herlady_ain (herlady_ain) wrote,
herlady_ain
herlady_ain

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Part Two, "To Err Is Human..."

Many thanks again to my betas, </a></b></a>talkingtoatwig, and </a></b></a>silver_x_cross!  All failures in the narration are mine, not theirs.

In this part:  Reggie attempts to make sense of Owen's story and his connection to her dead mother.  Owen's rash and obsessive behavior become dangerous.

All comments and concrit read and greatly appreciated!  Please enjoy.

Previous Parts:  Takeaway Girl

Dire Consequences:

“Your mother was magnificent.”  The gravity in his voice was surreal. 

“Yeah, well, I’m afraid I don’t remember much of her, so you’ll have to be more specific.”

 

“Was she still a pilot?  She had this plane, the Sky Gypsy.  It was nearly as beautiful as she was.”  He finished his drink.

 

Reggie sucked on her straw, ignoring the glass of Scotch in front of her.  One of them losing their head was more than enough. 

 

“She wasn’t from around here you know- she was different.”

 

“No, Owen, actually she was from around here.  She wasn’t from America, but she moved there for school and decided to stay.”  She put the water glass back on the table.  Slowly she raised her eyes from the rim of the glass to the face of the man of whom she had been blissfully unaware just three days earlier.  He was staring at her, and it was unnerving.  She looked back down, thinking about her mother.  Owen didn’t lower his eyes- he kept watching her.

 

Reggie cleared her throat.  “But you, uh, you were right about her being a pilot, although I never got to go up with her.  She was too sick.  My father used to take her to see the air shows at Miramar, the Air Base in Southern California…”

 

Absent-mindedly she reached past her water and picked up the glass of Scotch she’d been avoiding.  It still tasted like wood, but rush of warmth in her stomach helped steady her.  She’d be damned if this crazy was going to see her crying over her poor mother.

 

“Owen, I have to know, why, how do you know so much about my mother?”

 

Owen spun his empty glass between his hands.  Slowly a smirk spread across his face.  “You’re mother.  I told you, I knew your mother.  She was incredible, and bold, and too good for me.  Left me here- she did.  Wasn’t even going to say goodbye…”

 

At this Reggie felt she had to interject, “Owen, this is stupid, I already told you…

 

“She was the most fantastic shag.”  He brought his eyes up to meet hers, reveling in her surprised and confused expression.  Then he stood quickly and made his way towards the bar.

“Can’t think on an empty glass…”

 

He brought back the bottle this time.  “He didn’t want to give it to me, but I convinced him…” He refilled both of their glasses with a flourish, “that I wasn’t a man to be argued with.”

 

Owen sat back down and immediately took up his drink again.  “Where was I?  Ah yes, shagging your mother.  I know she was English, but she wasn’t from our time.  I can’t blame you for knowing, but your father should have been able to tell!  When I met her, she’d just taken off for Dublin, in 1953.”

 

Reggie gulped from her glass.  “This is stu…”

 

“Oh just shut the fuck up and enjoy your drink.  You think you’re so damned smart- that this sort of thing doesn’t happen.  Well I’ll tell you- this sort of fucked up thing is what I do.  One of you lot sees glowing men, or mystery ships and we go out and sort the bloody mess out.”  His voice had risen; he couldn’t stop himself,  “Your mother, Diane Holmes, flew into a rift in time in 1953 and landed in 2006.  After taking a sad, angry English lad for a ride, she flew off again into the horizon.  And she was right, because apparently it took her back.  Only not as goddamned far back as she’d hoped, because she ended up in the sodding 70’s, shagged your dad, and had you!”  He was breathing heavily by the time he finished, and a crazed look had crept back into his eyes. 

 

He finished off another glass and rose from the chair and grabbed his coat in one clumsy move.  Reggie tossed the rest of her drink back and chased after him, scrambling to get her coat on as they walked out into the cold air.  He was huffing, she figured it was out frustration, or emotion, or something, because he seemed to be in fairly good shape.  She rushed after him, past his car she noticed with relief, and towards the dingy door where she’d originally met him.

 

He stopped and turned towards Reggie, “You don’t believe me?”  He turned away from her again, and then looked up to the sky, to the top of the monument.  “She left me.  She was too in love with the sky to stay here with me.  But your dad…” Owen spit the last word like it was too foul for his mouth, “Your dad did what I couldn’t- he convinced her to stay.  I was left with nothing!”  He shouted the last part at the sky, and while she didn’t, couldn’t understand any of this, she reached out her hand to comfort him.

 

“I’ll show you.”  Once again he’d grabbed her by the wrist.  “You wanted to know what sort of doctor I was, what I did for work?  Then I’ll show you!  I hate this job, and it’s all that’s left of me since before I met her!”  Before Reggie could even process what had just happened he was pulling her right up to the darkened doorway and dragging her through into the dark room on the other side.

 

~~**~~

 

Regina Martelli was 150lbs, and even though she was barely 5’3 she had always considered herself pretty strong.  She always thought her lower center of gravity would be an advantage if she was ever in a fight- unfortunately she was finding out how wrong she was at the most inopportune moment.  The scotch didn’t seem to have slowed Owen Harper down- he matched her struggles inch for inch, restraining her like an old pro.  Before she had even finished drawing a breath for a terrified scream, he stifled her.

 

Reggie’s mind was racing, she was panicking, but she was also berating herself for being so stupid.  Her heartbeat pounded in her temples, and she couldn’t get enough air. 

 

“Don’t.  Say.  A. Word.”  Owen hissed in her ear.  “I am not going to hurt you; you just have to stay quiet, and not scream.”

 

At this Reggie could no longer hold back the sobs she’d been suppressing- tears poured down her cheeks.  Owen had just said the very words that serial killers and rapists the world over used to pacify their victims.  He’d gone back to how he’d been at the Incognito.  She was so stupid to go with him, to ignore her instincts.  She still couldn’t get enough air, too much more of this and she would choke. 

 

Upon hearing her strangled coughs, Owen flinched slightly, loosening his grip for the briefest moment.  Reggie seized the chance, knowing it would be the only one she’d get, and drove her elbow into his sternum.  He faltered, but it wasn’t enough.  It was too dark and she was disoriented.  Owen regained his hold on her, tight enough to cause her pain this time, and struggled to simultaneously regain his breath.

 

“That,” he snarled, “was totally uncalled for.  If you try something like that again, I might have to actually hurt you.”  He squeezed even harder.  “And we don’t want that.”

 

She couldn’t make any words come out of her mouth.  Not even a plea for her life.  She was utterly helpless.  Owen’s grip didn’t slip this time- he dragged her backwards.  A moment later the lights all came on. 

 

Still panting, Owen spoke again,  “There, see, just a little tourist shop.”  He picked up a brochure and waved it in front of her face.  “Nothing scary in here.  Just you and me.  Now I want to show you something, but we can’t go there like this.”  He still sounded dangerous, like a man possessed.

 

He dragged her away from the desk and towards a wall with magazine racks hanging on it; it was automatically swinging inwards.  “I have never loved anyone like I loved your mother.  Do you understand, how empty that leaves you?”  He sounded desperate, and rushed.  “Now, I don’t want... erm… I don’t want to do this.  But I have a gun.  We’re going to go through this door here, and down a passage to the lift.  I don’t want to shoot you, but if you make me.  I will.”

 

They stood pressed together in the lift, for the longest ride of their entire lives.  She was nearly knocked to her knees when the doors slid open and he released his grip on her.  He nudged her, more briskly than necessary, and marched her towards a massive metal door.  He activated it and it rolled away into the wall.  He gave her another sharp nudge out of the corridor and into the strangest room she’d ever seen.

 

“Regina Martelli, welcome to Torchwood.  This is where I work, and the reason I knew your mother.”  She could feel his heart pounding in his chest as he let out a loud exhalation.  He had been waiting for this, and he was relieved.

 

~~**~~

 

Owen didn’t point a gun at her, he simply walked past her, pushed open the barred gate and walked down three short steps.  “You’ll want to follow me.  We have a sort of… a sort of ‘pet’ pterodactyl and I can’t guarantee Jack has penned her up properly.”

 

Reggie had thought she was going to die not 10 minutes earlier.  Now she thought she may have actually asphyxiated, and her oxygen starved brain was just coughing up this last hallucination to distract her while she died.  They were underground, in a broad, tile walled chamber and it appeared that the monument from the plaza above ran straight through the room she was now in, from floor to ceiling.  There were computers everywhere.  And there was water.  Her brain couldn’t process what she was seeing fast enough, it was too much.  With Owen still standing at the bottom of the stairs with his hand out, waiting for her, she swayed, and collapsed in a heap on the stairs.  The cog-like door closed a moment later. 

 

~~**~~

 

A bitter scent flooded Reggie’s senses.  She was disoriented and couldn’t remember what had just happened or where she should be.  Slowly she realized that where she was happened to be hard, and the floor.  And her head really hurt.  Oh, and there was a strange man kneeling over her. 

 

Owen seemed almost amused at her situation, “You know, the next time you feel a swoon coming on, why not try not to bang your head?  That’ll do for 5 stitches I think.  Come on.”  He grabbed her behind her elbows and started to pull her to her feet.  “Alright, up you go.  That’s it, lean on me.”

 

Reggie could remember what happened before she fainted- and she was suddenly very unhappy about the whole thing.  Unfortunately she was not at her full strength and her feeble thrashing against Owen simply made her dizzy and irritated him.

 

“Hey, HEY.” He took her chin in his hand and turned her face to meet his.  “Cut it out- all this flailing about isn’t going to help me get you to somewhere you can sit down so I can get you stitched up properly.  I really am a doctor.  I told you I wasn’t going to hurt you,” he guided her across the uneven floor.  “And I’m still not going to hurt you.” 

 

She wasn’t sure she believed him.  He was still scary as hell.  The snarling, and growling weren’t merely things she’d imagined.  He was so angry underneath, and when he’d mentioned shooting her, she had little doubt that part of him really could. Reggie tried to focus on cataloguing the events of the evening in an objective light.  So far, Owen had committed stalking, harassment, simple assault, kidnapping, and battery.  She hoped that the cut on her head and the nasty bruises on her arms would be the only souvenirs she left with.

 

Owen helped her mount another short set of stairs.  Reggie wasn’t feeling particularly cooperative and her head was pounding- he nearly had to drag her the last couple of steps. 

 

“Ah.  You know, you could stand to lose a few pounds,” He lowered her to a couch against the wall.  “For your health, and might be nice for people who have to carry your heavy arse places.”

 

Reggie shrugged clumsily out of her coat.  She shot him what she hoped was a scathing look and reached her hand gingerly to touch the gash on the side of her head.  Her fingers came back a bloodier than she’d expected. 

 

“I’m going to puke.”  There was no helping it.

 

“Aw shit.  Not on me and not on the bloody floor you’re not!  We’re not familiar enough for that yet, thank you.” He slammed down a waste bin and continued on without missing a beat.

 

Reggie slid off the couch onto the floor and put her head in the bin.  For a second she thought she would be ok, but then it came- all the scotch, water, beer, and supper, hot and acidic in her throat.  Now she was humiliated on top of everything else.

 

“I have… to tell you, Owen…. I’ve had much better first dates.” She laughed.  Things suddenly seemed much more amusing.

 

“Ah, got your sense of humor back have you?  That’ll be a concussion likely.”  He set a surgical tray on the coffee table.  “Right, so, let’s have a look at that head then?”  He offered her a towel.  She wiped her mouth with it and tossed it aside. 

 

“Haven’t got a breath mint, have you?”  She giggled again.

 

He tilted her head to get a better look at the laceration.  “I was wrong, more like 10 stitches.  You’re lucky- you’d have to wait for hours if you were in hospital.  Being a foreigner they’d probably make you wait even longer…”

 

“Owen!”  A tall man emerged from a conference room onto the scaffolding on the second level, straightening his braces as he approached the edge.  “I thought I told you not to bring your catches back here.  Don’t you have a bachelor pad?”  He came down the stairs and spotted the blood and surgical tray.  “Ooh.  What’s happened here?  Owen, you’ve got to be more gentle with them.”

 

At that Owen pulled his hand back, tugging slightly on the silk that he’d already laid into the wound.  “Jack,” he sounded a bit exasperated, “She just had a bit of a fall on the steps- I’m just giving it a clean and a stitch.”

 

“What about those bruises on her arm?”  He no longer sounded amused.  Reggie waited to hear if Owen would make any effort to explain, maybe mention to his boss about his recent exploits.

 

“Captain Jack Harkness, please meet Ms. Regina Martelli.  Daughter of Diane Holmes-Martelli.”  Owen shot Jack a look.  “Reggie, this is my boss, Jack.  He runs Torchwood.”

 

Jack came up next too the table.  “Diane’s daughter?  And now you know all about Torchwood… That’s just fantastic.”

 

A second man was coming down the stairs.  “I’ll make the coffee, Sir?”  He was smartly dressed, but his tie was crooked, it was rather cute.

 

Owen trimmed the ends of the surgical silk, and pressed a saline soaked bandage against Reggie’s head. She gasped.

 

“Oww, that hurt!” She turned to look at Captain Harkness.  “Have you anything stronger than coffee?”

 

That’s when Owen chimed in.  “No, absolutely not.  I’m still a doctor, and you may have a concussion.  That’ll be no alcohol for you for, oh let’s say 2 weeks.”

 

The well-dressed man returned with a tray laden with four mugs, which he carefully distributed.  First to Owen, who had just finished snapping off his latex gloves, next for Captain Harkness who had dragged an office chair up to sit on.  Reggie had pulled herself back onto the couch and was gently reclining her aching head against it. 

 

“I hope you take cream and sugar.”  He said as he offered her a cup.  He then took the last himself, and stood aside to watch.

 

After a long drag from his mug Captain Harkness finally spoke.  “Well Ms. Martelli.  Reggie.  Can I call you Reggie?”

 

Reggie had just filled her own mouth with the hot coffee, and all she could do was nod.

 

“Alright then, Reggie, you obviously know Owen, and I’m Jack, and the fantastic looking gentleman who brought you this wonderful ambrosia is Ianto Jones.  There are normally two others: Gwen Cooper, and Toshiko Sato, but they’re at home, where they should be.”

Owen was silent at the reproach; he just sipped his coffee and narrowed his eyes at Jack over the rim of his cup.  Ianto smirked but said nothing.

 

After the night she’d had, Reggie felt she was entitled to some ask a couple of questions.  “Captain Harkness, you’re not British?”

 

“Just call me Jack.  And no, I’m not British.  Owen, she’s smarter than the last one.”  He set his cup down on the table and leaned in.  “Reggie, your mother was really Diane Holmes?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And I assume Owen here has told you about her, her past, where she was from?”

 

“Yes.  But it can’t possibly be true.  He told me quite a lot of crazy things tonight.”  She was she was thinking of his sex claims, but she was pleased non-the-less when he flinched slightly.  What would happen to him if she told Jack about his actions this evening?

 

“Oh I’m sure he has.  But he wasn’t lying about your mother.  Diane was a pilot from the first half of the 20th century.  On December 18th, 1953 she took off in her plane, Sky Gypsy, with two chartered fairs.  One of them killed himself at the shock of the loss.  The other integrated rather nicely- works in London at a fashion house- we still get letters.  And then there was Diane.  She gave the 21st Century a try, but she was an adventurer, a free spirit.  So she left.”  He made eye contact with Owen.  She left.”

 

Thinking about it made her head throb even harder.  “But…”

 

“Torchwood is a non-governmental organization charged with tracking and destroying alien threats on earth.  There’s a rift, like a tear, in the fabric of space and time, and it runs right through Cardiff.”

Reggie chuckled. “ ‘Course it does.”

 

Jack smiled at her, and then stood up.  “Owen.  I want to see you in my office.  Ianto, please look after our guest.”

 

Ianto moved out of the background and took Owen’s place on the couch.  He offered Reggie a sweet smile.  “How are you feeling?”

 

Reggie returned the smile.  At the sound of shouting upstairs both of heads turned upwards for a moment.  Reggie was in no mood for silence.  There was too much going on in her head.

 

“So, you met my mother.”

 

Ianto looked like he’d much rather not talk, but she pressed on.  “You met my mother, just weeks ago, and now here I am.  And you work with these people, hunting aliens and monsters?  All the weird things I kept hearing about on tv- the spaceships, robots, crusaders- from last year.  You people were responsible, weren’t you?”

 

He smiled again.  “Myself, I don’t do much alien hunting.  I run the Hub, which is where you are now; keep it tiddy.  I keep track of the archives and the files.”  He raised his mug and smiled again.  “And make the coffee of course.”

 

“And it’s fantastic coffee.”  She held up her mug in a salute.  “But I have to ask, are you sure you didn’t slip something in my coffee.  If Owen found out, I think he may let you have it.”  She shook her head gently, trying to clear her thoughts.

 

“Oh.  No.  I’m very sorry about that.  That’ll be the Retcon.  I spend quite a lot of time fixing their messes.  This is a big one; Jack isn’t happy with Owen, but it will all be fine.  You’ll wake up with a nasty hangover and a note from hospital for the stitches; nothing that can’t be explained by a heavy night of drinking.”

 

Reggie drew a gasping breath.  “You mean, you’re just going to get rid of me?”  She drew in another dry breath.  “Your friend kidnaps me, and gives me a good pounding, all because he knew my mother, and you just wipe my memory?!”  Her heart rate had risen.  A crash and more shouting from upstairs distracted them momentarily.

 

“I’m sorry Ms. Martelli.  Owen’s infatuation with your mother has nearly gotten him- all of us- killed more than once.  This is just the protocol we have to follow.  You really shouldn’t worry; Retcon is harmless.  You’ll simply drift off, and we’ll drop you at your flat.”  He presented her with a comforting smile.

 

“You’re sure?”  She was really struggling to catch her breath; she started rubbing her throat.  “I’m… I’m having a hard time breathing.  Is…  Is this normal?”  Her throat was tightening, and her lips were starting to lose their color.  She started to panic; drawing in frantic shallow gasps.

 

Ianto’s smile did not make an appearance this time.  He stood up quickly, a concerned look on his face.  “Jack!”  He helped Reggie to her feet, but she couldn’t breath; her legs wouldn’t support her.  “JACK!  OWEN!  Something’s wrong with your guest!”

 

The noise of them coming down the stairs was deafening, but Reggie couldn’t hear a thing.  She had started actually clawing at her throat with her nails, her eyes bulging from panic and oxygen deprivation.

 

Jack was yelling.  “What happened, what’s going on!?”

 

Owen and Ianto were carrying her down a set of metal steps to an operating table.  “I don’t know Sir.  I gave her the Retcon as always, and then we were simply talking.  She said Owen had kidnapped her, given her a pounding, and then this.  She can’t breath Owen, do something!”

 

“Thanks Ianto, I think I see that.  Jack, have we ever had somebody have an allergic reaction to the amnesia pill?”

 

“Never.  Torchwood has used it for years.  Is that what this is?”

 

“Well that’s what it fuckin’ looks like.  Bloody anaphylactic shock!  I need adrenaline, in a large bore needle.  JACK MOVE!”  Jack stopped staring and stared rustling in the drawers and compartments.  “Right, now Ianto, I need you to cut her jumper off, and mind you don’t cut her- we’ve got enough to deal with right now.”

 

Reggie’s airway was now completely shut, in a few short moments she would lose consciousness completely.  On the surface of her eyes the petechiae began rupturing.  Jack returned with the adrenaline.  “What now?”

 

This was Owen’s element, and he was in charge.  “Put it on the tray!  I need you two to hold her down, I’ll have to insert a tube in her airway before it collapses.”  He moved to the head of the table and tilted Reggie’s head back.  “Right, Reggie, I don’t know if you can still hear me, but you’re going to die if I don’t put this tube down you’re throat.  Don’t bite me.”  He steadied his and put the scope into her mouth.  “Here it goes.”

 

But it was no good.  “Bastard! Her airway’s completely collapsed.  I’ll have to do a bloody trach.   We’ll have to put her under.”

 

“Too late for that.” Jack said.  “She’s unconscious.  You have to move now Owen.  Or do you want another body on your hands?”

 

Owen didn’t need any further prompting.  He had already used the #10 to cut through the thin layer of skin over Reggie’s tracheae.  He was working carefully through the tough sinew of the underlying tissue when Ianto spoke.

 

“Hurry Owen.  She’s been without air for 2 minutes 30.”

 

Owen didn’t much like to think about that.  “Yeah, thanks for that.  Where would I be without your stopwatch?  Got it!”  He attached a squeeze bag to the valve he’d just inserted.  “Ianto, I need to you to squeeze this at regular intervals.  Once after every five count.  Can you handle that?”  Ianto nodded and did as he was told.  “Now I’ve got to get her heart going again.”  Owen hefted himself up onto the table and straddled Reggie’s stomach.  “Alright Jack, hand me the syringe.  This might get a little messy; I have to get it completely through her chest wall and into the heart.  Ianto, don’t faint on me.”

 

He raised his hands above his head and brought them down with as much force as he could.

~~**~~
 Part Three: A Very Bad Idea

Tags: dire consequences, fic, owen harper, reggie martelli, to err is human, torchwood
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