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Mouse Trap: Chapter 4

Mouse Trap
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or Doctor Who, nor do I make any claim to. I also make no claim to the rovie and the character Erimem, who are both from the Big Finish audio plays.
Warnings: Cliff hangers! And more Ianto torment. Because I can.
Author's Thanks: A great many thanks to Cy, no matter how busy she is.
Notes: So... Sorry this is a bit late. Well, it's more than a bit late, actually, but you see... I kinda completely forgot about it? By the time I remembered, Cy was so bogged down with essays and school work that she didn't have time to beta.  I shall do my best to remember for the next chapter.

Anyway, on with Chapter Four!

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3

~

"Is this really necessary?" The Doctor asked plaintively as Gwen passed out the folders. They were all sitting around the conference room table, coffee already laid out and waiting for them as the big screen showed the complex blueprints of an old factory. The 'rovie,' as the Doctor called it, had apparently taken it over as its base of operations. The Time Lord in question was fidgeting impatiently, wanting to rush off to the rescue now that he'd managed to combine seven different incompatible alien technologies for the machine that would supposedly save Jack.

Ianto himself was a good bit impatient to be off, but he knew Gwen's plan would save them a lot of trouble in the long run. Gwen simply placed her hands on her hips and leveled the Doctor with a stern look of reproach. The Doctor sank back into the chair, drinking his coffee with a crestfallen expression that didn't quite hide the fact he was sulking. She began the presentation without any further complaints from the peanut gallery.

"The factory the rovie has taken over used to make pencils. Fairly uninteresting in itself, but made entirely of concrete so there is little to no reception." Gwen used the remote to click through various pictures of the factory from when it'd been running and Ianto made mental notes of how the inside of the building would look now. "I've tried getting a message through to Jack if he is hooked up to the computer, but there's some sort of barrier up around the whole compound and it's way beyond our tech. It's a complete blackout zone."

"So our coms won't work?" Ianto asked, not liking the idea.

"Very probably."

"I could do something about that?" the Doctor offered, much to both of their surprise. "The rovie is using Gallifreyan technology. In fact, I could do it right now and-"

"Doctor, sit down," Gwen commanded as the Time Lord started to stand. He looked about to snap at her, but closed his eyes and held his breath for a moment before sitting down and smiling pleasantly. Gwen returned the smile a little too sweetly and Ianto had to hide a grin of his own as he took a hasty sip of his coffee at the exchange. The Doctor had gotten better about keeping his tempter since he'd arrived, but Ianto had grown rather fond of it to tell the truth. Like many characteristics of the Doctor, it ended up being more adorable than actually intimidating so long as he remembered this wasn't actually Jack.

"Now, as I was saying," Gwen said, giving a scolding look to the Doctor as if she were daring him to speak again. He just continued smiling up at her, looking as unassuming as he could. "The thugs it's hired all appear to be brainwashed from a local gang. Not the best examples of humanity and no one would miss them should they go missing, but they are under some sort of control. Ianto, if you could bring out the tasers?"

"Yes, quite. Violence is the answer to everything," the Doctor muttered. "Are those really necessary?"

Ianto couldn't help but feel a little hurt for the barb and Gwen launched straight into a defensive position. "Yes, they are. Or do you want to end up captured and strapped to that machine again?"

The Doctor glared, looking at Gwen furiously as he made no attempt to control his temper this time. "At least no one will end up dead that way."

"Yeah, right. Except for everyone else in the world and yours if we don't stop the rovie from taking over! Or don't you mind if it tries taking over your planet again, this time while you're helpless to stop him?"

"Is that your policy then? Shoot the first alien you see, not bothering to ask questions or-"

"Doctor," Ianto cut in, attempting to limit the damage. He himself was beginning to get angry and none of this would help Jack. It'd only tear them all apart and limit their chances. "We're trying just as hard as you not to kill anyone. But we don't always have that choice, not when innocent people could be hurt."

The Doctor backed down at the weariness in Ianto's voice, but didn't back off entirely, opting for a more passive jab. "So we go in, guns blazing and that solves everything does it?" he asked mock cheerfully. "Sounds wonderful. Can I go now, or do you expect me to use one of those things?"

Gwen was quickly losing patience with the man and Ianto quite honestly didn't blame her. The Doctor simply wasn't listening nor was he being particularly helpful. "We aren't finished, Doctor, and that wasn't the plan," she said, placing her hands on the table in an attempt to keep them from balling into fists. "Which you'd know if you bothered to listen to what we're saying and-"

"Would you both stop yelling at each other?" Ianto asked, a bit of pleading coming into his voice. Both the Doctor and Gwen were staring at him now and Ianto started to feel very uncomfortable under the attention. "All this fighting won't help Jack..."

Gwen reached over and touched his shoulder, giving into Ianto but not to the Doctor. She looked back over at the Time Lord coldly, but thankfully she wasn't shouting any more when she started to explain. "Doctor, we're both human. We don't regenerate, we don't have any special healing powers and we are currently very understaffed. The entire population of Cardiff relies on the three of us to keep alien tech and the aliens themselves out of the wrong hands or from destroying the world, whether they realize that or not. Most of the time they don't."

Gwen paused, eyes flickering over to the empty chairs where Owen and Tosh used to sit, remembering how they'd died heroes that no one knew about. Ianto looked away, trying not to remember just that and that it was highly unlikely anyone would remember him when he died. Continuing her speech, Gwen shook her head softly. "We are using tasers to protect ourselves and the people who are being mind-controlled. It will keep them from hurting us and themselves. Torchwood One might have been different, but this Torchwood only kills unless there is absolutely no other choice. Unless they give us no choice. Is there a problem with any of that, Doctor?"

The Doctor sighed, leaning back in his chair as Ianto held his breath. If they couldn't work together on this... but the Doctor nodded, much to his relief. "Yes, I see your point. I'm sorry. I haven't exactly been making myself easy to deal with recently, have I?" he asked sheepishly, ducking his head. "I'm not used to your dulled human senses and I'm afraid it's made me a little irritable."

"Dull? You-"

"Gwen, I was just as moody when I was..." Ianto paused, realizing that he really didn't want the Doctor to know about that and floundered a little for a suitable substitute. "When I ended up in a different body, remember? So let's just move on, yeah?" And just let this whole subject drop so they could get back to saving Jack. Yes, that would be lovely.

Unfortunately, his mollification to Gwen only served to catch the still bored Time Lord's attention. "You've been in someone else's body before too?" he asked, delighted to take the conversation away from the dreary planning.

Gwen jumped in, regaining some of her humor as the chance to lightly tease her co-worker and friend presented itself. "Oh, yes. Poor Ianto woke up one morning to find that he'd lost his cock and-"

"Can we talk about saving Jack and the Doctor's companions, not about my short time as a woman?" Ianto pleaded, his cheeks hot as both the Doctor and Gwen attempted - and failed - to keep from laughing.

"So you were a... Ah, yes. Planning. If we must," the Doctor said finally, stifling a laugh with his hand and looking to be in much higher spirits.

"At least it wasn't as bad as when you were invisible?"

"Gwen!"

"Yes, alright," Gwen said as she smiled apologetically at him and pat his shoulder, but Ianto had already decided to put her on decaf for the next week. The last thing he needed was to go through all of his most embarrassing moments at Torchwood. Still, the earlier tension had been broken and though he'd never have admitted it, Ianto did feel a little better for the distraction. Even if it was at his own expense...

Gwen continued on, shuffling the papers in front of her as she regained some semblance of professionalism. "I believe there are ten thugs in all and the more we get out of the way before we confront the rovie, the better. Ianto and I will take care of them, while you, Doctor, free your companions. They're likely to be held in one of these two areas of the... Yes, Doctor? You don't have to raise your hand, you know."

"Actually," the Doctor said as he shrugged apologetically, "I was rather hoping you could go after them, Gwen."

Looking surprised, Gwen raised her eyebrows. "Why me? You're the one they'd trust, surely?"

"Not in this body," the Doctor said with a wince. "I haven't really told either of them about my ability to regenerate. It's likely they'll try to attack me before I even had a chance to properly explain if they're trying to escape. I think they'd respond a bit better to an unfamiliar woman than me right now, though I'd call out before stepping into whatever cell they've been put in just in case. They might try to attack you from behind."

"I like the sound of them," Gwen said with a warm smile, thawing a little towards the Doctor. "Then will you be alright with helping Ianto clear the thugs?"

"If I must," the Doctor repeated again. He looked slightly put upon, but gave a small wave of his hand to show he wasn't being completely serious. "I'm not entirely helpless just because I find guns distasteful."

Another jab, but this time Gwen was in a good enough mood to ignore it. "After you've taken care of the thugs, that leaves us with the overgrown mouse. You're the one who has the most experience with it, Doctor. Any suggestions?"

"Oh... Um, taunt it? It worked fairly well last time, I suppose," the Doctor said thoughtfully. "It has a terrible temper for something so small. I think that's where Jack went wrong, for taking it seriously. That gave it time to calm down and think."

"So we keep it angry by calling it a mouse and using bad puns, not taking it seriously and ignoring it?" Ianto asked. If all enemies were that easy, thought Ianto, Torchwood could cut back on the death bit almost entirely. Still, he shouldn't complain. "Once we've got him angry, do we just put a box over him or set up a mouse trap?"

"I did pick up a little cat kennel," Gwen said, nodding to herself absently. "You know, the sort you put a pet in to take to the vet? Do you think that will be big enough?"

"Yes, that should be quite large enough," the Doctor smiled, this time not in polite disinterest but with a boyish mischievousness and charm. "Though you'll have to listen to him rant through it."

Making a mental note, Ianto decided to put a bit of drug laced cheese in the cart. Nothing to hurt the rovie, but enough to put it fast asleep to save all of their sanity if it really ranted that much. The last thing they needed while trying to save Jack was a raving megalomaniac mouse.

"Once the mouse is captured," Gwen continued, "we can bring out that machine of yours and get Jack back. I assume you'll take care of the mouse after that?" The Doctor nodded and Gwen tapped the papers in her hand against the desk with an accomplished movement. "We'll start the mission in about two hours then. That enough time to pack everything and study the layout?"

"Should be, yeah. I'll go out and pick up a few things before we leave," Ianto said, trying not to feel impatient to get Jack back to normal.

"I take it you plan like this often? How do you ever get anything done?" the Doctor asked finally, stretching as he stood up. He looked over at Gwen uncertainly, fidgeting as he spoke. "I can go now, can't I?"

Ianto stifled a laugh at the plaintive tone in the Doctor's voice. "When in Rome, Doctor," he reminded the Doctor, who sighed in response, looking down at his coffee.

"We've lost too many people recently to get sloppy now," Gwen said quietly, eyes drifting back to the two empty spots at the conference table that Ianto himself had been trying to avoid.

The Doctor apologized awkwardly, but Ianto was trying not to hear. He accepted Gwen's empty mug to refill before taking off to prepare for the mission. The last thing he needed was more reminders of their absent friends, Jack currently included.

Gwen's eyes followed the younger man as he left the room and the Doctor could only wonder at what she was thinking. Sometimes humans' way of thinking completely confounded him, but this time it was a pleasant surprise to him when he spoke. "Take care of him, Doctor."

"Sorry?" he asked, not sure he'd heard it right.

"Take care of Ianto, if I'm the one that is going to be rescuing your friends," she said again, gathering the paper copies of the blueprints in her hands.

He was glad that this was the first time Gwen overtly trusted him, but the Doctor still couldn't see why she was asking. Well, obviously out of concern, but... "I was under the impression you could both take care of yourselves?" Hence the guns, the Doctor's mind supplied, but he wisely chose to keep quiet about it this time.

Gwen nodded, her eyes still on the door Ianto had exited. "Ianto is a good shot and he thinks quickly on his feet, but... He's not got the instincts for field work. He's been learning, but it still scares him sometimes and with everything that's been going on..."

"Ah," the Doctor said, understanding what she was saying. Ianto wasn't a natural at this sort of life - something that rather endeared the man to the Doctor to be honest - and that made him more prone to being injured as opposed to injuring others. Again, not a bad quality, but the Doctor didn't want to see Ianto hurt any more than Gwen did. "Don't worry. I'll look after him."

As Gwen returned his smile, the Doctor realized that despite their arguments, he'd grown quite fond of Torchwood. It reminded him of his days with UNIT and the Brigadier and while being tied to one place and time was hardly pleasant, he did have a lot of fond memories of that time. Now, if only he could get his own body back and he could feel normal again, out of this constricted human body that was embarrassingly easy to over excite...

Gwen was about to say more, but Ianto walked back in with fresh coffee for both of them. The Doctor was surprised to find that his own cup had indeed been drained. He'd never been very fond of coffee, but he really could get used to this. Of course, not the whole one heart thing or being tied to Cardiff of all places, but the coffee was welcome. The Doctor would feel so much better if he could just feel a bit more like himself.

"Come on," Gwen said as Ianto left again. "I'll help you move that machine of yours out to the SUV while Ianto's gone. And Doctor... Thank you for helping us."

"You're very welcome." The Doctor smiled warmly, taking a drink of his coffee. Thanks of this sort was a kind he'd never refuse. A thought struck him though as they both stood to get back to work. "Do you think Ianto could pick up some celery while he's out?"

* * *

Ianto was quite baffled at the Doctor's request. He was even more baffled when the man took the celery and pinned it to Jack's greatcoat with an unparalleled amount of pleasure. He was far too polite to ask straight out, but Gwen had no such reservations. "You're wearing a stick of celery?" she said, not quite believing her eyes.

"Yes, I am," the Doctor said happily. "I've quite missed it."

"Any particular reason why?"

"My normal body is highly allergic to certain airborne toxins," the Doctor explained, looking far more cheerful than Ianto had ever seen him. "The celery turns purple when those toxins are close and then if I eat it, I'll no longer be affected by them."

Gwen, obviously unimpressed, stared at the offending stick of greenery on her Captain's coat. "But you're in Jack's body right now. He's not allergic, is he? And how frequently do you need it, anyway? I've never seen celery turn purple."

"Often enough," the Doctor said, passing over the question as easily as he could. "And Jack's not allergic, no, but I've only got one heart and half my senses working properly, so it could still help." And, Ianto suspected as the Doctor smiled boyishly, it was a small reminder of who he was supposed to be. Ianto had worn a suit once, despite how badly it had fit, during his (thankfully) brief time as the fairer sex for the same reason.

Gwen was blinking blankly at the Doctor, about to question it further when Ianto motioned for her to just leave it. He couldn't help a small amused grin of his own though at how silly this all was. A celery-wearing alien in Jack's body facing off against a megalomaniac mouse... Even for Torchwood, this one was weird. At least the weather never changed, as it looked like this epic face off would be held with extremely normal Cardiff rain in the background.

The car right up was uneventful as they parked half a mile away from the old factory. It started raining harder, making the walk even less pleasant, but both Ianto and Gwen were more than used to it. Even the Doctor seemed resigned to the weather, cheerfully explaining weather patterns of South Wales when Ianto had muttered a rhetorical complaint. They took down the first two security guards they found at the factory with ease, trussing them up and gagging the thugs so they wouldn't make any more trouble for Torchwood.

"You're very good at tying knots," the Doctor remarked as he watched Ianto in surprise. "I've known people who were good at getting out of bonds, but I usually tried to avoid people who like tying me up. Where did you learn?"

Ianto had to fight to keep a blush off his face at the question. When he was sure that he'd be able to speak with a completely straight face, Ianto said, "Jack lost the leather cuffs. We had to... improvise."

It took the Doctor a few moments to puzzle out what that meant, even through Gwen's giggling. When he did realize after a bit more prompting from Gwen that really didn't help Ianto's blush, the Doctor was suddenly very flustered over the whole matter. "So you two... Ah, well. I suppose I did ask. Remind me not to ask again." It was just a little disconcerting seeing Jack - even with the stick of celery to remind him that this was the Doctor - being so innocent and flustered about sex. Ianto couldn't help but wonder how the Doctor managed to deal with Jack while they'd been traveling together.

In the front hall, Gwen took a left to try and find the Doctor's companions. Ianto and the Doctor continued on, taking the long route to the likeliest control room to try and pick off as many of the thugs as they could. The building complex itself was very unexciting. Grey concrete walls lined the hallway with flickering florescent lights. No CCTV cameras. There was that much, not having those ugly things protruding out of every nook and cranny. Ianto still couldn't help but think a few paintings and a different color of paint on the walls would make the place so much more cheery.

"I can see why this place was abandoned," the Doctor said, echoing Ianto's thoughts. "It's gloomy enough in here that I'm surprised people even came to work."

"It's a fixer upper," Ianto agreed, sharing his musings. "Nothing a fresh coat of paint can't solve." He could tell by the look on the Doctor's face that he'd been thinking the exact same thing. They grinned at each other for a moment and Ianto couldn't help but feel a little silly at the exchange. He'd have liked to meet the Doctor under more normal circumstances.

They fell silent as they came to a split in the corridor, leading two different ways. Bringing out his PDA, Ianto noted with no small amusement that the Doctor fished out a coin and flipped it. "This way, I think," he said, then thought better of it. "No, wait-"

"Left, Doctor," Ianto said as he pointed to the map on his PDA, trying fruitlessly to hide a small smile.

The grin only got larger as the Time Lord huffed up and grumbled to himself. Ianto could just barely pick up the words "Yes, I'd have gotten there eventually. Worthless technology. Where is the fun in-"

Ianto motioned for the Doctor to get quiet, staying close to the wall as they came into a large open room. There must have been a lot of equipment and machines in here before the place was shut down, but now there were only a few grey bits of machinery that were presumably worthless... and three brainwashed thugs in the back setting up what looked to be a very large and complex device.

It was like nothing Ianto had ever seen before, a white circular control panel with various colored knobs and a large, clear cylinder in the center that lit up. He glanced over to the Doctor, who he was surprised to see looking absolutely furious. "Is that Jack?" Ianto asked quietly.

"No, that's the control panel to my TARDIS!" Ianto had to shush the Doctor for getting a little too loud, but the thugs didn't appear to notice. Brainwashing apparently did little for awareness. Where had Ianto heard the word 'Tardis' before? Oh, yes. That... blue box time machine of the Doctor's. Jack had spoken about it before. "I'm sorry old girl," the Doctor said softly, eyes never leaving the controls. "It's inexcusable how they've vandalized you, but we'll get you fixed up soon."

"We can start by getting rid of those three," Ianto said, pointing to the guards. Looking over the thugs carefully, Ianto tried not to think about the disappointment that the TARDIS control panel hadn't been Jack. "We need to draw one of them off..."

Retreating back into the corridor, the Doctor started going through his pockets, dismayed at the contents. "I forgot this wasn't my usual coat. There's not even a bit of string..."

Glancing around, Ianto found a small bit of metal paneling leaning against the wall. Picking it up, Ianto checked the hallway once again before banging it against the wall as hard as he could. The loud clang of metal against the concrete could be heard echoing through the empty room.

"That works well enough, I suppose." The Doctor smiled impishly at him, motioning for Ianto to stay hidden against the wall. Drawing his taser, Ianto waited patiently as the Doctor shoved his hands into his pockets and acted as the unsuspecting bait.

Sure enough, a large, brutish thug with a beard and leather jacket thundered up to the corridor. Ianto only caught sight of the man's face briefly, staring instead at the back of a very poorly cut head of hair as the thug walked passed him and ignored him completely. So far, so good.

"Ah, there you are," the Doctor said, smiling innocently as if the thug was just the person he'd been looking for. "Wonderful. I've been lost in here for hours. Perhaps you could show me the way out or-"

The man was already falling to the floor, stunned by the taser. Ianto barely managed to catch the bigger man before he hit the ground, staggering under the thug's weight. Ianto was by no means a small man himself, but this thug was bigger than even Jack.

Thankfully, the Doctor helped carry him till they found a small closet to stuff the thug in, but not before he was trussed and gagged like the others. That sorted, Ianto and the Doctor made their way into the large room. The Doctor stood behind him, leaning in to whisper in Ianto's ear. Ianto couldn't help it, the hair on the back of his neck stood up on end at the proximity and it took all of his will power not to lean back until Jack's lips brushed against his ear tantalizingly. "I'll take the one on the left if... Are you alright?"

Starting, Ianto unclenched his fists that he hadn't realized he'd balled and forced his shoulders to relax. He pulled away from Jack's body enough to calm his racing heart, each beat aching in reminder that the Doctor wasn't Jack. "I'm fine," he whispered back, though keeping the distance between them. "The one on the right is bigger, so I'll take the one on the left."

"How come I have to take the bigger one?" the Doctor asked, distracted by Ianto's quickly regained composure.

"Because you're bigger too," Ianto said with a small smile.

Looking down at himself, the Doctor was fairly startled to remember that he was in Jack's body. Ianto couldn't help but wonder what this Doctor looked like, if he wasn't the tall, skinny one he'd seen over the video conference. "So I am. Fair enough, I'll grant you."

Before Ianto could start moving, however, Jack's hand rested on his shoulder for a brief moment, squeezing it in light encouragement. Ianto looked back at the Doctor with surprised vulnerability in his eyes. The Doctor smiled reassuringly at him. It wasn't Jack's smile and though it was Jack's lips... there was something Ianto couldn't fail to mistake as the Doctor in that smile and for once that did make him feel better. They would get Jack back, he reminded himself firmly, giving the Doctor a small nod in acknowledgment.

With one more friendly pat on the back, the Doctor started to carefully move to the opposite wall. There was little to no cover with which to sneak up on the two brainwashed men, but they weren't exactly paying a lot of attention to anything other than the TARDIS console. Attention and intelligence apparently took a dip with hypnotism.

Neither he nor the Doctor had any trouble stunning the two larger men, though Ianto had to gag at the body odor as the man he stunned fell against him. Okay, so maybe he should have taken the larger thug. At least he bathed more than once a week, even if he didn't smell like roses.

Once they were hidden away, tied and gagged, Ianto turned to the Doctor who was... Was he stroking the TARDIS panel? "What have they done to you, old girl?" he heard the Doctor murmur. "We'll get you back, don't you worry, my old friend."

Ianto coughed politely, feeling like he was intruding on a private moment. "Is there anything we can do for the console right now?" he asked awkwardly, trying to remember what Jack had said about the TARDIS. The Doctor was talking to it like it was alive, but people did that with cars too, didn't they? Still, it was better to ask.

"I'm afraid we'll have to leave her here for now," the Doctor said with a small sigh. "We need to stop the rovie before we can try getting her back. What I can't understand is what they were trying to do..."

Looking back at the console, Ianto shrugged. He didn't even know what the machine did, much less what the thugs were setting it up to do. Wandering around to the back of it, his eyes flickered over the brightly flashing lights. It was on and doing something at least.

Which meant it had to have a power source somewhere. There, at the bottom of the console! "Doctor, these wires should-" Ianto cut himself off as he looked up, seeing the thug standing behind the unaware Doctor.

He didn't think, his body moving even before he saw the knife. Pushing the Doctor down, Ianto felt a sharp, burning pain tear down his right shoulder. Ianto froze, pain taking over his senses as he cried out, the knife twisting out of his shoulder ruthlessly. The Doctor was shouting, but Ianto couldn't hear a thing over the roaring of the pain. Then someone - the thug? - yanked his bad arm back, pushing it up his back to constrain him. He hadn't thought he could be in more pain, but he was and it sent Ianto to his knees. He'd have fallen over completely if not for the man cruelly holding him up.

The agony didn't subside, but Ianto was getting used to it. The world around him slowly came into focus as he gasped for breath. Suddenly, however, the cold metal of the knife still wet with his blood was placed against his neck and Ianto was not only fighting pain and dizziness, but fear as well.

"Let him go," the Doctor said, holding up his hands in surrender. "We'll go along with you quietly, but let me tend to his-"

"Move," the thug ordered expressionlessly. Ianto tried not to gasp as the blade pressed harder against his throat, heart pounding in his ears.

The Doctor had no choice but to comply.


~TBC~

Memory: I do seem to enjoy tormenting Ianto. Ah, well. More fun this way. The quote of the chapter is more for me than anything...

Quote of the chapter:

"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not."
-Mark Twain