Okay, my first fanfic.

The story starts the morning of the day Jack returns to the Torchwood team, Series 2 Episode 1: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. From Ianto's POV, kind of tracking what's been going on with him in Jack's absence. I was unsure as to how long Jack was actually gone for between the series, so if I've mentioned something wrong, and someone knows the real time scale, please tell me and I'll change it straight away. I'm planning this to be a story about Jack and Ianto's relationship, but I wanted to explore it from just before Jack's return. For later chapters, there will be Jack/Ianto action, but i thought I'd ease myself in.

I've proof read it a few times, but there's been no Beta reader for this, so please, try it out and if you like it, comment!

( EDIT: I decided to group this first section into Part 1 of the story line, on the advice of my friend Naomi. We thought it would be better to group up the story into different chapters rather than creating multiple separate stories for the same story line.. Cos I know how annoyedI get when I see a good fan fic, but it's a sequel/prequel to another which you need to read first. Why aren't they just on the same fic? )

Disclaimer: I DO NOT own any of the characters in this story, they belong to Russel T. Davies. The scenario also belongs to him, but the thougths in Ianto's head and the rest is my work.

And So It Begins... Again: Part 1

Chapter 1: Clarity

Consciousness fought with Ianto's mind as it tried to surface from the dream he'd been enjoying, mere moments ago. He kept his eyes screwed shut and lay perfectly still, concentrating on the slowly fading dream. The term 'sand through fingers' drifted through his head and he grunted angrily, rolling out of bed and landing in a heap of dark brown linen on the floor. His early morning entrances were somewhat different from his usual appearance, so unorganised and clumsy that he almost cringed at the thought of anyone seeing him first thing in the morning, even Jack.

Jack. Captain Jack Harkness; Leader of Torchwood, part time play boy and a notorious sweet talker. They had been casual, catching minutes here and there throughout the day, or staying late to have more privacy. They'd never been more than a booty call for Jack, and booty calls didn't warrant waking up with someone in your bed in the morning.

Ianto groaned again as the memories started to flicker more clearly and extracted himself from the tangled bed clothes, staggering into the en suite bathroom and looking blearily in the mirror. He ran the cold tap and splashed the water across his face, dragging the remainder of his brain into the waking world with a sudden jerk. He looked up again and studied his face.

He smiled at himself, surprised to find that it wasn't a half hearted 'keep your spirits up' smile, it was more of a 'I feel good' smile. He also realised that when memories of Jack had floated through his head, the painful ache in his chest that usually accompanied them was gone. Now that he thought about it, the pain had faded over the past few weeks as he adjusted to life without Jack. Granted, he still cared deeply for the man, but he no longer controlled Ianto's state of mind. He no longer needed Jack for motivation to wake up and go to work in the morning. He enjoyed life for what it was and it was better for it.

Grinning more broadly, he set about getting ready for work. He emerged twenty minutes later, clean shaven and fully awake, a towel wrapped around his waist as he pulled out a clean suit and found a matching shirt and tie to go with it. He glanced at the clock. '6:45 am', plenty of time.

He whistled a long forgotten tune as he made himself a coffee and a piece of toast. He bolted down his paultry breakfast and headed out of his flat and down to his car, climbing in and driving to the Hub, an unusual spring in his step.

Ianto sat at Tosh's empty desk and swivelled around several times, fast enough to make him stumble when Tosh hit his shoulder to move him. He made his way to the stairs clumsily and sat on one of the lower ones, watching the team work. Tosh was, yet again, scanning the computer screens before her, searching for any unusual activity, before reverting to hacking some system or another… mostly likely top secret. Owen was downstairs, taking cultures and swabs of a particularly nasty alien the team had encountered and taken down the day before and Gwen was sitting at her desk.. doing whatever it was that Gwen did. Ianto had never been sure.

He smiled to himself and let his mind rove over what jobs he had for tomorrow. He was well on track and there was nothing more pressing than cleaning up the kitchen for him to do, so he went upstairs to investigate. He was just about to call the others about their next coffee when Gwen's voice tumbled through the door.

"There's a blowfish driving a stolen sports car in the eastern suburbs, heading into a highly populated residential area." Ianto hurried down the stairs to Gwen's briefing of the callout. He sighed; it was the first time today that they'd been called out and he'd been hoping to escape early. Shrugging on his jacket and buttoning it up, he took the handgun offered to him by Tosh and followed the others out of the Hub, to the SUV.

They soon had the sports car in sight and were following it through the suburbs, having to stop only once to ask an old lady whether she'd seen the alien. After that, it had been a simple matter of following the screeching brakes and slightly salty air.

Ianto rolled his eyes as Owen passed the steering wheel to Gwen and started shooting at the sports car, sending it careering off the road. He pulled out his handgun, double checked the bullets and made sure the safety was off. This was one of the least pleasant aspects of his job. He wouldn't have traded it in for anything else on offer, but he still couldn't stomach pulling the trigger on anyone, not after having to shoot Owen. He pushed the memories away concentrated on the highly charged atmosphere around him as the team hurried from the SUV and into a house as they heard gunshots.

Less than a minute later, Ianto's gun was pointing at the head of the blowfish, whose gun, in turn, was pointing at the head of a girl who had hold of by the neck. Fluent curses streamed through Ianto's head as the blowfish started talking, his sarcastic tones attacking the other three Torchwood members before turning themselves on him.

"…Which leaves me with the office boy, promoted beyond his measure."

- God, those gills are distracting… But maybe he's right…Would Jack have promoted me?

"All of you, lost without your master. All of you pretending to be so brave. All of you so scared!"

- It's just big talk, he doesn't know, he's not right…But I am scared, and I don't want to pull this trigger...

"So what about it minion? Can you do it? How good are you? How sharp is your aim?"

- Sharp enough…Or is it…When was the last time I fired a gun and felt confident?

"What if you kill her?"

- No.. No, I wouldn't be holding this gun if I wasn't good enough… I won't kill her, I won't…But is that a risk I'm willing to take?

"What if I kill her first? Can you shoot before I do? Can you?"

Yes… Yes…

"Dare you? Would you? Won't you?!"

Ianto's finger hesitated for a split second as doubt flooded him, but a shot still rang out, a bullet finding its way straight through the blowfish's head, confusion in its wake. Ianto stared at his gun, not sure what had happened, how it had happened… He spun round to find the killer, half expecting an alien worse than the corpse on the floor, but his eyes met with something much more welcome, the all too familiar grin still in its rightful place…

"Hey kids, d'you miss me?"

Jack was back.