A/N: This is set 3-4 years after the last chapter. Thanks to those who have reviewed, I hope everyone is still enjoying this!
Jack really hated UNIT conference meetings. Scratch that, he despised them. He had been so lucky that when Martha joined up she had volunteered to attend the yearly meetings in London. She handled them better and knew how to deal with UNIT without pissing them off. Not that that was his fault, they were just so bloody annoying with their demands and supposed superiority. This year Martha was on medical leave, she had been hurt on a mission. So, Jack was forced to attend the conference. Four long, tortuous days without Ianto, Trevyn and Caitlyn. This was only day two and he wanted to leave.
He bit back a sigh as a general droned on about financial reports. He looked down at his notes which were only detailed because he knew Ianto would be upset if he didn't do it for Torchwood's reports and archives. He began making a list on the side of things he planned to do when he got home. He was more than a little homesick. He hadn't been this far away from the kids since they were born and he and Ianto hadn't spent more than a day apart in years.
His phone vibrated and he flipped it open. "Excuse me, gentleman. Urgent business in Cardiff, I'll return shortly." They nodded, as Jack stood, grabbed his notes and walked out.
"Ianto? Thank god!" Jack walked over to the reception area and took a seat in a large green chair.
"Hello, Cariad. I thought you might need a little break so I figured you could excuse yourself for a few minutes and talk with me."
Jack smiled. "I do, this is so boring I might just die."
Ianto laughed. "Don't you dare, sir. That'll be a tough one to explain."
Jack chuckled. "Fair point. How are things?"
"The rift is quiet. Trev is still at school. And Caty is napping in your office."
"No reason for me to come home then?"
"Other than I miss you? Sorry no."
Jack sighed. "I miss you too."
"We haven't been apart for this long since we've been partners."
"I know." Jack paused. "I made a list."
"Instead of notes? Shame on you, Captain. But what is on the list?"
Jack leaned back in the chair. "Eight things to do when I get home."
"You've got my curiosity. I'm listening."
Jack grinned. "Good. One is take you to dinner and a movie."
"That sounds nice, just some time together. And two?"
"Shag you senseless."
Ianto laughed, and Jack ached to be able to see him with that smile on his face. "Direct and to the point, I like this list. Three?"
"Spend the night in your arms. I haven't slept the past two nights."
"Neither have I. We may not need sleep but it sure takes its toll when we don't get those few hours doesn't it?"
"Yeah it does, and you must be exhausted. I'm just sitting here while you're running the Hub and looking after Caitlyn."
"Yes but after you shag me senseless, I should get all the sleep I need." Jack chuckled. "And four?"
"Make breakfast with the kids."
"Messy but a good time. Five?"
"Go to the park with you, Trev and Caty. And six buy them ice cream."
"And I don't get any?"
They laughed. "No, did I forget to mention the dinner would have a special dessert?"
"Yeah you left that out that bit out."
"My mistake, forgive me?"
"Always, and seven?"
"Just enjoy the day."
"We definitely will. Eight?"
"Never leave again."
"That should've been number one, Cariad."
"You're right." Jack paused as a red haired woman with horn rimmed glasses approached him and asked if he was returning. He nodded yes and she told him they were waiting.
"Ianto, I've got to go. Thanks for calling, Cariad. I'll talk to you tonight."
"Alright, I'm looking forward to a little phone sex."
Jack grinned and he knew Ianto was as well. "Oh yes, love you."
"Love you too, Jack."
The next morning Jack was begging whatever deity there was that the meeting would end early or Ianto would call again. As the presentation wore on, he started feeling anxious. Something felt wrong and he knew it was on Ianto's end. Suddenly intense pain wracked him and he had to grab the table and bite his lip to avoid crying out. It was Ianto's pain, he was hurt and judging by the pain it was severe if not deadly. Jack jumped up, fishing his phone out of his greatcoat pocket.
"Captain Harkness! Please sit, we are not finished yet, and this is important," General Stalm boomed.
Jack glared at the man. "My second in command has just been injured. This is over; I'm going back to Cardiff."
"Nonsense, you're team can handle things. Now please sit."
This was a waste of precious time, Jack knew Ianto needed him. "NO! Perhaps sir, you do not know that my second is also my partner. I will NOT sit here listening to you drone on while he is injured somewhere. Good day," Jack spun and stormed out of the room.
He quickly took the elevator to his room in the hotel and shoved everything into his overnight bag. He then ran to his and Ianto's silver SUV. He started dialing Ianto's cell, hoping someone would pick up. He tossed his stuff in the back seat then slumped against the SUV when the bracelet turned cold and the connection was gone. Ianto had died. Ianto had died and he wasn't there to hold him, and comfort him. And judging by the pain it had been a violent death. Jack felt awful; he should've been there to protect him. Every time Ianto had died over the years and it hadn't been many times Jack made sure of that, but when it did happen he had been right there. He never wanted his partner to go through it alone like he had before Ianto had come along. And Ianto had been so right, that every time it hurt, Jack wanted to break down.
The phone kept ringing. "Hello?" Gwen's voice finally answered.
"Gwen, what the hell happened?"
"Ianto has died Jack, Chris and I are waiting for him to come back."
"I know that, what happened?" Jack asked again, trying to stay calm.
"There was some type of creature in a car warehouse out by the docks. We went to investigate; it had a detonator, Jack! Ianto pushed us out; he killed the creature and took the full brunt of the explosion. It threw him through the door and about fifteen feet away."
Jack roughly swiped at the tears pouring down his face. His precious Ianto had done well, he was so proud of him. Once again he had sacrificed himself for the team. "How bad was he hurt? And don't lie to me, Gwen, please."
Gwen sighed. "His back broke, probably his leg as well. Cuts and bruises everywhere. But he'll be fine, Jack. Don't worry; I'm right here for him when he wakes up."
"Thank you, Gwen. He needs to be assured when he comes to, remind him where he is…just talk to him." Jack paused, an idea hitting him. He couldn't be there psychically but he could be there in some way. "On second thought, when he comes to press the phone to his ear alright?"
"You got it." She paused and Jack heard the gasp of life as it flooded through Ianto. The bracelet surged with a warmth that caused Jack to rub his wrist. He listened as the phone was moved, and noticed the subtle change to Ianto's breathing which meant Gwen had done as he asked.
"Ianto? Cariad…it's me. Let me hear those beautiful Welsh vowels."
"Jack?" There was shuffling and a cry of pain.
"Are you alright?" Jack wiped away more tears as he got in the SUV.
"Back's hurting, I just sat up."
"I'm sorry I'm not there, but I'm on way. And I'll hold you as soon get there. Just hang in there. Go back to the hub, and take the extra strength pills in my desk and rest on the settee, okay?"
"Okay and don't be sorry, it's not your fault, Cariad. Though it's so good to hear your voice."
Jack smiled. "Yours too."
"Yes?" He started the SUV and sped out. He'd be breaking a few speeding laws but he could care less.
"I will, I'll be there before you know it."
"See you soon."
Jack made the trip in record time; he parked the SUV in the carport and went running through to the Hub door. "Ia-" Gwen grabbed him, silencing him quickly.
"Ssh! He's resting!" She pointed to the settee.
Jack fought back tears as he saw Ianto curled up into a ball looking so hurt and vulnerable. "How long has he been sleeping?"
"Not long." She hugged him. "He's fine, he tried getting up to make coffee but I made him sit."
Jack smiled at her. "Thank you. Is Chris handling the cleanup operation?"
"He and Martha, she was going stir crazy wanted to help by supervising UNIT, they offered help since you said there was an emergency before you left the conference. There were no causalities besides Ianto and its just going to look like a bomb went off."
Jack nodded. "Well done. Where are Trev and Caty?"
"I had Rhys pick them up. I hope that's alright, I figured the two of you wouldn't want them to see Ianto like this."
"You're right, I don't want them scared."
"We can keep them for the night; he'll be fine by morning right?"
"Yes, I'll take care of him and have him rest."
"I'd better go then, Rhys is good but five kids may be too much."
"Thank Rhys for me as well."
"I will, take good care of him."
Jack nodded, that was a given. "If you need anything just call."
"You got it, night Jack."
Jack hugged her, pressing a quick kiss to her head. "Night, Gwen. Give our babies our love."
"I'll have them call later to say goodnight."
Jack smiled softly. "Perfect, Ianto will need that."
Gwen gathered her stuff as Jack took off his greatcoat then walked over to the settee. He scooped Ianto into his arms without a second thought. He then set down with Ianto in his lap and held him close. Ianto's eyes stayed closed but his hands went around Jack and clutched his shirt. He buried further into Jack's warmth and sighed contently as Jack kissed his forehead.
"I'm here, Ianto. I'm here."
"Hmm, missed you."
"I missed you too, so much."
Ianto slowly opened his eyes and gazed at Jack who had tears running down his face. He reached up and wiped them away. "Hey, no need for that. I'm fine."
"Liar, I felt it and can still feel your pain."
"Damn, knew that wouldn't work."
Jack couldn't help but laugh then he turned serious again. He ran his fingers through Ianto's hair. "I'm so proud of you, y'know that? You did so good, keeping everyone safe."
"It's what you would've done," Ianto said simply.
"Still, you did good."
"Thanks. I just had to keep them safe, didn't think too much about myself. I know what you go through now as the leader. You do whatever it takes, because we can't lose them."
"Exactly, Cariad. And you know what?" Ianto shook his head. "I'm going to take care of you tonight, I've got a few plans that will take all that pain away and leave you relaxed."
"I'm already feeling better with you here." Ianto smiled at him.
Jack returned the smile. He then leaned down, pressing a soft tender kiss to Ianto's lips. Ianto reached up and pulled Jack down by the neck to deepen the kiss, welcoming him back. When they broke apart for air, Jack helped Ianto to his feet.
"C'mon, let's go home."
Ianto took Jack's hand in his as he helped Ianto up.