Chapter 15: Christ, In Deiner Geburt!
Ianto went and sat back down putting some distance between himself and Teal. The hybrid sat forward in the chair watching the ice-cube eddy with the movement of his hand. He glanced up. “You still getting the headaches?”
Ianto licked his lips. “I’ve learnt to live with them.”
Teal looked towards the door. “They know?”
Ianto’s face gave nothing away as he shook his head. Teal pursed his lips fostering the glass with both hands. “What about Hark…”
“You told him?” He raised a doubting eyebrow.
Teal nodded looking into the surface of the Scotch. “How about that diary, seems a bit superfluous?” His smile was cold.
Ianto shrugged. “It helps to write things down.”
“Course it does.” The ice-cube bobbed merrily in the liquid distorting Teal’s reflection.
Ianto edged forward resting his arms on his lap, idly pondering the seconds ticking from his watch. He rubbed the leather strap. “I never thanked you for coming back.” He looked up at the other man, his gaze faltering under the strain of Teal’s blank stare.
“And just for the record, I never told Jack.” He laced his hands together.
Teal gave a cynical laugh and placed the glass down on the coffee table with a quiet thud. Ianto spared a glance at the untouched drink. “He guessed.” Teal’s words were sharp enough for Ianto to feel their edge.
“He came over that night, beat the crap outta me. He’s no fool.” Teal dragged a hard hand across his mouth. “And neither are you. You know why I helped you, a partially converted Cyberman, hey, too good an opportunity to miss and if it all went tits up, well…” Teal’s stare was hard. “All that information, all Torchwood’s grubby little secrets…” He touched the side of his head. “…You were both a commodity worth saving.”
He picked up the glass dangling it by the rim. “Why are you really here, Ianto?”
The rain was soft and cold. Tosh listened to her mobile dial each pre-set digit playing a tune against the wind. Every now and then she spared a fleeting glance over her shoulder back down the alley. She wrapped her free arm around her to combat the bitter air willing Jack to pick up.
“Yeah.” Tosh sighed with relief.
“Jack, it’s me.”
“What ya got?”
“There’s an alien entity imprisoned in the yew.” A large man walking a small dog stopped and looked at her. She smiled innocently and turned away from him.
“What?” He wanted clarification.
“There’s a manuscript in the archives, Ianto’s…” She hesitated. “…Teal translated it.”
There was a pause, it extended into a sharp intake of breath. “Tosh where the hell are you..?”
Teal held up the glass staring at the younger man through its golden hue, his question developing in the silence between them. “We needed a translation and fast so I called in a favour,” Ianto answered his gaze lingering on the Scotch as he felt the pulse of the seconds against his skin.
Teal shook his head. “Don’t play me for a fool,” he spat.
“I’m not. You said yourself how dangerous the manuscript is.”
Teal laughed and shook a finger at him in mock delight. “Touché,” he replied reclining back against the cushions and resting the drink on his lap. “So, how’s this gonna play out?”
Ianto watched him. “You and me,” Teal reiterated, “‘cos now I owe you nothing, the slate’s clean, it’s open season between us.”
His face darkened. “Calling in your favour was a big mistake.”
“Oh come on, Ianto, let’s put our cards on the table so to speak. We both know I can’t fart without you picking it up…”
Ianto arched an eyebrow. “Or try and blow up a tourist barge…”
Teal’s smile widened. “So, Harkness sent you to do his dirty work?” He held up the drink. “Poison?”
Ianto held back the urge to swallow. “No, sedative, we don’t want to start a war neither of us can afford…” he stopped “…yet.”
Teal laughed. “So, you were going to take me in?” He tipped the Scotch onto the carpet, the liquid soaked into the pile leaving a dark stain.
“I’m curious, why now, why not a month ago?” His hand hovered by the manuscript; Ianto watched the movement cautiously.
“Because you’re about to drop off our radar.” He leant forward, his words sounding stronger than he felt.
“Ah.” Teal’s smile was one of tolerant surprise. “I should have foreseen that, I thought I’d hidden my tracks.”
“Not from me.”
“No, and really I’m quite flattered to think it was because of my training.”
“Indubitably,” Ianto answered with a tilt of his head.
Teal’s face hardened. “But your big mistake was coming here alone with no back up, well, apart from the lovely Miss Sato that is.”
Teal laid his hand back on the book shaking his head. “You’ve got sloppy since you moved to Cardiff, I really thought I’d taught you better.”
This time Ianto smiled. “You did.”
Teal studied him a moment before his eyes turned black.
“What the hell’s Ianto playing at!” Jack’s voice echoed off the buildings; Tosh moved the phone away from her ear, glad she didn’t have her headset on.
“Tosh you’ve got to get back in there, do you hear me, but take care, Teal’s far more dangerous than Ianto’s let on. Keep a line open, I want to hear what’s going on…”
“That may be difficult, Jack, there’s no signal…”
“Just keep it open!”
The shadow’s churning cloud billowed up the walls and across the ceiling. The light from the lamp was engulfed in its slow advancing roll across the room. Ianto tried to sidestep its pall but it increased speed; he reached for his gun. “I took a bullet for you,” he reasoned pressing his back against wall.
“Yes you did.” Teal’s voice was hollow and carried on the pitch of the vapour as it twisted itself into the shape of a man.
The form grabbed Ianto’s wrist and squeezed the gun from his grasp before he could get a shot off. It then pushed him against the wall, its blurred finger’s reaching for his throat. “That’s why I’m not going to kill you straight away.”
The faceless head dipped close to his ear. “By the way, I’m curious, which drug did you chose?”
Ianto looked to the spill of liquid and then to his watch allowing himself one more smile.
Tosh slipped on the icy pavement as she ran back to the shop, as she picked herself up she saw several hazy figures moving towards her. She froze.
“Tosh, talk to me!” Jack’s voice hissed with static
She wrestled her gun from her bag dropping the mobile onto the street.
“Tosh.” She fired at the dark, ethereal, shapes.
Ianto’s attention turned to the window, the smoky hand hauled his attention back to the room. “Ah, now that will be Miss Sato coming to the rescue.” Teal’s face was emotionless. “Too bad.”
Ianto’s watch gave four decisive beeps. “XJ33,” he whispered against the hand on his neck.
Teal shuddered and the grip on Ianto’s throat slackened. “What?”
“You asked me what drug I used.” Ianto stroked the cold imprints left by the haze.
Teal swayed slightly touching his forehead with his fingertips. “I’ve never heard…”
“No, you haven’t.” The murky form shrank back as Teal fell to his knees knocking the manuscript from the table.
He looked up at Ianto. “But I didn’t drink it.”
The young man peeled off a plastic covering on his fingertip. “It’s absorbed through the skin. I smeared it on the bottom of your glass.”
The fading daylight pierced the room stabbing the last vestiges of the shadow.
“What is it?” Teal gasped wrapping his arms about him to relieve the sudden onslaught of pain.
Ianto crouched down beside him. “It breaks down the added alien DNA in your system. Dr Hicks developed it.”
Teal stared at him. “Dr Hicks was a monster,” he spat licking his swollen lips.
Ianto considered this as he helped Teal to the chair. “Yes, he was.”
He went back to the drink’s cabinet and took out a bottle of water. Ianto unscrewed the cap and took a sip before handing it to Teal. He perched on the arm of the chair. “It took some years for him to perfect the formula. Apparently they wired this fail safe into your DNA which the drug triggers. I came across it by accident the other day, found it in a containment box from Canary Wharf. You have to admire the regime they were nothing if not thorough.”
He tapped the bottle with his finger. “You should try and drink something.”
Teal spread a shaky hand across his face smearing the blood that was seeping from his nose. He looked down at its stain and then to the bottle in his other hand. “Side effects?”
Ianto pushed himself off the arm and went to retrieve his gun. “A few,” he related placing the weapon back in its holster, “your body’s going to lose all that makes you alien, all those abilities you squandered.”
The two men looked at each other. Teal went to stand but his legs betrayed him. He tumbled forward onto the carpet. “I’ll be blind, Ianto, please…”
“You planted a bomb on a tourist cruiser filled with men, women, and children…” This time he did nothing to help Teal to his feet.
“To send you a message, we knew you’d find it before it exploded…”
Ianto put on his coat. “We got the message, consider this our reply.”
“Ian…” The hybrid reached out along the carpet.
“I hope your friends have a use for you because Torchwood will no longer be requiring your services.” Ianto turned his back and began buttoning his wool blend coat.
“You bastard!” Teal screamed into the looped pile.
The young man retrieved his gloves from the pockets. “Yes and you should be proud.”
Teal began to laugh. “What’s so funny?” Ianto asked looking back.
“You still can’t do it, can you?”
Ianto turned to pick up his scarf holding it a little too tightly.
Teal made it to his knees. “Most men, men like good ol’ Captain Jack, would have put a bullet between my eyes, killed me outright, no matter what the consequences…”
“Maybe that’s too good for you…” Ianto squeezed the woollen material in his grasp.
“You keep telling yourself that but I know you, Ianto Jones, deep down inside that Cyber three piece suit, you’re still that vulnerable boy from Newport.” Teal words struggled through the pain.
Ianto placed the scarf around his neck. “You’re wrong, I’ve changed, you saw to that…”
“Am I? Then prove it…” he paused, his body steeped in agony.
Ianto bit his lip, his hand stretching beneath his coat.
Tosh burst in through the door, gun raised; She looked between the two men. “Ianto..?”
Teal fell back on the floor and began to laugh again.
Copyright RMC Dec 2017