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Ianto sank onto the sofa in Jack’s office and rubbed the heels of his hands into his eyes. He was worried, and scared and nervous; all words for the same thing but meaning very different things. Over the last few months as he’d got to know Jack he’d discovered the depths of pain in his memories. Many times in the dead of night he’d held Jack through floods of agony, wiping away the tears and the pain with his presence, just as Jack had done for him

Now he had seen his best friend, his other best friend, descend into the same dark depths of despair. Jane’s memories had come crashing back, because she’d come to help him; that bloody file. He stood and swung himself down into Jack’s bunker for the third time since he’d started at Torchwood, and the first time he’d been down there without Jack. This was Jack’s private place, his home for the last eight years, until he’d moved in with Ianto. And when Ianto was gone, he would probably come back here. The young man froze in the middle of the room, aware of just how intimate this was, even when Jack was upstairs holding his ex-girlfriend. He wasn’t here, but he was.

He took the opportunity to look around the small room and wondered how Jack had coped in here over the years. Jack was larger than life, he would fill this room three times over with his personality, but there was little in the room to indicate that anyone had used it recently, let alone that someone had lived here for eight years; someone who had already lived over a hundred years by that point. There was nothing apart from a book and a couple of alien artifacts on the bedside table. Sighing, he perched on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands and allowed the Captain’s presence to swirl around him, half surprised at just how comforting he found it. The small room smelt of him, all fifty-first century pheromones and coffee, cotton and wool. Jack just smelt… right. He’d smelt it properly for the first time in that warehouse when they caught Myfanwy, when he hadn’t believed him about the fifty-first century pheromones, and then lying on top of each other, feeling the evidence of Jack’s attraction to him… Was that why he’d hired him, because he looked good in a suit?

Did it matter? Really? Jack’s reasons for hiring him couldn’t have been worse than Ianto’s reasons for wanting the job, now he couldn’t imagine life without Torchwood Cardiff, without Jack…

But Jack had to face life without him, an eternity of love and loss, and Ianto was just one more. He didn’t want to leave him, not ever.

A claxon blared in the Hub and he was upright and halfway up the ladder before his brain had kicked in. Torchwood had that effect, it wired your impulses straight to your reactions without having to bother with thought; he’d once managed to track down and capture a Weevil with Owen whilst drawing up a shopping list of things he had to get on the way home in his mind. Still, he mused as his lover rested a hand on his waist and stood slightly closer than was professional, it wasn’t like it didn’t have its perks.

“What have we got Ianto?” Jack asked, his eyes flicking between various readouts, maps and reports.

“Alien sighting down on Riverside, sounds like a blowfish.”

“Doing what?”

“Peddling dope.” He chuckled, “Atraxet again?”

“Probably.” Jack groaned, “I’ve got it.”

“Have you now?” Ianto shot him a glare, “You’re not going alone.”

“Ianto, we can’t…”

“The regulations state that at least two Torchwood operatives must attend every sighting, no one’s allowed out alone, not even you. Besides, I’ve got the SUV keys and you wanted to show Jay life at the pointy end.” As Jack showed continued reluctance he rolled his eyes and went to the printer to get the reports, “Sorry sir, the keys are on my desk.”

“You are impossible.” Jack growled, “Come on then, but I’m driving. It’s only Atraxet after all, you up for this Jay?”

The young woman raised an eyebrow, “Does a bear shit in the woods? By the way, you can consider the keys ya-woinked.”

Ianto helped him to put his coat on and they followed her to the cog door, “You can’t ya-woink the keys! You can’t even drive.”

“Can too, and I’m insured on all Torchwood owned vehicles, so nuh. And I have to say, as your boss, Ianto has a very good point, you shouldn’t be responding to anything on your own.”

“It hasn’t killed me yet. Why do I get the feeling you two are ganging up on me?”

Ianto grinned as he pulled the back door of the SUV open and got in, “That would be because we are. And we are the first response team for the day, it’s our job to come out here with you.”

“It’s only Atraxet!”

Jay smirked at him as she pulled away and Ianto prodded him in the back of the head, “Yes, and I remember what happened last time you tried to bust him.”

The Captain shot a glare over the back of the seat, “Are you just doing this because we’re in a relationship, or just ‘cos the others aren’t here?”

“Just because the others aren’t here. Gwen’s much better at bollocking you than I am.” He replied with a straight face, “The police are round there, do you want me to get rid of them?”

Jack’s brain took a second to catch up with the conversation change and resigned himself to professionalism, which was what he wanted. Really it was, but… OK, facing the facts, he’d only been with Ianto properly for one night and he was worried. Worried about the dangers the job presented, even if it was only bloody Atraxet. He’d get used to it, given time.

They pulled up in a quiet car park in Riverside and piled out, “You armed Jazz, sorry Jay?”

“Jazz is OK Jack, I’m back. Whether I want to be or not I think. And yes, always these days.” She pulled a gun from her jacket and winked at him

“That’s new.”

“Yeah, well I had to take care of myself after you died, didn’t I? No trigger happy American air force captain to save me.” She smiled to take the sting out of her words, “Not that I ever really needed it…”

He stuck his tongue out and glared at her, “He wouldn’t be impressed, you were the sweet innocent one.”

“With a right hook that could lay out a Sontaran…”

“You never met a Sontaran, did you?” there was worry in his tone

“I’m still alive aren’t I?” she nudged Ianto in the ribs and peered over his shoulder at his scanner, “Where are we going?”

He coughed, and looked down the street, “Down that way last sighting, probably in his usual spot, sir?”

Jack blinked and followed his gaze, slipping his Bluetooth into place, “I suspect so, Bluetooth activated?”

“I’m good.” Ianto confirmed

“Yarp.” Jazz grinned, “Let’s prod buttock.”

“Yeah Pratchett!” Ianto laughed and cocked his gun, “What’s he got to say for himself this time I wonder.”

Jack led the way down the brightly lit alley into a central court. In the shadows under a broken light stood a group of teenagers and their target. “Hey, Atraxet! Not impressed.” The teenagers turned to study them, equally unimpressed, but the alien broke and ran for one of the other exits. “Oh great!”

They raced after him, ignoring insults and cat calls from the teenagers as they took off. Torchwood spent an awful lot of time running, but still he was too fast for them, gaining ahead of them every second. “Jack?” Jazz asked for permission

“Go.” He gasped, slowing up and grabbing Ianto’s hand to slow him too. Jazz on the other hand lengthened her stride and sped up, gaining on the blowfish with every stride until they disappeared around the corner. “Bloody hell that girl’s got legs.”

“Good legs.” Ianto commented with a smile, “And don’t think I didn’t see you looking.”

“Yeah, well…” a yell from around the corner got their attention back on the task in hand, “We should…”

“Lend assistance?”

They got there to find Jazz glaring at Atraxet, who was handcuffed to a lamp post and struggling to get loose. “Nice of you to join us gents.” She smirked, “You’re getting slow in your old age Jack. And stop struggling! It’s not going to happen.”

Jack shook his head and looked askance at the handcuffs, “Do I want to know where you got those?”

“Oh you know me, I always know where to find a set of handcuffs.”

Ianto clapped a hand to her shoulder and laughed, “Why do I get the feeling that you’ve chained him up in some inappropriate places?”

Atraxet snarled at her, but there was no malice in it, “Oh I should have known, you’re the Captain’s bird. What do you want with me Captain?”

Jack folded his arms, “You know, I’d quite like you to keep your head down and stop selling drugs, especially the drugs bit. You are aware that the existence of aliens is still a secret, right?”

“They’re just my mates, they know about me.”

“They shouldn’t, it’s a security risk. We need to wipe their memories.”

The alien looked at him with desperation in his eyes, “Oh don’t do that, please? They like me, no one else does.”

“Well you keep putting the security of the community in danger! It’s not the best way to make people like you.”

“You keep shooting us!” the alien shot back, but the fight had gone out of him. This had happened a few times too often for him to bother

“Only if I have to. Ianto, will you go for the SUV? I think Atraxet’s going to be spending a night with Janet.”

When Ianto nodded silently and went back the way they’d come, Atraxet rolled his eyes, “Call me Rax Captain, everyone else does. So do I get to enjoy a night of your delightful company again?”

“Nope,” Jack grinned, “I get to enjoy a night of Ianto’s delightful company, and possibly Jasmine’s if she’s coming back with us tonight.” Jazz smiled at him and he winked at her, “Oh and for the record, this is Jasmine, the head of Torchwood. And she’s not my bird, Ianto is.”

The SUV pulled up alongside them with perfect timing and Ianto got out to glare at the Blowfish, his hands on his hips, “Are you going to behave yourself or do we have to put you in the boot like a Weevil?”

“You’re kidding right?” he leered, “Pretty girl’s not as off limits as I thought, I’ll behave… To an extent.”

“Oh great.” She groaned, unlocking him and shoving him into the back seat before cuffing him to the headrest, “I get to be letched at by a pervy alien, again.”

“You love it really.” Jack called across to her as she closed the door, earning him a kick when she got close enough

“Just shut up and drive, and stop flirting with me in front of your boyfriend. It’s making him laugh.”

An hour and a half later, with Rax safely locked in the cells for the night, they were all sitting in the table in Ianto’s kitchen, drinking coffee and eating ice cream from the tub. Both men were watching Jasmine carefully, and she seemed to be carefully oblivious.

“How are you doing Jazz?” Jack asked gently

She sucked the ice cream off her spoon and refused to meet his eyes, “I’m coping. Mainly by suppressing it, I admit, but it seems to be working.”

He covered her spoonless hand with his own, “If you suppress them, they’ll only come back to bite you in the butt.”

She turned her hand over to squeeze his gently, “I’m not getting rid of them, just not thinking about them. There’s so much there that I don’t want to… That I want to move past. Torchwood’s given me that opportunity, a chance to start again with a new life. I just want to put the past behind me and concentrate on now.”

“Your family think you’re dead. I managed to get into the Leaky Cauldron, arranged to meet them there. I couldn’t…” he swallowed, tears in his eyes, “I couldn’t show them any photos of you, I only had one with me when we left the TARDIS that last time, and that was destroyed sixty years ago now. But they were pleased to hear of what you’d been up to. You’d only been gone a day when I saw them…”

“I should tell them I’m OK.”

“Yeah, you should, they’ll be glad to know you’re safe.” He sighed and locked eyes with Ianto, who was looking uncomfortable, “What are your plans then?”

“Erm… dunno. File stuff I suppose.” She sighed, “I should probably go home via Scotland, which will be a bit of a round about trip. Sooner rather than later too…” she grunted, “Too much to think about. But it’s time I got home really, my work here is done.”

“I thought you were here to archive? We’ve barely started.” Ianto raised an eyebrow

“Whatever gave you that idea?” she asked in feigned shock, “My sole purpose in coming here was to hook you two up. Now I’ve got you two sorted I can set to work on Alicia and the cute UNIT guard who always asks to be put on duty at the tower.”

“You came here to get us together?” the young man asked in shock

“Oh yeah, if I’d wanted to do filing I could have stayed in London.”

“You’re incorrigible.” He shook his head, “How long will you stay then?”

She looked at her watch, “I’ll go now, if I do that then I can catch up on the paperwork and catch the morning train up to Hogsmead.”

“Are you sure?” he stammered out, surprised but not overly upset by it; having his boyfriend’s ex around wasn’t great for the start of a relationship, even if she was his best friend.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” She smiled at him and stood up, “Jack, thank you. I won’t forget you again, I promise. And I dare say I’ll be back before long, chasing some file or another.”

“You don’t have to go.” Ianto whispered, pulling her into a hug, suddenly reluctant to see her leave

“Yeah I do, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, a whole identity to recreate. Besides, you two need to get to know each other without a house guest. Take care of him Ianto.”

“I will, take care of yourself, OK? Call me if you need someone to talk to.”

“Thanks.” She turned to Jack and hugged him too, “Look after him. And I’ll see you around.”

They went to the door to wave her off. Jack slid his arms around Ianto’s waist from behind and gave up trying to figure out the chain of events that had led them here, it was too bizarre and fantastical. As the roar of her Jasmine’s bike faded into the distance he felt Ianto turn in his arms. The young man studied him carefully for a moment before leaning in to capture his lips gently; their hands traced sensuous paths down their bodies and then Ianto’s slid underneath his undershirt and he gasped into his mouth at the sudden blaze of heat where the young man’s hands touched his bare skin. This was all the opportunity Ianto needed to deepen the kiss, his tongue slipping into Jack’s mouth to claim him.

Before very long, Jack was aching with need, and he could tell by his tension and the way his lover clung to him that Ianto was in the same state as he was. He lowered the pace slightly by trailing kisses along Ianto’s jaw across to his ear, “Take me to bed?” he whispered

The Welshman looked slightly taken aback by his submission, but made no comment as he led Jack up to their room and pushed him gently onto the bed, kneeling beside him to kiss him back into the pillows.

Some time later, Jack lay on Ianto’s chest, listening to his heartbeat as it slowed to its normal rate. He felt sleep dragging him away and relaxed, secure in Ianto’s arms. “You know,” he whispered, not really knowing why he was speaking or what he was saying, “immortality has its advantages.”

The young Welshman’s accent was even thicker this close to sleep, “Like what?”

“You.”

-----------------

The End

galadriel1010: (Default)

Ianto blinked several times and struggled through the fog in his mind to figure out where he was and why he was there. Jack was there too, he was curled against Jack as he was usually in the mornings, making Ianto mildly embarrassed but unwilling or unable to move, but they weren’t in Ianto’s bed, which meant… They were in Jack’s room, under his office because… Because Jack got shot, during the raid on the warehouse, he’d gone and shut the door so that they couldn’t get out and threaten the team. “Bloody idiot” he muttered affectionately, well aware that Jack was awake and probably watching him.

The chuckle rumbled right through Ianto, as he lay pressed more closely against Jack than he would have been in his own double bed, and he felt his friend shift slightly, felt rather than heard the catch in his breath as the movement caused him pain again. Ianto sat up suddenly and nearly fell out of bed, but Jack caught him just in time, “Careful, we’re not in Kansas any more Toto.”

“Yeah, it took me a while to figure that bit out. How’s your arm?” he asked in concern

“Oh you know…” Jack shrugged and didn’t seem to notice, “I think it’s just about there.”

“It hurt a moment ago.”

“Just cramp caused by stopping you falling out of bed all night.” He grinned broadly when Ianto blushed in embarrassment, “Thanks for coming, and for staying. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” The honesty in his eyes took Ianto by surprise

“Likewise.” He admitted with a smile, then groaned, “What time is it?”

“Erm,” Jack reached across behind Ianto to check his mobile and pulled a face, “Five, we could go back to sleep for a bit?”

He shook his head, resisting the urge to just curl up against the captain again, he was so deliciously warm, “I won’t get off to sleep again now, and I should really get back to collect Guron, I don’t feel great about leaving him there overnight on his own.”

“Did he seem to mind?” Jack asked, slight disappointment evident in his voice

Ianto reached for his jacket and trousers, which he had discarded on a chair the night before, but thought better of it, just grabbing his shoes instead. He was wearing a T-shirt and jogging bottoms, plenty to drive home at this time of the morning, probably no one who didn’t know him would be able to tell that it wasn’t just what he wore normally, “No, actually he told me to come just as I opened my mouth to tell him I was coming.”

“Sometimes I get the feeling that alien’s trying to play match-maker.” Jack mused with another chuckle

“Well, seeing as his arrival drove you straight into my bed I’d say he’s doing a damn good job.”

Jack laughed and leaned back again, “I would come with you, but I’m far far far too lazy. I’ll do the muffin run for you though, save you one job when you get in.”

“Yeah, and you can feed Myfanwy too.” He paused halfway up the ladder as he was struck by a thought, “What are you going to tell Owen about your arm?”

“That I was killed in battle thousands of years in the future and brought back to life and ever since then I can’t die and heal super-fast? Nah, I’ll tell him my coat was still full of nanogenes from investigating the spaceship the other day.”

“OK, see you in a couple of hours. Don’t forget…”

“Muffins, Myfanwy.” He interrupted with a grin, “I remember, and have a good breakfast, I have a feeling today’s going to be a long one.” As he relaxed back into the pillows and heard the unmistakeable sounds of Ianto’s departure, he felt like there was a filled hole in his life, and he knew exactly which hole it was. Every so often he would need someone, a proper relationship to remind him that there was life beyond Torchwood and the Doctor, someone who was just there. Usually the need started when he met someone who was that person, like with Lucy, with Mark, with Estelle – God Estelle, how it had broken his heart to leave her – and now… Ianto. The young man had awakened those feelings in him, the feelings of loss and emptiness, and by doing so had soothed them, but this time Jack knew that it was only temporary, because no matter how couple-ish this morning had been, they weren’t a real couple, and they never would be.

Growling in annoyance and misery he swung out of bed and got dressed quickly and efficiently before making his way into the main body of the Hub. As he busied himself with tidying, feeding Myfanwy and Janet, collecting together reports and struggling to remember the usual muffin orders, he reflected bitterly that the last time he’d done this was when he’d been fighting the grief and betrayal he’d felt after discovering Lisa, now he didn’t know what he was fighting, but it scared him.


Ianto pushed the button under the desk to let them into the Hub and allowed the Watulah to go through first before sealing the door behind them. They made their way down in silence, each lost in his own thoughts. Guron had seemed distant during the journey over, and he was worried about his new friend, the probably reason didn’t escape him either. A trawl of Ebay had turned up his wife’s ceremonial knife, her other weapons had all been found the day before, the ship was ready and the stars were calling; Ianto’s skill at joined up thinking wasn’t really required.

He went straight to the coffee machine as he always did, allowing the hum of the machine and the smells of the coffee to swirl around him and sooth him, reaching through the early-morning-familiarity induced fog currently inhabiting his mind to at least get him into a state where he could function at more than a basic essential level. His mental checklist was severely out of sync today, auto-pilot wouldn’t work.

First things first, coffee for me and Jack, tea for Guron – Scratch Jack, he’s out of the Hub, probably going for the muffins like he said he would, so one coffee, one tea

Next, feed Myfanwy – scratch that, Jack had done it

Clean out and feed Janet – Also done

Muffin run – Done

Quick tidy round before everyone else gets in, that’s sure to be doable. But when he went to look at the Hub it was as tidy as he’d ever seen it, apparently something else Jack had done whilst he was gone. Sudden worry gripped him, Jack never ever did things like this, he must be ill, but he laughed at the thought as the immortal captain’s voice started drifting down with the invisible lift and he returned, hands full of two bags of muffins and singing the Lion King at the top of his voice. Ianto joined in with the chorus with a grin and sashayed down to collect the bags, almost dancing back up to the kitchen area to make an extra cup of coffee and store the muffins safely. Somewhere behind him he can hear Guron laughing at them, probably over the top of his mug as he had so often during the last week, especially during these private times when it was just the three of them in the Hub. These times were for laughter and friendship and all the Disney movies they’d introduced the alien to since they’d found each other and for forgetting that they were in an underground base where they worked to protect the world from alien threats. This week had reminded him of what he was fighting for, the reasons he did this job every day; so that everyone else who didn’t know about aliens or the rift got to live this life every day.

He took a tray with their usual choices up to the conference room, it was a usual morning. He’d had his usual pang of embarrassment at waking up curled against Jack, his usual longing to wrap himself around him again and go back to sleep, the usual coffee making and muffin runs, the usual rendition of Disney songs, the usual industrial strength coffee and Lemon Drop muffin for Jack, mocha with double chocolate for him and cranberry and Echinacea with cherry and white chocolate for Guron, and the usual atmosphere. But it was all different. Never before had he woken up in Jack’s bed, and wanted to do more than just go back to sleep with him, never before had Jack done his chores and muffin run, never before had he danced around the Hub. Never before had it been goodbye.

They all knew it without it being said, no words were necessary; the air of closure the previous night had told them all in its own way, and now nothing could ever be the same. But none of them mentioned it; they laughed about the idea of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister (Guron promised that if that ever happened he would move to Britain permanently), argued about the best car of the last ten years and played cards. About half an hour after they got settled Tosh appeared and was dragged into the game, Owen wasn’t long after but managed to resist the draw with arguments of autopsy notes to update, and Gwen appeared soon after him, sadly precipitating the end of the game, because having everyone there somehow meant they had work to do.

As they disappeared off to various corners of the underground base, Jack watched his team doing what they did and doing it well. Ianto, Guron and Tosh were going through the weapons, categorising them and boxing them up for transport to Torchwood 1, Gwen was working her way through police systems and talking to contacts to get the two men they’d arrested well and truly hung out to dry and Owen was working through his notes of pain of decaff coffee until he got them done. How the medic managed to be behind constantly Jack would never know.

He took a sip from his coffee and sighed in pleasure as he lent more on the railings. Watching his team work was one of the most relaxing things Jack had ever experienced, Ianto’s coffee was another, his presence yet another. So to combine the three, he took his coffee down to the table where Ianto was currently glaring at Tosh and Guron over the top of a large, high-energy laser gun. When he noticed the Captain’s presence he turned to him with an almost pleading look, “Sir, I’m right, aren’t I?”

“I don’t know Ianto, but I know that that’s a Chula weapon.” He picked it up and winked at the young man as he rested it against his hip in a heroic pose; he remembered well the days when he’d carried one of these regularly

“Yes, we know that. But Tony from NCIS is acted by the same person as Eyes Only in Dark Angel, isn’t he?”

Jack rolled his eyes and laughed, “Yes, they are, but don’t ask me his name. Abby and Max were always more my type, I liked the Goth chick thing and the leather cat-suit, respectively.” Tosh looked slightly smug, although more than slightly put out that she was wrong; he knew about the debates that went on when he was out of the room, and he knew that the only person who really knew his ‘inclinations’ wouldn’t breath a word to the others. He was coming to rely so much on the young man, personally as well as professionally, that it almost scared him, because he knew that he wouldn’t be there to lean on forever.

As he rolled up his sleeves and mucked in with the categorising and packing he felt involved, more involved than he had for a long time. This team were his family; Tosh was his little sister, Gwen his big sister, Owen wasn’t a brother as such, possibly a childhood friend who just inhabited the spare room or a camp bed on his bedroom floor, Guron was a cousin he rarely saw but had a fantastic laugh with whenever he did, and Ianto was so not his brother it wasn’t even funny. He’d never seen Ianto as a brother, which he was very grateful for; Ianto was more like his best friend, possibly boyfriend. Dear God, his head was messed up, his life was messed up. It had been so much easier during those two years in the 1960s when it had been him, a motorbike and lots of hippy communes. He’d never bought into the hippy ‘save the world’ ‘free love’ thing; most people would find it hard to believe that he couldn’t separate love and sex, and love was far too valuable and painful to give away that freely. Maybe if he had bought into it he’d be able to love more freely now, maybe he’d be able to stop himself falling for Ianto, but he’d probably regret it if he did.

He’d probably have screwed most of his team by now, he reflected as he heard Gwen calling him across the Hub. She was waving a printout from the police and was trying to hide a broad, triumphant grin, “Got them on about six counts Jack, without having to mention Torchwood once, about 30 odd years each!”

“Well done Gwen, how did you explain away the bananas?”

“Mellow yellow production.” Her grin exploded onto her face fully and he threw his head back and laughed

“Genius Gwen! A stroke of undiluted brilliance.” He turned back to the weapons and met Guron’s eyes unwillingly; the alien had a maelstrom of emotions in his dark sparkling eyes, pain, grief and loss mingling with triumph and a sad resignment

“I think this is goodbye then Captain.”

galadriel1010: (Default)

Author's Note: OK, this is so far from what I intended it's not even funny. It just sort of happened...


Jack raised his gun and pressed himself against the wall, gesturing at the others to wait for him. He tested the door handle and was reassured to find it locked, it was less likely to be a trap if they’d locked the door, they wouldn’t be expecting anyone. Pulling a set of highly illegal lock picks from his pocket he unlocked the door silently and pushed it open gingerly; when there was no gunfire, no sound of any sort, he pushed it further and beckoned to the others to follow him. The light inside was dim, but bright enough to see the boxes stacked all around. He indicated that Owen and Gwen should watch the door and that Tosh should check the boxes whilst he covered her, the building was silent, in a deserted part of the docks.

They’d found it with Guron’s help, he’d done a scan for alien tech, “very spock” as he had been told once upon a time. The scan had indicated a few items here, so they’d come to investigate. Guron had been determined to come, but Jack had persuaded him to stay behind with Ianto, monitoring their situation from there.

Tosh’s excited whisper attracted his attention to the boxes and he hurried over to take a look. Inside were weapons, lots of them, mostly human but some recognisable alien. He whistled quietly as he turned an AK-47 over in his hands, then put it down when he noticed how nervous it made the young woman. She gave him an embarrassed smile and pulled out a 51st Century sonic blaster, “So what do we do with this little lot?”

Jack looked astonished when he saw the blaster, but then shook his head in amusement, “One hundred years ago and that must be the fifth or sixth time I’ve thought about that night in the last week.” He thought to himself.

“Right, well here’s what we do… We take the alien weapons back to the hub, deal with them when we get back there, and we tip the police off about this place. I know it’s not our field, but I don’t want these weapons on the streets of Cardiff or London or wherever any more than the next man.” He took the blaster form Tosh and smiled at it, speaking into his coms, “Ianto, can you get me a crate of bananas?”

Half an hour, and two false alarms, later, Jack helped Owen to lift the crate of assorted confiscated alien weaponry into the boot of the SUV and grinned at him. The medic simply rolled his eyes, checked that it wouldn’t slide about when they were on the move and took the proffered car keys from Ianto. They had spent the last half hour sorting what was alien from what was human and packing everything alien into one of the crates. Once they’d done that they were down by one crate, which would be noticed, so Jack had substituted a crate of bananas. He wouldn’t tell them why, but he seemed to find this highly amusing, as did Guron by the sounds of it. The alien had come out there with Ianto, God only knew where the lad had got a crate full of bananas at this time of night, and was talking earnestly with Jack as they surveyed the warehouse. Owen shook his head to himself as he took the SUV around the corner. Apparently Jack had a plan, which involved the SUV being out of sight from the Warehouse, and which also involved giving Guron quite a large gun. Owen was more than slightly worried, it had often been said that there was madness to Jack’s method, Owen disputed that; occasionally there was method to Jack’s madness.

When he returned, Jack had gathered the team and they were waiting for him. As soon as he was close enough, Jack clapped his hands and started explaining his plan, “OK, so Gwen has called the police, and they’re on their way. In the meantime we’re going to watch the place and make sure that whoever’s behind this doesn’t get away with it. If they go in we’re going to keep them there, if they don’t before he police arrive we’re going to help them to bring them in?”

“That’s not our job.” Owen pointed out.

“Is it not? Our job is to protect people, and maybe by doing this we can save someone’s life. Maybe even help to stop the flow of guns to the teens of London. But we can’t just let them slip away.”

“Agreed.” Gwen glared at Owen

“Hey, I wasn’t saying we shouldn’t. Just that it’s rare for us to overstep our bounds.”

“That’s cos they’re already set so wide.” Ianto quipped and Jack grinned at him. Owen was sure there was something going on there, but he wasn’t quite brave enough to ask. Mainly because he wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.

“So, any arguments?” there was silence, so Jack clapped his hands again and started gesturing to locations, “Owen and Gwen, I want you two over there and there, watching those two streets and that side of the building, Guron, Ianto and I will take that side, Tosh I want you to monitor the police movements and keep us informed, let me know as soon as they get close. Everyone armed?” They all nodded in confirmation and he continued, “They’re not to be used, unless they engage us in a fire-fight. Whatever happens, stay safe. If you need to shoot someone to protect yourself or someone else then don’t hesitate, but don’t shoot on sight. Getting this lot may help to bring down a network, and I don’t want the chance to escape. Plus, I’m sure Ianto could do without the follow up that a Torchwood death invariably brings.”

“And there was me thinking you didn’t care.”

“It’s not that he cares, tea boy, it’s just the fact that every time you have to clean up after a death you put something in his coffee as payback. Can we go to our positions now Jack? Before someone walks in on us.”

“Go, and remember: don’t use your weapons unless you have to.”

As they moved to their positions together, Guron asked Jack and Ianto the question that had interested him since the day he met them, “I don’t mean to pry, but are you two…”

They smiled at each other and at him, “No, we just live together.”

“Share a bed.” Ianto added helpfully, “You know, normal stuff like that. I’m…” he struggled to find words for a moment before looking away towards the corner of the building, “I lost my girlfriend, not long ago. We help each other, I guess.” Jack smiled at him compassionately and Guron got the impression that the Captain would quite like there to be more to the relationship than there was.

Feeling suddenly uncomfortable he turned and surveyed the surrounding area, “Any preferences for where you’d prefer to be? There’s a few skips up there that could be used for cover,” he pointed, “streetlight out on the corner there and a tree over there.”

“Good thinking.” The Captain nodded, “I’ve no preference, although it would make me feel better if I was at the pointy end, so to speak.”

“Why is that?” Guron looked mildly offended, he wanted to be there to get his revenge on his wife’s killers after all.

Jack shrugged, “I’m immortal, it makes more sense for me to be in possible danger than you two.” He could tell that Ianto was shocked that he’d told Guron, it was a secret he kept close, fearing the effect it would have on people. The only people who knew about it apart from the two of them and now Guron were Gwen, who had seen it, and Jane, who had found it in the records. Jack didn’t tell anyone about it, until now. It must have been even more out of the blue as Ianto could only hear his half of the conversation, he smiled apologetically at the younger man, and then wondered why

“You’re impossible, mad and impossible.” The Watulah told him, “But I believe you. So you will stay by the tree, has Ianto any preference?” When Jack passed on the question and ascertained that he didn’t mind, they agreed that he would wait by the skips in the middle and Guron would take the furthest point in the shadows under the street non-light. As they parted they activated their coms and heard Tosh’s voice giving instructions to Owen and Gwen,

“The police will be here in fifteen minutes, Gwen, you’ll need to be somewhere you can slip round to them without being seen from the warehouse, just in case.”

“OK Tosh, I’ve found somewhere, there’s a garden, I can get from here onto the next street and the along the back if I need to. If they arrive around the other side then Jack will have to deal with them.”

“Are you there yet Jack?”

“Present and correct marm!” he laughed quietly, “Any sign of anyone coming?”

“Nope, and I’ve hacked into their CCTV system and the door lock control, if they go in and shut the door I can lock them in.”

“Good work Tosh, I don’t pay you enough.”

“Watch it Jack, I might just remind you of that.”

“Yeah well, annual reviews are coming up soon, I might remember on my own.”

“What’s put you in such a good mood Jack?” Owen asked

“Don’t ask questions Owen, just make the most of it.” He grinned back, thoroughly glad to be a part of his team. “Now, we’ve only got a few minutes to wait, so can we try radio silence? I know it’s not strictly necessary, but it would make me feel better about your safety.” He took the ensuing quiet for agreement

“Jack.” Ianto’s voice whispered in his ear a couple of minutes later, “Jack, I’ve got a van here, it’s not the police.”

“How many?”

“Two men, they’re heading your way up this side of the building.”

“OK, stay out of sight guys, Tosh, can you tell the police to arrive quietly?”

“On it Jack.”

“Captain.” Guron muttered, “They have just passed me.”

“I can see them, hold your positions.” He watched them moving in and out of the patches of light down the side of the building. They didn’t appear to be taking any care about not being seen, apparently they had no idea they weren’t alone. The two men were similar in appearance, tall, muscular and dark haired, and were speaking quietly. One of them walked slightly in front of the other and appeared to be dominating the conversation, but it wasn’t an argument.

Jack didn’t move as they passed him, experience having told him that a) he was well hidden enough as it was and b) they would notice the movement. He held his breath as the leader of the two stepped into the shadows by the door, then disappeared inside, closely followed by the other man, and he swore when they left the door open.

“Jack, I can’t seal them in, the door needs to be closed.”

“I know, Tosh. Bare with me. How far off are the police?”

“Five minutes.”

“Damn, that’s too far off.” He looked around and realised there was no alternative. Without a word of warning he’d dashed across to the side of the building and was peering in through the open door. One of them men spotted him instantly, and he only just had time to grab the door and slam it shut as a shot and a cry rang out, “Shit, Tosh lock it, now!” He bit his lip and clutched his arm, aware of blood soaking his shirt sleeve but not of pain. Not yet. “Fuck.” Now the pain had hit home, he leant against the wall and let his head fall back as he tried to cope, then regained awareness of his surroundings; the hammering on the door of the two men trapped inside, Guron and Owen at his side, three worried voices coming over the coms. “I’m fine, don’t worry about me. Back to your positions, we don’t know if there are any more to come.”

They were interrupted by squealing brakes and flashing lights that heralded the arrival of Cardiff’s finest; he swore again and advanced on the first car, extending his hand to the officer in the lead, “Glad you could make it,” he greeted him sarcastically, “we’ve got two men locked in there. Torchwood has requisitioned an unspecified quantity of weaponry. That’s exactly what it’s going to say in your report. Now, we’ll leave it to you. Good night.” He was being shorter than he would have liked, but God his arm hurt.

“You’ve been shot.” The officer looked horrified

“Yeah, I’d noticed, so we’re leaving.”

He turned and stalked towards the SUV where the rest of the team were waiting for him. Owen glared at him and shoved him down to sit on the edge of the open boot, pulling his coat and shirt off to bandage his arm more roughly than necessary, “What was that about Jack? Who was it who was worried about us taking unnecessary risks?”

“The first word I heard when I got to the door was bananas, “he gasped as Owen yanked hard on the bandage, “Do you have to do that? I had to get the door shut, they’d figured out that something was wrong and I didn’t want them coming out on the alert and shooting any of you.”

“So you let them shoot you instead.” The medic shook his head as though he didn’t believe any of it

“Yep, it was worth it.” His eyes finally met Ianto’s and he relaxed, feeling reassured by the amusement shining there. “Any idea what they’re doing?”

“Armed police are on their way, and they would quite like us out of the way, sir.”

“Right,” he flexed his shoulders slightly and immediately regretted it, “OK, let’s call it a night, Ianto, you and Guron can get straight off home as your car’s here. I don’t think I’ll be coming back tonight. The rest of you can go straight from the Hub, or from here if you don’t need to pick anything up.”

The ride back was silent and quite painful because Owen was driving. Jack tried hard to keep his injured arm from bashing against the door but when Owen took corners like that… he hissed and shot a glare at the younger man but decided it would be wisest not to say anything. He knew he was in trouble for taking the gamble with the door, but he was still sure he’d done the right thing.

Owen went straight from the car park, assuring Jack that he wouldn’t need to check the bandage until the next morning and muttering something about getting a drink. Gwen and Tosh both had to pick things up from the Hub, so the three of them went in together through the TI office. Jack sank into Ianto’s chair, knowing that the young man wouldn’t mind, and propped his head on his uninjured arm with his chin in his hand, watching Tosh hang his coat up as she chatted happily with Gwen.

“Jack?” his attention snapped back to the present at Gwen’s voice, although he wasn’t entirely sure where it had been before, “You told Ianto that you didn’t think you’d be going back to his tonight. I don’t mean to pry but…”

He chuckled, “I’m living with him, that’s it. We’re just very good friends who got fed up of living alone and discovered that our talents compliment each other’s.” The expression on her face was priceless, “By which I mean that I’m a great cook and he makes the best coffee in the known universe. Besides, he needed looking after, after Lisa.”

Gwen looked shocked, and he understood why, it was the first time Lisa’s name had been mentioned since she’d nearly killed them all. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about the whole thing, or who she blamed. She knew that Jack was watching her carefully, taking note of her reaction so she nodded carefully and turned to leave, “Take care of your arm, I’ll see you in the morning.” Tosh simply smiled and followed her out of the cog door, not needing to say anything.

As soon as they were gone he got up again and headed for the bunker beneath his office. It was hard work getting down the ladder when he couldn’t properly use his arm, but he was emotionally and mentally exhausted. He tried to remove his shirt but it hurt far too much. Sighing he rested his head in his hand and ran his hand through his hair distractedly. He felt strangely desolate at being alone tonight. Since Guron had come to stay over a week before, he had spent every night with Ianto curled against him warm and protective. It wasn’t something they’d talked about, it wasn’t even something he’d seriously thought about until now, it was just what they did. That way, when Ianto woke sobbing in the middle of the night Jack was already there holding him and soothing him, and when Jack needed reminding in the middle of the night that there was a reason he got up in the mornings there was one lying in his arms. And that was so true, so true it was breaking his heart, because he was rapidly falling in love with Ianto Jones.

He felt like he was falling without a parachute, and he of all people should know what that felt like, and how much it hurt when you landed, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. His quick humour, almost gentle sarcasm and how good he looked in a suit were all factors, that was true, but it was the little things that meant the most. The big things were important, like the way he always knew what to say to help matters, like when they’d come back from the incident with the fairies and the others had blamed him for letting Jasmine go, as though they couldn’t see how much it hurt him to let her go, as if it wasn’t bad enough having to let one go but with that name? And Ianto had brought him coffee, and then held him when he broke. Yes, the big things were\pretty damn important, but really it was the little things that were getting to him most. It was the way he smiled slightly whilst he made the coffee, the adorable way he ran his fingers through his hair when he was at a loss, the way he smiled over his shoulder when Jack found him in the kitchen first thing in the morning, the way his face lit up whenever he got a message from Jane in London.

And that was what was breaking Jack’s heart the most, because even as he felt himself falling in love with Ianto, he could see Ianto falling in love with Jane. He hadn’t realised it yet, but the little clues were all there, the way he was getting defensive of her, the way he’d be happy for hours after talking to her, even if it had just been a request for information.

He stood up and tried to take his shirt off again, but it was still too painful, 21st Century painkillers had never really been enough with his physiology, and because he hadn’t died the wound would heal slowly, for him at least. He closed his eyes and allowed a grunt of pain to escape as he moved his shoulder in just the right way to send lances up and down his arm and across his shoulders. Before he’d recovered, however, he felt gentle hands pulling at his shirt, sliding it gently off his shoulders and helping him to get his arms free. He didn’t need to open his eyes to know who it was, the mixed scent of coffee and coconut only served to confirm what his instincts were telling him, so he kept his eyes closed, “I thought you’d gone home.” He sighed with a smile

“I did, then I came back. You need me more than Guron does, but I had to pick up a change of clothes.”

“Are you staying?” he finally opened his eyes and smiled gratefully at his friend, confident that the pain he’d been feeling would be safely hidden again now

“If you are.”

“Thanks” he whispered, not needing to speak any louder in the confined space. Suddenly, on a whim, he pulled Ianto into a hug, and as he felt Ianto relax into him and wrap his arms around Jack’s waist, the immortal breathed in the scent of the coffee, of coconut and of Ianto, absorbing himself in a moment that was just him and the man he loved.

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Disclaimer: Torchwood and its component parts belong to the BBC

Ianto had never been more relieved to see Jack than when he appeared in the doorway of the conference room. To be fair, nothing had gone wrong yet, but there was only so much you could talk about in a language that wasn’t fully formed and was designed for a world without the internal combustion engine, computers or pizza; their guest was starting to get tetchy, and Ianto didn’t like the look of the swords slung across his back.

He had been able to say, “You have very large swords,” at least, although it hadn’t added much to the conversation. Now he and Tosh smiled tensely at their leader and wondered what his next move would be, but it was the Watulan who moved first.

He had been staring from Tosh, to Ianto, to Jack in the doorway and now sank back into the seat he had risen from, “My wife, she is dead?” he asked hollowly.

To their astonishment, when Jack replied it was in English, but the alien appeared to understand every word, and when he replied in what appeared to be his native tongue, Jack understood him,

“I’m sorry.”

“I can make myself understood in most languages.”

"Yes, Captain Jack Harkness, at your service"

“I'm sorry, we don't really know.”

“Of course, I will arrange it for you. Ianto, will you lay her out, please?” The young man just nodded and practically fled the room; the atmosphere in there was tense, and using that language again, to talk about a dead woman so soon after Lisa…

About quarter of an hour later, when he’d got her laid out neatly and respectably with the armour she’d been wearing close by, he heard footsteps in the corridor and stood back to let them enter. Guron, the Watulah, entered first and acknowledge him with a slight incline of his head before moving swiftly and silently to Frione’s side. Jack was the only other who came down, and he came straight to Ianto and rested a hand on his shoulder, studying him carefully. He gave his friend a weak smile to reassure him and felt a slight warmth spread through him when Jack returned it. They retreated down the corridor a little to give Guron some space and Ianto was surprised but gladdened when Jack pulled him into a hug.

“I’m sorry.” The Captain whispered against his hair, causing Ianto to pull away slightly in order to frown at him

“What for?”

“For leaving the two of you here, that you had to do that, generally sorry…”

“Stop it.” He rested his head on Jack’s shoulder and smiled, “Stop apologising, you have nothing to apologise for.”

He felt Jack’s chuckle run through them both, it was a strange but thoroughly pleasant sensation, “You can have one in credit then, I’m sure I’ll need it at some point.” His voice was sad and far-away but Ianto couldn’t make a move to pull him back, he was having enough trouble not going there himself.

A cough interrupted them and they turned and looked at Gwen who was watching them from the corner, “Not interrupting anything, am I?” she blushed and Ianto chuckled

“No, come on, group hug.” He beckoned them over and the three of them stood there, drawing on each other for comfort and solidarity.

Jack went alone into the side room that Ianto had prepared and stood a good way back from Guron, just waiting for a signal. Everntually, the Watulah raised his head, “Captain Harkness,” he advanced a few steps to stand closer, “how is it that I can understand you, and your team can understand you yet they do not understand me?”

Jack glanced at him cautiously, treading the usual dilemma of exactly how much to divulge, “What do you know about Time-Lords?” he asked

Grudon shrugged, “A little, why?”

“What would you say if I told you I’d travelled with one?”

Now the Watulah turned to him in shock, “I would call you a liar, were it not for the fact that I met one not long ago, the last survivor.”

“The Doctor?” his breath caught

Guron nodded curiously, “He made quite an impact on my homeworld.”

Jack gave a half laugh, “Yes, I can imagine he could. He’s something of an aggressive pacifist. You know the weapons factory at Villengard?”

“I know of it, there’s a banana grove there now.”

“Yes, he likes bananas; they’re a good source of potassium.”

“He is a remarkable man, Watah will never be the same.” He laughed in response to Jack’s shocked look, “Oh, it is a better place Captain. It is peaceful, serene, as it should be. Lots of bananas.”

Jack nodded, understanding completely, “He filled my life with bananas. When I was with him it was nuts, but since then it’s been bananas.”

There was silence between them until his friend smiled, “I think that joke works better in your language than mine. Such is life.” He turned back to his wife and gazed at her sadly, “I want to take her home. Her knife, where is it?”

Jack sighed sadly, “We’re still trying to locate it. Your craft is ready for flight, is it hasn’t been found by the time you need to leave I will have Him bring it to you.”

“Strange, without Him I would probably have killed you all in my grief. But your friends, they put such faith in you, especially the young man. I had to see the man who inspired such faith, and when I saw you I saw why. You carry that look, you have been touched by the one who touches even those he never meets.”

Jack couldn’t find the words to respond, more grateful than ever to the strange alien who had not only saved him from death, but had saved him from the pain of losing his family, his whole being today. He felt a great wave of sympathy for the alien and his loss. “You can stay here as long as you like, as long as you need.”

“Thank you, but I don’t wish to overstay my welcome, and your team don’t really know how to deal with my presence.”

“As long as you need, I mean it, it’s a pleasure having you here. I only wish it had been under happier circumstances.”

Jack found Ianto making coffee in the kitchen and was glad that he’d got him alone, “Ianto, are you OK?”

“I’m fine, just making some coffee, do you want some?”

“Thanks. Look, I was wondering, I don’t think Guron’s ready to leave just yet, and I’m going to need to clear it through UNIT, which is going to be Hell, he needs somewhere to stay in the meantime, and the Hub’s not suitable. Could he go back to yours? I’ll stay here, he can have the other room.” He was tentative, not really knowing where they stood, not wanting Ianto to have to deal with it on his own but not really having any other choice.

Ianto, however, smiled at him, “Your room, Jack. It’s yours as long as you want it, that is assuming you still do?” Jack’s grateful smile said it all, but Ianto found he couldn’t look at his friend as he struggled to piece the next sentence together, “And, I mean, you don’t have to stay here, if you want to come back you could always…” he cleared his throat and turned back to Jack, who looked bemused and slightly amused, “What are the chances that either of us will stay in our own beds for the whole night anyway?”

“Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

“That depends entirely on what you think I’m suggesting. It’s not like we’ve never shared a bed before.”

Jack grinned, “You know, Owen would be so surprised if he ever found out how often you try to get me into bed.”

“You know I didn’t mean like that.” He hid a smirk behind a mock glare

“Shucks”

“But was that a yes?”

“Yes.”

“OK, coffee’s done.” And he left Jack staring after him in some puzzlement as he went to hand out the coffees and a mug of fruit tea for Guron.

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“Oh, right…” he repeated, “well that… that might complicate things a little.” He continued to stare at the tip of the remote with its glowing nanobot cloud and reached out absentmindedly for the lights and the door mechanism. As soon as it had repaired sufficiently it dropped open and Gwen and Owen tumbled in.

“What the hell?” Gwen asked breathlessly, her eyes wide as the computer system crackled into life again. Without a word, Jack swung himself into one of the seats and cancelled the defence programs, the radar, scanners, signals, everything. The last thing they needed was this sending out an SOS signal: he’d probably answer it and create an enormous paradox.

Still, he couldn’t help smiling, not his usual grin but a proper smile that just grew and grew, like the glowing cloud. He waved it around and their eyes followed it in amazement. As he caught sight of Gwen’s hands, which Owen had bandaged after they left, he beckoned her towards him and took hold of her hands, as he had done once for a young blonde in a Union Flag T-shirt. He gave her a reassuring smile and directed the glow towards her hands and couldn’t stop it spreading as the two of them stared at the rapidly disappearing cuts. “Nanogenes.” He finally explained, with a comment which could in no way be dignified with the description ‘an explanation’. “Nanobots and nanogenes, the air’s full of them. Sub atomic robots, when the system’s activated the nanobots scurry round and repair anything that’s wrong with the ship, quite a lot in this case, and the nanogenes heal the occupants. You have to tell them to heal anyone else.”

“Like me, for example…” Gwen was still staring, but now she was staring at him, at his goofy grin. “Jack this is impossible.”

“You think this is impossible, these are quite early ones. Some of the last nanogenes I…” he drew in a breath, “encountered, those ones were about three generations beyond these and could bring people back to life.”

“Don’t be dumb, Jack.” Owen snarked, “We’ve heard all your stories before.”

“It’s true!” he pouted but still couldn’t hide that smile, it felt so good. But boy did he miss them, Rose… Don’t go there, not when he was in a happy place, “Nanogenes, they’re Fantastic!”

Gwen heard the capital letter drop into place and worried about their boss, but she reasoned that anything that made Jack that deliriously happy and still in control of all his faculties was probably a good thing. She did make a mental note to ask Ianto about it when they got back though. “Do you think we should get out, Jack?”

Suddenly he was the Captain again, slamming up the walls that had been deconstructed by the memories and she regretted it, “Right, yes. We need to get back to Cardiff. I have here,” and here he grabbed a handheld console from down the side of one of the seats, “a device which will help us to track the jettisoned escape pod.”

“There definitely was one?” Owen asked

“Computer?” Lights flashed and Owen and Gwen escaped an exasperated glance, he ignored them, “Locate escape pod.”

A surprisingly biological voice, but not speaking any language they recognised responded. Jack seemed to understand it though, because he nodded and turned to them, “See?”

“No, Jack, we’re not all fluent in Klingon. Let’s get out of here and back to Tosh and Ianto.” Owen turned abruptly and stalked out through the door. Gwen gave Jack an amused smile and followed Owen, leaving Jack to bring up the rear for once.

They thanked the UNIT forces and Jack gave them an update on the situation and headed back to the SUV. It wasn’t until he was ensconced in the driver’s seat that he turned round to give Owen his usual hundred megawatt grin, “You know, you really ought to think about learning Klingon Owen, a surprising number of alien species use it as a middle ground language. They may come from opposite ends of the universe, but if they’ve seen Star Trek they’re OK. Sindarin’s used for the same purpose.”

“Sindarin?” Owen just looked sceptical

“The language of the grey elves in Lord of the Rings.”

“I bet I know someone who speaks that…”

“Tosh, Ianto and I all do, which is why we do most of the communicating with alien species. Who needs a translator when you have a knowledge of Tolkein?”

Owen looked disgusted, “I can believe it of Tosh, but Tea-boy? Don’t tell me he’s into LARPs or MMORPGs too?”

“I don’t even know what the last two are, Owen, and please don’t enlighten me. Lord of the Rings is Ianto’s favourite book, he and Lisa used to talk and write to each other in Sindarin to stop people understanding them; by the time she died she’d forgotten all she knew.”

There was an uncomfortable silence after that, broken eventually by Gwen, “Is he going to be OK, Jack?”

He sighed, suddenly weary, feeling his true age and the full weight of the years crushing down on his heart, “Yes, he’ll be OK. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but he’ll get there.” He didn’t mention the fact that he only knew about Lisa loving Tolkein because he’d called Ianto ‘Nîn kal’ a few days ago, and that Ianto had broken down at that because Lisa had called him it, or that Ianto hadn’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep so far since, or that it ripped him apart inside every time he had to hold him late at night or early in the morning because he cared too much and there was nothing he could do to help apart from be there. Too often he’d watched someone he cared about fall apart and had to pick up the pieces. Too often he hadn’t been strong enough.

He blinked suddenly and realised that they were near Bristol, he’d been on autopilot most of the way to this point, which scared him, but apparently it had done wonders for his driving. Gwen had actually nodded off in the front passenger seat, which had to be a first. They’d become a really, really strange little family, but it was the closest thing he’d had to family since two wonderful years in a blue police phone box. Even his wives hadn’t been family; family required shared strength, solidarity and usually bitchiness. And Torchwood, Torchwood was everything. He wiped a tear from his cheek and hoped that Owen hadn’t noticed, if he had he didn’t mention it, and concentrated on the road again. At the next service station he pulled off, got out and passed the keys to Owen, slipping into the back to work with the computers to find the escape pod.

Owen watched his boss carefully, worried that there’s been something in the air in that spaceship, besides the sub-atomic robots that Jack had harped on about. The Captain had swung from over-the-moon cheerful to miserable and on to, if Owen wasn’t mistaken, sentimental. And he had yet to make an inappropriate comment to Gwen, which was definitely cause for concern.

The phone rang just on the edge of Cardiff and he answered it distractedly, “Yeah, what’s up?” he called as he tried to suppress the road-rage at a particularly stupid learner driver. Gwen chuckling at him wasn’t helping.

“Erm… we’ve located the other Watulah.” Ianto’s voice came over the coms and the three in the car immediately tensed, something in the young man’s tone told them that all was not right, “Or I think it might be more accurate to say that he’s located us.” He was choosing his words carefully.

“Where is he?” there was a barely noticeable trace of panic in Jack’s voice as he pulled up the Sat Nav systems from the back.

“Erm…” there was a pause and the team held their breaths, “In the conference room, actually. Drinking tea, I hasten to add.”

“De-caff?” Jack’s brain had shut down, apparently, all he could think about was the fact that caffeine was poisonous to Watulahs, not that his best friend was in the same building as one of the deadliest killers in the universe and he was too far away to be any use. He gestured at Owen to go faster, so the medic let rip with the accelerator.

“Yes, I got some in for Gwen the other day, lucky I did really.” There was an argument that they could barely hear at the other end of the line, then Ianto came back speaking in a fractured but beautiful language that Owen and Gwen couldn’t understand. Jack groaned and responded in the same language, then rolled his eyes at Gwen and Owen,

“Our guest is insisting that Ianto speaks Sindarin, so that he knows what’s going on. Ni tul Ianto.”

Ni is, Jack.”

Jack willed Owen faster, cursing himself for leaving Tosh and Ianto alone at the Hub, especially when the intelligence he had suggested that there would be another Watulah around. Who knows what else could have happened? As his mind dredged up a seemingly never-ending list of possibilities he started on a new list of options for when they reached the Hub. Ianto would hopefully have talked the Watulah into cooperating, at least for a while, or at least have distracted him with tea and cake. Then when they got there they could take him out, or take him back to the ship if he was prepared to cooperate further. But what if they went back to an empty Hub, what if Ianto didn’t manage to calm him? What if he got back to find that, after everything, the too young Welshman had died and it was all his fault?

They pulled up in a squeal of brakes outside the TI office and stormed through the doorway. When they reached the bottom the cog door was jammed open and the Hub was silent; half drawing his weapon, Jack led the way up to the conference room, dreading what he would find up there.


Author’s note:

Don’t ask me where all the Elvish came from, apart from www.uib.no/people/hnohf, a wonderful website if you ever want to use some (and I will be using it more in the future, I have a wonderful fic planned using lots of Elvish. Hopefully I’ll also learn Welsh too.) Story is now vaguely back on track, apart from the unexpected alien invasion of Cardiff of course

Translations used:

Nîn kal – My hero
Ni tul – I’m coming (I come, technically)
Ni is – I know

galadriel1010: (Default)

Author's Note: I promise, promise, promise there is fluff coming, of a sort. Getting more sci-fi now, less angsty. Maybe

Ianto was in the archives, searching for anything they had on the Watulah. There wasn’t a lot, they’d been visited by one once before, and it had left a trail of devastation and not much information. That had been when Jack was just freelancing, back in the 1930s, and they’d eventually had to call him in to deal with it. Ianto found the reports on the incident and nearly threw up when he read about the injuries Jack had received, but Captain Jack Harkness had done it again. Twenty three deaths, admittedly four of those were Jack, and no one would ever know, because as soon as he’d killed it they had destroyed all the evidence, everything apart from the impeccable records.

He quite liked the 1930s, he reflected as he carried the dusty box of files up to the hub, the archivist at the time had been obsessed with detail and knew their way around the archives as well as he did. Everything up to her death had been neatly organised, well it had been until jack had blundered around down there in the intervening years. But Ianto had been able to build on her system and get the whole thing working again, in alphabetical order by species. However, as Jane had pointed out, that left you with quite a large section of ‘unknown’. Maybe he’d try rearranging it to her system, although he’d have to be more familiar with it before he attempted that.

He heard Tosh chuckle behind him and gave her a confused smile, “Something funny, Tosh?”

“You’ve got that look again, the one that says that we’re in for a fortnight of not seeing you because you’ve decided that the archives would be better colour coded or something.”

He grimaced at the memory, that had not been one of his best ideas, “Well it would have worked if they did manila folders in more colours.”

“Whatever you say, tea-boy.” Owen bounded up from the autopsy room, “Do us some coffees will you, I’ve got the results of the autopsy. Any idea where Jack is?”

“Office.” They chorused, exchanging a slightly worried glance, Jack had holed himself up there this morning and hadn’t even called for coffee, they didn’t have long before he became caffeine deprived and got extremely irritable.

The Captain was reading through a UNIT report on a group of Weevils that had been found in Bristol. He was worried for two reasons; one was that either the rift or the Weevils had spread, and the other was that he’d had to rely on Torchwood 1 to find this information. UNIT would never have sent it, but he’d got an automated memo telling him that UNIT had found something possibly relevant to an open case, and with all sorts of codes and information. He’d followed the codes to a detailed data-file on Weevils, combining information from all over the world, mainly Cardiff, to create a full profile of the alien visitors. It was brilliant, but a bit scary.

He looked up as Ianto appeared in the doorway with a coffee and accepted it gratefully. “What would we do without you, Ianto?”

“Probably the same as you did before me, sir. Save the world, but in a highly inefficient manner.” He smiled, “Owen has the results of the autopsy, he’s waiting for you downstairs.” Jack watched him go with a half-smile and some slightly dirty thoughts about the young Welshman, who looked really, really good in that suit, then realised that this was the man with whom he frequently shared a bed and exactly how uncomfortable that could get, so he shut his mind down and got up to follow.

Down in the autopsy room Owen was fairly buzzing with excitement and annoyance. As soon as Jack appeared he went into action, whirling around the table and pulling up overhead displays to show them what was going on, “OK, so I’ve worked out a cause of death and it’s sort of terrestrial.”

“Sort of?” Jack asked in amusement

“Yeah, sort of. She was attacked by a Weevil, she’s got bite marks on her neck that I’d recognise anywhere, I’ve patched us up from them often enough. So weakened by a Weevil, but she survived that, and we haven’t found any dead Weevils so we have to assume that her attacker survived too. I’d say that the attack took place about six hours before she died, and she kept losing blood, which meant she was probably fairly weak by the time someone else caught her.”

“Probably?”

“Yes, Jack, probably. I’m not an expert on Watulah physiology but if it was exactly like ours she wouldn’t have survived as long as she did, those injuries were major. Which suggests that she didn’t have long to live anyway.”

“What killed her in the end?” Ianto asked, making a mental note to check for any more information Jane could get for him on the Watulah

“A four inch long blade, straight and quite narrow. Like that…” he used a remote to pull up a computer representation of the blade, “Probably a flick knife.”

“So she attacked someone, and they fought back?”

“And took her weapons into the bargain, that’s about the long and short of it. What sort of weapons would she have, Jack?”

“You name it, she probably had it. Anyone had any news on anything?”

“Nothing from the police.” Gwen answered, “No unusual deaths or strange weapons.”

“Nothing on the black market yet and my contacts haven’t turned up anything, Ianto?”

The tea-boy looked up, “Nothing so far come up on blogs or ebay or anything like that. Tosh and I set up a system to monitor calls, but it’s hard knowing what we’re looking for. I’m going to call the Archive today, to see if they have any information that’ll be helpful.”

“Good thinking.” Jack nodded, “Call me if any of you get anything, I’ve got a pile of reports to send off to London. Ianto, can you have pizzas ready for about four?”

By about three o’clock Jack was bored and the team were all busy. Owen was doing reports on autopsies of the last week, Tosh was underneath her computer, doing he hated to think what, Gwen was catching up on her paperwork and of Ianto there was no sign. Jack checked through the CCTV feeds to try to find him, starting in the archives and flicking through all the usual places. He eventually found him in the TI office, watching his computer screen and laughing, occasionally sending messages. The Captain was intrigued.

Jones: Have you got any information for me yet?

Pink elephant: patience! I sent Mark, you know what he’s like

Jones: Dear God save us. Has he learned the alphabet yet?

Pink elephant: ROFLMAO!! Erm… as far as I can tell, why?

Jones: Ask Lucy, she knows the full story. I’ve heard it second hand

Pink elephant: OK, am intrigued now. But Lucy’s out today… mebbe I’ll email her

Jones: Do do

Pink elephant: Dodo? What’s the Dodo got to dodo with anything?

Jones: Everything, darling, everything

“Can I help you sir?” he grinned as Jack started upright guiltily

“Erm… I’m bored?” he pouted and Ianto laughed, sending a quick message to Pink elephant, who Jack realised was probably Jane Doe from Torchwood. “And you didn’t look to be working, so I thought I’d come and pester you.”

“I am working!” he announced indignantly, but didn’t hide the smile, “I’m waiting for the head of Torchwood to contact me with some information and sharing information about her employees with her.”

“Gossiping?”

“Do you want to know the story of why we don’t trust Mark with letters?” Jack mimed zipping his lip and Ianto laughed, “He once spent three hours looking for a copy of the Silmarillion, then came back to say they didn’t have any Tolkein at all.”

“Sounds unlikely.”

“It was, he couldn’t find it because he’d been looking on the wrong shelf. The idiot had got it into his head that T came after W.”

“And he didn’t notice?” Jack laughed

“Nope, and that selfsame idiot is second in command at Torchwood 1. His only superiors are you and Jane.”

“I outrank him?” the Captain was still struggling with the hierarchy

“Oh yes, you and Jane are the top of the tree but she’s more top of the tree if you know what I mean. Then Mark and… who is your second at the moment?”

“I dunno, you I guess. Maybe Owen officially.”

“Well your second is with Mark and the top rank of UNIT on that level, then all archivists on a sort of side branch.” Now Jack looked really confused, “We have top level security clearance within our branches, because we need to be able to get into our own archives, but less control over other branches.”

“So who has higher security clearance here?”

“We have the same level of clearance here,” he explained patiently, for what felt like the twentieth time since he’d got back from London the other day, “Except for the fact that you’re banished from the archives.” Jack’s pout really was attractive, but Ianto would not be swayed, “Post-it notes are not a suitable method of filing. Especially when most of them seem to be some sort of treasure hunt leading to a secret supply of biscuits.”

Jack muttered something about Ianto being a spoil-sport, but the Welshman had been distracted by an alert from his computer, “She’s got that stuff for us sir.” He slipped back into his professional manner far too easily for Jack’s liking, but he pushed the thought aside.

“Send the information down to the conference centre, then I want you and Gwen down there to help me go through it. Owen can deal with the pizzas.”

By the time the pizzas arrived and they were all gathered in the conference room, the three of them had a much better idea of what was going on, as well as what had gone on in the past. They had information from UNIT, the original Torchwood archive, Liberty Towers in the US and a diary account from the 18th Century.

”OK, so here’s what we have on the Watulah. Owen, that’s the physiology file,” he slid a file across the table and the medic studied it carefully, “And that little lot is the history of the Watulah. Now Gwen, Ianto and I have gone through it, and this is what we’ve found that’s really interesting. Ianto, it’s all yours.”

“Very good sir.” The first report of interest was this one from UNIT about a spaceship crashing in South Devon about six months ago, no sign of any life on board. It was heavily armed and built for two occupants. Without an occupant you’d think it’d be impossible to tell whose ship it was, but someone found this photo from 1953, taken in the USA, with another photo of...”

He pulled it up on the screen and heard a gasp of recognition from Tosh, “That’s a Watulah!”

“Correct. Which means?” Jack prompted

Owen groaned, “There’s another?”

The Captain’s grin was far too cheerful for the situation, “Yep, and we have to take a trip to Devon. Cheer up kids, we’re going on holiday.”

Jack felt that the groan he got from his team wasn’t entirely deserved.

Ianto and Tosh had been the most successful at resisting Jack’s attempts to get them out of the Hub. Ianto had actually gone as far as arranging for some examples of Watulan weaponry to be delivered from UNIT, and obviously he had to be there to receive them. Jack was impressed, if put off, but his argument. Tosh had pointed out that the Hub really needed two of them to monitor the systems, and Ianto would probably need help with those weapons and it should really be someone with technological knowledge.

Owen and Gwen hadn’t been so lucky.

The medic had insisted on driving, so Jack was sitting in the back working on the computers. He knew that, had Ianto agreed to come, he would just have taken the two of them in his Jag, but the young Welshman hadn’t been overly enthusiastic about going to Devon in the middle of Autumn. So instead they were barrelling down the motorway in the SUV, which was big, and comfy, and full of all the tech they’d need, but soooo boring.

He worked his way through the Torchwood system, putting in the code Ianto had given him to get the information he needed. The young man had enthused about the system all week, and Jack had a feeling that he’d probably disappear for a while soon. He suppressed a laugh at the memories of his friend when he’d first seen Jack’s attempt at archiving. Ianto had stared in shock, then turned and glared at Jack with his hands on his hips. They hadn’t seen him for a fortnight. Looking back, Jack could now see why they’d overlooked what was going on so easily, Ianto was just like that, from the very beginning he’d never really tried to integrate, and they hadn’t encouraged him. And all the while, he was suffering one of the most painful things in the world, watching someone he loved suffer and ultimately die.

Gwen’s voice brought him back to the present, and he was aware that he’d been staring out of the window at the changing scenery for quite some time. He reassured her with a grin and turned to studying the UNIT report on the crash site in detail. Ianto had managed to pull some strings, with whom Jack would never know, and got them permission to study the site. As far as he could tell the site would be safe, but he’d thought that about a crashed spaceship before.

“She was hanging from a barrage balloon, I had an invisible spaceship…” he chuckled again, then realised that both Owen and Gwen were staring at him now, “Sorry, got a bit caught in the past there. Funny place the past.”

They’d got to the crash site now and he got out without a backwards glance; knowing without having to look that they would be exchanging confused glances. He heard the doors slam behind him and heard Owen calling out, “Who was hanging from a barrage balloon?”

He raised the tape surrounding the site and grinned at them, gesturing through and leading them towards a group of UNIT personnel in a gazebo. On tables in the gazebo were photos of all the weapons collected from the ship. Much as he would have liked to see them, he recognised the wisdom of not leaving them lying around to be taken by anyone who happened along. Not that anyone could get through the UNIT guards patrolling; yeah right!

“Captain Jack Harkness, pleasure to meet you.” He introduced himself to the group, “Anything further you can tell us about this that isn’t in the files?”

“Not a lot sir. There’s been no unauthorised movement within the cordon, nothing unusual really, apart from an alien spaceship crash landing in Devon, that is.” An attractive young researcher spoke up, whilst the other personnel showed Gwen and Owen the photos, “Commander Doe was here yesterday, she thinks that the occupant or occupants evacuated the ship before it crashed.”

“Somewhere over Cardiff?” he swore fiercely and ran his hand through his hair, “So somewhere we’ve got another one to deal with?”

“And the two members of our team with the least field experience are on their own back in Cardiff.” Owen groaned, “Why do I get the feeling this isn’t going to go well?”

Jack was torn between wanting to get back to Cardiff to protect his team and the knowledge that he didn’t know enough yet. “Right, let’s have a look round the ship, “ he decided, “then we can get back there with more information.”

The ship was a thing of beauty, all straight lines and curves, looking like a futuristic sports car, probably the Pagani Zonda. Beautiful but completely insane. It was in a bad way, with wreckage strewn across the field and a gaping hole in the side. Rather than attempting the door, they did as the UNIT teams had done before them and made their way into the main body of the ship through the hole, which had been shored up with jacks to make it safe. Gwen was wide-eyed as they entered and Jack realised that it was her first time inside an alien space ship. He grinned and found himself wishing that he could show her round the most amazing space ship he’d ever seen, wishing he could show them all. Maybe he would, maybe it would be soon, maybe it would be too late.

Inside it was quite claustrophobic and difficult to move about, as it had only been designed for two occupants who got on fairly well, and there were three of them in there and he didn’t know them well enough to move around as he would have liked in there, especially with the damage. As Gwen bashed her head for the third time and he and Owen got wedged in a corner again he finally decided that enough was enough and sent them to study the photos again and wait for him.

In the quiet after they left he felt a great peace descend on him; that peace which only came when he was completely free to do his own thing. It was a spaceship thing. His first stolen spaceship had been a way out of a way of life that he’d felt trapped and vulnerable in, he’d crossed time and space in it without a second thought. If this one had been in working order…

A sudden sick feeling flooded into his stomach as he realised what he’d been considering; what he would have done. If the ship had been able to fly, he would have left without a backwards glance. He would have gone everywhere and everywhen, hoping to find the right version of the Doctor, and his team would have been left in limbo. Gwen and Owen would be stranded in Devon because he’d taken the SUV keys back when they got there, Tosh would have no one to protect her from UNIT, the inhabitants of Flat Holm Island would have no one watching them from the shore, and Ianto… His stomach did a strange somersault at the thought of the young man; it was part sympathy, part worry, part guilt, part anguish, and part love although what kind he didn’t really know. Ianto still needed him, he couldn’t and wouldn’t leave.

He looked around the ship again, working purely on instinct. Without his brain telling him what to do he managed to find the escape pod, or the space where it should have been. Again trusting to instinct, he pressed a button on his wrist-strap and picked up a small sonic remote from the floor. It emitted a small, blue light and an annoying buzzing noise, and almost immediately the end of the remote started to be surrounded by a golden glow.

“Oh.” He muttered as he watched them growing in strength, then as the repair of the spaceship around him distracted his attention, “This is just priceless.”

galadriel1010: (Default)

Author's Note: Wahey, and now we're back on familiar territory. How long can Ianto deny his attraction to Jack? On a scale of one to Jack, just how attractive is Jane? And what happened to those weapons that turned up whilst Ianto was having his panic attack during One Week? Don't know what I'm talking about? Read One Week to find out, otherwise tune in whenever I get another chapter up to find out what's going to happen to our lovely boy and their team.

Disclaimer: Own nothing, although I wouldn't say no to a pint


Ianto made his way across to his friends with a pint and dropped into the chair next to Jack. The others looked mildly shocked when he took off his tie and put it in his jacket pocket, “What?” he raised an eyebrow, “We’re not at work are we?”

“He has a point.” Jack laughed, “Good trip?”

“Yeah, London was a nightmare, as always, but I still made good time. I didn’t really expect to be back for another hour.”

“So…” Tosh leaned forwards conspiratorially, “What’s it like, do you think we’re in for trouble?”

“They’ve got a great set-up, easier to defend than the last one apparently, and she’s got an…” he struggled to find the word, “an interesting system.”

“You don’t approve?” Gwen asked.

“It’s bloody brilliant, to be honest. She’s got a numerical system that works, and because the interfacing is all done by her team rather than a computer it will actually honestly work. And it makes sense to use that system because she organised UNIT’s archive, which is the biggest one in the world, that’s how she got put in charge in London.”

“Whoa!” Jack choked on his drink, “You’re saying that someone from UNIT’s in charge? Whoever has control of Canary Wharf is the de facto head of Torchwood!”

“Yeah, she’s UNIT, but I think the current regime were glad to be rid of her. From his attitude today, I’d say that Mace isn’t a fan of her any more than he is of you.”

“Doesn’t mean we can trust her.” Jack pointed out

“What’s her line?” Owen interrupted

“She’s a bit odd really, very pro-Doctor I think. Treats anything alien as the property of the alien who lost it, wants to know as much as she can about everything. She’s had a…” he hesitated for a moment, not wanting to betray too much but needing to defend her, “She’s not had an easy past, I’d say she took an unorthodox route into UNIT.”

“A prisoner?” Tosh asked angrily

He nodded sadly, “Although I think it’s more complicated than that.”

“So what’s she like, really like? Middle aged dragon?” Gwen asked

“Not at all.” Ianto couldn’t keep the lingering surprise out of his voice, “She’s young, early twenties at the oldest although she looks to be in her late teens. Blonde hair with blue streaks, very cute.” Owen suddenly looked more interested, “And far too young for you Owen.” Ianto felt strangely protective of her, which was ridiculous, but still… “She’s lovely, really lovely. And strong enough to look after herself, she dealt very, very well with a government official today.” Taking a sip of his drink he allowed a grin to spread across his face, “My God that girl’s got spunk.”

Owen got up with a groan to get more drinks, Gwen following to help with the glasses. The three remaining knew that this was the only opportunity they’d get for serious discussion, so they took it, “All the official government organisations from across the world are involved. I heard about two dozen different languages being spoken today, everything from Spanish, French, other European languages right through to Japanese and Chinese. It’s the only thing that the whole world is united on, apparently. The latest reports and base files went up this morning and will be updated as we process them, but they need to be filed from there. Older reports, archived stuff, she’s gathering everything she can together to form concise reports, but everything will be available to view there or she’ll send it to whoever needs it by helicopter.”

“Whoa,” Owen returned and set the glasses down, “she has a helicopter? How come we don’t have one of those?”

“Because we’re based inside Cardiff, Owen. Why would we need a helicopter?”

“Besides,” Tosh commented, “Who’d fly it?”

“I have a pilot’s licence.” They stared at Jack for a while, and he raised an eyebrow in amusement, “Oh come on, even Captain Slow has a pilot’s licence, surely the Captain of the Innuendo Squad is allowed one.” They all laughed, and Jack smiled at the memories of the young man who’d called him that, Mickey Smith had turned into quite a character by all accounts. Now there was someone he’d like to work with.

The talk turned to more mundane topics like rugby and, trust Jack, cricket because Rhys arrived with some friends of his and Gwen’s. After a while, he and Gwen headed home for an ‘early night’, Owen spotted and attractive girl at the bar, which filled Tosh’s eyes with pain and caused her to disappear shortly afterwards. Jack glared at Owen across the room and smiled tensely at Ianto, “Do you think he knows?”

“I hope not,” Ianto responded sadly, “I don’t think even Owen could do that if he knew.” He downed the rest of his drink and gestured at Jack’s equally empty glass, “You done?”

They left the pub together with their coats over their arms because of the warm night. Jack still wasn’t quite used to going back to Ianto’s, but it was strangely reassuring having somewhere to go that wasn’t the Hub. His mind, however, was troubled. “So the head of Torchwood, my, dear God my immediate superior. Now that’s something I never thought I’d have to say again, but you like her?”

“Yeah, she’s a lovely girl, is this going anywhere?” he put on an expression of amusement

“I’m just trusting your judgement on her, and feeling slightly sorry for her.” He lied, “I didn’t really want to have to fight her on a regular basis like I did Yvonne, but it sounds like she’ll be OK.”

Ianto tried to deny the disappointment; he’d thought that Jack sounded… jealous? But that was dumb, because he wasn’t interested in Captain Jack Harkness, not remotely interested so he shouldn’t be disappointed that Jack wasn’t interested either. He shoved his hands in his pockets, “She likes you, it’ll be fine. I have a feeling she’d give you anything you asked for, no matter what it was.”

“She likes me?” Jack sounded surprised

“Yes, hero-worships you. She’s read all the files about you.”

“All of them?” now he was worried, it didn’t suit him

“Yeah, she knows you were arrested way back when, so she’s presumably figured out that you’re immortal. She didn’t comment though.”

“I knew I should have covered my trail better.” He let out a laugh, “Ah well, as long as she likes me.”

Ianto could hear the smirk in his voice, “Oi, she must be at least 100 years younger than you!”

“Spoilsport.” Jack laughed again, seeming not to notice the jealousy fighting with Ianto’s feigned indifference.

galadriel1010: (Default)

Author's Note: I claim no responsibility for this. I had it all planned out and knew exactly what would happen, it had happened like that every time I ran it through my head. Or it did, until I tried to write it, at which point Ianto got cold feet.


Jane took his hand nervously. She had no place doing anything like this, she knew. She had replaced them all, swept all of that aside. She’d just wanted to make sure that people didn’t forget the cost and the sacrifice, and Ianto was the first person she’d met who knew that sacrifice first hand. Of course, she thought as he whispered Lisa’s name, his story was slightly different. He’d fought so hard to save her, but the real Lisa Hallett had died here long before the incident in Cardiff. She just hoped she’d read the situation right.

Ianto had closed his eyes tightly, but it hadn’t stopped a tear slipping down his cheek. She was wracked with guilt and squeezed his hand tightly, trying to be there but knowing that she wasn’t what he needed. Sooner than she expected her rubbed his eyes with his free hand and squeezed hers back, pressing his finger to Lisa’s name once more before stepping back.

Now he knew what the room was, he took a second look and marvelled at Jane’s sensitivity. As far as he knew she had no connection to the battle, she hadn’t lost anyone, but she’d done this and given people somewhere to come, something to focus on. His attention was caught by a book at the end of the room, which lay open on a small table. He dropped her hand and went over the study it, finding a list of names and ages. He felt sick as he realised what it was, a list of the civilian casualties from the Battle, but felt the need to keep reading. Jane had stayed where she was, watching him nervously, so he flipped back to the first page and stared at the name there, “Rose Tyler.”

“She was the Doctor’s companion, probably gave her life saving us.”

“Sounds like one of his.” He replied, still without looking at her and thinking of his Captain, “He changes people.”

“Your Captain travelled with him, didn’t he?”

Now he swung around, “How do you know that?”

She looked taken aback by his defensive tone, “I’ve read the files, his arrest file was sent straight to Torchwood 1, as were all subsequent files about him for about forty years.”

“Why?”

Jane shrugged and turned away, “You know the Captain, if he’d decided that he didn’t want me here I wouldn’t stand a chance. I wanted to know whom I was dealing with.”

“Why wouldn’t he want you here?”

“I dunno, because I’m far too young, inexperienced and associated with the group who kept trying to steal his best friend?”

Now it was Ianto’s turn to look taken aback, “Best friend?”

“You? Well that’s the impression I got from his email, it was definitely about you and he seemed loath to lose you, for more than a professional reason.” She turned and headed back into the first room they’d come through and gazed out of the window, lost in deep thought. Ianto came and leant next to her, watching the mass of humanity moving around far below them.

He recalled something she’d said in the memorial room, “You don’t believe that, do you? About being too young and inexperienced?” She sent him a dark glance before returning to stare moodily out of the window but didn’t reply, “You’re doing well so far.”

“What, you mean I’m still alive?”

“Well you have to admit, that’s a good start.” She managed a weak smile and he focused all his attention on her again, “How did you end up here?”

“UNIT. I was causing too much trouble there, so when the Colonel heard about the Archive being created, he saw the perfect excuse to get rid of me, as I’d already completely rearranged their archive.”

“Can I ask, your name, what you told us earlier wasn’t the truth, was it?”

Jane Doe, hah, yes. It has such an air of mystery, don’t you think. Unfortunately, no government computer system will accept it without it being confirmed by a human, so my legal name is Jane Donovan. But I’ve been Jane Doe all my life, which I’m sure my parents would have found highly amusing, so I’m stuck with it.”

“What makes you think that?” she asked wearily

“I did some research, it is my job after all. And whoever set up your identity wasn’t as good as they’d like to think. I checked with someone who was allegedly at school with you, and they’d never heard of you. Facebook is a wonderful tool.”

“You know,” she smiled, “I’m starting to regret telling the Captain I’d leave you alone. But yeah, I’m a real life Jane Doe. Hysterical Amnesia has wiped all my memories, my entire identity until about nine months ago. I was left at UNIT headquarters with horrific injuries, severe head trauma, collapse rib cage, the whole lot.”

“Sounds like it was a miracle you survived.”

“Is it?” she asked miserably and his heart broke for her, “Sometimes I wonder.”

“You’ll be glad you did.” He reassured her

“I hope so, I really do. But at least I fell into this lifestyle, this wonderful world of insanity and mystery. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

“Even your memories?”

She shook her head forcefully, “No. Because if I remember my past I’ll remember what happened to me to make me lose my memories. I don’t remember anything apart from a lingering pain, and even that’s gone now. I’ve got the rest of my life to fill with happy memories, this is me and I don’t really want to know who I was.” For such a young woman she sounded so broken and bitter, her really wanted to hold her and protect her from the world, but he’d only just met her and…

And Mark chose that moment to appear in the doorway, “Thought I’d find you both up here.” He said as he advanced across the room with his hands in his pockets, “It’s been a Hell of a day, Jazz.”

She chuckled, “Certainly has, how do you think we did?”

“Mas o menos darling, mas o menos. We’ve got that bit of filing finished, and it’s too late to start on any of the files downstairs, so…”

“Go on.” She laughed, “Go find a pub somewhere, I’ll see you in the morning, I’ve got a couple of things I want to follow up.”

He grinned and turned to Ianto, “You coming mate? There’s a great club just round the corner, although I think it might be karaoke night tonight…”

They laughed at recollections of past karaoke nights with Torchwatch and he shook his head regretfully, “Sorry Mark, I’ve got to get back to sunny Cardiff, the team will be waiting with baited breath for my report?”

“Really?”

“Nah, they’ll be in the pub. And dreadfully disappointed when I’m nice about you all.”

Jane was tying her hair up and laughed, “Well they’ll have to get used to it, we’re just far too nice.” Mark raised an eyebrow at her and she pouted, “OK, so I’m far too nice, not sure about this one.”

“Me neither.” Mark looked decidedly put out, but Ianto had dropped his blank expression into place again and was trying hard not to laugh. After a moment of looking between the two of them, one mildly amused and one po-faced, he gave up and stalked away, muttering under his breath.

The Welshman turned to his new friend and offered his hand with a soft smile, “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Jane. There’s my email address,” he gave her his card, “if you ever need to talk, just drop me a line, OK? I’d better get back to the team.”

“Thank you,” she smiled nervously and fiddled with the card, “I’ll walk you as far as the door, least I can do.”

They rode down to the foyer in a comfortable silence and she bade him farewell at the doorway. He watched her disappear into the bowels of Torchwood Tower before getting into his car, his head full of thoughts of the new filing system, the implications, the mysterious and damaged head of the Torchwood Archive, and the mysterious and damaged head of Torchwood Cardiff. Apparently being mentally disturbed was one of the first requirements to rise to the top at Torchwood.

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Woop, yet another chapter which I had exactly planned which didn't go exactly to plan. I hope you enjoy and like what I've done with the place. Please give me feedback, cos I'm a little fish swimming in a sea of madness and I'm not sure that I'm going in the right direction. I think I'm heading towards the end of the story but beyond that... Who knows? So feedback on it would be extremely helpful.

I think I should point out my general time frame for this. I think that the Battle of Canary Wharf was between the Christmas with the Sycorax and the Christmas with Astrid, and as one Christmas is before the battle and one is after Jack leaves, that leaves only one left to be the setting for Out of Time, which is the one with Donna. As a couple of months have passed since the Doctor and Rose were on Earth last in Love and Monsters, which also appears to be set a couple of months after their last visit for Christmas, so call it five months in total, putting that in May. That leaves us with a total of seven months maximum before Out of Time, possibly less. There are three months between Everything Changes and They Keep Killing Suzie, but we also need to leave time for Ianto to have got settled in before Gwen. As good as he is, I'm going to have him there by the start of June, settled in for Gwen's arrival (and with Myfanwy settled in and accustomed to Suzie) by the end of August, so she starts there at the start of September. This sets TKKS at the start of November (call it the 1st, 'cos it's my best friend's birthday) and gives us two months for Random Shoes before Out of Time (hey, we like to fit our own adventures with them in there too!) This means that by the time this is set (about a week after One Week finishes), Lisa has been dead two weeksish or a maximum of seven months, counting from Cyberwoman or the Battle respectively, call it five and a half to fit stuff around it

To summarise, this is set five and a half months after the Battle of Canary Wharf and only two after Cyberwoman.


Ianto straightened his tie nervously and got out of the car. He leant against it to take in the sight of the place where he had worked for four years, the place where everything he had dreamt of had come crashing down around him and he had been shown wonders beyond his wildest dreams. Here he’d fallen in love, learnt about the mysteries of the universe, found himself, lost everything else and ended up in a world that would never let him go. And now, less than a year later, he was back here for someone else. Funny old world.

He glanced at his watch and noted that he was about ten minutes early, but headed in anyway. Someone would be there at this time, and it might give him a chance to pry. Jack had told him what they needed to know, how best to approach it, what to do should the Doctor appear. Ianto felt ready for what was practically his first field mission for Torchwood 3. Pushing through the revolving doors he flashed his ID at a UNIT security guard and made his way to the counter to wait. He used the time to survey the room and its few occupants. As well as the security guard and his partner there were two UNIT representatives whose ID badges identified them as Colonel Mace and S Jones conversing in a corner, a middle aged woman with auburn hair who smiled at him nervously and clutched her handbag tightly and a young, frazzled looking woman who was being harassed by a government official.

Pretending to be moving to study a pile of leaflets he moved closer to be able to hear their conversation.

“Look, Office Monkey, get these files sorted. I don’t care if the Queen of England is coming today, these files need filing and I’m not sticking around to do it. I’m going to report you to your superior. You think you’re so clever because you work for the high and mighty Torchwood, but Torchwood is nothing now, just a washed out filing system and I don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with it.”

She took the files from him and set them on the counter before leaning back on it to regard him carefully, “I think you’ll find that my only immediate superior is the Queen of England.” He smirked more broadly but slightly nervously, “And possibly the head of UNIT or the UN, but officially I can ignore anything they say to me. My name is Jane Doe and I run this washed out government filing cabinet, which from here on in will be working tirelessly to protect you and your family so I suggest that you leave now and send someone with some manners in future.”

He bristled and Ianto knew that he wasn’t the only one tuned into the conversation now, “Are you threatening me girl?”

That was a mistake, Doe stood upright and advanced on him, “No, I was just pointing out how important my job is compared to yours, and how little time I have to waste on you.” He flinched back, then turned on his heel and walked out through the revolving door. The guards and UNIT representatives relaxed visibly.

Ianto took a moment to study Miss Jane Doe. She was quite a bit shorter than he was, five foot seven at a guess, although the high heels could put him out by an inch or more. He guessed that she was probably in her late teens or early twenties, probably the former, picked straight from Sixth Form, degrees weren’t much use at Torchwood after all. She wore a black skirt with a white blouse, black Mary-Janes and a bright blue scarf, which matched the blue streaks in her hair but, interestingly enough, not the rainbow striped pencil holding it up in a tight bun. Her eyes were brilliant blue and reminded him of Jack’s, especially the way they were currently blazing with anger. After a moment the fire left her eyes and she sighed, relaxing her tense shoulders and shaking her head slightly. As though oblivious to the people watching her, she turned back to the files and flipped through them before slipping behind the desk and filing them neatly in the cabinets behind there. She did something at the computers and then looked up properly, smiling as she met his eyes for the first time across the counter, “Government officials, eh? Their department is always the most important.” He offered.

She laughed and it was a beautiful sound, full of vitality and the joy of youth, a sound he’d long since lost to Torchwood, Ianto dreaded the day when it happened to her too, “Yeah, tell me about it. And I have the extraordinary good luck to work just around the corner from them. At least you’re in Cardiff, most of them wouldn’t notice if it just ceased to exist entirely.”

His face must have been a picture of astonishment but he tried to cover it, “You sound like a Welshman, except for the northern accent. Where are you from?”

Jane winked at him as she came around the desk and extended a hand, which he took almost nervously, she was so full of confidence, “Apart from the accent, which kind of gives the game away as we have only one Welshman coming today, it’s on your name-tag…”

He blushed and rolled his eyes, “I always forget the little details.”

“Really?” she’d raised an eyebrow and clearly didn’t believe him

“Well, no. Not normally. I guess today’s an exception.”

“We’ll make exceptions for you today, it must be hard. I’m sorry about Lisa, it must be hard to lose someone like that, especially after you fought so hard to save her.” He knew he was gaping now, but he couldn’t help it, part of him was angry too, “I’m sorry I read the report, I know it’s none of my business, but after what happened here, I decided to find out everything I could about the cybermen. When the report came through the computer picked it out. Captain Harkness is a good man.” She looked decidedly uncomfortable, “I wish I had a boss like him to look up to at the moment, but like I say; there’s only her Majesty above me.” She shrugged, “Don’t worry, I’m going to leave well alone in Cardiff. They say these days that free radicals are good for us.” A half smile ghosted across her young face and he returned it tensely but was extremely relieved when the auburn haired woman came across to them to introduce herself as Sarah-Jane Smith, an investigative journalist. Jane immediately launched into a discussion about the Doctor and Ianto reflected that staying ahead of her would be hard work if she chose to interfere.

Within a very short while the foyer had filled up with people of all nationalities and a huge variety of uniforms. As well as UNIT people from around the world he recognised the uniform of Liberty Towers, the pro-Doctor American equivalent of Torchwood, a few former companions of the Doctor, some of his old friends from Torchwatch and a couple from Australia. They really were keen for the whole world to see. He was just about to go over to speak to Mark, a friend from Torchwatch when he saw Doe approaching him through the crowd. She flashed him a bright but brittle smile as she arrived and laid a hand on his arm, having to stand on tip-toes to reach his ear and make herself heard over the noise of the other guests, “Ianto, whilst I remember, will you stay behind after the meeting. It won’t last long, but there’s something I want to show you in private.” She looked nervous, so he nodded silently but his throat was dry, he had no idea what she wanted and the idea of being alone with her made him nervous. Which was frankly ridiculous. She was just a kid, definitely younger than him, extremely attractive, very intelligent and running a secret organisation which dealt with aliens. She knew about Lisa, she knew what should have been done, would he ever make it home?

He banished the thoughts from his mind when he caught sight of her relieved smile and managed a smile in return; she turned and headed for the staircase where she ascended a couple of steps and clapped her hands, catching everyone’s attention to inform them that the meeting would be taking place in a conference room on the next floor, if they would care to follow her?

They followed her up the wide staircase to a long corridor that he knew ever so well. Leading off it were large rooms, which had been the research labs. Judging by the signs over the doors now they were archiving rooms organised by some numerical system. He couldn’t deny it, although Owen would laugh at him for weeks about it, he was extremely interested. He’d never yet found a system apart from alphabetical that worked properly.

At the end of the corridor a large presentation room had been turned into a conference room with a long, glass topped table in the middle and a projection screen at one end. In front of every seat along the table were a file and a pad of A4 paper with a plain black pen. No flashy logos here. Doe caught his eye and grinned, either she was a mind reader or she’d noticed the puzzled glance at the pen, because he knew that that’s what she was laughing at. There didn’t seem to be set seats, apart from five at the head of the table, so he sat down between Sarah Jane Smith and Sally Jones of UNIT and watched Miss Jane Doe carefully. She had one eyebrow raised in amusement and seemed to be studying the arrangement in the same way that he was studying her. Once everyone had sat down she picked up her pen and span it between her fingers almost nervously, then flicked a loose strand of hair away from her face and smiled brightly.

“Thank you all for coming today. I know that today is the last thing many of you wanted to see, some more than others, so I’m extremely grateful to you all. I also know that some of you have had…” she rolled her eyes and puffed her cheeks out, “let’s call them problems, with our recruitment procedure. I assure you that I wasn’t aware of the messages being sent until I got a less than polite letter from Captain Harkness telling me to leave his team alone.” Ianto fought the blush and smiled shyly at her in response to a similar one, Jack had that effect on people, “Anyway.” She glared at the ceiling for a moment and then looked back down, “There will be no more of that, although any applications to transfer here will be given thorough consideration if anyone ever wants a bit of peace and quiet or a period of convalescence. The Torchwood Archive is purely that, a great big filing cabinet for anything extraterrestrial. As you are probably aware, we have the remaining files from Torchwood 1 and copies of all the computerised files in your archives. What this means is that access to these files will be considerably sped up, because not only are they all in the same place but they will also be better organised.” Well, and here she grinned at his, again! “In some cases at least. Basically, my team spend their lives putting together the tiny-huge things in your reports which will only make sense when coupled with a similarly tiny thing in someone else’s report and which will make someone’s job much, much easier in the future.”

She looked at the ceiling again as if searching for inspiration, then stared at the surface of the table for a moment, “Sorry, I seem to have deviated a bit there. My next point should have been introductions.” After a rapid whirl round the table, Ianto realised that his old friends hadn’t yet been accounted for and were looking rather smug. Also that they hadn’t recognised him until she introduced him, he felt rather miffed. “Which leads me back to the top of the table,” she was saying, “and Torchwatch, or the surviving members of it. Normally conspiracy theorists are the bane of our lives, digging where we don’t want them to, putting half the information together and still getting the right answer, hacking into things and changing our passwords or blowing up Number Ten. And Torchwatch are, without a doubt, the most annoying. The late, great Mickey Smith was with them for a while and caused more trouble than we could possibly have imagined, as was Ianto over there.” Seriously, did she fancy him or something? “So I did the only sensible thing. Once they’d crashed my systems twice in one day, I Rick-rolled their computers and hired them. Allow me to introduce my team: Mark Bond, Alicia Devon, Hannah Trigg and Lucy Trigg.” The team now grinned broadly at the looks of stupefaction from around the table and Mark caught his eye, sending him an exaggerated wink. All Ianto could think was that this woman was brilliant, the organisations had been hand-picking their agents from them for years, but they’d never just hired a full team. It was either brilliance or stupidity.

Several hours later and they had returned to the conference room after a tour of the archives and the rest of the facility and even Ianto’s hand was full of the information they’d been given. He looked up from the notes he’d made when someone set a cup of coffee down in front of him. Smiling gratefully he took a nervous sip and discovered that, whilst it wasn’t up to his standard, it was a decent cup of coffee. He leant back and looked around the room again, watching as small groups formed to discuss the day’s events. Doe was circulating again, saying goodbye to a group who had to leave to catch their flight home, giving instructions to her team, exchanging email addresses with one of the UNIT guards and annoying Colonel Mace enormously. He didn’t know anything about her, had only just met her, didn’t even know if he could trust her, but Ianto knew that he liked her.

He drank some more of his coffee and watched more people depart, then felt a hand on his shoulder. Spinning round, he found himself face to face with Mark and Hannah and grinned, “So you two finally got together then? Congratulations.” They laughed and dragged him off to one of the side rooms where the old team were gathered cross-legged on the floor, just like the old days.

“Bloody Hell Yan, you mean you actually got in? When?” Lucy laughed as she tugged him down.

“About five years ago now, about the time I disappeared from meetings.”

“And we thought you’d found someone.” Mark mused, wrapping an arm around Hannah, but he saw the look crossing Ianto’s face and grew concerned, “What’s up?”

Ianto shook himself, “I did, she got me a job there.”

“Oh God.” Alicia paled and put her hands over her mouth, “The Battle?” he nodded silently, memories threatening to overwhelm him. He needed Jack to hold him and tell him everything was alright, but Jack was a good two hours drive away, “I’m so sorry Yan.”

“Yeah, well…” he sighed heavily, “that’s Torchwood. I hope you lot know what you’re getting yourselves in to.”

“Oh come on Yan, you know what happened to LINDA, and Colin.” They nodded, “We’re safer in here than we are outside. As soon as we poke our noses in it’s curtains. And we’re safe here, except from papercuts.”

“Yeah, the papercuts are a nightmare.”

“Don’t forget shutting your fingers in the filing cabinets or burning yourself on the coffee machine.” Ianto offered as he leaned back against the wall

They stared at him, “You’ve actually done that?”

He scoffed, “Don’t be daft, but I know someone who has.” Owen, he grinned

“Do tell?” Alicia pulled her knees up to her chest and smiled wickedly. The young Welshman relaxed in the company of his friends and vowed silently to keep in touch this time. When he’d joined Torchwood he’d severed his ties in an attempt to keep them safe, now they were on the other side of the line though…

He glanced at his watch and realised that over an hour had passed. Standing up he apologised to the others and promised to email them, before going off in search of the mysterious Jane Doe. He started in the conference room, which was empty, and then headed for her office the other end of the corridor. When he got there he pushed the door open gently and was surprised by what he saw. Jane was sitting at her desk with her head in her hands and her shoulders hunched. Her hair was loose around her shoulders and curled slightly around her face and she’d changed the stark white blouse for a soft, pink sweater. She looked so young and so vulnerable that his heart bled for her. She was far too young to carry the weight of an organisation like this; even Jack was too young for that weight. He took the opportunity to look round the room, which had once belonged to the head researcher. Back then it had had bits of alien technology and books of essays on the bookshelves, potted plants in the corners and photos of his wife, their three children and their first grandchild on the desk. Now the bookshelves were full of science-fiction novels, the corner held a table with a lava lamp and the walls had posters of classic rock bands, but there were no photos; no sign that the girl behind the desk had any sort of family or friends.

She didn’t seem to have noticed his arrival, so he moved around silently and rested a hand gently on her shoulder, which made her jump in shock. “Sorry, Ianto. I thought you’d gone home, I was just…”

He smiled and pulled away again, shaking his head as he did so, “Are you alright?” he asked worriedly

“Yeah, just one of those days, you know? When the moment you wake up you want it to be over.” They shared a smile, oh he knew those days well, “Anyway, I wanted to show you this before anyone else because, well, it will mean more to you than most.” She stood up and led the way to the lift, then pressed the button for the top floor.

As he followed her, Ianto realised that they were going to the void room, where the Ghost Shift had been operated from. The last time he had been here it had been a mess, desks and paper all over the place, bodies… He shut that thought down hurriedly and looked around now. The room had been emptied, like most of the other rooms, but it hadn’t been refilled with cabinets or servers like the others. It was just a wide empty space. In the next room, where there had been empty space to operate the shift there was instead a sculpture, like a fountain but with a cascade of glass. The walls had been painted black, with white or silver engraving all over. As he went forwards to look at the sculpture, Jane pressed a button on a remote and the main lights went out, to be replaced by rainbow faceted light coming from inside the fountain and splintering through the glass. “It’s beautiful.” He whispered, feeling like he was in some sacred, hallowed place.

Jane didn’t seem to be listening though, instead she was staring at the engraving on the wall, which were now glowing dimly in the light from the fountain. “We don’t know what this metal is, it was found under the Yucatan Peninsula and is believed to have come from the meteorite which killed the dinosaurs. It doesn’t reflect visible light, so there’s ultra-violet light in with the colours in the fountain. The effect is quite extraordinary, don’t you think?” her voice was sad, so he came to her shoulder and studied the engravings. He felt her take his hand and looked at her briefly, aware that the shock must be showing on his face and determined not to let her see his tears. She squeezed his hand as he looked back at the name in front of him, “I wanted to do something to remember them, the people who gave their lives to defend us. And one day, I hope, everyone will be able to come in here and remember them. Lest we forget.”

He raised his free hand and traced her name with the tip of his finger; his voice was barely a whisper, “Lisa.”He

galadriel1010: (Default)

Author's Note: Whoops, sory for the long delay, I went on holiday. This one is turning out to be much harder to write than I expected, and also much darker. I can't seem to find a way to cheer Jack up (you'll see what I mean). Next chapter should be much faster, as it's more on the original plot line. I've also had the best idea for a crossover, that's going to be cracking, but way way way in the future. If I can refrain from writing it that is...

OK, waffle over, I don't own anything in here. Anything that's original I give to my cat, he'll know what to do with it...


Jack stared unseeingly at the computer screen as it logged in. They hadn’t talked about the night before, he’d woken up to the sound of Ianto showering, and then they had made breakfast together and gone to work without mentioning the fact that they’d spent the night in each other’s arms. And Jack really wanted to talk about it, because it had felt so right, he didn’t know if he could live his life without Ianto anymore.

He was startled from his thoughts by the arrival if a cup of coffee and the day’s post in the company of the man haunting his thoughts. Stammering out a thank you he turned his attention hurriedly to the post as the young Welshman watched him. After a moment he looked up and smiled at Ianto, trying to hide his conflicting emotions, “Anything I can do for you Ianto?” he asked.

“No, Jack, I just wanted to say thank you, for last night.” And then he was gone before Jack could form a reply.

Pushing the thoughts to the back of his mind he went through the post, very little in these days of instant internet communications, and semi-filed it to make Ianto’s job easier, then turned to the internet communications he’d received. As well as the requests for information from other organisations, Facebook notifications, news shots and the usual dross that slipped through the filters, there was one message that drove everything else from his mind. He swore fiercely and startled Gwen who had just appeared in the doorway.

“Jack? What’s up?” she asked tentatively

“Oh.” He started up almost guiltily, but then his face became stony again, “Is Owen in?”

“No, I don’t think so. Why, has he…”

“Well as soon as he gets in I want you to gather everyone in the conference room. I’ll be there soon.” He interrupted. As she hurried away he advanced through further security levels and started serious research into activities of the last few months.

About quarter of an hour later, Jack strode into the conference room with a sheaf of papers. He plonked them down in this usual place and leant on the back of the chair, a sure sign that things weren’t right at Torchwood. They had only ever seen him this angry twice before, when he had found out about Suzie and then about Lisa. Ianto shifted uncomfortably, as he was well aware that the others would all be thinking about the last time. Jack broke the atmosphere by pulling his chair out noisily, for which the young man was extremely grateful.

Jack smiled at him tensely and pulled the sheaf of papers across to himself. “OK, before any of you gets any more uncomfortable, you haven’t done anything wrong.” They stared at him, “I got a message this morning, from Torchwood 1. They return to full operation on Monday.”

“What!?” Tosh and Owen yelled together. They looked as angry as he felt, Gwen looked confused and a bit scared, but Ianto was pale, clearly being swept along by a wave of painful memories. Jack wanted to take his hand to reassure him, but without knowing what their relationship was, let alone how they felt about it, or each other…

He did anyway, and Ianto’s eyes snapped to his, focusing on the here-and-now, “Sorry sir, I…”

Jack shook his head and smiled again, then released Ianto’s hand and turned back to the team, “Yep, it’s going to be called the Torchwood Archive, but it’s at Canary Wharf and…”

“What’s the difference?” Owen asked angrily, “After what they did! No offence Tea-boy, but they were shut down for a bloody good reason. Is there any way we can stop it?”

“It’s a sign of how angry I am that I actually considered it Owen, but we can’t. Officially it’s solely a research and archiving facility.”

“Officially?”

“Yeah, officially. How long that’ll last I don’t know.”

“So what can we do?” Gwen asked, trying to glean as much from the conversation as possible.

Jack frowned, “They have organised a meeting for all the agencies on Monday. They want to show us all their systems and how amazing and different to the old Torchwood 1 they are. Someone’s got to go and find out what’s going on, I suspect whoever goes won’t be the only one trying to get below the surface. If a couple of you go you can team up with someone from UNIT or, what’s the American one called? Liberty Towers, that’s the one. Find out what you can, then report back.”

“Why don’t you go?” Owen asked

“Because I’ve not made that many friends amongst the other organisations in my time here, and the last thing we need is me locking horns with Colonel Mace or whoever turns up.”

“I’ll do it.” Ianto even seemed to startle himself when he spoke but he sounded determined, “I’m the archivist, you lot won’t have a clue what’s going on there. Besides, I know my way around better than any of you.” He winced at the reminder and seemed to shrink back inside himself again.

Jack stared at him intensely and searched his face for any indications of his emotional state, “Are you sure? I’ll come if you want me to?”

He shook his head and smiled slightly, not entirely sure who he was trying to convince, “No, I’ll be fine.”

He hesitated a moment before nodding his approval, “OK, well the rest of us would be clueless anyway.”

“Probably, I still have nightmares about your filing system sir.”

“Cheeky.” He grinned his trademark hundred-watt grin and stood up, “Right. Ianto, I want you to tap your contacts at the other organisations and find out what they know, then make sure you know everything you need to for Monday. Owen, finish that autopsy, I want to know everything about her from birth to death. Tosh, I want you to keep working to find out what that thing I and try something else with the spam filter, someone keeps trying to sell me porn.”

“Well if you will keep buying it…” Owen muttered in a stage whisper

Jack grinned at him, “Not my type Owen. Gwen, come with me, you need to know what’s going on.”

She exchanged glances with the others and rested a hand on Ianto’s shoulder as she followed Jack out of the door, hearing the others leaving behind her, and went up to his office where he held the door open for her. The Captain gestured to the other seat and settled behind the desk, resting his chin on one hand to stare at her. It was extremely disconcerting, his eyes were so old compared to the rest of him, and so intelligent compared to the stuff he said sometimes. “So… You finished staring at me?”

“For the moment, I just wondered how you were taking this. Tell me Gwen Cooper, what’s running through your mind?”

“Ianto and Lisa worked for Torchwood 1, didn’t they?” He nodded, “So can we trust him? He volunteered very quickly to go back there and declined any help…”

“Do you trust him?” Jack asked sharply

“Yes.” She didn’t even need to think about it, she knew how badly his betrayal had hurt him, how he still struggled to cope with it, “Do you?”

Jack had the same lack of hesitation, “Yes. I know him, I…” he shook himself and smiled, “We can trust him. How much do you know about Torchwood 1?”

“Not a lot, Tosh and Owen don’t like to talk about it, I’ve never even tried with Ianto, Tosh told me when I joined about Lisa, but that was when we thought she’d died.”

He sighed and his eyes trailed away from her to a point somewhere in the distance, probably another time. “Torchwood was founded in Scotland to respond to any alien threat, but one in particular: The Doctor. He met Queen Victoria and saved her life. In return she founded the Torchwood Institute to hunt him down. Originally it was in Torchwood House near Aberdeen, for about six months, before a specially designed facility was built in London. They built on it for years and years, spreading and opening offices in Glasgow and Cardiff, both hotspots of paranormal activities, and I came to Cardiff searching for… Well, I was here for a purpose and it wasn’t Torchwood.” He didn’t know why, but he wasn’t ready to tell Gwen about the Doctor. Tosh knew, Ianto knew, but Gwen… “And let’s say that my participation wasn’t voluntary, not to start with at least. I’m not from this planet, not originally, so I’m a threat. Especially because I’m loyal to Torchwood’s worst enemy.”

“So how did you end up in charge?”

He closed his eyes, but before he did she caught a glimpse of pain, a deep and burning agony that ripped her heart apart. When he spoke it was brittle and broken, “I was the only one, there was no one else who could take over, no one else who knew.” He appeared to pull himself together, “And it was either that or let Torchwood 1 take over. And I wasn’t going to let that happen. Torchwood 1 were misguided to begin with, but they were inquisitive, they just wanted to know about the mysteries of space and to be able to protect the Earth. But before very long it had gone wrong. They had such power, and such technology. Can you imagine what a Victorian would do with a tazer? And from then on they started to use what they found for their benefit. No, actually, I’m being unfair. As soon as the empire started to fail they started developing technology to allow Britain to be the first to build an empire in space. That’s why there’s been no attempt really to retain the empire, because they know they’ll have one in the future.”

“And Torchwood expected to control it?”

“They did control it. They would have completely, they had so much. And Yvonne was a good woman, she believed that what she was doing was right, she was doing it to help. But it went wrong because they couldn’t stop messing. You know our policy, don’t press any buttons if you don’t know what they do. But Torchwood 1 had a policy more of push every button you find, and the more buttons they pushed, the more likely they were to find the one that would destroy the world.”

“What button did they push?”

He leaned back and put his hands behind his head, frowning slightly, “I don’t quite understand it, but basically they found a point where the dimensions were closer together than normal, or there was a weak point between them, and they decided to build the tower to reach it to investigate it. So far so good, until a sphere came through, but it wasn’t entirely there, or it was more there than they were. It wasn’t properly in this dimension I don’t think. And as well as the sphere, cybermen came through and started working behind the scenes to prepare an invasion, gaining strength. That was the ghosts. And then one day, the Doctor found out, he went to Canary Wharf, arrested actually, and they all came through, cybermen, Daleks, the lot. And he stopped it. I know he did, because his friend was on the list of the dead there. He saved the world again, but at such a cost.”

His eyes were full of such loss that she reached forwards and placed a hand on his knee, the only part of him she could reach. “You knew her?”

Jack took a deep breath and leant forwards again, “Yes, I knew her.”

“You loved her?”

A mysterious smile lit up his face, it was unlike anything she had ever seen, a mixture of sadness, happiness and mystery, “Yes, in a way. I loved them all, in different ways. I’m glad that, that I had a chance to say good-bye, even though it was long before she died, I said good-bye properly the last time I saw her.” He waved a hand and dismissed the subject, “After the battle Torchwood 1 was shut down completely on the orders of the Queen, but now it’s being restarted with a different set of instructions and goals.”

“And you don’t trust them?” Gwen frowned slightly

“Not as far as I could throw them. From what I can tell, UNIT are more involved than I would like them to be. I don’t trust them these days.”

“What do you mean, these days? Did you once?”

“Oh yes, completely. Alastair and Liz and all that lot were wonderful. The Doctor was heavily involved back in the 1970s and worked with them, they were like me, moulded and sculpted by him into fighters, rather than just soldiers. But the last of his… his children I guess, was Major Muriel Frost, who died in Downing Street back in 2006.”

“I remember that, that spaceship crashed into Big Ben and then Downing Street was blown up. I never imagined it could be true until I joined you lot, then I never imagined it could be a hoax.”

Jack looked sad again, “Yes, it was real. And people remember the crash and the explosion, but they never remember what came between, the deaths of the leading alien experts in the world. I knew all of them, I lost some of my closest friends that day. And I couldn’t go, couldn’t see them one last time.”

“I’m sorry, Jack.” She knew it wasn’t enough, but she had to say something, “What happened?”

“It was an alien criminal family, I don’t know how they killed them, most of the bodies were damaged beyond recognition by the explosion. The Slitheen they were called, and every day I dread meeting one of them again, because all I can do is send them to their deaths.”

“Don’t you want to?” His eyes, had they ever been that expressive and open; that full of pain?

“I’ve died more times than I could possibly count, Gwen. I’ve died in some of the most painful ways possible, and I would do anything to spare anyone that pain. Even a Slitheen.” He shook his head, trying to drag himself away from the dark pit that had lurked at the heart of his soul for as long as he could remember and which grew every year. God he needed Ianto to protect him, “But that’s beside the point, what matters is that Colonel Mace and his trigger-happy team have risen to the top and now there’s no-one in their place.”

“So what can we do?” she asked, worried by the defeated tone in Jack’s voice.

He rubbed his eyes and sighed, “I don’t know yet if there’s anything we need to do. Until Ianto gets back, until we know their policies, until we know if we need to oppose them…”

“They could agree with us, with you. They could be pro-Doctor.”

“They could, or they could be anti. And if they are…” he thought it through, “If they are against us, then we’ve got to get someone in there. We’ve got to, and I hate saying it, we’ve got to take control somehow, change their policies.”

“What’s the matter?” Jack sounded distraught; he avoided her eyes and stared instead at the empty coffee mug on his desk

“The only option I can think of is to get Ianto in there. He’s an archivist, he’s the best to send to an archive facility.” She could see the sense and told him so, but he shook his head, “I can’t do that. I can’t send him back there where there are so many memories. It’s bad enough that he’s going on Monday, but working there. He saw the aftermath of the battle, I know the kind of memories that linger after something like that.” Downing Street, Canary Wharf, the graveyards of Northern Europe. He wiped a lone tear from his cheek and looked back at Gwen to find her staring at him in compassion, as he choked back a sob she stood up and pulled him into her arms, holding him as he cried at the painful memories flooding him. But it was wrong, it felt wrong in Gwen’s arms, it should be Ianto. He cried harder at the realisation, choking out, “And I can’t let him go, I’ll lose you all, I can’t lose you any sooner than I have to.”

She rubbed his back soothingly, muttering soft nothings into his hair, she’d never seen him like this, never imagined that Jack could even be like this. He was so strong. The door opened slightly and she looked up to see Ianto watching them with concern. Pleading with him silently with her eyes to leave them, she tightened her arms around Jack protectively; he hadn’t yet noticed Ianto’s arrival. The young man surprised her, however, by advancing into the room and kneeling next to them on the floor. He rested his hand on Jack’s shoulder and looked at Gwen over Jack’s head, “I’ll look after him, don’t worry.”

Jack felt Gwen release him and panicked slightly at the loss, he needed someone even if it wasn’t Ianto, but before more than a couple of seconds had passed someone else had taken hold of his and wrapped him in a tight embrace. Someone stronger, warmer, more solidly reassuring: Ianto. As soon as the realisation seeped into his consciousness he shifted to cling on to his young friend. Just his being there helped calm Jack considerably and he pulled away after a few minutes, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. Ianto was smiling at him sadly. “Oh Jack, what’s the matter with you?” He reached out to brush hair off Jack’s forehead, an intimate gesture that took them both by surprise.

Jack dropped his eyes, “Bad memories, sometimes it gets a bit…”

“Too much?” his voice was full of understanding and compassion; he hadn’t yet let go of Jack. All the immortal wanted to do was sink into his arms and stay there forever, but he couldn’t. No one could give him forever.

“Yeah, one hundred years of life and death can be overwhelming.” His tone was bitter and Ianto pulled him closer, his heart breaking for the pain his friend had suffered over the years. “Anyway, enough about me.” He pulled away and rested his hands on Ianto’s arms, keeping him close to search his face, “Are you OK with going back there? Really? If you want me there…”

Ianto shook his head firmly, “No, but thank you. Aside from the fact that I’ve had confirmation that Colonel Mace is attending…” Jack winced, “I’ve got demons to fight, and it’s something I need to do alone.”

“OK, but we’ll be here, I’ll be here, when you get back.”

Ianto smiled and stood up, separating himself from Jack and gesturing to the coffee mug, “Refill, sir?”

The Captain smiled to cover the sudden emptiness, realising that the moment was over, they were back at work and they were nothing more than friends. Never would be, never could be. Ianto was there when he needed him, he was there when Ianto needed him, but the rest of the time… “Ianto, thank you.”

galadriel1010: (Default)

Author's Note: AU rewritey bit, plus fluff. Where on Earth is this going? Well we know, but they don't. If you like, please review. It won't make me write any more or less, but everyone likes to feel loved :) Especially Jack

I apologise for the abstract bit. It was 2 in the morning and it made me laugh, so I put it in. I won't argue with inspiration when it comes.

He gave orders confidently, hiding his own terror behind layers of flirting and assurance, but he couldn’t hide it from himself. He prayed to a God he’d never even known about until he met her that He’d keep her safe, that she’d get out of this alive. He knew that he wouldn’t, but she was so young, she couldn’t die like this, not with all the wonders of life and the universe ahead of her.

People were looking to him for guidance, for a hero, how the Hell had that happened? What he’d said to the Doctor, it wasn’t true, he was safer as a coward, but he’d never have known this wonderful mix of pain and pleasure that was falling in love, falling so hard that there was no return. Jack only half paid attention to the communications flying around, his training enabling him to pick out what was relevant to his defences and filter out what wasn’t, so he heard when Lynda told them that the Daleks were on the ship, but he listened fully in horror when she said that they were going down as well as up.

Please, no.” He begged silently, not wanting anyone else to see his terror when they relied on him, but almost unable to control it, so strong was the urge to break down and scream. She was going to die and there was nothing he could do. Down on the bottom level people started screaming, which meant that the monsters had arrived. He struggled to hear her voice, but he knew it was useless because she wouldn’t scream. But he heard her, yelling above them all,

Will you please SHUT UP! Thank you. We’re all going to die, but we can at least do it quietly.”

You will be extermin…”

Yeah, yeah, I had kinda guessed. But you know what, it doesn’t matter, not for me, because I know I won’t see Jack again whether I survive or not, and without him life wouldn’t be worth living. There’s a difference between living and existing, and I don’t want to exist without him, I want to live or die with him, because a life without love isn’t worth living.” Her voice was full of fear, and pain but still so strong, and so full of love. Jack knew what was coming and wished that the communications channels would be shut off, so he wouldn’t have to hear what came next, but there was no escaping it.


”Then live no more.” The sound of a blast from a Dalek weapon rang out and he knew she was gone, because a part of him had just died.

He sobbed awake and felt the tears already soaking the pillow beneath his head. The pain was still so close, a never-ending part of him that just cut afresh every day without her. In all the years she’d been gone he’d never truly moved on, because he couldn’t. How did you move on from someone who hadn’t even been born yet, who you knew you would see laughing happily with you one day? Now the times when he could see her were gone, in her timeline she was gone, he’d found her friends and told them, and now the void had truly hit him. It was like he’d only really lost her a couple of years ago.

The agony consumed him again and he cried, waves of pain consuming his whole being. He didn’t feel the strong arms gathering him up, or hear the soothing words his friend muttered into his hair as he cried. It was a long time before he realised that he wasn’t alone, and when he did he was embarrassed and pulled away. Ianto watched him in concern and indicated the glass of water he’d placed on the bedside table. Jack took it gratefully and stared into it, as though wishing he could lose himself in it. After a while he took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then looked up at Ianto properly for the first time, “Thanks.” The younger man just nodded and settled down on the bed in a way that indicated that he wasn’t going anywhere any time soon, for which Jack was grateful. “Well that was… weird.” He said after another long pause when he finally trusted himself to say more than one word.

“Weird in what way?” Ianto asked

“How many ways are there for a dream to be weird?” he pondered, avoiding the question.

He was grateful again when the young Welshman went with the flow, “Well, there’s the ‘that hasn’t happened yet but wouldn’t it be cool if it did?’ the ‘that happened yesterday but not quite like that’, the ‘that’s frankly impossible or highly improbable’ and the old favourite, ‘I had too much cheese last night’ type of weird.”

“Does cheese really give weird dreams?”

“I don’t know, I avoid it on principle because my dreams are weird enough. You know, pterodactyls flying around under Cardiff, aliens living in the sewers, nuclear warheads turning into baby whales and geraniums.”

“I always wondered about the geraniums myself.”

“Any dream which involves geraniums must be beyond the usual weird.”

“Yeah…”

“It’s a rule I’ve lived by all my life.” He added.

“Have you ever had cause to use it?” Jack asked, intrigued

“Once.” His face was unreadable, so Jack took the plunge

“Oh?”

“Yes, about a minute ago, actually. It came up in conversation.” He finally gave up and laughed out loud at the bemused expression in his friend’s face, “Sorry, I shouldn’t go abstract at this time of the morning.”

Jack smiled tensely but genuinely and shuffled backwards to lean on the wall behind the bed, so Ianto swung properly onto the bed and propped himself up in a reversal of their usual positions. The thought made them both smile simultaneously and then laugh out loud; Jack could feel the tension ebbing away in the companionship. He reached across to his bedside table and grabbed a bar of dark chocolate from on top of his book and broke a piece off, passing the rest to Ianto, who did the same. Finally, as if as an afterthought, Jack glanced at the clock, did an amusing double take and swore.

“Did I wake you?” He asked guiltily

“Yes, but I wasn’t sleeping properly anyway. You’re not about to apologise are you?” The look on Jack’s face told him that he was, “Well, don’t. After the number of times I’ve woken you, it’s only fair.” He smiled gently, trying to reassure his friend.

“Yeah, but I’m supposed to look after you, not the other way around.”

“On what grounds?” Ianto raised an eyebrow and tried to hide a smirk when Jack adopted his defeated expression. “We’re friends, we’re here for each other. Especially, I note, at two in the morning. And, face it, if you hadn’t woken me I would have woken you. It must be your turn.” He was relieved when Jack smiled slightly again, “So, are you going to tell me what’s up?”

“Jasmine.” He tipped his head back and scowled when it bounced off the wall behind him. Rubbing his head he met Ianto’s eyes again and saw that the young man was hurting for him, he felt like a heel, “Sorry, I just don’t seem to be able to shake her these days. I guess, I just don’t know really. She’s been dead for over one hundred and forty years for me, but last time I saw her was just a couple of years ago. It’s so weird.”

“How did you see her?”

“Time travel, we were travelling together and ended up in Cardiff. And I sort of stumbled across her on her own. She didn’t see me though. She was so brave, a heroine right to the end. But I’m glad I came back instead of her, because I wouldn’t wish immortality on my worst enemy.”

“If you could become mortal, if you could die today, would you?”

“If I could become mortal, yes. But die today, no. I’m not ready.” They sat in silence for a while, each lost in his own thoughts before Jack set the now empty glass on the table and grabbed another lump of chocolate, “I dreamt about her dying, I remembered it really. Her final words.”

“What were they?” Ianto asked, worried by the far-away look on Jack’s face

“A life without love isn’t worth living.” Jack seemed to return to the here and now and looked at Ianto again, “She really believed it. She could have saved herself, she could have lived, but she didn’t want to live without me. I’ve never felt more in love or more guilty, especially when I came back.”

“Do you agree with her?”

“Oh yes, every day. It’s all that kept me going sometimes, kept me living. Because once I stopped loving, I don’t think I’d ever be able to start again.” The look in his eyes was unreadable but he held his hand out to Ianto who took it without hesitation, “Stay here for the rest of the night?”

Ianto just nodded and surprised Jack by moving around to lean against him. Still, he didn’t seem to be complaining as he wrapped an arm around Ianto’s waist and pulled the covers over them both. The younger man curled himself against the immortal captain and held him as they both drifted off to sleep again.

April 2017

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