Slowly Jack walked up the steps and along the path, mulling over what Ianto had told him. Ianto had made a cushion out of his tee-shirt for his knees and was hard at work removing the slick green surface.
Jack stopped to admire the spectacular view. 'Even If I accepted what you say.' Jack reluctantly pulled his attention back took off his tee-shirt rolled it up for his knees and kneeled by Ianto's side. 'You were a hero on the Torchwood. You saved my life at great personal risk, and the ship and its crew. On top of that you worked magic with the array and created the first stable transportation of organic and organic matter.'
Ianto sat back on his heels. 'Let's get something straight: Eugene was the brains behind all that. The concept wasn't one he just pulled out of thin air; he had been working on it for six long years. Eventually given enough time he would have joined the dots. In fact I think it grossly unfair I got the lion's share of the credit. Even Eugene won't give me a pass. I argued till I was blue in the face that his name should go first on the paper he wrote but he won't have any of it. Reckons my contribution was more valuable. I'll say the same thing I said to him: you're giving me credit for building a space transport when all I did was give it a coat of paint.'
'Not sure I fully agree. You made an incredible contribution.' Jack stopped as he saw the pained look on Ianto's face. 'So what about the rest? Saving me, the ship and the crew.' Jack inched forward as he worked his scraper on the stone surface.
'I got lucky.' Ianto moved to keep up with Jack.
'Bollocks,' Jack retorted.
'It was luck. Right place, right time. If I hadn't been where I was I would have been captured along with the rest of you.'
'Okay so you got lucky in one instance, what about the rest?'
'Sheer recklessness,' Ianto admitted. 'Don't get me wrong I was driven to save the crew and you but not caring if I got hurt certainly helped me take the risks I needed too.'
'Are you are telling me you were suicidal?' Jack burst out and straightened up.
'All I'm saying was it helped. It never occurred to me I might successfully take back the ship until we were both safe in the hole let alone rescue the crew. My thinking was in sort of layers. The first priority was to get the beacons away and send for help. Second was the crew member being tortured, attempt a rescue and if that proved impossible end their torment. I was also aware of that if I was captured there was always the chance I might break and hand over the brooch.'
'So you were prepared to kill yourself and me?' Jack stated the obvious.
'It was why I kept telling you not to thank me.'
'What were you going to use? 'Jack was curious.
'Hydroxylthermocyanide, which was the most potent poison I could replicate in an injectable form. As three drops can kill 1000 people I figured a hypo full each would do the job. You first and then myself.'
'Glad it didn't come to that but I thank you for the lengths you went to to end my suffering,' Jack said honestly.
Ianto looked up and smiled weakly then they both went back to clearing the path.
'Recklessness aside. What you did took guts.'
'It wasn't all suicidal recklessness. There were elements I really enjoyed like getting you to safety, finding out miracles can happen and my programme of chaos,' Ianto said as he moved forward to another section of the path. 'Just don't call them heroic.'
'What phrase should we use them?' Jack asked paying attention to a stubborn spot.
'How about bloody minded individual who refused to give up and got lucky.'
'I like that phrase.' Jack grinned.
'What, 'bloody minded individual who refused to give up' or 'I got lucky'?'
'The 'got lucky' part.'
'How do I have this horrible feeling we are back exactly where we were yesterday?' Ianto groaned.
'Are you going to say anything about yesterday?' Jack asked.
'I'm putting what happened down to bad judgement, exhaustion, and a moment of madness on your part,' Ianto said.
'I thought you said you had no complaints?'
'Just because I enjoyed what happened still means what you did was out of order. We were both tired, pushing each other and things got out of hand.'
'My part? 'Jack pointed out.
'Yes, your part,' Ianto said. 'We were both tired, stressed out from the night before.'
'You pushed and pushed and pushed,' Jack told him.
'And you pushed right back,' Ianto said trying to hide what Jack swore was a smile.
'I keep playing the moment over and over,' Jack admitted. 'There was pushing alright but none of it was away.'
'That you will have to explain,' Ianto said knowing full well what Jack meant.
'I think you do,' Jack said. 'There was more want and need in your actions than you care to admit.'
'I was not the one doing the doing,' Ianto said awkwardly. 'And after what I've told you I would have thought you would drop this.'
'By drop you mean now you've revealed what a low life charlatan you are, my feelings would recalibrate to seeing yourself as you do, as someone less than worthy of life's luxuries like love and affection.'
Ianto stopped and fell back on his ankles.
'Everything you say is clouded by this belief you have about yourself. I just don't fully accept that view,' Jack said.
'They do say love is blind,' Ianto threw back.
'No, my eyes are wide open. I have no doubts you are as flawed as the rest of us. But let me correct one thing, you don't get to claim you are more flawed then everyone else. You don't get to hold first prize for being the most imperfect human being because every human being holds first prize equally. So you accepted a medal you felt you didn't deserve? Tish Jones still had her life saved. As for the Diligence you had to think about wanting to save the people who had tormented you to the point of suicide. Ianto, you're not a saint. Hesitation is not a crime. Had you been of a mind to refuse to help your answer would have been an instant and categorical no.'
'This is because just like everyone else you can't face the truth.'
'And the truth is?'
'Everyone wants to make me a hero out of guilt or as some kind of recompense for what happened. I know I am the least worthy recipient of such accolades.'
'This is about what happened to your mother isn't it?' Jack questioned.
Ianto remained silent and went back to the task in hand, hoping that by ignoring Jack he would drop the subject.
'You know what Ianto? I'm going to state for the record. I don't believe you.'
'Why does that not surprise me?' Ianto used his hand to wipe the small section he was working on clean.
'I'm betting there is far more to her death than even you know.'
Ianto shook his head. 'I know the truth.'
'Is this the truth with a small t or capital T?'
'What?' Ianto creased his face in confusion.
'The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,' Jack repeated the oft-used phrase. 'Every witness who takes the stand has to say that phrase.'
'I get that Jack but what does that have to do with what we are talking about?'
You believe your truth with a capital T; you believe you killed your mother. What I'm saying is I suspect you only hold part of the truth, there were other players. One was your mother, where was everyone else? You only hold your part of the truth with a small t.'
'The event was not some made for entertainment vid.' Ianto bristled at the word players.
'I'm not saying it was. What I'm trying to say is you were not the adult there. What twelve year-old fully thinks through the consequences of their actions? Unless you plotted for her to die and set up the act, then I don't believe you killed your mother.'
'I was not twelve I was thirteen,' Ianto corrected him.
'Divert all you want Ianto, I'm stating for the record I don't believe you would have allowed your mother to come to harm under any circumstances. You have your version of the truth. I'm betting no one within your family has ever spoken about it to disavow your version of events.'
'Has it occurred to you they might not need to? I'm guilty Jack, so guilty my father wouldn't speak to me for years. At least I've I made good in their eyes. Charles tolerates me for what I made out of my life. He even entrusted me with the brooch. Now everyone thinks I'm a hero, he can point at me and say that's my nephew as if I'm part of their family. But I'm not or ever will be fully one of them because they know the truth. My mother would be alive if it wasn't for my actions.'
'And what did you do that was so bad?'
'I already told you. I was a rotten spoiled brat. Now I've had enough of this conversation.' Ianto stood and walked down the cleared path and headed towards Alfred who was standing ready with some food.
Jack completed the last section of the pathway by himself. The water was filling the air with a fine mist which made the work very pleasant as the heat of the day increased. Standing he viewed their work. The path was clear; he peered inside the portal to check how much work they needed to do inside. Then he headed back to get something eat.
He found Ianto sitting several steps down, his back to the cliff, cracking some nuts.
Jack joined him and took a handful of nuts.
'I suppose you think I'm a hypocrite for accepting the medal for saving Tish?' Before Jack could even contemplate a reply Ianto continued. 'In my defence I did refuse but then Tish's parents came to see me, followed by Craig's. I've never seen my Dad look prouder and Charles was all puffed up and even Auntie Vera smiled at me. I thought I've hurt them so much especially my Dad.'
'So you felt that accepting was a way of trying to undo some of the past,' Jack reflected.
'Yeah,' Ianto said softly. 'Bad mistake, I've never forgiven myself for caving in.'
'Sound like you beat yourself up a lot.'
'I've good reason to,' Ianto said.
'Can you tell me what happened?'
'You won't believe me so why should I tell you if you are going to doubt everything I say?'
'I don't doubt you believe it's true.'
'Leave it Jack. Anyway we have something more important to deal with.' Like fixing the portal so I can get you home and start working on getting your second chance back,'Ianto thought to himself.
'You've noticed,' Jack said.
Ianto cracked another nut. 'Yes. The solar panels are missing.'
'They could be hidden down the side of the cliff.' Jack pried open a Denoga pod.
'Doesn't make sense. The panels on both islands were positioned to take full advantage of the sun. I've been doing a lot of thinking and it's evident there is a process whereby photonic particles or waves from sunlight react with the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a way to energise the portal. Using Eugene's work as a guide I suspect this is done by splitting away one of the atoms to create enough energy to transmit, with the sun removed it just doesn't work. So there has to be some form of solar panels,' Ianto argued.
'So we are agreed,' Jack said. 'Somewhere on the side of the cliff, above or imbedded, are the panels and we just need to find them. I'll head back to the portal.' Jack stood and stretched.
'I'll go down to the bottom of the cliff and see if it's possible to see if they are in the cliff.' Ianto stood and brushed himself off then watched until he could no longer see Jack then made his way down.
'Any luck?' Jack asked when hours later Ianto stuck his head through the entrance of the portal.
Ianto shook his head. 'The waterfall is creating a mist, and the sides of the cliff are covered in the same green slime. So if they are on the cliff face they are coated. I also walked as far as I could to the left following the cliff to see if there was a secondary set of stairs or way up to the top of the cliff. Then again why would there when there has been a set of stairs already leading up.'
'Disappointing,' Jack said.
'I can see you've been getting on.' Ianto inspected the panels. One island scene looked very familiar. 'That's where we just came from.' Ianto pointed at the island scene. 'The picture is exactly the same as one on Zeta Sigma Three.'
'We know that's a dead end,' Jack continued. 'The middle panel as you can see has nothing. Not sure what that means but the third looks like some sort of wasteland with an oasis.'
'Leave that for now I've got a surprise for you,' Ianto said smiling. 'Or I should say Alfred does.'
His hands aching, Jack was only too happy to agree. He followed to find Alfred waiting at the end of the cleared walkway holding a large woven basket.
As Jack got closer he could see the container was woven from vines that were festooned everywhere. In the basket was a selection of nuts, Denoga pods and another fruit he had never seen before.
'Noaga,' Alfred said holding out the purple fruit.
'Noaga,' Jack repeated. He took the fruit, sniffed it then took a bite. The fruit had a satisfying crunch and juice flowed down his chin. The taste and reminded him of apples but with strong suggestion of ginger. 'This is delicious,' Jack said enjoying the juice which he sucked off his fingers and dripped down his hand.
After licking his fingers clean Jack took a look at the basket. Each strand of vine had been chosen to create a distinct pattern to create a simple but beautiful object.
Alfred basked in pleasure as his handiwork was met with approval. He had enjoyed making it very much. Pointing Alfred led the other and the kind one to where he had been working and showed them the other containers he had made.
Ianto picked and examined what looked like an expanding bag and saw at least two other had been completed. 'These will really come in useful.'
'We can carry more food with us,' Jack reflected Ianto's thinking exactly.
'Well done Alfred,' Ianto said and Jack nodded.
'I'm thinking we should take Alfred back down and get him to show us any more edible food,' Jack suggested as he bit into a Noaga.
'A good idea,' Ianto agreed.
'You agreeing with me two times in as many hours…I don't think I can handle this,' Jack said.
'I've agreed with you more than twice.'
'It's the shock every time you agree with me. My mind does a double take.'
Ianto laughed. 'Double take, not a triple or quadruple.'
'No just double. I want to be precise.'
'Really.' Alfred heard the kind one say.
Sounded like the pair was gearing up for another heated discussion and he wondered where this one might lead. To his surprise it went quiet so he went over the long list of nouns he had now listed. There were general words to describe groups of objects like 'trees.' He had discovered there were a large number of words representing groups of similar objects. Tree, flower, birds, fruit, nut. However when talking about a specific flower, yellow middle with white petals for example, became a daisy, so it was under category flower called a daisy. That made a lot of sense and was no different from any other language he had studied alongside master friend. This of course would be very useful if all he wanted to do was catalogue objects.
What was proving to be difficult were more complex words and their usage. He understood yes and no. Happy, sad, angry, I, him, me, you. Others were more complicated. Did 'spat' mean mouth or the action of removing something from one's mouth by a spat action? All he could do was keep gathering words and try to discern the meaning.
Jack stood, his back to the cliff, munching on a Noaga while he waited for Ianto to return by the steps leading back up to the portal. They were running out of options. Days of looking had not revealed one clue of where the solar panels might be. The frustration was beginning to wear on both of them. In a last ditched effort he had gone left and Ianto had gone right.
They had both agreed to take 5000 steps then return. This had taken Jack to beyond the waterfall but except for several more fruit bearing trees he had found nothing. Not that he expected to. Now Ianto was late getting back, which meant he had possibly done what he was threatening to do: attempt to climb up the cliff. Considering the rock face was so slick meant it would be a very dangerous and foolish endeavour if ever there was one.
Throwing away the core of the finished fruit could hear Ianto moving through the jungle.
'Anything?' Jack asked.
Ianto shook his head, passed Jack and kept walking.
'I've checked that way there is nothing,' Jack said.
'That very much depends on your point of view,' Ianto said.
'There is the waterfall. Unless there is something behind it we can't see then it's a dead end.'
'Exactly,' Ianto replied.
'We are left with two options: climb and see if there is a hidden passage.'
'That is too dangerous,' Jack said catching up with him.
'That's not for you to decide.' Ianto glared back.
'Ianto are you suicidal?'
'I wish I had never told you about that,' Ianto said though gritted teeth.
'Well you did.'
'Not every risk I take is me trying to off myself and we are running out of options.'
'Are you the man who told me it was a bad idea to make a run for it during the storm because either one of getting injured would be a nightmare?' Jack pointed out.
'I'm going to check out the back of the waterfall then I'll climb up to the top,' Ianto said stubbornly.
Jack knew it would be impossible to change Ianto's mind once made up when an idea came to him. 'I'll do it.'
Ianto stopped midstride and turned to face Jack. 'No.'
'Why is it okay for you to go up the cliff or behind the falls but not me?'
Ianto waggled his finger at Jack. 'Good try but us having a row will only cause a delay.'
'I'm just trying to stop you doing something foolhardy and dangerous,' Jack countered.
'It comes down to a matter of realities. The reality is I'm the one with more experience climbing.'
'Reality sure, and your equipment is where exactly?' Jack asked.
'I did a lot of free climbing while I was away,' Ianto argued back.
'Free climbing it is then,' Jack agreed. 'But you will have to shout instructions as I've never done this before.'
'You are not going. I am,' Ianto corrected Jack.
'You said we have to deal with realities. The reality is you are the one with all the survival skills. If I'm hurt then no biggie.'
'That is nonsense. There is no possible way I am going to allow you to risk yourself in such a manner. Have you seen the cliff face?' Ianto told him.
'So we are agreed. Neither of us should climb to the top of the cliff or try and get behind the waterfall.' Jack smiled pleased his ploy had worked.
'I have made no such agreement.' Ianto crossed his arms.
'We are at an impasse. I won't let you climb up a cliff face or check behind the waterfall and you won't let me,' Jack added.
Ianto gave a fake smiled, turned and carried on walking. 'Where are you going?' Jack checked alarmed.
'I told you Jack. I'm going to check either the back of the waterfall or climb up the cliff.'
'No.' Jack ran and jumped in front of Ianto.
'You think you can stop me?' Ianto told him and Jack just smiled.
'You just watch me.'
'I'm going to check out the back of that waterfall then I'm going to climb up the cliff face.' Ianto punched a finger into Jack's chest. 'And you least of all is going to stop me.'
Ianto went to step around Jack but found his way forward blocked.
'Get out of my way,' Ianto demanded several blocked steps later.
'I'm going stop you if it's the last thing I ever do,' Jack reiterated.
Ianto let out a fake laugh. 'The truth is I'm stronger and faster that you.'
'That's the trouble with you Jones, you only think you're faster than me,' Jack said. Ianto dived to the right and took off running.
Pushing aside the undergrowth Ianto ducked and dived He heard a gleeful shout from behind him just as his ankles seemed to catch on something and found himself face down into the leaf litter.
'Space Command first eleven, second division, rugby league team.' Ianto heard Jack announce with triumph.
'Get off me,' Ianto spat out.
'With pleasure,' Jack said scrambling up and began his own crash and thunder through the undergrowth. He saw an opening and sent out a roar of glee and speeded up only to find himself falling with a crash to the ground. As he lay there prone he saw Ianto's feet sprinting past him. He lashed out with his hand. Ianto tripped, cursed, but with a twist managed to shake off Jacks hold.
Jack leapt up growling in frustration and followed. Jack admitted that all that squash playing had paid off as he skipped through the undergrowth. He saw a small pile of debris which Ianto vaulted over. Jack, now close behind, was in almost hand's reach.
Ianto turned round, running backwards, went to say something tripped. Jack launched himself forward. Clutching Ianto he wrestled him to the ground.
Ianto found Jack straddling him and he tried to push Jack off. Grasping both the man's hands Jack pinned him to the ground.
'So much for being faster and stronger,' Jack said between breaths.
Ianto panted and glared at Jack as he fought to lift his hands off the ground.
'Just admit it, Jones. I'm faster, fitter and I can beat you at any game you want to play.'
Ianto growled trying with all his might to shift Jack.
'I win. And as I won I declare you will not risk yourself,' Jack stated,
Using his hips Ianto twisted and now Jack found himself on his back. Before he could even react he found Ianto's lips on his kissing him with a savage animal ferocity.
Thinking this might be a ploy to get him to loosen his grip they rolled around in the undergrowth as he matched Ianto's energy and fought for supremacy.
Now the intent of the fight changed as he felt Ianto's erection against his leg and felt his own arousal now match the same level of heat. Before he could react Ianto was kissing his face, check, neck and chest with a fierce desperate urgency. Their lips met again as Ianto ground his pelvis into his. They began to move as one as Jack responded in kind. His entire body seemed to tingle then he whited out with pleasure as his orgasm came over him in waves.
Jack came back to himself panting to find Ianto had rolled off and was sitting next to him. 'I guess this was bad judgement, exhaustion, and a moment of madness on your part.'
'Monumental,' Ianto muttered.
'Just so you know as surprising as this was I don't have any complaints.'
'I lost control and I think it's best we forget this happened.' Ianto stood up.
'You want me to forget this?' Jack said incredulous.
'I think the less said about this particular moment of madness the better,' Ianto mumbled.
'Ianto I don't think it's going to be possible,' Jack told him honestly.
In silence they head back towards the steps.
Confused, Jack followed after some distance the silence was becoming oppressive. 'What's wrong? Tell me.' Jack touched Ianto's arm.
Ianto looked away, acutely embarrassed or - even dare Jack admit to himself say it - ashamed.
'I've made terrible mistake.' Ianto shook his head slowly.
'It was intense but how can you say what we did was a mistake?'
'Jack, some itches should never be scratched.'
Jack felt the world around him seem to telescope inwards and he suddenly felt dirty. He staggered back almost falling and crashed through the undergrowth.
Reaching the edge Ianto caught up with him and tried to spin him around.
Don't touch me. You've made it abundantly clear touching me is some terrible monumental mistake.' Jack threw off Ianto's hand.
'What happened was, but not in the way you imagine,' Ianto tried to explain.
'Fuck you,' Jack stalked off towards the bottom of the steps.
Ianto watched Jack's retreating back. The fight has felt surreal, like it was one of his dreams w and all he wanted in that moment was to take Jack, wrestling each other into submission. It had been overwhelming and he wanted Jack so badly.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs he found Jack waiting for him.
'Why couldn't you have let me have this?' Jack demanded.
"I'm not sure what you mean,' Ianto said cautiously.
'A single moment where you and I are being truthful with each other. Instead you made me feel dirty and used.'
'I'm sorry I made you feel that way. I'm sorry I ruined your moment,' Ianto said inadequately
'That's all it was to you, wasn't it? Just another crazy moment.'
'I wish I could take what happened back,' Ianto said.
'Well you can't. At least you got your itch scratched,' Jack threw back.
'I wouldn't use you like that,' Ianto explained as Jack began to make his way up the stairs. 'I wouldn't.'
'Well you did and you are not the first,' Jack said as Ianto caught up with him.
'First to what?'
'Use me to scratch an itch.'
'I cannot tell you how much I regret what I said,' Ianto said sadly feeling more ashamed of himself with every passing moment.
'Why? It was the truth.'
'What I meant was…' Ianto started to say.
'I don't care what you meant.' Jack started the climb up.
Jack stood under the cool stream of water from the falls to clean himself. As he stood washing himself down he went over what had happened. There was banter, a chase followed by a struggle on the ground which had unleased something in Ianto where the man had literally tried to devour him. All the way back up the steps he had tried to recall any other experience of a similar nature and he couldn't. This was like the kiss on the cargo deck; it defied any categorisation because Jack had nothing to compare it to. He had never been kissed in such a manner in his entire life.
A thought came to him. The sex had been wild and Ianto admitted he had let things get out of control. So was it possible that Ianto was ashamed he had lost control and felt badly because he used Jack? Jack didn't feel like he had been used, it fact the entire affair had felt amazing; there was no gentleness about it only hunger, passion, lust, and want.
Jack looked down at his chest. What was that? He rubbed at the mark. It was a bite mark just above his heart. The man had bitten him. Bitten him just above his heart and marked him. He bit his bottom lip as the implication hit him. Ianto had marked him as his.
Still didn't change the fact he felt angry that Ianto had stolen his moment. He wanted to throw something. He smiled; yes, throw something at Ianto, time for payback and he picked up a discarded Denoga husk.
Ianto had trudged his way up the steps. He had taken it slow because he needed think about how to make an apology in such away so as not to remove one foot and replace it with the other. He went over the speech he had made on his way up.
'Jack, I'm sorry. What happened was my fault…' Deep in thought he reached the final few steps and he felt something pass over his head.
Looking down he saw a Denoga husk. Not sure what was going on he took the last two steps to see Jack standing with his arms full of Denoga husks.
'That was uncalled for,' Ianto called out.
'But it felt damn good.' Jack threw another pod Ianto's way.
Ianto side-stepped out the way. 'Childish, Jack. Don't you think it would be better if we just talked about this?'
'Like that is ever going to happen.' Jack fired another pod Ianto's way.
'This is ridiculous… ow.' Ianto rubbed his hip and narrowed his eyes as Jack gave a shout of triumph.
'One to me,' Jack called out.
Picking up the two husks now by his feet, Ianto lobbed them back.' Let's talk,' Ianto tried again.
'No talk, me want throw,' Jack said childishly and threw a husk.
'Have you gone mad?'
'Yes. Seeing you gave me the irresistible desire to throw something at your head,' Jack hissed back and lobbed several husks Ianto's way.
'If you want to hit me you are going to have to improve your aim.' Ianto dodged out the way.
Alfred stood watching the two men. If he could roll his eyes he would have as they descended into another pointless argument. Why were they wasting their time when they could be using the portal?
They had cleaned of the panels, the activation lever was functional. Instead of jumping they had spent days searching for something. They had been up and down the steps multiple times, walked seeming kilometres along the bottom of the cliff face. Done an inspection of the area around the portal and the back of the cave. At one point they had even climbed onto the top of the dome.
'Now that did hurt,' Ianto yelped as another husk now hit his knee.
'Good!' Jack shouted out.
Scrambling out the way Ianto now gathered an arm full of husks. Standing he found Alfred standing in front of him, pointing
'Get out the way! I can't aim!' Ianto ducked as two husks narrowly missed him.
'Stop using Alfred as protection,' Jack shouted out.
'You're using the portal,' Ianto lobbed a husk as Jack exposed himself to make a throw.
'Blast,' he heard Jack curse.
'Good! I hope that really hurt!' Ianto shouted out gleefully.
'Bastard!' Jack shouted back from behind the portal.
Ianto turned to see Alfred trying to get his attention pointing at the knife. Out the corner of his eye he saw a husk headed his way. Ducking, it just missed the top of his head. 'Ha ha! Missed!' Ianto shouted out and armed with a pod husk in each hand stalked forward, Jack ready to duck if he had to.
Alfred was now pointing to the back of the portal and then at the knife.
'Hey, Alfred's pointing at the back of the portal and he wants the knife,' Ianto shouted towards Jack.
'Why are you telling me? Just give it to him!'
Ianto went to hand the knife when a husk hit him full force on the side of the head.
'That's four to me,' Jack whopped with delight.
'Unfair, that one doesn't count! I was distracted,' Ianto shouted back as he now handed the knife to Alfred.
Rubbing the side of his head, keeping one eye on Jack, armed and ready, Ianto followed behind looking for any opportunity to even the score.
Jack, now equally curious, cradled the arm full of husks he had gathered and watched the android first use one of Ianto's scrapers to clear away the green algae exposing what appeared to be a panel.
Then using the knife, he used it around the edges of the panel to loosen it then removed it exposing three pipes.
He attempted to unscrew the first but it was difficult so Jack dumped his husks to give a hand. Several stiff turns later they freed one and Alfred lifted it towards the light.
Alfred felt a wave of satisfaction as his assumption proved to be correct. The pipes were blocked by the same algae that had coated the portal.
Ianto found himself being handed a pipe. He blew into it and was rewarded with a splat of what looked like snot followed by stinky water. A light bulb seemed to go off in both Jack and Ianto's minds simultaneously as the absurdity of the situation hit them.
Ianto found he couldn't contain himself any longer and burst out laughing.
"Pipes,' Ianto managed to squeak out pointing at the pipe in Jack's hand.
'All- that- climbing –up- and - down –the- stairs,' Jack said trying to breathe.
'Walking.' Ianto pointed down the steps.
It took several attempts before Jack was in control enough of his breathing to blow into the pipe. Green brownish slime plopped out which Jack found hysterically funny
'Not the sort of blow job you imagined,' Ianto said laughing.
'No,' Jack wiped his eyes.
'Stopped by snot.' Ianto was now leaning against the side of the dome for support.
'Plopped out,' Jack pointed at the mess by his feet.
'Splat,' Ianto squeaked out.
Alfred watched, bemused. He had no idea his checking the pipes would cause such a reaction.
Ianto looked at Jack who was laughing fit to burst.
Ianto attempted to play his pipe like a musical instrument and blew down it. As he did another glop of green plopped out.
'Green,' Jack said laughing so hard he was finding it difficult to breathe.
Minuets passed and the pair was completely useless. Ianto was reduced to tears and pointing. Jack had to support himself by leaning his forehead on the surface of the dome.
At last they found themselves back in control. Wiping his eyes Ianto looked towards Alfred who was looking alarmed.
'I can't recall the last time I laughed like that.' Jack gained control back over his breathing.
'All this time and he knew how to fix it.' Jack found Ianto, his arms around him giving him a passionate kiss. There was none of the frantic need of earlier but the passion was just as intense.
Moments passed and Ianto pulled back to see confusion on Jack's face.
'I wanted to give you a better moment,' Ianto said sincerely and reached out and kissed Jack again.