Disclaimer: Not mine.

Title: The Broken Pieces of Us

Author: NorthernStar

Rating: PG (this chapter. Rating may change.)

Characters: Team Torchwood

Timeline: Shortly before Reset

Pairings: As canon. Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Unrequited Tosh/Owen, etc…

Summary: A mix of Torchwood DNA, a life linked to the rift and a dying child…

Warnings: Dodgy science (this is Torchwood) violence (this is Torchwood) m/m relationships (this is Torchwood) you might be expecting twee-ness, given the subject matter, but this is Torchwood, right?

Notes: This has festered in my brain for weeks and I tried to resist. I don't want to write fanfic any more, damn it!

The Broken Pieces of Us

By NorthernStar

-1-

The Plas was wet, slick with water, but at least the rain had finally stopped. A bitter wind came from the bay, blowing in with the tide. His great coat would have offered some protection from the cold, but he had left it behind in the Hub. It didn't matter. Jack welcomed the biting cold.

His wrist strap bleeped again, but he ignored it. He'd stopped looking hours ago; there was no message.

He knew that now.

Jack closed his eyes and listened. Gulls crying in the distance, the waves crashing, wind whipping through the buildings, far off traffic…

There was nothing but those sounds and the cold. The bitter chill reminding him that he still alive, still real

"Penny for your thoughts, sir."

He opened his eyes at Ianto's voice and flashed a grin. "They're worth a whole lot more than that."

Ianto held out his great coat and Jack slipped it on. The warmth he now felt not entirely due to the thick fabric surrounding him.

Bleep.

Ianto frowned down at Jack's wrist.

"Is that a message?"

"No." Jack looked away, eyes scanning the distance. "It's an SOS."


Tosh's fingers froze on the keypad and she turned to the screen at her side. The gentle spikes that tracked the activity of the Rift had suddenly skittered into jags and the console began to beep an urgent warning.

"Tosh?"

She looked over at Gwen. "It's the Rift." She yelled back. "It's wide open!"

Gwen immediately put her hand to ear and yelled, "Jack, get down here!" into the comm.

The alarms snapped off as abruptly as they had begun. The spikes had returned to normal.

Gwen came over, looking at the screen. "It's gone."

Tosh tapped at the keys. "The Rift has closed but…" she pointed at a thickness on the line of the graph, "something's changed."

Jack ran for the entrance, with Ianto a half-step behind. They reached the "Tourist Information" almost at the same time, but Jack ducked in ahead of Ianto and ground to a halt.

Ianto pulled up sharp, narrowly avoiding crashing into Jack. He opened his mouth to ask what was wrong when he saw the reason Jack had stopped.

There was a large open sports bag in the doorway, filled with what looked like white linen.

Ianto went forward.

"Don't touch it." Jack said.

Ianto nodded and knelt down, leaning forward cautiously to peer into the bag.

Inside was a sleeping baby, swaddled in white sheets.

"I think we'd better call social services."

Jack got out his gun and pointed it at the bag. He waved Ianto away.

"Jack it's a baby."

"That's what we thought last time." He got out a scanner and held it out. After he'd checked the readings, he put away his gun. "It's safe."

Ianto's face remained passive. "I'm relieved to hear that, sir."


"Owen, I've got a patient for you!"

The doctor looked up from his notes as Jack put a sports bag onto the autopsy bed. A whiney noise came from inside followed by the la-la-la cry of a newborn.

Owen sighed, "Jack, tell me that's not what I think it is. The last one nearly chewed my ear off."

"It's not alien, it's a human baby."

The look on Owen's face made it clear he didn't think that was much of an improvement. But he got his stethoscope anyway and leaned over the crying baby.

He carefully loosened the swaddling. Something dropped from the blankets but he paid it no mind and laid the stethoscope against the child's naked chest.

Ianto frowned and delicately picked the object up, careful not to interfere with Owen's examination. He held it up. It was a fine square of translucent plastic.

Jack snatched it from him.

"DNA verified." The square emitted a silky voice. "Message begins…" and a hologram shot from the square, projecting up an image about three feet high.

It was Captain John Hart. And in his arms, he held the swaddled baby.

"So you found her. Knew you would." He grinned. "Actually she's an it, not a her. That's one of the things that went wrong. But family's family." He gently pulled back the swaddling, until the child's face was clear. "She's you, Jack. She's all of you. I made her from your combined DNA that you injected in me." He shrugged. "Thought she might come in useful."

Jack was aware that the team had gone silent and still.

"But she's broken. The Rift affected the DNA, damaged it somehow." The smile never left his face. "She's linked to the Rift now, like a part of it. It's made her cells unstable. You can't stop the deterioration. She's dying, Jack. And so is the Rift."

The message snapped off.

TBC