Links to previous chapters:
Chapter 1 Chapter 16
Chapter 2 Chapter 17
Chapter 3 Chapter 18
Chapter 4 Chapter 19
Chapter 5 Chapter 20
Chapter 6 Chapter 21
Chapter 7 Chapter 22
Chapter 8 Chapter 23
Chapter 9 Chapter 24
Chapter 10 Chapter 25
Chapter 11 Chapter 26
Chapter 12 Chapter 27
Chapter 13 Chapter 28
"The way she looks at you, with those eyes, she's like an animal."
"…I wanted to throw up."
"Then the machine was uncovered…"
"…touched its surface I could feel it."
Tosh shivered, bombarded by voices, both physical and mental. Who could she trust?
"…heard of this race, in the London archives. They live for religion and religious war, there's not a drop of love in them."
"…my beautiful Toshiko…"
"She's lying to manipulate Toshiko. My God, poor Toshiko, can't let her…"
"I've gotta go for it!"
Tosh was frozen. Owen lunged, grabbed Mary around the throat in a chokehold. Moving faster than Tosh could see, Mary hit him twice ("Bitch!") and was suddenly holding Tosh with a knife to the throat.
"Let her go!"
"Let her go, Toshiko-"
"Toshiko, tell them to give me the transporter."
"I can't bear it," Tosh cried against the echoes of thoughts and emotions pounding against her head. She couldn't think, not with this…
"...careful captain, she's got no remorse. She'll kill Toshiko in an instant if you don't…"
"…incisors on the blade, it'll tear Tosh's throat out."
"You, how's this? I'll exchange Toshiko for that one! Your choice!"
"What the- why's she askin' me, I can't pick a teammate!"
"Just- put the knife down."
"Did you hear him? He didn't want to, did he?"
"She's brainwashed Toshiko!"
"-the fuck has this psycho told Tosh about me-"
"What happened, did he not want to?"
"That's what they think of you, that's who you've been working with for all these years!"
"It's not true, Tosh. Don't listen."
"…not me! Whatever I've done it doesn't change the way I feel about you. We have a connection, Toshiko. Something real."
It felt like an impermeable wall had just slipped open like a bookcase from a wall exposing a secret room, and suddenly Jack was there inside her head as well, his mind racing but calm, and she regained a measure of control.
"Toshiko? Don't move. Don't do anything until I say."
"Okay. You want the transporter? We want Toshiko. I think that's a fair exch-"
"I've been trained for this, hostage situations. Think, Gwen, th-"
"Please, please take it. Anything to save Tos-"
"He's just gonna give it up an' let her go! She deserves to be punish-"
"It's a bluff, that thing can't still work. I hope to God she doesn-"
Tosh was shoved away. The moment the knife was away from her throat, she rushed toward the relative safety of her teammates.
The feelings and thoughts of Mary, Gwen, Owen and Ianto were crashing into her brain. Fear, success, pity, anger, worry, excitement, adrenaline, compassion, lust, relief, rage, protectiveness, empathy…
A huge burst of light distracted Tosh from drowning in the extreme strength of everyone's emotions. Mary was engulfed in light and gave a horrible gasp. The transporter shot upwards toward the ceiling and disappeared.
"Sort of now," said Jack victoriously.
"What did you do?" Tosh pleaded. "Where did she- has she gone home?"
"I reset the coordinates," Jack told her matter-of-factly.
"Where to?" She knew, that look on his face, so smug, so cruel. It always meant-
"To the center of the sun. It shouldn't be hot, I mean, we sent her there at night and everything."
"Not we, you bastard."
Tosh bit her lip, holding in a sob.
"You killed her."
"Yes." Jack said viciously. It looked like he was smirking as he walked away.
"Well, that was unnecessary."
"Poor Tosh, I can't believe Jack would say that to her-"
"…I mean, should I say something, I'm not good with cryin' wom-"
Tosh tore the pendant off her neck.
"Did you hear anything good from Jack at least?"
By mutual agreement, anytime the three of them got together for an evening or an afternoon they ended up in Tosh's flat, since Owen's was practically empty and Gwen's had a boyfriend in it. The three of them were sitting on the tech's soft carpet in front of her TV. Tosh and Gwen were eating ice cream and Owen had a beer. Tosh didn't need a mind-reading pendant to know that Gwen had forced the medic to come.
"Nothing," Tosh answered. "It was like he was dead. I couldn't get anything from him at all."
"I can't believe this," Gwen sat back against a couch. "I've been here eight months and I still don't know my own boss' real name."
"What I want to know is, what did you hear from us?" Owen asked, pointing at Tosh with the neck of his bottle.
Tosh shrugged. "Nothing too serious. I know Gwen's boyfriend is making her a big dinner this weekend and gives great backrubs, and I learned more than I ever wanted about the sort of girls you hang out with, Owen." If she hadn't been so tired, she might have been embarrassed, but finding out the truth about Mary…
"Oh, do tell," Gwen urged, laughing.
"Oi! None of that! You know, this is an invasion of privacy, it is!"
"I just wanted to know if she was right. I'm sorry." Tosh looked up at them from beneath her eyelashes.
Gwen patted her knee comfortingly. "What did she say?"
"That none of you cared for me, you all pity me. Textbook stuff," Tosh nodded.
"Well, don't believe any of it," Owen said, draining his drink and reaching for another. "Because you? You're irreplaceable."
Tosh's tired heart gave a little glow.
"What about Jones?" Gwen asked. "Get anything interestin' off him?"
"I don't know," Tosh said, furrowing her brow. "It was really weird. I mean, he was worrying a lot about his sister, which is understandable," the others nodded, "but he was really leery around Jack."
"Captain Obvious strikes again, I bet; he's probably just afraid Jack'll try to grope 'im or something."
"I don't think so Owen, it was more than that. It was like he was afraid, almost, like Jack did something, or he thought he would do something," Tosh pondered. "One time, I heard him thinking 'How much does a man cost?'"
"What?" Gwen squinted, shaking her head. "What does that mean?"
"I have no idea," Tosh admitted.
"You know, if you'd got anything personal from me, I'd probably be really offended," Owen commented.
"It's a good thing nothing bad happened then, eh?" Gwen said brightly, trying to cheer them up. "Just be happy it's all over and done with."
"Yeah," Tosh muttered as the conversation moved on. "Nothing bad at all."
Tosh came into work the next morning quiet and pensive. She planned to bury herself in one of her projects as soon as possible, once she finished that list for UNIT, of course.
Head down, she walked into the tourist office and headed for the door to the Hub, mind already beginning to recuperate as she pondered her next project. When the door didn't open, she looked toward the desk.
Ianto was standing near the button to open the door, but he was looking at her a bit anxiously. "I just wanted to say, I-" he straightened himself up, smoothing down his suit, "I know I can't understand how you feel, but. I am sorry about Mary," he said sincerely.
"What do you mean?" Tosh asked, the tiniest amount of bite in her voice: none of the others had been sorry about Mary. "She's gone, it's over."
"You cared for her. Whether she was an alien or not, you must be hurting now that she's dead." He paused for a few seconds and bit his lip. Tosh waited until he was ready to speak.
"I know I haven't been the best friend the last week-"
"Not at all Ianto, you've had a lot to worry about!" Tosh interrupted, immediately trying to assure him. She nearly gasped at her own mistake when Ianto stared at her.
"What would you know about that?" he asked in a quiet, dangerous voice.
Tosh backpedaled, trying to think of a way to say 'We know your sister is dying because I hacked your private files' without admitting anything. "Just... you've been going home early and looking a bit unhappy..." She trailed off.
Slowly, Ianto relaxed. "Well, I just wanted to say, I'm here to talk if you need it. I can't emphasize with losing a lover, but I've been told I'm a good listener."
Tosh smiled. "Thank you, Ianto."
He nodded smartly and pressed the button to open the door to the Hub. Tosh went to leave, but she felt too guilty.
"Ianto!" He looked up. "I... We figured it out, from the phone call, and I heard your thoughts," she said in a rush, apology coloring her speech. "I'm sorry about your sister," she offered. Stuttering a little, she continued. "Gwen wanted to help pay for the treatment, but Jack said there wasn't the money in the budget. I looked for myself to see if I could shift anything, but it's just not there."
Ianto's face remained impassive but Tosh could see him swallow hard. "Thank you," he said slowly.
Tosh nodded and gave him a last apologetic look before walking through the passage. The door closed behind her as she left.
Why had Ianto seemed so suspicious and angry? And was it connected to the strange thoughts she'd heard from him? Tosh's analytical mind struggled to fit the pieces together. Maybe a bit more research…
"Ianto! I'm so glad I could reach you!"
"Ms. Hartman," Ianto said tightly. He gripped the phone in his right hand, waved away Connie's questioning look with his right.
"Oh, please, we're on first-name terms by now, aren't we?"
"I'm not sure, ma'am."
"I'd like to think we are, Ianto."
"Get to the point, Yvonne. What do you want?"
Connie knelt up on the sofa, looking on in concern.
A sigh. "I'd hoped you would be a little more reasonable about this."
"I am being reasonable. A clean trade. What do you want?"
Ianto raised his eyes to the ceiling in silent prayer when he heard the demand.
"And if I refuse?"
"I think you know what will happen then."
"It would be a shame if your 'civil insurance' fell through, wouldn't it? Even worse if your sister's husband lost his job and couldn't find another."
Ianto closed his eyes and let out a breath as quietly as he could. "It'll take a few days, so I don't raise any suspicions."
"That's fine. But we'll know if you change your mind. Don't force us to take any additional action."
Ianto hung up.
"What the hell was that?" Connie asked, looking honestly frightened.
"What do you think?" Ianto asked sarcastically, getting off the couch and going to the kitchen. He needed alcohol.
"It sounded like… I don't know," Connie trailed after him. "Like in the movies, industrial espionage or something. Ianto!" she jumped in front of him. "How serious is this?"
"We can call UNIT. If Torchwood can't help you, they can."
Ianto rubbed his face with his hand. "Just what I need, another over-suspicious organization with an agenda. You can't tell them," he said intensely, taking Connie by the upper arms. "You can't tell anyone," he insisted.
"If I have suspicion of an incident involving members of Torchwood I am duty-bound as an operative of UNIT to report it immediately," Connie told him, eyes begging him to be reasonable.
Ianto tightened his hands. "You can't," he growled.
"Ianto?" Connie said warningly. "Let go."
"Promise me you won't tell!"
"Let go of me!"
She struggled. Ianto held her still. "This is my family, Connie. I'm sorry, but I can't let you tell. I will do anything to keep them safe."
"Jack? I've found something odd."
Jack looked up from the unending pile of forms for UNIT, grateful for the distraction. Sometimes he felt like those guys had it out for him. "What's up?"
"I looked into Rhiannon Davies' treatment, just out of curiosity," she clarified as Jack's eyebrows rose questioningly, "and there's something I think you should see."
"It's right here," Tosh led the way to her computer station. Jack glanced around to ensure that the Hub was empty. When he looked back, Tosh was pointing at a long list of numbers on the screen. Jack squinted.
"I'm sorry Tosh, what does that mean?"
"It's a trail. That number is Yvonne Hartman's private bank account. That is where the money for the cancer treatment is coming from."
Jack shook his head slowly. "That's unusual, but easily explained. She could be paying for it personally. It's not very professional, but Yvonne's got a lot of reasons for doing things that she keeps to herself."
"I think you're right about one thing. I think there's a secret motive." Tosh switched screens. "This is the trail I had to go through to find that bank account."
This screen was made of a flow chart instead of a list of numbers, and Jack's eyes widened. "What's that department there?" He indicated one part of the screen.
Tosh double-clicked, bringing up a title page, which Jack read out. "COMPASS? What's that?"
"It seems to be Torchwood London black ops," Tosh said, voice lowered in excitement. "I've actually been trying to hack in for months during my spare time, but I could never find the right angle to attack from. The bank transfer got me right in," she smiled smugly.
"Tosh, I don't want you doing anything dangerous," Jack warned.
"They won't catch me," Tosh said firmly. "Not a chance."
"So, Jones is being paid off by Yvonne's black ops account," Jack summarized. "That's interesting, but it doesn't tell us much."
"That's what the rest is for. These are Ianto's phone records for the past few days," Tosh pulled up another window. "He's gotten a call straight from Yvonne's office at the Torchwood Tower every night at nine-thirty on the dot for three days."
"I read through the summaries for COMPASS's major operations. Ianto's been spending extra time in the archives the last few days, doing dozens of searches on the same topic as a COMPASS project."
"What's that?" Jack asked, feeling they were about to make a breakthrough.
"The complete history of Captain Jack Harkness. It's all about you, Jack."
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