Rain pelted against the Honda's windscreen. Visibility was down to only a few feet, despite the rapid swish of the wipers and the bright burn of the headlights. Owen was forced to creep the car along at a speed best reserved for walking, swearing softly under his breath.
He was already late. He'd slept right through the alarm, thanks to the Tamazipam in his system and he'd finally woken, groggy-headed, when Jack phoned. Even with a clear head, he wouldn't have understood what the man was yelling as most of his conversation was drowned out by high-pitched wailing.
The cry of pain; something was wrong with Emma.
The sudden dread of that realisation, and the resulting rush of adrenaline, had at least swept the cobwebs from his head and after hastily dressing; he'd ran out to his car. He'd been drenched by the time he got behind the wheel.
He was still uncomfortable wet now, even with the heating turned to full blast.
Lightening split the sky overhead and a second later, a clap of thunder crashed overhead. Somewhere in the distance, a car alarm screeched to life.
Owen swore again, drumming his fingers on the wheel.
How much longer was this going to take?
Ianto Jones was wondering the exact same thing. He was walking up and down the Hub with Emma, jigging her about and trying not to wince at the noise coming from her. She had Jack's mouth. And like the man himself, she certainly knew how to use it.
Jack had dumped the baby on him when the captain could no longer take the wailing. He'd tried to give her to Gwen first, but the woman had backed away with a "don't even bloody think about it!" And Tosh had just said "no" in an uncharactically firm manner, refusing to take her eyes off her computer screens or to cease typing.
So Ianto had been left with her. He'd tried waving a rattle at her, but the baby had only grasped it in her little hand and continued bawling in an increasingly raspy and horse cry. The only difference it made was when her limbs waved about in agitation she could now actually hurt him, as a good whack to the side of his nose with the rattle proved.
He'd taken it away.
Emma had wailed even louder.
He had given it back.
But the wailing never stopped.
"Where the bloody hell is that dummy I bought?" Gwen yelled at him.
"Owen threw it away." Tosh told her.
Ianto frowned. "He had medical objections to their use."
"I've got fucking mental objections!" Gwen snapped back. "To that bloody racket!"
Ianto moved as far away from Gwen as possible, not for her sake, but for Emma's. He doubted that kind of language was helping matters.
With a sigh, he transferred her to his other arm, noticing as he did so that the shoulder of his immaculately pressed suit was now damp and covered in snot. He turned and began walking her in a little circle, uttering hushes and humming and rocking her.
The cog wheel rolled back, revealing a soaked Owen.
He had never, in all the time he'd been at Torchwood Three, been so glad to see Owen. Or any of his colleagues for that matter.
Owen stalked past Jack and Ianto caught the appreciation in his Jack's eyes at the way Owen's wet clothes clung to his skin. He wondered if Owen noticed. And if his own annoyance was as well concealed as he hoped.
The doctor reached Ianto and went to take Emma.
He didn't understand his own reluctance, but suddenly parting with the squalling baby was the last thing he wanted to do so he stepped away. "You're wet."
"Thanks for that piece of information, Ianto." Owen muttered as he made another grab for the screaming baby.
Ianto avoided him. "You'll make her cold."
Owen sighed loudly then stripped off his T shirt. He dropped it on the floor where it landed with a wet slap. Ianto tried to ignore the puddle it was making as it lay there, a puddle he no doubt would have to clean up later.
Owen then went to the rack, grabbed his white coat and shrugged it on.
Ianto handed him the baby.
"Thank you." He muttered sarcastically and began walking towards to the autopsy room. "Milk, two sugars." He called back.
It was a good thing he had his back to Ianto and didn't see what the young man was mouthing.
"Jack, I think you should see this!"
Gwen's voice was almost lost under the sound of Emma's crying that echoed up from the autopsy room. Not for the first time, she wished it had a door, then they'd at least have some break from the incessant wailing.
Jack came over to her. She was standing at Tosh's side and they were both studying Tosh's computer screen where both the Met Office weather readings for Cardiff and the graph of Rift activity were displayed.
"This storm isn't like anything we've seen before." Tosh told him. "There's a definite correlation in the electrical spectrums of both the storm and the Rift. Some of Cardiff's weather conditions have been affected by the Rift before, but not on this scale. This is a low pressure that formed spontaneously in the last few hours."
"What we're saying," Gwen summed up, "is that the storm is being caused by whatever is happening to the Rift."
"And there's something else…" Tosh added and she pointed to the time indexes for both of the graphs and then she tapped up the internal CCTV, which showed Emma crying in her cot. "The storm began building the moment Emma started crying."
"John was right, Jack." Gwen said. "They're connected."
"How is she?"
Owen looked up to see Jack leaning over the railings, gazing down at Emma, who lay in the middle of autopsy table surrounded by rolled up blankets. Her eyelids were in the process of fluttering closed. It had taken over an hour before the Hub was quiet again and the silence, when it came, was almost as deafening as the noise had been.
"Teething." He said.
Jack frowned. "Teething? There's a storm over Cardiff because she's getting teeth?"
"And she's growing at an accelerated rate…"
"She's getting all her teeth in the same day." Jack finished, understanding. He came down the steps and moved to stand beside the autopsy table. He smiled down at the sleeping child.
"I gave her a low dose painkiller." Owen told him. "It's made her sleepy so if she's causing the storm, it should let up at least til she's awake."
"I'll warn the emergency services." He said, as he gently lifted Emma and carried her up the steps.
Owen yawned and slumped down in front of his computer. Then he tapped up Emma's file and began to work.
Jack put Emma in the cot and tucked her up. She took up even more space than the last time she'd been in there and Jack took a moment to take in all the changes in her now that she was quiet. Her hair was starting to grow and from the tufts he could see it, he could tell the shade would be brown, which wasn't surprising given that they all had dark hair.
John was right. They did need a blonde.
Those cheekbones were definitely Ianto's. He'd know them anywhere, even hidden under baby fat. Emma's nose and general face shape favoured Tosh, as did the faint barely there honeyed tint of her skin. She had Owen's eyes and lashes and of himself… He could see nothing, although Ianto assured him Emma's mouth was his.
He switched on the baby monitor and returned to the main Hub, where Ianto was quietly and efficiently going from station to station with a tray of steaming coffees, teas and cappuccinos.
Jack received his own coffee, took a swallow and came to stand beside Gwen, who pointed up at her screen, which showed the CCTV image of the Bay.
"The rain stopped about half an hour ago," she told him. "And the winds died down shortly after Emma fell asleep."
"It won't last."
Gwen cast a nervous look at Jack's office, where Emma was sleeping. "I know."
He turned at Tosh's call and moved to her side.
"I've been getting reports of animal attacks all over the city." Tosh said, "so I called up some of the CCTV images of the affected areas. Look." She pushed the screen round and Jack saw it was covered in a number of black and white CCTV images in a grid of squares, all showing different parts of the city. But in each individual square had something in common, they each captured the image of a similar figure.
Jack's face remained still. "Weevils."
"The energy from the Rift is making them more active." Tosh told him.
Gwen got up. "I'll check the cells."
"No. Emma's sleeping. That's bought us some time." Jack said as he began for the door. "Let's not waste it. Gwen, Ianto, with me. We're going weevil hunting. Tosh, keep monitoring the Rift. Owen, stay with Emma."
The doctor had already started for the door. He stopped. "What!"
"We don't have time to argue, Owen."
"I'm not the fucking babysitter."
"No, you're a doctor." He slapped the baby monitor into Owen's hand. "Emma's your patient. If you want something to do, check on the weevils downstairs. If things get out of hand, their containment will be a priority."
The door rolled shut behind them.
The SUV swerved and skidded on the wet ground. The weevil they were chasing had headed onto a playing field and the SUV tires were busily tearing great chunks out of the immaculately mowed grass.
Finally the creature reached the end of the field, where a large fence had trapped the alien. It snarled as Jack leapt out, tranquiliser gun in his grip.
Ianto and Gwen abandoned the vehicle too, spreading out to cut off the things escape.
The weevil snarled and snapped.
They closed in.
The creature swiped at Gwen, knocking her back. Ianto put out an arm to catch her and in that moment's worth of distraction, the weevil leapt smartly up, clawed at the wire until it had pulled itself up and over the fence. It dropped to the ground on the other side and headed out for the road.
Jack and Ianto leapt after it, although their scaling of the fence was a lot less agile, while Gwen got back into the SUV, shoved it into reverse with a terrible grinding noise, gunned the engine and began making more ruts in the playing field.
Jack and Ianto, meanwhile, were sprinting to keep up with the weevil. Although it was no longer raining, the heavy black clouds limited the light and even the alien's hundred yard advantage was making it hard to spot in the gloom.
They ran along the pavement, using what little light that came from the passing cars' headlights to keep track of the fast moving weevil. There was a sharp corner approaching and they both put on a burst of speed, fearing that if they lost sight of the creature when it turned, they'd loose it forever.
At the corner, it made a sudden, unexpected turn across the road, right into the traffic.
They dashed into the road after it.
Ianto's foot slipped on the wet curb and he wobbled, stumbling to a halt.
A car came round the corner.
A wall of pain crashed over him and everything went black.