Gwen took the call from Beth up in the tourist office. She was sending a Mr Tegwared ap Gwilym down in the lift. Just for the joy of pronouncing a name like that she had Beth repeat it and said it twice herself. She wondered how Jack was going to manage it. Even though he had lived in Wales for more than a century he did have a thing about the more complex aspects of the Welsh language.
“He has an appointment with Jack,” Beth continued. “It’s all correct. He even has the password.”
“Well, Croeso i Torchwood to Mr ap Gwilym,” Gwen answered. “I’ll meet him at the bottom and take him to the office.”
She was more than a little curious about the visitor with a password and a delightfully archaic name. The attractive, sandy-haired man who stepped out of the lift met with her approval. He looked about the same age as Jack – if Jack really was in his mid-forties. He had slate-green eyes and a pleasant smile. He greeted her in Welsh as if he was a native speaker, then reverted to English as most people tended to do out of kindness to non-speakers.
“I believe Captain Harkness is expecting you?” she said to him. “Come this way.”
“I understand he’s the boss, now,” ap Gwilym answered. “Good for him.”
That meant he hadn’t been here since before the millennium, Gwen guessed. That was when Jack had rebuilt the team after the old boss, Alex Hopkins, went mad and killed everyone.
One of Jack’s young male friends, she guessed. Why were all the good-looking ones gay?
“Is that a Weevil in a jumper reading a book down there?” he asked as they passed across the landing.
“Long story,” Gwen answered.
“It always is at Torchwood,” he replied. He glanced up as Myfanwy squawked and ruffled herself in her eyrie in the rafters. “Another long story?”
That confirmed that he hadn’t been here for a while. Myfanwy was a twenty-first century addition to the Hub, too.
Jack met them at his office door, smiling so widely Gwen was almost sure she had guessed right.
“Teg, old friend,” he said, shaking the visitor’s hand warmly. “I can’t believe it’s that time again. How are you doing these days?”
“I’m not doing too badly,” he answered. “Though all this new legislation about identity theft is a pain in the arse. It used to be so much easier to reinvent myself.”
“I know the feeling,” Jack told him. “Come in and sit down. Gwen, whistle down to Ianto and have him bring up some coffee. Then come and join us. I’ll fill you in on what’s happening.”
“No problem,” she said. Ianto was much more than the coffee boy these days, but he was so protective of the machine hardly anyone other than he or Alun made drinks for the team. Gwen didn’t mind. It was better than her old role in the police – where the DCI always expected the WPC’s to do the tea-making.
She sat at the side of the desk where she could look at both Jack and his friend at the same time. She wondered if Jack had any reason for her to be there or if he was just indulging her curiosity. He could read her like a book.
Jack waited until the coffee had been delivered before he got down to business. When he did, there was more than just old news to catch up on.
“I thought you ought to meet Teg,” Jack told Gwen. “He’s the oldest man in Wales.”
“He is?” Gwen looked at him appraisingly. “He looks good for it.”
“Notice the cool way she took that news,” Jack said to his friend. “Torchwood is starting to rub off on her in a big way. Nothing surprises her any more. It’s a shame, really.”
“Stop teasing me,” Gwen protested. “Besides, I thought YOU were the oldest man in Wales, not counting vampires, anyway.” She looked at Tegwared ap Gwilym again and decided he definitely wasn’t a vampire. Besides, it was bright sunshine outside – or it was the last time she looked.
“No, I’m actually the second eldest,” Jack admitted. “And a foreigner at that. Teg is a genuine Welshman. He was born in 1535 in Swansea and was an ambitious twenty-nine year old secretary to the Queen’s Justice for Brecon when he had an alien encounter that changed his life.”
“Making you immortal?” Gwen asked.
“Not at first,” Teg answered. “My first experience of aliens was far more disturbing than that.”
Secretary to the Queen’s Justice was a good job for the son of a wool merchant. The years that his father had kept him to his book-learning had paid off fully. Teg wore fine clothes and rode a good horse as he travelled from town to town with the Justice himself, Sir Robert Pryce-Bowen. At the Petty Sessions he sat at the high table and kept a careful record of every case that came before the Justice, be it a vagabond caught drunk on a Sunday or more serious crimes such as embezzlement and fraud or even murder from time to time. He was a conscientious man and proud to give such service to a good, honourable servant of the Queen who dispensed justice fairly and even-handedly.
He was a happy man. In his leisure time he was often to be found visiting the country home of one George Owens, Esquire, brother-in-law of his employer, Sir Robert. He enjoyed smoking a pipe and drinking wine with Master Owens, of course, but his primary reason for visiting that house was to meet with the daughter of the house, Anghared Owens, with whom he had developed more than a casual friendship. Indeed, in the summer of 1564, he had spoken with Master Owens, who had conveyed to his daughter his approval of a betrothal.
Teg brought a trinket from the pocket of his modern jacket. It was a very small portrait of a woman done in enamel paint on a gold circle. She was a pretty young thing if the painting was true to life, with red hair and a peaches and cream complexion.
“This was a gift from her on our formal engagement,” he said. “I carried it as I went on with my daily work, fully expecting to be married in the spring of the following year.”
Gwen did not ask any questions, but she guessed that there was no happy ending to this story.
“In the September, I was as busy as ever. Sir Robert was called upon to attend the assize court at Pembroke where he was sitting alongside his fellow Justice, Sir Edwyn Reese, to hear a murder trial. A local man had killed his wife’s brother and tried to burn the body. He denied the charge and the case had been running for a week with evidence from numerous witnesses when it was adjourned for the weekend. I made it known that I was going to ride home to Swansea to see Anghared. Sir Robert gave me his leave and his good wishes and I set off in the late afternoon, fully expecting to be at the Owens home by a little after sunset. I was making good time, and was only a few miles from my destination when all of that life was taken from me.”
It was a clear and still warm evening with the sun dropping low to the west as he rode east with his back to it. He was daydreaming of the fire side and apple pies made by his sweetheart in honour of his arrival, when a bright light dazzled his eyes and a thunderous noise assailed his ears. His horse reared in fright and he fought to stay in his saddle, but soon felt himself falling.
When he woke he was in a strange place, more strange than his imagination could encompass. The room was pure white and without any distinction between walls and ceiling. He was lying upon a hard surface and though no ropes bound him he was unable to move his limbs. His head was fixed by some invisible force.
“Devils do not sit upon me!” he cried out. “I am a godly man and impervious to your evil.”
Gwen found such words from a man dressed in modern clothes, and looking as if he fully belonged in present day cosmopolitan Cardiff rather startling, but of course it was exactly what a man of Teg’s true time and place would think.
“Indeed, I thought myself taken by the very demons of hell,” he admitted. “Especially when my captor showed herself.”
“Herself?” Gwen raised her eyebrows in question.
“Not all invaders from outer space are leather-clad Russell Crowe lookalikes,” Jack opined. Teg smiled knowingly. He had obviously heard far more outrageous statements from Captain Harkness, as, indeed, had Gwen, though she had never actually seen a leather-clad Russell Crowe look-alike alien. She usually got the slimy ones with their stomachs on the outside.
The woman was tall and thin of face and body, clothed in a fabric that shimmered and caught the light in mercurial facets as it clung to her form in a way that Tegwared ap Gwilym, a God-fearing sixteenth century Welshman, had never seen before. Women of his knowledge kept the true shape of their bodies beneath petticoats and kirtles, skirts, overskirts and gowns. He had no expectation of seeing more than that until the night of his wedding.
And he had no expectation of his own naked body to be seen by a woman even on that night. That was what night-shifts were for. He realised as she ran a long finger down his abdomen that he had been stripped of his clothing. He was embarrassed and humiliated by the touch of this creature from hell.
A woman whose almond shaped eyes were all black, with no whites to be seen. Still more hellish, her flesh was the green of a pond frog.
The amphibian simile was even more appropriate when a long, thin tongue flicked out from between her thin, dark green lips. He felt it rasp against his chest as if she was tasting him.
What she did then was worse than being devoured in Tegwared’s chaste mind. The humiliating memory of his first sexual experience, not with his lawfully and holily-wedded wife, but with such an unnatural creature, still burned in him centuries later. Describing it was painful for him.
Jack Harkness, to his credit, didn’t say anything to add to the embarrassment. Gwen crossed her legs and pressed her lips together and said nothing. Aliens that sexually abused humans were not unknown. After the body-snatching orgasm monster that had been her very first Torchwood case, she had looked up some of the files – mostly in a private office where she could hide her expression and the colour of her complexion when it got to the really raunchy details.
“I am far more worldly, now, of course,” Teg admitted to her. “I have had sex of many different kinds with many different partners.”
His eyes flickered just briefly in Jack’s direction, telling Gwen that her first guess about him was not far wrong. He had been one of the Captain’s lovers at some time in his life.
“But then it was very different. I was devastated. She had stolen from me the one thing I did not think could be stolen.”
When she had done raping him, she turned her attention to his mind, which proved as powerless against her as his body had been. Held by her invisible demons, he could not stop her pressing those long fingers against his forehead, and he could not stop her reaching into his brain. He felt as if ice cold fingers had actually reached through his skull and penetrated the very seat of his being. His memories were rifled. His emotions toyed with for her pleasure, especially those feelings of self-revulsion and horror at what she had elicited from him against his will.
“Foolish creature,” she told him in a voice that rasped like a knife against the blacksmith’s grinding wheel. “Full of notions about sexual sin. You are mine, now, for eternity. I shall enjoy you any time I please. But there is more I need your body for than mere pleasure.”
At that, he had closed his eyes tight against an intensely bright light. His body felt a heat like the midday sun but stronger, as if it was cooking his very bones.
He had passed out through shock and exhaustion, waking again to more of the devilish experiments with his mind and body and even more sexual humiliation.
By the time the experiments and the rapes had gone on a dozen or more times he had lost track of how long he had been there. He didn’t know how long he was unconscious for between each ordeal.
He reached a point where he was hardly aware of time passing even when he was conscious.
Which was why it was such a shock when she finally released him from his living hell.
He opened his eyes and saw the sun shining down on him. He was lying in the grass at the side of the road almost exactly where he had been when he fell from his horse. He was wearing the clothes he was wearing that day. A bag of silver coins was still tucked into his doublet lining. But he ached in every bone in his body and his eyes screwed up against the sunlight he had almost forgotten the feel of upon his flesh.
He struggled to his feet and got his bearings before setting off to walk towards Swansea. A few minutes later he heard a noise behind him and turned to watch an ox-cart carrying logs rumbling closer. He waved the driver down and asked if he might take him as far as Sir George’s demesne. He offered a silver coin in payment for the service which was gratefully accepted.
A comedown from his fine horse, Tegwared thought as he sat up on the rough cart. But after his experience with the demon woman he had precious little dignity left.
He thought about Anghared. What had she thought when he didn’t arrive at her home? What about Sir Robert? Did they think he had fled for some reason or did they suspect he had been waylaid? Had a search been made, expecting to find his body in a ditch?
He would have to tell them something like that. He certainly couldn’t share the truth with his dearest friends and his beloved. The thought of telling Anghared about that fearful creature and the things she had done to him made him feel sick in his stomach. He would have to claim he was taken by force and held by ruffians in hope of getting a ransom for his safe return.
That was the story he expected to give when he reached Sir George’s house. He hoped Anghared would understand and forgive him for his absence. He hoped that the kindness of friends would help him to get over the dreadful memory of all that had happened to him.
The house looked strange as he approached between the oak trees that sheltered it from the winds. The drapes were closed over all of the windows, and there was a disturbing silence that was almost oppressive.
As he reached the door, he realised why.
This was a house of mourning.
For him? Had he been declared dead?
He knocked at the door and waited for the sound of the old servitor coming to open it.
He was surprised to see a different servant, one he didn’t recognise.
“I am Tagwared ap Gwilym,” he said. “I am here to see Mistress Owens and her father.”
“Sir… this is… not the time…. You are….” The servant stammered. Then he heard a voice he knew telling the servant to let him in. He stepped into the hallway and looked up to the top of the stairs, to the woman he loved.
Or the woman he HAD loved. He almost fainted in shock as he saw her.
She almost fainted in shock at the sight of him.
“How is this possible?” she asked as she reached the bottom of the stairs and reached out her hands to his. “Teg… it is you, isn’t it? After all this time?”
“I… don’t know how long I’ve been away,” he admitted to her.
She wasn’t a girl any more. She looked at least sixty, her youthful beauty faded and gone, but the face and voice still hers and, except for the fact that she was in mourning, a handsome dignity about her.
“Forty years,” she answered. “We thought you dead. I mourned for you. I….” She sighed. “Today was my father’s funeral. Of all the days for you to return to us.”
“I am sorry,” Teg told her. “So very sorry.”
It was a difficult reunion. He tried his best to explain where he had been, but the best he could manage only frightened her.
“It’s still me, Anghared,” he assured her. “Please don’t reject me.”
“I would never do that,” she promised him. “But what shall we do? What will become of us?”
What became of them was more simple than it seemed at the time. The death of her father at the age of nearly one hundred left her a rich woman, owner of the house and lands, as well as gold and jewels and much more. She was mistress of her own destiny in a time when few women ever were. Tegwared stayed as her guest. They could not be man and wife, now. They both bitterly regretted that the demon had taken that from them. But they were friends and companions, consoling each other in the face of lost opportunity.
Twenty years later, in the first year of reign of the Stuart monarch, James I, when Anghared lay on her death bed, Tegwared was at her side.
“Why haven’t you aged?” she asked him, reaching out to cup her palsied hand around his still youthful face. “What did that demon woman do to you, my love?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “Cursed me, I think. What use is eternal life without you?”
“Don’t mourn me forever,” Anghared told him. “Take the chance to be happy if you can.”
“For you, I will,” he promised. It was his last promise to her. She slipped away quietly not long after.
Gwen blinked away a tear as Teg paused in the telling of his story. She was holding his hand loosely in hers. He squeezed gently and thanked her for her kindness.
“You have a good heart,” he said.
“Gwen is the heart of Torchwood,” Jack confirmed. “She has empathy enough for the whole team.”
She hated him making comments like that, as if she was still the WPC who looked after lost children and bewildered old folk. But Teg seemed genuinely touched by her and she felt as if he deserved some understanding.
“I discovered later that she had left me everything – the house, lands, all that she had inherited from her father. I was master of it all now. I stayed a little while after the funeral, but then I sold the house and lands, and most of the fine furniture. I couldn’t stay. There were too many memories and even more regrets. Besides… the servants were starting to gossip… twenty years and I hadn’t aged a day. This was a time when they burnt witches, after all, and my tale would not be believed if I was asked to account for myself. I moved to Pembroke where I was not known and took rooms and an office there. I set up as a solicitor. I had skills enough from my previous employment. I lived another twenty five years in peace there, seeing out that first Stuart monarch’s reign, before….”
He sighed deeply and his eyes betrayed his suffering.
“She came back?” Gwen guessed. “The alien woman?”
“Yes. But not as before. This time….”
He had climbed the stairs to his chambers after a long but fruitful day with no thought on his mind but the meal his housekeeper would have prepared and left for him, a quiet hour reading by lamplight and then a peaceful night’s sleep.
When he opened the door, he was dazzled by the green light that filled his drawing room. As his eyes adjusted to the eerie and unnatural appearance of the room three people stood before him. One was his torturer, who kept her black eyes turned down from him. She was flanked by two men of her own sort, taller even than she was. They had solemn faces. To his surprise they bowed their heads in a respectful kind of way.
“We are the Justices of Melagha,” said the first. “This Breeder has been prosecuted for her criminal acts against you. She has been found guilty on all charges and as such she is your prisoner.”
“I… don’t understand,” Tegwared responded. “She is MY prisoner? But….”
“That is how it is done on our world,” the second man explained. “Convicted prisoners are given into the custody of those they have wronged. She is yours to punish any way you please, short of execution. That we do not condone. For her crimes, she has been sentenced to six hundred of your Earth years, without parole before at least four hundred of those years has passed since the time of her offence against you.”
“You mean… I have to keep her here… with me… until at least….”
He did the maths. Her offence occurred in the year 1564. Her ‘parole’ could not begin until the year 1964. It was so far away he could not even imagine it.
“You are her warden,” the first said. “That is how it is done.”
“But… I’m not… I can’t….”
The two justices bowed their heads again and then melted into two columns of green light that winked out of existence. He was alone with the woman who had ruined his life.
She raised her eyes finally and looked at him, waiting for him to speak.
“I should wring your scrawny neck,” he said to her. “You hurt me… you devastated the lives of everyone I love. And… what did you do to me? Why am I still alive? It has been eighty years since you took me. I have not aged while around me everyone I know has died.”
“We live for thousands of your Earth years,” she answered. “And as long as we are joined, you will live the same length of time without ageing.”
“We’re not joined. You… took me… from my life, and ruined it.”
“We were joined when we first copulated,” she answered.
“Against my will. That’s why they punished you… your own people. But they punish me, too, by leaving you in my company. I don’t want you. I don’t want to be responsible for you.”
“You have no choice. The justices gave me to you. I cannot be free of you until my parole is due.”
“In a century so far in the future that I cannot think of it without feeling faint.”
“And all that time I will live… without aging?”
Tegwared sighed. It seemed he had no choice in the matter at all.
He left her in the drawing room and climbed the small set of stairs that brought him to the attic of the building. It was a low-roofed, dark place with nothing but a bare floor and some old pieces of broken furniture. But the roof was secure and waterproofed. It would do. He went downstairs again and asked some obvious questions of his prisoner.
“Do you need to eat, drink… what are your daily needs?”
They were simple enough. He could provide them easily. He brought her to that attic room and put her inside.
“You will be quiet during the day when my housekeeper in within the chambers. If she so much as mentions mice in the attic I will punish you.”
“I will obey you,” she promised.
She seemed to be held by any promise of that sort. During the day when he was at his work his housekeeper had no idea there was an alien prisoner in the attic. Sometimes, at night, if he was sure he would have no visitors, he let her out. He let her eat her portion of food sitting in the drawing room with him. It was far from social. She was the creature who had destroyed his life. But he asked her questions about herself. He found out that she had a name. It was unpronounceable even in English, let alone Welsh. He called her Dig – short for Digroeso.
“Unwanted?” Even though she had done so much to him, and deserved to be punished, Gwen felt a twinge of sympathy for the creature who bore such a name.
He questioned her about the ‘other world’ she came from. In this time, men such as Galileo were only just starting to question Earth’s place in the cosmos. The idea that there were other planets in the sky, so far away they looked like the stars to the naked eye, was hard to reconcile with the biblical creation of the Earth as the centre of all. Much of what she told him sounded like blasphemy to Tegwared. But he had little choice except to believe it.
He tried to carry on his ordinary life, meeting friends, entertaining them in his chambers as often as he used to do before he kept such a secret. But he shied away from female company. As time went on, his male friends married. Both they and their wives tried to introduce the last bachelor of their acquaintance to eligible women, but he didn’t let them get close to him.
Sometimes, when ordinary urges came upon him, he brought Dig from the attic and made her come to his bed. He used her as she had used him, without emotion, without any sign of affection. She made no complaint about it. He had every right to use her as he pleased.
Gwen was a little shocked when he said that, but at the same time, she felt she understood his need. Dig had taken his chance of an ordinary love life from him. All he had left was the urge to be satisfied.
It was because his friends were getting married and having families, getting older, that he knew he would have to move on eventually. He sold the business and the property and left quietly after dark. He made Dig wear dark clothes and a veil over her face as he bundled her quickly into a carriage for the journey to Aberystwyth where he started again as a young solicitor establishing a practice in the town.
“I know what that’s like,” Jack admitted. “I’ve had quite a few home addresses in the past century.”
“Making new friends isn’t so bad,” Teg said. “But when it’s more than friendship…. Twice in the seventeenth century – once before Cromwell came to power and once after Charles II was restored to the throne – I fell in love despite myself. The first time, I told the sweet lady that I was dying of a dreadful disease. I broke her heart, but the truth would have been impossible. The second time, I married the woman. We moved again, this time to Gloucester. This time Dig’s life was a very lonely one, locked in the cellar with only brief visits from me. But my wife and I lived a good life for twenty five years. I grew a beard to make myself look older, but I was living a lie and I knew it would have to end. Early one morning I left again with Dig hidden behind her veil. I provided for my wife, leaving her the house and a substantial sum, while still having enough money to make a new start once again. I did my best to explain, but she must have been heartbroken. I vowed never to do that again. For the next two centuries I had no close relationship with any woman except the one I hated. I lived a new life every twenty or thirty years, in a new town. We went as far as Manchester once, and then Coventry before returning to Wales. The coming of railways made this a smaller country to live in. It was possible to meet an old acquaintance even as far off as London.”
Again, Jack could understand that drawback to immortality. He sighed deeply and must have been thinking of his own long life and the many times he had to reinvent himself.
“I came to live in Cardiff in the late nineteenth century,” Teg explained. “It was becoming a busy place, and I could be inconspicuous without being completely invisible. I was happy for a while, despite the burden I had carried for so long. And then… I found out about Torchwood.”
“Was there EVER a time when this place really WAS secret?” Gwen asked sarcastically.
“Contacting them felt like a mistake,” Teg continued. “They experimented on both me and Dig. They wanted to find out how my immortality worked. I was THEIR prisoner for nearly a month before Jack reasoned with the woman in charge. They let me go, but kept Dig. She was too interesting to them – a live specimen that they could keep for as long as they wanted.”
“You let them have her… those women that ran Torchwood back then?” Gwen had read about Emily Holroyd and her assistant-cum-lover Alice Guppy in the archive files. Their methods of interrogating prisoners made the alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay look humane. They were sadistic to the extreme. She really DID feel a little sorry for Dig now.
“She had been a yoke upon my neck for centuries. She still WAS, but at least she was no longer in my attic. I could live a reasonably normal life. I could widen my circle of friends… even women friends. I… actually had NORMAL sex with a Human for the first time since the reign of Charles II. Don’t blame me for choosing that much of a measure of freedom.”
“I don’t. I really don’t. But I do think it was a shame for her… even if she did deserve it.”
“So did I,” Jack admitted. “That’s why I persuaded Teg to visit her occasionally. He even took her outside sometimes – carriage rides in the park… drives in the country after cars with roofs came along.”
“So you were… friendly with her?”
“I still hated her in the deep core of my soul,” Teg answered. “But she was the one person… being… who knew me through those centuries… who had suffered as much as I had. I suppose there was a kind of connection between us. But I’m not sure it was friendship.”
Gwen didn’t completely understand. How could she? Teg’s story was unique. Who could possibly understand his point of view? Even Jack wasn’t as troubled by his immortality as he was.
“You said she would be eligible for ‘parole’ in 1964,” Gwen continued. “Did you….”
“I could have,” Teg said. “Yes, that was the time we had both waited for. But… I didn’t.”
The phrase ‘why not?’ formed on Gwen’s lips.
“I fought in both of the World Wars of the last century,” Teg said in answer to the question she hadn’t asked. “I was glad to do so… my duty to this country I have lived in for so long. But after the second time… I felt as if I was owed the years. By 1964, I didn’t feel I was ready. I wanted to make the most of my life… for as long as I chose.”
“When he ‘paroles’ Dig, he gets his mortality back. He can grow old normally,” Jack explained before Gwen asked her next question.
“I suppose I was a little bit scared. I still thought being immortal was a curse, but I was afraid of the alternative. So I left her here… at Torchwood… and enjoyed the sixties in a hedonistic way. Yes, that was when I was Jack’s ‘friend’ for a while. I said I’d done it all by now. I made the most of my life through the seventies and eighties… more than most people did, I think. Those were hard years. The nineties, too. After that, it had just got to be a habit. I know it was cruel to her, but….”
Teg sighed. There was nothing he could say that justified keeping his prisoner beyond the time when he could have let her go. Gwen was torn in her sympathies. She could see that Teg had endured a lot. But perhaps Dig had, too.
“When did you finally let her go?” she asked.
“He hasn’t,” Jack answered. “Come on. It’s time.”
He stood up from his desk. Teg followed him. So did Gwen as they headed for the turbo lift. Gwen didn’t ask any questions, but she noticed that they travelled down to floor sub-twenty-five. She had never been on that floor in all the time she was at Torchwood. What was here, and what did it have to do with Teg?
The answer dawned on her seconds before Jack keyed a code into a security lock on a door.
“Oh no… you’re kidding!” she exclaimed. “All this time… she’s still here.”
Jack opened the door. The prisoner inside stood up from the comfortable armchair beside the bed and dressing table that were provided for her. She looked at Jack and Teg, and at Gwen, too, but her expression was impossible to gauge. Was she glad to see them, dismayed, hopeful or resigned?
“I’ve met a nice woman,” Teg said to her. “I want to make a new start with her. A real start. I want children. Being bound to you stops me from being a father as well as everything else. I want to grow old alongside her. I don’t want to run away or fake my own death, or have to tell her the truth and see her fade away and die while I’m still the same. I want the normal life I ought to have had when Queen Elizabeth the First was the monarch of these isles. And… and I think… maybe… I’ve punished you for long enough. I could have let you go fifty years ago. Those years were all MY choice, not those who originally sentenced you.”
Dig looked at him with just a faint expression of surprise on her face.
“It’s time,” he said. “I give you your parole, Dig. Go where you want to go. Let us both be done with each other.”
She looked at him and then stepped closer. She reached out and embraced him, kissing him once on the cheek. Then she stood back. Her body shimmered then turned into a pillar of light before dissipating.
“That’s going to create some interesting data upstairs,” Jack commented. “You did the right thing, Teg. For both of you.”
“Yes,” he said. “I’m… glad.”
“Do you feel any different?” Gwen asked. “Do you think you ARE mortal now?”
“I think so,” he answered.
“Try not to get hit by a bus as soon as you leave here,” Jack told him. “That would be a bad way to find out. Go and get your lady and have a GREAT life, Teg. You deserve it.”
“Thanks,” he answered. They walked back to the lift and back to the Hub. Jack and Gwen escorted Teg out of Torchwood by the invisible lift – the scenic route. They said goodbye in the midst of the bustle of Roald Dahl Plas and watched him walk away, a happy man who was free of a burden neither of them could imagine.
“Do you wish you could be like him?” Gwen asked Jack. “Free of the immortality.”
“No,” he answered, though Gwen wasn’t sure he was telling the truth. There had been a look in his eyes for a moment.
“The time when the Hub was blown up,” she said, changing the subject. “She was down there, then?”
“Nothing but a dull rumbling that far down. I checked on her, don’t worry. And all the others.”
“What others? How many long term prisoners does Torchwood have? How many secrets are there that I’m not in on?”
“One of these days, I might just tell you. Meanwhile, I’m ready for another coffee. How about you?”
“Coffee sounds good to me,” Gwen answered, since she wasn’t going to get any other answer from Jack.