This chapter contains reference to the Doctor Who episode that involved characters from The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood.
"I'm coming back"
Ianto lay on his bed inwardly bemoaning the situation. When he had moved in with Jack he had not expected everything to be romance and flowers but he had not expected them to argue constantly either.
When he and Lisa had talked of moving in together just before the battle at Canary Wharf, they had spoken of how wonderful it would be to go to sleep in each other's arms and wake in the same position. Of how much closer they would become by sharing their lives. The reality of living with Jack did not come close to this ideal.
Ianto was lying in bed in his own room. Last night the argument had been bad enough that he had needed to get away from his lover and for the first time since moving in he had spent the night in his own room.
Jack had appeared at his door just before midnight and knocked. Ianto had frozen, Jack had promised never to enter without an invite but would he keep that promise?
'Ianto?...Ianto?' Jack hissed through the closed door.
Ianto did not answer, part of him wanted to see what Jack would do if he did not respond and part of him did not know what to say to the man.
'Ianto?...I'm sorry...I'm going to bed now...I really want you to be there with me...we can't sort this out if you sulk in here' said Jack dejectedly.
Ianto still refused to reply.
'I'll be downstairs in our bed...I want you with me' whispered Jack as Ianto heard him trudge away.
Ianto had wanted to join him but had also wanted to express his deep anger. Shouting was obnoxious to him and he was rarely driven to anything physical, the only way he knew how to express his dissatisfaction was to stay away.
So now he was waking to a lonely bed and the thought that the argument was still unresolved and would probably remain so all day. He sighed and got out of bed.
Jack was not to be seen, but in the lounge Ianto found a home wares catalogue opened at a page displaying curtains. He sat and looked, considering which ones would be best suited to replace the atrocities currently hanging in the window. He picked up the pen lying nearby and circled the ones he liked without thinking.
He quickly realised what had happened. Jack had left the catalogue and the pen for just this reason, the man was too obvious. Ianto circled all the remaining curtains and scrawled across the page 'NO CLUES HARKNESS', before smiling at the absurdity of two grown men acting in this way. They needed to talk to each other.
In the kitchen Ianto found a note saying Jack had been called in to a rift alert and would see him at work. Ianto now added guilt to his other feelings. Jack had gone to work and chosen not to wake him. He saw the clean dishes on the draining board and felt the guilt embed itself more deeply.
'Jack do you never clear up after yourself?...You are God knows how many years old and you act like a child whose adoring mother will clean everything for you' shouted Ianto as he watched Jack leave his dinner dishes on the table yet again.
Jack looked up astonished. He was more than capable of clearing away after himself. Washing up and other domestic chores held no fear for him, but he preferred to do them when he chose which was rarely immediately the need arose.
Ianto liked neat spaces and found it difficult to leave things to fester and had taken to doing more than his fair share of housework .Jack had certainly not complained about this but now realised it was a problem. He sighed. Ianto had obviously not realised Jack did things differently and had assumed he was leaving housework to him. They needed to communicate better if this was going to work.
'Ianto...I like to clean up in my own time...leave the dishes...I will do it...I have done for years...but not right now...right now I am going to watch television' he reasoned.
'Oh wonderful...you go and relax..I'll sort this out' Ianto knew he sounded like his mother on a bad day but he just couldn't leave it.
Jack was getting annoyed now, it was beyond ridiculous that a man of his age should be harried about cleanliness.
'The dishes will be done Ianto...if you want them done right now then you do them...otherwise they will be done when I am ready' he hissed and stormed out of the room.
Ianto seethed. It wasn't really the dishes that bothered him it was the whole strangeness of living with someone, adapting to their ways of doing things. Ianto had not realised so much compromise would be needed for two adults to share the same living space.
He took a deep breath and knew he needed to be alone for a while and gritting his teeth to leave the dishes he retired to his own room and played some soothing music.
They had a call out almost as soon as Ianto arrived at work. He and Jack had looked at each other but exchanged no greeting and Gwen had glanced from one to the other warily.
The call out was to a family home. The father of the family had contacted police on finding a luminous rock in his garage that morning. The rock was about three feet wide and maybe two feet high and glowing with a pale blue tinge. He had assumed a prank by local youngsters but the investigating police officers had seen fit to involve Torchwood.
It had needed the three of them to remove the object. Ianto's skills had been useful in calming the father who was getting progressively more wound up as the police would not investigate and had called other people to remove the object.
Ianto had talked to the father and then the mother and the children. Reassuring them, placating them and cheering the children with outrageous stories about rock creatures from the past, that they would enjoy distracting friends with later at school. He was so successful that the father left for work and the mother allowed the Torchwood team to work in her garage whilst Ianto made her a cup of tea and slice of toast.
By the time Jack and Gwen had finished readings, established that the object was inanimate and harmless and were ready to leave, Ianto had almost become a family friend. As always his ability to ooze charm and harmlessness had disarmed victims to the extent that they were willing to believe any story he put forward and feel they had met that most elusive of people, a useful and polite public servant.
They took the rock back to base for further tests, working together to remove it from the SUV and into the hub. As the three of them handled it the rock swarmed with various translucent colours.
'Have you seen these before Jack?' asked Gwen once the rock was placed on the floor.
'Yes' he said, shocking both his teammates into looking at him.
'Why didn't you say' demanded Gwen.
'Well...at first I wasn't sure...I've not seen one of these for many years...they were made by material found on the planet Boron in the 42nd century...they're mood rocks...created to display the emotions of the person or persons who own them' Jack continued.
'You mean like those mood rings that you find in hippy shops?' asked Gwen incredulously.
'Sort of' said Jack 'those rings are just a gimmick but these rocks were created to react to feelings, they feed on emotional energy and glow different colours depending on the emotion they are reflecting...they're not living...but they are animated by energy levels' he continued.
Both Ianto and Gwen looked at the rock dubiously. Gwen was the first to point out the obvious.
'It was blue at the house..what does that mean? Do you understand the colours Jack?' she asked.
'Yes...I understand...blue is the colour of ill health...I'm guessing the father as he was the only one to touch it' he said.
'What?!' exclaimed Gwen 'we have to go back and warn him'
Both the men looked at her.
'How would that go Gwen?' asked Jack 'oh by the way the rock is alien and from the future..it seems to think you are ill?' he suggested rolling his eyes.
Gwen looked down, obviously they could not tell the family anything.
'I'm sure he will see his doctor if and when he feels ill Gwen' comforted Ianto.
Jack touched the rock and its colour softened and then turned red. Gwen stepped back startled.
'Jack..it's gone red..does that mean danger? Should we be worried' she asked.
'No' said Jack softly 'red does not indicate danger..it shows fear or anxiety'
They both looked at him.
'I thought you said it wasn't dangerous? Why are you afraid of it?' asked Gwen.
'I'm not' he answered looking only at Ianto.
Ianto understood. The anxiety did not come from having the rock in the hub but from their argument the previous night. Jack was worried.
'Ianto will you take the rock to the vaults?'
'Of course' answered Ianto not really looking at Jack, not knowing how to respond properly whilst last night's argument still hung over them.
They circled around each other all day, not ignoring each other but not making the effort to be together either. At lunch time Gwen threw her hands up in the air.
'I'm going out to lunch and you two better have this resolved by the time I get back' she said.
The two men looked at her, surprised that she had noticed anything wrong, it wasn't as if they were sniping at each other.
'This is not what you do' she elaborated 'you don't discuss work in neutral tones or politely ask for help with work related issues'
They continued to look at her.
'You give each other little sexy looks when you think I'm not watching...you spend time doing God alone knows what in that office...you touch each other constantly...you practically talk in married couple code' she expanded in exasperation.
Gwen gave them one last despairing look and flounced out of the hub.
Jack looked down to hide a small smile at Gwen's outburst and Ianto watched her leave open mouthed.
'Ianto...coffee....my office' insisted Jack.
Ianto moved to fulfil his captain's orders and joined him in his office five minutes later.
'It's not as easy as you thought it would be is it Ianto?' asked Jack.
Ianto slumped in his chair.
'No Jack it isn't...I don't expect everything to be perfect but it's hard adjusting to someone else's way of doing things' he admitted.
'Ianto have you really not lived with anyone before?' asked Jack.
'Mum and dad...and Robin...at university...flat mates..you know?'
Jack smiled at Ianto's need to explain why he had been living with another man.
'I've lived with people before Ianto...not often...but enough to know it can be difficult at first...it just takes some getting used to...' he said 'it's worth the effort' he added with a smile.
Ianto sighed deeply.
'We need to be prepared to compromise Ianto...learn what can be tolerated and what won't be' Jack shrugged.
Ianto wriggled on his seat.
'I'll promise to clear up before I go to bed...if you promise not to be on edge until it's done' Jack offered.
'I'm sorry Jack...I know I'm a bit of a neat freak...maybe...'
Jack raised his eyebrows in question as Ianto faltered.
'Jack...I feel as though I have lost my independence...as if I'm living in your house...I know it was a joke when you said you owned me but I feel a bit like that'
Jack opened his mouth to protest but Ianto held up a hand to halt him.
'I know it's ridiculous..you don't have to tell me that...but it's still how I feel'
'How can I make it feel better Ianto?' Jack asked him earnestly.
'Maybe I should pay rent' suggested Ianto 'I think it would make me feel better...as if I had a right to be in your home' he pleaded.
Jack sighed. He had known Ianto would find the change in circumstances difficult and he had already given the matter some thought.
'Ianto...I own the house...and I have more money than I know what to do with..you paying me rent would be ridiculous...I've lived a long time...and Torchwood pays well...I don't buy fast cars like Owen, or designer clothes like Gwen...I'm not even that keen on new technology like Tosh...so I have little to spend my money on' he said 'I certainly don't need any more' he finished.
'But it's not about you...it's about me...you don't need the money but maybe I need to pay it' insisted Ianto.
Jack took a deep breath.
'I've already thought about this Ianto and I want you to promise not to get mad at the solution I've come up with' said Jack looking up hopefully into his lover's eyes.
'Oh God Jack...what have you done?' asked Ianto not liking the direction in which the conversation was now travelling.
'Please don't get mad' begged Jack again 'I've done this' and he took paperwork out of his desk.
He began to elaborate.
'These are the deeds to my house...your name has been added as co-owner'
Ianto started to protest.
'Arrrh!' shouted Jack putting his fingers to Ianto's lips.
'Ownership reverts to whichever one of us outlives the other...' they both looked at each other silently acknowledging how that would go.
'But for now you have as much right to that property as I do...please Ianto...you need to feel it's your home not just mine' he begged.
'But it's not mine...you bought it' insisted Ianto.
'Stop being so very 21st century...have I not just told you money is largely irrelevant to me...and anyway you are going to be paying for it' said Jack.
Ianto drew himself up.
'I am not paying for it in sexual favours Harkness' he said sternly.
'Much as I love that idea that is not what I had in mind...these are saving accounts' he said pushing over more paperwork for Ianto to peruse.
'Apparently for my nephew and niece' said a slightly bemused Ianto.
'Yes' agreed Jack 'each month you can pay into the accounts what you would normally pay in rent...I don't need your money Ianto...I don't want it...put it to good use.. ensure those you love a start in life...it's not much of a compromise on the whole rent paying thing but it was the best I could come up with...and we can share utility bills and so on' he finished.
Ianto looked at the paperwork whilst he considered this.
'Jack these accounts already have money in them...oh my God how many noughts is that...' exclaimed Ianto.
'They wouldn't let me open accounts without a deposit'
'And this is not you buying me?' asked Ianto still a bit upset at the thought.
'No Ianto...this is me telling you to make provision for your family...buy them an education...a deposit on a house...an expensive car that will devalue as soon as it leaves the forecourt...it doesn't matter...I don't need your money, but I understand your need to pay it...so pay it to someone who will appreciate it'
Ianto just looked at everything in front of him. He knew if the positions were reversed he would not want Jack to pay him rent and he could see that Jack had tried to think of a compromise. He had tried to understand Ianto's point of view and that was a precious thing. He had also tried to understand Ianto's need for space by giving him a separate room in his house...their house. Jack was doing all the giving here and Ianto was starting to realise Jack wasn't the child in this relationship, he was. He should put aside his male pride and just do what felt good.
He swallowed hard.
'Thank you' he said.
'Is it ok?...did I make a colossal balls up?...I really don't want your money Ianto...it would feel too much like we were house mates...I want to believe it's better than that' Jack said quietly.
Ianto nodded. Jack was right, paying rent would make it seem like a financial arrangement rather than an emotional one.
'It's ok...I never thought living with someone would be like this' he added sadly.
'Yeah..it's not all hearts and flowers... anyone can fall in love...but it actually takes a bit of effort to make a relationship work...to love each other despite the everyday irritations' said Jack.
'I never knew you could be so philosophical...or that you knew about all this mundane stuff'
Jack smiled back at him.
'Please don't tell anyone...I have a reputation to keep up' he said.
They heard the alarm sound as Gwen returned.
'Perhaps we better go and get lunch' suggested Ianto.
'In a minute' said Jack as he came to kiss his lover and pull him into a hug.
'Thank God for that!' shouted Gwen.
The rest of the day had passed without incident. Gwen and Jack had gone out in the afternoon to retrieve a Weevil. Ianto had wanted to go but Gwen had insisted she was back and had to be allowed her share of duties. Ianto had seen that she needed to be back in harness and had given in gracefully. That night they had set the rift predictor alarm to Jack's wrist strap and had all left for home.
'Are we ok Ianto?' asked Jack when they arrived home.
Ianto looked at his lover.
'Yeah...we're ok..I've been a prat and life is too short for that' he said.
He pulled Jack into the house.
'Come on...television...bath..food...let's rejoice in the mundane...God knows we get little enough of it' he laughed.
Jack wandered through to the lounge and picked up the home wares catalogue he had left on the coffee table. He chuckled when he saw what Ianto had written.
'If you don't give me some clues I might make a very poor choice' he smiled.
Ianto contemplated this with some alarm, surely Jack couldn't find worse curtains than those currently hanging in the window.
'You should choose Ianto...it's your house too' said Jack softly.
Ianto looked at the yearning on Jack's face.
'Maybe' he agreed quietly taking the catalogue from Jack's hands and leading him from the room.
Half an hour later they were laying in the bath together relaxing in the hot water and leaning languidly into each other.
Unusually for Jack he began to share memories and thoughts and Ianto listened quietly, loving that Jack felt able to share with him.
He spoke quietly and at length. He held his lover in his arms in the warm water and spoke of how he had loved and lost in the past. Of how he had realised he could not die and had decided not to love either, to save himself from the pain of loss.
He told Ianto how this had not worked, how he had been ridiculous to suppose it would. It was impossible not to love people. It was an empty existence just taking people to bed and never having a pair of arms that just gave comfort, not expecting any return.
Ianto had stepped out of the bath and began to dry himself, handing a clean towel to Jack as he too removed himself from the water. He had not interrupted Jack's speech and the other man continued slowly revealing more of himself. Ianto was listening with all his heart and Jack began to hope that he was at last reaching the young man.
'I loved the woman I married nearly a hundred years ago' said Jack.
Ianto looked at him in surprise, he had known Jack had been married, but he had not expected the other man to talk to him about it.
'I did not tell her often enough. I left her when it started to become obvious that whilst she was ageing I apparently wasn't' he continued.
'Ever since then what I have regretted most is that I didn't tell her often enough that I loved her. I didn't tell her the things about her that made me happy...I didn't tell her Ianto' he half sobbed.
Ianto was dressed now and came to stand in front of his captain and felt the other man's pain.
'I promised myself that if I fell in love again...that person would know how I felt...that I would never again regret in later years that I hadn't told them often enough'
Jack looked up at Ianto through the tears in his eyes. Ianto stood beside him and put his arms around the older man.
'I'm so sorry Jack' he whispered.
He dragged the other man into his arms for a hug.
'Come on...let's get something to eat' he said.
They both struggled to contain their emotions as they ventured down to the kitchen. Ianto banged around trying to find something to cook. The week had been busy and neither of them had been able to go grocery shopping.
'Looks like it will have to be pasta...I don't think we've got anything else' he said.
Jack smiled trying to lighten the atmosphere. He felt he had broken through to his partner and now was the time to lift the mood.
'Will you make that sauce you made....the first time you came here' he asked.
'No' said Ianto sadly.
'But it was lovely...so tasty...I really liked it' Jack pouted.
Ianto smiled at him.
'Can't! Don't have the necessary ingredients' he said.
'That tomato sauce then...that's almost as good' said Jack.
'Still not got the ingredients' said Ianto huffing.
'Oh..' said Jack disappointed 'well what will you make it with then' he asked a little exasperated.
Ianto looked him full in the face.
'I will make it with love' he announced.
Jack was momentarily stunned.
'Do you mean it?' he asked breathlessly.
'Yes Jack. I'm sorry...it was stupid to pretend and keep it inside...I love you...when I'm gone remember that you made me happy... remember that I knew you loved me...remember that I loved you too' Ianto was becoming voluble now that the words were finally out.
Ianto pulled away from Jack's embrace feeling suddenly awkward to be sharing these feelings. He looked down shyly.
'I need you to promise me something Jack' he said.
'Ok' said Jack warily, surely Ianto was not going to take back his admission.
'Promise we will never speak of how girly that speech was' he smiled.
Jack gave him an evil grin.
'I may need to reserve the right to discuss it in depth with Gwen...unless you daily persuade me otherwise' he answered.
The two men grinned at each other for a short while. Pasta was made with a very basic sauce with a few mushrooms thrown in but neither of them had tasted anything so good in a long time.
The world did not end because Ianto had finally admitted his feelings. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad, maybe it would be safe to let go, to love again. Ianto started to relax both physically and mentally. Allowing himself to be lulled into a sense of safety and security as he cuddled up to Jack on the large sofa.
Ianto woke to find himself in his own room. He had come upstairs to look for a book and had found a photograph album and become engrossed in looking at the past in picture form. He had obviously fallen asleep and Jack had not come to awaken him. He must think I wanted to be alone again thought Ianto sadly. He looked at his watch, almost midnight, this was not good. After all they had said to each other tonight Ianto should have made sure he was with Jack.
He rose quickly and ran down to their bedroom skidding to a halt outside the door and seeing Jack apparently asleep in their bed. Should he undress and risk waking Jack by climbing in beside him? The difficulty became obsolete when Jack raised the covers.
'Get in before you get cold' he mumbled.
Ianto did as he was told and climbed under the duvet. Immediately Jack sat up on his elbows in surprise.
'You're dressed. Are you going somewhere?' he asked.
'No' answered Ianto 'I didn't mean to stay away...I fell asleep..I'm sorry'
Jack grinned at him.
'Good...I thought you'd had another little freak out at finally saying those words to me'
Ianto smiled back.
'No more worrying' he promised 'I love you Jack'
Jack snuggled up to whisper in his ear.
'Then I really think you should get undressed and show me just how much'
Ianto laughed, but got back out of bed to whip his clothes off rushing back under the covers. The two men pushed themselves together and began to kiss, slowly at first and then with more passion.
'I want to possess every part of you' whispered Jack kissing over Ianto's neck and shoulders and down across his chest.
'I don't think there's any part of me you haven't already laid claim to' smiled Ianto enjoying the captain's travels.
Jack ignored him and continued to lick and nip at all of Ianto's exposed flesh, stroking the parts his tongue and mouth could not get to. Ianto tried to hold Jack's arms and maybe pull him up into an embrace but Jack merely pushed his arms down onto the bed and continued languidly licking and kissing down Ianto's body.
As he reached his cock and gave it a swipe along its whole length, Ianto hissed in pleasure and went rigid in anticipation but Jack just continued down his thighs, nipping all around his groin.
'Jack' he breathed.
'Turn over Ianto' demanded Jack.
Ianto obeyed his captain's commands as always and Jack began his slow soft strokes down his lover's back. Ianto brought his hands up under his head as he realised where Jack was going with this and his breathing hitched in anticipation.
Jack licked each rounded buttock in turn, kneading and stroking at the same time. When he had teased enough he opened the cleft and licked softly up the crease listening to Ianto's sharp intake of breath. This still wasn't something they did often but tonight it was definitely called for. He pushed his tongue further into the gap and wriggled it around Ianto's opening, thrusting inside slightly and causing the younger man to gasp and push his arse back a little to meet Jack's questing tongue.
Jack took the opportunity to urge Ianto to bring his knees under himself and open up even more for Jack's viewing and licking pleasure. Jack looked and felt his own cock harden at the sight, Ianto's most secret spaces opened for him to enjoy, the thought of what he was seeing and doing make Jack hard and leaking.
He dragged his tongue down to Ianto's perineum and pushed and licked knowing it would stimulate his prostate slightly and provide anticipation of pleasures yet to come. Ianto moaned and continued to push his arse backwards quite without reservation now.
Jack took the opportunity again to urge his knees higher and wider underneath him. Ianto was not always comfortable in this position and Jack intended to take full advantage whilst he could. He had full access now and licked and then sucked on the other man's balls, biting lightly on the loose skin then licking all the way over his perineum and up to his hole, delving his tongue back inside.
Ianto was losing control and Jack loved that he could do this to him. But Jack's own leaking cock really needed some attention. He wrapped his hand around Ianto's cock and softly and slowly stroked the whole length whilst continuing to lick around his entrance and wriggle his tongue inside.
'Jack...fuck...I can't take it..' Ianto was gasping.
'I want to fuck you Ianto' Jack hissed then plunged his tongue back into the other man's hole.
Ianto wriggled beneath him uncertain whether it was Jack's words or his actions that were making him so desperate for release. He squirmed himself down onto Jack's tongue again, almost completely shameless in his pursuit of release.
'Hold still' ordered Jack harshly and Ianto breathed sharply in pleasure at hearing the tone.
Jack pushed Ianto's shoulders further down onto the bed, raising his arse as he did so, exposing and opening the younger man in a way he had rarely been allowed.
'You want me to fuck you don't you?' Jack asked harshly.
Ianto did not answer only breathed more heavily and gasped, wriggling backwards to try to encourage that talented tongue back to work.
'Answer me' ordered Jack.
Ianto breathed harshly but still could not frame an answer. He really enjoyed it when Jack was demanding and aggressive but sometimes felt overwhelmed when it came to answering him.
'Do you want me to fuck you?' Jack demanded dancing his tongue over Ianto's balls again, teasing at the skin with his teeth.
Ianto nodded his head that was all but buried in the mattress.
'Say it' Jack ordered harshly.
'Fuck me' pleaded Ianto eventually managing to gasp out the words.
Jack's tongue licked from Ianto's balls over his entrance and all the way up his back until he reached Ianto's ears. He leaned forwards and asked softly.
'Like this Ianto? Do you want to move?'
Jack needed to be sure Ianto was happy with a position he had previously resisted. When they had sex from behind it was usually with them both lying down, or with them both standing. Jack understood Ianto felt exposed and vulnerable like this, it was part of the thrill for Jack. He also knew the angle of penetration would be enjoyable for his partner if he could only relax enough to take it.
He waited a moment for Ianto to answer.
'Like this Jack...fuck me like this'
'Oh God' breathed Jack, the anticipation making him desperate.
He stroked his hands down Ianto's sides and gently pulled his buttocks up and apart even more and positioned himself, forcing himself into the other man's body in one swift movement.
'Jaaacck' screamed Ianto.
Jack froze. Ianto pushed back against him, fists clenching in the bed sheets.
'Ianto?' questioned Jack, he really needed to move.
'It's ok...fuck that's good...do it Jack' Ianto was grinding himself backwards against the other man trying to encourage movement.
Jack began to pump hard, he would barely last.
'Fucking hell...fuck...God..' Ianto eventually lost the ability to make coherent sound, pushing and grinding whilst Jack gripped his hips forcefully and pounded his prostate.
Ianto was gasping unable to even think beyond the sensations Jack was creating. He could feel the familiar tightness in his belly that signalled orgasm and his cock was not even being touched. A final thrust across his prostate decided the outcome.
'Arrrhhh!!' screamed Ianto and shot his load over the bed.
Jack followed seconds later with a final deep thrust and both men collapsed onto the bed panting and gasping.
As their breathing returned to normal Ianto made no move to turn in Jack's arms and remained facing away.
'Why didn't you tell me that position was so good?...fucking hell Jack that was unreal...I feel a little bit sick'
'It's only good if you're happy doing it Ianto...and I hope you feeling sick is an indication of pleasure...albeit an unusual one'
Ianto chuckled with him.
'We are doing it like that again...just as soon as I've recovered' he stated already sounding sleepy and Jack just pulled him into his arms further and cuddled up.
'Ok' he agreed.
Now Jack had left him again.
'I'm coming back'
Those had been his words and Ianto stood watching the empty space where his lover had been and thought about what he had said. Gwen was monitoring signals on a computer screen and Ianto knew he should help, but he just stood looking at the area from which Jack had disappeared.
Suddenly it hit him. Jack would be back. Ianto had searched his whole mind and soul and found he believed with all his being that his lover would return to him. He had been jealous of the Doctor for so long but now every atom in his body told him Jack would come home. The relief that came with that faith was immense. His breath left his body in short ragged bursts.
'Ianto?' questioned Gwen when she saw him rooted to the spot and breathing heavily.
'It'll be ok...I don't know what he can do out there...but we need to be ready to help' she indicated another monitor.
Ianto looked at her. He knew he should help, be ready to do whatever they could, but he needed to do something else first.
'I'll just be a minute Gwen' he announced running to Jack's office.
He took a pen and paper and wrote a short note for Jack. He truly believed Jack would come back, but he was less sure that he and Gwen would still be alive to see him. He wanted to ensure Jack knew he had believed.
I know you will come back – I believe.
Remember I love you and you made me happy.
He returned to Gwen and together they began to scan for messages and signals.
Yet again, even from beyond the grave, the beautiful Toshiko Sato had saved her colleagues from certain death. She was brilliant thought Ianto as he smiled to himself in the aftermath of the world almost ending. He and Gwen were waiting. Waiting for Jack to return. Waiting to recover enough energy to start the grind of rift monitoring once more.
'Do you think we should try to do some work?' asked Gwen.
'No' answered Ianto 'I think you should go home...go and see Rhys'
Gwen looked down somewhat ashamed.
'What?' demanded Ianto.
'I kind of told him to come here' she said as she activated the invisible lift having seen Rhys arrive on the CCTV.
'Oh' sighed Ianto.
'Are you mad?' asked Gwen getting up to go and greet her husband.
'No...don't be daft...of course you want him with you' smiled Ianto looking away as Rhys stepped off the lift and pulled his wife into his arms and kissed her possessively.
'Righto crime fighters...what do you want me to do...anything...I'll do anything to save my lovely wife here from all the nasties of the universe' quipped an annoyingly cheerful Rhys.
Ianto grinned at him. Actually Rhys was just what they needed right now. He was a breath of fresh air, a reminder of why exactly they risked their lives on an almost daily basis. He was the average human being looking out for his loved ones. People like Rhys made the job worthwhile.
Ianto strode across to the coffee machine and proceeded to brew drinks for the three of them. They could all do with something stronger but he and Gwen might fall asleep if they added alcohol to the exhaustion and relief they were already experiencing.
He listened to Gwen skirting around the story of what had actually happened as she explained it to Rhys. She left out the more horrific and terrifying parts and he smiled at her need to protect the big Welshman she had married.
They sat companionably together drinking and reflecting.
'So...what do you do now?' asked Rhys.
'We wait for Jack to get back' decided Gwen 'he won't be that long and once we regroup we can decide what comes next' she continued.
'Can't we wait at home?' asked Rhys reasonably.
'No...I want to be here when he returns...at least then I can smack him for running out on us again...sorry Ianto...I know he went to save the world...and I'll get in line and let you kick him first' she smiled.
Ianto smiled back at her.
'I won't be doing any kicking Gwen' he laughed 'he went to help...and now he's coming home' and he smiled secretly to himself.
Gwen looked at him. She had expected Ianto to be more upset that Jack had left, no matter the reason. He obviously had more faith in the captain than she had. Well that's as it should be she thought as she snuggled into the arms of her own partner.
'Actually Gwen..if you don't mind I think I'll leave' said Ianto suddenly.
'No that's ok...it doesn't need us all here twiddling our thumbs...shall I tell Jack you're waiting for him at home?' she asked.
'No' said Ianto.
He thought about his next comment for a moment. Considered how Gwen and Rhys would not understand it and how much it would mean to his captain when he heard it. He smiled.
'No...tell him I've gone shopping...for curtains'