Rating: Teen (for now)
Spoilers: Seasons 1 and 2
Summary: Jeannie was a lab-rat at the tender mercies of Torchwood London, but then the Battle of Canary Wharf happened, and she escaped to Cardiff. This is her story.
Disclaimer: RTD/BBC etc own anything recognizably Torchwood, everything else is mine.
Note: With this chapter, this community is caught up.
A/N: This chapter was flowing so well that I really didn't want to split it up, so I didn't. as always, many thanks to my beta/Britpicker RedShoeKitty.
A week after Jeannie's first shift, the triad was sleeping peacefully when Jack jerked out of a nightmare. Covered in a fine sheen of sweat and breathing heavily, Jack rubs his face, and then looks around the bedroom warily. Pulled from their slumber by their mate's fear, Jeannie and Ianto wrap their arms around him soothingly, blanketing his mind with love. Jack takes a deep breath, thanking his mates for their support, and then rises from their bed to go splash some water on his face. He tenses when he sees a single rose petal laying on the counter beside the sink; a brief flashback to Lahore, India, 1902, runs through his mind, and he knows that trouble is coming.
Knowing that his mates are well aware of his continued upset, Jack returns to their bedroom to get dressed; there is no chance of more sleep, not with what he suspects is coming. Jeannie and Ianto watch Jack get dressed, and glance at each other. Coming to an unspoken agreement, they arise from the bed as well; joining their mate in the closet, they don their clothing for the day and follow him up to the main Hub.
While Ianto brews some coffee for them, Jeannie runs out to grab some pastries; once breakfast is gathered, they take it up to Jack's office, where he is sitting and staring into the distance. The arrival of coffee snaps him back to the present, and he smiles his gratitude at Ianto before taking a careful sip. Keeping his hands wrapped around the mug for warmth, Jack eyes his mates who are patiently waiting for him to tell them what has him so frazzled.
"In 1902, during WW1, Torchwood allowed me to join the Army; I had command of a small group of men. We were traveling by train, and had stopped in Lahore, India for the night; while I was handling some administrative problems, my men got drunk and commandeered a truck. They ran over a young girl…and killed her. Since the train was leaving the next day, I arranged for them to spend the night on the train, so as to keep them out of any further trouble." Jack looks down at his hands, his eyes haunted. "The next day, the men were in good spirits; I think they were so drunk that they didn't even remember what happened. The train went into a long tunnel, and I heard what sounded like a lot of wings flapping. When the train entered the open air again, I was in a boxcar full of corpses with their mouths full of rose petals. A single being had stayed behind to warn me: it told me that my men had killed one of their 'chosen ones'. I was spared because I was not present when the death happened." Jack takes a shuddering breath and looks at his mates. "I think they're back, I think they have a chosen one here in Cardiff, and wanted to let me know that they were here." While Jack had been telling them the story, they had seen it flash by like a movie through their link; as soon as they 'saw' his horror at the child's death, they had moved to be near him. Now that the story was finished, they cuddle close to him while asking if there is any way to track these creatures. Jack says, "The only thing that might work is tracking weather patterns; wherever they cause mischief, weather is involved, as they have complete control over the elements." Ianto nods, "OK, so we can tweak one of Tosh's programmes to give us an alert if it sees any strange weather; other than that, I say we continue with business as usual. No need to worry the team about something that might not impact us at all, yeah?" Jeannie agrees with Ianto, and snuggles further into Jack's lap.
Ianto is starting up the programme he was thinking of when the door alarms announce someone's entrance; spinning the chair, he sees Tosh coming in with a large paper bag. She stops when she notices him at her station, and raises a quizzical eyebrow; "Tosh! Glad you came in early, we need to tweak this programme to alert us at any drastic changes in the weather." Tosh's other eyebrow joins its mate up under her fringe at Ianto's pronouncement. "OK, I guess…am I going to find out why?" "It may be nothing; we just wanted to err on the side of caution." Tosh nods her head agreeably, passing over the bag of goodies she brought in so that she can work her magic.
Later on that day, the programme alerts them to a problem in a local park; according to a few pedestrians that had been there at the time, the wind suddenly started blowing. Nothing else, just wind. While traveling back to the Hub, they received word that the local constabulary had a paedophile turn himself in for trying to molest a young girl in the park, the same park where the disturbance was reported. He was desperate for protection, and thought jail was the safest place to be. He was wrong; by the time Torchwood arrived, he had been tossed around the supposedly 'safe' cell, and suffocated with rose petals. Jack shakes his head; there is no need to take the body; what killed him wasn't alien in nature, therefore it did not belong to them. Gwen is huffing a bit at Jack's pronouncement, but holds her tongue until they are back at the Hub. She follows Jack into his office, demanding to know why he is ignoring something that was obviously (to her) a strange death. Jack gives Gwen a quelling look, "Enough! I am the boss here, and I say we don't need to get involved. Now drop it." Gwen opens her mouth to argue when Jeannie touches her lightly on the shoulder and shakes her head with a gentle smile. "Jack knows what he's doing Gwen; the man that died was a paedophile, the gods only know how many children he scarred with his sickness; yes, he died strangely, but an alien didn't do it." Gwen sighs, and goes to sit at her station to look through the police reports from earlier. Jack shoots Jeannie a grateful look for coming to his rescue, and then shoots Ianto a pleading look. Ianto rolls his eyes, chuckling quietly, as he prepares the next batch of caffeinated goodness for his team.
Jack invites his mates to a talk about faeries that an old friend of his is giving that afternoon, and they leave with plans of grabbing lunch and then attending the talk. They chatter about this 'old friend' over lunch, and Jack tells them all about Estelle Cole, and how he had fallen in love with her during WW2, but then he was shot down and presumed dead. He indicated that he allowed her to believe he was gone, since he felt it would be better for her if she found someone who could grow old with her. He told them that he had found her again a few years ago, and had introduced himself as his own son; while he didn't think she actually believed what he told her about his 'father', they still enjoyed each other's company. Jeannie and Ianto were excited to meet this old flame of Jack's, and to hear about the faeries; once they finished their lunch, they drove to the location of the talk. Parking on the curb, Jack leads them into the building, following the signs to the small conference room where the talk is being given; they arrive and stand in the back of the room while Estelle finishes her presentation. Once the few listeners have thanked her for her knowledge, she rushes over to greet Jack; he introduces Jeannie and Ianto as his mates, and her eyes widen as she gasps in surprise. "I'm so glad, Jack! So glad that you don't have to be alone anymore." She turns her twinkling eyes upon the two, and shakes their hands warmly. Jack finagles an invite to her home for the remaining photographs of Roundstone Wood, and they look over the bric-a-brac in her parlor as she gathers them together for him. Jack tells her that something bad is in town, and he would be very happy if she would forgo any further interaction with her faeries until it is safe. She shakes her head fondly, laughing at Jack's concern, but agrees to call him if she notices anything strange. Realizing that this is the best he is going to get, Jack hugs her tightly, kissing the top of her head, and bids farewell. Ianto and Jeannie are invited to join her for tea once things settle down, and they accept the invitation graciously, promising to drag Jack around to visit more often.
Back at the Hub, Jack gives the photographs to Tosh to analyze; he's worried about Estelle. Jeannie joins Jack in his office to tell him what she 'saw' when shaking Estelle's hand: "She's in danger; the fae intend to use her to get to you. Since they can't kill you, they plan to kill her for the child that died in Lahore." Jack pales and sits down abruptly. Shaking his head, he sighs. "All we can do is watch her house, and go there at the first sign of disturbance." Jeannie lays her hand upon his arm, leaning down to kiss him lightly on the forehead, and says, "We won't let them kill her. They've bitten off more than they can chew if they try to take me on." Jack smirks, "Oh yeah? I might like to see what you can do." Jeannie smacks him on the arm, giggling, and then leaves his office, happy that she's leaving him in a better mood than he was in when she entered.
That evening, Jeannie had shifted and curled up on a ledge overlooking the main chamber of the Hub. Gwen and Suzie had gone out to fetch dinner for everyone, while the rest of the team worked on various tasks; the weather alert system popped up an alert window, indicating a sudden localized storm had appeared in a residential area. Tosh shouts out to let the team know, and when Jack sees the location, he pales. Jeannie, seeing through his eyes, realizes that Estelle is being taunted by the faeries, and reaches for the rift; she reappears in Estelle's garden, hissing at the sudden downpour soaking her fur, and crouches over Estelle's unconscious form in protection. Taking a quick look around, her hackles raise at the appearance of several sharp-toothed creatures; she growls low in her chest at them, and they cringe away from her while the rain stops. The fae watch her warily, they sense that this cat is not typical.
Estelle splutters a bit, moaning, and Jeannie nuzzles her head gently is reassurance before she springs at the closest faerie, pinning it to the ground. It tries to escape, but is frustrated when its magic fails it, and glares at the snarling face that is hovering over it. Jeannie is snarling in rage that the fae attacked an innocent, especially one that had supported the fae for decades; sadly, Estelle learned the hard way that the fae have two faces, and are very fickle in their actions. Jeannie sinks her claws into the creature's shoulders, and morphing her muzzle enough that she can speak properly, says, "Why did you attack her? She was one of your strongest supporters in this time; she has nothing to do with your chosen one, and would not have interfered regardless." The fae surrounding them reply, "To hurt the Undying One. He escaped in Lahore, he owes us!" Jeannie, growling, responds, "He was going to let you go, he wants you to take your chosen one, but collateral damage is unacceptable. This woman, here, her injury, is unacceptable! Go, take your chosen one, and leave!" The faeries cackle, "The other woman will fight us, this was meant to be a warning against that." Jeannie sits back on her haunches, tilting her head inquisitively, and inquires,"Other woman? What other woman?" The fae she had been holding down points at the newly arrived Gwen, "Her!" it says. Jeannie's gaze swings around, noticing that the rest of the team have arrived, and that Gwen is staring in shock at the scene they ran in on. With the attention successfully diverted from them, the faeries fade away, leaving the faint sound of laughter behind them.
Jeannie, sensing that the fae have left for now, shifts to human form, and walks into Jack's embrace. From that safe haven, she skewers Gwen with a look, asking "What did they mean about you?" Gwen huffs irritably, "We can't just let them take an innocent child!" Gwen turns her doe eyes on Jack, "You're not really going to let them have a child, are you Jack?" Jack sighs, and then, tightening his arms around his mate for strength, says, "One child, who chooses to go with the fae, or the whole planet; there is really no choice to be made here, Gwen! The chosen ones are never happy children; they are always abused in some way by those who are supposed to protect them. Leave this alone Gwen!" It is quite obvious from her stance that Gwen is not going to let this lie; Jeannie gently removes herself from her mate's arms and walks over to Gwen. "Her name is Jasmine Pearce; she is ten years old, and loved her father dearly. But he died six years ago, and her mother fell into a pit of despair, leaving young Jasmine to her own devices, to find her own way of dealing with the loss of her beloved father. The fae were her playmates; from them, she received the love and understanding that her mother should have given her. The first few times the fae visited her, she ran to her mother, and tried to tell her what was happening, but all she received for her concern was a hand across her cheek, and so she stopped going to her mother for anything. One year after her father died, just a single 12-month period, her mother met her current boyfriend. One year after that, the boyfriend moved in, and Jasmine's fate as a chosen one was sealed. The boyfriend really liked her mother, but he didn't care much for young Jasmine, although the mother never heard about that. You see, young Jasmine learned the hard way that taking her fears and concerns to her mother would result in punishment; and so when her mother's boyfriend smacked her around a bit, she went to her friends, and got comfort from them. They became her confidants and her protectors. That paedophile from the park was trying to take her for his pleasure, and the fae stepped in to protect what they considered theirs; this was something her own mother failed to do. So you see Gwen, the fae have become young Jasmine's family; her mother stopped noticing her when her father died, and therefore no longer has any claim to her. The fae are taking what's theirs home with them; young Jasmine will live forever, and be loved and happy for eternity. What more could anyone ask for a child?" Gwen is gaping at Jeannie as she finishes her story. Jack, realizing that the show is over, shows the paramedics to Estelle's side, ensuring that she is comfortable for her brief ride to the hospital. He tells the team to secure Estelle's house, and after kissing Jeannie on the forehead, climbs into the ambulance.
Suzie organizes the cleanup operation, and then sends everyone home with orders to write their reports in the morning, while Ianto gives the local glass glazier a call to arrange for the installation of a new window for Estelle's kitchen. Finished locking up the house, Jeannie calls Jack to check how Estelle is doing while Ianto drives them back to the Hub. He reports that she will be fine, and is just a bit shaken up by the evening's events; he agrees to pass on their well-wishes, and says that he will see them in the morning.
Two days later
Estelle was released from the hospital with no lasting harm from her ordeal with the fae, and by the time she went back home her window had been replaced, and the mess had been cleared up. Estelle decided to stop trying to contact the fae, and turned her efforts towards her garden instead, much to Jack's relief.
Young Jasmine Pierce was taken to her everlasting home during the anniversary party her mother and her boyfriend were having; Torchwood arrived in time to save everyone except the boyfriend, and retconned the remaining guests and her mother. The fae left this plane with their newest chosen one, and things went back to normal…for Torchwood, anyway.
The team returned to the Hub and wrote their reports while all of the information was still fresh; Ianto delivered coffee while Jeannie brought in food. The mood in the Hub was gloomy and depressed, and the whole team was feeling the effects; Gwen had been mulling over what Jeannie had told her about Jasmine's childhood, and was slowly coming to grips with the fact that sometimes, things couldn't be fixed.
Once the reports were written and submitted to Jack, the team (minus Jeannie and Ianto) went home with travel mugs full of coffee in their hands. Very little sound was heard beyond the rustling of cloth and the clanking of metal until the Hub was empty once more.
The three mates went through the reports briefly before Jack signed off on them and Ianto took them down to the archives for filing, and then they met in their apartment to try and forget the bad things that happen all too frequently in their line of work.