Behind a church

“It is inconceivable,” Ross said heatedly as he, Bobby and Alex stood observing the pearl-white body of the priest who lay in the alley behind the small inner-city church. “Inconceivable that we could have eight bodies, and no evidence!”

“We have evidence, Captain,” Alex reminded him quietly. “It just hasn't gotten us anywhere.”

Ross nodded, looking across at Bobby. He didn't particularly like the greenish-grey tinge to the big detective's features, and it occurred to him that this was not the first of these crime scenes that the big detective had exhibited a bad reaction to.

“Goren? Are you all right?”

Bobby nodded, and then immediately looked like he severely regretted the action, gulping slightly and turning a very pale shade of green.

“I... I'm fine. I just... something I ate.”

Alex shot him a sharp look.

“You would have had to have eaten something in order to have a reaction to it,” she retorted. Ross's brow creased with visible concern.

“You've had a bad physical reaction of some sort to every one of these crimes scenes.”

It wasn't a question, and Bobby suddenly found he didn't have the inclination to deny the captain's words.

“Yes,” he admitted. “I don't understand it, but yes. I have.”

Ross looked very much as though he wanted to pursue the issue – and Bobby had no doubt that he did – but any chances of it were snuffed out when the captain's cell phone suddenly rang shrilly. Frowning at the unwanted interruption, Ross answered the call.

“Ross... Chief Bradshaw? Yes sir, we're at the scene right now... What?”

The last word, almost shouted, drew the undivided attention of both Bobby and Alex. Ross went on, just one step shy of shouting down the phone at the Chief of Detectives.

“Chief, this is our investigation. We can't just palm it off... They're from where? Chief Bradshaw, this is...” And then, abruptly, Ross deflated. “Yes sir,” he said tersely. “Yes, we'll cooperate fully.”

He snapped his phone shut, his expression stony.

“Captain?” Alex asked. “What is it?”

“We've lost the case,” he told them flatly. He was not the least bit surprised when Bobby and Alex both reacted with utter vehemence.

“What? To who? Which squad?” Alex demanded to know.

“Not to another squad,” Ross told them. “To an outside agency.”

“A... what...?” Bobby burst out incredulously. “Excuse me, a what?”

“Whoever they are, they're definitely not NYPD,” Ross told them.

“FBI?” Alex wondered. “CIA? Who?”

“I don't know,” Ross insisted. “Bradshaw mentioned a name... Torchwood... but I've never heard of them, and Bradshaw either wouldn't or couldn't elaborate.”

“Torchwood?” Bobby echoed, his forehead deeply creased in a frown.

“And apparently they're on their way here right now,” Ross added.

“So let me get this straight,” Alex said heatedly. “We're losing this case to some yahoos that don't even have jurisdiction here?”

“Apparently the issue of their jurisdiction is not our concern,” Ross muttered, sounding sourer with every passing second.

“This is crap, Captain,” Bobby snapped, unable to conceal his fury. Ross held his hands up defensively.

“I'm on your side, Goren, believe me. But right at this moment, my hands are tied and so are yours. We're under strict orders to stand down and clear this area for Torchwood... Whatever the hell Torchwood is.”

“I think we're about to find out,” Alex said, her gaze going to the end of the alley. Bobby and Ross both looked around, and sure enough a large black SUV that looked like a miniature tank to the three NYPD officers turned into the alley and came to a halt a short distance from the bright yellow crime scene tape.

“British-make,” Bobby mused, and Ross gave a low whistle of appreciation, despite his aggravation at his squad's authority being usurped.

“Not as good as American-make,” Alex muttered testily, drawing smirks from both men. As they watched, the doors of the SUV were flung open with some degree of dramatic flair, and five individuals climbed out.

“Great, it's the Scooby Squad,” Alex grumbled. Bobby snorted, and Ross uttered a choked laugh, but neither man said a word. Instead, they stood and watched as the five members of Torchwood approached.

The tall, dark-haired man in a full body-length military greatcoat stepped agilely under the yellow tape and came to a halt directly in front of them. He scanned the three of them with more than a subtle interest, and Ross couldn't help but notice that the man's gaze seemed to linger minutely first on Alex, and then on Bobby. Then, finally, his gaze came back to Ross.

“You're the superior officer here?”

Ross couldn't help but bristle slightly at the seeming derision in the other man's tone.

“Yes,” he confirmed shortly. “I'm Captain Danny Ross, Major Case Squad. And you are...?”

“Captain Jack Harkness. Listen, we appreciate all the work you and your people have put into this so far, Captain, but this is our problem now.”

“And who are you, exactly, Captain Harkness?” Ross asked sharply.

A small, infuriating smile flitted across Jack's lips.

“We're Torchwood, Captain, and that's all you need to know. Please instruct all of your people to leave this area straight away. Just leave a couple of officers to keep the public away.”

Ross's jaw locked. Bradshaw had instructed them to cooperate, but he hadn't expected this outright dismissal.

“Is that all, Captain Harkness?” he asked scathingly.

Jack paused, his gaze shifting to Bobby and Alex, apparently oblivious to Ross's audible anger.

“You two are the ones who have been working this case?”

“That's right,” Bobby confirmed testily. Jack nodded, unconcerned by the detective's irritation.

“Okay. We're going to need to talk to you both, so don't wander too far.”

The two detectives exchanged dark looks, neither of them impressed at being treated like witnesses or, worse, suspects. Ross looked equally infuriated, and tried once more to voice his displeasure.

“Captain Harkness, my people are...”

“At our beck and call,” Jack cut him off, his tone uncompromising. “I don't have the time to waste arguing with you. If you have a problem with this, then talk to your Commissioner.”

“Exactly whose authority are you acting under?” Ross demanded to know, feeling his blood pressure rising dangerously.

“Our own,” Jack answered. “And our authority has been ratified by the President himself. Torchwood is in control now, and we will expect your complete compliance. Right now, though, you can start by removing yourselves from this area. Immediately.”

Jack then turned and strode away towards the body, no so much as glancing back. His team hesitated only for a moment before following. As they went, though, they could hear the tall male detective speak ruefully.

“And you thought Logan and I were pains in the ass.”

Ross snorted as he started to walk away.

“I'll never complain again. Eames, when we get back, I want you to run a search. I want to know everything there is to know about that clown.”

“Yes, Captain,” was the simple but determined reply.

Owen made no effort to contain his laughter as they joined Jack by the body.

“You really know how to piss off the natives, Jack.”

“What can I say?” Jack said casually. “It's a talent.”

“And they're planning to check up on you,” Gwen added. Jack looked first at her, and then to the retreating figures of the captain and his detectives. If anything, he looked amused.

“They can check up on me all they like. They won't find anything relevant. Just as long as they stay out of our way. Owen, you've got a body now to examine. What can you tell us?”

Owen paused in answering, looking the body over as thoroughly as he was able to without disturbing it too much.

“Same as the other seven. I've never come across anything like this before. Might be able to tell more from an autopsy, though. If you don't mind, though, I'll wait until we get to... well, wherever it is we'll be setting up shop before putting the deep tissue scanner to use. Don't need some nosey sod getting an eyeful and blabbing about it.”

Jack nodded his assent, quietly pleased with Owen's attempt at discretion.

“Okay. We need to wrap the body and get it into the SUV, along with anything else that's relevant.”

“Jack, you said you thought that you knew what had done this,” Ianto pointed out. Jack glanced at him and then at the others. He looked distinctly uncomfortable all of a sudden, as though he wished Ianto had kept his mouth shut.

“I thought I did,” he admitted finally, with great reluctance. “I'd hoped I was wrong.”

“And what about now?” Tosh asked. Jack ran his fingers roughly through his hair in the first visible sign of stress that he'd shown since they'd learnt of the strange killings.

“I'm almost positive that I know what did this,” he told them in an audibly strained voice. “And I'm wishing even more than ever that I was wrong.”

“Well, what is it?” Gwen asked him in audible concern. For a long while, Jack didn't respond. When he did finally speak, there was a very slight shakiness to his voice that none of them had heard since his return from wherever he'd disappeared to after defeating Abaddon and cheating death once more.

“I think it's a Grysliaak. It exists by draining the life force from its victims.”

“Like Abaddon,” Tosh whispered in horror, loathed though she was to make the obvious comparison. Jack, however, shook his head.

“No, Abaddon was different. It killed randomly. It only killed whoever was unlucky enough to get caught in its shadow. But Grysliaaks... They're a different prospect altogether, and they're very dangerous.”

“How do you know about them?” Ianto asked quietly. Jack looked very much as though he wanted to be anywhere but there. He answered the question, though; despite the anguish it seemed to be causing him.

“I had an... encounter with one... when I was being held on the Valiant.”

Silence met the soft admission. Jack had spoken very little to them about his time as a prisoner on the Valiant, under the Master's brutal and sadistic control. Indeed, as far as any of the Torchwood team was consciously aware, that twelve months had never actually happened. None of them doubted Jack over it, but it was all-too-easy to forget the grim revelation that he had endured twelve months of hell at the hands of a psychopath.

“When you say you had an encounter with one...” Owen said tentatively.

“The Master brought one in... to see what it would do with me. Basically... it killed me. A lot.”

“Jack...” Gwen started to say, but he cut her short.

“We're not going to get anymore answers here.” He stood up suddenly, coat flapping around his legs as a gust of wind blew through the alley. “We need to wrap things up here, and get to One Police Plaza. It may take some time to get set up there, and I don't think we're going to get a very warm welcome. Let's go, people.”

As he strode back towards the SUV, the other four members of Torchwood exchanged grim looks.

“Makes your head spin a bit,” Owen muttered. “Trying to think about what Jack went through when those twelve months never happened...”

“They did happen for him,” Ianto pointed out, keeping one eye on where Jack was rummaging around clearing space for the body in the back of the SUV. “That's what we need to remember.”

“But the stubborn idiot refuses to talk to us about it!” Owen complained. “How, exactly, are we supposed to keep from putting our collectives boots in it when we don’t know what went on? He needs to clue us in a little!”

“He’s trying, Owen,” Tosh hissed. “He told us after he came back that he couldn’t talk about it yet. I think when he’s ready, he will. We have to be patient.”

Owen sighed and rubbed a hand over his face.

“Jack just disappeared on us. No goodbye, no ‘I’ll see you later’. Nothing. For all we knew he could’ve been dead!”

Gwen coughed, and Owen reddened slightly as he realised his faux pas.

“Okay,” he conceded. “Maybe not dead, but you know what I mean. We had no idea whether he was coming back or not! Then, when he does come back, even though it’s only been a month as far as we’re concerned, apparently for him it’s been a whole year! How the hell are we supposed to get our heads around that?”

“It’s been longer than a year for Jack, I think,” Ianto mused. “I think he was on the Tardis for a while before the Doctor brought him home.”

“Right,” Owen agreed. “Now, we know stuff happened to him over that time. He said he was a prisoner. You can’t tell me that the Master had him for a whole twelve months and never figured out his little secret.”

“He already knew,” a voice directly behind them spoke, causing all four of them to jump in surprise.

“Bloody hell, Jack! Are you trying to give us all a heart attack?” Gwen gasped. He didn’t smile and, for a moment there the haunted look in his eyes was just about more than any of them could stand.

“Jack,” Ianto started to say, but Jack cut him off in a strained voice.

“I was tortured. Is that what you need to know? That the Master was so thrilled to have a man in his control who couldn’t die that he specifically sought out the most skilled torturers in the universe? Or is that still not enough? Do you need details as well?”

“Jack, we’re sorry, mate,” Owen murmured, looking genuinely regretful. Jack’s expression was hard, but beyond the tough façade they all caught a glimpse of the pain he still clearly felt.

“If you’re done discussing my emotional welfare, we’ve got work to do.”

They watched as Jack strode away again, and Owen waited until he was well away from them before speaking in a low, rueful tone.

“Oh, yeah. There’s the testy bastard that we all know and love.”

“Shut up, Owen,” Gwen grumbled as they began to wrap the body.

Ianto found Jack back in the SUV, sitting in the driver’s seat and watching the others work with a weary look that the Welshman recognised all too easily. He slid into the front passenger seat and pulled the door closed to afford them a little privacy.

“Did Owen call me a testy bastard?” Jack asked in a detached, emotionless tone that Ianto found mildly disturbing.

“Yes, he did. And yes, you are.” Jack fired a sharp look at the younger man, but Ianto went on before he had a chance to argue. “They’re concerned about you, Jack. That’s not something that you want to be turning your nose up at.”

Jack stared ahead, his fingers drumming out a restless pattern on the steering wheel.

“I know,” he conceded finally after a long silence, and this time the aggravation was gone, replaced with regret and grief. “Damn it… I know. I didn’t mean to snap, but I told you all when I came back. I can’t talk about it. Not yet.”

Ianto nodded knowingly.

“You still have to face up to it in your own mind,” he said gently. “I understand, Jack. Give them a chance to understand that, too.”

Jack sighed and looked away out the window, though what he was staring at was beyond Ianto. There was nothing there but a brick wall.

“I just want to forget about it. It’s the year that wasn’t… Everyone else gets to forget it, but I don’t. I have to live with it, and I don’t want to!”

Ianto watched him thoughtfully for a minute before trying again.

“Tell me about the Grysliaak.”

Jack stiffened just briefly, and Ianto wondered whether he’d made a mistake suggesting it. But then Jack began to speak with a quiet, forced calm.

“The Master brought in a Grysliaak about two and a half months after he activated the paradox machine and let the Toclafane through.” He paused, and smiled bitterly. “Actually, I have no idea how long it really was. I lost track of time pretty quickly. I saw first-hand how the Grysliaak killed. I thought at the time that the Master just wanted me to get an eyeful… you know, before it was my turn. I figured out later that he just did it to torment me. You see, it killed painlessly. The people that the Master gave to it to kill, they died peacefully and painlessly. They just went to sleep. After everything the Master had already done to me…”

“You were looking forward to a painless death,” Ianto guessed, and Jack nodded breathlessly.

“Yes,” Jack admitted, unable to look Ianto in the eye. “I was looking forward to it… to just going to sleep for a while. I thought it would feel like a natural death. Except… I’m not natural.”

“It hurt, didn’t it?” Ianto guessed, quietly dreading the answer.

“And how,” Jack said hoarsely. He pinched at the bridge of his nose as a headache suddenly threatened. “It was agony, Ianto. It… It was like facing Abaddon all over again, except this thing thrived on the energy that it took from me…” He hesitated, and then corrected himself with a rough shake of his head. “No, it wasn’t energy. It was my life force. The damn thing practically dragged my life force out of me, and it could never get enough. The Master kept it round for nearly a month before he got bored with it and cut it loose. But until then… Three times a day, Ianto. At least three times every fucking day.”

Ianto hesitated only a moment before reaching out and taking Jack’s hand in his own, intertwining his fingers with the captain’s. Jack looked down at their joined hands, and then back up at Ianto. The younger man half expected Jack to pull away from him, and was greatly encouraged when that didn’t happen. Hoping he wasn’t pushing too hard, he spoke again.

“We’re not expecting you to tell us anything before you’re ready,” Ianto assured him, deliberately keep his voice soft and low. “Just don’t forget that we’re here. And when you do feel like you’re ready to talk… about any of it… we will listen to you.”

Jack slowly lifted Ianto’s hand and brought it to his lips in a soft, tender kiss.

“Thankyou,” he whispered, his lips still pressed lightly against the cool flesh of the Welshman’s hand. He paused for a long moment before speaking again. “I don’t sleep because of the nightmares.”

Ianto regarded Jack solemnly and without surprise, leaving Jack to wonder just how much Ianto was already aware of that truth.

“You know already,” he said, not quite able to keep his tone steady. Ianto didn’t even attempt to deny it.

“Yes,” he confessed. “At least, I figured that was one of the main reasons.”

“How…? If I haven’t slept…”

Ianto bit back a sigh.

“Your first night back home, Jack. Don’t you remember?”

A sad, bitter smile flitted briefly across Jack’s lips. He remembered that night vividly. His return to the Hub had created no end of excitement, and it wasn’t until some time after Gwen, Tosh and Owen had finally left that Jack had finally had a chance to face Ianto. The younger man had been angry, so very angry, and though Jack had not been able to blame him for that, nor had he been able to stop himself from reacting to it.

Many rash words and one broken nose later, the two men had found themselves in bed together, experiencing possibly the best make-up sex either man had ever enjoyed.

Afterwards, Jack had slept while Ianto quietly removed himself and went to shower. It was when he’d come back, with the express intention of rejoining Jack in the comfort and warmth of the bed, that he’d gotten his first eyeful of just how badly Jack’s twelve months of captivity had really affected him.

Jack was no longer in bed, and to this day Ianto still didn’t know whether he’d climbed out or fallen out. He lay on the floor beside the bed, curled up in the foetal position and shaking uncontrollably. His tightly closed eyes were wet with tears and choked sobs escaped his lips, intermixed with heartbreaking pleas for mercy.

When Ianto had gone to him, to try and wake him up, the guttural sobs had erupted into terrified screams and Jack had ended up crawling nearly all the way under the bed in a blind panic. It had taken Ianto a good fifteen minutes to wake Jack up properly, and then another hour beyond that to calm him down and get him back into the safety and comfort of his bed.

That was the last time that Ianto had witnessed Jack sleeping. From that point on, Ianto had found himself under constant request for fresh coffee, extra strong. He’d conceded, if only for knowing that if he refused the requests, then it was entirely possible that Jack would have turned to more suspect methods of keeping himself awake.

He couldn’t honestly say that the lack of sleep had affected Jack’s ability to do the job, but he had to wonder what sort of damage it might be doing to him mentally and emotionally.

“They’re done,” Jack said abruptly, and Ianto knew from his decisive tone that this particular conversation was well and truly over. He looked out through the windscreen of the SUV to see Owen and the women slowly making their way back down the alley with the body between them.

“On to One Police Plaza, then?” he asked, and Jack nodded in confirmation.

“Yes. I’m telling you, Ianto, I hope with find this thing quickly… whatever it is. The sooner we get home, the happier I’m going to be.”

Ianto smiled in wry agreement.

“Amen to that, sir.”

Ross, Bobby and Alex arrived back at One Police Plaza, and walked back into the Major Case squad rooms to find an agitated Mike Logan waiting for them.

“Logan?” Ross asked, sensing trouble even before the detective had a chance to say anything. The look on the Irish cop's face spoke in volumes.

“Chief Bradshaw is waiting for you in your office, Captain.”

Ross's expression darkened visibly at that news.

“Great,” he growled. “Just wonderful. First he calls us at the crime scene to throw us off the case, and now he's here to tell us to our face?”

“Uh, I think it's worse than that,” Mike said tentatively as Ross started to walk past him. The captain froze in mid-stride, and looked slowly back at Mike with a look that left the tall cop wanting to duck for cover.


Mike hesitated, and then pointed wordlessly to the other side of the squad room. Ross turned to look, and a moment later all colour drained from his face.

“What in the name of God is going on here?”

On the other side of the squad room, no less than the three largest task rooms had been emptied of all but the chairs, tables and whiteboards. Everything else NYPD related had been quite literally thrown out, into piles in whatever corners of the squad room were free.

At Ross's angry shout, the door of his office swung open and Chief Bradshaw strode out, looking almost as red in the face as the Major Case captain.

“Ross, before you lose your cool...”

“Lose my cool?” Ross exploded. “Sir... Please, will you tell us what the hell is going on here? First you tell us we're off the serial killing case in favour of some secretive group from God knows where, and now we come back to find we're being shunted out of our own offices!”

Bradshaw held his hands up defensively.

“I completely understand your irritation at this little inconvenience, and I'd like to go on record as saying that I argued against it. However, orders came from much higher up, and I suppose they do need somewhere to work...”

Ross suddenly went lethally quiet, staring at the Chief of Detectives with a look that would have curdled milk.

Who needs somewhere to work?”

Bradshaw hesitated, looking as though he didn't want to have to say the word.

“Torchwood,” he answered finally. When Ross spoke again his voice was low and deceptively calm, but the white-knuckled fists at his sides told everyone there how angry he truly was.

“That... group is not setting up in this squad room! We agreed to cooperate...”

“Yes, exactly,” Bradshaw jumped in quickly. “You did agree to cooperate, so look at this as a temporary arrangement in the spirit of cooperation. And the more you cooperate with them, hopefully the sooner they'll be out of here, and back to where they came from. Look, Danny, I'm no happier about this situation than you and your detectives, believe me. But I wasn't kidding when I said orders came from high up.”

“How high up?” Alex asked with a deep frown. Bradshaw regarded her grimly.

“I'm talking about orders direct from the President himself. The NYPD has been ordered to cooperate fully with Torchwood, no questions asked. I'm as much in the dark as you.”

Ross let his breath out in a long, frustrated hiss.

“We are seriously being expected to give up a third of our space to these people? Dare I ask what's going to happen with the victims' bodies? Seeing as we were booted off the crime scene?”

Bradshaw looked more than a little uncomfortable at that.

“A portion of the morgue has been sequestered for use by Torchwood.”

Mike snorted at that.

“Oh yeah, that'll go down really well with Rodgers. Remind me not to go anywhere near her until this mob are gone.”

“Yes, well, ME Rodgers has already expressed her displeasure to me directly,” Bradshaw admitted. “But I'm afraid there is no helping it. This is what's happening, and none of us have a choice.”

“Easy for you to say, sir,” Bobby said sourly. “You're not giving up your office to them.”

Mike, Alex and Ross all winced at the less than discreet comment from the big detective. If Bradshaw was irritated by it, though, it didn't show. Rather, he nodded in reluctant concession.

“Very true, Detective Goren. I apologise. All I can say is to just grit your teeth and do your best to put up with the disruption. Like I said, with any luck this lot will be done and gone in fairly short time.”

“What makes anyone think that they're going to have anymore luck than the rest of us in solving this?” Ross asked, even as Bradshaw turned to leave. The Chief of Detectives hesitated, and then looked back at them.

“I can't answer that. All I can say is that the President himself has enough confidence to give them a free hand. Torchwood has priority, in everything.” He paused, looking around the squad room ruefully, and specifically at Mike and Bobby. “I won't be so stupid as to say try and make them welcome. We all know that they're not, and I would hope they're not so idiotic as to think otherwise. But for your own sakes, stay out of their way and don't start any fights with them. I don't know what this Torchwood is all about, but I know someone in UNIT who has had a run-in with this Captain Jack Harkness in the past, and he said to be careful.”

“In what way?” Ross asked with a frown.

“Nothing specific,” Bradshaw said with an apologetic shrug. “Just to be careful. I got the impression that the man might be dangerous.”

Then the Chief was gone, leaving them all to wonder exactly what they were in for.

“How are you feeling?” Alex asked softly once she and Bobby were seated back at their desks. He took a moment to think about it before speaking in a tone of mild surprise.

“I feel okay. The nausea... It's gone.”

“Ross was right, wasn't he?” Alex mused, regarding him over her laptop. “You've had some sort of physical reaction to every one of those crime scenes. Vertigo... Migraine... Nausea... What's that about? You're not getting queasy in your old age, are you?”

Bobby found himself having to resist the urge to poke his tongue out at her.

“Funny, Eames. No, I'm not. I don't know what's causing it. I wish I did. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Alex sat back in her chair, looked at him critically.

“There has to be some reasonable explanation behind it. Maybe you’re having a reaction to that gloop that was left behind on each of the victims.”

Bobby paused in his work, considering that for a minute before dismissing it.

“Maybe if I’d touched it directly, but I didn’t. The only time I came into direct contact with it was at the first crime scene we attended. After that, I left it for CSU to deal with, and none of them got sick or had any sort of reaction.”

“No, it was just you,” Alex murmured. “Always just you…”

“I don’t know what caused it,” Bobby said with a slight shrug. He paused, his eyes narrowing as his gaze fixed on something or someone beyond her line of sight. “And it doesn’t matter anymore, does it?”

Alex looked around slowly, and as she did so she became aware of the lethal quiet that had suddenly descended on the squad room. She turned fully in her chair, and saw that the reason for the sudden tension had just walked in.

The Torchwood team had arrived, striding into the squad room like they owned the place, just as they had done at the crime scene. They were all laden with equipment, some of which seemed vaguely familiar to Alex and other items which were utterly foreign to her.

As before, the man who had identified himself as a captain to them led the way, virtually brimming with an over-confidence that left Alex seriously wanting to slap that smug smile right off his too-handsome-for-anyone’s-good face. Ross emerged from his office, still looking blacker than a thunder cloud, and went to meet the newcomers with as much civility as he could muster.

“Captain Harkness.”

Jack nodded in greeting.

“Captain Ross. We were told to see you about space to work in.”

Once more, Ross flushed with anger, thoroughly unimpressed with the inference that the Major Case Squad was voluntarily surrendering a portion of their work space to the usurpers. He said nothing to that effect, though, and instead pointed stiffly to the recently emptied offices.

“Our three biggest task rooms over there have been cleared out for you.”

Jack nodded and looked back at his team.

“Okay, guys. Get set up as fast as you can. Tosh, I want you to take charge of the tests on the fluid on the body. Ianto, help her with that. Owen, get what you need and head down to the morgue and check all eight bodies. You know what to look for. Gwen, I want you to talk to those two detectives who were at the scene earlier.”

“Jack, they’re right there,” Gwen murmured uncomfortably, attempting to glance incongruously at Bobby and Alex. Jack appeared unconcerned, already turning back to Ross.

“We’re going to need all your files on this case, and I mean every copy.”

Ross blanched again.


“No,” Jack said shortly. “Listen to me closely, Captain Ross. I don’t want to have to say this again. This is our case now. We appreciate that you’re not happy about us walking in and taking over, but that’s the way it has to be. Your people are not equipped to handle this killer.”

Ross stared back at him, mildly nonplussed by the hardness in the other man’s pale blue eyes.

“But you are.”

“It’s what Torchwood is all about,” Jack answered simply. “We don’t expect you to like us, but we’re here and I’ll tell you right now that if you and your people cooperate with us we’ll be out of your way a lot sooner than if you don’t.”

Ross looked past Jack to where Bobby and Alex were sitting, glaring daggers at the brash captain. They weren’t going to like this anymore than he did, but he couldn’t see any other way out of it.

“I’ll have someone put all the files together for you,” he said tersely. “Is that all?”

Jack paused, staring first at Ross and then around at the rest of the squad. The multitude of hostile stares was not lost even on him. When he spoke, it was not only to Ross but to the entire squad.

“We’re here to help, not to steal anyone’s thunder. You may not care to believe me right now, but the fact that you haven’t found this killer is not in any way a reflection on your abilities to do your jobs. The best you can do now is to stand back and let us deal with it.”

Nodding to Ross in an uncharacteristically diplomatic gesture of acknowledgement, Jack then turned and strode across the squad room, disappearing into the first of the task rooms, where his team were working to set up their equipment.

“One point to the captain with the dodgy credentials and the retro taste in clothes,” Alex muttered once the task room door had swung shut. Ross walked over to her, a quizzical look on his face.

“Dodgy credentials?” he echoed. She nodded, turned her laptop so that Ross could see the screen more clearly.

“I ran a quick search. Assuming I’ve spelt it right, the only Jack Harkness I can find disappeared in Britain during World War II.”

Ross’s frown deepened, if that were even possible.

“I suppose that this Torchwood could be a secret branch of MI6. See what you can get out of the woman when she talks to you both.”

Alex grinned, already looking forward to letting her partner take a shot at one of the members of the team that had usurped them from their case.

“It’ll be our pleasure, Captain.”

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