Children in Time
When five American friends on holiday stumble upon the Hub, Torchwood finds out a truth about their future and past that could alter all their lives.
Betas: avon09, with edits by
Erin Giles and
Spoilers: Through S2 of Torchwood and through S4 of Doctor Who
Warnings: Swearing, Violence, mpreg (implied)
Notes: Thank you to avon09 for being an awesome beta; to erin_giles for being my Brit Consultant and cheerleader; to Carole B for allowing me to bounce ideas off of and for copy editing; to chicago_girl_07 for being a great alpha and cheerleader; and to Johnny Venom for providing me with language translations in mere minutes.
Owen let out a sigh that seemed to echo from deep within his guts. He ran his sinewy fingers through his cropped, dark hair and leaned back in his office chair. Dr. Owen Harper's lean frame appeared to be sprawled in the seat, not a care in the world. Yet, if anyone could see into his mind, they could watch with fascination the synapses crackling every which way as he processed the latest mystery to come across Torchwood's desk.
Torchwood. Torchwood was an enigma within itself. Sometimes its employees, members, whatever, didn't even know what Torchwood was about. Oh yes, there was the whole secret organisation apart from the government, apart from the police, the blah-blah-blah crap that Jack used to scare new people away with.
Jack. Jack-fucking-Harkness. Owen's hands scrambled around the top of his desk and snatched up a blue pen. Jack Harkness-, wait, no, Captain Jack Harkness just kept blathering on about the latest case somewhere over Owen's head. Owen gripped the pen wanting to just stab it into Jack's face. Instead he took a breath and propping his elbow up on the arm of the chair, he began tapping the pen against his head; a specific rhythm trying to calm himself down and to keep him from murdering his boss, again.
"Owen, are you even paying attention," Tosh asked him from her desk a couple of feet away.
Toshiko Sato. Cute girl, especially wearing the flattering skirts, like the black one she was wearing today, with the plunging neckline on the green top. She was probably a really good lay; it was always the quiet ones that surprised people, like she had with Mary. Owen even knew Tosh would make a good mother and wife someday, if she survived past the age of thirty. Torchwood kind of prevented employees from having children, from having anything even parading itself around like a normal life, sometimes even from living.
"I'm listening as much as I need to, Tosh." Owen nearly spat out her name. "But what Jack here is telling us is nothing new, especially dealing with the Dok'nal. Why are we bleeding sitting here rehashing old news when I have two bodies down in the morgue I should be autopsying to find out if there are any airborne illnesses spreading themselves into our air and into our lungs."
Jack stood right next to Owen, arms crossed against his chest, leaning back and looking down. He was looking down on him. Sanctimonious bastard. Why the hell should he be looking down on him? The man never changed, not even his clothing style, as if World War II was still the hot thing to be wearing. Oh sorry, wait, today Jack had his sleeves rolled up on his blue shirt, and one of his grey braces was askew. Wow, casual.
"If you need to go, why don't you," Jack asked, as he turned away and faced Gwen and Ianto at Gwen's desk.
Sometimes Owen wondered if Jack had ever really forgiven him, forgiven any of them for opening the Rift months ago. The man had come back from the dead and had said he had forgiven them, but then he disappeared. Oh sure, he shows up to save their arses and to shag Ianto, but Owen found himself often wondering just what had changed in Jack and why he came back.
But like hell he was going to kowtow to Jack like his mother always wanted him to do to her. He was his own man, no family to hold him back. Although, Torchwood was more of a family than he had had in a long time, and that was a really scary thought.
Owen looked at Jack's backside and before he could even think about how much he wanted to be Jack's favourite Torchwood child, he'd stood up rather quickly from the chair, sending it rolling backwards a couple of feet. Gwen looked up from her desk, pushing a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. She slowly shook her head and then looked towards Ianto, anywhere but at Owen.
"I have a body-like substance to go carve up, if you don't mind," Owen stated as he headed up the stairs towards the autopsy bay, away from the desks and the little chit-chat session.
"Substance?" Tosh looked at him quizzically, her straight dark hair falling forward, framing her face, making her look almost angelic.
Owen hurriedly looked away and glared at Ianto. "If someone hadn't shot it in its main body region, it would have held together better."
Ianto raised his chin up and flattened his blue tie against his red shirt. "I was trying to save your life."
"I didn't ask you to."
"Fine. Next time I will just let it devour you and from the pit of its stomach you can explain to the little old ladies why it ate their husbands, too." Ianto turned on his well-polished heels and headed towards the main cog door and the tourist office that provided their cover.
"That is enough." Jack's voice seemed to echo in the cavernous office. "You two need to stop this right now or I am bringing out the measuring tape and settling it once and for all." Jack pointed at both Owen and Ianto with a hand each.
"Measuring tape? What for?" Gwen looked from man to man and then the realisation suddenly hit her. Her mouth formed an "oh" and she sat down at her workstation.
"That won't be necessary," Ianto answered primly.
"Yeah, afraid you'll lose," Owen sniped.
"My God! You can be such children sometimes!" Tosh slapped the pile of notes she was holding in her hands onto the desk of her workstation. She turned away from them, hands on her hips, her head held high and started looking at the CCTV feeds coming from the exterior and interior cameras.
"I'll be upstairs," Ianto said.
At the same time Owen stated, "I'll be in autopsy."
Both men regarded each other, Owen goading Ianto on with his eyes. Almost as if on cue, both men turned away, Owen huffing his shoulders and headed to their respective domains. Owen had just reached the top of the steps, pausing when he heard Tosh taking a deep breath behind him. A really deep breath, followed by an inordinate amount of clicking away on her computer.
"Tosh, sweetie, what's wrong?" Gwen asked as she manoeuvred around her desk and stood next to Tosh.
Tosh had put her glasses on and was peering intently at the computer screens surrounding her. She was muttering something under her breath but Owen couldn't make it out. That intensity in her was never a good sign. Owen hurried back down the stairs to the pseudo-office area.
"Come on girl, tell us what it is," Owen said.
"It's gone, how can it be gone?" Her fingers seemed to fly over the keypad, every stroke deliberate and on its mark.
"Just what exactly is gone?" Ianto stood on the far side of Tosh, looking over her shoulder at the CCTV footage she kept pulling up.
"The Weevil, the one we brought in last night. It's gone from its cell."
"But that's impossible. Weevils can't just leave, can they?" Gwen's face grimaced in thought. "If it's not in its cell, then where is it?"
"In Jack's office? Maybe he wanted to have a little fun," Owen suggested sarcastically.
"Nah. Weevils aren't my cup of tea. Too many claws getting in the way, and they have a habit of scratching you in places you didn't know you had."
Jack put his hands in his pockets and Owen noticed that the man had already armed himself with his gun. When and how he did that, Owen was unsure.
"Is it still in the Hub or did it make it outside?" Jack continued.
"I don't know. I can't find it on the footage. It's moving really quickly and just out of view of some of the cameras." Tosh pushed her glasses back up her nose and let out a sigh.
"You're telling me the Weevils are getting smarter? Just bloody great!" Owen threw his hands up in the air.
"All right, split up. We'll make our way outside. Gwen and I will take the lift, Owen and Ianto, you make your way out through the tourist office. Tosh, you stay down here monitoring CCTV and try to find any signs of the Weevil," Jack grabbed his long, blue coat as Ianto held it out to him. "And find out how it got out of the cells in the first place."
Owen stalked over to his desk and yanked open a drawer, pulling out his revolver. He checked the cartridge and then slipped it into the back waistband of his jeans. Kneeing the drawer, he slammed it shut again and hurried towards the big cog door, shouldering Ianto as he strode past the young man. Owen didn't even turn around to see Ianto's reaction.
"Be careful," Tosh called as she continued to monitor the CCTV footage from inside the Hub. "We don't know what state the Weevil is in or if it had help."
"Right," Gwen replied as she slid a can of Weevil spray into her coat pocket. She closed the black denim coat over her green sweater. "You just keep watch on our backs, Tosh."
"Oh, I like that," Jack stated as he stepped up onto the cement slab at the side of the water reservoir that pooled itself in their office from the fountain above them. He then opened a brown leather wrist strap on his left arm and looked up at Gwen as she walked over to the cement slab. Jack flipped the leather strap shut with a snap and held out a hand to Gwen, helping her up onto the invisible lift that would take them out by the fountain.
Owen stood just outside the cog door and rolled his eyes. He looked at Ianto and dramatically motioned up the stairs, nearly bowing before the boy. "Oh but after you," Owen said in an affected voice. He could not make out what Ianto grumbled under his breath as the younger man started up the stairs, the tails of Ianto's suit jacket flapping behind him.