This first of many fics along this line of thought, I suspect. Others will probably be better, but this is my Post-COE therapy. This is my new canon.


Spoilers for Torchwood: Children of Earth-all five episodes.

Jack gasped awake, throwing himself upright with eyes wide and horrified and his heart racing from adrenaline. He gulped at the air like a man dying of thirst, but still his heart jumped in his chest, the fast, heavy beats like knifes.

'Hey?' The sleepy, wary voice next to him caught his attention, and he looked down at the person laying next to him as he tried to gather his bearings and calm his body. 'You okay?'

He could see the clouds of sleep lifting from his companion as concern took over and washed away any weariness from the young face.

Jack closed his eyes briefly and saw Stephen falling, blood dripping from his nose, his ears, his mouth...he saw Alice screaming, tears of horror and hatred falling as she cursed her father...he saw Ianto, cold and dead as Gwen sobbed against him and he tried-and failed-to hold back tears of his own.

'I'm fine, just a dream. A nightmare.'

The words sounded hollow to his own ears and he wasn't surprised when the reaction from the warm body next to his, now wide awake, was to snort and reach for a lamp on the bedside table.

The soft light from the small reading lamp helped to pull him from the dreams, but he could still feel the keyboard beneath his fingers as he completed the wave that destroyed the 456s, he could smell the scent of Gwen's hair as he hugged her goodbye, he could taste the final spark of life on Ianto's lips as he kissed him one last time.

He was finally jolted from the last remnants of his sleep when he felt hair being brushed back from his face, the touch soft and tentative but turning solid and reassuring when he leaned his head into the hand.

'I murdered my grandson.'

'You have a grandson?' The words were stunned, but not incredulous. Confusion was rampant in the eyes before him, but he could also see a cautious disbelief.

'No. I've never even had a child.' Jack knew that if he had come from any other century and lived the life he had led that he would have had plenty enough in the way of children and grandchildren-even great great grandchildren. But his knowledge of 51st century birthcontrol had ensured that he would never sire a child who would die of old age in front of him. He had made that decision long ago.

'A nightmare that isn't real? That makes a change, even if it's still unpleasant.' Ianto, by now, had gently forced him back down to the bed and was settling back against his side. 'Maybe next time you'll have a nice dream for once.'

The words were teasing, but he knew that Ianto was sincere. Jack had woken him many times during their relationship with dreams of varying horror and distress, but Ianto had always been understanding and comforting, probably due to his own nightmares of metal and fire that still plagued him.

'Go back to sleep, Jack. I'm here, and I'm real. The dream wasn't.'

Jack pulled Ianto closer to him, breathing in the warm, masculine scent and calming as the rise and fall of Ianto's chest helped to banish the last traces of a dying man gasping an 'I love you' from his mind.

'Your father was a Master Tailor, wasn't he?'

Ianto groaned slightly, reaching his hand blindly back towards the bedside cabinet, trying to turn the lamp off with out leaving Jack's embrace.

'Of course he was. I showed you a photo of me and Rhiannon and my dad in his shop. The one where I had that huge jacket pinned on me and Rhiannon was tangled in a roll of fabric. You laughed because the jacket reached my knees and I told you how I tripped and had to get several pins removed at casualty.'

Jack smiled into Ianto's hair before taking pity and rolling them both over, slightly, so he could reach the lamp himself. He settled down again as a comfortable darkness settled over the room once more.

'Just checking.' He could feel Ianto's breathing already becoming slower. 'Good night.'

'Sweet dreams, Jack.'