeared on Ianto’s face. It wasn’t a big smile but the tired face lightened and he looked younger. Jack wondered just how old the Welshman was. Mid- twenties perhaps. Jack promised himself a quick look into that filing cabinet back in London.
“It could almost be called harassment,” Ianto said in a slow soft voice, his accent more noticeable. It took Tosh a moment to see the twinkle in the young man’s tired eyes and she smiled widely. A quick look at Jack had her turning away to smother a laugh as it took him a moment to realise the young Welshman was teasing him.
“Don’t worry Ianto. There’ll be no almost about it when I do harass you,” Jack smirked happily.
“Is that something I should look forward to, Sir?” Ianto replied without thinking and then blushed heavily as he realised what he’d said. He groaned when the Captain leant closer.
“Oh, you most certainly should look forward to it.”
Tosh couldn’t stop the laugh that broke as Ianto went even redder and Jack’s leer verged on the downright dangerous.
“Leave the poor man alone Jack,” Tosh ordered, still laughing as she moved to Ianto and carefully linked her arm into his. “I’ll show him the bunks, you bring his stuff.”
Ianto gratefully let her lead him back to the tunnels, his blush slowly fading. He could hear the Captain following them but didn’t turn around. I must be tired to have said that, Ianto thought as Toshiko took the left hand tunnel and several doors appeared. She opened the first one and Ianto peered into a room smaller than the room he’d had in One.
“They only get used for sleeping in,” Toshiko said as she flicked on the light. A single bunk was against one wall and a small table was beside it. With her arm still linked with Ianto’s she ushered him into the room and the small room became a lot smaller as the Captain edged in.
“It’s temporary, Ianto. Just until I get back and we can find you a better bigger room,” Jack said quietly and the Welshman nodded.
“I don’t need much,” Ianto replied as he turned to look at the Captain. “But …would it be possible to get a bigger bed in here?”
Jack’s eyebrows lifted slightly and Ianto would have blushed again but he was staring at the box of his things the Captain was carrying.
“We could get the bunk from the next room and push them together,” Tosh said thoughtfully.
“Thank you.” Ianto looked at her. “It’s just… I need the extra space for my wings.” He sounded embarrassed and Tosh patted his hand before she let go of his arm.
“I see they’d hang over the edge wouldn’t they?” she queried as she studied the bed and then his wings, keeping her voice and manner matter-of-fact.
“Yes.” Ianto nodded glad of her tone.
“I’ll get the bunk, Tosh, while you move the table,” Jack said as he put the box down in a corner.
“I can help,” Ianto began.
“I don’t think your ribs would like that.” Jack smiled slightly as he left the room and Ianto could do nothing but watch as Toshiko moved the small table away from the bed. A loud scraping noise had him looking to the door where the Captain appeared dragging a bunk behind him. In minutes it was placed next to the other one and the table pushed close again. The bedding was rearranged to cover the bunks as best as possible and Ianto noticed Toshiko frowning at the end result.
“It’s not good enough,” she said and Ianto shook his head.
“It’s fine. It’s bigger than I had before,” he told her without a lie. His bed at One had been only just slightly wider than a single bed. Not big enough to be called a king single. The two bunks together gave him just over an extra foot of width and he appreciated that even as he noticed the thinner mattresses here.
“But…” Toshiko turned to him looking rather appalled and he hurried to reassure her.
“I mean it, its fine, really. And the Captain did say this was only temporary.”
“You can help pick out proper furniture later, Tosh,” Jack said and Tosh’s frown deepened for a moment before it disappeared.
“Alright. If you’re sure…?” she said looking at the Welshman.
“I’m sure,” Ianto replied with a smile.
“How about you get some water for Ianto to take his tablets, Tosh, while I make sure we’re set here,” Jack encouraged and she nodded and left the room. Jack waited a moment as her footsteps faded. “Tosh can be a bit shy sometimes but she’ll look after you and if she thinks something needs doing she’ll do it. And if you need anything just ask her.”
Ianto nodded. Toshiko Sato seemed like a nice person and he thought he could get to like her. He didn’t really have much choice in the matter. He had nowhere else to go so it would be wise of him to learn to like Torchwood Three and its personnel. And two out of the four seemed to be sane and normal. That was a good start, wasn’t it he thought to himself. He blinked as the Captain started speaking again.
“There are showers just around the corner if you want to clean up first.”
Ianto drew his breath in at the thought of a long hot shower and the feeling of being completely clean. He didn’t want to sleep in the clothes he’d been in for over eighteen hours. He let his breath out and looked cautiously at the Captain.
“I’d like that.”
“Grab your towel and clothes and I’ll show you where they are. You did pack a towel didn’t you?”
“Yes.” The notion of being able to stand under hot water and help ease his aching ribs had him moving to the box and carefully pulling out his towel before his usual sleepwear and toiletries as well.
Toshiko came back as they left the room and the glass was placed on the table to await Ianto’s return. She smiled at him and went back to the main area leaving Jack to lead Ianto to the large communal shower room.
White tiles and cold steel greeted him. Showerheads jutted along one wall at regular intervals. Waist high walls separated each shower and there were three proper cubicles at the end. Several basins stood along the other wall. Each basin had a mirror and shelf and there was a bench in the middle of the room. Ianto thought for a moment he’d walked into his old school gym’s changing rooms.
“It’s not real modern but the water’s hot and continual,” Jack said, his voice echoing against the tiles. “I’ll give you half an hour and then I’ll come fetch you out if I have to.” He grinned at the younger man.
“Thanks,” Ianto replied, missing the grin as he placed his bundle on the bench. He would have liked longer but he knew the Captain wanted to get back to London. He straightened up and looked at the Captain. They stood in silence for a few minutes staring at each other. Ianto could almost see the Captain’s unspoken innuendos flitting between them. “I think I can manage, Captain,” Ianto said after a while and the Captain’s grin almost blinded him.
“Your loss,” Jack replied with his casual leer. “You can call me Jack you know, although I kind of liked the Sir you called me earlier,” he added with a wink before leaving Ianto alone with the shower.
“Is he alright Jack?” Tosh asked as the tall man appeared in the central Hub.
“Yeah, I think so. I told him he had thirty minutes. I really have to get back to London. Owen or Suzie haven’t called?”
“No.” Tosh shook her head. “I’m sure they’re doing fine.”
“Oh, I know they are, but I just want to get it over and done with as soon as possible.” Jack paced between the desks. “I want to make sure there’s nothing left that can bring us this close to disaster ever again and then I’ll make sure One is closed down completely. There’ll be lots of new tech for you to play with.”
“That seems a bit hypocritical, Jack. You take it away from them and then let me play with it.” Toshiko smiled and Jack smiled back.
“I trust you and besides, I’m here and I know what can be safely played with and what can’t.”
“And… Ianto will be our Archivist? Even though he’s from One?” Tosh asked dubiously.
“Did Owen tell you anything about him?”
“Not really. Only that he had wings and he was injured.”
“For the last two years Ianto has been confined in the sub levels of the Tower. Because of those wings.” Jack watched as Tosh’s eyes went wide. “From what he’s said they let him work in the archives but that’s all. Everything he owns is in that box Tosh. He has nothing but some clothes and a filing cabinet filled with the results of what he called ‘scientific curiousity’.”
“You think they… experimented on him?” Tosh asked incredulously.
“That’s… that’s horrible!”
“That’s why I didn’t leave him there for UNIT,” Jack said solemnly and she nodded in rapid agreement.
“Yes! He’s much better off with us.” She shivered. She knew better than most what UNIT was capable of. But still. She had to ask. “Do you think they would have… done that too?”
“Yes. It’s a human response when confronted with something different. Something that might just scare you a little bit because it's just not normal. People think that if you can take it apart and experiment and test it enough you’ll be able to understand it, but it doesn’t work that way. They just keep on testing and experimenting because they’re never going to be satisfied and they’ll always fear that difference.”
“I’m glad you saved him.”
Jack sighed. “I doubt it will feel like that to him for a while, Tosh. He doesn’t think of himself as a prisoner. He called himself a detainee.”
“It means the same thing,” Tosh said with a frown.
“It does to us, but not to Ianto. It’s a survival mechanism. It’s allowed him to remain sane by downplaying the realities of his situation. He called it making the best of what he had.”
“It will be better for him now.” Tosh spoke fiercely and Jack smiled at her.
“It’ll take time, Tosh. At the moment he probably feels as if he’s exchanged one prison for another.”
Ianto waited until the sound of the Captain’s footsteps had faded completely away before he let his breath out. The longer he spent around the Captain the more confusing he found the man, and he rather thought that the Captain knew exactly how confusing he could be.
“Never going to figure him out. Not sure I should either,” Ianto muttered as he moved to one of the showers, undoing the buttons on his shirt. He took a deep breath and lifted his wings up. He could feel his back muscles protesting, and reaching behind he grabbed his shirt at the hem and pulled. With a loud tearing noise the material parted under one of his wings. As quickly as he could he gripped at the other side of the shirt and pulled again. The shirt split under the other wing and he let his wings droop with relief. He pulled an arm out of one sleeve and then the other before reaching behind and tugging the shirt from his back. It slipped easily over his wings and he let it drop to the bench. His wings hung low and he kept them as loose as he could to get some relief for his back.
The Captain had only given him half an hour so Ianto took a deep breath and lifted his wings again and began to remove his t-shirt. Like the button up shirt there were two seams running up the back of his t-shirt. All his shirts were modified the same way. Splits cut up to just above the wing joints and then velcro to keep the splits closed from under his wings to the hem. They could only be seen when he lifted his wings.
It was harder to remove the t-shirt. Once the seams were parted he had to reach again to pull it over his head and his back protested. He shook and dropped heavily on to the bench, holding the t-shirt clenched in his hands and waited for the shaking to ease.
Once he was calmer and he could stand up without his knees trembling, he toed off his shoes and undid his jeans, letting them drop to the floor once he’d pushed them from his hips. He toed them off as well and left them on the floor, not trusting his ribs enough to bend down and pick them up.
The water was hot and he sighed happily as he stood under it. He washed himself carefully and slowly before he leant against the wall and just let the water run over him. The heat of the water eased aching muscles and bruises alike and he wondered how long the hot water lasted here. The Captain had said it was continual. Ianto hoped that meant everlasting. At One he’d been allowed as much hot water as he’d wanted but the shower recess had been smaller. Here he didn’t have to twist himself around to get his wings clean.
Ianto closed his eyes and put his face up into the water streaming from the showerhead. He felt the water sliding down his throat and chest and slipping over his shoulders to run down his back. The weight of water on his wings pulled them low and the tips reached the floor as he brought his head down and the water sluiced straight down his back. He didn’t want to move, he didn’t want to leave the steamy heat but unless he wanted the Captain to find him naked and wet he was going to have to get out of the shower.
Ianto sighed and reached out to turn the water off.
Ianto stood in the middle of the shower room and slowly toweled his hair dry. The relief from the hot water was fading and he could feel his muscles burning. The scrapes on his ribs were stinging and the bruises were part of the all-over ache he felt he was becoming. For the first time today he thought he might welcome sleep if only to get away from the aching.
He gave his wings a small experimental shake and muffled a groan at the twinges that shot through his back. Drops of water spattered behind him. A few beads of water clung to his feathers but they were dryer than his hair. The right wing tip was almost to the floor now, muscles too sore to keep it in place.
“You finished in here?”
Ianto stiffened and winced as his muscles twinged sharply. He pulled the towel from his hair and saw the Captain leaning against the door staring at him with an intense gleam in his eyes. Ianto frowned and looked down at his right side. He didn’t think his bruises would have had such an impression on the older man.
“Yeah, guess so. Is there anywhere I can wash my clothes?” Ianto asked and gestured to the clothes he’d been wearing earlier.
“Yes, we have a washing machine in the next room. And a dryer as well. All the mod cons here.”
“That’s good,” Ianto replied wishing the Captain would stop staring at his ribs - or the rest of his chest for that matter. He turned to pick up his bundled clothes and swore he could feel the weight of the Captain’s stare.
Jack watched as the young man turned away and had to bite his lips to halt the appreciative groan from escaping. Ianto Jones was wearing nothing but a pair of loose black pants and Jack hadn’t seen anything so gorgeous in a long time. The lean lines of muscle covered by scrapes, bruises and chest hair to the pale expanse of his back not covered by those splendid wings had Jack swallowing hard. The urge to say something, anything, had him fisting his hands but the Welshman’s exhaustion was too visible and Jack had always prided himself on his timing. But there was one thing he definitely wanted to know.
“You always wear that for bed?”
Ianto straightened up with his clothes in his arms and the towel hanging from one shoulder. He blinked at the Captain. He couldn’t detect anything but curiousity in the question although the Captain still had that disconcerting focused look in his eyes.
“Uh, yes. Wings don’t really go well with pyjamas.”
“Wings go well with anything, especially those pants.”
Ianto couldn’t stop the blush that flared as the Captain suddenly grinned and leered at him. He clutched his clothes to his chest with the sudden burst of self-consciousness. He was too tired to find a sarcastic retort and he was left wallowing in his embarrassment. The Captain laughed gently and Ianto realised it wasn’t a laugh meant to make him feel any more uncomfortable.
“Come on, Ianto. You need to be in bed now. You can slay me with a witty comeback next time.” Ianto was not surprised at the thought of there being a next time, but he was taken aback when the Captain lifted the bundle of clothes from him. “Go to bed while I put these in the wash for you.”
Ianto was halfway out the room before he realised what he was doing and he paused and looked back at the Captain. Blue eyes were watching him, the leer gone and a smile in its place. For some reason the smile was more unsettling than the leer had been and Ianto turned and almost fled the room.
Jack found the Welshman sitting on his bed the glass of water in one hand and the sedatives in the other. His shoulders were slumped and the bruises vivid.
“I’m a bit tired,” Ianto murmured with great reluctance.
“I know,” Jack replied softly. He moved into the room and sat down beside Ianto. “Things might not be any better when you wake up but they won’t be any worse.”
Ianto snorted half-heartedly. In his experience things could always get worse, he almost expected it, but he was too tired to argue the point and he took the pills with a quick, well practiced motion. A swallow of water and he handed the glass to the Captain.
“When you get back from London, tell me how this is better,” he said drowsily, his accent thick. “I thought Harper said it was a mild sedative.” Ianto felt himself slipping sideways.
“It was; the rest is all your exhaustion catching up with you.” Jack moved as Ianto slid against him and helped the Welshman draw his legs up on to the bed. Ianto moved slowly, rolling onto his left side and Jack pulled a sheet up to the young man’s waist as Ianto watched through increasingly blurry vision. Wings fluttered then settled behind him, spread out like a feathery blanket.
“…jus’ tired … not ’xhausted…” Ianto mumbled as his eyes closed.
“And stubborn,” Jack said with a smile as he surveyed the Welshman. Suddenly Ianto looked very young as lines of tension and pain disappeared from his face as he slipped deeper into sleep . Jack's smile disappeared as he caught sight of the de-activated restraining band. “It will be better,” he whispered. “I promise.”
“Jack!” Tosh called to him as he appeared back in the central Hub and he walked over to her desk.
“Something wrong?” he asked as he got close.
“I don’t know.” She pointed at her computer screen. “They’ve managed to get the power back up at Torchwood One and I’ve accessed the database there. I’ve set up walls to keep anyone else out.”
“Anyone else being UNIT?” Jack queried lightly with a grin.
“Yes,” she replied without hesitation. “And I’ve started to transfer the data to Mainframe.” Jack heard the capitalization they always used when referring to the almost sentient computer of Torchwood Three.
“Sounds good. Let me know once its complete. I’m off to London now and I’ll send Suzie back as soon as I get there. Ianto’s asleep and should stay that way for at least eight hours, probably more. Ring me when he wakes.”
“Uh, that’s what I wanted to tell you. I had a quick look into the personnel files for One,” Tosh said with the slightest pink tinge appearing on her cheeks.
“And Ianto Jones died two years ago.”
“That would have been when he got his wings,” Jack said after a pause with a thoughtful frown.
“Why would they do that? Wasn’t that a bit extreme?” Tosh asked.
“Not really. It’s what I’d been thinking of doing.”
“What?!” Tosh exclaimed loudly.
“Well, it can’t be known that he survived the Tower, Tosh. There’s too few survivors, everyone will want to see them and fuss over them no matter how efficient the cover-up is. A man with wings would attract all the wrong sort of attention. I guess it makes it easier if he’s already thought of as being dead. He won’t show on any list they make for One.”
“Does he know this?”
“Don’t know but I’m guessing he does. He seems the sort that would want to know and if he knew he was dead to the outside world it would be easier for One to keep him confined and controlled.” He paused for a moment. “Which reminds me, when he wakes up, get the laser saw out and cut off the band on his left arm.”
“What sort of band?”
“It’s a restraining band. I’ve deactivated it but it needs the saw to physically remove it.”
“I’ll do it,” Tosh said firmly without asking further. She didn’t need to. She had her own experiences with such things.
“Thank you,” Jack said and gave her a quick hug. “Look after him for me while I’m gone. It's not going to be easy for him.”
“Of course.” She smiled. “Don’t be gone too long.”
“No more than a week, promise.”
Jack paused as he headed out of the Hub. "By the way Tosh. Does it say how old he is?"
Tosh glanced at the screen. "He turns twenty-three next month." She looked at Jack. "He's so young. I didn't think he was that young."
"He's tired, it makes him look older." And he looks too young when he's sleeping. Jack left the thought unspoken as he left with the image of the sleeping Welshman before his eyes.