Warnings: Bit of bad language
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 the team looks into dodgy meat suppliers and the possibility that Rhys is involved in the distribution...
Notes: New chappie thanks to the bestest beta ever! 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-Six
Previously on The Sea After a Storm: A routine RTA investigation turns into much more when suspicious alien meat is discovered in the wrecked lorry...
Ianto hurried up to the Tourist Office and let Danny, their usual pizza delivery boy inside. He was damp from the rain and laden down with two heavy, insulated carrier bags but still had a smile for Ianto.
"Got the big order today, Mr. Jones," Danny noted as he set the bags on the counter and began removing boxes.
"Yep," Ianto replied vaguely. He waited for Danny to finish and then signed the receipt, adding the usual generous tip.
Danny grinned his appreciation and gathered up his now empty bag. "Thanks, Mr. Jones. Have a good one."
"You, too, Danny. Stay dry," he added as he opened the door to a depressing drizzle.
"Eh, it's just a little rain. I'm not sweet enough to melt, as my mam used to say," Danny said with a wink.
Ianto chuckled and then closed and locked the door behind the boy. He piled up the boxes carefully and made his way back down to the Hub with the late lunch.
After setting up the pizzas, salads, and drinks, he returned to his computer to finish his work on the warehouses. One by one, the rest of the team wandered up from the med bay, helping themselves to the food as they sat down. Owen deliberately picked most of the meat off his pizza, giving Ianto dirty looks each time he reached for a slice. Ianto just ignored his theatrics, tucking a napkin into his collar and tucking into his own lunch. Once they were all together, Ianto laid out what'd he discovered.
"I've narrowed it down to three potential areas. Only one warehouse is unoccupied. It's just outside Merthyr."
"Makes sense," Owen said, looking up from picking at his pizza. "Who knows what goes on there?" he added, mostly kidding.
"We've got to shut the operation down," Jack said around a mouthful of pizza. "Neutralise whoever's doing this and identify the alien meat. Tosh, you can coordinate."
Ianto smiled behind his pizza, wondering how long Tosh would put up with being babied and kept in the Hub before she let Jack have it.
"I have to slip home and check on Rhys first," Gwen said, checking her phone.
"Good idea." Jack nodded. "Find out how much he knows."
Gwen glared at him. "That's not what I meant," she said crisply, hitting the final 't' a bit harder than necessary before she headed towards the door.
Ianto turned back to his computer in the awkward silence that fell after Gwen's exit. He heard Jack toss the crust from his pizza in the box and then sigh dramatically.
"Fine," he said, shrugging off Gwen's irritation and picking up a fresh piece of pizza. "I'll wait for Gwen to get back and make sure I didn't hurt her feelings. Owen and Ianto, you head over to the warehouse, do a little recon. Tosh, you stay behind to run things from here. You might see if there's a satellite we can 'borrow' for a bit," Jack suggested, still chewing.
Tosh nodded, wiped her mouth daintily, and then gave Jack another exasperated look before heading back to her workstation. Owen took one more bite of his denuded pizza and then made a face. He tossed the rest of the slice back in the box and looked over at Ianto.
"Ready? I just want to grab a scanner."
Ianto nodded, pressing send to transfer the directions to the warehouse from his computer to his phone while he finished his pizza. He tugged the napkin from his collar and wiped his hands and mouth before tossing it in the bin. He started to clean up the remnants from lunch, but Jack stopped him.
"Go on, I'll clean this up while I wait for Gwen," he said.
Ianto gave him a grateful smile. "We'll report back as soon as we learn anything," he said. "Special weapons?"
Jack frowned and thought for a moment, before nodding. "Stun guns, just to be on the safe side."
"I'll grab two now," Ianto replied. He turned towards the armoury only to have Jack spin him back around and pull him into a quick hug.
"Careful out there," Jack murmured in Ianto's ear.
"Always, sir." He tugged gently on Jack's watch chain as he stepped back. "The waistcoat's a good look on you," he admired.
"Yeah?" Jack beamed. "Glad you like."
"I more than like," Ianto said softly. "I've been staring at your arse all day. Quite distracting."
Jack's grin turned dirty and he winked at Ianto. "Mmm, good to know."
"Oi! Are you done fondling Jack so we can go now?" Owen hollered.
Ianto rolled his eyes. "Not quite," he told Owen. "I'll let you know." He gave Jack a smile and headed to the armoury for the stun guns.
They took Owen's car to Merthyr since it was just the two of them.
"Tosh seems to be doing better," Owen observed after several miles of comfortable silence.
"She does," Ianto agreed.
"You might drop a word in Jack's ear about keeping her stuck in the Hub, though," Owen said, giving Ianto a quick glance as he shifted gears.
Ianto chuckled. "I was thinking the same thing. Although, she's probably thankful she missed the Alien Meat Wagon earlier."
"Probably," Owen agreed. "Most days I'd give you shit about being a vegetarian at this point, but somehow I'm not feeling it today."
"I'm so relieved," Ianto said dryly.
Ianto had to bite his tongue to keep turning the conversation back to Tosh, but he'd promised her not to interfere so he let silence fall again until he needed to give Owen directions.
When they arrived at the warehouse, it was clear they were on the right track. They bypassed what appeared to be the main entrance and parked behind the structure, Owen's small car hiding nicely behind a stack of empty oil drums. They got out in the drizzle and began to walk the perimeter.
"What have we here?" Owen said as they approached the first door. "Lovely, locked up tight and..." He ran the scanner over the door and nodded. "Alarmed as well," he added glancing at Ianto. "Looks like an amateur job, though."
"Not sure if that's encouraging or frightening," Ianto muttered.
Owen peered around the corner of the building for a long moment and then jerked back quickly, pressing himself flat against the wall. "Yep, main entrance on that side, no locks. Two blokes just walked in the door, no keys or cards."
"Did they see you?"
"Don't think so," Owen said. He pushed off the wall and walked carefully towards the other corner of the building with Ianto trailing behind him, checking over his shoulder every few seconds.
They walked around the building, trying each door as they passed only to find them all locked. There were no windows and Owen's scanner seemed to be malfunctioning since it was only reading a general heat signature across the entire building.
"Ianto? Owen? We're just on our way in," Jack said over the comms. "How are things looking at the slaughterhouse? Are you in position?"
Ianto tapped his earpiece. "Yeah, it's all quiet here. There's a deserted access road to the side where you won't get noticed. I'll direct you in."
"Smash and grab, you think?" Owen asked as they waited for Jack.
"I would imagine. Jack's not really one for subtlety," Ianto replied with a smile.
They shared a quiet laugh and then Jack's voice came over the comms again.
"Ianto? Nearly there."
"Take the second turning. Park on the left, no one will see the car there. There's a main entrance at the front, it's the only one open," he confirmed as Owen tried the last door with no luck. "The rest are padlocked and armed."
"How many are in there?" Jack asked.
"It's difficult to tell. There's no windows," Owen replied.
"I've got blueprints of the warehouse," Tosh chimed in on their comms. "The stock has to be in the central area. Having fun?" she asked brightly.
Owen and Ianto exchanged eye rolls. "You don't know what you're missing," Ianto said, sarcasm dripping from the words.
Owen looked at his scanner again as he stepped over a puddle. "According to the sensor, there's a heat signature across the entire building," he reported. He whacked the scanner against his thigh a few times and tried it again with the same results.
"You two take the side, Gwen and I will go in the front," Jack ordered. "We don't want any casualties. We stun gun whoever's in there and put a stop to what they're doing."
Owen and Ianto made their way back to the nearest door. Ianto checked their surroundings, while Owen put the scanner in his pack.
"Did you bring the alarm deactivator?" Ianto asked, as he squinted, trying to see if anyone had spotted them. He spun around in shock a second later when the pop of a silenced gun sounded. "Well, that's one way of doing it," he said dryly.
Owen raised his eyebrows innocently. "What? It's open, isn't it?"
Ianto just shook his head and pulled out his own weapon, leaving the stun gun in his pocket for now.
They looked at once another and Owen counted down softly. "Three... two... one."
On one, Ianto yanked open the door and Owen caught it with his foot, both of them waiting a second while their eyes adjusted. They were just about to enter, guns at the ready when Jack sounded in their ears again.
"Ianto, Owen, stand down."
For a second, Ianto was sure he'd heard wrong. He glanced over his shoulder at Owen who had the same disbelieving confusion on his face.
"Repeat, stand down."
Owen gave Ianto a quick nod and Ianto fell back, giving Owen room to close the door.
"What the fuck?" Owen asked as the leant against the door.
Ianto shrugged, looking right and left over and over to see if they'd attracted any attention. When the radio silence dragged on, he glanced over at Owen.
"Do you think they were caught?"
Owen shook his head. "No, Jack would've gotten word to us if that were the case. Something else must've –" He broke off when Jack started speaking.
"Still here, sir," Ianto replied. "Orders?"
"Meet back at the Hub. They've all gone back inside so you shouldn't be seen."
"What's the problem, Jack?" Owen asked as he and Ianto started walking back to the car.
Even over the comms, Jack's tone was deadly.
TBC in Chapter Forty-Seven
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