Warnings: None really, just don't feel like changing the rating :)
Spoilers: Season Two thru Meat (2x04)
Disclaimer: Torchwood and all its wonderfulness belong to the Mighty Beeb and He Who Must Not Be Named. All ©'s to Catherine Tregenna for situations and dialogue borrowed from Meat. No infringement, only worship intended!
Summary: In which a new case involving suspicious meat lands on Torchwood's desk...
Notes: Yay! New episode! You can find all the previous chapters to The Sea After a Storm here. This is a sequel to Vizzini’s Rule and To The Pain. Thanks again and forever to my amazing beta, wonderful friend thraceadams for all the help and support; any mistakes are mine!
The Sea After a Storm: Chapter Forty-Five
Previously on The Sea After a Storm: Tosh and Ianto spent the day alone whilst Jack, Owen and Gwen dealt with a case in the mountains...
"Christ, that's rank!"
"Shut the damn case right now, Owen, or you're walking back to the Hub with it!"
"All right, all right, keep your knickers on. It's closed. I just wanted to get a better look at it."
"You can get a better look when you have proper light, proper equipment, and we're not all trapped in the bloody car with you!" Jack bellowed.
Gwen leant over to whisper to Ianto whilst Jack went on yelling at Owen. "I love it when he goes all British."
Ianto chuckled and nodded as he lowered the window in the SUV to let in some fresh air. An hour before, they'd all been sitting around the Hub discussing whether to order lunch or call it an early day. Then they'd been called out to a fatal RTA involving a lorry with a suspicious substance in the back. The police had been concerned enough that they had asked for Torchwood's help in sorting it out. The substance was clearly some kind of meat, but beyond that none of them could say at this point. It sure didn't smell like any kind of meat that Ianto had ever eaten and he regretted not staying behind with Tosh.
When they arrived at the Hub, Owen took his sample down to the autopsy bay and got to work examining it.
"Was it as revolting as the police made it sound?" Tosh asked Ianto as he started the coffee maker.
He nodded and swallowed hard. He still felt a little ill remembering the blood smears on the inside of the lorry and the smell of the meat starting to rot in the warm August afternoon sun. "I don't know what kind of meat it is, but it makes me glad I've already given up eating it."
Tosh gave him a sympathetic smile and then turned back to her computer, leaving him to make the coffee in peace. He took a second to ring the pizza place as he waited on the coffee. As unappetising as food sounded, he knew they'd need to eat sooner rather than later since no one had eaten lunch. When the coffee finished, he doctored up five cups – black for Jack and himself, one sugar for Tosh, a bit of cream only for Owen, and one with two sugars and cream for Gwen – and carefully picked up four of the mugs. He left Owen's at the coffee maker for whenever he'd finished with the meat sample. He could hear the doctor reporting on his findings to Jack down in the med bay, but was grateful he couldn't make out the specifics. He took the mugs to Tosh's desk, turning his back on the med bay as he sipped his coffee.
"I was so looking forward to an afternoon off," Tosh sighed as she took her mug from Ianto.
"Big plans?" he asked.
"Don't know if they qualify as 'big', but I picked up a new book and was going to go to the park and enjoy the sunshine."
"If it's any consolation, it was clouding up when we when we pulled in. It's probably raining by now," Ianto said with the resignation of someone raised in Wales.
Tosh sighed. "Typical. Why does it never rain when – "
"Tosh," Jack called, walking out into the Hub. "Get onto the haulage firm. Find out where the meat is from and where it's heading."
Gwen sighed. "Why did it have to be Rhys's firm? It's a bit too close to home."
"Do you want to stand down?" Jack offered, walking by Ianto and taking the proffered cup of coffee with a smile and a quick caress.
"No! I want to find out what's going on," Gwen said in no uncertain terms. "Thank you, Ianto," she added as she stopped by for her cup of coffee as well.
They all paused to listen with amused smiles as Tosh pulled up the website and it immediately began playing the Harwood's theme song.
"Catchy," Ianto said.
"Do you think the haulage firm might be in on it, too?" Tosh hypothesised, looking at the screen.
Ianto's glance darted to Jack, who was looking at Gwen with concern written all over his face.
"Rhys?" Gwen asked, sounding shocked that anyone could think such a thing. "No. He doesn't know what goes in the vans, he just hires them out."
"Driver must have seen it loaded," Ianto observed.
"That doesn't implicate Rhys," Gwen said firmly. "He's the most honest man I know."
Tosh gave her an understanding smile. "Have you got his direct line?"
Ianto, realising that they were about to interrogate Gwen's fiancé, set down his coffee and headed for his own workstation to get his notepad. He needed to be sure, for his own piece of mind as well as Torchwood's records, that nothing was missed in the investigation.
Tosh got Rhys on the speaker phone and he seemed willing enough to cooperate at first, giving them the name of the firm paying to have the meat transported, but then he couldn't – or wouldn't – give them an address, telephone number, or contact name. Jack's expression grew more and more grim as they listened. Ianto started to work out the maths. If we know where the accident was and we add in when he left Harwood's with the lorry and where he made the pick up... He scribbled a note on a fresh sheet of paper and tore it off, walking over to hand it to Jack. He supposed he should be too busy to notice how good Jack looked in the new waistcoat, but he couldn’t help himself. Every time he got a glimpse of the watch chain draped across Jack's flat stomach, his own stomach did a little flip, knowing that the chain was attached to the antique pocket watch he'd given Jack as a Christmas present.
Ianto forced himself to stop contemplating Jack's arse as he leant on the yellow safety railing by Tosh's desk, and started taking notes again. He scribbled down Caerwen Abattoir as the delivery point and headed for his computer. He opened up the map of Cardiff, entered the Harwood's address, then the abattoir, then found the only service station on the A470 that was approximately fifteen miles from Cardiff which Rhys said was the pick up point. Nothing suspicious about that, he thought sarcastically. He triangulated them on the map and called up the CCTV of the area, waiting for Tosh to ask his question.
"What time did the driver leave base?" Tosh asked, reading from Ianto's note.
There was a short pause and then Rhys said, "Signed out at ten to one. Can I ask what this is about?"
Ianto didn't really listen as Tosh fobbed off Rhys's question and finished the call, he was busy scanning the CCTV. "Got him!" he called. "There he is, coming back forty minutes later." He pointed at the van on the screen, beginning to work it out in his head. "Let's say it takes twenty minutes to load..." He did the sums in his head quickly. "We're talking a ten-mile radius."
"Jack!" Owen called.
"Yeah?" Jack and the girls headed for the med bay to see what Owen had discovered whilst Ianto went back to his map. With the new information, he was able to pinpoint several locations in the search area where warehouses and industrial parks would allow for the processing of meat in the amounts they found in the lorry. He started ticking them off one by one, eliminating the legitimate, licensed facilities. Before he could finish, his phone rang.
"'Lo?" he said, answering it hurriedly without checking the display.
"Mr. Jones? I've got your pizzas but the door's locked again."
"Sorry, Danny. Hold tight – I'll be there to let you in in half a tick." He snapped his phone closed and jogged over to the med bay. "Pizza's arrived. I presumed it would be a late one."
"What did you get me?" Owen asked, glancing up at him.
"The usual," Ianto replied, surprised. "Meat Feast."
He headed upstairs, catching Owen's groan of 'lovely' as he turned away. He grinned a little as he engaged the cog door and made a quick mental note to hand Tosh their Vegetable Supreme directly and tell her to keep an eye on it. He had a feeling it would be a hot commodity tonight.
TBC in Chapter Forty-Six
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