Torchwood, Jack and Tamrah

“We all die Jack, everyone of us must wither and die,” her voice echoed in the small room and the small source of light cast an eerie glow on her face. Her breath was heavy and came noisily in rhythmic succession. After a moment she continued, “well, all of us except you I suppose. But eventually, inevitably, everything grows old and dies. Stars explode, galaxies collapse and in the end Death comes for all things.”

The silence of her pause made the room ring with sorrow. Only the sound of her breathing gave him any comfort. The eye of the camera never wavering from the crestfallen visage. A single tear rolled down her cheek, causing the single light to gleam in it.

Jack uncrossed his arms from his chest and, walking to the screen, reached out a hand as if to wipe the offending lone tear away. The cold flat screen of the LCD display felt so alien to his touch. He imagined caressing her cheek, feeling the softness of her skin just once more. Her voice came softly across the speakers once again, “You know, there’s a moment I’ve heard people talk about. A moment just before Death comes for you, when you experience,…” Her words trailed off as though she’d been talking to herself more than with him. After a moment or two she’d found the right words and continued, “It’s not the life flashing before your eyes. When Death is at your door and you know it, there’s a peace Jack. An actual feeling of blissful calm that comes over you. In my few times at bat, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way, and yet I couldn’t imagine being fearful of it.”

She turned her gaze straight to the screen and the Captain looked deep into her eyes, “I love you Jack. My Ja-” Her words were interrupted by a loud noise and the screen fizzled out with static and went black. The last thing he heard were her screams before the audio went dead as well.

Chapter 1,

“Owen,” started Jack, “Any news on the weevil’s x-ray?” Owen looked up and, watching Jack walk over to him from his desk replied, “Nothing unusual so far, I’ve been over it twice. I can’t figure out what did this. I’ll keep looking though.” Owen’s typically messy desk was covered in cold 8×10 glossy pictures with the Torchwood watermark from various crime scenes.

And so it was, a day like any other in the hub. Ianto moved about distributing coffee and tidying up like the British ghost of Mr Clean. He placed a steaming cup next to Toshiko. She tapped busily on the keyboard while monitoring two screens of data. He walked over to the next desk and replaced Owen’s cup with a fresh one. Owen had been trying to work out some results. He sat with this feet up on his desk, leaning back in his chair, a brown folder with gruesome photo sprawled across his lap while a program on his computer ran though various x-rays of a weevil skeleton. He was awoken from his reverie by Ianto. He managed a half smile and muttered, “Cheers mate.”The next stop was Jack’s desk. He and Gwen were chatting about a recent victim, “but that doesn’t make sense Jack,” Gwen started then looked up at the visitor. “Oh Ianto, your a gem! I’ve been gaggin’ for a coffee.” She smiled and happily took the proffered drink. She took a sip then continued, “you don’t drive 56 miles to nowhere just turn around and go back. It’s not like you’re on the road and you think, ‘well that’s enough driving for me today. Time to go home’. There’s got to be something wrong with the CCTV.” Jack took the proffered cup, listening intently to Gwen’s argument. He made his rebuttal ignoring the silent occupant in the room. “The feed’s been checked and rechecked for tampering. Tosh guarantees it. No, I think you’re chasing the wrong lead on this one.” Gwen placed her cup down and crossed her arms, a frown furrowing her brow, “Maybe, I just,…” A thought was bubbling under the surface but she was unable to fully explore it. “I don’t know what it is Jack, I just think there’s more to this than we understand at this point.” As the two resumed their debate Ianto headed back to the front desk of the visitor’s information booth. Maiking himself a cup of tea, Ianto pondered the current dynamics of the team.Toshiko and Owen were in their own little worlds as usual, Jack and Gwen were rather wrapped up in each other’s worlds and then there was himself, alone in all of their worlds. Ianto didn’t feel much like part of the group lately since the whole Lisa escapade and he was beginning to wonder how much of a team they really were. Days of working at Torchwood One drifted through his mind. At least there he had Lisa and an assortment of friends. Course, those days were long gone. He straightened the brochures in the display case that screamed to visitors to come visit the local historical sights. Sitting down on his little stool he reminded himself of why he had begged Jack to let him join his team. ’There’s that word again, Ianto, Team. And even though it doesn’t seem like it, you’re a part of that Team,’ He thought to himself.He sipped his tea and stared off into space. ‘What do other companies do to unite a group of individuals?’ he pondered. Then he laughed to himself as two words ran through his brain,… Corporate retreat. He really couldn’t bare being out in the woods camping with Owen again. And he doubted Tosh could handle 2 days without any technological devices. His mind drifted to the type of team building exercises Torchwood might use. He laughed out loud shattering the silence with the sudden outburst. “Hey Jack, Let’s do an alien artefact scavenger hunt. Everyone pair off,” He said softly to himself, then laughed again. Maybe corporate retreats weren’t really a Torchwood thing. The sound of Jack Johnson’s melodic music softly providing the background to his musings, as he tapped silently on his computer debating the definition of Team.

It was a sunny afternoon, and despite the grim circumstances, the team was in high spirits. They’d been joking in the SUV on the way to the scene with Owen doing his famous Hippopotamus Prime Minister impression. In the driver’s seat sat Ianto, a slight smile played across his nicely formed lips. His dark seat belt cutting across the crisp whiteness of his dress shirt that stood out from underneath his trademark dark suit and tie. Jack sat in the front passenger seat turned around holding the back of the jet black upholstery to look at his team taking in the moment before joining in. Owen sat on the left hand side running the gambit of his impersonation skills. His Scooby-doo t-shirt summing up his personality perfectly thought Jack. His brown leather jacket was a good look but Jack made a mental note to talk to him about getting some better trousers than the baggy faded blue jeans, ‘maybe something that showed off his nice derriere,’ he thought. Next to him sat Gwen, rocking back and forward horsing about with Owen in a playful manner, her dark hair shaking with her motions. Her inky black leather jacket and dark grey Aerosmith t-shirt a stark contrast to the computer expert sitting next to her. Miss Santo laughed slightly protesting against Owen’s playful jabs in her fitted lavender sweater that Jack figured was cashmere. Her grey wool pencil skirt and slate understated Mary-Janes juxtaposed Gwen’s jet black pointed toed boots that were kicking the back of Jack’s seat now that Owen had started to tickle her.

Gwen was laughing so hard that she snorted, surprising herself, raising a slightly self conscious hand to cover her mouth with a wide eyed expression that caused her eyes to dart about checking the crew’s reaction. This caused the usually composed Toshiko to laugh audibly. The handsome Captain tried to keep from laughing and ended up snorting himself which resulted in another round of giggles and laughter.That would all change once they arrived. The team knew what people thought of them and how they were expected to act. The Asian technophile tried to brief her team members of the situation, pulling the keyboard down across her lap. Typing softly at the keys she spoke amid the occasional residual chuckle, “Seems a shop owner called it in.” She cleared her throat and her usual serious tone resumed. “Usually a random victim isn’t something we’d deal with but there was an energy spike in the vicinity within the last 12 hours and it’s also pretty close to where we found the injured Weevil,” she looked at Jack hoping to make her point. Jack commented with his trademark grin, “Well then, lets go do what we do best.” As the doors to the black SUV opened, they each mentally stepped into their stoic personas.Ianto had parked about 2 blocks from the scene due to the small crowd that had formed. Gwen’s stomach noticed the smells of the bakery as they passed. She looked through the window at the display of cupcakes noting their location. She’ll have to stop there on the way back.Owen was in the lead carrying his toolkit, next to Jack who swaggered to the crowd. With an air of dominance, Jack disbursed the crowd in expert fashion. Owen watched in awe, “I’m taking you with me next time I hit the Boxing Day sales, you’re good.” Jack winked slyly and retorted, “I’m even better at drawing a crowd.”They’d been called to a mundane crime scene just out back of a popular downtown kebab restaurant. At the other end of the back alley lay the remains of a young man. His pale face squished against the grey asphalt, the remainder of his body resting in an odd crumpled fashion. In the air was a mix of the tantalising scent of barbecued meat, and the stench of a corpse. Halfway down the alley, a street officer stood at the edge of the yellow caution tape that ran from one side of the alley to the other. He was an older gentleman with a kind face. Gwen didn’t recognise him but reminded herself that it had been a while since she was on the force.He held up a rough hand to stop them. She was the only one to stop and speak to him while the others pushed though, ducking under the tape and taking over the scene. “Hi, I’m Miss Cooper with Torchwood. And you are?” His protests were brief and in a thick Irish accent said, “D.I. Bridge. I take it you’re taking over?” She was slightly taken aback by his easy submission. “Yes we are. I’ll let you know when you can resume your investigation.” He laughed gently in an easy manner, “They told me you’d be like this. I was told not to bother starting anything yet as your lot would be here shortly and assume control over everything.” And with a slight nod said, “Enjoy Miss Cooper, it’s all yours.”

Meanwhile without a second thought, Dr Harper began his examination. Owen expertly reviewed the body, occasionally dipping into his kit for a variety of specialised tools. He took his samples silently taking notes and photographs while the rest of the team did their work. Toshiko was carrying a pair of palm sized orbs, one in each hand. As she walked about the crime scene their smooth surface changed to rough, to shaped, to rough and back to smooth again. She replaced them with a device that looked like something from Ghostbusters. It beeped and squawked as she walked around. She leaned over the body, on the other side from Owen, and ran it over the corpse. The machine beeped rapidly. “Hmm, Interesting,” she said then walked a few feet away to a trash bin. She pulled her lap top from her bag and placed it on top and plugged a cord from the unusual device to her computer. Her eyes never deviating from her monitor, she reviewed the results.

Jack and Ianto split up, with Ianto heading to the nearby shops to question the owners and make various enquiries. Silently Jack stood supervising the team, occasionally looking upwards to the top of the two story buildings that ran the span of the narrow alleyway. The welsh brunette walked past her superior and knelt next to Owen, the musky tones of his cologne filling her olfactory senses. A part of her missed his passionate caresses and for just a moment she revelled in the past. She watched his hands move in their practised motions remembering how they’d touched her with equal skill. Wordlessly he finished his work and walked down the alley a ways to where Toshiko was working, her laptop resting atop a bin.

Gwen let her mind briefly wonder if he ever thought of her before turning back to the situation at hand. Before her lay the remains of a young man. She was becoming used to seeing the bodies but every so often it struck her as particularily heart wrenching. This one looked like he should still be in school. He wore a royal blue hoodie which now sported a burgundy coloured splotch around the neck and hood area. His blue track pants were shiny and torn at the knees. His Nike sneakers were scuffed on the top but the soles looked new.

“Poor kid, do we have an ID yet?” asked Jack. Gwen was still crouching down near the corpse, holding something in her hand. “Yeah, Johnny Yardley. Not much else in here. A credit card, a driver’s license, gym membership card and a few receipts.” She looked up from the body, her eyes met Jack’s. Her usually joyful smile replaced with a sorrow that screamed in her eyes. “Jack, He was just a kid, probably still in Uni.” She looked at what was left of the face, imagining what his last moments were like, what he might have seen. All she saw was his wasted potential, “What do you figure did this? Could this be alien?” referring to the state of the man. Usually when she looked to him, he could provide some kind of answer to explain the senselessness of the horror they faced day in and day out. Today he didn’t answer. It was as though he’d run out of ways to say that sometimes the good guy loses and the bad guy gets away. “For once Gwen, I’d like to say that I don’t think this is within our jurisdiction, that this was all human.”

A gust of wind kicked up and his eyes squinted as he looked up into the cloudless sky as though looking for something to appear. After a moment when nothing happened he turned his gaze down and focused his attention on the corpse. “What’s on his fingers?” Jack keenly observed. Johnny’s left hand lay palm up. As Gwen picked it up gently she felt pebbles imbedded in the skin on the back of his hand. She ignored them and studied his fingers, the tips of which were dark looking as though he’d been mucking about with coal. She tenderly rubbed his thumb to see if it transferred. Her own hand came away clean. “Scorched?” She asked Jack. His figure towering over her with the sun behind him made him seem so much larger and imposing. “Hmm, Okay,…” his voice trailing off. She could tell by the expression on his face that there was more he could say but she knew enough by now that he wouldn’t. Jack turned to Gwen, “Looks like we’re done here, let’s send in the clean up crew. I think we have all the answers we’re going to get from this place.” He nodded to the beat cop waiting on the sidelines for the infamous Torchwood to finish their investigation. He helped the brunette up from her crouched position and resumed their earlier debate as they walked away from the yellow tape.

With the silent signal given, the other two packed up their kits and exited as well. Owen led the way back to the SUV, thinking of the video game he’d started before his shift. Gwen and Jack were nattering on, both maintaining their previous positions in some squabble about a case from last week and Tosh brought up the rear, preoccupied with her latest scanner that they retrieved from a pawn shop a few days earlier.Owen paused at the entrance to the street, waiting for the rest of the team to catch up and watched the crowds of shoppers amble by. By now most of the onlookers had been dispersed and the two that remained we busy chatting. It never ceased to amaze him how people still persist with their daily schedules despite all the chaos and daily assault from above. They were always too busy rushing to something or shopping or eating. He rounded the corner and headed up the street a ways leading his unorganised parade. There were examples of the general public’s ignorance all around him now. Behind him a young man lay dead, killed by someone or something, police and lights all around his corpse. In front of him, a bustling heard of people ranging from a flock of gangly tall awkward teenagers to a obese mother tugging the arm of her overweight toddler as she headed down the street. It was as though no one even noticed the alleyway on this hot afternoon. No one except for one woman.

Unnoticed by him, the next two team members had exited the alleyway and had stopped just to the left of it’s entrance. Gwen was laughing at Jack while telling him about the delectable looking cupcakes from the shop just up from them. “So you’re suggesting that maybe he stopped because he wanted some yummy cupcakes?” He asked mockingly during their exchange. Toshiko had stopped walking a while back lost yet again in her computer screen. Jack looked over his shoulder at her, “Come on Tosh. Ianto started making lunch before we left. It’s waiting for us at the hub. You can do whatever brainy thing it is you are doing, once we get back. Besides, I need to get some food into Miss Cooper here before she knocks off the bakery up ahead” She briefly looked up from her screen and realised they were waiting for her. “Oh, yeah,” She said in a daze then resumed her dawdling pace.

Owen watched the crowds and finally noticed Her. She was across the street and up the block a bit standing in front of a cafe. As he looked at her the crowds parted and for a moment it was as though they were the only two people in the world. As with all of his prey, Owen thoroughly looked her up and down. His eye started at her shoes. He often learned a lot about a person from their shoes, and hers were no exception. They were white, the pristine white that you see on television shows but not in real life because it’s just not practical. They were a strappy sandal type that showed off her perfectly manicured toes. His eye followed up her toned legs noticing a red scratch above her knee, just below where her skirt rested. Even from the 30 feet or so that he was from her he could tell that the dress was cotton by the way it flowed in the slight breeze. He mentally made a note to thank Jessica, an old girlfriend that taught him all about fabric. As her dress billowed slightly about her, he felt himself becoming aroused. His eyes scanned the outline of her waist and noticed that while she wasn’t skinny, the object of his attention was curvy in all the right places. ‘Speaking of curves,’ he thought to himself, noticing that her breasts filled the top of the dress perfectly. Her long wavy black hair flowed down to about her waist and the curls bounced as she turned her head to face Owen.He suddenly felt his cheeks warm as he realised she was looking back at him, watching him stare at her. Embarrassed, he moved the black kit he had been holding beside him to directly in front of himself to hide his growing interest, and focused his gaze onto a table at the outside cafe just beyond her. ‘Damn Owen, that was smooth,’ he thought kicking himself for being so obvious. Out of the corner of his eye he saw that she was smiling and had started running towards him, darting between the cars as she made her way across the street. Then again, maybe she liked the obvious type. ‘Owen my boy, this is your lucky day!’ he thought to himself as he watched her gain speed.His smile faded as she brushed passed him, ran about 10 paces and leapt into Jacks surprised arms, wrapping tanned legs around his waist. Without a pause of hesitation, she began passionately kissing him causing him to stumble backwards slightly, re-entering the alley. Jack closed his eyes, returning the kiss and placing his hands under her to hold her up. Gwen, who was standing right next to Jack, was genuinely shocked and sputtered, “Oh my” as she stepped backwards and away, unnoticed by the couple. Tosh was so preoccupied with her equipment that she almost walked right into the entwined duo.The team looked on in awe as the mysterious woman and Jack kissed, but all of them could see that it wasn’t just a kiss. Owen would later describe it as “the type of kiss you would see in those old world war 2 documentaries, when the men would return home to their families”. It was as though they were alone in their own little world. The woman’s long elegant fingers lovingly held both sides of his face as they locked lips.Noticed only by the occasional passer-by, she ran a hand along his shoulder, underneath his great coat and causing the vintage garment to slide off his shoulders and to hang heavily from his elbows. The long fingers of his lover crawled back to his hair, running though his chestnut locks. Jack pulled his lips from hers and started nibbling at her neck, pulling the thin strap of her dress off her shoulder before kissing the skin it had recently protected. In a fluid motion, the woman’s hands moved from his hair down his chest to each side of his shirt ripping it, causing a cascade of buttons to fall, the noise of which seemed like lightening to the trio of onlookers as it echoed down the alleyway. Her action not only revealed the classic standard white T-shirt that he always wore, but also removed his suspenders. With less encumbrance, the woman’s fingers traced their way across his pecks to his shoulder, following the muscles in his arm. His lips found hers and resumed their canoodling.Owen’s mouth hung open as he watched the pair and their exhibition. Gwen was about to step forward to pull them apart when Jack made a sudden and skilled move across the alleyway and pinned the woman against the brick wall. Jack let go of her, allowing the wall to bear the additional weight and let his coat fall to the ground. Taking her hand in his he held it to the wall, feeling the brick underneath his fingers. She tightener her grip with her thighs and the grasp that he held her hand in. He slid his free hand up the outside of her supple thigh, her soft velvety skin marred by a small rugged cut. She moaned softly as he let go of her hand, feeling the silky smoothness of her arm as he ran his hand down to her neck tilting her head making them even more entwined.Gwen felt herself frozen unable to stop them, and partly wanting to join them. She watched as he moved the one hand from her thigh to cup her breast before gently repositioning the other to caress her cheek, their lips never wavering from the osculation. A welcomed breeze blew down the alley and caused her long loose curls to waft about, engulfing them like long shiny raven coloured strands of rope further entwining the pair in their lovers embrace. She exhaled noisily as he returned his caress to her neck with his lips. Her moans became louder and more frantic as he thrust his hips. Her thighs hungrily squeezed in a response to his thrusts.

Toshiko tried to pull herself away from watching the spectacle but it was like she was entranced, her own breathing synchronised to their heavy rhythm, increasing with excitement. Owen had walked closer and now stood next to Gwen, “And I thought I had moves,” he exclaimed as the woman moaned in ecstasy again. The raven haired beauty lifted Jack’s chin looked into his eyes lovingly, then at his lips. She leaned in and the two kissed with a renewed passion.

It was Gwen that finally put a stop to the live copulation. “JACK!” she shouted in her best school marm voice that startled even her, “That’s quite enough!” Both participants stopped kissing, exhaling heavily. Gwen swallowed hard thinking of what else to say or do. She’d never seen anything quite like this and was unprepared as she watched them, still breathing heavily, staring into each others eyes like statues. Neither moved nor spoke, the only motion revealing their being was the panting coming from both of them. They stayed that way for what seemed like an eternity.

The woman’s face lit up as she smiled breaking the rigid expression of lust. The other three team members expected the mysterious woman to say something, but it was Jack that spoke first saying nonchalantly, “That’s one helluva way to say I’m back.” In between her heavy breaths she wiped his sweaty brow replying, “You know me, always better to show it with actions than say it with words.” He smiled broadly as she gave him another quick squeeze with her strong thighs, saying “I would have to agree. Actions really are your strong suit.”

The rest of the team didn’t know if they should speak up or just slink back to the SUV a few blocks away leaving the passionate pair to their copulation. Of course it was Gwen that spoke up again with the most friendly tone she could muster despite the pangs of jealousy that she tried to deny that she felt, “So Jack, aren’t you going to introduce us to your…” her mind racing to come up with a flattering title to the woman in his arms, “friend?”

But of course Jack didn’t reply. He simply gazed into the beautiful dark hazel eyes he thought were gone forever. He brushed her cheek with his left hand feeling it’s softness. Their heavy panting had now slowed to a less fervent pace. After another moment or two, Jack took a step back, allowing the woman to release him from her clutches yet not turning away from her. In one fluid movement, she placed her hands on his shoulders and replaced both feet on the floor, pulling her loose hair off to one side.

It was Jack that couldn’t seem let go of her. His hands still rested on her hips. Gwen noted that it was as though he was looking at her for the first time in ages. He moved his hand back to her cheek, stroking it gently, feeling the pale creamy white skin. His hand then progressed from her face to her hair, twisting a silky strand though his fingertips as if examining it’s contents. A smile spread across his face and it was as though they were lost in each other again.

Fearing a second display of PDA, Gwen started herding everyone toward the SUV. “Let’s go back to the hub and you can tell you can tell us all about how you two kids met over a nice cup of Ianto’s special ‘Pomegranate relaxation’ blend tea,” She suggested, looking at Owen and Tosh, nodding at the vehicle where she knew Ianto would be patiently waiting to chauffeur them back again. The three were surprised when Jack simply replied, “We’ll walk.”

Gwen was a little worried that he hadn’t taken his eyes off the woman since she ran up to him. It was as though he was wrapped up in a spell. And yet, there was something familiar that Gwen recognised in his look. It was that same sparkle he once had during one of their late night talks about lost loves. It wasn’t long before Gwen realised that since wild horses couldn’t drag him away right now, it was probably better to let him have his moment with this woman and let him come back when he was ready. Besides, Tosh could rig it that so that they could monitor the couple by CCTV from back at the hub. Happy that she had at least managed to get him redressed she conceded defeat. “Okay Jack, You two have a nice stroll and we’ll see you in a while.” she said and, taking her gawking colleagues in each arm, headed off to the truck.

Once alone the lovers remained engrossed in each other. After a long while she broke the gaze and sheepishly looked down at his coat as it lay splayed on the floor. “Sorry, I guess I got carried away.” She spoke first. He looked down and pulled off the torn shirt with a smile, “Don’t worry. I have lots of these.” He balled it up and tossed it into the nearest dumpster. He replaced his bracers overtop of his white undershirt. After swiftly putting on his coat her took her hand in his, feeling her long elegant fingers between his own. His thumb rubbed hers with affection. The pair walked out of the alley, onto the street, mindlessly passing shops and people. Jack held onto her hand as though if he let go she would float away. It was like old times, except that she wasn’t wearing a hoop skirt and he was dressed in the wrong time period. Jack sauntered down the street flirting with the mystery woman.

After a long time, she remarked, “I see that you still have you knack for making me weak in the knees,” She spoke first. He chuckled and replied, “How long has it been, for you I mean?” She gave him a quizzical look. He stammered trying to explain his question. Long ago he’d prepared what he would say and it wasn’t coming out the way he’d practiced but she always did do that to him. When he was with her he became a silly schoolboy in love. “I was a time traveller too at one point. I understand the whole circular time process. I was just curious how long it had been for you since we last,… You know.” He grinned his eyes glazed over for a moment. “Um, I mean, really, it’s been a about 8 decades for me but it could have been lifetimes for you. You still look young but sometimes it’s hard to tell. You could be hundreds of years older now.” He was trying to be friendly but his words were sounding rude and confused. To his surprise she just laughed. “Is that your way of saying I look even more ravishing?” Her eyes were still the same hazel brown and full of life, “You always did say you didn’t like your nose. I like the new face. It took me a moment to realise who you were but there’s no mistaking that smile,…” Jack smiled a naughty smile and continued, “or those lips.” She bit her plump bottom lip and blushed. Jack couldn’t remember her ever blushing and chuckled at how cute it was. His voice was flirty and his grin was completely un-surpressable. “Come on, let’s head back to the office. I have some stuff to get done but then I’m all yours.” She arched her brown eyebrow suggestively at him as he lead her on.

Walking back to the hub they came upon a small playground. She ran from Jack and hopped onto a swing. “Come on, push me Jack! Let’s have some fun,” she called as he followed her. “Higher, higher” She called as he began pushing her. He laughed as she went higher and higher giggling like a school girl. It wasn’t long before work started to gnaw at his thoughts and he remembered he was due back at the hub. “Tamrah, We really should be going,” He started, a little annoyed. “Aw, but Jack,…” She called with a pout. There was a bit of a strain in his smile which she recognized instantly. “Fine, we can go.” The disappointment rang in her words as she slowed the swing down and disembarked the ride. She took his hand and the pair headed back along the walkway again ignoring the people that surrounded them.

Tamrah spotted a hot dog stand along the quay. “Just one more quick stop Jack?” she pleaded. He couldn’t see the harm in a quick bite and gave in. She ordered a jumbo smokie with everything. With a look of mock disgust he pointed out, “Those things’ll kill you you know.” She took a large bite causing bits of fried onion and shredded cheese falling to the ground. “I’ve got about as much need to fear dying as you do.” He laughed at her comment as the pair began walking down the promenade. After all these years, she still got him. Theirs was an effortless relationship. Out of all the lovers he’d had over the years, she understood him, and she could do it effortlessly. As cliché as it was, it truly was an amazing feeling to be “gotten”.

He pondered just how much he reciprocated getting her. The last time he’d seen her was as he drifted off to the best post-coital sleep he’d ever had. The question that came back to him so often when he was alone at night finally escaped his lips and directed itself to the only person it mattered to. “Why couldn’t you stay?” He surprised himself with how hurt he sounded. She took a few more steps a head of him before she stopped walking, but didn’t turn to face him. “Only you would ask that. Most would ask, why did I leave?” When he didn’t reply she made a vain attempt to distract him and attempted to shrug it off by saying “Jack, that was ages ago, why bother with such a silly thing now that I’m back?” Her words betraying her true shameful feelings. With skill, she’d managed to avoid the serious issue and turned, trading her frown for a smile at the face of her former love. “We have England,” She stretched her arms outward to gesture the rest, “we’re on earth, the sun is shining and for once the world isn’t coming to an end. Can’t we just enjoy this moment?” The handsome Captain tried to understand the woman in front of him. He knew that her previous incarnation was vivacious, sexy, intelligent and lively, this version of her seemed childish, flippant and duplicitous. And yet, whenever he looked into her lovely eyes, everything else washed away and he was left seeing only his Tamrah.

He decided to let it drop for the moment as they walked down to the docks, Jack preparing to show her the business entrance of the Hub, pausing at the last dock for one last moment in the sun with her. She scarfed down the last of her hot dog and looked out at the water.

The sun was setting and suddenly she turned to face him. ’It’s no use, not now’ she thought. Here he was in front of her and she couldn’t bring herself to burden him, not yet. Looking at him caused a flood of x-rated memories to come rushing back. Her mischievous smile spread across her lips like old times. She couldn’t bare to deal with anything serious at the moment wishing only to grasp at the fleeting moments of a past love affair. She took hold of his large hand, Jack smiled that handsome smile of his. She suddenly had a revelation of what else would make for a perfect day with her lost love. “Jack,” Her lyrical voice was upbeat and flirty again. “I think we should go swimming.” She said matter of factly the gleam of mischief in her eye. “Last one in is a dog’s breakfast!” She challenged as she slipped out of her dress and raised an eyebrow at him as if daring him to follow. She kicked off her sandals and began running nude down the plank.

Jack started chasing her, stripping off his great coat and shirt. He heard an old woman protest their actions claiming they were causing anarchy. By the time he got to the edge, she had jumped in and was cajoling him on. He managed to slip out of the rest of his clothes in a flash and joined her in the chilly water. The two swam and exuberantly splashed each other, completely ignoring the crowd that was gathering on the pier. He dove under to playfully tug her under and as he surfaced, she swam up to him and wrapped her warm soft legs around his torso. Her body heat felt good in the chilly water.

They had began kissing quite passionately again. Eventually the duo were interrupted by a local police officer who, Jack eventually noticed, had been shouting at them for some time judging by the tone of his voice. “Oy, you there,” he said shining his torch at the bathing duo. The couple looked at the crowd of onlookers and then back at eachother, giggling like teenagers. “I guess we’ve been busted” said Jack still holding her in the water, reluctant to let go. She winked at him and retorted. “Handcuffs? Kinky!"

Back at the hub, Ianto was listening with surprising restraint to Owen describe the mystery woman and her encounter with Jack. Gwen had watched them on the CCTV for a while and had given up worrying about the pair when they’d stopped for a hot dog. She was trying to busy herself with samples from an old crime scene when her mobile rang. “Hello?” she said hoping Jack had come to his senses and was calling in for a ride. Instead the familiar voice of her old partner came across, “Gwen, I think you better come down here. Your boss, you know, the good looking bloke, is about to be arrested for indecent exposure along with some woman. Actually, they make a rather strikingly beautiful couple. I know he’s handsome but he really does get more than his fair share of gorgeous girls. Where does he find them?” Gwen didn’t know how to answer his question but urged him not to do anything and that she would be right there.

Managing to slip out of the hub without everyone noticing, she walked the block down to the dock forcing her way through the crowd. Her short time working at Torchwood had taught her the tone and manner to use when making a path through a large often unruly crowd. By the time she got to the edge, the woman was wrapped up in an emergency blanket laughing and watching Jack as he toyed with Andy, running in a zigzag pattern away from him, while the police officer attempted in vain to cover up the “little” Captain. It was like trying to wrangle a school boy back into his clothes, Gwen thought. Time to take control she thought. With a stern voice she said, “Jack, that’s enough! Put some clothes on, you’ll frighten children waiving that thing about like that!” Jack stopped resisting and allowed himself to be covered with the blanket, “Well gee Mom,” he started. Gwen shot him a look and he stopped. “Really Jack, I can’t leave you alone for a moment can I?” She said mockingly as she walked up and put her hand on Andy’s shoulder, “It’s Okay. I’ll take it from here. Look, why don’t you go take a break while I get these two off? Cafe Tea is just around the corner, you could have that Cafe Mocha that you like, and they have those scones you said were to die for,” She rambled on in hopes that the hurt look on the officer’s face would disappear the more she spoke. She knew she was stepping on his toes but this was her job and her jurisdiction now,.. Well, sort of.

Andy eventually agreed with reluctance and the talented former inspector managed to get the two lovers dressed again. Jack had missed the fun life with his former love and longed for just a few more hours alone with her before returning to the business at the Hub. As he dressed he took Gwen aside, “So, has Tosh gotten any answers on those tests from the crime scene?” He asked Gwen avoiding the subject at hand as he fixed the bracers in place. “No, she was just getting started when I left to get you two.” He straighted out his collar on his coat, “And Owen, any answers on his samples?” She was beginning to see a pattern in his questions, “No, he was analysing them when I left.” He looked at the brunette team member and spoke with a smile, “Well then, if there’s no answers and nothing pressing to discuss it looks like I can have my curfew extended then, doesn’t it?” Something about all this unnerved Gwen. "Jack, I don’t think it’s a good idea for for the two of you to be left alone. You seem to become,… " she scrambled to find the most tactful way to say it, “distracted.”

Anyone could see how his face lit up when he was with her and the darkness that usually clouded his thoughts sometimes disappeared completely when he looked at his former lover. “Gwen, you and I both know that in this day and age with CCTV, GPS, your Torchwood training and a city the size of Cardiff, there’s not a lot of places I can hide.” Gwen took out an earpiece from her pocket and handed it to him.

As he took the proffered earbud, his words were authoritative rather than bargaining. “Look Gwen, You don’t have a choice on this. I’m in no danger.” His glance at his raven haired team member reassured her and she caved, “Fine, but only two hours. If you’re even 1 minute late Jack, I’ll send out the rescue squad.” Her forcefulness was something that Jack made a mental note to explore at a later date. “Thanks Mom, I’ll be back before curfew,…” he said placing a hand on her shoulder before running off, hand in hand with the mystery woman.

Gwen took the short route back a little defeated but informed Tosh of the agreement she’d just made. Meanwhile, the pair of lovers took a detour, enjoying the long walk to the hub reminiscing. Tamrah spotted a cotton candy vendor, her eyes lighting up. “Jack,” she said pulling him towards the small shop. “In all the universes I have been to, I have to say one thing for Earth, there’s nothing quite like cotton candy,…” Then she furrowed her brows and thought for a moment before continuing, “unless you count what the Diaptabi serve on special occasions but that’s more a contraceptive than a sweet treat, really.” She smiled at him. The Captain didn’t know why she was acting so flighty but didn’t want to disappoint her. “One mount of pink floss coming right up.” He said.

He returned with her sweet treat, which she happily shared. Being happy with her again drew this thoughts to the last time they were this blissful. Once again his thoughts turned to why she suddenly left and he couldn’t help but ask yet again, “Tamrah, honestly, why did you go?” She stared at the fluffy treat and replied, “Jack, I’ve left a lot of places. Every once in a while the time comes to hit the road. You know how that works Jack. You’ve done it before too,”

“Yeah but, You left ME,” Jack pointed out doing his best not to whine. His eyes began to whell up and he fought back the tears with a grimace. After all these years it felt as though she’d just walked out on him again. She surprised him by turning to look at him, her eyes catching his gaze and holding it with a firm stern grip, “Come on Jack, vulnerability isn’t one of your strong suits,” she quipped with a slightly hurt tone. “Just as magnanimity isn’t one of yours. I guess it’s tough though when your lot in life is to pass judgement on every living thing!” Jack’s reply was spiteful and left him full of rage, with a lingering feeling of regret. At that moment, he didn’t know if he wanted to hit her or shag her. The pained look in her eyes as she broke the hold on his gaze almost made him crumble. She turned around and stared out at the city. Her world wasn’t coming together as she imagined it would. Suddenly it was as though she was seeing herself through his eyes and wasn’t liking what she saw. At that moment she wanted nothing more than to tell him exactly what happened that day. “Jack I,” Tamrah was cut off by Jack’s com. He raised his hand to his ear and clicked on the bluetooth. “Yeah?” He asked. Tosh’s calm voice came on the line. “Jack, Owen has the results back from the tests. I think you should come see this. It’s,…” Her voice trailed off like it did when she became so wrapped up in what she was doing that she forgot she was talking to someone. Jack tried a gentle verbal nudge, “Earth to Tosh, It’s what?” He could hear her fumble and knew that she was probably cursing herself for yet another social embarrassment. “Um, oh, yeah it’s,… well, the results are interesting. Definitely something you need to see.”

He made a pleasant goodbye and looked back at the woman that for so many years had been his world. Thoughts of how she smelled, the way she laughed when he tickled her feet, and the way she bit her bottom lip when she orgasmed, all came flooding back to mind. As frustrated as he’d been with her, it was being over come by his love for her. His tone was now one of compassion and care as he said, “Look, what ever it was that made you leave,.. it,…” he sighed heavily, “well it just doesn’t matter any more. That was years ago, for both of us. Come on, I’ll show what I’ve been doing since.” He took her arm and they walked the rest of the way in silence, she enjoying her downy delicacy and he lost in a sea of memories, revelling in the bliss of each and every one of them.

By the time they’d arrived she’d finished her treat and was looking about the fountain suspiciously. “Your top secret headquarters is in a water feature?” She’d meant it as a light hearted attempt to return to their joviality of earlier. She’d watched his expression grow dark again and wanted to avoid any solemnity. There’d be time enough for that later.

Reminiscing had brought Jack to the conclusion that something had changed the woman he’d loved so passionately that he’d have moved planets for. Alone again a strange feeling overcame Jack. It was as though the happiness they were sharing was just a reflection of a fleeting moment from the past and that any second some big bad evil alien race would come and ruin it and she’d disappear forever.

He stepped up onto the stone platform, extended a hand to her and said, “Come on, We’ll take the scenic route.” She cuddled up to him lovingly causing Jack to feel awkward and childish again. His personal feelings had yet to be decided about the familiar stranger on his arm but if there was one thing he knew that would never change despite her regenerations, it was that he could trust her to the ends of the earth. As they descended upon the cement slab she marvelled appreciatively at the site.

Once inside, instead of the usual tour people received, she was lead straight to the conference room where the rest of the team sat awaiting their special guest. Gwen had assembled them and warned each person to be nice to the mysterious female that seemed to share a past with their fearless leader.

Jack arrived with his usual flourish strode into the room, winked at Gwen as he perched upon a hutch near the entrance. The raven haired beauty took the chair nearest the door and leaned back in the plush high backed swivel chair.

Ianto produced two steaming cups of tea, handing them to the new occupants, although he was giving the new visitor a bit of a jealous glare. “So,” started Gwen, “I don’t think we’ve been introduced yet, I’m Gwen, that’s Owen, Tosh and Ianto. And of course, you know Jack.” She said hoping to get the woman to take over from there. Instead it was Jack again that took the cue. “I’m sorry everyone,” He rose quickly and stood behind her with his strong hands protectively resting on her slender shoulders, before continuing, “I should be the one making the introductions. This is the Judge, Tamrah. She’s,…” He paused trying to think of how to explain their past to his team without revealing more than he needed. “Let’s just say that the two of us go way back,” he said with a goofy grin that he had no control over. She smiled back a naughty grin and replied, “way way back and forth even.” The others exchanged a quick quizzical look before writing it off to some private sexual reference.

“So Tamrah,” started Owen, “You’re a Judge, that’s um,… great. Did you meet Jack in court, had he been arrested or something?” he knew sounded odd and he’d meant it to come out differently, hopefully as a result of genuinely keen observation based on her profession but ended up being distracted by her perky breasts that peeked out from under her white dress. A quick warning glare from Jack brought him back to earth and halted all his fantasies of the raven haired beauty. Tamrah laughed and after sipping some of her tea spoke in a most melodious voice, “Actually, we met while we were both with the same Doctor for a while. Travelling companions you might say. My work had very little to do with bringing us together.” Then, after another sip of her tea, spoke to the man lingering unseen in the shadows behind her, “Ianto was it? this is heavenly. Of all the places I’ve been to, and trust me, there’s been a few, I can honestly say that you truly brew the finest tea in all the known universe.” The tall man lurking in the corner blushed, muttered a few words of thanks then slipped out of the boardroom.

Tosh took the opportunity to learn more about her boss by asking in a small voice, “So, did you travel anywhere fun and exotic?” The Judge smiled and looked up at Jack, “Everywhere we went was fun,…” Her happy face wavered for a moment revealing a hint of something that Gwen couldn’t place. She continued, “Exotic,… that would be one way of describing it.”

Jack hoped to get the meeting underway in an attempt to speed things along, and get back to his alone time with Tamrah. “Tosh, what’s the latest news on the energy readings?” The screen in front of then changed from displaying the Torchwood logo to a map of Cardiff and surrounding areas.

Tosh started with the presentation, “The last energy spike was only a mile away. That’s where we found the body. He’d been at the epicentre of the recent spike. There’s still no discernible pattern. I’m working on a program that will analyse the data and hopefully give us some answers. So far the only problem arising from these energy spikes are that they are causing temporary power drains, although the black outs are lasting longer and longer.” She typed away at the keyboard of the laptop in front of her. The picture changed to reveal points of the city with numbers next to them. “These are the locations that have been hit so far along with the duration of each spike and it’s subsequent power failure duration. Two of the locations have been hit twice already.” She turned to face the team focusing on Jack. Instead it was Tamrah that replied, “Have you had any changes in weather patterns during this time? Sometimes that’s a clear indicator of whether it’s an internal or external force causing the issue. Alternatively, have you thought to use a hyper-accelatron locator to help track down the source of the drain?” Tosh was taken aback. The woman actually seemed to be rather educated with a few good ideas. Beautiful was definitely Jack’s type but smart was something the scientist wasn’t expecting of her boss’ latest conquest. It was almost too bad that Tosh already eliminated the weather possibility.

Smiling she replied, “The weather patterns haven’t changed. The weather throughout Cardiff has been lovely and warm. Not a cloud in the sky.” She brought up the local weather radar report and super imposed it onto the map of Cardiff that was up on the screen. As it cycled through an accelerated pattern of the last few days she spoke, “As for the, what did you call it,” Tamrah repeated the name, “A hyper-accelatron locator.” Tosh nodded and confessed that she wasn’t sure what that was nor if they had one. The woman put down her cup of tea before speaking, “It’s an instrument that locates origins of power source reduction and depending on the type, can often be manipulated into a return. From the sounds of it, rather than predicting where it’ll strike next, you should be trying to locate where the power is being taken and by whom. Harnessing that much power takes skill and an appropriate vessel. Using the machine could help you locate both. That way you can stop the occurrences and it might even help you find a way to either release the energy safely or turn the power into a useful form rather than a harmful one.” Miss Santo was blown away. The stranger had been more help than her seasoned veteran team-mates on this case although she was a little disturbed by how knowledgeable the Judge seemed to be.

Toshiko took the idea and tried to talk it out, “Okay, the first thing we need is a locator, I might be able to create a program using the Hub’s computer system, but, the coding would take some time.” Tamrah smiled and continued for her, “It’s a simple thing really, just a matter of taking the binery alloy and fusing it to the internal subquatrane cortex and then translinking it though an energy matrix to produce a radiating subsonic locator. The results can then be ran through the program you designed using the Hub’s computer.” She looked at the table of stunned faces and said, “See? Simple.” Toshiko was so excited to start she just about leapt from her chair. “Perfect, why didn’t I think of it. I’ll get started right away,” she said taking her laptop and rushing out of the room. Jack’s confused expression matched his tone, “You understood that?” he asked as she brushed by. Tosh paused briefly and, nodding furiously, flashed an eager grin to him that meant, “I’ve got a solution, I can’t wait to get working on it”. Jack nodded and turned his focus to the rest of the team. “Well since she’s discovered what to do, let’s give her all the help we can. This locator is going to need parts.” As every good leader does, he needed to give instructions to his team, “Gwen, why don’t you help Ianto rustle up any additional components she requires.” She accepted their orders and headed out of the room, almost bumping into Ianto on the way out. The pair started strategizing as they headed further into the lab. To avoid being rushed from the room like the rest, Owen made his excuses and headed to the autopsy room of his own accord.

Jack chided humourously, “You know, you might have changed the course of Human science by giving her Sonic technology ahead of it’s time.” He walked to the door, closing it gently. “Alone at last,” Jack said grinning his easy content smile at the room’s sole other occupant. She worried that leading him on could hurt her just as much as it would hurt him.

He took the seat next to hers and smiled, brushing a strand of hair from her cheek, “I’ve missed you, you know.” Tamrah offered a half smile in return thinking of how to answer. she knew that what she was going to say would change their relationship and this might be the last time she saw him, so close and so perfect. She leaned forward and kissed him longingly. He pulled back after he felt the tear roll down her cheek and moisten his own. A confused and worried look filled his expression, “What’s wrong Tam?” he asked holding her hand in his own.

She took a deep breath fighting to hold back the tears and said, “You have to know that I wouldn’t want to hurt you Jack, not for anything.” He didn’t like how this was starting but waited for her to continue. “I can’t tell you what happened or why I left.” Guilt prodded her on, “I have an ulterior motive in finding you Jack.” Her confession was anticipated but he wasn’t expecting what she said next.

It was taking all the strength she could muster to continue rather than just leaping into his arms again and forgetting the world, “A lot’s happened since that night Jack. Well, specifically something’s changed,… I’ve changed,…” she didn’t know how to explain her situation. Jack hoped to help, “I know, you’ve regenerated. So? I’ve been through that before, I know how that works. It’s not an issue with me. No matter what you look like you’re still my Tam-” She couldn’t bear the agony any more and just blurted out, “I didn’t come back for you Jack! I came because I hoped you could help me find the Doctor.” He let go of her hand and planted a scrutinizing eye on her. He was hurt that she wouldn’t want him back after all the pining he had done over her. “The Doctor,” he repeated incredulously. “That’s what brought you back? THAT’S why you found me?” He knew he was shouting but didn’t care. After all this time, she finally returned to him and it wasn’t for him.

“Well, you’re out of luck because the last I saw of him, he was sailing off into the big blue yonder. The man you are looking for is on some other planet saving some other species with some other broad.” She slumped back in her chair defeated, tears welled in her eyes and her full lips forming themselves into a frown. The sight of which made it feel as though his heart was going to leap out of his chest and for a moment he thought it might actually kill him then and there. Now he was even more angry with himself for hurting her. He knelt down and took her hand in both of his. “Tamra, what is going on? What is it that you need the Doctor for? You aren’t acting like yourself, and it can’t just be the regeneration,… I can see that it’s more than that. You’ve changed. I can see it in your eyes, that there’s something more you aren’t telling me.” Jack was a ball of emotions. Fear, anger, frustration, concern all played in his eyes.

It seemed like an eternity that they gazed into each others eyes. Finally she took a deep breath and exhaled heavily. “You’re right. You know before, when you asked how long it’s been for me? Well, it’s been almost two full centuries since I’ve seen you last Jack.” Now she was unable to stop the tears and had started crying softly. “I can’t begin to tell you all that’s happened.” She lifted a hand to his cheek and caressed it with her thumb. “But something serious is happening. Something that only the Docto-” suddenly the Judge closed her eyes and winced. Her face filled with pain and pulled back from him. She managed to wimper, “help”. Jack stared at her unsure of what he was seeing. She was fading in and out and the look on her face was one of terror. “Jack!” she shouted and reached out for him, before disappearing. He reached out to her but ended up placing his hand to her empty chair. She was gone.

Chapter 2

Owen sat at his computer desk watching an old black and white cartoon. He stood up and walked to the coffee table behind his desk hoping for a piece of leftover pizza from their last order 3 days ago. Finding the boxes empty he decided to order in. Before he could call he felt a slight gust of wind and turned around in time for Tamrah to fall into his arms, unconscious. The floor of the hub isn’t great but it would have to do at the moment he thought to himself. He slipped into medic mode and thought of his ABC’s, breathing, bleeding and consciousness. He placed two fingers to the side of her neck and expertly found her pulse. It was faint but there, although there was something odd about it, the rhythm was strange. He shrugged it off, “she’s alive, check” he thought to himself and proceeding with his examination, making a mental note to analyse it further once she was recovered. He tried calling her name and tapping her cheek. Suddenly Ianto was beside him. “What happened?” He asked. “Well you know me and birds,…” Owen smarted off. Ianto gave him one of his standard silent incredulous looks, “Of course, It’s an everyday occurrence to have woman falling for you.” Owen shot an annoyed look at him, “Alright, Alright, just help me get her into the medicentre.”

Startled Jack stood for a moment in disbelief. She was gone. Again. Worried and frantic he opened the door to the boardroom and stood at the top of the staircase on the familiar platform holding the railing, his eyes wildly moved back and forth searching for Her. He found the object of his pursuit just as Owen and Ianto lifted her off the ground. His gaze followed them as they made their way down the stairs.

They placed her on the autopsy table and Owen slipped on his white coat. Ianto quietly made himself busy by assisting with setting up the various monitors and sensors he knew Owen would require. Dr. Harper’s exam now proceeded to the stage of figuring out why his patient is stable but unconscious and unresponsive. He lifted her left eyelid and flashed the small light in his hand at the pupil. He moved onto the other eye and then stepped back looking at his patient. There was something odd about her condition. He reviewed the reports on the monitor that Ianto had hooked up. Something about this whole situation bothered him but he couldn’t place a finger on what it was.

He turned to pick up another instrument when he noticed Jack standing at the entrance way above him. They exchanged glances. His commander seemed frozen up on the platform watching Tamrah. Jack’s words echoed around the room solemnly, “she said she was dying, then she disappeared.” Ianto and Owen exchanged glances. Owen gave a sympathetic look before replying, “Look Jack, she’s stable but I’m not sure what’s wrong. Why don’t you get a cuppa tea and I’ll call you when I know more?” As an answer, a look of alarm took Jack’s face, as he called “Tamrah!”.

With confusion, Dr Harper turned back to see his patient’s face contort with pain and release a blood curdling painful scream that lifted her chest off the table until she was sitting straight up. Then an arch of energy burst through her in a 3 ft radius. Just as suddenly, she fell back to the hard surface with a slight thump and opened her mouth. Owen found the sight strangely beautiful. He watched as a gold dust floated out of her mouth upward then dissipated. It was as though a hive of teeny yellow fireflies had swarmed out and then died. His patient now rested calmly as though she was asleep. Owen looked over his shoulder at Jack and saw that the rest of the team had witnessed it too. Speaking of their fearless leader, he nearly stumbled as he rushed down the stairs, luckily catching the railing and finally came to rest on the stool at the opposite side of the table from Owen. Wordlessly he took Tamrah’s right hand in his, stroking it gently.

The next few hours were a flurry of movement for the team. Although it was hard to tell, outside the hub the evening dragged on and the rest of the city was preparing for a restful night. However, as was the norm for Torchwood, their night was just beginning. Jack and Tamrah were the only ones not included in the hustle and bustle tonight. The only movement Jack had made was to take his left hand, rest it on her cheek and stroke gently with his thumb, never taking his gaze off her face. His eyes swelled up with tears but he didn’t care. His attention was soley on the occupant of the exam table before him.

Meanwhile the rest of the team scurried about. Owen did tests and expertly moved about the grieving Captain. He rushed between his patient and his station working out a prognosis. The ever inaudible Ianto, having given all the requested components to Toshiko had changed gears and was slipping silently about providing sustenance to the team, stopping only occasionally to observe Jack who’s profile could be seen from the entryway to the medical bay.

Toshiko’s masterful fingers typed wildly as she set up the code for the new data matrix program to analyse the current rash of energy spikes that were occurring throughout Cardiff. Her eyes darted back and forth between her two screens. She knew the program would take a good 24 – 48 hours to create and another 72 – 96 hours to run once it was complete. It was easy to see why she was eager to start. She barely noticed the rest of the team. Gwen and Ianto had helped her as best they could but Tosh finally convinced them to leave her alone as they’d become more of a hindrance than a help. It was a relief to have something to preoccupy her from the situation in the medical lab. She didn’t like to see people in pain and from the sound of her scream, Tamrah was in agony.

The last team member had stopped her rushing about to check in at home and give her precious sweetheart the news that he’d heard so often lately. When the line picked up she heard a groggy voice at the other end. She swallowed hard and mustered a reply as gaily as she could, “Hello Rhys,” She heard a grunt and a some rustling of sheets as he turned over to look at the clock. His tired voice had a hint of annoyance, “It’s 11 p.m. Gwen, let me guess, you aren’t coming home anytime soon?” She closed her eyes and forced herself to sound cheerful. Her voice came across lyrical with her Welsh accent even more pronounced, “Well, No actually, I’m afraid we’ve had a big case drop into our laps and will be working on it all night. I’m sorry to wake you. I just didn’t want you to worry.” Her eyes fell onto the touching scene in the sick bay and remained there. She barely heard his jibe, “Then it’s a good thing I didn’t make supper tonight isn’t it,” Her voice sounded far away to even herself, “Yeah, I guess.” Something seemed to be distracting her and when she realised she wasn’t going to be able to shake it off she ended her call, “Look Rhys, I have to go. Have a good sleep, I’ll be home tomorrow. Love you,” then hung up before he could reply. She walked forward as though in a trance.

She stopped at the top of the stairs, leaned against the metal bar that served as a railing and focused on the patient. Her breathing slowed down and, while she was fully aware of her surroundings and could see what was in front of her she began to see other things as well. It felt like when she would sit at the pier and daydream. But these weren’t her daydreams. She saw strange incomprehensibly foreign things. Odd creatures and strange planets came to mind. Then she began to recognise a few other things. There was a blond haired girl, wide pleasant smile and sparkling eyes, and a gentleman. His smile made her feel safe and secure and something else,… happy. Then she saw Him. Tall handsome, with lush dark hair and a smile that could melt the clothes off of a nun. She couldn’t believe that the glum man sitting in the sick bay before her now was the same man she saw in her reverie.

The team had often postulated about who Jack really was and why he lived such a secluded life in the hub. Some of the theories were just crazy and ranged from him being a secret member of the royal family that was stolen by the CIA at birth and was raised on a secret American base as a plot against the Crown, to a more simple theory that Jack was an orphan that Torchwood adopted and trained to be the next defense against the forces of evil aliens. The latter being a favourite of Owen’s that seems to change more and more each telling leaning heavily to the theory that Jack is something of a superhero akin to Batman. But now, the person Gwen was seeing in her vision was a younger, happier Jack. There he stood laughing, but he wasn’t in his usual period military outfit. He was wit

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