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Mouse Trap: Chapter 2

Mouse Trap
By: Memory Dragon
Summary: Jack is acting strangely, leaving the rest of his team baffled by his odd mood.  But when it comes to light how much danger he's really in, it's up to Gwen and Ianto to save him... with the help of an odd stranger.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or Doctor Who, nor do I make any claim to.
Warnings: Again, the bad guy here is stolen from a Big Finish audio play, which you don't need to have heard to understand, but it's not mine either.  Also, more Ianto angst, cause I like making him suffer.
Author's Thanks: Many thanks once again to nemaline for betaing for me.  She made this ten times better.

Chapter 1


Chapter 2:

"Who are you?" Gwen asked coldly.  Ianto flushed and immediately started to rub the moisture out of his eyes.  How long had she been standing there?  That was the last thing he needed, was Gwen listening in as Jack broke up with him.

"I assure you, young lady, that this is entirely unnecessary," Jack said, any trace of the more than decent impression of an American accent gone now, replaced with an English one.  Ianto simply looked back and forth between the two at a complete loss for what to do.  He was glad to be sitting down, because he had started trembling and that was much less noticeable when you weren't standing. 

Gwen was trembling as well, but with fury instead of loss and emotional overload.  "You come in here, fuck with our heads then say this gun isn't 'necessary'?  Who the hell are you?"

Jack - or the impostor Jack, Ianto's mind reminded itself, still trying to sort through the shock and make sense of everything - held his hands up in surrender and tired to look as non-threatening as possible.  "I assure you, I'm unarmed and I've been here for days already.  If I had intended to hurt either of you, I would have already done so."

"Then we can both take a trip down to the cells and you can stay down there until you start answering my questions." Gwen was obviously in no mood for small talk and had no problem doing bodily harm to whoever this was to get what she wanted. 

Which meant Ianto really needed to snap out of it and try to talk some sense into her, as much as he did appreciate her anger on his behalf.  "Gwen, wait," he said, swallowing heavily as he tried to get his emotions under control.  She didn't take her eyes of the impostor, but she nodded in acknowledgment.  So he needed... to persuade her?  Of what?  It was so hard to keep his thoughts organized enough to think coherently, much less speak.  "He... he has a point, Gwen.  He'd have hurt us by now if that was his intent.  He came down to try and patch things up with me, so...  He doesn't seem that bad?"

It was a rather lame finish, but he hoped it was enough to convince her.  Though, maybe he should let her take the impostor away right now, just so he could have a good cry over in the corner to get this out of his system and refresh himself a bit.  No, he couldn't, regardless of how much he wanted to.  Because if the impostor were here, that probably meant the real Jack as in trouble.  If he wanted his Jack back - and oh, did he want the real Jack right now - they needed to find out more about this one.  "Let's just listen to what he has to say?" he asked quietly.

Gwen didn't lower her gun, but she motioned for the impostor to take a seat.  "Start talking," she ordered, not letting up in the slightest.

"You could try learning some manners for... Yes, yes, alright.  I get the picture."  The impostor sat down, clearly not happy with the gun still pointing at him but unable to really do anything to change it.  "It seems to me we've all gotten off on the wrong foot.  I can assure you that I haven't done anything to the real Captain Harkness.  I've just been trying to help him."

"You still haven't told us your name," Gwen said, taking up the questioning.  Ianto was more than willing to let her take control of the conversation, as it gave him a chance to sort through everything that had just happened in the past few minutes.  He had just about come to terms with everything that Jack being an impostor over the last few days implied and found the results a little embarrassing.  How could he not have noticed... Well, they had technically noticed Jack was acting oddly, but that didn't mean Ianto had to go and make a fool out of himself in front of... whoever this was. 

Whoever this was, as Gwen pointed out, still hadn't given them a name.  "Can we skip the name bit?  It's a bit embarrassing in this condition after what happened and..."  Gwen's eyes narrowed as she nodded her head toward the gun as a silent reminder of her impatience.  The impostor Jack simply sighed.  "You can call me the Doctor," he said testily.

"Doctor who?" Ianto heard himself ask, grateful that his voice was back under control.

"Just the Doctor.  And you two would be Gwen and Ianto, yes?  It's a pleasure to be finally properly introduced," the man said, holding out his hand.  Neither Ianto nor Gwen took it, however, instead sharing a glance.  The Doctor?  Jack's Doctor?  "Ah," the Doctor said uncomfortably.  "I see that while Captain Harkness may have known me, you both don't.  That does make things more difficult..."

Gwen had been wavering with the gun, but steadied her aim at this statement.  "Wouldn't you know about that?"

Coughing politely, the Doctor shook his head.  "It's rather complicated, I'm afraid.  I travel through time and space and that can lead to meeting people out of order."

"Convenient excuse."

The Doctor - if that was indeed who the impostor was - looked about ready to snap at Gwen, but Ianto was getting his bearings back and intervened before things got out of hand.  "Maybe if you described what you usually look like?"

"That's..." the Doctor started as he fidgeted.  "You'll find that to be just another 'convenient excuse', unfortunately.  My appearance changes from time to time and I'm not sure which regeneration you're familiar with."

That was a convenient excuse, but a true one from what Jack had told him, Ianto realized.  There was really no way to verify his identity, however.  Again, he held a silent conference with Gwen and he shrugged, uncertain of what they should do.  "Why don't you just explain how you look exactly like Jack," Gwen said finally, still never taking the gun off him.

"That is what I've been trying to do, but I keep being threatened, interrupted and- alright, yes.  You don't have to wave that around quite so violently...  I'll tell you what happened."

* * *

For as long as he had been traveling the galaxy and the space beyond, one would think the Doctor would take lessons from the likes of Houdini.  Even Jo Grant could have taught him a few things about 'escapology' and he did have a terrible habit of ending up chained and imprisoned.  The knowledge would have been quite useful, especially in cases like right now when he was strapped to a chair and about to be used as a computer matrix by a megalomaniac with a vendetta against him.  The machine to turn his brain into the Time Lord equivalent of binary stood menacingly pointing at him with wires and bits of his own TARDIS sticking out haphazardly.  There was also a laser gun off to the side that didn't look very friendly either, also pointed at him.  Over all, the Doctor felt very much trapped.

His companions, Peri and Erimem, had also been captured and were imprisoned elsewhere in this dreary establishment.  They were resourceful, but the Doctor didn't count on them being able to break free and rescue him out of... wherever this was.  Erimem was an accomplished fighter, but their captor knew that and had several big thugs to guard them; more than even she could handle.  Since he didn't even know where they were other than some large and empty building somewhere in Cardiff, Wales, the Doctor didn't count on being found either.  It was an altogether annoying situation to be honest, the Doctor thought as he tugged at the restraints, and just a little embarrassing given who his captor was...

Not even the current reprieve was helpful.  The megalomaniac had been called away just before he'd thrown the switch.  There'd apparently been a security breach that needed dealing with, but from the guards' talk the Doctor gathered it had probably been some homeless person off the street and probably not much help to him in his general escape plan.  He might have a chance of UNIT coming in for a rescue if they caught wind of the plot, but the megalomaniac in question had been keeping a very low profile to avoid just that.  Who would come to Cardiff, anyway?  No, the Doctor was no closer to being freed than he was before.  Infernal DNA coded locks...

The computer set up against the side of the wall bleeped at him.  That was where his captor wanted to put him, converting his mind into data with the malicious looking contraption that was pointing at him in a threatening manner.  There was another unfriendly machine pointing at him that the Doctor had assumed earlier was a laser gun, but the Doctor was trying to put that from his mind.  Other than that, the walls of the room were grey and dreary with no windows and only a very small closet off to the side.  If the rest of the building were just as bad, he didn't know.  This was where he'd woken up, strapped to this chair.  Though if the video feed to the cell Erimem and Peri were being kept in were anything to go by, he would hazard a guess that the rest of the facility was just as bare and gloomy.  It wouldn't be so bad if there were just a new coat of paint or-

Something was wrong.  Something was very wrong and coming towards him from the end of the hallway, warping time as it moved.  The Doctor tensed, waiting impatiently for whatever new threat was going to attack.  Could it be something new his captor had brought to torment him with or the intruder?  Either way, it didn't feel like a force for good.

Movement near the door caught his attention and a broad shouldered man wearing - of all things - a World War II greatcoat.  "Doctor?" the man asked uncertainly when he caught sight of him.  The man came in the room, carefully looking the Doctor over.  It was a pity the Doctor couldn't do the same.  It was all he could do to keep smiling pleasantly and not look away as time warped around this strange man, prickling nastily at the back of the Doctor's senses.  This man was the cause of the time disturbance?  "You are the Doctor, right?"

"I am, indeed," the Doctor replied, smiling broadly despite the effect on his time sense.  He could ignore it if he concentrated and after the initial shock, it wasn't too bad.  Besides, if this person knew of him, this could be his ticket out of here.  "And you wouldn't happen to be here to help me escape, would you?"

"I'll see what I can do."  The man - American by his accent - returned the smile with a flirty gaze, carefully looking the Doctor over.  "Love the new look, by the way, though you could do better than a piece of celery.  Pity we don't have time for a bit of fun while you're still in bondage.  I can't tell you the ideas it's giving me, Doctor."

"I beg your pardon?" the Doctor huffed, unable to mistake the oddly dressed American's tone for anything but immodest flirtation.  He sputtered for a few minutes before finally being able to speak again, trying not to think about how those eyes trailed over his body.  "If you're going to-"

"This regeneration of yours is a lot stuffier than the last one," the man said with a laugh.  "Don't worry.  I'll keep my hands to myself... mostly."

The American started to go over the chair's bonds, but the Doctor wasn't paying attention.  He was racking his brain to remember if he'd ever seen this person before.  The man certainly seemed to know the Doctor.  "Have we met before?" he asked finally, quite puzzled over the anachronistically dressed man.  He was sure he'd remember someone who distorted time so obviously that it was almost hard to look at him.

Surprised, the American's eyes shot up as he stopped fiddling with the cuffs.  "Doctor, it's me, Jack.  Captain Jack Harkness.  I traveled with you and Rose..."

Neither names rang a bell and a sudden growing dread came over the Doctor.  He didn't doubt the sincerity of the man, not when he was obviously trying to help (despite the flirting), which meant...  "Oh, dear.  It appears that while you've met me, I haven't met you yet.  Hazard of time travel.  I'm terribly sorry about this..."

The American's - Jack was what he'd called himself? - expression fell, darkening considerably.  "No, I'm sorry.  I'd assumed you'd just regenerated again and I should...  I'm not supposed to be meeting you like this.  And now you know what I am..."  The latter was spoken so quietly that the Doctor could only assume that Jack was talking about his inhuman condition.  It wasn't just inhuman; a fixed point in time was something that wasn't meant to happen to anyone.

The Doctor considered it for a moment.  Whoever this man was, he claimed to have traveled with the Doctor in the past.  He didn't let just anyone in his TARDIS and that especially went for people who warped time as badly as Jack did.  There were countless laws against this sort of thing, most specifically dealing with knowledge of prior events that made this sort of meeting ever more dangerous...

Of course, that was all without taking into consideration that the Doctor was cuffed and strapped to a chair and could really use a hand getting out of it.  "I've never been one for rules anyway.  Just don't tell me anything about my personal future."  The Doctor smiled impishly before adding, "Now, if you don't mind getting me out of this?"

At this Jack grinned back, confidence returning as he toyed with the cuffs.  "Looks like it's DNA coded...  You have your sonic screwdriver, Doctor?  It looks a bit too complicated for me to try and pick on my own."

"Well... No, I'm afraid I don't."  Jack raised an eyebrow and the Time Lord made a serious mental note to do that bit of repair work as soon as he got back to the TARDIS.  Whether or not he'd remember five minutes from now was a completely different story...  He went on to explain, since Jack was obviously waiting on it.  "It was destroyed a while back and I haven't gotten around to making a new one yet.  You sure it can't be picked?"

Jack's eyes returned to the locks, critically poking at it one more time.  "Doubtful.  These are pretty advanced tech, even for me."  Advanced tech for a man in WWII dress...  That didn't quite add up, but then, neither did the rest of this man.  Jack was hardly all that he seemed.  "What are they trying to do to you?  Maybe I can sabotage that and wait till they put you in a cell to fix it?"

"He wants to use-"  Footsteps could be heard down the hall, causing the Doctor to fall silent.  "Hide!" he whispered to Jack quickly.  The American didn't need to be told twice, dashing to the only closet in the room and leaving the door slightly ajar. 

It wasn't his captor returning, however, but simply the hired thugs his foe had employed.  One of them poked his head in briefly, looking around and ignoring the Doctor's pleasant smile as he tried to look like he wasn't attempting to escape.  After a second more, the thug moved on to check the next spot.

"It's safe.  The guard is gone," he called out softly after the man had moved a sufficient distance away.  Jack came out of the closet, narrowly catching a broom he'd knocked over while doing so.  After gingerly returning it, Jack looked to the Doctor to finish his earlier explanation.  What had they been... oh, yes.  The master plan.  "He wants use my brain to develop a network like the Matrix back home on Gallifrey.  I believe he wants to eventually launch an attack on the Gallifreyan High Council."

A curious look crossed Jack's face, but it was gone before the Doctor could recognize it.  Jack went on speaking before the Doctor could ask.  "So if I just smash up this console here, they would-"

"Could you avoid doing that?" the Doctor asked plaintively, concern filling his voice.  "He's raided the TARDIS console to set up the computer and if you overload the circuits the old girl will be useless."  He'd had quite enough of being stuck on this planet, despite enjoying returning to it.  It was a matter of having the freedom to go elsewhere if he desired and the thought of losing that again was more than he could bear. 

"Okay," Jack said slowly, taking a better look at the console.  "So I can't just smash it... can you tell me how to disable it?  I've worked on the TARDIS with you before, but this is..." 

"This is even more mismatched then the TARDIS?  Yes, it's rather unfortunate.  I could explain, but it would take time... which I'm afraid we don't have."  Which left the Doctor in a very compromising position, he knew.  Considering the nature of his old foe, he really shouldn't be surprise, but that didn't make this situation any less of an... embarrassment. 

Jack was grinning, however, pulling out an old fashioned revolver from under his jacket.  "That leaves the direct approach.  Don't worry, Doctor.  I'm good at this one."

"Is that really necessary?"  Eying the gun - and Jack - in in distaste, the Doctor didn't bother hiding his displeasure.  He had hoped his companions knew better than that.  "I thought you said you traveled with me before..."

"I did and I figured you'd say something like that."  Good naturedly opening the gun barrel for the Doctor to see, Jack proved to be true to his word.  Except for one bullet, the revolver wasn't loaded.  "I unloaded it the moment I saw the hired muscle carting off the TARDIS, so you can save the lecture.  The one bullet in here will be fired for intimidation, safely not pointing at anyone, I promise."

It was the Doctor's turn to raise his eyebrows, nodding in grudging approval.  This plan could work, provided they could both convincingly bluff.  "Right then.  Intimidation and bluffing.  Sounds like it might work, but we'll have to get Peri and Erimem out as well.  They're being held somewhere."

Jack nodded, formulating the secondary rescue into his plans.  He didn't ask who Peri and Erimem were, just assuming they were traveling companions of the Doctor and the Doctor was fairly sure Jack spent at least a few seconds wondering if they'd be attractive.  Something about the look on his face tipped the Doctor off to that...  "What does this guy look like, so I know who to aim for?" Jack asked, returning his attention to the original subject.  "You said this was Gallifreyan technology, right?  It's not the Master, is it?"

Again, an emotion passed over Jack's face that he almost missed, but the Doctor recognized it this time.  Jack kept it well hidden, but there had been a moment's fear in his eyes at the thought.

A fear the Doctor could thankfully put to rest this time.  "No, it's not him.  It's actually a bit more embarrassing than that."

As he nodded again, nothing in Jack's body language  showed his relief, but there was much more humor in his voice as he perched on the side of the console.  "Embarrassing?  Do tell, Doctor.  Who could not only capture you, but take apart the TARDIS as well?"

The Doctor didn't appreciate that cocky tone, but he was saved from having to answer as a high pitched voice rang out down the hall.  "No time.  Just... I suppose you'll see."

Jack didn't make for the supply closet like the Doctor assumed he would, however.  Instead the man grinned as he came towards the Doctor, paying no mind to the increasing volume of approaching megalomaniac.  "I know I said I'd keep my hands to myself, Doctor, but you are tied up."  With that, he leaned over and kissed the very surprised and sputtering Time Lord, admittedly chastely because of the lack of time. 

"A kiss for luck," he whispered as he pulled away, making a hasty retreat to the closet as the thugs neared the door with their master in toe. 

That... that scamp.  Of all the infernal cheek...  Where did he pick up his companions, if they started behaving so outrageously?  Still, he had the feeling the future would be fun.  Things wouldn't be dull on the TARDIS with someone like Jack around.  He just had to be very careful not to get captured in the man's company again, since that so apparently gave Jack ideas.

His captor made a grand entrance, diverting the Doctor's thoughts to the present situation.  "Doctor, your short reprieve has come to an end," it said, with a malicious swoosh of its cape.  Honestly, what had they been teaching it on Gallifrey?  The villainous curly mustache and beard was a tacky touch not even the Master would have approved of.  He was going to have to have a word with the academy about this...  "Doctor!  Don't ignore me!"

"What?  Oh, yes.  Terribly sorry.  I was rather distracted by your-ah..."  The Doctor coughed politely, deciding it was best to just drop things for now.  Instead, he continued on cheerfully, buying time to hopefully allow Jack a glace of his captor before jumping out. The bluff would be ruined if the American was too busy laughing hysterically.  "Back to feeding my mind to the computer, yes?  I've just been waiting in anticipation.  Really, this does take the cheese."

"You joke, Doctor," the small villain said over dramatically.  "But you fell into my 'mouse trap' as you called it easily enough.  Soon I shall rule this world and then enslave Gallifrey to make my race its rightful rulers."  It started laughing maniacally at this with its squeaky voice, twirling it's mustache with a small claw.

"Oh, come now," the Doctor chided.  "Really, you must work on your evil villain speeches.   That was downright cheesy, as Peri would say."

"Enough, Doctor!"  The creature snapped and one of the hired thugs came over to lift it to the console where it scampered over to an ominous looking red button.  Why were they always red?  "I have control of your TARDIS, your companions at my mercy and with a press of this button I will have control of your brain for my new matrix!  Do you have any last words?"

"I don't suppose I could have a last dinner? Not even some crackers and cheese?"

"We don't have time for that, I'm afraid," his captor squeaked angrily.  "I will enjoy watching you suffer, writhing in fear just as I used to while the TARDIS was in your hands.  Good-bye, Doctor!"  With his tail wrapped around his arm like an overly refined gentleman, the creature reached over to press the melodramatic bright red button.

Before it could press the button, however, Jack burst through the door in a similarly over-dramatic manner.  Jack was a good deal better at the heroic entrance though, making it almost forgivable.  The Doctor got the feeling Jack was good at playing the heroic and dashing knight and overall his captor seemed pleased that things were following his formula.  "I wouldn't do that, if I were..."  Jack trailed off, staring openly at the creature and ruining his entrance entirely.  "A megalomaniac mouse?" he asked incredulously.

"Technically, it's a rovie, the Gallifreyan equivalent," the Doctor corrected absently.  It was a very ridiculous sight, to be honest.  An over-sized mouse wearing a top hat and black cape lording it over the Doctor, much to his own embarrassment at being caught by such a foe.  The sight was all topped off by the rovie twirling its fake curly mustache and its black goatee.

"Someone has been watching too much Danger Mouse," Jack said with a chuckle, far more amused with the situation than he had any right to be.  "Now I understand all the cheese jokes.  Those were clever, Doctor."

"Excuse me, but would you both-"

"Thank you," the Doctor said, interrupting the rovie.  "I rather thought so.  Nice comment with the Danger Mouse.  I hadn't thought of that one."

"I'm still going to press this button-"

Taking the Doctor's cue, Jack also cut the over-grown rodent off with more puns.  "It explains the organization around here.  It's squeaky clean and maze-like." 

"Stop ignoring me!!"  the rovie yelled, looking very annoyed when the conversation spiraled out of its control.

Both Jack and the Doctor looked it over, the American grinning and the Doctor looking apologetic.  "You were saying?" the Doctor said, politely turning his head to face the rodent.

Still miffed at being ignored for so long, the mouse glared at the two of them and motioned for the thugs to be ready.  "So you have friends, Doctor.  But I know you, Time Lord!  You don't like guns.  It's a bluff, because you'd never let-"

Jack fired his one shot into the ceiling, immediately returning the gun barrel to the mouse.  "That's assuming I care about what the Doctor thinks.  I work for Torchwood and you're in our jurisdiction, mouse.  We do things differently around here and that means all of this tech belongs to us now."

"You might want to listen to him," the Doctor said, despite feeling a little over his head.  The name Torchwood meant nothing to the Doctor, he just assumed it was part of the bluff. 

The rovie, however, had been in Cardiff a bit longer.  He'd been avoiding Torchwood while setting up this trap, mostly successfully too, and the name carried weight.  It hesitated, moving back from the button a little.  "You're Torchwood?  I've... heard of you."

"Then you know our reputation," Jack said, taking a step closer to the mouse and putting himself almost between the machine and the Doctor.  The mouse took another step back.  "I'll admit, my team doesn't follow the old ways, but I think I can make an exception for you.  Why don't you just come along quietly and let the Doctor go?  I might even see that your cell is well stocked with cheese."

The rodent stared at the gun, considering his options.  Or...  wait, something wasn't right.  The Doctor was suddenly very worried, wondering how much of this was an act on the rovie's part.  What were the hired thugs doing?  They were getting awfully close to a very ominous looking machine gun looking object...  "Jack, look ou-"

"Now!" the caped rodent shouted as the thugs moved the switches on the gun that was now aimed right at Jack.  The American screamed as the laser hit him, but he still got between the machine and the Doctor as the mouse hit that shiny red button.  It was the last thing the Doctor saw before a wall of pain hit him and the Time Lord passed out.

He woke up sometime later with a painful gasp of breath.  The first thing the Doctor realized was that he was suddenly outside, some distance from the complex he'd been held captive in and he'd been face down in the gutter.  The second was that he was in a completely different body, which wasn't exactly abnormal for him... except having the WWII great coat and the voice of the person who had just saved him meant he hadn't regenerated. 

Which meant...  He was in Jack's body.  One heart.  Rassilon, how did humans live like this?  It felt like someone had cut his senses in half and he was only partially alive.  It took several long moments of gasping and trying to adjust to humanity, lowing the frequency of his thoughts to keep from burning Jack's mind out.  His six senses were so severely limited that the Doctor found it took him a few minutes before he could even think straight again. 

What were his options?  Jack had probably been trapped in that machine in his place as the computer interface and Peri and Erimem were still captured...  Torchwood, he thought.  From what Jack was saying, they collected alien tech and they couldn't be as unpleasant as Jack was implying.  Even if working with them had been a bluff, he could still go there and hope they'd let him loot their storage?  If he could just make a machine that could reverse the damage...

* * *

"So..." Ianto summed up quietly, "the machine pulled  you into Jack's body as it pulled him into the computer matrix?  Why can't you just reverse that machine?"

Jack - or the Doctor in Jack's body - shook his head sadly.  "if it were me, yes.  But as extraordinary as Jack is, he still has a human mind and that machine is set up to handle a Time Lord's brain.  It would fry his mind if we tried that."

Gwen had relaxed during the conversation, the gun now tucked away in its holster, but she still didn't quite trust the Doctor yet.  Ianto wasn't sure what to think himself.  This was a far-fetched story, even for Torchwood, though he had his own experiences with mixed up bodies and could sympathize with what the Doctor was going through.  Gwen's mind wasn't on trusting the Doctor, however.  "But if that's the case, then wouldn’t it have already done that when it sent him into the interface?" she asked.

Watching the Doctor carefully for his response, Ianto found it was a lot easier to read the man than it was to read Jack's moods.  It was just a matter of looking for new signs when he was still desperately searching for the old ones.  What he saw in the Doctor's eyes was hesitance and Ianto's sinking feeling was only compounded by the Doctor's words.  "Yes, it does work like that both ways.  It might already be too late to stop any damage, but I was hoping to cushion that by putting him back in my body first.  It might repair some of the neural synapses, especially if I can hook up the TARDIS to help with the transfer."

"And what about your companions?" Ianto asked, wondering how the alien could work so calmly while they were still captive.

"They're being treated well.  The rovie won't hurt them, not when he's after me.  They're probably alright, if a little bored," the Doctor said with a charming smile that was so unlike Jack that Ianto was thrown for a loop.  Though, admittedly, it was hard to keep his heart from thumping as he firmly reminded himself that this wasn't Jack.  "They're probably on their fifth escape attempt by now.  I'll get them out once I've finished this machine for Jack and-"

"We'll get them out, Doctor," Gwen said, half reaching for the gun at her hip again.  "And we'll help with that machine of yours too."

The Doctor looked crestfallen at this, but Gwen refused to back down, not when her friends were involved.  "You don't trust me, do you?" he asked sadly.

Before Gwen could say something more sarcastic, Ianto hastily cut in.  "It's not that we don't trust you, though I'll admit that's part of it...  But Jack is our friend.  If he's in trouble then I... We both want to help."

The Doctor sighed, shaking his head.  "There's not much you can do.  This is delicate work and-Ow!"

Glaring at Gwen, the Doctor started to nurse his shin where she had kicked him.  At first Ianto was surprised at Gwen's violent turn, but then she gave the Doctor a significant glance in Ianto's direction and her meaning was clear.  "Oh, ah, yes," the Doctor said awkwardly.  "I see.  That does make things..."

Ianto felt the burn on his cheeks as the Doctor babbled on, trying to remember not to snap at Gwen.  She was only trying to help, despite how much he wished she'd meddle elsewhere.  "I'm fine, Gwen, really.  I don't need to be babied just because I made a fool of myself and over-reacted a little."

"You didn't over-react," Gwen told him, her anger at the Doctor from earlier returning full force.  Maybe later, when he had more time to think through his emotions and figure out how to deal with them, Ianto would find her concern for him touching.  Right now though, it was just another reminder of how much he still ached inside.  "If the Doctor here had just told us to begin with, none of this would have happened!  You had every right to get upset over it."

Again, Gwen looked straight at the Doctor with a meaning that was impossible to mistake.  Before Ianto could remind her he really didn't need the pity (he had enough of his own, thanks), the Doctor sighed and nodded.  "I didn't know if I could really say anything at first, but you're right.  I should have spoken up sooner after the first day.  I am sorry for what my silence has put you through."  The Doctor paused, sending a sincere look at Ianto.  "I hadn't realized that Jack was so close to you... both of you."

Ianto just nodded wearily, too emotionally exhausted to say much else.  The Doctor hesitated for a moment, looking to Gwen who gave him grudging consent.  "Right then.  We'd best get started again, if we're going to keep the rovie from taking over time and space.  Either of you know much about neurological transmitting devices?"

Gwen and Ianto traded glances.  "If you show me what you need done, I can help with the wiring," Ianto said, not exactly relishing more time alone with the Doctor in Jack's body.

"I'll stay out of the tech stuff, thanks," Gwen said with a small grin of self depreciation.  "You know me and computers.  Though if you would give me the address to that building you were held in, I can start mapping out a plan."

The Doctor stared at her as if that sort of thing were completely foreign to him.  From Jack's stories about traveling with the Time Lord, Ianto could believe the Torchwood version of planning and the Doctor's usual vague plans going into things would be hard to reconcile.  "Yes, I'll just find a pen, here..."

As the Doctor emptied his pockets in search of a pen, Gwen leaned over to speak softly in Ianto's ear.  "Keep an eye on him," she whispered.  "Make sure the machine does what he says it should."

Ianto nodded, not overly pleased with the assignment but knowing he was the better of the two of them at this sort of job.  He would just have to keep reminding himself that it was the Doctor, not Jack, currently in that body. 

Some of his reluctance must have shown, because she briefly took his hand and squeezed it gently in support.  "We'll have this sorted in no time."

He hoped that were true, even though it was a promise she had no control over.  Managing a smile for her, Ianto made a mental not to bring by some of her favorite chocolate later.  While most of her mothering he could probably have done without, sometimes - like now - it was awfully nice not to just be ignored as part of the background like he used to be.

More than anything, he just wanted Jack back around the Hub.  If working with the Doctor got his Jack back quicker, then that was what he had to do.  Ianto just had to deal with things the best he could now and snog the hell out of Jack once he was saved from... a megalomaniac mouse.

At least things never got dull at Torchwood.


Memory:  So did anyone guess?  Did anyone actually read this?  I suppose the latter is the better question, but hey...  So the rovie and Erimem are both characters from Big Finish audio plays and therefore, not mine.  Now that we've had the big reveal, I thought I should mention that.    Anyway, please tell me what you think!

Quote of the Chapter:
“In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.”