Characters: Jack, Ianto, Tosh, Owen, Martha, Gwen.
Summary: A decision about the experiment, and an answer.
Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to BBC and RTD.
A/N: Usual apologies for mistakes, bad grammar, dodgy plot etc. Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.
Story starts here:
A couple of hours and a weevil alert later, Jack found himself once again next to the autopsy table and a now sitting Ianto, with both of them listening to Owen.
“ Our assessment of Teaboy’s reaction to the cut being a trigger to complete the integration, and total activation of the energies within him appears to be correct. There’s been no adverse reaction to either the taking of the samples or the healing of the wounds caused by the procedures. The reading showed an increase of energy activity in and around the ‘wound’ sites, but no temperature rise or complications. The ‘wounds’ have healed leaving only a redness that should fade completely over the next hour or so, and there is no reason to think any future injury won’t heal in a similar way.”
“We do want to carry on monitoring you, Ianto, for a bit longer, so I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with the wriststrap for a while more.” Martha added as she noticed Ianto look at the wriststrap, and anticipated the Welshman’s question about its possible removal.
“ Why doesn’t that surprise me,” Ianto remarked, before asking hopefully, “ So can I get out of here now ?” The need for that shower and food was even more pressing than before.
“ Yeah, you can go on one condition though...” Owen began.
“ I know, I know...if I feel ill, or off in anyway etc., etc...” Ianto was getting feed up of hearing that particular sentence.
“ Actually no,...well yes, but that wasn’t what I was going to say...”
“ What were you going to say then ?” Ianto asked.
“ That you can go as long as I get a coffee asap. I’m parched and Starbucks just isn’t cutting it !”
Jack was in his office as Ianto emerged from their bunker below.
“ Feel better ?” he asked, smiling as a refreshed, damp haired Ianto perched that perfect arse of his on the edge of the desk before leaning and ‘stealing’ what was going to be a chaste kiss, but rapidly became heated as all the emotions of the last day or so came to the surface.
“ Does that answer your question ?” Ianto said, a little breathlessly, after the couple finally broke apart.
“ Pretty much.” Jack replied, smiling at his lover, relieved that Ianto certainly seemed to be better, and that the answers were beginning to come. ‘Answers’, Jack thought as his focus moved from his lover to the open file on his desk.
“ Are you alright ?” Ianto asked having noticed Jacks attention shift, and the thoughtful, almost distracted look that accompanied it. “ Jack ?” The young Welshman prompted, then glanced down to the desk, spotting the file. He recognised it as being from the secure archives, and guessed it was about the Mythan Thral weapon. “ You’re not happy about using it are you ?” It was more of a statement from Ianto than a question.
Jack looked up, almost apologetically, from the desk into Ianto’s questioning gaze.
“ I know Tosh said it’s the best option but....no,... no I’m not. The more I think about it the less happy I am about using it.” Jack conceded.
“ Then don’t use it.” Ianto stated matter-of-factly.
“ Not that simple. This is the best way of finding out if...”
“ I know,” Ianto interrupted, as Jack’s voice began to trail off. “ From your reaction, let alone the fact it’s not just stored in the secure archives, but the securest section of it...”
Jack gave Ianto a look of surprise then resignation as he realised ‘of course Ianto would know where the weapon was stored, after all he does know everything.’
“...it is obviously alot more dangerous than the others realise, and I won’t allow you to take any risks with it just to use on an experiment to see if I’ll come back again.”
“ It’s not your decision.”
“ No, it’s not, it’s yours, and you have to make the decision as Captain Harkness, Head of Torchwood, not as Jack, my fiancé... Besides, Tosh said it was the best option, not the only one, which implies other possibilities.”
“ Obviously not as good, or she would have said what they were.”
“ Maybe, but still options, and that’s not to mention anything that could be in the archives but isn’t up on the system yet. At least think about it, check what the other possibilities are before totally committing to using something that has even Jack Harkness worried.”
Jack thought for a moment, he wanted, no needed, to know for sure if his lover could come back from the dead again without waiting for the inevitable, and Tosh had given them a plausible way to find out, but Ianto, as ever, was right, the thought of using the weapon and the possible consequences of its activation was playing more and more on his mind. The rumble of Ianto’s stomach and the sound of the cogwheel door opening brought Jack from his thoughts.
“ Looks like the girls timed it just right.” Jack noticed Ianto’s questioning look and elaborated, “ I sent them to get some food while you freshened up.”
“ Well, I hope they got plenty because I’m starving !” Ianto’s tone of voice changed from light-hearted back to serious as he returned to the subject at hand. “ Talk to Tosh, Jack. Let me check in the archives.”
“ I need to know.” The Welshman knew exactly what his lover meant and what he was feeling.
“ So do I, but not at ‘any cost’.” Ianto looked into Jack’s eyes, he had a feeling there was more ‘danger’ concerning the weapon than ‘just’ the risk of the radiation ‘leaking’ during the experiment, but he wasn’t going to push, Jack would tell him if and when he wanted.
Before more could be said between them, Martha interrupted by knocking on the office door, entering when Jack looked her way smiling.
“ Come on you two. Foods ready and I would suggest getting a move on before Owen eats it all !”
Jack had just finished eating as he listened to Tosh going through the other possibilities with regards to the experiment.
“ Is there a problem ?” the tech asked, as the others were leaving the boardroom.
“ Just wanted to cover all the bases, that’s all Tosh.” Jack hoped his accompanying smile would reassure the young woman. Tosh returned the smile, accepting his answer, and left the room.
Jack turned his attention to Ianto who had paused midway through tidying the table.
“ Ianto ?”
“ Huh...oh, sorry Jack...I just thought of something.” Ianto said distractedly.
“ Anything useful ?” The immortal asked as he moved next to his lover.
“ Yes. I think it might be.”
Jack didn’t say anything, just looked expectantly for Ianto to continue.
“ There’s something from Torchwood One that I think might do what’s necessary.”
“ What ?” Jack asked, not liking the connection to One.
“ It’s basically a ‘rock’ that when heated gives off a poison that latches onto any living source within the immediate area and kills it. Once the ‘rock’ cools it reabsorbs any remnants of the poison left in the air, while the poison within the previously living matter ‘dies’ completely an hour or so after it has completed its ‘destruction’.” Ianto explained.
“ And Hartman had access to this ?” Jack’s hatred of the woman, whose actions had brought down Torchwood One and caused so much death, destruction, and misery, couldn’t be hidden as he all but spat out her name.
“ She dismissed it as just a piece of alien rubble, and sent it down to the archives where Cally took an interest...she had a thing about geology...” Ianto said in way of explanation, “...Anyway, Cally kept the ‘rock’ on her desk, that was until one particularly cold day in the archives when she turned on the small heater she kept on her desk next to the ‘rock’. The ‘rock’ began to heat up and then an air monitor near her began to register minute traces of an unknown poison. Cally quickly realised it had to do with the ‘rock’, put it in a containment box, and then spent any free time she had working secretly on finding out whatever she could about it. It became her pet project...If we put the ‘rock’ in a containment box with the samples and a small timer controlled heater, ...warm up the ‘rock’...let the poison do its job...allow the ‘rock’ to cool and leave for an hour......it will have to be a transparent containment box though, so any equipment can be read via the CCTV through the box, as any signals through the box would be blocked...” Ianto’s verbal train of thought ended and he found himself looking at Jack hoping his lover didn’t think he was a total nut job. What the Welshman saw was a relieved looking, and proud Captain who gave him a quick kiss.
“ Brilliant !” Jack smiled widely then checked, “ Are you sure this ‘rock’ is in our archives ?”
“ Yes, though it’s not on the system yet. Even now I’m still only part way through dealing with all that was scavenged from One, but I’m sure it’s down there. I remember it being mentioned on the shipping documents.” Ianto confirmed.
“ Ok. I’ll finish up in here...” Jack took in Ianto’s shocked expression, “...Hey ! I can do tidying ! ...” Ianto’s raised eyebrow, and sceptical look didn’t go unnoticed by the Captain. “...while you head down to the archives and find that ‘rock’. Once I’m done in here, I’ll let the others know of the change of plan, and start getting things set up.”
As Ianto left the boardroom Jack felt immense relief that, if this went well, the Mythan Thral weapon wouldn’t need to see the light of day.
Although the ‘rock’ wasn’t as dangerous as the original alternative, it had been decided to still carry out the experiment well away from the main area of the Hub, in a secure room on one of the lower levels. It was from having placed the containment box in position in one of the unused storage rooms that Jack now rejoined Tosh, Owen and Martha at the tech’s workstation.
“ How’s it going ?” Jack asked, looking over Tosh’s shoulder at one of her monitors.
“ The ‘rock’ is heating up well, and it’s beginning to emit small traces of poison.” Tosh replied as her fingers danced over the keyboard adjusting the CCTV cameras for a slightly better angle.
“ What about the samples ?” Jack directed his question to Owen and Martha.
“ The poison is only just starting to get to levels that are detectable so there’s no obvious reaction from them yet.” Owen answered, before pointing something out to Martha standing next to him.
“ Any idea how long before there is ?” Jack hoped he didn’t sound as impatient as he felt, with an answer so close.
“ Not really.” Martha replied apologetically, “ Although the confined space will mean that the build up of poison to fatal levels shouldn’t take long, we don’t know how long it will take to kill the samples, and after that it’s a waiting game. Sorry.”
“ As long as we have an answer at the end of it, I can wait.” Jack said, before giving a small smile as he turned away clicking his com as a call from Ianto came in.
As Jack put his signature to yet another piece of paperwork, and pondered the universal constant that time always seemed to drag when you were waiting for something to happen, there was a knock on his office door. Looking up a sense of both anticipation and fear swept over him as instead of his lover, who he’d half expected to see, he saw Owen and Martha entering the room. Clicking on his com the immortal called Ianto and asked him to come up to his office.
“ I take it the experiment’s complete.” Ianto commented as he joined the small group a few minutes later, automatically going to stand just behind where Jack was seated.
“ Yeah, it is.” Owen looked at the couple across the desk from where Martha and he were seated.
“ And ?” Jack prompted, his nervousness at what they were about to hear growing with every passing moment.
“ Well, the poison from the ‘rock’ did the job we wanted it to, killing all the cells in the samples, and we got alot of data from the equipment with regard to both the way the poison works, and the way the cells fought to heal themselves from it before they were overwhelmed and died. It took a while...”
“ Owen... can we skip the in depth report for now and get to the point.” Jack cut in abruptly, everyone knowing exactly what ‘the point’ was.
“ Every cell died. Twenty minutes after the last trace of poison was detected, the cells revived.”
There was silence for a moment as Owen’s words sunk in.
“ You’re sure the samples were dead ?” Ianto checked.
“ Yes. Totally.” Martha assured.
“ And now they’re not ?” Ianto continued.
“ No, they’re not. They are healthy samples with no sign of any damage at all to the cells.”
“ And this result will relate directly to me ?...” Ianto wanted confirmation. “...If I died again I would come back ?”
“ From this experiment and various...”
“ Owen...” Jack’s tone was sharp, “...a simple yes or no will do for now.”
The Torchwood doctor glanced at his UNIT counterpart before looking at the expectant Jack and Ianto.
“ Yes...if you die again you’ll come back... ” Owen wanted to expound on his answer but before he could, and before Jack and Ianto could fully take in the confirmation of Ianto’s new found ability, a sound began to fill the Hub.
It was a familiar sound to some, unfamiliar to others, and while there were those who were happy to hear it, in others the sound of the TARDIS arrival did nothing but fill them with dread.
next chapter: http://jackxianto.livejournal.com/5689940.html#cutid1