A band wrapped around his temples, pressure ringing in his ears. He tumbled backwards, sense of balance thrown out completely, and felt his stomach lurch. Somewhere to his left Tosh lurched away, giving him an anchor point, and Jack said... something.
He groaned and forced his eyes open at last, peering around their bedroom blearily. The bathroom door was open and the sound of Tosh retching nearly sent him to join her in sympathy. Only Jack seemed composed, rubbing his hands up and down Ianto's back and breaking off occasionally to stab his wrist strap. When the pain began to lessened, Ianto struggled to his feet and to the window, where he tugged the curtain aside and peered out. "It's dark, but it's still there," he said. "I guess he did it. Last minute, as always." He turned and forced a smile at Jack. "Can we never go that again?"
"It's not meant to feel like that," he admitted. "I'll get Tosh to look at it. We've got some ginger nuts in the kitchen, which might help."
Tosh propped herself against the doorframe and pushed her hair out of her face. She was pale, but smiled weakly. "I think I left my toothbrush in my bag... in the other room."
"Yeah, it's not supposed to do that, either. It has a fail-safe, of sorts, that takes me back to the nearest safe space. Unless the spare room has gone, we should still be there." His phone rang and he dug it out of his pocket. "Sorry, General, good to hear from you."
The spare room was just as they'd involuntarily left it, bed far neater than theirs was, and Tosh's laptop was chirping away to itself. He left that for Tosh to deal with when she was up to it and carried on to the kitchen. His personal mobile was on the counter, flashing with two missed calls from his mum, so he clamped it between chin and shoulder and reached into the cupboard for the last clean mugs. "Hi, Mum. Missed your calls." He found the sugar and groaned. "Yes, something to do with the thing over London. You know how in films the hero has to carry this secret that tortures him and he could make everything better by telling people? Well this is nothing like that, I'm just not allowed to tell you. You want tortured heroes, go and watch Superman again. I'm just a civil servant with lousy hours, a slight crisis on my hands and a piece of paper that says I can't tell anyone."
He added enough milk to sink a ship and loaded the mugs on a tray. "It's really dull anyway. I just deal with the red tape. I make the red tape, in fact. Yeah, you don't want to know. Night, Mum."
Tosh had retrieved her laptop when he got back, and she and Jack were already poring over the files from London. They had their heads together, and looked up with distracted smiles to accept the mugs. "Thanks, Ianto. We'll have to go to London in the morning, but I got us a stay for tonight. You probably need your sleep after that."
"Good thinking. My mother's on the case now, and I think she's starting to put two and two together and come out with four." He took a revitalising sip of tea and settled down on the edge of the bed. "More worryingly, how can you still look so fresh after that? It's not fair, is it, Tosh?"
"Nope." She carried on typing with one hand. "Considering that that waste of a lovely Christmas lunch was his fault."
"Drink your tea and don't mention food," Ianto instructed. "Jack, what have we got?"
They exchanged a look and Ianto rolled his eyes, but Jack straightened up, slotting into lecture mode. "The Titanic is a luxury stellar cruiser, and it's visited Earth every Christmas for at least five years. We've only got up to translating their signals recently, because..."
"Let me guess, because Torchwood One got the messages and didn't share their toys?" He drummed his fingers on the mug. "Much communication with them?"
"Just pips; we call them head tips. Sort of a 'hi, we're in your airspace and mean no harm'. It's not always honest, but it's something. We get a passover plan as soon as they're within range, arrival an departure, trajectory. In return they get a map of all the satellites they need to avoid and an update on our legal position, planet grade and our protection." Jack reached out for a printer that wasn't there and snapped his fingers. "So they gave us their plan, and then deviated from it. That raised alarm bells. A witness saw the Doctor with a small group on one of the tours, and then it just kept getting closer, until it passed close above Buckingham Palace."
"I agree." Tosh interjected. "We got lucky. Some shattered windows, but the descent was smooth enough to cause minimal damage. It swung low, engines started up as it passed through the atmosphere." She tapped the screen. "It was close enough to pick up their engine signals."
"That's a bit worryingly close." He drained the last of his tea. "And no sign of anything since?"
Jack grinned. "I love it when he takes charge. No, but UNIT are on guard, keeping an eye out for the Doctor or anyone else from the ship. That may be it, though." He shrugged. "Back to the waiting game."
"The one game I am no good at," Tosh muttered. She flipped her laptop shut and massaged her temples. "We should get an early night if you need to be in London. Should I get a taxi home?"
"Actually, would you mind staying over night and feeding the cat?" Ianto asked. "We've got a spare key, and we'll probably need to be off before anyone should be awake."
"No, I'd be happy to. Feeding Tybalt is always a pleasure."
"It is for him," Jack muttered.
Ianto glared at him. "That would be a huge help, if you could do that. We may be gone overnight, but we'll keep you informed." He bent down and tugged the edge of the duvet up, revealing two green eyes at the far end of the bed. "Do you hear that, Monster?"
"Talking to your animals is a sign of sanity, you want to be careful." Jack uncurled himself and collected the mugs. "Briefing at ten in London, so we do need to be up at six. Pour you into the car and you can sleep to London, okay?"
He checked his watch. "I'll book us a train and a taxi, and ask UNIT to pick us up at the other end, then I don't have to sleep through your driving."
"Harsh, but probably fair."
"Definitely fair," Tosh agreed. "I'm going to bed. Thank you, for having me over. It was a lovely day."
"One day, we'll have you over for dinner and not break for work," Ianto promised. "We'll leave the key somewhere obvious and, hopefully, see you in the evening."
"Alright. Sleep well, boys."
The door swung closed behind her, and Ianto took the mugs off Jack and set them down on the dresser. He hesitated, and sank onto the bed, pulling Jack into a tight hug and closing his eyes. "That was too close," he whispered. "This is not how I wanted today to end."
"It's over, though. We survived it, like we survive everything." Jack clutched at Ianto's shoulder and pressed his face into his neck. "It scares me, how much I love you."
"Scares me, too," he admitted. "Not quite as much as a spaceship hurtling towards the Earth, though, so that's something. It's knowing... getting out of Torchwood, it wouldn't make me that much safer, would it?"
Jack didn't answer for a while, and eventually had to pull back and swipe at his face. "It would reduce your risk of dying from daily to..."
"Annually." He smiled. "We do a good job, though, all things considered."
"We do. And I've seen the future, I know it's worth it." He took Ianto's hand and laced their fingers together. "I want to show you it. Will you come with me?"
"By TARDIS only." He leaned over and kissed Jack softly. "Yes, please."