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Mouse Trap: Chapter 7

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: It's almost ending...  But have a bit of Jack torment before we wave it off!
Notes: A day late, largely because I forgot to poke my beta and we both forgot.  But hey, I did remember it quite a bit earlier this time.  XD Also, the epilogue will be up in a few days.  It's short!
Author's Thanks: Many thanks to Cy for betaing this.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

~

Every millisecond waiting for the Doctor was too long for Jack. Ianto and Gwen had just about managed to convince Jack to let the Doctor/impostor try to fix things. Unfortunately, the Doctor left the room after he'd gotten assurances of Jack's cooperation. Neither Gwen nor Ianto looked particularly worried, but it was taking so long. What if there were no other copies of his memories? What if he was just a program to begin with? Thoughts and questions whirled through his circuits as he gave a few agitated beeps.

The American and the Egyptian girls were chatting quietly with Gwen, though they all kept a sharp eye on Ianto, much to Ianto's own dismay. Under normal circumstances, Jack might have been amused by the whole thing, but he was too anxious and Ianto still looked so very pale. He really needed to be in bed, not constantly reassuring Jack, though Jack didn't know what he'd do without Ianto here.

What was taking the Doctor so long?

Finally the Doctor walked in, dragging a very long extension cord behind him. "Did you find anything, Doctor?" the American girl asked as he walked by muttering to himself.

"Hm, yes. I think so, Peri," he said, looking vaguely annoyed at being interrupted from whatever he'd been thinking over. "Just like I thought, the machine created a backup."

"Then Jack will be back to normal?" Gwen asked, hope in her eyes. Hope that turned to concern the longer the Doctor took to answer her. "Doctor, will he be back to normal?"

"Yes, yes, he should be fine," the Doctor said testily. He paused for a moment, then sighed lightly. "Hopefully."

"Hopefully?" the Egyptian girl asked. "Doctor, that does not inspire a lot of confidence."

No, it didn't. The fact that the Doctor was being vague didn't bode well either and the mistrust started to triple. "What do you mean-" she went on.

The Doctor cut her off, however, finding a quick scapegoat. "Ianto, how are you feeling?"

None of the women in the room would have let that go, except for the almost hazy look in Ianto's eyes. He paused before responding, as if it took him a moment to realize he was being spoken to, and that got all of their attention. The American girl moved over to Ianto as he spoke to help him steady the glass of water he'd been holding. "I'm... fine. Just a little dizzy. Did you find something to help Jack?"

Again, the Doctor grew uncomfortable, but this time didn't put off the inevitable. "I found another copy, yes, but it's only a partial file. Mostly it's his personality matrix, without the memories. And that's assuming Jack accepts the files as real and not part of some virus set to delete more of him or fakes." Did the Doctor have to say things like that? Now Jack was getting more paranoid that it might be a virus.

"But if it's only a partial copy, will you be able to help him recover the rest?" the American with the big bust asked. It was the question on all of their minds and Jack's circuits. Every nano-second the Doctor paused felt like an eternity.

The Doctor was smiling reassuringly as he could, however, gently patting the girl on the back. "Ianto said it before. Nothing deleted is ever truly gone from a computer databanks, Peri. If Jack will allow me access, I'll see if I can't restore the memories that are still missing, though I can't promise it will work."

That was... a rather tricky proposition, truth to be told. Jack had tried just that several times and he wasn't sure if it was worth it to let the Doctor near what little files he had left. When the Doctor loaded the data from the partial copy from the machine and into a flash drive and pulled it from USB port, Jack wasn't thinking of the innuendos he could make. He wasn't going to access the file immediately, only poking his head out from the protected firewall to start running a virus check on it when the Doctor gave it to him. He started writing the program to check as the Doctor watched. "That's right," the Doctor encouraged quietly. "You can run as many checks as you like. There's nothing harmful in it, I promise. Just your personality matrix, completely untouched."

"You can trust the Doctor, Jack," Ianto joined in, looking pale... too pale. Way too pale. "Please... just..."

He fell forward as Jack started beeping in alarm. Thankfully, the American girl caught him before he hit the floor, helping him back up right in a way that gave Jack a nice view down her shirt. Even in his worry for Ianto, Jack couldn't help but think that it really was some very nice cleavage.

"You should really be in bed," she said, stating what Jack thought was perfectly obvious.

Looking Ianto over for the millionth time, Jack made a quick decision that he would probably regret later. The longer he deliberated over the choice, the longer Ianto would be out of bed. Jack put up a hastily written message on the screen.

The Doctor noticed it as the words came up, blue eyes glancing over it absently. "You know, grammar rules are meant to be followed. Didn't the rovie give you those?" the Time Lord said with mild annoyance. Jack made a quick reply about dirty grammar and being willing to take lessons if the Doctor gave them, using suggestive (and purposefully incorrect tenses to make the calligraphy look vulgar) language.

At this, the Doctor's cheeks colored to a light pink as he sputtered. "Has anyone ever told you how incorrigible you are?" the Doctor asked as Jack let out a few bleeps of amusement.

"What is he saying?" the Egyptian girl asked curiously, bringing the Doctor back to the original purpose of the message.

"Right, yes..." the Doctor said, still a bit flustered in a way Jack privately thought was very cute, if slightly wrong in Jack's body. What he wouldn't give for his body back. "Jack was saying that Ianto should be in bed too and I'm quite willing to agree with him. Peri, would you - Ow!" The Doctor turned to glare at the monitor as Jack 'politely' tried to bring his attention to the bit of the message the Doctor had neglected to translate by highlighting it. "I am not repeating that to him," the Doctor said testily.

"It looks very dirty, whatever it is. Doctor, what did he say?" the Egyptian girl asked again, this time much more interested as Gwen chuckled lightly.

Jack's efforts were rewarded as a bit of color returned to Ianto's cheeks; he failed to cover his embarrassment with his usual professional mask and a polite cough. "I think I can guess the gist of it," Ianto said, shaking his head. "Are you sure though? If we can't convince him..."

Jack quickly put another message up, earning him a nod and a small smile from the Doctor. "Quite right. Jack says he can wait, if that happens. With the storm averted, we have plenty of time for you to rest now."

This very obviously wasn't what Ianto wanted by the look of dismay on his face. He didn't put up a fuss as the two girls helped him back to the TARDIS, however, though he did turn back once, worry in his eyes as the girls hastened to reassure him.

It left him alone with the Doctor and Gwen as he nervously started filling out a file for the two girls to distract himself, putting in all of the information he had gleaned about them and their personalities with uncharacteristic neatness into his memory banks. Then, he slowly gathered what remained of his memories so that he could assess the damage. The result was very discouraging.

Hesitantly, the Doctor reached out to the controls, the small flash drive in hand. Jack watched it with wary cameras, not taking his lens off the Doctor. Gwen moved to place a comforting hand on the console to make up for Ianto's absence, which Jack couldn't feel, but he appreciated regardless. He sent the light tickle sparks to her finger tips in thanks. "Oi, you. I'm a married woman, remember," she warned with a smile.

"Alright," the Doctor said, holding the flash drive up to one of Jack's cameras so that he had a clear view. "This has the incomplete copy from the machine. Will you let me put it in your USB port?"

When there was no reply from the computer, the Doctor gingerly leaned in to find the USB port as Jack eyed it suspiciously. Not that he usually minded having phallic objects stuck in him, but right now... Well, even with his suspicion, he couldn't help making a beep of appreciation as it penetrated him. It was about as sensual as he could get as a computer and he'd take it.

He started running tests almost as soon as his software recognized the device. No viruses or threats came up, however, so he tentatively started rummaging through the files. They weren't so much memories, but parts of his personality matrix. Even that was a welcome addition to what little he had left. After checking a few of the pre-existing files he still had left and comparing them, Jack couldn't find any changes.

He had to take it on faith that the others were the deleted files and not something engineered by the Doctor or the rovie. He hesitated for a few seconds before bringing up the recorded file of Ianto promising that he could trust the Doctor. Trust. It was all he had left. Diving in, Jack didn't look back.

It was an intense relief, to have the rest of his personality back. He felt more like himself and less like a computer. As his Doctor would say, it felt absolutely brilliant and oh, how had he been able to live without this?

His Doctor. Someone who abandoned him, yes, but who Jack still had complete faith and devotion to. The Doctor might have hurt him by leaving Jack behind all those years ago, but he'd never hurt Jack like the rovie had. How could he have forgotten that, something that was so vital to him that it wasn't a memory, but part of his personality matrix?

Ashamed of his earlier actions, Jack gave a few bleeps to draw the Doctor's attention up to the monitor, where he'd put up an apology. The Doctor looked up and smiled gently, patting the console with affection. "It wasn't your fault and no harm was done. I take it this means you trust me now?"

Jack sent the tickle sparks to the Doctor's fingers, signalling his acquiescence. That, and because he was always ready to flirt with the Doctor.

Surprised, the Doctor sputtered for a few moments with a scandalized expression that looked so foreign on Jack's face. "Have I mentioned that you are incorrigible?" the Doctor asked in reproach, though Jack was fairly pleased to note the Doctor didn't actually move his hands away. Hm, he did like that...

"What happens next, Doctor?" Gwen asked, attempting to stifle a giggle.

"Now we try and get back the rest of Jack's memories. If you don't mind?" The latter sentence was directed at Jack, politely waiting for Jack to bring up the memories and other programs that might help. He did as asked, feeling nervous again despite his faith in the Doctor. What if nothing could be done for his memories?

The Doctor's hands ran across his keyboard and... Oh. Oh. That felt good. Jack felt his systems hum softly as the Doctor rummaged through his databanks and was reminded of his earlier thought of how very good the Doctor was. It wasn't as fun as sex, but it was the best he could get and he wasn't going to complain.

"Do you think it would be too late to tell him not to get any ideas?" the Doctor asked Gwen hopefully.

"He's already been there and back," Gwen said with a laugh. "In fact, he's probably ready for round two."

The Doctor sighed and shook his head. "Best get to work then, before he starts to think I'm encouraging him."

* * *

Several hours later, Jack was feeling a lot more complete thanks to the Doctor's tireless administrations. He now knew who Gwen and Ianto were, why he was still so very dedicated and loyal to the Doctor and had millions of other memories and people restored. Relief washed through him with every new memory the Doctor found and slowly Jack felt like he was being put back together. He still had no idea how the Doctor ended up in his body, but he was well prepared to kiss the Time Lord senseless when he finally got back into it again. Which would lead to more adorable indignation on the Doctor's part. All the better, from Jack's point of view.

By the time Peri and Erimem had set up the Doctor's body as comfortably as they could back in the chair Jack had originally found him in, Gwen was being directed by the Doctor to hook up some complicated looking wires. "I think that about does it," the Doctor said finally, looking up with a broad grin from the keyboard. "Is there anything you're missing? Run a diagnostic to see if there are any blatant holes."

It took him a few minutes to do a search and he found there were a few holes in his memories. Two years before he started traveling with the Doctor, a few days here and there, including two days in recent memory. Examining the memories around them proved that he had those holes before becoming a computer, however. Too bad the Doctor couldn't retrieve them as well...

He put an all clear up on the screen and waited impatiently for the Doctor to look up again. This was, Jack decided, a regeneration of the Doctor he could really get used to, because when the Doctor did finally look up to see the message, it was greeted with a smile that nearly made Jack's fans stop. He could only imagine the expression being all the more charming in the Doctor's proper body, all blond and cricket outfitted.

With all his memories back, Jack couldn't help but imagine several things he could do and have done to him by the Doctor. These fantasies would probably have made even the most vulgar minded of the Doctor's regenerations' blush. Which wasn't saying much in the overall scheme of things considering how celibate the Doctor kept himself in some regenerations, but the fact remained.

"Ah, good. No problems then," the Doctor said, fiddling with a few wires and pulling back his fingers with a small yelp as they shocked him. Not Jack's fault this time, just the Doctor's own distraction. Shaking his hand a few times and muttering under his breath, the Doctor continued talking and only half paying attention to what he was doing, amusing Jack to no end. He was going to get shocked again if he didn't watch out. "When I hit this switch, it's going to connect you to the TARDIS. The old girl should - Ow! - should cushion the transference. You'll be put back into my body for the time being to make sure the transference of data is converted into neural synapses all work properly."

"I hope Jack understands what the Doctor's saying, because I don't," Peri said quietly to her friend, who giggled.

Jack did understand quite well and was looking forward to connecting with the TARDIS. For all that the Doctor called her 'old' she was definitely a sexy piece of machinery. Besides, he did have a thing for older women who knew their way around the world and it was getting harder and harder to find anyone who was older than him.

Gwen announced calmly that everything was ready on her end and the Doctor didn't need to ask Jack if he were ready. His systems were already humming and ready to go. "Off with you then," he said quietly, flipping the switch and allowing Jack to move freely to the ship's databanks. It wasn't even a second before he ran into the TARDIS' intelligence. A warm voice that he would remember later as a blanket of light halted him.

He asked as charmingly as he could if she wouldn't want to calculate some vectors and possibly move on to connecting servers after some pillow syntax? Jack felt her laugh, soft and musical and was politely pinged that her Time Lord was more than enough trouble for her. Besides, she was already enamored with someone else. Would he like to see a picture? He was very handsome.

The last thing Jack remembered before blanking out was how very unamused the Doctor would be to find out that bit of information, though he himself couldn't stop laughing.

The next thing he knew was complete disorientation. He was in a body, but it wasn't his body. He gasped lightly, finding that imperative body functions like breathing and keeping his heart beating were a completely different sort of sensation. No, not heart. Hearts. He had two hearts. And a whole new sense, the sense of time. All of it, pressing at him like the cold ground when he'd been buried under Cardiff and threatening to suffocate him. It was only because of the strong will he'd learned to retain over the centuries that Jack didn't panic at the influx of the universe that he could suddenly feel around him. It was still too much, too quickly, and he couldn't-

Cool fingers were placed on his temples and Jack felt a nauseating twist on all his senses that nearly caused him to black out again. Slowly though, the overwhelming sensations started to fade until they were more manageable. Strangely enough, the sick feeling didn't lessen until those fingers moved away and it was still there in the back of his mind.

"Better?" he heard his own voice ask, but in the wrong accent. It was like listening to a recording of himself trying to talk with a British accent.

"Do you always feel like that?" he heard a surprisingly light - if a little raspy from dehydration - voice ask in an American accent. His voice, he realized with a start. Well, the voice that belonged to this body. The Doctor's, he remembered belatedly. And the Doctor was currently in his.

"Yes, I'm afraid so," the Doctor said apologetically with a small chuckle. "Hopefully, I've managed to damper most of the effects for you. How are you feeling? All your memories there?"

"Better, and I think so," Jack said, opening his eyes for the first time. At least hearing and sight weren't much different, he realized with a bit of relief, though it felt like the colors were a little different. Looking over to where he'd heard his own voice, Jack found he had to look away again quickly, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the massive time distortion that stood in front of him. That was where the sick feeling was coming from. "Is that how you see me?" he asked, finally able to meet his own blue eyes as they stared back at him sadly.

"Again, I'm afraid so." This time Jack looked away because of the revelation it was, not because of hurt. Was it any small wonder the Doctor had abandoned him? As if reading his thoughts, the Doctor let out a small breath that wasn't quite a sigh. "About what you put up on the screen, Jack, as to why you didn't trust me, I-"

"Don't," Jack said quietly. His memories of the time in the computer matrix were hazy, for which he was actually grateful, but he did remember that. He swallowed to wet his throat before continuing, closing his eyes. "You haven't even done it yet and... It doesn't matter much anymore." Which was a lie and they both knew it. However much the Doctor had hurt him though, it didn't change the fact Jack loved him regardless. Even if he never could forgive the Doctor entirely, he still loved him. It didn't really matter in the face of that love and the Doctor had invited him back after the Year.

The Doctor stayed quiet for a moment, his face unreadable. Then he smiled, though it didn't really reach his eyes. "I'm not sure if I deserve that loyalty, but I promise to do what I can to earn it." Then his expression changed to a slightly more impish grin. "And I'm fairly sure neither of us deserve him, so you should take good care of him."

At first, Jack was confused. Then the Doctor nodded down to the left of the bed and Jack followed his gaze to a very pale Ianto Jones, fast asleep with his head on his hands as he leaned over the bed. Ianto. Jack had been too disoriented with the influx of new sensations to sort out the sounds he had been hearing, but now he realized it had been Ianto's soft snoring. His smile softened and with great fondness Jack ruffled Ianto's hair, his hand lingering and tracing that too pale cheekbone. "He should be in bed," he said, wondering how their conversation hadn't woken Ianto up. Ianto wasn't a light sleeper by any means, but they hadn't exactly been quiet in their conversation.

"We told him that," the Doctor said amiably, sticking his hands in his pockets with a carefree air about him that didn't match Jack's body. "Several times, in fact. He was very persistent and it must have worn him out. That, and the sleeping pill Gwen slipped into his tea. Quite clever of her actually, to let him stay here while making sure he got some rest."

It was somewhat reassuring to Jack to know that no matter what body the Doctor was in, he was still ever so good at babbling. He did it much more calmly in this regeneration, but it was still babbling. At least it told him what he needed to know and a broad grin unlike the Doctor's usual pleasant expression crossed his face. Swinging his feet over the side of the bed (Stripped trousers? Really, Doctor?), Jack very carefully started pulling Ianto onto the bed.

"What are you doing?" the Doctor asked, moving to assist though he didn't know the purpose of the movement.

"Ianto needs to be in bed," Jack said simply. "And there's a nice, big one right here."

"You shouldn't be out and about yet either," the Doctor half-scolded, but he helped with Ianto's legs and between them they were able to get Ianto up on the bed without much jarring. Ianto slept through it, oblivious to both of them.

Speaking of oblivious... Jack attempted not to laugh as he pulled off Ianto's shoes then slid right back under the covers. "Who said I had any plans of getting up?" he asked, curling around his lover with his current unfamiliar body as the Doctor sputtered. Oh, he was going to have to do this when the Doctor was in his proper body, because seeing the blush on the Doctor's real face would be gorgeous.

"That's not your body!"

"Nope."

"Do you mind?"

"Not at all." Jack was only more amused at the flush on his cheeks as the Doctor sputtered on, wrapping his arm across Ianto's waist with a lazy possessiveness. "Don't worry, Doctor. I doubt Ianto would feel comfortable with anything you're thinking I might try right now. Besides, he's still wounded. But I've spent over a week without a physical body and... I just want to feel again."

At that, the Doctor sighed with good-natured resignation. "I suppose I can't argue with that. I'd appreciate if you didn't tell me what you were thinking, however, because I know you considered it."

"Hm, you could always join us? It'd be a bit tight, but I'm sure we could fit one more in this bed."

This time the Doctor laughed, moving to the door as he shook his head. "Goodnight, Jack," he said firmly, booking no arguments. "And... Welcome back."

Welcome back. Oh, it was good to feel again. And once the Doctor had left the room, it was much easier to relax. He'd gotten used to the warped sensation prickling at his senses, but that didn't mean it wasn't easier without the wrong feeling constantly plaguing him. It hurt when the Doctor had called him 'wrong,' but now he could certainly see why. That didn't make things better between him and the Doctor, but Jack could understand now. It was still unnerving anyway, not only with the warped sense of time, but seeing his own body across from him up and moving about.

Curling around Ianto, Jack pushed those thoughts away to simply revel in having an actual body back, even if it wasn't his. The touch of Ianto's skin against his hand, the light breath against his neck, the... the feel of Ianto's mind? Hesitantly, Jack reached out with his new found ability to brush against Ianto's sleeping conscious. He got a sense of warm browns, like coffee and dark chocolate, rich and soft to the touch.

Wow. That was addictive. Better judgement won out, however, due to the fact he didn't have Ianto's permission or a firm control over the ability to make sure he didn't accidentally hurt Ianto, which was the last thing he wanted after all Ianto had been through. Beside him, Ianto stirred drowsily, perhaps from the light mental touch. He murmured something incomprehensible as he blinked, not really seeing. "Jack?"

Jack smiled as he pulled Ianto closer, lightly touching his forehead with a kiss. "I'm here," he said quietly. Ianto took that as a cue to nuzzle sleepily at his neck as his arms wrapped around Jack in return. "Go back to sleep, Ianto. I'm not going anywhere."

There was a slurred affirmative before Ianto fell back into whatever dream he'd been having, content to be snuggled up to Jack. The immortal let out a low chuckle at that, resting his head against Ianto's as he quietly started to check through his memories to make sure they were all in place. It was a nice feeling, Ianto's hair tickling his chin, and Jack wouldn't have given it up for the world.

* * *

Ianto didn't remember his dreams when he woke, just a warm sense of happiness he got from waking up with Jack's arms around him. It was a luxurious feeling and he greedily curled up against his lover to soak it up. He had missed this, needing it desperately after everything that had happened and though Ianto wasn't an overly affectionate man by nature, being close to Jack was like no other feeling on the planet.

Something was off though. For one thing, Jack didn't smell right. It was a nice scent, no mistake, but it was a fresh sort of smell that reminded Ianto vaguely of peppermint and cloves. However lovely it was, it wasn't Jack's fifty-first century pheromones. And though Jack's arms fell around him exactly the way his lover liked to hold him, Jack's body felt... odd. Different. A bit smaller, maybe?

Blinking drowsily, Ianto opened his eyes to see a blond haired stranger snuggled up against him. Ianto jumped, attempting to move away as the stranger's eyes flew open, more than just a little freaked out that he'd woken up next to a complete stranger. Ianto jarred his shoulder as he did so, pain erasing any thoughts of getting away.

"Easy, Ianto," a light voice said next to him. An American accent? Who... and how did they know his name? "Easy. It's me, Jack. I'm still in the Doctor's body, remember?"

Well, yes. Now that he mentioned it, Ianto did remember waking up and insisting on being brought in to where Jack was sleeping, in that strange blond body the Doctor said was his. Still wearing the cricket outfit even, as if the TARDIS didn't have any bed clothes. Which Ianto was positive wasn't the case, after seeing that huge wardrobe and finding a simple button up shirt and jeans he could wear, what with his suit having a rather large knife hole in it.

"Jack?" he asked uncertainly as he hesitatingly reached up to that flop of blond hair.

The man grinned with an expression that Ianto had missed for the past week and a half on Jack's face. "The one and only," he said before leaning in to kiss Ianto deeply. Any and all doubts he had about this not being Jack were erased after five seconds. Oh, this was Jack alright. Different mouth, same kiss and how he had needed this. Jack was pulling him closer and Ianto responded by straddling Jack. Ianto pushed him back into the pillows with the force of his need and Jack was only too willing to oblige.

It wasn't until there was a small shriek at the door that Ianto realized they clearly weren't in a private place.

"Sorry!" Peri cried out as she turned her back. "I didn't see anything!" It didn't really matter if she had her back turned, because they were both clothed and Ianto was rapidly moving off Jack, but it had been a more than risque enough position to warrant a blush. Next time he had to remember to make sure the door was locked...

Jack, who was completely unfazed by the interruption, chuckled lightly. His arm snuck around Ianto's waist to keep him from pulling away completely. "Peri, isn't it? I'm sure we can make room for you, if you'd like to join us."

"No thanks," she chirped quickly, muttering something about how the Doctor had warned her he might say something like that. She continued on nervously, a light sing-song quality to her voice. "Don't mind me. I was just coming in to see if you needed anything. I'll leave now and tell the Doctor you're both... um, feeling better."

Before she could quit the room, the Doctor walked in looking winded, just like as if he'd been running. "No need," he said, looking perfectly furious at the whole arrangement, but managing to keep a polite, if biting tone. "I would kindly like to remind you that you are only borrowing that body, Jack."

Ianto flushed, realizing that perhaps he should have been a bit more respectful of the Doctor's body, but Jack merely laughed. "It's a shame you don't use this body more, Doctor. I could think of dozens of things we could-"

"Let's stop right there, shall we?" the Doctor interrupted, looking very unamused. "Since the neural synapses have obviously reconnected without any major harm, why don't we both get back to our proper bodies now and you can... continue later."

"You sure we can't continue now?" Jack asked, pouting.

Shaking his head lightly, Ianto was decidedly glad to have Jack back.

~TBC~

Memory: One more chapter, and it's just an epilogue really. It's short, and I'll have it up in a few days.

Two quotes again! This time on memory, for Jack.

Quote of the chapter:

"Memory feeds imagination."
-Amy Tan

"[Memory is] a man's real possession... In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor."
-Alexander Smith