“... you heard correctly, Captain Harkness. There were two humans in the burned out shell of the warehouse.”
“Really? I seem to recall you saying something one helluva lot more immediate than that. Something about footprints?”
“Erm, ja, Captain. I said there was only one set of footprints, and the burns... they edged around the two victims, right in a perfect circle! They are still alive! Miraculous!”
“Ha! I imagine it would be to a normal human like you. Gee! Annddd wait for it, wait for it. For the hundredth time this year, I, Captain Jack Harkness, now know what Will Smith felt like in Men in Black II.”
“Oh, is that an American movie?” said the German officer, taking the cup of coffee Ianto lightly graced him with.
Then he took a sip of the Retcon-laced brew and crumpled into the Captain’s arms like a dry leaf.
Jack stared at the cup, at the folder, at the thick form of the sleeping man, who was by now folded neatly on the floor with a pillow from the couch under his bald head. “Wow. If only you had been that easy... ”
Ianto snorted, a pleasant sound to Jack’s ears.
“If I had been that easy I wouldn’t have been worth it. Didn’t he say he had a photo or two of the Beinert girl provided by the family for her safe return, Jack?”
Jack took the folder from the unconscious policeman and unwound the red string, then emptied the contents out on the slim black table beside the couch.
“Frankly, Ianto my dear, we’re about to find out.”
His fingers slid along the side of one photo as his eyes found a bit of writing scrawled neatly in the bottom left corner. It said:
“To you, Wil my dear, for your flawless recollection of Puccini. Your guardian angel, John Schmidt.”
“Well, Ianto, this might give us something. It’s probably just a note from one of her teachers.”
But then he flipped the photograph, and nearly dropped it. In the picture, a tantalizing dandy with long red hair and ancient eyes was standing next to a seven year old Wil and her father, with a sack held in his sculptured hands, bright gaze lingering on something just out of sight. It made it seem as though he were looking right at Jack, from every angle.
“Apparently a Northerner saved her from drowning on her seventh birthday. Did CPR and everything. But still, it was odd, to say the least. He ended up leaving a box of coins with her family, leaving strict instruc... Jack?”
“It’s... oh crap. Ianto, to the docks. Now.” The photograph was held in Ianto’s face, and the Welshman only had to look once.
Jack Harkness couldn’t reach the car door quick enough.