Making Decisions

The rest of the day, by comparison, was relatively quiet. Eleya spent the bulk of the morning playing quietly with her toys on the floor of Jack’s office, content simply to be in close proximity to him. The few times that Jack ventured from his office, she insisted on tagging along, refusing to let him out of her sight. It was an adorable sight, to watch the enigmatic Captain moving around the Hub, with a child no taller than his knee following close behind.

Jack, for his part, seemed to be trying to ignore the soppy smiles being directed at him from the female contingent of his staff. Even Alex, whom he had thought might have been immune to said soppiness, was caught smiling wistfully in his direction more than once. Bobby and Ianto took the situation in their strides, and Bobby was rapidly joining Ianto in Eleya’s apparent estimation of him as a ‘good’ person. She’d been frightened of his size to begin with, but had gotten over that quickly enough when she discovered that he was more than willing to exchange silly faces with her.

Owen was the only hold-out, and in the end Jack deliberately avoided the autopsy bay altogether. While he wouldn’t have said that Eleya disliked the medic, nor did she appear to be terribly impressed with him. Ianto remarked later that it was probably more to do with Owen’s ongoing snide remarks every time Jack came within sight, than any personal issues. It made sense to Jack. She’d attached herself to him, and therefore Owen’s ongoing attempts to annoy him were probably causing Eleya’s aggravated reaction to him.

So, in the end, Jack steered clear of Owen. It warmed him, though, to think that the little girl was so protective of him.

At lunch time, Ianto took Eleya out of the Hub with him to get food for the team, and came back not only with a load of fish and chips, but also with a bag filled with colouring books, pencils and some simple puzzles. Jack could have kissed him for his thoughtfulness and after lunch was over, did exactly that in the cubby hole beneath his office whilst Eleya was happily colouring in at his desk.

“We really do need to get back up there,” Ianto murmured, trying with some reluctance to disengage himself from Jack’s persistent lips. “She shouldn’t be... Fuck, Jack... Shouldn’t be left alone...”

Jack withdrew his assault on his lover’s neck, only to reattach his mouth to Ianto’s ear.

“She’s fine. We’ve got a few minutes.”

Grunting, Ianto had to physically push Jack away from him.

“Stop, Jack, please. I know you too well, there is no way you’re going to take just a few minutes.”

Jack pouted, but pulled back regardless.


Ianto smirked as he readjusted his shirt and tie.

“Just be patient, cariad. When we get home tonight, and we have Eleya settled, you can do whatever you like with me, and I won’t object, I promise. But for now, try to show a little decorum? Please?”

Jack sighed theatrically, but conceded nonetheless.

“Fine. So... You’re okay with bringing Eleya back to your place with us?”

“It’s our place,” Ianto admonished him gently, “and yes. I’m fine with it. As it’s already been pointed out today... more than once, as a matter of fact... we can’t keep her in the Hub indefinitely. And as you pointed out, she’s at her calmest when she’s close to you, so it makes sense that she come home with us. Besides, I really don’t want to give Gwen anymore ammunition. She’s still chomping at the bit over the dressing down you gave her at the meeting this morning.”

Jack couldn’t quite hide a grin.

“She is, isn’t she? And is it wrong that that makes me smile?”

Ianto didn’t even try to conceal his own smile.

“We all love Gwen, Jack, but every so often she needs taking down a peg or two. This was definitely one of those times. Personally, I was insulted at the inference that she was the only one qualified to look after a small child. I have as much experience as she does... and then there’s Alex. I’m sure she’s looked after her nephew plenty of times. Even Bobby would be a good choice. Eleya has certainly taken to him. But no, Gwen was in her usual blinkered mode. Couldn’t see the forest for the trees.”

“Not to mention she completely ignored Eleya’s reaction when she tried to take her to get her dressed,” Jack mused. Ianto nodded.

“Exactly. That little girl doesn’t want to be anywhere that you’re not, Jack, and Gwen needs to accept that. So, yes. She is coming home with us tonight. We can have spaghetti, ice cream, and maybe watch some Disney together, and then we can put her to bed, and when she’s asleep...”

Jack sidled up close to Ianto once more and brushed his lips temptingly over his lover’s.

“I’m going to hold you to that, Mr Jones.”

“I expect you to, Captain Harkness.”

Grinning, Jack swung around Ianto and hauled himself up the ladder, with the younger man close behind. When they emerged into the office, it was to find Eleya no longer colouring in, but holding the strange box that had come through the rift just the day before. Glancing worriedly at Ianto, Jack approached the desk slowly. Eleya, who had been stroking the box lightly with her fingers, looked up at Jack and giggled cheekily.

“Dada and Anno mwah.”

She made a loud kissing noise, leaving no misconceptions about her understanding of just what had been going on in the room below her. Ianto rolled his eyes.

“She’s a mini-you. Wonderful.”

Jack snorted with ill-suppressed laughter, which he quickly tried to smother, and instead turned his focus to the little girl, and the box that her hands were resting on. Despite his wholehearted belief that the box was harmless, he quietly cursed himself for breaking protocol, and leaving it out for her to so easily find.

“Eleya, baby, what are you doing with that?”

“Ma,” Eleya stated firmly, lifting the box up into the air. She paused, frowning, and then tried again. “Mine.”

“Jack...” Ianto murmured in sudden wonder. Jack nodded.

“I know. Baby, what do you mean, that’s yours?”

She sat the box down on the desk again, and ran her fingers over the lid once more. There was a loud click, and the lid suddenly disengaged itself and slid off.

“It really is hers,” Ianto whispered. Jack ventured forward, both intrigued and eager to see just what was in the box. Eleya dipped her hand in, and lifted out a beautiful pendant of green and silver crystal, shaped like a teardrop. She held it with a reverence and care that belied her young age. Jack glanced over her hands, but it appeared that was the only thing within the box.

“That’s beautiful, Eleya,” Ianto said softly, entranced by the necklace. “Did your mother perhaps give that to you?”

Eleya looked up at Ianto, puzzled.

“Nai Mama. Dada.”

“No mother?” Ianto asked. He looked across to Jack quizzically. “Do you think that she doesn’t know who her mother is?”

“It’s possible,” Jack conceded. “If her mother is dead... or maybe there’s another reason. I really don’t know.”

“Well, whatever it is, she seems to think her father gave her the pendant.”

Jack grimaced, knowing what Ianto was saying, without him actually saying it. In saying that her father had given it to her, Ianto was in fact saying that Jack had given it to her. After a moment’s consideration, he decided to take the best option available, and studiously ignored the inference. Instead, he reached out to take the pendant from Eleya for a closer look. As his palm closed around the tear drop shaped gem, though, a shockwave passed through him and his head rocked backwards with a violent jerk.

“Jack? Jack!”

He heard Ianto shout his name, and he could hear Eleya screaming, but his body and mind were frozen. He couldn’t respond, couldn’t move, couldn’t do a damned thing to help himself or to reassure them. Images flew through his mind at the speed of light, blinding him to all else. They were images that he didn’t understand, didn’t recognise or remember. They were memories, he was positive of that much. The memories, though, were alien to him. He didn’t know where they were coming from, and he could only assume that they were memories that had been locked inside the pendant itself.

The stream of images finally began to abate, easing the unbearable pressure in his head. Then, as they faded away entirely, he finally loosened his grip on the pendant, and his body crumpled, darkness overtaking him.

“Jack!” Ianto cried out again, catching his lover as he collapsed, and dragging him over to the couch. The door literally exploded inwards as Owen ran in, alerted by Ianto’s shouts and Eleya’s terrified screams. He was followed closely by Bobby, Gwen, Tosh and Alex, all of them crowding into the office to see what had happened.

“What the fuck is going on here?” he demanded, pushing Ianto away in order to get close enough to Jack to look him over.

“He just collapsed,” Ianto said in a strained voice that was heavy with borderline panic. His arms closed around Eleya automatically as she ran to him and buried her face in his shoulder. “Something about the necklace... He went rigid for about twenty seconds, and then he just collapsed.”

Owen looked around at him sharply.

“What do you mean, something about the necklace? What bloody necklace?”

Bobby reached out to the necklace that now lay on Jack’s desk. He refrained from touching it, though.

“This necklace?”

Ianto nodded. It was so damned hard to think straight when Jack was lying there, unconscious and apparently helpless.

“Yes, that’s the one. It came out of the box.”

Owen paused, his fingers pressed against Jack’s throat, and looked back at Ianto with a deep frown.

“The box? As in, the box that we found in the sewers yesterday? The one that came through the rift?”

“Yes, the one that came through the bloody rift!” Ianto snapped. “And yes, Jack broke protocol and didn’t secure it. And yes, I’ll have it out with him later on, but will you please just make sure he’s okay now?”

Shaking his head, Owen returned his attention to the Captain, checking his pulse, blood pressure and ocular responses before leaning back.

“He’s fine, he’s just unconscious.”

“Are you sure?” Gwen asked anxiously, causing Owen to roll his eyes in exasperation.

“Yes, I’m positive. There is nothing wrong with him, except for a mild case of shock. Whatever that necklace did to him, it wasn’t permanent. Not that anything is where he’s concerned, right? And anyway, if we had to, we could just...”

“Don’t,” Ianto snapped. “Don’t you dare say it, Owen. You are not shooting him. Not again.”

Bobby looked up in shock from where he was examining the necklace.

“Again? You shot Jack?”

“Long story,” Owen muttered. He really did not want to open up that particular old wound again. “Look, he’s going to be fine, but you need to get that necklace secured, before it does a number on anyone else.”

“Eleya seems to think it belongs to her,” Ianto murmured quietly. Owen snorted as he got to his feet.

“Eleya thinks Jack is her daddy. The kid is a little on the mixed-up side.”

“She opened the box, Owen.”

Owen paused, blinking in surprise.


“Yes, really. The box with the psychic lock that Jack said only the owner could get open. She opened it.”

“Well, shit,” Owen muttered.

Bobby finally acted when neither Ianto nor Owen did. Using a pen from Jack’s desk, he carefully snagged the necklace and lifted it off the desk, and then dropped it back into the box. He then placed the lid back on loosely before picking the entire thing up.

“So what do we do with this, then?”

Tosh stepped carefully past Gwen, and held her hands out to Bobby.

“Give it to me, Bobby. I’ll take it for analysis.”

“Ma!” Eleya burst out suddenly from where Ianto still held her in his arms. Bobby smiled reassuringly at her.

“I know it’s yours, sweetheart. Tosh is just going to have a look at it, and see if there’s any reason why it made Dada collapse. Okay?”

Eleya stared from him to Tosh for a long moment before nodding slowly. None of them were entirely sure whether she did actually understand what Bobby had just said, but she made no further protests when Tosh carried the box from the room.

“What about Jack?” Ianto asked softly. Owen shrugged slightly.

“Nothing to do now except wait for him to wake up, and hope that he can explain what the hell just happened.” He looked around at Gwen and Alex, who were still hovering in concern. “You can go back to what you were doing. No point in all of us crowding in here, waiting for him to wake up. It might be any minute, but then it might not be for hours, yet.”

“C’mon,” Alex said to Gwen, taking the other woman by the arm and ushering her from the office, despite her protests. “Let’s get back to work. There’s nothing we can do here, expect be pains in the ass.”

“You really hit the jackpot with your partner, Bobby,” Owen said wryly once the women were gone. Bobby chuckled softly, and the sound of full of warmth for his long-time partner.

“Thanks, Owen. I know. She’s fantastic, in more ways than one.”

Smiling, Owen returned his attention to Jack, only to be brought up short by an aggravated Ianto.

“What is it?” Owen asked, frowning again.

“I don’t like waiting,” Ianto complained, and Owen uttered a short laugh.

“Join the queue, mate. You don’t have a choice, though. Jack’ll wake up when he’s good and ready. Not before. I just hope it’ll be sooner, rather than later.” He paused, eyeing Ianto critically. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” Ianto murmured dismissively. He knew full well that Owen wasn’t asking about his mental or emotional state of mind. “Whatever happened to Jack, it was completely isolated. He was the only one affected.”

Owen, however, frowned as he looked down at Eleya’s tear-streaked face.

“Maybe not. Eleya?”

The little girl looked up at Owen’s slowly, her reddened eyes wide.

“What happened to Dada, kiddo?” Owen asked, his voice surprisingly gentle. “Do you know?”

“Bad,” Eleya whispered. Her little hands clutched Ianto’s shirt tightly. “Bad men. Dada gone.”

“It’s what she said back at the mall, when I first found her,” Ianto explained at Owen’s puzzled expression. “I don’t really know what it means. I certainly don’t understand how the necklace relates to it all.”

“The box had a psychic lock on it,” Bobby mused. “Is it that far-fetched to think that there was some similar defence mechanism on the necklace?”

“As in, someone who doesn’t own it touches it, and it gives them a kind of psychic shock?” Owen wondered, and Bobby nodded.

“Something like that.”

“It’s possible,” Ianto conceded. “I wonder, though...”

“What are you thinking?” Owen asked, watching Ianto piercingly. Ianto, however, shook his head dismissively.

“Nothing. Look, we’re not going to know what happened until Jack wakes up. Hopefully it won’t be too long before he does. In the meantime...”

He grimaced a little as he got to his feet, and lifted Eleya up with him. Then, he sat down carefully on the couch beside Jack’s feet, with Eleya in his lap.

“How are your tests going?”

“Well, actually,” Owen remarked dryly, “that’s what we were coming up here about when you and Eleya screamed.

Irritation flashed across Ianto’s face at Owen’s blithe assessment.

“I did not scream.”

“Oh, yes you did,” Owen shot back. “You screamed just like a little girl. Eleya can be forgiven for that because... well, she is a little girl. You, on the other hand, are not, and it is totally unbecoming to shriek like that.”

“Ignore him, Ianto,” Bobby interrupted bluntly. “And in answer to the question that he hasn’t given you a chance to ask yet, no. The DNA comparison hasn’t finished running yet. It probably won’t be ready until about three tomorrow morning. We have some other results, though. Particularly about Eleya, and whether she is or isn’t human.”

“And?” Ianto pressed in concern. “Is she?”

He knew, by rights, that he should have waited for Jack to wake up again, but the truth was he already suspected that there was something not entirely human about Eleya, and he needed to confirm that suspicion.

“She’s half human,” Owen confirmed. “Half alien. You would never know unless you tested her DNA, but she is only half human.”

“The half that’s alien,” Ianto said softly. “Do you have any idea which race she’s from?”

“No,” Owen admitted. “I’m afraid I don’t. Her DNA seems to be unique, and we don’t seem to have record of anything even remotely similar in our database.”

“I’ll have to go through the archives,” Ianto said ruefully.

“We could always call the Doctor,” Bobby suggested quietly. Ianto tensed very slightly.

“No, we want to avoid that, if we can. Jack didn’t want to have to call him unless there was no other choice. I have to agree with him. I think we should try to sort this out ourselves.”

Owen laughed, then.

“I know why you don’t want to call him. You have a vested interest in the bloke not turning up, because when the Doctor shows up, that usually results in Jack doing a disappearing act.”

“As a matter of fact, Owen,” Ianto snapped, “that has nothing to do with it. This little girl, however, does.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, think about it, Owen. What if, by some slim stretch of the imagination, she really does turn out to be his daughter? Do we really want the Doctor here, lecturing us all about creating a paradox, and then insisting that he take Eleya back to wherever it is that she’s from? Now, I don’t know how Jack really feels about her calling him Dada, but a blind man could see how much he already loves her. Just how devastated do you think he would be to lose her like that?”

Owen nodded slowly, acknowledging that Ianto was right in his estimate. As much as he liked to think the Doctor would help, there was too much of a chance that his presence might only prove to be a hindrance.

“Okay,” he conceded finally. “No Doctor. We’ll do it the old fashioned way. Uh... Tell me, are you still planning on taking Eleya home with you tonight?”

“Yes,” Ianto stated categorically. “She’s not staying in the Hub, and I don’t believe anyone else could handle her for an entire night. Not to mention what she’d do when separated from Jack. Why do you want to know?”

“Just wanted to be sure about what was happening,” Owen assured him. “And just to warn you that Gwen is still operating under the mistaken belief that Eleya would be better off with her and Rhys. This... whatever it was that just happened... won’t have helped that issue along at all.”

Ianto sighed.

“Why does that not surprise me? All right, Owen. Thankyou. You can leave us be, now.”

Owen nodded, and got back up.

“All right, mate. And like I said, Jack should be fine. But if, by some chance, he’s not...”

“I’ll call you,” Ianto reassured him.

“Thankyou,” Owen said gratefully before slipping out with Bobby, and leaving Ianto and Eleya with the sleeping Captain.

“What happened to him, Eleya?” Ianto wondered softly. “Do you know, sweetheart?”

Eleya reached out to stroke Jack’s cheek lovingly.

“Dada sleep.”

Ianto sighed inwardly. He was too tired and too stressed to bother playing word games. If she was so determined that Jack was her father, then who was he to contradict her?

“Yes,” he murmured, hugging her close. “Dada sleep.”

Coming back to life was always traumatic. No matter what the cause of death — whether it involved fire, torture, or something ridiculously simple like tripping in front of a bus — he always experienced a near violent resurrection as a result of dying. So, when his eyes fluttered open, and he felt consciousness returning gradually, he knew he hadn’t died.

As he felt the gradual onset of a blinding headache, he knew beyond a doubt that he hadn’t died, because he usually resurrected with pain all through his body and gradually fading as the minutes ticked by — not the other way around. He figured that something dramatic must have happened to firstly knock him out, and secondly to leave a residue sensation like this. He felt like he’d had one... or maybe five... hyper-vodkas too many. Not that that would have been the first time, either, but it didn’t mean he felt the effects any less profoundly.

With some degree of effort, he forced his eyes open, and he was relieved to find himself staring up at the ceiling of his office, and not the autopsy bay.


The voice cut carefully through his slightly shaky train of thought, and he felt a rush of relief at the sound of it.


At least he had meant to say his lover’s name. What came out, though, was a garbled mess as he tried in vain to regain control of his tongue. A hand alighted on his forehead, stroking soothingly to reassure him.

“It’s me. Try and relax for a minute.

Relax was not a word common to Jack’s vocabulary, though, and he grunted softly with effort as he struggled to push himself up into a sitting position.

“What happened...?”

He forced his eyes into focusing, and found Ianto there in front of him, watching in quiet concern.

“You don’t remember?”

Jack shut his eyes, drawing in long, steadying breaths as he tried to recall the moments before he’d lost consciousness. It was just a blur, though, a blur of half-clear memories and emotions. Slowly, he shook his head, rubbing a hand gingerly over his eyes.

“No... No, I don’t remember anything. It’s just a blur. I don’t remember anything after reaching out to take the pendant... Eleya! Where is she?”

“She’s fine,” Ianto reassured him. “Bobby took her out to get her something to drink. I think that after the initial shock, she was less worried about you than the rest of us put together. Jack, are you sure you don’t remember anything?”

“Not clearly, no. Why? What happened?”

“Well, you reached out and took the pendant... and then you just froze.”

“Froze?” Jack echoed, still rubbing at his eyes and temples. “What do you mean, I froze?”

“I mean you just went rigid, like... Oh, I don’t know. It looked like you were remembering something, Jack.”

Jack thought about it for a long moment before shaking his head again.

“Nothing. There’s nothing.”

Ianto watched him silently before reaching up to gently pry Jack’s hands away from his face.


“Yeah,” Jack admitted softly. “Bad one.”

Within moments, Ianto had made his decision.

“C’mon, cariad, on your feet. We’ll get Owen to check you over, give you something for the pain, and then I’m taking you and Eleya home.”

It was a testament to how poorly Jack was feeling that he never argued with his young lover, and instead allowed himself to be shepherded out of the office.

All eyes turned to them when they emerged from the office, but the only one to move was Eleya, who thrust a now empty cup into Bobby’s hands and toddled over to Jack. Lacking much of her earlier exuberance, she approached and reached up to grasp his hand in her own.

“Dada sore. Head ouch.”

“How can she know that, Jack?” Ianto asked softly. Jack shook his head, and instantly regretted the movement, and fresh pain flared through his skull.

“I don’t know. Maybe she’s empathic.”

“Or maybe she’s connected to you,” Ianto suggested lightly. Jack chose not to respond to Ianto’s speculation.

“Where’s Owen? The sooner we can get home, the better.”

It was with some effort that Ianto avoided rolling his eyes.

“This way. C’mon.”

Jack very quickly decided that he was not going to question where Ianto found the child seat to put in his car for Eleya. Instead, he stood back and watched with a small smile as Ianto lifted the little girl into the seat and strapped her in, all the while talking cheerfully to her. She seemed utterly taken with him, watching the young Welshman with bright eyes and an equally bright smile, and when he’d finished getting her strapped into the seat, she responded by planting a loud, wet kiss on his nose.

Ianto pulled back, bemused and not sure whether to laugh or not. When he turned to find Jack grinning at him, he opted for the former, and smiled self-deprecatingly at the Captain.

“She loves you,” Jack murmured, watching Ianto with affection.

“Yes, well, she does seem to be quite smart,” Ianto remarked, straightening his tie. Jack edged forward, and claimed Ianto’s lips in a lingering kiss. Ianto reciprocated for a few blissful seconds before gently withdrawing.

“Not now, Jack. I want to get you home so you can rest. You look like you’re about to collapse, again.”

“Home,” Eleya piped up behind them and, as though she knew how badly Jack’s head was hurting, she kept her voice soft. Ianto smiled back at her.

“That’s right, baby. Home.”

Ianto guided Jack into the passenger seat, and then climbed in behind the wheel. He paused, looking from Jack to Eleya, and was momentarily taken by an oddly warm feeling of domesticity. With Eleya there, it almost felt like they were a family, and that in itself was not such a foreign concept. He couldn’t resist the small smile that crept onto his face as he guided the car out of the Torchwood garage, to take his lover and their little guest home.

“You’re both shameless, you know that, don’t you?”

Gwen and Toshiko both looked around in surprise, and then smiled at the sight of Alex standing there, watching them with mock disapproval.

“Absolutely,” Gwen confirmed cheerfully.

“C’mon, Alex,” Tosh said. “You have to admit, they look so perfect together.”

Alex peered over their shoulders to look at the computer monitor, which showed footage of the garage. Jack and Ianto were engaged in a prolonged kiss whilst, in the background, Alex could see Eleya watching with a beatific smile on her little face.

“I’m not arguing with that,” she admitted, “but do you need to watch them all the time?”

“Not all the time,” Gwen said, sounding mildly chastened. “Just...”

“Most of the time,” Owen cut in as he passed by. “Admit it, ladies. You have a fetish. And the irony is that if they asked, Jack would probably be more than happy to give them a live show.”

“Ianto, on the other hand, would probably kill him before he could oblige,” Tosh concluded.

Bobby joined them, watching Owen, Tosh and Gwen amusedly.

“Is this what you get up to when Jack is away? Gossip about his and Ianto’s sex life?”

“Among other things,” Gwen said with a scandalised look.

“Yeah,” Owen snorted. “We do get work done sometimes, too.”

“We need to be able to joke around and have a laugh,” Gwen insisted. “This isn’t an easy job, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Don’t knock the times when we can relax and enjoy ourselves, because they don’t come all that often.”

Alex chuckled and shook her head.

“Sorry. Just can’t help wondering how Jack might feel about his sex life being used as a central joke to lighten the mood.”

“If he were here,” Owen stated firmly, “he’d be the one making the most jokes. Trust us on that. The man has no shame at all.”

“Yeah,” Bobby agreed with a smile. “We got that. We’re still trying to figure out how Ianto puts up with him.”

“You and us both,” Gwen said. “That boy has the patience of a saint, honestly.”

“So what now?” Alex asked, deciding it was time to move the topic of conversation forward. “Is there anything more we can do until the rest of the test results come in? Or is it just a waiting game?”

“Just a waiting game, now,” Owen confirmed. “We know that Eleya is half human, half alien, but we don’t know what species of alien. Odds are, we may never know. I think the kid is too little to be able to give us any real clue, and Ianto doesn’t want us to contact the Doctor, so that avenue is out.”

“Why not?” Gwen wondered, baffled. “I would have thought the Doctor was the best way to find out the truth about Eleya.”

“Too many ‘ifs’,” Bobby said quietly after exchanging a knowing look with Owen. “We really need to wait and see what the results of all the tests are before we make a decision like that. And really, it ought to be up to Jack and Ianto whether they want to contact him or not.”

Gwen frowned.

“I would have thought sooner was better than later. It isn’t healthy, the way Jack is becoming so attached to that little girl... and vice-versa. She really does think he’s her father!”

“We all noticed, Gwen,” Tosh said in a tone that was simultaneously placating and warning. “Have you considered that maybe she’s not mistaken?”

Gwen made a derisive sound.

“It’s not possible. Surely Jack would know?”

“Come off it, Gwen,” Owen growled. “You were in the police force before you came to Torchwood. How many times did you come across some poor sap who didn’t know he’d fathered a kid?”

“Plenty of times in our job,” Alex spoke up ruefully. “And believe me, I will not be missing that part of the job at all.”

A ripple of laughter swept across the group, and then Owen spoke up.

“Look, why don’t all of you clear out? It’s dead quiet, and the only thing to do is feed the pets, and keep an eye on the tests. I can do all of that.”

“Are you sure?” Tosh asked, sounding slightly sceptical. “Remember what happened the last time you tried to feed Myfanwy...?”

“Yes, all right, no need to go into that, thankyou,” Owen retorted before she had a chance to elaborate. “Just clear out, all of you. I promise I’ll call each and every one of you straight away if there’s a rift alert. Especially if it’s after midnight. Now go on, get.”

“Thankyou, love,” Gwen said sincerely, kissing him briefly on the cheek before hurrying to gather up her things.

“We don’t have to go,” Alex said tentatively, although she couldn’t mask her enthusiasm at the possibility of having some free time to explore the city. Owen caught the look on her face, and smiled warmly.

“Go on. Both of you, get out of here. Get out and see the city, because god knows you’re not going to have many other chances to do that. I have a feeling that this business with Eleya is going to hit the fan at some point, so enjoy the time while you’ve got it.”

Thanking the medic profusely, the two former detectives collected their belongings, and hurried out of the Hub before Owen could change his mind. Within minutes, only he and Tosh were left.

“Go on, Tosh,” Owen told her. “Go home.”

She smiled demurely at him, though, and shook her head.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“You don’t need to stay, Tosh.”

“I know I don’t,” she assured him. “But I want to. Unless you’re saying you don’t want my company?”

He looked momentarily taken aback before shaking off the surprise and smiling wryly.

“Not at all, Miss Sato. I’d be most pleased to have your company for the evening.”

Tosh’s expression softened a little with pleasure.

“All right, then. Now, if you want to feed Janet, I’ll take care of Myfanwy. Then, we can decide what we’ll do for a meal tonight. All right?”
Owen nodded, more than a little relieved at the knowledge that he didn’t have to risk losing a hand... or any other appendage... to Jack’s flying pet. For that alone, he could have kissed Tosh senseless. Instead, though, he just returned her smile with a rare, genuine one of his own.

“All right.”

A couple of hours later, Bobby and Alex found themselves sitting in a cosy little cafe in the central part of Cardiff, watching as the city came alive with the onset of night time.

“Kind of like New York,” Alex mused, “but on a smaller scale.”

“Do you miss being home?” Bobby asked, and Alex shrugged a little.

“A bit, but I like being here, too. It doesn’t feel so... so...”

“Claustrophobic?” Bobby suggested, and Alex had to smile.

“I guess so. It doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic as New York. Look at the people, Bobby. They’re not in a rush to go anywhere, or do anything. Everyone back home always seems to be in such a damned hurry. Like they’re terrified they’re going to miss out on something.”

Bobby nodded in agreement as he looked around.

“I know. I know what you mean.”

“You like it here, don’t you?” Alex asked quietly, watching him with a practised thoughtfulness. Bobby didn’t make any effort to deny her words.

“Yes, I do, probably for the same reasons. It’s not as hectic here. I like the slightly slower pace. No one here looks panicked. You watch some of the people on the street back home, and they do look like that. They looked panicked, Alex.”

“I know. Tell me, Bobby... If Jack hadn’t told us he was going to set up a base in New York... If the job had been for here, in Cardiff, would you still have taken it?”

He grew quiet, and his expression became masked. She recognised the signs only too well of him shutting down when he knew the answer he had to her questions was one he didn’t think she’d like. Reaching out, she covered his hand with her own.

“Tell me the truth, Bobby. Please. I won’t be angry about it, I’m just curious to know. Would you have left New York to come and work here in Cardiff?”

“It depends,” he answered finally. When she raised an eyebrow, he protested quickly. “Really, Alex. I don’t deny I was seriously considering it, even before Jack told us about the New York base, but I don’t really know whether I would have actually gone ahead with shifting from New York to here. As much as I like this city, New York is still my home. It would have taken a lot to make me make a move like that... even with Ross being such an asshole.”

Alex laughed softly.

“You want to know a secret?”

“Mm? What’s that?”

“I was thinking about it, too.”

Bobby blinked.


“Yes. And you want to know another secret? Just... promise me you won’t be pissed off at me over this?”

Bobby said nothing, but raised an eyebrow quizzically. Breathing in deeply, Alex took the plunge and made her confession to her partner and friend.

“I knew that Jack was planning on setting up a base in New York,” she blurted out. Bobby gaped at her.

“How? When...?”

“That morning... the same day that Jack and Ianto came to dinner at my place... I followed Jack when he left One Police Plaza to get coffee, and he told me that he planned to set up the base in New York.”

“Did he also tell you that he wanted you to join as well?” Bobby wondered, and Alex nodded somewhat sheepishly.

“He did tell me, yes. Are you mad?”

“What? No! No, I’m not mad... I’m just curious... Alex, why didn’t you say anything? You knew I was in knots over the whole situation.”

“I know, and I’m sorry, but I didn’t tell you firstly because I didn’t know what I was going to do myself. Secondly, I didn’t want anything I might have said or done to influence what choice you made. You needed to make the decision on your own, for your own sake. If you’d made your choice based on my decision, you might have made the wrong choice. I didn’t want to be responsible for that.”

Bobby nodded slowly as he sipped at his coffee.

“I understand. It’s okay, and no. I’m not mad at all. Relieved, more than anything.”

“Thankyou,” Alex murmured, sounding relieved herself. Bobby smiled and settled back in his chair contentedly.

“You know the last time I felt this content?”

“When was that?” she wondered, not sure what he was going to say.

“When you offered to partner me, so that I wouldn’t get the boot from Major Case,” he told her with the kind of sweet smile that she saw only very rarely, and couldn’t help responding to.

“Best decision I ever made,” she assured him, and his smile widened.

“One of the two best decisions,” he corrected her lightly. Alex looked around them, and nodded in satisfaction.


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