Till The Morning Comes
Jack and Ianto lay curled around each other, lying on the small bed in the room under Jack's office. Ianto was idly drawing patterns on Jack's chest with his fingers while Jack inspected what seemed to be a small plastic pebble. Jack ran his fingers over the smooth surface before popping open the almost invisible catch.
Inside was a row of buttons containing the numbers zero through nine; next to the numbers were three other buttons – one red, one green and one containing a decimal point symbol.
Jack chuckled quietly, "Tachyons Time-Travelling Device- I always wondered how you did it. How did you get one of these?" Ianto shifted slightly so he could look at Jack properly, "It came through the Rift when you were away with the Doctor."
"The first. It was broken when we found it but Tosh wanted to play with it, see if she could fix it. I remembered seeing one in London so I dug out all the old archive records. Between those and Tosh's technical brilliance, she restored it to almost perfect working order."
Ianto nodded and sighed quietly.
"She only needed one more bit but we didn't have anything like it in the archives. It was some sort of computer chip that was needed to power it. Tosh had modified it so that we could power it using the technology we had at the Hub, but she still needed one little bit to convert it.
"She showed me a diagram she had drawn of the piece she needed in case anything similar came through the Rift," Ianto wrapped his arms tighter around Jack, who had started rubbing his back absentmindedly with his free hand. "I found the missing bit in a mini-computer that fell through the Rift about three weeks after she died."
Ianto sighed again and Jack tightened his grip around his shoulders. Ianto's next words had a bitter edge to them, "She put all that work in, only to never see it finished."
Jack kissed his forehead, "I think she would approve of how you are using it." Ianto nodded, "I hope so."
They lay in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying being in each other's arms again.
"How long are you here for this time?" Jack asked before kissing Ianto on the forehead again.
"I'm here until morning." Jack grinned at him before leaning in to kiss him properly.
"Perfect. Plenty of time for what I've got in mind."
"You never were very good with needles."
Ianto scowled up at Jack who was smirking at him from the balcony above the medical room.
"I'm sorry, but the Weevils I know haven't spent too much time watching Jackie Chan films."
Jack snorted. He'd missed Ianto's sarcasm. Nicolas, the doctor who was inspecting his wounds, looked between the two of them in confusion, "Who is Jackie Chan?" Ianto looked at him in disbelief before muttering "Never mind" under his breath before hissing when Nicolas pressed one of his ribs where a Weevil had ninja kicked him.
Ianto groaned as he took another look at the marks right across his torso. "How the hell am I going to explain these to you?"
"I'll never know."
"Jack you're not blind! I think you're going to notice there are several large gashes across my chest!"
"Ianto calm down. I promise you, I never found out."
"Perhaps you can enlighten me- you're going to get suspicious if I start refusing to take my shirt off when we're having sex."
"You know, I once had a boyfriend who refused to remove –"
"Finish that sentence and I'll go home and break the coffee machine," Ianto growled. Jack held his hands up in surrender.
"Right, done. The marks aren't deep, so you don't need stitches- here." Ianto glanced suspiciously at the tube of bright pink cream Nicolas handed to him. "Cover the scratches with this now and again in two hours and they should clear up by tonight."
"Oh, thanks. And you can wipe that smug grin off your face."
He aimed the last part of the sentence at Jack, who was smirking again.
"No problem," Nicholas replied. "Right, if that's all Boss, I'm off. You know one of these days when you say we can all have the day off, I might believe you." Jack laughed and swatted Nicolas playfully on the arm as they crossed on the stairs. "Thanks, Nick. I owe you one."
"No problem. Though you might like to remember that I like those fancy biscuits with the chocolate top and strawberry jam in the middle."
Jack laughed again.
"Consider it done. See you tomorrow."
"See you Boss. Nice to meet you Ianto." Nicolas waved on his way out, leaving Jack and Ianto alone in the Hub. Ianto was still seated on the autopsy table with no shirt on.
"He seems nice," Ianto commented as Jack took the cream out of his hands.
"He is. They all are." Ianto nodded as Jack started to apply the cream to the wounds on his chest.
"Good. I'm…I'm glad you're happy."
Jack smiled before kissing Ianto.
Neither spoke again until Jack had finished applying the cream to Ianto's chest and the one large scratch on his back. Once finished, Jack pocketed the cream and moved back in front of Ianto. Ianto wrapped his arms around Jack's waist, resting his head on Jack's chest. Jack ran his fingers through Ianto's hair, marvelling at how right this still felt after so long, so many years apart.
"Thank you for coming back." Ianto nodded. "How long are you here for this time?"
"I'm here until morning."
"I'm starting to appreciate why you spend so much time on roofs." Jack grinned at Ianto before he pulled him down to sit on the mat he had just pulled from the picnic basket.
"It's changed since I was last up on a roof." Jack nodded.
"When were you last on a roof?"
"Last night. You're away in London visiting Martha. You lured me up to the top floor of a car-park with a bottle of champagne and a box of strawberries." Jack laughed, before gesturing at the picnic basket. "No prizes for guessing what's in there." Ianto smiled before turning back to the Cardiff skyline.
"I can't believe how much it's changed."
"Some of it's still the same. The water tower's still there." Jack gestured to where the gleaming statue still stood in the distance. "So is the Stadium. Though that's been redeveloped again."
"Again? How many times has it been redeveloped since it was built?"
"Eight I think. I didn't really pay much attention."
"You've still not seen a rugby match have you?" Jack pouted.
"You know I didn't bring you up here to talk about sports."
"Sorry." Ianto leaned in to gently kiss him. "So why did you bring me up here?"
"Do you recognise this building?"
Ianto shook his head. Apart from the inside of the Hub, which didn't seem to have changed much at all, most of Cardiff was unrecognisable.
"I didn't recognise the name on the front. Should I?"
"It used to house a law firm called Stewart & Breen."
"Oh…Oh! I – You – I can't believe you remember that."
"It was our first date. Of course I remember it."
"After all this time?" Jack smiled sadly.
Ianto shifted on the mat so he could rest his head on Jack's shoulder. Jack moved his arm so it was now wrapped around Ianto's waist before leaning his forehead against Ianto's.
"How long are you here for this time?"
"I'm here until morning," Ianto felt Jack nod his head. They stayed sat side-by-side watching the sunset and the moonrise over Cardiff.
Apart from the extra layer of dust, the archives looked identical to the ones he had just left. Ianto was surprised. He had expected the Hub layout to have changed significantly over 120 years. Either these archives were now never in use, or the current archivist had never heard of Mr Muscle or any other bottle of polish.
However, he hadn't left the archives yet. Just because these corridors where the same as his own domain back in 2008 didn't mean the rest of the Hub was.
Ianto navigated his way through the archives to where the main section of the Hub should be. Ianto walked up the stairs into the bright light of the centre of the Hub.
"Stop right there," A female voice with a Welsh accent spoke. She was one of eight people who were aiming guns directly at Ianto. For a moment, Ianto thought the device hadn't worked. The woman looked – and sounded – just like Gwen. However as he looked closer he realised this wasn't Gwen. The Gwen-look-alike had green eyes a thinner face. She was also shorter than Gwen was.
Perhaps she was some future relative. He might ask Jack about it – assuming she didn't shoot him first.
Not for the first time, Ianto was relieved that Jack didn't follow the original Torchwood One protocol. Had Jack adopted their "if it's alien it's ours" policy he would most certainly be dead now.
Ianto raised his hands slowly, while scanning the crowd. Looking for one particular face – the reason he was here in the first place. Ianto saw him with one hand leaning against a chair, next to where Tosh's desk used to be. His face was deathly white.
"Jack?" One of the girls standing next to him was looking at him with concern. "Are you alright?" Jack nodded. He moved closer to Ianto, his aim never wavering.
"Who are you and how did you get here?"
"Ianto Jones. Torchwood Officer 397, Torchwood Cardiff's General Support or at least I am in 2008. I used a device in the archives to get here."
"You-you can't be here. You're-you're…"
"Dead? Jack, between you, your Doctor, and Martha, I've picked up enough tips about time travel to know how not to create paradoxes. And that's without the bi-annual visits we seem to be having from your old mate Captain John at the minute."
Jack turned to face one of his new team members. "Tell me exactly what you see in front of you." The short, skinny man with dark hair looked at Jack as if he was mad. He reminded Ianto of Owen slightly. When he spoke, he sounded like he was trying to humour a small child.
"White male, six foot-ish, brown hair and he's wearing a suit. Has a Welsh accent similar to the locals around here. Detailed enough?"
Jack nodded. "Just making sure my imagination isn't playing tricks on me." He turned to face Ianto. "Wouldn't be the first time I thought I'd seen you." Ianto didn't fail to notice that everyone still had their guns trained on him – including Jack.
"How do I know you're not a shape-shifter?" Ianto sighed. He thought this might happen. Frankly, he should probably be grateful that none of them had actually shot him yet. "Why don't you ask me something that only I would know the answer too?" Jack considered his suggestion for a moment, before making his decision.
"I'll ask you three questions. If you get them all right, I'll believe you. If you get any wrong, I order my team to shoot. Ok?" Ianto nodded.
"How do I take my coffee?"
"Low-fat, Soya milk with one sugar and the chocolate sprinkles on top, served in the large blue and white striped mug." Jack didn't make any indication as to whether Ianto had gotten the question right or wrong. Ianto – and the rest of Jack's team – held their breath as they waited to see what happened next.
"Who are the only people who have my home phone number?"
"Me and Martha. Everybody else has either your office or mobile number. Gwen and The Doctor are the only other people who have both."
Again, Jack didn't say anything; he just stood in the centre of the Hub, still aiming his gun at Ianto's chest.
"Without saying the numbers, explain the 12-digit code to the secure archives." Ianto took a deep breath before speaking.
"The first two digits are part of Grey's birthday. The third is when you first met the Doctor. The forth and fifth are related to what time it was when you and Rose first danced in 1941.
"The sixth is the first digit of Suzie's Torchwood ID, seventh is the year Tosh joined Torchwood and the eighth is how many days it took you to persuade Owen to move to Cardiff.
"The ninth digit is my house number, the tenth is the second number of Gwen's old police ID and the eleventh is the fifth digit of Martha's UNIT number." Ianto looked sadly at Jack, "The last digit is the number of months you spent with Estelle."
Jack didn't say anything. Neither did Ianto. The pair just stared at each other. Neither of them noticed James - the man Jack had spoken to earlier - move closer to one of the female members of staff"
"Does he look familiar to you?" he whispered to Tanya, one of the technical experts.
"A bit." Tanya frowned. "But I'm not sure where from."
"Hmmm. Jack seems to think he knows him – or someone that looks like him."
"He definitely – Oh my god." Tanya's eye's widened in recognition. "He's on Jack's desk! In that old team photo." James stared at Ianto.
"He's the one with Jack's arm around his waist." James whispered. He raised his eyebrows so high they almost met his hairline.
"You don't think he's…"
"He must be."
"Wow. Never thought we'd get to meet him."
"Yeah well judging by the look on Jack's face I don't think he was expecting us to get to meet him either.
Tanya opened her mouth to say something else but shut it quickly as Jack finally moved. He placed the safety back on his gun before letting it drop to the floor. The rest of the team slowly lowered their guns.
Jack walked towards Ianto, not stopping until he was right in front of him. He cupped Ianto's face gently with his hand. He ran his thumb gently over Ianto's cheek as if her were made of something fragile – as if he would disappear if Jack pressed too hard.
"You're real. You're actually real." Ianto nodded before placing one of his hands on top of Jack's. The rest of his team watched open mouthed as Jack flung himself into Ianto's arms, dragging them both to the floor.
They sat on the floor for what seemed like hours, the Hub unusually quiet, the rest of the team having wandered off to give them some privacy. Jack knew better than to assume they were working, but he didn't care that they were probably all sitting in a bar gossiping about him – or that he would be faced with a barrage of questions as soon as they returned to work tomorrow.
"You can't stay can you?" Ianto shook his head before kissing Jack's hair. They were still lying on the floor of the Hub, Jack in his arms, his head tucked under Ianto's chin.
"I have to go back." Ianto felt Jack nod, his hair tickling his chin.
"How long are you here for?"
"I'm here until morning." Jack nodded before tightening his grip around Ianto's waist. He sighed contentedly, when he felt Ianto reciprocate.
Ianto stood in the archives, staring at the small black device in his hands. He had already flipped open the lid. The blue flashing numbers were casting an eerie glow, illuminating his conflicted features.
He was scared. The risks that were involved in time-travel were huge. He didn't need to have read every report Torchwood had ever produced on the Doctor – or seen first hand the victims of Flat Holm – to know that time-travel was dangerous.
But nothing worth having was ever easy. And Tosh had worked so hard.
The missing piece, the one Tosh had waited so many months for had fallen through the Rift. They had talked once, late one night when there was only the two of them left in the Hub, about what they would do if they ever got the device working.
Tosh had said she would go back in time. She wanted to see her ancestors, the long line of Satos she had heard stories about as a child, to see what she was descended from, to learn from them and their achievements. One day she hoped she would achieve enough that she could tell her children stories about herself, along with those who came before her.
Ianto said he would go forward. He wanted to see if the world they spent so much time saving was eventually worth it, if the people were worth it. They both knew exactly whom it was he wanted to see, but neither of them mentioned him.
Ianto brushed away a stray tear. Tosh had achieved so much, he was proud to have called her a friend as well as a co-worker. He just wished her family could listen to all the stories he could tell them.
Tosh had been brave and strong. She hadn't been able to get her wish, but he could do this one last thing for her. He wasn't going to let the last bit of her brilliance go to waste.
He pushed the button.
He hated Cardiff. He really hated Cardiff. It was cold, full of ugly people and it was always bloody raining. Not that everybody was ugly, he had met a few good looking people but they were all so stoic in their beliefs, so unwilling to share.
Perhaps he should call back in a few centuries time, see if they were still so rigid then.
The only thing he hated more than Cardiff was losing. And he had lost.
He never lost. If he couldn't win fairly he cheated, bribed, blackmailed and killed until he got what he wanted. Well it was obvious this time he couldn't have what he wanted.
After the scene he had just witnessed, he knew he would never get him back. The way they had clung to each other - he had never seen Jack that exposed, that vulnerable. It seemed that this good-looking Welshman had succeeded where everyone else had failed.
He was sorry for the part he would play, had played – time travel was a bitch to the tenses – in their misery but there was nothing he could do. He knew better than to try to change what had happened.
He loved Jack - who didn't? – but it wasn't him that Jack had fallen in love with. Jack wouldn't turn to him when his whole world falls apart in about twelve month's time.
That image – the two of them in Jack's office, sat on the floor, wrapped around each other, crying into each other's shoulders – would haunt him for the rest of his life.
He couldn't give Jack what he wanted, but he knew somebody who could.
He pulled the Tychons Time-Travelling Device out of his pocket and placed it on the floor of the car park. Now it was time to see if the Torchwood team's brilliance lived up to their reputation.
Captain John Hart moved away from the device and entered some co-ordinates into his wrist-strap. He knew of some very flexible triplets on a planet with very cheap vodka. They were just what he needed to forget about Jack and Eye-Candy.