Title: Stranger in the Night 1/5 + Epilogue x2
Spoilers: Everything up to Exit Wounds. Set several years post s2 where CoE and MD don't exist.
Pairing/Characters: Jack/Ianto, Past Ianto/Lisa, Gwen
Warnings: Some darkish theme in later chapters
Summary: Someone shows up suddenly and unexpectedly in Cardiff one rainy night. Why has she shown up now, after all this time? Most importantly what does Ianto know about the reappearance?
Notes: It's been almost a year since I last posted to this story, but I've reworked what I had posted and now the story is complete and I will be posting a chapter a day. Special thanks to spud1963 who nudged me to finish this. Please leave feedback so I know what you think.
Chapter 1- One Stormy Night in October
It had been raining since they arrived in Cardiff. Rain was a way of life here, or so he said. London was not much better in terms of weather and she should have known that wearing Wellies and having an umbrella would have been a smart idea, but the fight was unexpected as was the running from the hotel. She had never seen the mean, petty side of her boyfriend of a year and a half until tonight. The childish side sometimes seemed like a default attitude, but never this and it kind of scared her. The last lines of the argument played over in her head.
"Your family is nothing to be ashamed of."
"I've kept my distance for good reason."
"Family is important."
"We shouldn't have come. We should've stayed in London."
"Don't be such a prat."
"I only agreed to come to stop your nagging. We're here and you are still nagging. Just drop it for once. You never let anything go. I'm done with this."
Now, she was running. She did not think he was going to hit her, but she was not going stand around and bear the brunt of his bad mood either. The problem was that she was not familiar with Cardiff and soon the upset woman found herself lost. Pride stopped her from calling the cranky boyfriend for help.
The rain continued to fall, drenching her to the core. It was not much longer before she could no longer feel the rain falling. Now she found herself by the bay, and if memory served her right, Torchwood Three was based here. Would they help her even if they had severed all ties with One? There were the stories of the man who ran the operation, Captain Jack Harkness. A man who would shag anything with a pulse. That thought repulsed her. She was brought up to believe that a relationship should be cherished and not made a mockery by having multiple partners and if rumors were true, some not even human.
The soaked woman was relieved to see a visitor's centre in the distance. She made a quick dash towards it and let out a scream of frustration when it was locked. Then she felt an electric surge through her body and everything went dark.
Gwen hustled toward the entrance to the Hub after a quick dinner run. She planned on catching up on some long due paperwork, hoping things would be quiet with Jack and Ianto out for the evening, and probably into the early morning knowing them.
"When's this bloody rain going to stop?" she pulled her hood tight. Gwen did not see the body before she tripped over it. "Oi!" she quickly regained her composure and checked on the other person. "Oh, thank god." She was relieved to find a pulse. "Miss, can you hear me?" The rain obscured a clear view of the barely conscious woman's face.
"What happened?" the woman mumbled as she slowly became aware of her surroundings. "So...so cold." Her teeth chattered as she spoke.
"Let's get you inside." Gwen assisted the woman in standing.
"It's locked," she said as she leaned against the building for support.
"Good thing I've got a key." Gwen unlocked the door and helped the shivering woman in, put her in the chair behind the desk and got her a blanket that was kept under the desk.
"Thank you." With clothes thoroughly soaked, the woman felt like she would never be warm again.
"What brings you out in such this weather?"
"Needed a break from the prat." She saw a wedding ring on the other woman's hand, knowing her boyfriend had a long way to mature before they talked about marriage.
"You got into a fight with your husband?" Gwen asked. There was only one reason someone could run out in this weather without proper attire and for the way the stranger eyed her rings. "He didn't hurt you, did he?" She searched for something to help the other woman warm up.
"Boyfriend. We got into a fight about visiting his family. He didn't want to come, but I forced him into it. He doesn't want to have anything to do with his family. It's his niece's third birthday and he's never met her or her older brother. He's the one from Cardiff. I got bloody lost and I have no idea how to get back to the hotel." It felt cathartic to get that off her chest. Sometimes it was easier to unload your problems to strangers. They did not know either party and had no sides to take. "How can I tell him about the baby if he puts no value in family? Why can men be such selfish children?"
"I don't know," Gwen said with a laugh. "They just are sometimes. It feels like I have four children some days."
"My daughter, my husband and the two blokes I work with." There were days Jack was the biggest kid of them all and those were the days she left him in the care of Ianto. Then there were the days when both men acted like toddlers in the middle of a temper tantrum and those were the days Gwen wanted to call in sick and sometimes did.
"Sounds like you've got your hands full." The lost woman pulled the blanket closer when something bright red caught her eye from inside a cubby hole. "What's this doing here?" She pulled out a paddle that had fur on one side and leather on the other. "What kind of visitor's office is this?"
Gwen's face morphed into mortified shock when she saw the paddle. "Oi, those two. They promised they had stopped this. Let me take that." The embarrassed woman would have a long talk with the boys about playing their games in the office and tossed the paddle behind the beaded curtain.
"I'm sorry for unloading all of this on you. I'm just...I don't know."
"I understand, hon," Gwen lauded her and put a hand on the woman's arm which still felt ice cold.
"Thank you for helping me." She bit her lip, nervously looking in the direction the paddle was thrown. Never in a million years would she think about using something like that. The wildest thing she had done in bed was having sex in a tent on a beach in France and that was mainly for warmth.
"It's no bother. What hotel are you staying at? I can give you a ride there," Gwen offered.
"Thank you. We are staying at the Ibis. Do you know where that is? I don't recall the street it's on." The shivering was starting to subside.
"Sure I know where it is. I've lived here my whole life and know the city inside and out." Gwen offered her arm to the weary looking woman. "You should tell him about the baby. You'd be surprised how quickly he might grow up learning that he is going to be a father."
"I hope you're right." The woman slowly got up and took the offered help. "You've been too kind. Thank you again...I don't even know your name."
"No need to thank me. It's Gwen Cooper." Even after the years of marriage it was still odd to use Rhys' surname.
As quickly as she said her name, there was now a gun pointed at Lisa's head.
To be continued... Chapter 2