jenexell (jenexell) wrote,

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[FIC] Progress - R - 6/7+epi

Title: Progress
Series: Sempiternitas
Author: jenexell 
Pairings and Characters:Series will eventually be Jack/Ianto. This part: Ianto. Jack. Suzie. Tosh. Owen. No pairings.
Rating: Mature (swearing and some adult themes)
Disclaimer: If this was real, I wouldn't share. As its not, I'm sharing with no personal gain or profit, other than perhaps to feed my attention whore complex. non-recognisable elements are mine! plagiarists will be eaten alive by weasels. Much information has been gleaned from the show (obviously), Dr Who eps, various Wiki's, other internet sources and my font of all Dr Who knowledge ttfan . I have not read the books, so if something was mentioned in a book, but not on TV, I probably won't have it.
Distribution: My Journal (jenexell), and quite a few other places too. (attention whore complex). If you want it, link back to my journal, don't steal its naughty.
Warnings: Some strong language, medical stuff, violence. use of guns.(so basically all the warnings for Torchwood). References to adult themes such as people trafficking and prostitution.
Spoilers: Everything and nothing. Set pre-series, so may make reference to things mentioned in the show, but not the content of actual eps. AU from 2004 onwards.

Summary: Second story in the Sempiternitas Series: Ianto Jones, prisoner of TW3, is settling into his new life, and things are as back to normal as they get in Cardiff. But the imminent arrival of a certain VIP stands to change everything.

Author's Note: So here it is, the second one. Thank you to everyone who commented and supported the first story. I've tried a few new things with this one so I hope it works as well.

Just to let people know. I know some people have mentioned it about the last story. This SERIES will eventually be Jack/Ianto but the stories in it won't necessarily be.

This story is part of a series, and probably won't make a lot of sense unless you've read the first story,"Into the Storm".

Author's Note 2: I'd like to say a huge huge sorry to all my lovely commenters. RL is really manic right now, and although I can keep posting (since the story is written) I'm really behind on my replies. Please know your comments and feedback are loved and appriciated and I will reply properly when things calm down (hopefully at the weekend)

Previous Parts
:: Part 1 :: Part 2 :: Part 3 :: Part 4 :: Part 5 ::

Part 6
Cardiff, November 2004
One day to Arrival

At the table in the interrogation room, the creature laughed.

“You think I’m afraid of you? Maybe once I might have been, when you lot had some balls. Everyone knows Torchwood’s gone soft. Now you’re nothing. A joke so old we don’t even bother laughing anymore. I ain’t tellin you shit, Torchwood.”

Hands braced on the table, breath coming in heavy pants, his face right up close to the creature’s, Jack snarled. His mind raged. His ego and pride hissed at the wounds they’d been delivered. His temper strained at its already short and fragile leash. Hours. They’d been at this for hours.

“You think we’ve gone soft?” Jack growled. The creature just snorted, rolling his large black eyes. Jack’s temper snapped. Quicker than the creature could react to, Jack reared back, grabbed the pen he’d left on the table and slammed it through the back of one of the creature’s hand, pinning it to the table. The creature shouted out in pain, quickly cutting himself off and ending with a hiss. Jack raised a questioning eyebrow. “How about now? Why did you attack our office?”

Defiant eyes glared back at Jack. Jack grinned. It was the kind of grin surfers saw just before they started to panic. It was the kind of grin that usually had a fin on top. Using just his thumb, he pushed at the pen.


Tosh paused and closed her eyes at the howl of pain that echoed up from the interrogation room, but a hushed and stifled whimper much closer to hand made her open them again. Beside her on a spare office chair he’d wheeled over, Ianto sat frozen, mug still held to his lips. Slowly he lowered it, and turned to look at her.

“What was that?” he asked quietly, although Tosh was pretty sure he already knew the answer.

“Try not to think about it.” Tosh replied with a small, what she hoped was reassuring smile, reaching out and patting his knee.

Perhaps she should have done what Jack said and insisted he return to his room. But he’d seemed so reluctant to take himself down there, that she hadn’t had the heart to banish him to his dark cellar. Hell, he’d voluntarily remained in the same room as Jack when he had ample opportunity to escape; that alone was enough to tell Tosh that Ianto wasn’t keen on being on his own right now.

Shaking his head, Ianto’s eyes tightened in disbelief. “How can you just...”

“Oh what rogues of men necessity makes.” Owen muttered under his breath from he where he sat sprawled in at his own terminal, his eyes never leaving the screen he was focussed on.

“But...” Ianto tried again, only Owen cut him off.

“Look Glow boy, we need answers, Jack gave pasty face plenty of opportunity to give them without it coming to this. It’s not our fault he didn’t bite, Alright?” Standing up abruptly, Owen grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair and began to make for the door.

“Where are you going?” Tosh asked urgently, turning in her chair to track his progress.

“To drive the Queen’s route for tomorrow.” Owen snapped back. “It’s not like there’s anything doing here.”

Tosh could only watch open mouthed as Owen stormed out, unsure whether the words that had died on her lips had been reassuring or admonishing.


Stood behind Tosh’s shoulder, Suzie looked away from the monitor she’d been studying when she heard Jack stamp his way back upstairs from the interrogation room. He looked dishevelled, his features were sat in hard lines and there was something splattered on his shirt that although it wasn’t red, she assumed was more than likely blood.

He stopped just outside the entrance to the autopsy pit, sharp eyes casting around the Hub and narrowing when they hit Tosh and Suzie.

“Where is he?”

“If you mean Owen then he’s gone to do a reccy drive. If you mean Ianto, he finally decided that a trip through dark tunnels was less disturbing than the noises coming from where you were and has gone back to his room.” Suzie explained calmly, then her eyebrow lifted in amusement. “I don’t think you’ve made much headway convincing him you’re not a psychopath by the way.”

Jack just rolled his eyes in return, walking over to them. “Tell me you’ve made more progress than I have.”

“Actually we have.” Suzie replied somewhat proudly and a little hopefully. Not hopefully with regard to their own progress, but for Jack. Jack was a master of the veneer; of keeping his true feelings hidden and putting on the expected face. But to the experienced eye there were sometimes cracks, and through those cracks the truth shone through. Jack was frustrated, tired, and bordering on frantic. He was one of life’s doers – someone for whom patience did not come naturally but had to be learnt and employed with effort – and right now there was very little he could actually do. “We think we might have a way to track our little spiders.”

Tosh took up the thread. “If Suzie’s right and the power source from the refraction device is the same type as what’s powering the spiders, then I should be able to configure the internal scanners to pick up on the pulse frequency the crystal emits.”

“Should being the operative word.” Suzie admitted with a sigh. “Everything’s a mess down there, so no guarantee the computer can superimpose what it’s reading accurately onto a diagram of the tunnels.”

“But it’s a start.” Jack acknowledged questioningly, raising his eyebrows and looking between the two. “Right?”

“It’s a start.” Suzie confirmed. Looking Jack up and down, she cocked her head to one side. “So our new friend downstairs wasn’t forthcoming?”

Jack shook his head and sighed, running a hand through his hair. “All I could get out of him is that he’s working for someone else. Oh and that he didn’t actually know the Tourist Office was our front door.”

“You believe him?” Tosh queried in surprise.

“I believe him. He might not be scared of Torchwood, but he’s definitely terrified of whoever it is he works for. I get the distinct impression that no matter how low their opinion of us, letting us know something’s going on wasn’t part of the plan.”


“You lied.”

Jack kept his face impassive at Suzie’s words, feigning disinterest with practiced ease, his eyes never leaving the file on his desk. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his second leaning against the doorway of his office, arms folded over her chest, her own expression carefully guarded although knowing Suzie like he did, he suspect there was a hint of curiosity in her dark eyes.

Not animosity or annoyance, but curiosity. That was one of the things he liked best about Suzie. Granted there were a lot of things he liked ‘best’ about Suzie, but this ranked highly. She never took anything personally. She might not like it when he held things back from the team, she might challenge him on his decisions if she felt he was wrong, but she never took any of it as some kind of personal attack on her. She understood, often far better than the others did, that sometimes things were need to know, and sometimes he made decisions based on facts she wasn’t in possession of.

That didn’t mean however, as this moment clearly showed, that she didn’t want to know what it was he knew but they didn’t.

“About what?”

“What the Calavite told you.” Suzie clarified. Again Jack kept his focus down on his paperwork, but inside he tipped his hat to her. She wasn’t wrong. She wasn’t wrong about the creature’s species either, although he hadn’t told the team he knew. Undoubtedly they looked it up on the database. Jack had known all along, but it was easier sometimes to substitute ‘creature’ in his mind. Easier to get the job done.

After a long silence, Suzie finally fished again. “I was watching most of that interview. He told you something and it surprised you. What was it?”

Well clearly Suzie wasn’t going to leave it alone, and frankly it didn’t really matter if she knew or not. He hadn’t said anything, not because he didn’t want the team to know, but because he hadn’t thought it was important.

At least Suzie hadn’t come to have a ‘talk’ with him about his methods. But then why would she? That was something else Suzie understood. Necessity. From an outside perspective an Alien had walked through their front door and had attacked and threatened one of their people. It didn’t matter that Ianto wasn’t really one of their people, or that it turned out the Calavite had only accidentally decided to piss on their doorstep – metaphorically speaking. They’d needed answers. He’d needed answers. Sitting back in his chair, Jack shook his head dismissively. “He lied.”

“Why would that surprise you?” Suzie replied with a scoff, moving forward and sitting on the edge of Jack’s desk.

“Because it was such an obvious lie.” Jack shrugged. “He told me he worked for Mr Salls.”

Suzie cast Jack a look clearly showed that she had no idea why that was significant. “Who?”

“Mr Salls… he’s… an urban myth. It’s not important. He was just trying to throw me off. It didn’t work.” Jack shrugged again, picking up his pen and twirling it around in his fingers before looking down back down at his work.“Something else you needed Suzie?”

He didn’t look back up, he didn’t need to. He could see the pursed lips and crinkled brow clearly in his mind’s eye. He heard the huff, despite Suzie’s best efforts to keep it quiet, and could practically feel the frustration oozing from her as he slipped off the desk and back out into the main Hub.

Perhaps he’d been a touch too dismissive, but really there was no point rehashing it. Having Suzie get sidetracked by Mr Salls was beyond a waste of time. Time they were sorely short of. Mr Salls was a myth; pure and simple. A story told to keep youngsters inline. One of those tall-tales that he’d caught on the edge of hearing in certain bars in certain parts of Cardiff.

Nothing to worry about. It was an insult to his intelligence that the idiot thug who’d attacked Ianto had tried to put the frighteners on him by mentioning his name. Like Jack would be intimidated by that. He might as well have tried to claim he worked for the bogie-man.

With a last huff, Jack put it out of his mind. He had more important things to concentrate on. The Queen’s visit, the spidery things in the basement, the attack on the tourist office. There was a connection. There had to be. The timings were just too close to be anything else.

The spidery-things and the Calavite were definitely connected; the crystals proved that. But why? Why their power? To distract them? To put them out of action? What for? To get to the Queen? Yes Torchwood were involved with her security arrangements but only in a peripheral way. And what about this girl the Calavite had been looking for?

There was something bigger, something he was missing. Not the corner of a puzzle, he had all of those pieces, what he was missing was a whole lot of pieces in the middle.


Standing at the edge of the crowd, Ianto took a minute to enjoy the music being performed by the live band on the temporary stage that had been erected in the plass. It wasn’t really his kind of music, but it was live and it was open air and it was a damned good excuse to dawdle on the surface rather than return to the tourist office and the Hub.

The Tesco bag hung heavy between his fingers, filled with sandwiches, soft drinks and doughnuts. Why had he offered to go and get the team’s lunch again? Oh that’s right, he’d wanted to get out of the Tourist Office. He wasn’t as enamoured with it as he had been yesterday. He wasn’t scared exactly; he’d been at Torchwood long enough, and had seen enough of the team’s reactions to know that Aliens didn’t come knocking on the front door on a regular basis. It was just that with everything that had happened in the last twenty four hours he was feeling a little jittery. Restless. On edge. He constantly felt like he needed to be looking over his shoulder.

His throat still hurt where his shirt collar rubbed at hand shaped bruises, and where he’d been punched in the gut ached almost constantly. He glanced down at his other hand, and the other bag he was carrying with its single purchase in its regular uninteresting box. A radio. He needed the noise in the Tourist Office and in his room. He wasn’t sure he’d get reception in his room but he had to try. When it was quiet he kept hearing screams.

He shuddered. Torture. He hadn’t considered torture before. Not proper torture, like they did in films; where the bad guys locked the good guy in a room and beat the crap out of him to make him talk, and when that failed they got all inventive with the crap they had lying around. Or they called in the creepy bald guy (he was always bald) with the beautifully kept ‘tool kit’ wrapped in well oiled leather or pristine velvet. Then depending on the film’s rating it would either fade to black or get gruesomely graphic.

No he’d never considered torture. Hadn’t put the Captain and Torture in the same place in his head. And now that he had. Now that he had undeniable truth that the two things did indeed go together? Well it didn’t make a comfortable realisation.

Nor did his own confused thinking when he thought about who exactly it was he’d heard being tortured. When Jack had burst in and put his gun to the alien’s head, Ianto had been all for that trigger being pulled. Oh yes. Ianto had been all for Jack killing it before it killed him. Only it hadn’t been an it at the time. At the time it had seemed to be human, if a slightly out of focus one. So surely it should be a relief that he, the man throttling him to death over the tourist office counter, had turned out to be an it.

But it wasn’t. All the lines, like the man’s face, were suddenly very blurred. Bad guys used torture, good guys took the moral high ground. Alright so he wasn’t that naive. Nevertheless, he felt like his perception had been skewed. Fairground mirrors again.

The crowd bustled around him. Tourists, visitors, actors dressed up as characters from Welsh myth and history, kids with painted faces, some poor sod dressed as a leek. Ianto Jones stood alone in the middle of maelstrom lost in thought, feeling one step outside himself and set apart from everything around him.

Which was probably why he noticed before anyone else. Why he felt the static like charge in the air before the PA system whined and sparked. Before every bulb in the light towers around the edge of the plass blew. Before the shouting and screaming and running began.

And even as it began he saw them through the crowd. Blurred faces and smart suits.

Dropping his bags, he ran.

Ran as fast as his suit trousers and smart shoes would let him. Feet pounding on the paving stones as he sprinted down the incline of the plass, fingers dragging against the wall of the low arch as he hit the boardwalk and turned, slipping on damp boards, hand already in his pocket for his key.

He slammed into the door with both hands, the key in one stinging painfully in his grip. Constantly looking over his shoulder he fumbled, trying to get the key in the lock. With a loud exhalation of relief, he slid it home, turned and pushed.

Nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing.

With a shout of frustration he hammered on the door. Nothing.

Frantic, he looked around. Intercom. He hit the button. Hit it and hit it and hit it.


Red light bathed the Hub, flickered with orange and sparks of white and murky with smoke.

Alarms screamed.


Flames licked.

Eyes watering, Jack staggered out of his office pulling his T-shirt up over his nose and mouth.


A pitiful shower of powdery foam rained from above. Skirting around the flames and sparks coming from Owen’s terminal, he squinted through the smoke and froth. A crumpled form lay a few feet in front of him. Scrambling closer, he knelt. “Tosh?”


He shook her. She moved. Relief shot through him. Her head turned, groggy confused eyes looked up at him. “wha... what happened?”

Jack shook his head, and slipping a hand under her shoulder, helped her stand, keep one hand around her waist as she swayed unsteadily. The flames were dying even if the electrics were still randomly sparking off. A clatter of heals on concrete, Suzie appeared. Dishevelled but none the worse for wear. She had a soot smear on her cheek. She handed him something. A face mask. Even as he pulled it on and yanked his T-shirt back down Suzie helped Tosh into hers.

“We need to get out of here!” Suzie exclaimed over the din of alarms and crackling shorts. Something blew on the other side of the central Hub, making them all flinch.


“Lock down.” Tosh moaned. “We’re in Lockdown. We can’t... we can’t...”

“Shhh...” Jack attempted to calm her. Turning her to face him and finally seeing the large bruise on her forehead. Even if she didn’t have concussion between a bang to the head and smoke inhalation she wasn’t in a good way. “It’s ok. Calm down. I’ll get us out. I promise. Alright?”


Jack looked up to get Suzie’s attention, but she was already turned away, hammering furiously at Tosh’s keyboard. “This shouldn’t happen! The fire fail-safes should have kicked in! We shouldn’t still be in lockdown!”

“The tunnels!” Jack yelled, grabbing Suzie by the shoulder and pulling her away from the terminal and herding the two women down the steps.


Down to safety.

Away from the smoke and the foam and the sparks and flames.


There were ambulances on the Plass. Blue flashing lights and hi-viz Jackets. Ramming the Land Rover up over the curb, Owen slammed on the breaks and leapt out.

“’ere mate, you can’t leave that there...” A hi-viz yelled at him.

“Torchwood.” Owen growled back, not even bothering to look at the man. If he was playing crowd control then he was hardly going to have any answers. The man grabbed his arm; Owen shook him off and kept walking.

There were a lot of people milling about. Police, ambulance, fire crews and members of the public all mixed in. Smoke curled up the side of the water-tower.

Owen’s step faltered and for a moment he could only stare. “Shit.”

He tapped his earpiece. “Jack? Suzie? Tosh?”

Nothing. Static itched back at him. “Shit.”

The world seemed to be moving very slowly. His eyes scanned over the milling crowds, the hunkered figures being treated by the paramedics, the clusters of officials and police, the yellow and black suits of the fire brigade. No RAF coat. No dark curls. No petite Japanese woman. Bile rose in Owen’s throat.

“If any of you buggers can hear me, now would be a great time to stop pissing about and answer!”

Nothing. He pulled the earpiece free and stared down at it, like it would hold the answers he craved.

What the hell had happened?

Someone brushed past him, official looking. Fireman. Senior. “Oi!”

The man turned and Owen realised he had hold of the man’s sleeve. He didn’t remember reaching out. “What’s going on here?”

The man raised an eyebrow then seemed to come to conclusion that if Owen was inside the cordon, he should be inside the cordon. A lot of people did that. Too busy to think or look deeper. Owen had seen Jack use that his advantage more times than he liked to think about. “Some kind of power surge. Looked more impressive than it actually was. Lots of sparking and bulbs blowing that kind of thing.”

If it was so unimpressive, why weren’t the others answering? The fireman was still talking, but Owen had tuned out, his mind tumbling with all the possible scenarios and possibilities, half on the verge of panic.

No he needed to calm down and think rationally. Just because there was smoke coming up from the Hub and the others weren’t answering it didn’t mean they’d all burnt alive in some cataclysmic explosion.

“Lovely imagery there Owen, nice one. Way to calm yourself down.” He muttered to himself angrily. “Why not go the whole hog and imagine mangled corpses and scattered entrails while you’re at it?”

Closing his eyes, he shook his head. So, facts. The fireman had disappeared. Probably got bored not being listened to. Something had happened in the Hub. Something that caused smoke. The coms were down. Which fitted into the problem in the Hub scenario, since their coms were run from the Hub. Right, what else? There’d been a power surge on the Plass. Connected? Probably. What had that fireman been muttering about? Something to do with the Millennium centre? Wasn’t half of that built on top of the Hub? When they’d been pile-driving the foundations they’d almost gone round the bend with the noise.

But all that was for later. What mattered now was finding the others, not finding out what caused the power surge. The others. In the Hub. He had to think. Remember. Connect the dots.

“I’m a doctor not a bloody detective!”

And now he was apparently quoting Star Trek. Oh dear.

So. Hub. Fire? Explosion? Why hadn’t the others come to the surface. Too hurt? If that was the case he would need to get into the Hub to find them. How to get into the Hub? Not the lift. Common sense, don’t use a lift in a fire. So...

“Tourist office!” He shouted to himself, taking off at a run, barrelling past confused bystanders and emergency personnel; a blur of hi-viz and angry shouts.

The boardwalk was slippery underfoot and when he hit it, he almost came off his feet. Somehow he managed to stay upright and as he looked up he saw something he wasn’t sure was a blessing or a curse.


“Owen!” The younger man shouted back, spinning away from the tourist office door and starting in Owen’s direction, his face a picture of fear and panic. “They’re up there! Those men! The alien men! Like last night! They’re on the plass and I can’t get in and I can’t get anyone to answer!”

Gripping Ianto by the upper arms, Owen resisted the urge to shake him. “What?” Ianto opened his mouth but Owen cut him off. “Look, never mind, we need to get in there. Have you got your key?”

“It doesn’t work!” Ianto shouted back in exasperation. “Owen... the aliens...”

“Are the least of our problems right now.” Owen snapped, grabbing the key out of Ianto’s hand and trying it in the lock. “The fucking Hub’s on fire!”

Ianto gaped for a second, his mouth falling open. “On f... Tosh! Tosh is in there... and the others...”

“Oh don’t fucking pass out on me! Breathe you idiot!”

“I am breathing!” Ianto hissed. “and I’ve already tried the key, it doesn’t work! Would I be standing out here if I could bloody well get in!?”

With a snarl, Owen yanked the key from the lock and kicked the door for good measure. “We need to get in there.”

“How?” Ianto asked, backing away from Owen’s anger but not moving too far. “The door won’t open.”

“Yeah I got that thank you very much.” Owen jibed.

Ianto frowned. “What about another way in?”

Owen looked up for a moment but then shook his head. “Not in lock down.” Balling his fist he raised it to his head then let out another angry sound, lashing out and smacking the door. “Fuck! Fucking Harkness, Fucking Torchwood! Fucking ballsing fucking stupid... arrgh! This shouldn’t happen!”

Needing to lash out at something, someone, filled with so much anger and fear he felt like he was going to explode, Owen grabbed Ianto by the lapels of his suit jacket and this time he did shake him. “This shouldn’t Happen! Fires cancel lock-downs! That’s how it’s supposed to work! We’ve done the fucking drills!” His anger, as quick as it was to come, faded just as rapidly and he pushed Ianto away.

“We can’t get in...” Turning he slumped back against the wall of the office. “and they can’t get out.”

“Oh ye of little faith.”

Owen’s head jerked up.

That smug, arrogant, self important, American... bastard.


Part 7
Tags: fic, ianto jones, jack harkness, janto, owen harper, sempiternitas, suzie costello, toshiko sato

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