Pairings/Characters: Torchwood Team, Myfanwy
Summary: All things must die. Even if you're the one who loved them.
Author's Note: My cat was diagnosed with cancer today. So I wrote this. Which is a rather morbid reaction, but what can I say? The title is from a Welsh folksong called Myfanwy.
Ianto was whistling as he cleaned the Hub. Gwen frowned at him as he picked through the topography of trash on the small table in front of the sofa. Tosh’s foot tapped along loudly with Ianto’s shrill tune. Gwen frowned at her, too. Then she glanced at Owen’s med bay and Jack’s office and frowned. Jack was in his office, door shut, Glenn Miller on at medium volume. Owen was highly focussed on his computer. Ianto’s whistle got louder. It didn’t shut out the keening.
“Will somebody shut that dinosaur up!” Owen burst out. Ianto flinched.
“I can’t. She won’t let anyone near her. Not even me.”
“I thought you were the pterodactyl whisperer.”
“Maybe she’s in heat,” Gwen offered brightly.
“Does that sound like any animal in heat you’ve ever heard?” Owen rebuffed. “She sounds like she’s in pain.”
Ianto had retreated to the kitchen area, away from the conversation. He didn’t want to think about that. He made coffee instead. Then he went down into the archives. He didn’t want to hear the terrible moans.
Two weeks later, Ianto was carrying coffee across the Hub to Tosh when Myfanwy crashed to the ground mid-flight. Gwen screamed. Ianto dropped his tray, heedless of the ceramic shattering in sharp pieces, of the hot coffee staining his trousers and burning his ankles.
“Jesus christ!” Owen and Ianto got to the pterodactyl simultaneously. Owen searched for a breath or a pulse, some sign of life. Ianto looked on, eyes wide, pale-faced.
“Owen?” The worry in Ianto’s voice was plain; he looked stricken.
Owen shook his head. “She’s dead.”
“Find out why,” Jack’s voice said quietly from the upper level of the Hub.
It was a struggle, but they managed to get the dinosaur into the autopsy bay. Owen moved slowly, sympathetic of Ianto, who had to keep stopping to blink tears from his eyes. The Welshman had been the one to find Myfanwy, and Owen hated that he had to send her off as well.
Owen shooed Ianto away for the autopsy. It was hard enough seeing the thing you love die, Owen knew that. Seeing the autopsy was always worse. He made Ianto promise not to leave the archives until the pterodactyl was sewn up again.
“What was it?” Jack asked as everyone crowded around the rail of the autopsy bay.
Owen leaned against the table, eyes downcast. He rocked on his heels for a moment, then sighed heavily. “It was cancer.”
“I didn’t think dinosaurs could get cancer.” Gwen commented.
“It makes sense,” Ianto’s voice was toneless, void of emotion. “She was born millions of years ago, and being here, she’s not only exposed to the Rift, but also to all sorts of modern chemicals and things that her body isn’t meant to encounter.”
“Ianto, I—” But Ianto shook his head and moved away.
“It’s all right, Jack.” He wandered out of the autopsy bay and back down to the archives.
Four hours later, Owen entered the cool darkness of the archives to find Ianto at his desk, hunched over a file, a huge stack beside him. Owen knew that tactic. Immerse yourself so completely in your work that you don’t have to think about anything. He put a hand on Ianto’s shoulder. The young man looked up.
“She’s in the alien morgue. Drawer 73C. You already know the code to get in.”
Ianto nodded once. “Thanks.”
“Least I could do, mate.”
Ianto didn’t visit the alien morgue. Not the first day after, or the second. He didn’t say anything except his usual “Can I get you anything?” or if he was asked a question. His face was blank, his eyes glazed. He spent all his free time in the archives. Jack was getting worried. So was Owen.
“Jack?” Tosh piped up a week later. “I haven’t seen Ianto all day. Usually he comes up to give us our coffee or to give you a file.”
“He’s probably in the archives, losing track of time. You can check if you like.”
“Jack?” Tosh said again, a moment later.
“He’s not there. He’s not in the loo, either.”
“Well, where is he?”
“I don’t know! I looked around the main Hub on the CCTV. No sign of him.”
Jack toggled his comm. “Ianto. Ianto!” There was no reply. “Shit.”
The lower levels of the Hub were dark and twisting. There was no sound but dripping water and the echo of Jack’s footsteps as he hurried through the passages, calling through his comm. He checked the room that had been sealed off a week after Ianto’s suspension. It was still sealed, still dark. All the vaults he could remember were empty. There was no reply on the comm.
“Jack?” Tosh’s voice sounded in his ear, making him jump.
“What?” He snapped.
“Come back up. There’s something you need to see.”
Jack raced up to the main Hub faster than he had in a very long time. Tosh was sitting at her station, staring at the screen, tears in her eyes. Jack’s stomach clenched. He joined her.
Ianto stood in the alien morgue, his forehead leaning against drawer 73C, eyes closed, arms limp at his sides. Silent tears slid down his cheeks, staining them with salt. His lips moved in a quiet lullaby, a song by the name of Myfanwy.