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Torchwood - Levels

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Levels carries on from my last story Starting Again which is why certain characters are back. 






It all started the day after my 30th birthday. I was tired after seeing my friends the night before. I didn't have a hang over, I wasn't drinking as I drove myself. I didn't envy my friends they had been drinking and quite a few of them had young, loud children. Mostly I didn't envy them when with snotty noses and chocolate hand prints. Not to mention Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, Mum! But today waking up newly 30 and alone I could feel time marching on without me. But still there was no time to feel melancholy I had to be at work in half and hour.


There was a strange silence outside. There were cars stopped on the road their drivers absent. It was a bit odd but I didn't have time to think too much of it. As I got closer to work it occurred to me that I hadn't passed anyone. I hadn't seen a single soul, which was unusual. It was usually a busy time of day. I tired to think if it was a bank holiday I'm missed but you don't tend to get them on a Thursday. I still hadn't met anybody by the time I had got to the office. Even the receptionist wasn't there. I let myself into the office and settled myself in. No one was there either which was very odd. I checked my watch and it was five to nine, the clock on the wall said the same. So where was everyone?


Hours went by and still no one came in. The phone which usually rang constantly was silent. I looked out of the window onto the street belong. There was no one anywhere to be seen. I rang my friends and family but there was no answer.


Where was everybody?


I left the office (no one would notice anyway) and wondered the streets for hours. Still I couldn't find anybody. Now I was really beginning to get scared. What was happening?


The Torchwood gang walked into the rebuilt Hub.


'I still can't believe how much it looks liked it used to,' Gwen said.


'Why shouldn't it?' Owen asked.


'We weren't they only thing that died,' Ianto said. 'The hub was destroyed.'


'It must have been hard work,' Tosh said.


'A lot of retconned builders and the hub did a bit of the work itself,'




'The alien tech wasn't just in the vaults. The hub itself was part organic. So some of it regrew on it's own. It did change things slightly. Well that's what happens when a building thinks for itself. Welcome to Hub 0.2.' Jack said smiling and heading off to his office.


Chapter Two


'Now you're going to have to stay here while we organise accommodation for you,' Jack said to Tosh, Owen and Ianto 'Obviously we weren't expecting you back.'


'We weren't expecting to be back,' Owen said dryly. 'So where exactly are we going to sleep? My old desk doesn't exactly look comfy.'


'You know I said the building changed things? Follow me.'


They followed Jack through a door that never used to be there. Into a room that was set out with a couple of camp beds in it.


'I wondered why it came up with this room, now I know.'


'It's like something out of Harry Potter,' Ianto said amazed.


'But there's only two beds,' Toshiko pointed out.


'I've got somewhere else for Ianto. Anyway make yourselves at home.'


Tosh and Owen were settling in and Ianto was getting reacquainted with the coffee machine when Jack decided to go out for some air.


The cool air of the bay brushed Jack's face. A poster flapped in front of him trying to break free. He stopped to read it. It was a poster for a missing woman Debbie Harrison who hadn't been seen since last Wednesday. She looked so happy in the picture. Should it be something Jack as interested in? Word had it the rift was closed now, so it couldn't just take people away like before. But Jack knew closed or not it had left a scar that could be smelt far and wide, that Cardiff was no more safe now than it had been before. But still she could just be a normal missing person. People go missing every day. Jack sighed and made his way back to the hub.


I didn't know why I'd gone to Cardiff Bay, but it was a good a place as any. As I walked towards the water, a movement caught my eye. Could it be a person? I looked around my hopes dashed as I saw I was as alone as I had been for the last week. I turned to leave unsure why I'd come there anyway. When something stopped me, I heard voices, I looked around in excitement. There were people there! My excitement turned to confusion as I saw they were wearing old fashioned clothes. Soon I was engulfed with sound as I found myself in the working Cardiff docks of the early twentieth century. Now I was even more scared. 


Chapter Three


The noise was so loud and I was so scared. I ran away as fast as I could. Everything around me changed the noise stopped and the people disappeared. The last person I saw was a man in a long grey coat soon too he was gone as well and then I was alone again.


'I don't feel like I should be here,' Toshiko said sitting down on the hard camp bed.


'It is a bit strange. I'm not sure I feel to good staying here the place has always been a bit creepy.' Owen said inspecting the provisions that had been left for them.


'I don't mean here. I mean HERE we shouldn't be alive, it's wrong. I died.'


'You don't feel like it's a second chance?'


'No it just feels wrong,' she said sadly.


'I thought you could bunk in with me,' Jack said smiling. Picking up some bedding.


'I'm not sure sir.' Ianto replied.


'Sir! Ianto what's wrong?'


'I've had time to think. I think we should cool things.'


'Why? You're back, I never thought I'd see you again.'


'Exactly and now I've got my life back I've decided to make some changes. One of them is that I'm not going to be your play thing.'


'You're not!'


'Come on I am. I'm not exactly the one and only,'




'How many have there been over the years? Hundreds, thousands? Can you even remember them all?'


'I can.'


'It's impossible. If I hadn't come back I'd just be one of those forgotten memories. I deserve more than that.'


'Of course you do.'


'That's why I'm taking my life back. I am Ianto Jones. I am not defined by my relationship to you.' He said taking his bedding and leaving.


Chapter Four


'It's just not right Owen,' Tosh said to Owen as she headed to the door.


'Where are you going?' he asked.


'I need to get some air.'


I sat down and cried. I didn't know what was happening to me. I couldn't even talk to anyone about it. I was alone, I was really alone. I had to find out what was happening to me. I dried my eyes and go up there must be something I could do. Rather than just accept it. The rest of the world couldn't just have disappeared. I turned to head off again. When noise hit me again. There was a hubbub around me. There were people all around me. The clothes they were wearing were strange, unusual materials their bags were odd looking too. Moments later they started to fade away again and then they were gone. I knew where I had to go I just didn't know why.


Owen thought that perhaps it wasn't the best idea to let Tosh go off on her own considering how she was feeling. So he decided to follow her. Owen looked around the bay for Tosh. But couldn't see her. He looked over the railings into the water. She wasn't in there. As he turned around he saw a silhouette on the top of one of the buildings. He shaded his eyes from the light to get a better look. It was definitely the shape of a slight woman exactly like Tosh. He raced off towards her.


Chapter Five


I headed back towards the bay. I had no idea why, I just felt like I would find some kind of answer there.


Jack was talking to Gwen when the CCTV of the Plass caught his eye.


'That's the woman I saw on the missing poster,' he said mostly to himself.


'There's no one there,' Gwen said frowning.


'Can't you see her?'


'No Jack I can't see the invisible woman,'


'I need to talk to her,' he said heading to the door.


Owen was struggling for breath by the time he got to the top of the building. Although it was nice to have breath to be struggling for. He looked out to see Tosh right by the edge looking out.




She looked around briefly but made no reply. Owen crept closer.


'I don't know why you bothered following me,' she said eventually.


'I was worried.'


'You don't need to worry about me,'


Owen relaxed a little maybe she was just here for the view.


'I know exactly what I'm doing,' she said looking down and Owen unconsciously moved closer.


'Stay where you are,' she said with out looking around. 'I don't want to take you with me.'


'Why not? I'm as much of a freak as you. I shouldn't be here either.'


'You're different.'


'Why am I?'


'You've died before,'


'So I'm a double freak. You better stand clear and let me be street jam first. Tosh this isn't you.'


'I'm not me.'


'Yes you are. When you died the planet lost one of the best minds it ever had. Would you deprive it again? Why are you so unwilling to think you deserve a second chance? How can a waster like me get two second chances but you don't think you deserve one?' he said getting closer again.


'You're not a waster. It's just,' she said with a little sigh, 'I don't see the point, all my family think I'm dead anyway.'


'What about all the people you could save? Gwen was telling me that your security system saved them from a being killed by a dalek while we were gone. Also I hate to be selfish.'


'No you don't.'


'True I don't but I was thinking maybe you and me...'


She looked round at him, 'You don't mean that you just don't want me to jump.'


'I don't want you to jump. But I do mean it. Don't you remember our last conversation? Next time I die I don't want any regrets. How about you,' he said holding his hand out. 'I recon life's worth another pop.' Toshiko took his hand and he led her away from the edge.


Chapter Six


I'd gone to the bay because I felt it was a place I'd get answers. I'm not sure how, the water just sploshed about as it usually did. A noise behind me made me turn around. There was that man again, the one I'd seen before with the long grey coat. I looked around me expected everything to change again but it didn't. He was walking towards me. I looked around there was nothing much around me that he could be heading too. When I'd had the flashes of people before they had never seen me.


'Hi there,' he said his accent was American.


'You can see me?'


'Of course I can,' he said as he got closer.


I don't know what came over me but I flung my arms around that stranger and hugged him. Overjoyed to see an other proper human being.


'Ok...' he said slightly awkwardly.


'I'm sorry,' I said letting go. 'Its just I've not seen another proper human being for days.'


'I'm not sure I'd call myself that. Why haven't you seen anybody?'


'They all disappeared. I woke up one morning and it was just me. There was no one else.'


'Follow me a minute,'


I followed him a short distance.


'Is there anyone here?' he asked.


I looked around. 'Apart from me and you, no.'


'Interesting...' he said looking at the scene in front of him.


Chapter Seven


'Are you guys ok?' Gwen asked as Tosh and Owen snuck back into the hub. 'You've been gone ages,'


'Yeah, Tosh wasn't feeling too good. It's unsettling coming back from the dead.'


'You'd know.'


'I think we'll go for a lay down.'


'Ok, don't do anything I wouldn't do,' she joked. As Tosh and Owen headed off to their room.


She opened the massive stationery cupboard.


'Ianto why's there a bed in the stationery cupboard?' she yelled.


The American man told me his name was Jack and that he might be able to help me. He showed me into his 'underground layer'. He said he worked there with his friends. But apart from us that place was a deserted as everywhere else.


'Is it me or are you talking to yourself?' Gwen asked Jack.


'Just ignore me,' he whispered.


'Are you talking to your imaginary friend?'


'Something like that.'


He kept talking to himself. I was a bit worried, had I walked into the layer of a loony. But I didn't have much choice he seemed to be the only person about. He took me to his office and asked me to take a seat. I looked at him for a moment.


'Why are you the only person left?' I asked.


'I'm not.'


'I mean other than me.'


'Everybody is still there.'


'They're not, there's been no body for days. Well apart from those funny episodes I saw.'


'What episodes?' he asked with great interest.


'Well one time I was at the bay and before I knew it I was in the busy docks like it used to be.'


'Could anyone see you?'


'No, I don't think so. They didn't seem to.'


'Was that the only "episode"?'


'No there was another one. I think it was the future, every one was wearing a weird material.'


'Ah the good old days of malphorma. Shame it developed a mind of it's own. Fashion really does kill.'


Yup total fruit loop!


'Maybe I should be going,' I said getting up to leave.


'That's a shame, because I think I've figured out what's wrong?'


'Have you?' I said sitting down again.


'You still haven't told me why there's a bed in the stationery cupboard,' Gwen said to Ianto.


'It's mine,' he replied.


'Well that answers everything,' she said sarcastically. 'Why are you sleeping in a cupboard like Harry Bloody Potter? I thought you were bunking with Jack.'


'I didn't want too.'


'Really? I thought you two were inseparable.'


'We were,'


'What changed?'


'Me. I wanted to be me again. I don't want to be defined by Jack. Besides I've got clarity now, I know I could never be enough for Jack. I'd become too safe, I know it. Besides a lifetime relationship means something different to him. Even if I came back from the dead again and again I'd still never live long enough for him. One day he'll forget me. I want to get out while it's my choice.'


'Oh Ianto,' Gwen said sadly. 'But surely there's somewhere better to stay than the cupboard. What about the digs room Owen and Tosh are in?'


'I wouldn't want to intrude,'


'Its not like you'd stop them doing anything,'


'Oh really? You don't see the things I see do you?' Ianto said knowingly. 'Anyway I like the cupboard it's cosy and I can have as many pens as I like.


Chapter 8: Chapter 8

Chapter Eight


'Come on,' I said eager to hear his explanation.


'I think you've fallen out of time,'




'Time has been going by without you.'


'That's ridiculous,'


'Really? Before when I asked you if you could see anyone. You said you couldn't.'


'That's because I couldn't.'


'The place was swarming with people. Also you didn't see Gwen when you came in either.'




'Thats because you've slipped out of time, you're on the wrong level. You're neither here nor there.'


'But I saw people briefly.'


'Those episodes you had was time trying, but failing to put this right.'


'Ok if what you're saying right, how come I can see you?'


'Because time and I have a very different relationship to everyone else.'


'How come?'


'Its a very long story.'


'Well I've got plenty of time apparently.'


'You could bunk with us,' Toshiko said to Ianto.


'I wouldn't want to impose.'


'Don't worry. You, me and Owen are in the same group. 'The where the heck did my cloud go group.'


Ianto smiled, 'How do you feel to be back?'


'If I'm honest, not good. It doesn't feel right.'


'Owen stopped you didn't he?'




'Taking flying lessons,'


'Did he tell you?' She said hurt.


'No, he hasn't told anyone. No one ever realises how much I see.'


'The all seeing Ianto.' she smiled.


'I don't know about you but a really fancy a drink,'




'No something stronger. Want to join me?'


'That would be nice.'

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Chapter Nine


'Ok,' I said looking at the slightly "Unusual" American man in front of me. 'So if I've slipped out of time like you said, how do I slip back in again?'

He sucked air in through his teeth - never a good sign. 'I'm not sure. It depends how it happened in the first place. Did anything unusual happen to you before hand?'

'Not really. I turned 30.'

'To quote Tom Jones, "It's not unusual". Even I turned 30... Some time ago... Anything else?'

I thought for a minute, 'No,' I said shaking my head. 'Everything was normal,'


Gwen was packing away for the night when Owen stopped her.

'Have you seen Tosh?' he asked.

'She went out,'

'Out?' Owen asked slightly worried.

'With Ianto. She said to tell you not to worry. She’s a big girl.'

'Yeah so’s Ianto,' he muttered.

'I think they just wanted some time to chill and chat,'

'They didn't ask me,'

'They couldn't talk about you then,' she teased.

'What am I supposed to do?'

'I don't know, there's some good video games came out while you were... While you weren't here, you could try them out.'

'What kind of nerd do you take me for?'

'I think there's a new Call of Duty,'


'Nighty night nerdy boy,' Gwen teased as she left.


'It’s a beautiful night,' Toshiko said as she sipped her drink outside the bar.

'It is,' Ianto agreed. 'Makes you glad to be alive... Again,' he added.

'So what is the deal with you and Jack?'

'I want to be the most important person in someone's life. And I know I can't be to him.'

'So you want to throw away everything you had?'

'Did we really have anything or was a just a bunk up? I need to move on.'

'Oh Ianto.'

'What about you and Owen?'

'What about us?'

'Are you going to get together?'

'I don't know. I think he wants to. But I don't know,'

'Don't you love him any more?'

She was shocked into silence for a moment. 'I... I'm just worried that, I finally get what I’ve wanted and it's not like I imagined.'

'I probably won't be but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.'

'He'll probably come to his senses anyway and it'll be over before its begun. He probably didn't mean it anyway,' she said sadly. 'He was trying to stop me jumping.'

'He cared enough to stop you,' Ianto pointed out. 'If he's as heartless as you give him credit for he'd have let you jump.'

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Toshiko crept in so as not to wake Owen. He was doing a very good impression of being asleep when he wasn't. But he kept quiet and let her continue to believe he was. 


I'd come home. That Jack bloke had promised to visit me tomorrow to have a look around my house for anything unusual. I'm not sure what he'd thought he'd find in my little house. But there had to be some reason for what was happening to me. 


The following morning Jack set off to see Debbie. As he did someone was taking down her missing poster. 

'Have you found her?' He asked. 

'Yes,' the woman said enthusiastically. 'She came to our house last night, I can't tell you how relieved I am.'

Jack smiled 'I'm glad to hear it,' he headed back to the hub. She wouldn't be needing his help after all. 


I waited for Jack for hours but he never came. I was getting slightly worried that he'd disappeared too. As it got late I headed to the bay through the still deserted streets. 

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I arrived at the water tower. I looked around, how had we got into his secret layer? I couldn't remember. I sat down unsure what to do next. 

'Jack where are you?'


Jack looked up at the CCTV, 'Why's she out there again,' he said putting down his drink and heading out. 

'Why's Jack going after that woman?' Owen asked. 

'What women?,' Gwen said in puzzlement staring at the screen. 


'You said you'd come!' I shouted as Jack approached me, why had he abandoned me?

'I didn't think you needed me anymore.'

'Why not, nothings changed.'

'That's not what your friend said.'

'My friend?'

'She said you'd turned up at her house,'

'I haven't. I still haven't seen anyone but you for days.'

'I think there's something strange going on here,'

'I think you mean stranger.'


I was surprised as we entered his headquarters. There were people there. 

'Hello there,' said a handsome local lad, 'Would you like a drink?'

'You can see her?' Jack said surprised looking between us. 

'Why shouldn't he?' said a soar looking Londoner. 

'Can you see her?' Jack asked the pretty Japanese girl. 

'Of course I can,'

'What about you Gwen?' he seemed to ask fresh air. 

'So am I cured?' I asked. 

'Not quite,'

'But...' I said pointing to the people around me. 

'They're unusual like me.'


'What about you Gwen?' Jack asked. 

'Who are you talking to?' Gwen demanded. 

'Can't you see her?' Tosh asked. 

'No I can't! What is it with you lot are you trying to drive me mad or something?'



'Tosh, Owen you track down the friend and find out more. Like why she saw he but she knows nothing about it. Tosh you'll find her in the CCTV footage on camera four outside.' Jack said. 

'Ok will do,' Toshiko said nodding before getting to work. 

'I'll see if I can find anything unusual at Debbie's house. Can I have your keys please?'

Debbie rifled in her bag and produced her keys for Jack. 

'What about me sir?' Ianto asked. 

'You Ianto will be the hostess with the mostest. Look after Debbie for me.'

'What about me Jack?' Gwen asked. 

'There's some filing needs doing,'


'Well it doesn't help that you can't see Debbie,'

'Well that's not my fault is it?' She said snatching the file from his hand and stomping off to her desk. 




'Did you have a nice time last night?' Owen asked Toshiko as she scanned the CCTV images. 

'Yes I did. I didn't wake you did I?'

'No, I was sleeping like a baby,' Owen lied. 'So when's it our turn?'

'What do you mean?'

'To go out for a drink,'

'I...' she said blushing. 

'Isn't that the woman we're looking for,' he said sparing her blushes and drawing her attention back to the screen. 

'It is, I'll just run the face recognition program. I really need to give this system an overhaul.  Technology's moved on so much while I was... away. Even Facebook's got face recognition, we need to stay ahead of the game. Right that's it Sally Jameson, works at the hospital, here's her address.'

'Right let's pay her a little visit and see if we can get to the bottom of this.'



Toshiko knocked at the door. A young blonde woman answered. 

'Good Morning,' Owen said breezily. Inspector Harper,' he said waving a ID that was far too fast for anyone to see. 'Mind if I come in.' it wasn't really as question. Toshiko followed with an apologetic look on her face. 

'What's this about?' Sally said following them into her sitting room that Owen was inspecting. 

'It's about your friend Debbie,' Toshiko said gently, she was a bit concerned how good cop bad cop things seemed. 

'But Debbie's fine isn't she? She's not gone missing again?'

'Nothings changed.'

'Thank goodness for that,' Debbie said sighing. 'So why are you here?'

'We need to know about her movements just to get everything straight,' Owen said inspecting a small china dog. 

'When exactly did you see Debbie?' Toshiko asked. 

'She came around to see me. I think it was a Saturday. She said she was really sorry that I'd been worried.'

'Did she say where she'd been?'


'No explanation at all,'

'She said she'd been visiting a friend, she didn't say where though.'

'Didn't you ring her mobile while you were looking for her.'

'I did, loads.'

'But she didn't answer?'

'No I guess she didn't have any reception.'

'Have you seen her since?'

'Not really,'

'Called her?'

'Yeah... But I got voice mail. But I didn't worry as I knew she was ok as I'd not long seen her.'

'Do you have any other mutual friends who might have seen her?'

'I don't think she's seen any one else she's kept a low profile since. She's probably embarrassed. 


'Well that was a load of help,' Owen muttered as they left Sally's house.


'We know she hasn't seen her since,' Toshiko pointed out.


'Which she doesn't seem worried about.'


'We don't know how often they saw each other anyway.'


'She didn't even know seem to care much where she'd been some half baked story about being at a friends house. If a friend of mine disappeared for days on end wouldn't answer their phone, so much so I was really worried about them. I'd definitely want to know where they had been.'


'That's true, the whole affairs strange,'


'We wouldn't be here if it wasn't,'


'That is true,'


'Ah there you are,' said a familiar face.


'Jack what are you doing here?' Toshiko asked.


'Are you spying on us?' Owen asked.


'I've got something to show you. I think it might be behind everything. It's just this way,' He said leading the way.


'Jack this is a warehouse,' Owen said as they approached the seemingly abandoned building. 'If it's not at least a crashed space ship I'm going to be very disappointed.'


'It's empty,' Toshiko said wrinkling her brow, as they went inside.


'Why've you brought us to an empty warehouse?' Owen asked.


'I've got a very bad feeling,' Toshiko said and as if to back her up there was the sound of doors locking. 'Jack, what's happening?'


Jack smiled and then began to fade.


'We've been had,'


Just then the room began to fill with gas


's***!,' Owen said as they clung together watching the gas getting ever closer.


Ianto have you see Debbie lately?' Jack asked.


'She was over there reading last time I saw her.'


'I thought I asked you to keep an eye on her,'


'I'm not her jailer,'


'Gwen have you seen Debbie?'


'No, never,' she said with a sigh.


'She won't have gone far,' Ianto said.


'Oh really?' Jack said not so sure.

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Chapter Fourteen


I looked around me, I seemed to be in the same place but it seemed slightly different. Ianto had disappeared and so too had Jack. I was worried that now everyone had disappeared completely even Jack. I was soon relieved to see someone but I didn’t recognise them.




Tosh and Owen woke up in a damp and dark room. There was not light

‘Tosh is that you?’ Owen asked.

‘Yes it’s me,’

‘God it’s dark, in here. Wherever here is,’ He said taking a box of matches from his pocket and lighting one. It did little in the gloom.

‘Are there any light switches?’ Toshiko said standing up.

‘No just bare walls, ouch,’ he said dropping the match as it burnt his finger.

‘Here,’ Toshiko said taking a small object out of her pocket, she blew on it and it started to glow green and they could see where they were.

‘There’s a door,’ Owen said going over to the large wooden door and checking it. ‘It’s locked solid,’

:That’s a surprise!’ Toshiko said sarcastically.

Suddenly a small white light appeared in the room, it started to grow bigger and soon the light Toshiko had was dwarfed. The white light was so strong it hurt their eyes. The light grew into a human shape. Its features were defined and soon a fully formed human figure was standing in front of them.

‘Please do not try to escape,’ He said, ‘There is little point.’

‘Why are we here?’

‘Because, you should not be and this will be corrected,’ He said and the light faded and he was gone.

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Chapter Fifteen


The man came towards me he was a very old fashioned looking gentleman with a moustache. He looked rather puzzled.

'How did you get in here?' he asked.

'Jack bought me in,'

'Oh did he now. I must have a word with him when he get back.'

'He was here a moment ago.'

'No he wasn't he's been out all morning. News of imminent war has upset the aliens as much as the humans,'

'War!' I said with panic. 'But, what, when, who...'

'Come on you must have known Europe's been on a knife edge since the assassination of the Archduke .'

'What Archduke?'

'Franz Ferdinand.'

'They're a Scottish Band.'

He looked at me with bewilderment. 'You must of heard, where have you been...'

He looked me up and down.

'You're not from around here are you?'

'I am I only live the other side of Cardiff,'

'Take a seat,' he said indicating a chair. He sat opposite. 'What year do you think it is?'

'I know it's 2011,'

'Do you? Interesting?'

'Why what year do you think it is?'


'Ok just a few years off then.' I said maybe he was an other loony Jack had found.

Suddenly the door opened and Jack came in.

'Jack where did you go?' I said rushing up to him. But he didn't show any recognition. 'And why have you changed,' I said looking at his clothes they were more old fashioned that usual.

'She one of yours Jack?' the other man asked.

'Not that I'm aware of.'

'She does think it's 2011,' he added.

'Oh!' Jack said with sudden recognition.

'What's going on?' I asked completely confused.

'You do know me but not yet,'

'We met a few days ago.'

'You've come back in time it's 1914,'

'I did try and tell her,'

'It can't be you don't look any different.'

'That's because Jack here is special,' the other man said coming over and joining us.

'But you'd be ancient when I met you.'

'I use a very good night cream,' he joked.

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Levels 6/10/11


'Ianto, check the systems. See when she left,' Jack instructed. 

'Oh,' Ianto said staring at the screen. 


'She doesn't appeared to have left. No records of any of the exits being used since we lost her.'

'So she must still be here,' Jacks vortex manipulator beeped on his wrist. He looked at it. 'Interesting. Ianto go to the archive and get file P19385-14.'

'Will do,'



'We need to get out of here,' Owen said. 'That welcome wasn't very friendly. That door should be no problem for you, right?'

Toshiko scanned the door. 

'Um,' Toshiko said pensively. 

'Um? What'd you mean um?'

'Its very old and very thick.'

'But we can open it right?'

'Not really. It would be a lot easier if it was a modern door with modern locks.'

'so you can't open it?'

'No I can't, if it wasn't made of wood...'

'You can't open the door because it's wood? Who has a problem with wood?'

'You're so smart you open it,'

Owen pulled himself up and took a run at it, yelped, bounced back and landed in a heap on the floor. 'I think I loosened it,'




'Here's that file Jack,' Ianto said handing a dusty file over and wiping cobwebs off his jacket. 'Why did you want it?'

'I think it may tell us where Debbie is.'

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Chapter Seventeen


'You haven't loosened it at all,' Toshiko said trying the door. 'It's as solid as it ever was.'


Suddenly there was the sound of bolts drawing back.


'See,' Owen said as he stood up and brushed himself off.


'You did not do that,'


The door swung open, the small room filled with light. Tosh and Owen had to shield their eyes from the sudden onslaught.





Jack was looking over the file Ianto had brought him.


'Well, have you found her?' Ianto asked.


'I think so,' Jack said with a sigh putting the file down.


'It's not good news then?'


'No it's not,'


'Where is she?'


'It looks like 1914,'




'Oh indeed,'


'Wouldn't you have met her before? I mean if she's in early twentieth century Torchwood?'


'I've got very vague memories, but they seem to be new. I don't remember knowing her when I met her the other day.'


'Maybe you're getting the memories as they happen to her.'


'That's what I'm worried about.'




'Because that means she's changing time. And that can be very dangerous. Believe me,'





Once Tosh and Owen's eyes grew accustomed to the light they could see what was there to greet them. There standing in front of them were around twenty monk like figures.


'You will come with us,' the closest one to them said.


'Sorry don't fancy it,' Owen said trying to make a break for it.


But he had hardly gone a couple of inches when two of the 'monks' where on him. Dragging him back and pinning his arm up his back.


'Bloody hell they're strong,' Owen said to Toshiko 'They must have a gym in their cloister.'


'You will come with us,' he said again as they started to move off. Toshiko followed and Owen was shoved into the space next to her.


'I thought Monks were peace loving,' Owen said to her.


'Who says these are monks as we know them?'


'What do you think they are going to do with us?'


'I hate to think,'


They entered a large dark chamber. You couldn't see how big it was as the outer edges were too dark to see where it ended. It gave the feeling of the room being surrounded by nothingness. The only thing in the room was a high bench, like a judges bench. There was another person sitting there wearing a cowl.


'You may go,' she said to the others as she lowered her hood.


'Thank goodness,' Owen said 'I just had this horrible feeling, I was going to be judged by myself.'


'You are a very strange man.' Toshiko said looking at him concerned.


'Thank you,'


The 'monks' around them disappeared.


'Where the hell did they go?' Owen asked. 'They were solid, they man handled me!'

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Chapter Eighteen




'So you've lost her?' Gwen said looking between Jack and Ianto. 

'Sort of,' Jack said. 

'How can you sort of lose someone?'

'We do know where she is,' Ianto said. 

'Well then she's not lost then is she. So where is she?'

'She's here,' Jack answered. 

'So you can't see her either now?'

'No, we can't see her because she's here but in 1914,'


'Oh indeed,'

'So how are we going to get her back?'

'Good question,'

'And we don't know why she'd disappeared in the first place?'

'No, I've looked around her house but I found nothing.'

'Do you mind if I have a look I might spot something you've missed.'

'Be my guest, it can't hurt,'





Jack and Gwen let themselves into Debbie's house. Gwen looked around. 

'It does seem pretty normal,' she admitted. 'Not even an unusual ornament,' Gwen said sitting down on the sofa. She looked at the things on the coffee table in front of her. She found a picture.

'Is that her?' Gwen asked showing him the picture. 

'Yes it is, it looks like she's at some kind of party.' He said handing it back. 

'It looks like she printed it off herself,'

'But it doesn't show anything unusual, just a young woman enjoying herself.'

'Umm,' Gwen said looking at the picture intently. 'I'm sure there's something I'm not seeing,' she looked around the room. 'Ah!' she said spotting at retrieving Debbie's laptop. 

'You're going to check out her snaps?'

'It can't help and I'm sure I'm missing something,'

'Well if you think it could help,' Jack said sitting down next to her. 



Got anything yet?' Jack asked as he put down a cup of coffee. 

'What you mean apart from cross eyes and a headache?' she took the cup. 'You've helped yourself to Debbie's supplies?'

'Yeah I thought she wouldn't mind being as we're trying to help her. I'll have it back if you really want,'

'No it's ok I'm sure she'll understand,' she said hugging it close. 'Besides I need it to keep me awake, God this woman takes a lot of pointless photos,'

'So nothing of interest then?'

'I didn't say that,'

'Come on then tell,'

'It might be a complete red herring but, see this picture here,'

'Its the one we found on the table,'

'One of many taken that night. The interesting fact is its the night before she disappeared as it was,'


'There's one thing that interests me. See her necklace?'

'It's just a cross, ten a penny,'

'It's not though,' Gwen said enlarging the picture. 'Its got strange patterns on it I've never seen the like of before.'

'How long has she had it?'

'Thats the interesting thing. She's not wearing it in any of the pictures before that night,'

'Right let's see if we can find it,' Jack said getting up and looking around. 

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Chapter Nineteen


‘Any luck?’ Jack asked Gwen.

‘No, I haven’t found it anywhere,’ Gwen said still looking around.

‘Well I think there’s just one conclusion we can come to…’

‘She’s still wearing it,’

‘Which makes it even more likely that that’s the cause. Right I think we’ve found all we can get here,’




Ianto was keeping an eye on things from the tourist information office, giving it a bit of a tidy. The door open and someone wondered in.

‘Hello can I help you?’ He said with a smile.

‘You have been found guilty,’ They said raising their hand.

Next thing Ianto knew he was waking up on the floor.




‘You have come here for trial,’ The woman in front of Toshiko and Owen said.

‘What are we supposed to be guilty of?’ Toshiko asked.


‘What are we supposed to have stolen?’ Owen asked.

‘Life. You are alive when you should not be,’

‘That’s not exactly our fault,’ Owen said, ‘I do keep trying to die,’ he said jokingly.

‘This is no joking matter. This matter will be dealt with. Take them away,’

They looked around and a couple of the monks had been reappeared.

‘What you going to kill us?’ Owen asked.

‘We will not kill you, but we will not let this travesty continue. Keep them separate it will help the process,’

The monk dragged them off to the holding cells not unlike the ones in the hub, only the lighting and the hygiene was better. They stopped and one of the earlier cells, they shoved Owen in pressing something to his neck as they did. He staggered into the cell and collapsed.

‘Owen!’ Toshiko screamed.

They locked the clear door behind him and pushed Toshiko on.



Chapter Twenty


‘s***,’ Ianto said rubbing his head and standing up. He looked around the tourist office. But nothing seemed to be missing. He rushed to the desk and called up the CCTV. He was shocked to find that after attacking him they had just left. He was very confused. Suddenly the picture started to break up, and streams of binary filled the screen before everything disappeared completely. Ianto tapped the keys begging something to happen.

‘No, no, no!’

He rushed to the main part of the hub to see if the other computers where working.




Toshiko woke up on the cold hard floor. They had obviously used the same thing on her as they had on Owen. She stood up and looked at the door in front of her and smiled.

‘As Owen would say piece of ****,’ she said getting to work on the lock. Within seconds the door was open.

‘Owen I’m coming,’ she got to his cell, ‘Oh!’ she said as she looked at the empty cell in front of her who’s door was ajar. She checked the other cells to see if she had been mistaken. But Owen was no where to be seen.




‘Ianto what’s going on,’ Jack said as he entered the hub, why is nothing working.

‘Thank god you’re back,’ Ianto said, he looked rather worried. ‘The computers are down.’

‘How come?’

‘We’ve got a virus,’

‘That’s not possible,’

‘I’m afraid it is,’

‘But how?’

‘You’re not going to like this.’




As Toshiko approached the hub she could see Owen.

‘Owen, what were you playing at leaving me there?’

‘I didn’t leave you there , you left me.’

‘No I didn’t, I wouldn’t,’

‘Yeah whatever,’


‘Ah Toshiko,’ Jack said as they entered the hub and he didn’t look happy.

‘What’s wrong?’ She asked.

‘We’ve got a virus, all our computers are useless,’

‘Oh no,’ she said rushing to her computer centre, ‘How did that happen?’

‘You tell me,’

‘I don’t know,’


‘I wouldn’t do it,’

‘That’s what I would of thought.’

‘And you don’t?’

‘Well we got enough out of it before it died to track down the virus’ starting location,’


‘We found this,’ Jack said holding up a clear bag with a memory stick in it. ‘And you know the interesting thing about this memory stick is that there is only one set of finger prints on it and they are yours. No one else has touched this,’

‘Jack I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t,’

‘You’re capable,’

‘But I didn’t do it!’

‘No one else has been in. Tosh I’m sorry I can’t put up with this. It will take days to sort this out.’

‘Let me do it,’

‘No I can’t trust you any more.’

‘Jack!’ she looked to the others but they were all shocked into silence.

‘Give me your pass card,’

‘Jack please,’ she begged tears welling in her eyes.

‘Your card,’ he said holding his hand out.

‘You can’t fire her,’ Gwen said, ‘Not after everything she’s been through,’

‘Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do,’

Toshiko handed her card over.

‘As of now you no longer work for Torchwood.’

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Chapter 21


'You'll be needing this,' Jack said handing her a small bottle containing a retcon pill. 'I'll know if you've taken it,'

'I've got no where to go,' she said quietly.

'She could stay with me,' Gwen offered.

'No, clean break. We've got somewhere for you to stay but it's only temporary. Ianto clear her desk and escort her to where she'll be staying,' Jack said before heading off to his office.

Toshiko looked on numbly as Ianto cleared her desk.

Owen caught Jack up 'There's gotta be some kind of mistake.'

'There's no mistake,' Jack said unmoved. 'Tosh betrayed us, we're sitting ducks with no computer back up,'

Toshiko and Ianto headed towards the door.

'I'm coming too,' Owen said following them.

Jack stopped and turned around. 'Is it to be retcon for two?' Jack asked.

'At least let me take her,' Owen begged.

Ianto looked at Jack who nodded.

'But that's it, no more contact between you understand?'

Owen nodded. Ianto gave him the address and the keys.




Owen opened the door and they went into the small flat.

'Well it's...'

'Horrible,' Toshiko finished.

'Yeah that's one way to describe it,'

'Still it's something,' she said taking her box of belongings from Owen and putting them down.

'I'll fix it,' he said 'You'll be back before you know it,'

'I won't, but thanks for trying to make me feel better. You'd better be going.'

'Tosh,' he said taking her hands, 'I don't want to lose you again.'

'You'll be fine,'

'You think? Come here,' he said pulling her in and kissing her.

She smiled sadly 'You do know I won't remember who you are tomorrow,' she said taking out the retcon, Owen looked pained.

He took the bottle and looked at it 'Its not fair,'

'Still at least I'll be oblivious.' She said sadly.

'You might forget me but I'll never forget you,'

'You better go,' she said.

'Don't forget me Tosh,' he said handing the bottle back.

'I wish I had a choice,' she said with a tear in her eye as Owen Left and she was left in the dingy flat on her own.





Toshiko sat on the ancient sofa a glass of water and the retcon pill in front of her. She thought about not taking it. But did she want to remember anyway? Remember what she'd lost. Remember Owen who she could never see again. She threw the pill into her mouth and slugged back the water. She'd be free of all this misery tomorrow she'd never remember what she'd lost. She curled up on the sofa waiting for the pill to take effect.



Chapter 22


In the hub the following day Owen looked at his phone and the scribbled landline number. Gwen spotted him and he squirreled it away quickly hoping she hadn't seen.

'You know you can't ring her?'

'I know,'

'She won't remember who you are by now anyway,'

'True,' he said sadly. 'I miss her,'

'We all do,'

'Typical, takes me years to figure out how I feel about Tosh and then she gets taken away. Why do all the women I love always leave me?'

'You love Tosh?'

'It doesn't matter,'

'Your timing is seriously rubbish,'


They saw Jack enter with someone they didn't recognise and went to investigate.

'The mainframe is just over here,'

Jack said to an incredibly handsome blonde haired blue eyed man.

'Who's this?' Gwen asked.

'Welcome to our newest recruit Stuart,'

'Make sure Tosh's seat doesn't get cold, won't you,' Owen said.

'It's Tosh's mess we need to fix,'

'I still don't believe she did it,'

'Believe what you like. Tosh has gone,'




Toshiko woke up, but she kept her eyes closed. She smiled as she remembered the kiss. Had it been real or had she dreamt it? No it had been real Owen had really kissed her. Her eyes sprung open. Owen! She shouldn't remember Owen.


Toshiko went to the café down to road to get some breakfast. She checked her memories. She recalled every last thing she could remember about Torchwood, and there was a lot. How could that be? She'd defiantly taken the retcon pill. She knew some people could break through it, but for it to have no effect whatsoever was unheard of. Still it changed nothing. She still had to leave the job and the man she loved. She sighed and wished the pill had worked.


Toshiko's next stop of the day was the job centre.




'So what are we going to do about Debbie?' Gwen asked Jack.

'I have an idea but we can't do anything until the computers are online again it would be too dangerous.'

'Look Jack I'm sure Tosh...'

'I'll stop you there. I don't want her name mentioned again, ever. That means all of you,'




Chapter Twenty Three


'Would anyone like a coffee?' Ianto asked breezily.

'No thanks, Stuart just made us one. And a remarkably good one at that,' Jack said taking a gulp.

'Oh,' Ianto said taken a back.

'I hope you don't mind,' Stuart said with a cheery grin.

'No, no its fine,' Ianto lied. 'I'll just...' He said making a retreat.


Toshiko waited her turn in the job centre. She felt so ashamed, and worthless. Eventually her turn came.

'You have an interesting CV miss Sato,' the job centre lady said peering over her glasses. 'However the last few years are not accounted for. I take it you have been working?'

'Oh yes, secret service,'

'Indeed, no references?'

'Sorry no,'

'You didn't part on good terms?'

'You could say that.'

'You seem somewhat over qualified for most things I have to offer,' she said peering at the monitor.

'I'm not fussy, times are hard,'

'There's one here for a call centre. I could contact them and see if they are willing to give you a trial even without references.'

'If you could.'


The team were heading back to the SUV after being called out on a false alarm.

Gwen looked towards the job centre. 'Look it's T...'

'Whoever it is is no business of ours,' Jack said getting in without looking.

'Owen go in too but he followed Toshiko's movement in the wing mirror. She hadn't noticed them.




Toshiko could see why that job had been available while very little else was. It wasn't just a call centre job. It was a cold calling job. Trying to sell things to people who didn't want them and didn't want bothering when they had better things to do and the language... It was only ever poor old dears who didn't really seem to understand they were signing up for. Then there was the push for sales. 'Why haven't you sold anything?' questions. Because no one wants your crap! Toshiko really wished she had something else to go to. She so missed the hub and the others. Where had that virus come from and why was she getting the blame? Did someone want her out of the way?

'Ms Sato,' her line manager said looming over her, 'Why are you not on a call?'

'Sorry,' she said seeing who the next victim was.




'Who touched my filing?' Ianto asked.

'It was me, sorry,' Stuart said. 'I was just a bit bored while waiting for one of my processes to run. It is ok isn't it?'

'Yes, thanks,' Ianto said but he went off muttering 'I don't like that man,'



Chapter Twenty Four


It was dark when Toshiko left work. She felt terrible and the thought of returning the next day filled her with dread, but she had to eat. As she was walking along she heard footsteps behind her. Instinctively she went for her gun, which of course she didn't have any more. She quickened her pace, the person behind her did too, that's if it was a 'person'. She started running. She didn’t want her day to get even worse by being murdered.

'For god sake slow down!' she recognised that voice.

She looked around to find Owen nursing a stitch.

'Hello gorgeous,' he said with a smile. 'I'm a bit out of practice on the running front.'

'Do I know you?' she asked she had to pretend the retcon had worked or Jack would track her down.

'I should bloody well hope so.'

She backed away.

'Come on Tosh,' Owen said moving forward 'I know the retcon didn't work,'


'I swapped it,'


'You'll be no good if you’re exonerated and you can't remember who you are.'

'Nothing to do with forgetting about you then?'

'It might have had something to do with it.'

'So why are you here, trying to scare me half to death?'

'I had to see you,'

'You shouldn't. You should just forget about me.'

'I can't. Are you doing anything tonight?'

'What do you think?'

'How about that date?'

'We shouldn't if Jack found out...'

'Jack won't find out.'

'Jack always knows what's happening.'

'Oh well then it just adds to the danger. You know me I'm not adverse to a little danger. So what do you say?'


'Are you really going to turn me down after I've gone to all the effort of stalking you?'

Toshiko smiled.

'So bowling or cinema?' he asked

'Cinema, it's easier to hide in the dark.'




Work was a bit more bearable after spending the evening with Owen. Although she knew it couldn't last. Jack would get wind of it and that would be that. No reason not to enjoy it while it lasts.


Now she was spending her lunch break in a mobile phone shop. She'd had to give her Torchwood one back and she felt totally lost without one. She looked at the flashy iPhone display. Thinking of the possibilities if she had one, what couldn't she do? But she really couldn't afford one on her meagre call centre wages. She dragged herself away. It broke her heart having to buy the cheapest phone in the shop, pay as you go to boot. The phone was naff it did hardly anything even with her expertise there was little upgrading could be done to it. But it was a phone, a cheap tacky phone but a phone.




'Owen you've been far too cheerful this morning,' Gwen complained as they returned to the hub.

'Sorry if my happiness has pissed you off,'

Just then his phone bleeped he raced to it like it was on fire. He read his message and smiled.

‘Who is it?’

‘Sarah,’ he said saving the number to his contacts.

'Sarah? What about Tosh?’ Didn't take you long to forget about Tosh,'

'Tosh who?'

Gwen frowned, ‘Didn't take you long to forget about her. Nice is she nice this Sarah?’

'The best,'

'Owen your estate agent rang,' Stuart said 'Says the keys to your flat are ready,'

'Great, new girl, new flat, new car today it’s a good day. Don't suppose I could get that back pay.' Owen asked Jack who had just come out of the office.

'What back pay?' Jack asked.

'For the time I was dead,'

'You don't get paid when you're dead,'

'Not even if you died in the line of duty?'



'When did the phone ring?' Ianto asked.

'A little while ago, you must have been out,' Stuart said.

'I've been here all morning I only left the room once to go to the gents,'

'It must have been then,'

'Does it really matter who answers the phone?' Owen asked.

It did to Ianto he was feeling more and more undermined. How could you be Mr Efficient when someone was beating you to it all the time/ Stuart was so efficient Ianto was having a hard job to find something to do that Stuart hadn't already beaten him to.

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Chapter Twenty Five


I had been in 1914 a few days now. I was beginning to get worried. They were treating me ok, but what if I never got home? I really missed living in the 21st Century even if 1914 Jack kept telling me that’s when everything changes. He kept assuring me that they would find a way to get me back, saying that if he was working on it, I’d get back. Although I could see the tiniest ounce of doubt in his eyes.




Ianto found Stuart at the coffee machine.

‘Can I help you?’

‘I’m just getting the gang coffees.’

‘I’ll do it,’

‘I really don’t mind.’

‘I’ll do it,’ Ianto said rather too forcefully.

‘Ok keep your hair on,’ he said backing off.

‘Isn’t there other things you should be doing?’

‘I can’t help it if I’m good at multitasking.’

‘Is everything ok,’ Jack asked.

‘Yes it’s fine Jack, I’m just getting the coffee,’ Ianto said turning away from Stuart and wondering if there was anything he could put in his coffee.




‘I’m worried about you Owen,’ Gwen said approaching him in the medical bay.

‘And why’s that?’

‘This Sarah girl, I mean a rebound relationship is always doomed.’

Owen couldn’t help but smile, but he turned away so Gwen couldn’t see ‘Really?’

‘It’s not fair on either of you,’

‘I’m sure we’ll be fine,’

Owen’s phone announced another text.

‘Is that her?’

‘Yeah,’ he said reading it and smiling, ‘She’s got a very boring job,’

‘I’m sure you keep her amused,’




Jack had called up some mobile phone network information and was looking at it in great detail.

‘Now isn’t that interesting?’

Gwen popped her head around Jack’s door, ‘All systems are up and running again,’

‘Oh good maybe we can try and retrieve Debbie,’

‘What are you looking at?’

‘Oh nothing interesting,’ he said closing it and following her out of the room.’


Chapter Twenty Six


'So everything is working again?' Jack asked Stuart.

'Yes I'm managed to put it back together again. It was a mess I can tell you.'

'And that item I gave you?'

'It’s attached but it's part organic so I suggest it settles first before you try and use it,'

'Ok. Tomorrow we'll try and get Debbie back. She should be alright for one more night.'




Toshiko and Owen were walking home arm in arm after another date.

'I had a great time thank you,' Toshiko said smiling.

'I wish we didn't have to say goodbye.'

'You know we've got to be careful.'

'Do I at least get a kiss?'

'I think I can manage that,' she said leaning forward and kissing him.

A shuffling noise caught her attention 'What was that?'

'It was nothing, you’re paranoid' Owen said more interested in the kissing.

'I'm not paranoid,'

'Come here,' he said pulling her in for another kiss. 'Now you get inside where you don't have to worry about what's out here. Just what's in there, like cockroaches,'

'Thanks for that reassuring thought,' she said kissing him again. 'Text me when you get home,' she said going in.

Owen looked around cautiously, but he couldn't see anything to worry about and way his way home.




Ianto had got up extra early, he didn’t want Stuart beating him in again. He almost wished that he was still living in the stationery cupboard, then he really would have a head start. But finding paperclips in your bed kind of loses its appeal after not very long. Ianto was going for extra brownie points by buying Jack a coffee and a danish on the way in.

‘Jack I got you some…’ he said as the door rolled away but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Jack and Stuart in a pretty heavy embrace in front of him.

‘I, I…’ he stuttered before putting down the drink and the pastry and exiting pretty sharply. He could hear Jack calling after him but he wasn’t inclined to go back.


Ianto sat on the floor behind the tourist information desk. Trying to forget what he had seen. He had well and truly been replaced in every area.



Chapter Twenty Seven


'Anyone want this?' Owen said on spotting the unwanted danish, there was no reply so he took it and had a bite.

'Owen my office now,' Jack said appearing behind him. 'And leave that behind, I don't want sticky fingerprints over anything,'

Owen followed Jack to his office. He had a bad feeling which was confirmed when Jack closed the door behind him. That was never a good sign.

'You've been seeing Toshiko haven't you?'

'Of course not,' Owen lied.

'There's no point in lying. I've seen you together. How she even remembers you is a mystery.'

'I can't help it if I'm very memorable.'

'What else does she remember?'

'Nothing, I introduced myself to her after she took the retcon,' God he hoped Jack couldn't see right through that story.

'So she doesn't know where you work?'

'Of course not,' he was so glad pinocchio was just a story because his nose would be several miles long by now.

'We've got to be careful, seeing you could trigger her memories. You can't keep seeing her.'

'I won't stop seeing her,'

'If you want to keep working here you will,'

'Well maybe I don't.'

'I'd choose very carefully if I were you. There's no going back. I'll give you to the end of the day to make your choice,'




Owen came out of the office in a terrible mood.

'Make the most of me while you can, because I might not been here much longer.'

'Why what's happened?' Gwen asked.

'Jack's found out about me and Tosh. I’ve got to leave her or here.'

Gwen looked confused 'Tosh? What about Sarah?'

'Sarah was Tosh,'

'So there was no Sarah?'

'Of course not how bloody fickle do you think I am?'

'Is this the Japanese cutie you've got a picture of hidden under a load of files on your desk?' Stuart asked.


'Well I wouldn't hand your notice in just yet,' Stuart said.


'I shouldn't say anything.'

'What do you know?'

'It’s just something I saw on the CCTV,'




As if Toshiko's job wasn't bad enough. She had to put up with letchy Brian. She'd felt sorry for him and they gone to lunch together a couple of times but now she couldn't get rid of him.




'Have you still got it?' Owen asked Stuart.

Stuart called up the CCTV clip. Toshiko was at a burger van with a man Owen didn’t know. He put his hand on her bottom.

'I'll kill him,' Owen seethed.

Then the man moved in and kissed Toshiko. Stuart stopped it there, the moment freeze framed in front of them.




Toshiko pushed Brian away, 'Why did you do that?'

'I know you want me,'

'Sorry Brian I don't.'

'You're just playing hard to get, I understand.'

'I'm not. I've got a boyfriend who I love a lot.'




'Right let's see if we can get Debbie back where she belongs,' Jack said taking a small pebble shaped piece of metal that was attached to the computer. 'Where's Ianto?'

'He went home sick,' Gwen said.

'Ianto's never sick,'

'He is today.'

'I was hoping he might help us with this.'

'What does it do?'

'If we've set it up right. It'll project an image back to 1914,'

'And if it's not set up right?'

'Let’s try not to think about that,'

'So what image?'

'We need one of us to try and get her to take the necklace off. I can't really do it as I might run into myself. I thought Ianto might do it. I suppose there's Owen...'

'I really wouldn't ask him to do anything at the moment. Not if you like your head,'

'He's not still in a mood because I pulled him up over Tosh?'

'No it's worse than that. I'll tell you later. Anyway why can't I do it?'

'Because Debbie never saw you, you'd be a stranger.'

'Doesn't look like you've got much choice.'

'That's true, well here you go then.' he said handing her the thing he'd be holding.

'Oh it feels funny, like holding a warm puddle.'

'Fire it up Stuart,'




I saw reading a very old magazine - it wasn't very old then but it was to me - when I heard a funny noise. It sounded like drips on a pond. I looked up to see a woman in clothes from my time. But she was rippling like she was made of water.

'Hi Debbie,' She said 'I'm Gwen, you don't know me but Jack sent me.'

'Has he found out how to get me back?'

'That's what we're hoping. We think your necklace may have something to do with it,'

I instinctively put my hand up to the cross around my neck. 'But how can a necklace do anything?'

'Debbie you've got I listen I haven't got much time here. You've got to take the necklace off.'

'But...' I said as the virtual pond surface flatted again and she was gone and the room was as it had been. Surely the answer couldn't be as easy as taking my necklace off.

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Chapter Twenty Eight


'Did you do it?' Jack asked.

'I hope so,' Gwen said. 'I'm so cold,' she said shivering.

'It’s a side effect of using the temporal projection.’

'I'll get you a hot drink,' Stuart said heading off.

'So if it worked where is she?' Jack asked.

'Maybe she didn't believe me,' Gwen said still shaking.


'I did believe you,' I said and they turned around in shock to see at me.

'Debbie you're back,' Jack said smiling. 'Hold on, can you see Gwen?'


'And Stuart over there?'

'Yes, oh he's pretty cute.'

'Come here a minutes,' Jack said and he called up the CCTV of above. There were people everywhere.

'Well I think you're fixed. Where's the necklace?'

'Here,' I said handing it over. 'Shame I liked it, it was unusual.'

'Where did you get it?'

'A friend gave it to me for my birthday. She knew I lost my last one in the car crash,'

'What car crash?' Gwen asked.

'I was in an accident a few weeks back. The paramedics said I'd been extremely lucky they didn't know how I managed to only get a couple of bruises when they thought I'd be toast.'

'You were very lucky. We'll see if we can find out why this necklace made you do a disappearing act.'




Ianto sat in his flat staring blankly into space. He was unshaven and he had joggers and a hoodie on. The others wouldn't have recognised him if he'd have passed them in the street. He'd phoned in sick something he'd never do unless he was unable to get out of bed from crippling illness. But he really couldn't face it. He wondered what the point was anyway. No one would miss him. Stuart had quite happily taken over any jobs he did. People didn't notice him much anyway, he was just like part of the furniture. Then there was Jack, he couldn't really blame him. It had been his choice to end things. He thought it would stop him getting hurt when Jack moved on. It didn't, seeing him with someone else cut like a knife through his heart. So edged out at work, which he put his life and soul into and the man he loved with someone else. What was the point of breathing? Would they even miss him anyway? Probably not.




Toshiko looked at her phone. She hadn't heard from Owen for a while. Usually his texts came fairly constantly. Maybe he was on a job she thought. Couldn't stop saving the city to text her. She sent him another message, which she hoped didn't sound needy. Maybe Jack had found out about them. Had he forbidden him to contact her? Or even worse had he retconned Owen?




Owen's phone went off again and he gave it a dirty look.

'You should talk to her, it might be a miss understanding,' Gwen said gently.

'You saw it. Did it look like a miss understanding to you?'

'Well no,'

'I'm not being made a fool of,' he said turning his phone off and tossing it into his bag.




There was a knock at the door. The sound in the silence made Ianto jump. Whoever it was he wasn't going to opening it. They were probably selling something anyway. They knocked again. Ianto sat on the floor behind the sofa and peered carefully around it at the silhouette at the door.

'Ianto it's Jack, are you ok?' he shouted through the letter box. 'We're worried about you,' he didn't believe him.

Ianto thought about letting him in and then the image of him and Stuart rose in his mind and he decided not too. What difference would it make letting him in. He'd just try and sweet talk him. So Ianto ignored him, even though he stayed for another ten minutes. Eventually Jack gave up.




'Did you see him?' Gwen asked.

'No he wouldn't let me in,'

'Maybe he was asleep in bed,'

'He wasn't. This really isn't like him.'

'Maybe give it another go later.'

'You’re right. Anyway any.luck on Debbie's necklace?'

'Not really, the translator is still working on it, I think it’s a really unusual language. I did find out something interesting though. You know Debbie said she'd had a near miss in an accident?'

'Yeah hardly a scratch on her,'

'Well I've found several other people that had near misses in various different situations.'

'Have they gone missing?'

'No they killed themselves.'

'That's strange. Maybe it's survivors guilt if other people died and they didn't.'

'I thought maybe that was it. But no this is way beyond average and it seems to have gone up in the past couple of weeks. There is definitely something strange happening.



Chapter Twenty Nine


Toshiko looked at her phone. No calls no messages, nothing from Owen. She frowned. She'd call him just once more.

'Hello Owen it's Toshiko. I just want to know you're ok. Ring me when you can.' she hung the phone up again and put it down. She went to get a drink. The phone beeped she leapt on it immediately. She had a message and it was from Owen.

"Leave me alone!"

Toshiko reeled in shock and despair. Did he mean it? Was he joking? She had a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach that it was all too real. He'd grown tired of her already. She knew it would probably happen, but so soon. Was it because Jack had found out? No surely his message would have been gentler. She suddenly felt very alone.




Jack looked at the computer the translation software had been working for some time to see if the swirls on Debbie's necklace meant anything. It was very hard to know if something was alien writing or just a pretty pattern. The machine beeped very proud of itself that it had come up with something.

"Protection through the web of levels"

'Interesting but what does it mean?'




Ianto's black cloud had thickened. He saw little point in anything. His stomach rumbled but he couldn't be bothered to eat. He stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom looking at the useless article in front of him. He looked at his razor the blade gleaming in the light. He'd already died once, might as well do it properly. He took the blade to his wrist the blade cutting into his soft flesh. Someone knocked at the door drawing his attention away for the moment.

'Ianto!' it was Gwen, she was hammering on the door.

He held his breath hoping she would go away.

'Ianto. I know you're there. I'm not leaving until I see you I mean it. I'll knock this door down if I have to. I'll do it! Think about the mess!'

He grabbed a towel to the small cut he'd made and went and opened the door.

'Right you've seen me, you can go away now,' he said without looking her in the eye and about to close the door again.

'No you don't,' she said blocking the door and forcing her way in. 'Look at the state of you. Ianto what's wrong?'

'Nothings wrong,'

'Clearly it is. What have you done to your wrist?'

'Nothing, it was just an accident.'

She pulled the towel away briefly and looked him in the eye.

'It wasn't an accident was it? Oh Ianto how did it come to this?'

Ianto broke down.

'It’s me I'm useless,' he said dropping onto the sofa.

'Where did you get that from?'

'I bet you never even missed me what with that Stuart.'

'Of course I missed you that's why I'm here. Ianto you're very important to all of us.'

'Jack's replaced me,'

'How do you mean?'

'I caught him and Stuart together,'

'Oh, I see. But I thought you were the one who cooled it,'

'I was. I obviously wasn't as strong as I thought I was. I thought it would save me if, sorry when he found someone else. It's horrible.'

'No need for drastic measures though.'

'What have I got if I haven't got my job which I love or the man that I love?'

'You should tell Jack how you feel.'

'It's too late.'

'It's never too late. I bet you it's nothing serious between him and Stuart. You know he's susceptible to a pretty face.' she said with a small hopefully encouraging smile. 'Come on let's go to the hub and get this mess sorted out.'

'I can't go in this state.'

'Well tidy yourself up then. Although I'm keeping my eye in you while you shave.'




Owen put down the phone.

'What was it?' Jack asked.

'It's not good. Debbie's been taken to hospital.'


'Attempted suicide,'

'Her too?'

'What is it with all these suicides?'

'We took her protection away,'


'The necklace was protecting her some how, from something.'

'Like what?'

'I'm not sure,'


The giant cog rolled back and Owen and Jack could hear muttering. Not enough to be heard though. Eventually Gwen and Ianto appeared. She seemed to be holding his hand.

'Is there something we should know?' Jack joked.

'Please don't,' Ianto whispered to her. Let me just get back to normal.' Ianto begged.

'Is everything ok?' Jack asked.

'Yes I'm fine,' Ianto said.

'Where's Stuart?' Gwen asked.

'I don't know I haven't seen him for a while.'

Gwen saw Ianto relax slightly.

'Drinks?' he asked with a glimmer of the old Ianto returning.


Ianto was handing out the freshly made drinks when Jack noticed his newly bandaged wrist.

'What's that?' Jack asked.

'Nothing,' he said withdrawing quickly. 'I just cut myself that's all.'

'Funny place to do it,' he said grabbing hold of Ianto's wrist and undoing the bandage for a look. 'I hope to God this isn't what it looks like!'

Ianto collapsed into a chair head in his hands.

'Gwen?' Jack enquired. Just the look in her eyes confirmed his worst fears.

Jack gently pulled Ianto's head up to look at him. His face was stained in tears. 'Why?' was Jack's simple question.

'Because I wasn't needed.'

'Whoever told you that?'

'Stuart was...'

'He could never replace you,' he said pulling Ianto in close. 'Never!'

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Chapter Thirty


Toshiko was tired mentally and physical. She'd been around different pharmacies and supermarkets. She emptied the contents of the bag onto the coffee table. Different packets of pill spilled out. The stupid nanny state only letting you have so many in each shop. But it didn't stop you if your were persistent. She took out the bottle of water she'd got to wash it down with. She sat down on the floor next to the table and put the packets in neat piles. She pulled the bottle and the first packet towards her. Soon all the pain and hurt would be gone, she thought as she started to take the pills from their packet.




'You should have said something,' Jack said to Ianto.

'I didn't feel like I could,'

'When did you first start feeling like it?' Gwen asked.

'When Stuart started. He began to take my jobs, then there was less and less that he hadn't taken. Do you think it's connected to the other suicides?'

'It would be strange if it wasn't' Jack said.

'But Ianto hasn't had any near misses,' Gwen pointed out.

'He came back from the dead, I'd say that was a pretty near miss.' Jack said.

‘Did anything strange happen? That could have made you feel like this. Other than Stuart coming here?’ Gwen asked.

‘Nothing stranger than usual,’ He thought for a moment, ‘Actually…’

‘Actually what?’

‘I didn’t seem worth mentioning, nothing happened. Well I thought nothing happened. I was knocked out but nothing was missing or out of place. They must have done something to me,’

‘Did the CCTV get them?’ Jack asked.

‘Yes but I don’t think you can see who it is,’

'Here have these,' Owen said handing Ianto a small cup with two pills in it. 'Special Harper recipe, you wouldn't get these on the NHS.'

Ianto took it and stared at the pills.

'They'll help to stabilise how you're feeling. Don’t worry they’re tried and tested. Can't make it any worse can it?' he said handing him a glass of water to go with it.

Ianto threw the pills into his mouth and glugged down some water.

'How have you been feeling?' Gwen asked Owen.

'I'm ok.’

‘But you can back too. Have you had any suicidal thoughts?'

'No, but...'

'But what?'

'I have been self medicating.'


'I felt the darkness creeping in. I thought it was just normal. After... Well what I found out. I didn't want to go to extremes again. Actually Tosh and I had a odd experience when we were coming back from Debbie’s mates,’

‘What happened?’ Gwen asked.

‘Someone kidnapped us and then we just managed to escape. In it was easy, a bit too easy.’

‘Why didn’t you mention it?’ Jack asked.

‘Because you were too busy firing Tosh,’ Owen looked lost in his thoughts for a moment. 'Oh God no! Tosh!' he said grabbing his medical bag and running for the door closely followed by the others.

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Chapter Thirty One


The SUV screeched to a halt outside Toshiko's flat. They rushed out Owen first.


'Let's just hope we're wrong,' He said.


He banged on the door, 'Tosh it's Owen are you there?' After he got no reply he decided to knock the door in, he took a run at the door luckily it gave in easily.


Gwen was surprised and rather shocked by the place. Even Ianto who had arranged the flat in case it was ever needed, thought the estate agent had been lying even more that usual.


Owen spotted Toshiko lying on the floor he rushed over. Gwen and the others looked on scared Owen felt sick to the stomach as he felt for a pulse.


'She's not. Is she?' Gwen said worried about the answer.


'She's alive but only just. We need to get her back to the hub and fast.'


'I'm so sorry he whispered to her,' as he picked her up and headed to the door.


'Is there anything we can do?' Jack asked.


'Drive faster than you ever have before.'


'It'll take so beating, but I'll try.'


'Come on Tosh hold in there,' Owen said as he held onto her in the back of the SUV which was trying its best to break the sound barrier.


They rushed into the hub and down into the medical area. Ianto cleared the clutter out of the way so Owen could put Toshiko down. Owen pulled desperately at pieces of medical equipment, swearing at himself for fumbling them by trying to go father the humanly possible. The others looked on numbly.


'Come on sweetheart,' Owen said hooking her up. 'You can pull thought. I know you can,'


'Is she going to be ok?' Ianto asked.


'I'm doing everything I can do. Let's hope the damage hasn't gone too far,'


'You look exhausted,' Gwen said as she bought Owen a coffee. He was paying careful attention to the read outs and making notes, 'You should take a break,' he said.


'I'm fine besides I need to be here if in case anything happens.' he sighed and sat down 'This is my fault, if I hadn't...'


'It's not your fault. There's something going on here.'


'But it is, if I'd just have asked her about what I saw. There could have been some reasonable explanation.'


'But you thought...'


'But did I think? Or did I just believe what I saw? I believed what I saw because I wanted to,'


'You did?' Gwen asked in shock.


'Because I believed that Tosh could never really be happy with me.'


'Why not?'


'Because I didn't think I could be that lucky.' he said going back to staring at the monitors.


Owen found the CCTV clip Stuart had shown them. He was in two minds whether to look at it. He didn't want to see it again. But he wanted to see if there was some kind of clue that they had got it all wrong. He played the clip bile rising in his stomach as he did. It all looked too familiar. If only he could have seen her face better, her expression might give something away. He hoped to god she wasn't looking at that man the way she looked at him, that way that made him feel like he was the luckiest man on earth. He'd been distracted the clip had played on. Shocked he wound it back slightly. Straight after the kiss she pushed him away, looked very angry with him and then walked away. Stuart had stopped it before any of that. He'd known damn well what he was doing. Owen raced to the top of the stairs.


'Has anyone seen Stuart lately?'


'He's been AWOL for ages now,' Gwen said.


'Well he'd better not come back or I'll kill him!' He said descending the stairs again.


'I'm so sorry,' he said kissing and taking the hand of the still unconscious Toshiko. 'I really should have known you better,' he said tears starting to well in his eyes.

Chapter Thirty Two


'Any word from Stuart?' Gwen asked.


'No he seems to have disappeared, quite literally. I've done a trace on him. He's no where to be found.' Jack said.


'You don't think it's like Debbie do you?'


'No I think he's intentionally disappeared. It's like he's just vanished.'


'Very odd. Anything on the person who knocked Ianto out?'


'Now that's puzzling too,' the said calling up the CCTV footage. I've zoomed in and cleaned it up a bit. He played it.


'What's odd about that?' Gwen asked puzzled.


'What did the attacker look like to you?'


'Young bloke early twenties, white sandy hair medium build. Why?'


'Because I saw a middle aged man with greying hair and Ianto saw a black man aged around mid thirties.'




'Oh indeed. Which got me wondering about Stuart.'


'What about him?'


'Did we all see the same man? What did Stuart look like?'


'He was well built with dark hair and piecing blue eyes. Isn't that what you saw?'


'Not quite he had blond hair blue eyes and a body to die for.'


'So we all saw him different too?'


'looks like it.'


'So he wasn't human?'


'Probably not. It seems to me he was deliberately put here to cause trouble.'


'But you chose him. Why did you choose him?'


'I was drawn to him,'


'Looking like that I you I'm not surprised.'


'I was drawn to all of you.'


'What about Tosh?'


'I have a feeling she was framed,'


'She was,' Owen said walking in and joining the conversation. 'In so many ways. See this?' he said holding up the bag with the USB stick in it. 'Its not really Tosh's prints on it, there's some kind of perception altering layer around it. Her finger prints are only an illusion, like our "friend" Stuart seems to be.' he said throwing the stick on to the table next to him. 'And you Jack where so quick to condemn her!'


'I wasn't the only one.'


'Come on guys,' Gwen said feeling the tension 'We've all been taken for a ride. Let's just calm down. How is Tosh?'


'I hoping there isn't any lasting damage. She's still out though until all the toxins are gone.'


'How long will that take?'


'I've given her something to help but it depends how her body reacts.'


'So she's going to be ok?'


'Hopefully if there aren't any unforeseen problems.'

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Chapter Thirty Three


Owen had dosed off in a chair next to Toshiko's bed. Movement next to him woke him up. Toshiko was blearily looking around her.

'You're awake,' he smiled.

'Yes,' she said flatly. 'I'd intended not to wake up ever again. You should have just left me.'

'Don't say that,' he said blinking back the tears he could feel forming. 'I am so, sorry. I was an idiot.'

'I don't really blame you. Who'd want me?'

'Are you kidding? You're gorgeous and so smart.'

'Not smart enough to kill myself properly.'

'This isn't you. Something’s making you feel this way. Here take these,' he said handing her some of the same pills he'd given Ianto. 'They'll make you feel better.'

She took the pills.

'I really am so sorry,' he said taking her hand.

'I'm surprised Jack let you bring me here.'

'I didn't give him much choice, it was rather urgent. But he never objected. He knows he was wrong.'

'I didn't do anything to either of you.'

'I know.'

Suddenly Toshiko was struggling for breath. Owen checked the readouts panicking, he had no idea why that should be happening. The readouts gave no answers. He saw red marks appearing around her neck and leaned in to investigate. Only to find himself flying across the medical bay and landing with a crash.

'What's going on?' Jack said coming to investigate.

'I don't know,' Owen said getting to his feet.

As they looked back to Toshiko they saw what was wrong. Stuart was there with his hands around her throat.

'Stuart what are you doing?' Jack asked.

'Finishing the job she failed.'

'But your lot said you wouldn't kill us.' Owen said pointing his gun at him.

'I have no choice she failed.'

Owen shot him in the shoulder, figuring that it would stop him throttling Toshiko. It worked he stumbled back. Owen backed him into the corner away from Toshiko.

'What right to you have to say who lives are who dies?' Jack said taking over from Owen who check on Toshiko. Jack tracked Stuarts movements with his gun.

'And what right do you?' Stuart asked staring down Jack’s barrel.

'You're forcing our hand by threatening our friend,'

'All of those people should have died. We are just putting things right.'

'If they were meant to die they would have. Death doesn't make mistakes. It saves some for a reason. Anyway you've missed someone.'

'We have? Who?'

'Me. I've cheated death more times than I care to remember. If someone really shouldn't be here it's me. Yet here I am. I've tried almost every kind of death. Yet death keeps throwing me back in again. So what are you going to do to "correct" me?'

Stuart looked at Jack, and he could feel him scrambling in his brain, and he let him. The more deaths he found there the better.

'I prove your argument invalid. Death takes who he wants, when he wants, he also leaves people behind. There has been many a person who's been close enough to touch death. But come back and changed their life for the better of mankind and you’re saying that person is wrong. You need to find a new mission because this one is over.' Jack said closing in his gun extremely close to Stuarts head. 'Go leave these people, otherwise I will be playing god and I'll find everyone of you and send you to death myself.' as he said that. Stuart disappeared.

'Has he gone?' Owen asked.

Jack waved his hand around to see if he was just invisible. But found nothing. 'Seems so,'

'Do you think he got the message?'

'I certainly hope so.'




Toshiko was back at her post a scarf around her neck hiding the purple bruises from Stuart. She had been told the whole story of Stuart and his colleagues, how she'd been framed to alienate her. They knew if she was pushed far enough she would try and end it all. Jack had been very apologetic and Owen was being far too nice, trying to make up. She knew they had planned to hurt the both of them. They knew Owen would be vulnerable if his heart was broken, one reason he'd tried to stay away from romance over the years. They didn't factor in that he would reach for the pills when he'd felt the darkness edging in.


She had been keeping an eye on the records. The near death suicides had returned to normal levels. It seemed whoever these people or aliens had been. They'd got the hint and gone at least for the moment. Owen joined her and put his arm around her waist. He couldn't bear how close he had been to loosing her.

'You haven't got anywhere to stay have you?' he said.

She frowned. 'Not really. Ianto's put that place back on the market. Not fit enough for a rat he said,' she said with a look over to Ianto who was talking to Jack, and smiling his beaming smile.

'You could always stay at mine,'

Toshiko looked at him in shock.

'You don't have to,'

'Oh no, I'd love to thank you. It’ll give me time to look for my own place.'

'You don't have you.'

'You mean move in together?'

'Why not?'

'It's just, well it's a bit quick.'

'Carpe Diem, seize the day. We don't know how long we've got. We've already been given a second chance lets not waste it.’

‘I suppose so.’

‘So are you in?'

'I am,' she said with a massive smile on her face.


The End

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