Title: A day less ordinary
Rating: PG-13, adult concepts, occasional language, M/M
Pairings/Characters: Jack/Ianto, team, OC
Spoilers – none, set early s2
Summary: An ordinary day gets the Torchwood treatment for one unsuspecting young lady... Words: 4000
Fic masterlist: http://zazajb.livejournal.com/6286.html
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters - just like to dabble with them from time to time
X-posted to jackxianto, Jantolution, jantosparkle, tw_classic, tw_proper – apologies to those getting this more than once...
A/N This is for snowflakie06 for her winning bid over at the help_japan auction. Thank you for your generosity to help those whose lives were devastated by the earthquake and subsequent events. Hope you enjoy...
A day less ordinary...
Counting her steps and concentrating intently on her breathing, eyes focused on the ground as the therapist issued soothing instructions in her ear, Christine could be forgiven for not noticing the strange group of people and their frantic activity on the path under the trees ahead of her.
“Breathe slowly, fifty more...each step is a freedom from the confines of your fear...you are in control of your agoraphobia...you are empowered with every step...” Driving her hands deep into her trouser pockets, Christine’s world was contained in her ipod as she fought to keep the nervous knots in her stomach under control... “you know you can do this...keep your eyes down...every step brings you closer to controlling your own destiny...” the therapist intoned in her ear...
She had almost reached the magic ‘fifty’ when a loud bang burst through her intense concentration and something warm and sticky landed in her hair... She heard the sound of screaming and only vaguely realised the sound was coming from her own mouth, images of giant spiders and snakes filling her head as the sensation of wet heat attacked her neck...her worst fears and phobias let out of the cage she had fought so hard to contain them in...
Panic overwhelmed her and she felt herself falling, followed by the realisation that strong arms had slowed her fall and she was lowered gently to the ground. She looked up into the most gorgeous blue grey eyes she’d ever seen, under a shock of dark hair and the dazzling smile fit for a movie star...
“Hello...” the man’s American accent filtered through her fading consciousness.
“I...who...wh...” her eyes rolled in her head and Christine went limp in his arms.
Jack grimaced and looked up as the team gathered round. Owen knelt down, “...you’re losing your touch, Harkness!” he observed, “they don’t usually pass out on you quite so quickly!” He felt for the young woman’s wrist, nodding when it pulsed strongly under his fingers. “She’s unconscious, but pulse is fine...for now...”
“Did the pod get her? She was directly under it when it blew...”
Owen nodded as he moved Christine’s long brown hair to one side, exposing her neck where the two inch round alien had attached itself just behind her right ear... Its soft velvety surface pulsated as it fed from the soft flesh.
“Shit!” Jack met Owen’s eyes, reading the worry in them, “we need to get her back to the hub before its too late...”
Gwen and Ianto finished clearing the remains of the exploded purple spiked pod as Jack gathered the unconscious woman in his arms and carried her to the SUV to set her gently on the back seat. Owen slid in beside her, giving instructions to Tosh over his comm. unit to set up a level three med bay ready for their return.
As the rest of the team piled in and shut the doors, Jack pulled away, blue lights flashing as he carved up the heavy Cardiff traffic ruthlessly. “Her pulse is thready...we might not make it in time...” Owen looked at Gwen and shook his head.
“We’ll make it...” Jack put his foot down and they hung on as he flung the SUV round corners at impossible speeds until they screeched to a halt in the underground car park. Tosh was waiting with a trolley and portable i/v line, Owen letting out a sigh of relief as the young woman’s pulse evened out once she was on the gurney with the drip attached.
Jack issued instructions as they made their way up to the main hub. “Gwen, see if you can find out who she is, she didn’t have any ID on her so see there’s any clues on her ipod; Tosh, Owen’ll need you to help him...Ianto and I’ll set up a guest quarters for her in one of the cells – not very welcoming, but it’ll have to do...you know we really should sort out something on a more permanent basis...but that’s for another time...okay, kids, let’s get busy...”
He grinned as he found himself talking to empty space, everyone had already started on their assigned tasks. “Jack..?” Ianto sounded in his ear.
“Yeah, what you got?”
“I’m on the lower level, second corridor left past the archives...”
“On my way...”
Ianto was waiting for him at the junction, leading him down the corridor to a door half way along. He opened the door to reveal a roughly furnished room with a camp bed, a battered old armchair, lamp and table.
“When I...” Ianto faltered, “...after...Lisa...when you sent me home and I couldn’t face being on my own...I used to come back here...I felt...” his voice dropped to a whisper, “...I felt safer knowing you were near...” He looked at the floor, avoiding Jack’s penetrating gaze.
“Ianto...look at me...please...”
Slowly the Welshman raised his head to see Jack’s eyes swimming with tears, “...you should’ve told me how you were feeling...I would never have made you leave... I thought you’d want to be as far away from me as you could...after I...”
“...she was already dead Jack, I know that now... Anyway, I thought this might be better than a cell for our guest...”
“What? Yeah, good idea...” Jack was distracted by yet another surprising discovery about this young man he loved so very much...still hadn’t told of course...but he did love him...I’ll tell him once we’ve sorted this latest crisis...I will...
“I’ll sort some fresh bedding out...think we’ve got some ‘girl friendly’ lilac in the stores somewhere... Jack..?”
“Uh, oh, yeah, great...”
Ianto moved back towards the door, only to be tugged gently into his Captain’s arms, his own closing automatically around the older man’s waist as he sank into the embrace. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me...” Jack mumbled into his neck, “I let you down...”
Ianto pulled back just enough to meet Jack’s eyes. “You didn’t...I was the one who hid a partially converted cyberwoman in your basement... I let you down...and you forgave me...gave me a chance to live again...to...” His words were lost as Jack’s lips crashed against his own and they kissed hungrily, tongues sweeping possessively through each other’s mouths until they broke apart, panting softly.
“We should get back upstairs...see how the others are getting on...” Ianto wriggled regretfully out of the warmth of Jack’s arms, a smile curving the corners of his mouth when his Captain carefully entwined their fingers and they walked back up to the main hub. Stopping at the railings to look down into autopsy, they watched as Owen and Tosh worked methodically, scans and monitors attached to various parts of the unconscious young woman.
“She’s stable for now” Owen called up, “but this thing’s integrated itself into her nervous system...” he grimaced and shook his head...
Nodding at the unspoken “I have no idea if we can save her” Jack moved over to Gwen’s workstation as Ianto headed for the kitchen to make some much needed coffee.
“Do we have any idea who she is yet?”
“Her name is Christine and she’s got a varied taste in music – I found soundtracks for several musicals – West Side Story, Les Mis and Miss Saigon to name a few, then there’s a mass of seventies and eighties pop music, some Bond soundtracks and a load of John Barrowman stuff...a real mix! She’s also got an interesting folder of empowering therapy-type tracks – one she was listening to earlier – about overcoming agoraphobia, panic disorder and social anxiety...no wonder she didn’t see us if she was concentrating on that lot!
She has also, very helpfully, put her postcode on her ipod in ultra violet pen...” She fed in the mix of letters and numbers. “Okay, the Jones family – wonder if they’re any relation – they live in Barry, mum, dad and Christine, she’s single, 22, birthday in May, older brother who isn’t listed on the electoral roll so he must have a place elsewhere...”
“Okay, well, that’s a start...see what else you can find out...oh, thanks Ianto!” as he turned to find himself facing the Welshman and a full tray of steaming coffee mugs. Talking his own and Gwen’s from the tray, he raised an eyebrow as Ianto put the tray to one side and stepped to Tosh’s workstation.
“Firstly, no, she’s no relation that I’m aware of...next...just let me...right! She’s a secretary for the local church’s Education programme, working with kids from age six to fourteen, she’s got a tabby cat called Aurora and two parakeets called Marius and Juliette! She likes pink and purple, especially in pastel shades – that decides the bedding then! – and bagels, pizza and Chinese and anything chocolate! Her favourite perfume is Bath and Body Works’ Coconut Lime Verbana...What else would you like to know?”
They gaped at him and he grinned, “Facebook...she’s posted a meme ‘me and my fav things’ Gotta love social networking and technology!” He nodded and stepped away, picking up his tray before heading down to autopsy with the much-needed caffeine fix for Tosh and Owen.
Gwen shook her head ruefully, “I never thought of that...brilliant and so simple..!”
Chuckling, Jack moved to follow his Welshman. ”Can you sort it so her work and family don’t panic and wonder where she is...put her on a course or something...”
“No problem...” Gwen sipped her coffee as she read through the entries on Christine’s Facebook page, smiling at the pictures of her pets and the latest one posted with her smiling in her new glasses...
Down in autopsy, the rest of the team were watching as Owen attempted to bring Christine round. “I’ve given her some muscle relaxants so she’ll be a little woozy, but it’ll help with her social anxiety too so she’s less likely to flip on us...she’s coming round...” as a low moan sounded from his patient and her eyelids began to flicker.
Gradually Christine became aware of her surroundings, the bright blurry images forming into faces looking down at her and she shrank back as her irrational fears pushed to the surface. “It’s okay...you’re among friends here...” it was that American voice again. She blinked and tried to sit up, a hand immediately reaching out to support her and she leant against it gratefully, ‘he smells gorgeous...’ the random thought barely making an impact as she began to focus on where she was.
The American smiled at her, he really did have a smile to die for, she thought as she gazed round at the other faces; a pale good looking young man in a suit, he had a cute button nose, yet another random thought...a pretty Asian woman with a friendly smile and a rather moody looking skinny man who must be a doctor as he was wearing a white coat and looking at all the monitors. He looked fierce she thought and automatically leant away from him as he approached. He looked a bit startled until the Asian woman murmured in his ear and he grinned a reply – he had quite a nice smile actually...a kinda crooked grin... She looked back at the American man as he squeezed her hand reassuringly.
“You ready for introductions?” smiling that drop-dead gorgeous matinee idol grin of his, “Captain Jack Harkness...this is Ianto Jones - no relation I’m told! That’s Toshiko Sato and this is Dr Owen Harper. Tosh and Owen have been looking after you...” he glanced at the medic who nodded. “Okay, let’s adjourn to the boardroom...fresh coffee Ianto?”
Ianto looked at Christine “Tea or coffee?”
Tosh whispered in her ear, “his coffee’s legendary, you don’t want to miss it!”
Christine grinned, “can I have a vanilla coffee with lots of milk and sugar?”
Ianto smiled, “of course...” he turned and retreated elegantly up the steps, shuddering inwardly at the sacrilege of milk and sugar drowning out his perfect vanilla blend.
Ten minutes later they were sat around the conference table, fresh mugs of coffee and slices of chewy chocolate brownie beside them. Christine had been introduced to Gwen who’d assured her that her family and work thought she was on a residential training course and wouldn’t be worried. She’d promised her a proper tour once they’d decided on a plan of action, and to be honest, she still didn’t really understand why she was here...”all will be explained...” Captain Jack had smiled...
Owen took control of the remote and activated the viewscreen, showing the pictures of the original purple spiked pod caught high up in the tree, then the explosion as it had ripened, sending its passenger falling to the ground where it would have died with nothing to cling to. However, with sheer bad luck Christine had been directly underneath and the Iyssis had latched on immediately...
Christine’s hand flew to her mouth in horror as she realised the pictures were of her...her neck had this thing burrowed in it... Her hand trembled as she reached up to feel, only to be stopped gently by Gwen who squeezed her hand, “best not disturb it...we don’t know what it will do to you if it feels threatened...”
Owen continued, “it’s now attached itself to major blood vessels and nerve endings and is in a semi-latent state...we think its resting before it goes to the next stage of growth...” He looked at Christine. “I’m sorry, but if it does what we think it might, it will kill you so I need to find a way to remove it from your neck before it does that. At the moment we’re working on the theory that if we can inject it with a poison and then give you the antidote in time, it’ll kill the parasite without, hopefully, killing you...”
“What?” Owen was taken aback
“No...you can’t kill it...”
“Either I kill it or it’ll kill you...there is no other choice...”
Christine gripped the edge of the table, “is this a deliberate attack on me? Did this thing set out to harm me?”
“well, no...its doing what comes naturally...but its usual hosts are not fragile humans...we don’t have a choice...”
“No...I won’t let you kill it...”
“You want to die? Do you have any idea what it’ll do to you as it grows in the next stage?” Owen was well on the way to volcanic eruption...
“It didn’t choose to be dumped here...I can’t let you kill it...please...” she turned to Gwen, “please help him to see why I have to do this...” she implored, seeing empathy in the other woman’s eyes.
Gwen opened her mouth, only to be silenced with a glare from Jack at the head of the table. He leant forward, “Are you sure you want to risk your own life, because that’s what it comes down to – we’ll look for another way, but if we can’t find one and you won’t let us take any other action you’ll be signing your own death warrant. Why don’t we compromise and we’ll do our utmost to find a better solution and you agree that if all else fails we revert to our original plan...”
The silence was palpable as Christine considered, finally nodding her agreement. “Right, Gwen, you can entertain our guest – give her the tour and maybe a film or something... Ianto’ll sort us all some dinner and finish preparing your room for the night. Tosh, Owen and I will put our heads together and see if we can find the answers...”
Ianto stood up, “Chinese okay for everyone?” smiling in response to the yes’ from around the table. He stacked the mugs and plates on his tray and left the room quietly after resting his hand briefly on his Captain’s shoulder as he passed. Christine watched the two men with interest, their body language just screamed intimacy yet they barely touched... she’d ask Gwen about them...
Gwen’s tour had Christine’s eyes wide behind her glasses – this place was incredible - and when it was concluded with an introduction to Myfanwy via Ianto and some dark chocolate she had to ask if she was dreaming! Gwen had giggled and they’d made their way back to the boardroom for the Chinese takeaway that had arrived. It was a surreal experience that Christine was sure she’d remember forever – sharing a meal with these amazing people in a secret underground base whilst she had an alien sucking on her neck...definitely not an ordinary day!
After dinner and with another mug of Ianto’s utterly amazing coffee, Gwen and Christine went to her room for the night to watch a film – Ianto had produced a wide array of DVDs and she’d chosen an old favourite The Princess Bride... Owen had checked her over and put some sort of cuff on her wrist which he told her would record her vital signs for him. He warned her that she might lose some of the feeling on her right side if the creature began feeding again...”...you’re right handed? You might find you get some pins and needles...let me know... Have fun girls!” He’d grinned and left them to it.
Captain Jack had given her a hug and told her she was being very brave and he would do his very best to find a way to save her and the alien... She’d melted into the hug and swooned – boy did he smell good! She blushed when he waggled his eyebrows at her in a suggestive manner and winked before leaving the table. Ianto had smiled his little smile as he cleared away the remains of their meal before following his Captain down to autopsy.
The film was approaching its climax when Christine felt a strange tingling sensation in her fingers and as she opened her mouth to tell Gwen she was overcome with a rush of heat and she collapsed, her body shuddering violently with uncontrollable spasms...
Gwen had been watching for the signs as Tosh fed her the readings through her comm. unit. The door was flung open to let the gurney in and Christine was lifted carefully onto it. She’d stopped shaking now and had lapsed back in into unconsciousness.
“It’s now or never...” Owen attached the drip as soon as they had her back in autopsy. “Ready..?” he looked at Tosh who nodded and began to feed mercury into the second i/v line on the opposite side of Christine’s neck...
Ianto watched the scanner intently, “...it’s working...the tendrils are retreating from around her heart...obviously it doesn’t like the taste!”
Jack chuckled, despite the tension in the room, “who’d’ve thought that Star Trek would save the day!” He pressed a kiss to the end of Ianto’s nose, “...remind me never to complain again when you watch them – souring the milk was a brilliant idea!”
Ianto grinned briefly, “...almost there now, feelers are just below the surface now...you ready with the tongs?”
“God, that sounds so sexy when you say it like that...” Jack leered at him, earning himself an emphatic roll of the Welshman’s eyes... However, he stood ready with the long handled tongs preparing to lift the alien from Christine’s neck and move it to the freshly warmed body of a young dead Blowfish that had yet to be autopsied.
Gwen moved aside, letting go of the young woman’s hand, “she was so brave...” she remarked, “seems strange to think of her having all those fears and yet she was willing to give her life for this alien...”
“Now!” Ianto ordered as the final strand withdrew from Christine’s flesh. Jack moved quickly as everyone else stepped back and the pulsing alien, now about four inches in diameter, was lifted to the waiting chest of the Blowfish where it settled instantly, fine feelers shooting out to attach itself firmly...
As Owen and Tosh now worked to filter the mercury from Christine’s blood, Jack, Gwen and Ianto carried the Blowfish up the stairs to the waiting trolley and hurried to the SUV, their destination the park where the rift window still shimmered. If they were lucky, they’d get there in time to send the Iyssis back to its mother...
When they returned to the hub an hour later, Owen was sat with his patient who was sleeping peacefully and Tosh was finishing her adjustments to Christine’s ipod. She smiled as Jack approached her workstation. “She’s now been on an intense course at the Harper-Sato institute for extreme anxiety disorders and has various empowering tracks to remind her she is no longer afraid of open spaces, social gatherings, snakes or sharks...”
“What about spiders?” Jack frowned, “you missed off spiders...”
“We’re all afraid of something, Jack...so I left her the spiders...”
She blushed prettily as Jack pulled her into a hug and kissed her cheek. “You, Toshiko Sato, are brilliant!”
Releasing her, he headed to his office where Ianto was hanging up his coat . He drew the young man into his arms and held him close, breathing in the reassuring scent that was just Ianto. He pressed a soft kiss to the side of his Welshman’s neck.
Sinking into the embrace, Ianto sighed happily as Jack then captured his lips in a sweet and tender kiss that deepened as their tongues danced pleasurably and hands stroked through hair...
Breaking apart gently as they shared warm breath, foreheads resting together, Jack closed his eyes...now he told himself sternly. “Tosh says we’re all afraid of something...” Ianto said nothing, wondering where this was headed. “I know that I’m afraid of losing you...you know I love you...” the words were out before Jack realised and he caught his breath.
Ianto’s smile lit up the room and his eyes sparkled “I love you too, Jack, and I’m not going anywhere...” as he crushed their mouths together in a passionate kiss that had them panting when they eventually came up for air, smiling into each other’s eyes as gentle hands caressed faces and time stood still...
“Oi, put the tea boy down...I need my taxi driver before the retcon wears off..!” Owen’s shout broke into their moment and they grinned at each other.
“Okay, I lied...” Ianto rolled his eyes, “I’m taking a little trip to Barry in my car...you knew I moonlight as a cab driver, right?”
Jack chuckled, “by the time you come back, it’ll be just you and me and I’m going to show you just how much I love you...” He released him reluctantly and watched as the young man helped Owen with their guest. “Bye Christine...” he whispered to the air.
Christine blinked and shook her head, wondering where she was. She looked at her surroundings and realised she was in a car...a taxi...as she didn’t recognise the back of the head of the young man driving...
She met his eyes as he glanced in the rear view mirror. “That’s good timing Miss,” he said in soft Welsh tones, “we’re just coming up to your road now. You nodded off as we left the station...it must have been a very tiring course...”
She frowned...course? Oh, yeah, she was coming home from London...God she was so tired... She stumbled to her front door and lifted her hand to acknowledge the tiny salute the taxi driver gave her before he drove away...
The following afternoon, five people watched from the shadows under the trees as the young woman stood in the middle of the park with her arms spread wide, laughing happily as she spun herself around...free and completely unafraid...
“Job done...let’s go home...” Jack held his hand out to Ianto and they led the team back towards the SUV...