Gray is a story idea I had kicking around for a while. It’s quite obvious that in the alternative universe this Torchwood crew are in Gray hasn’t come back bitter and twisted to kill Toshiko and Owen. So obviously there needs to be an explanation of why that is. The answer came to me in a flash – because Jack rescues Gray from the beach and he is never captured by the invading creatures and tortured.
To do that, Jack needs a Vortex Manipulator. The freeze dried time agent who chose to live in the fourteenth century was the very thing I needed to place the thing in Jack’s hands. Once he had the means to do it, there would be no stopping him. Jack is a driven man. He has to act upon his impulses, regardless of the consequences.
There were several revisions of this story. First of all, there was a long introduction that involved Jack talking to Ianto in his office, telling him about his brother. It was a nice piece of writing, but the more I thought about it, the more deus ex machina it then became if the very tool Jack needs falls into his hands when the body arrives from Aberystwyth. So I abandoned that intro. It was rewritten for another story introduction and then that, too, was abandoned for a different introduction.
A second revision surrounded the dead time agent. Originally, everything about him was done in the first scene down in the medical room and his case closed. I realised right away that this unbalanced the story and that readers would expect more to be revealed about the time agent, when in fact, he fades out of interest and it becomes all about rescuing Gray.
I solved this, basically, by having far less information at the start of the story and spreading it through the text. I also changed him from somebody Jack didn’t know to somebody whose disappearance had been a mystery to him back in his time agency days. This allowed a bit more of an insight into Harry O’Leary as a man. Incidentally, the idea of a man from the future staying in the past for love was slightly inspired by a straight to DVD film called Timeline, starring Billy Connolly and some actors that most people have never heard of, which is actually a rather interesting take on time travel. Worth watching a couple of times for the twists the plot takes.
Getting back to ‘Gray’ the story gets less science fiction and more about relationships, of course. Some people would criticise it for that. And they might have a point, possibly. But if a child from another world and a different time isn’t science fiction, what is? Introducing Gray to twenty-first century Cardiff is a story in itself. In fact, in some ways, I ought to have shown his reactions to much more of the city.
There really is a book called Heather Has Two Mommies. It’s an American one, so it is actually ‘Mommies’ not ‘Mummies’ as Garrett says. There is also one about a boy living with two dads, but I couldn’t find it online so I have Garrett making up a title for that book. I have since found a title called Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin that might actually be the one. But anyway that’s Garrett’s way of saying that he’s ready to be a family with Jack and Gray. And after slowly building up their relationship for more than a year, I can see no reason not to. At the beginning I really meant Jack and Garrett to be just casual lovers, but they have seemed to evolve into something deeper. What people may think of that, is their own business. But given the furore over the death of Ianto on TV, I think Jack settling down in a loving relationship ought to please most of them. Anyway, if I had any plan to kill off Garrett they’re out of the window, now.
Eating too many sweets and giving himself hypoglycaemia was a small plot twist to bring them all back to the Hub. Having The Doctor arrive at that point to explain to Jack why he is letting him off just this once was an idea that snuck in at the last minute to help round off the story.
Anyway, Jack is a ‘dad’ now. And, ok, that’s no surprise now that Children of Earth has aired! This storyline, of course, contradicts that plotline about Alice and Steven on TV. Alternative universe! That’s all I can say about that.