Yvonne called to Jones' friend, apparently named Shane, warning him to say his goodbyes. Jack practically snorted twice: at Yvonne's insistence on knowing all of her hundreds of employees by their first names, and then again at the obviousness of her maneuver. Jones had provided her with evidence against Torchwood Three, so she'd brought this 'Shane' all the way to Cardiff to see him as a reward.
At the Director's warning, Jones stood to talk quietly with his friend. Jack watched as the pair stood close together, talking quietly, then hugged for several long moments. When they released each other, a smile passed over Jones' face that Jack had never seen before. It intrigued him.
Giving Jones a last clasp on the forearm, the brunette turned and followed the other London agents' path through the cog door. Jack considered winking as Shane glanced up at him, just for his reputation's sake, but he was in such a bad mood that he couldn't be bothered with flirting.
Jack descended the staircase and ignored Jones on the platform as he headed for the archives.
"For God's sakes Gwen, I'm fine!" Toshiko complained.
Gwen stepped back from the other woman's seat, where she'd been trying to wrap her friend in a blanket. "I'm only trying to help," she defended. "Are you sure you don't need anything?"
"Yes, I'm positive. Thank you, but do you mind letting me work on my program now?"
Gwen nodded, backing away from the table, while Owen snickered in the background. Gwen sat down next to the medic on the one small couch in the cramped room. After a few seconds, Owen judged Tosh to be deep enough in her work for conversation.
"This is just how she copes, Cooper," he explained in a rare moment of sympathy. The effect was dampened somewhat by the chortles that kept trying to escape his wide mouth. "It's nothin' against you."
Gwen rolled her eyes.
A few minutes later, during which time Gwen valiantly resisted the urge to strangle her coworker, Jack came down from the Hub. Unsurprisingly, he made straight for Tosh. Gwen looked away to give them some privacy while they talked in low voices, but Owen watched, curiously and maybe even a bit worriedly, Gwen though.
Jack sat in the chair next to Toshiko's at the small table. "The charges have been dropped," he began.
"Oh thank God, how did you do it, Jack?" Gwen burst out, suddenly all smiles. She jumped up from the couch to give her leader a hug.
Jack returned the hug, but wasn't smiling when she sat back down. "The investigation was never serious. She knew there was no way they could actually convict us."
"Wait, I thought it was very serious!" Gwen protested. "After everything that's happened, they didn't even mean it?"
"She had no evidence," Jack explained. "They heaped on as many charges as they could to get our attention."
"So what was the motive?" Owen asked, following the line of reasoning. "What do they get out of this?"
"Well, on the one hand, I traded Yvonne some technology that she thinks she can adapt into weapons." At the looks on his team's faces Jack hurried to add, "Which she's wrong about! Give me a little credit, guys," he grinned as they all relaxed.
"Secondly, they made us look bad. The fact that Yvonne came down to prosecute Torchwood Three is going to be all over by now. UNIT, Downing Street, MI5, not to mention all our foreign contacts. Even NASA's gonna be wary of working with us if they think we're unstable, and those guys are the cowboys of the space programs!"
"We work with NASA?" Gwen muttered to Owen, who shushed her, then nodded.
"Third, she proved that she can come into our house, with warrants, any time she wants. She's trying to assert her dominance, and she's doing a pretty good job."
"So what can we do?" Gwen asked. "To avoid her, her political maneuvering," she said disgustedly.
Jack took a deep breath. "All we can do right now. Clean up our act; make sure we're above any criticism. Repair our relationships with our sister agencies, show them how professional we really are. We do our jobs," he declared, "and if we have any time after that we try and find out where the hell Yvonne's getting her information from."
"I thought you said it was Teaboy's doing?" Owen remembered.
Jack nodded. "He's definitely part of it, but she does have other methods. What we can stomp out, we should, but quietly."
"How did she find out about Ed Morgan, Jack? Why did they say I killed him?" Gwen pleaded, eyes wide.
"That was definitely Jones." Jack's eyes darkened. He pulled a rolled up file from his pants pocket and smoothed it out on the table. "These are two of the documents Jones sent to London as a part of his 'weekly incident report.'"
Jack indicated the first page. "This is my Captain's log. I write it after every major event, or anything I think requires particular documentation, and it is definitely not for anyone else's eyes but my own." He set the other paper next of the first. "This is Jones' own report of the case."
As Gwen read the two pages, she looked chastised, then pleased, then livid. "How did he know all that?" she cried.
"It sounds so much worse on paper," Tosh said quietly.
Jack nodded to the Japanese woman. "This seems to be where Yvonne got most of the ammunition for her warrant."
"That filthy bastard!" Gwen ran out of the room.
"Gwen, don't-" Jack called after her, then sighed. "I don't know why I bother," he said, then got up to follow the former copper at a walk.
Owen and Toshiko were left alone, staring at the incriminating documents on the table. "Was Jones right?" Tosh asked quietly. "I just assumed the vision cut out when you stopped describing it to us, but he seems to think you saw the entire attack." She glanced up at the medic sideways.
Owen was staring at the table. Eventually he answered. "It… sped up at the end. Like it knew it was shuttin' down. The- All the emotions, when he was... attackin' her, they all got, sort of crushed together and they all hit me at once, just as I was startin' to come out of it. It was like I felt her getting raped and havin' her throat cut, but all in just one second," he said quietly. His tightly pursed lips resembled a perverted sort of smile.
Tosh put her hand over his arm and squeezed gently. After a few moments, his other hand came up to cover it.
Ianto had already cleaned the desk and the medical bay and the other, more visible areas of the Hub in preparation for the visit from Torchwood One, but he remained in the Hub, finding something to do until Captain Harkness returned from the archives. He was anxious to discover the results of the meeting, how much trouble the team was in, if there was anything he could do.
Not that he expected them to want his help. Ianto wasn't even sure the captain would tell him anything, he'd probably have to hear the news from Yvonne, along with some saccharine message about how invaluable his services were to the continued prosperity of the British Empire. Ianto felt himself starting to get nauseous from the thought.
Ianto wasn't sure how to feel on that front. He honestly didn't know the cause of the investigation into Torchwood Three, or on Gwen in particular. Although he felt the quantum transducer case had been handled badly, as far as he could tell there wasn't anything that warranted interference from London.
While he was technically still under the employ of Torchwood One, as the liaison to Cardiff, Ianto found himself far more comfortable with and trusting of Captain Harkness' policies than with Yvonne Hartman's. The split loyalty made him unsure of his actions, but Ianto was willing to try and help Torchwood Three with their defense. He just didn't want to do break any laws, or his own moral codes, but until he knew what the situation was, he couldn't do anything at all.
But then, maybe someone would explain it to him, Ianto thought as he heard steps approaching from the archives. Quite fast footsteps, weren't they…
"You did this!" Gwen shouted as she burst into the Hub, hair flying behind her, eyes blazing. Ianto thought she looked nearly rabid; he backed away. "You told them I killed that poor man!"
"Don't deny it, Jones!" she exploded. "We saw that report you sent to London! You practically listed all our infractions for them!"
"I only summarized the case-"
"With the intent to make us all look bad!" Gwen accused. Ianto's eyes flicked nervously toward Owen's gun on his desk, only a few steps behind her. As he looked he also saw Captain Harkness, standing behind the desk near the entrance to the archives. The captain's arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes dared Ianto to defend himself.
"I trusted you, Ianto," Gwen pressed. "They all said you were going to betray us in the end, but I refused the believe it! I stood by you! And this is how you repay me!"
"Gwen, I swear I didn't-"
"Shut up!" Gwen yelled, cutting him off. There was silence for a few moments as she didn't speak. Her chest heaved, and her eyes stabbed Ianto like spears.
"I can't believe I ever considered you a friend," she said finally, voice shaking with contained rage. She stormed past him to the cog wheel door.
He stood on the platform, staring at the grating, pondering this new scar on what felt like the already bloody tissue of his heart. After collecting himself for at least the next few minutes until he could hopefully leave, Ianto forced himself to look up at where the captain had been standing.
He was gone.
When Ianto arrived at home, Connie wasn't there. He remembered her rotation required her to make a weekly delivery in Scotland today.
He called Shay. His phone was turned off.
He called his sister, but she answered too happily, saying she and Johnny were taking the kids to a theme park that was in town. He wished them a good time before hanging up.
He threw his phone at the wall. It made a chip in the plaster.
He took a shower, then made himself some soup from a can, too exhausted for anything else. He checked the time as he flicked on the telly. It was almost six in the evening.
After zoning out for an hour or two, Ianto climbed into bed.
He ended up turning over again and again, each time to avoid a new image that hovered behind his eyelids. Gwen's screaming face, Dr. Harper's accusing scowl, Toshiko's eyes, wide and frightened, as Hudson leaned over her. Captain Harkness staring him down, Yvonne's wide smile, Shay's look of shock.
When Ianto finally drifted off to sleep, it was remembering the burst of a thousand fireworks under his skin as he'd kissed his best friend.
The immortal looked up from his computer screen, which he realized he hadn't been reading for several minutes. "What is it, Tosh?" He minimized his screen and focused all his attention on his tech.
Tosh sat slowly in the chair across his desk. Jack inspected her expression, relieved to see she looked thoughtful rather than… well, anything else.
"Is this about what happened earlier?"
Tosh looked at his face and seemed to realize what he was implying. "No Jack, I told you, I'm absolutely fine."
Jack nodded, but made a mental note to keep an eye on her anyway, just as he would have no matter what she said. "All right, what's up then?"
"I'm a bit confused by how quickly Yvonne Hartman dropped the suit," Tosh explained, forehead furrowed in thought. "She came all the way down here herself, and I read the list of charges, they were pretty serious. I know what you said about trying to humiliate us, but she could've pushed it a lot further without much effort. Why did she give up so easily?"
Jack bit his lip. He'd been thinking along the same lines; that was what had distracted him from his work. "I don't know," he admitted. "She must have gotten something else out of all this, but what?"
They sat in silence for a few minutes, thinking quietly. Eventually Jack sighed. "We'll keep our eyes peeled," he decided. "For now, just be glad that she didn't make us go through with the whole investigation."
Tosh was still worried, but she agreed. "All right. Good night Jack."
"Good night Tosh," Jack mirrored. He looked toward the cover in the floor that led to his dark, empty rooms. "Sleep tight," he whispered.
Link to the next chapter: http://meatball42.livejournal.com/4712.html