captgreatcoat: (Heart on his sleeve)
[personal profile] captgreatcoat
It's remarkable how easy it is to just slip back into the rhythm of life at Torchwood. This time, there's no apologies to be made, no broken relationships to mend. No betrayal to seek forgiveness for. The only one who knows he's been gone is Ianto, and Ianto above all know that it wasn't his choice. And he's been understanding, to say the least.

Not having anyone else question him has meant he can just go straight back to normal. Which, right now, involves reverse-engineering some alien technology with scavenged computer parts. That's not going too well, so he's moved on to cleaning and oiling his wrist-strap and holster in preparation for the evening's activities. He'll be headed out soon with Ianto. Weevil-hunting. It's a pastime he's kind of missed at the Outpost.

There's a tapping sound at the door. He glances up to see Gwen standing there, and grins at her.

"Hi, Jack. Do you have a moment?"

He sets down his holster.

"Sure. Always for you. How's Andy?" She often comes back in a bad mood from talking to her former partner. Which he can kind of understand. All the Cardiff police are pains, and Andy's no exception.

She smiles and steps through the doorway.

"Actually, I wanted to ask you something. Andy thinks you were out on the Barrage the same night something strange happened."

"And when did that become Andy's business?" See, that's the problem with the cops. They always go sticking their noses into things they really don't understand. And really can't cope with.

"I know, I know, but I told him I'd look into it. See if anything strange was going on, you know?"

He rolls his eyes and stands up. Really, what Andy needs is to be reminded that Torchwood is, after all, a secret organisation. And that there's a reason he doesn't know what they do. But ... he'll humour Gwen. She understands. She'll know what to tell him.

"Okay." He reaches down and picks up gun and holster. "When did you say this was?"

"About seven months back. Were you on the Barrage that night?"

Seven months. He pauses for a moment's thought as he slips the gun into his holster and unbuckles his belt. His fingers pause in looping his belt through the hostler for a moment.

No. No, she can't mean that. She can't.

"They have this cute little coffee shack," he says, with a smirk to cover the shocked little moment. "I sometimes stop by there."

"A boy went missing. Just under an hour before you were there."

Damn. Damn damn damn. This ... this is something nobody but he and Ianto know about. For very, very good reason.

He glances down at his desk, unsure what to say for a moment. But then he nods and looks up at her.

"Okay."

"Jonah Bevan, 15 years old. I thought maybe you were out there because of him."

He was. Of course he was. He was there as soon as he recognised the little negative spike on their equipment that meant the Rift had been open. That meant it could have taken someone. And it had.

It's the stuff of nightmares. Worse, it's the stuff of Time Agency horror stories. And worse, this is something they can't fix. No matter how much he wants to. There's nothing that can be done. And Gwen, Gwen will want to find some magic cure. He knows her. That compassion, that humanity, is why she's such a valuable member of his team.

The fact that there is no solution will break her heart.

He hates to lie to her, he really does. But what choice does he have?

"Maybe if we'd registered Rift activity." He turns away from her, picks up his wrist-strap, grabs his coat off its hook.

"No." She shakes her head, looking uncertain about his answer. "I just checked with Tosh. It was all clear."

"Sorry. Can't help." He drapes the coat over his shoulder and pushes past her. Gwen's just about the closest friend he has. He hates having to keep things from her. But that's who he is. It's what he does.

And this? This is for her own good. Whatever she may think. And yet, he can't quite leave it at that. He turns to her, meets her eyes for a moment. "Want me to look into it for you?”

"No, it's fine. So it was just a coincidence then?"

She doesn't believe it. He can tell. But God, she can't know. She can't.

Jonah disappeared when he was just a kid. He came back a broken, beaten shell of a man, decades older than he should be. Jonah's seen the worst of what time and space can throw at you. And it destroyed him.

This is something Jack wants Gwen a long, long way away from. It's hard enough for him to deal with. It takes all his strength, and he's seen it before. But Gwen ... well, she's still got some shreds of idealism about this job. He won't see that taken away from her.

He still feels it's far from his finest moment as he makes his excuses and heads the hell out of there.

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Captain Jack Harkness

July 2014

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