Ianto was glued to his cell phone and clinging one-handed to the dashboard as Jack drove them at insane speed towards the house. Tosh was in the back seat, silent.
There was a parade of cars behind them, people who had been at the pub and were now following along to offer help or just to watch as the firemen tried to contain the blaze.
"Right," Ianto said as he disconnected the call. Someone called in to report the fire nearly thirty minutes ago. The station is about fifteen minutes away. No idea as to the extent of the damage, of course. We'll just have to see…" Ianto's voice dropped off as Jack turned a corner on two wheels and Torchwood came into view.
Ianto took in a shaky breath but didn't say anything else until Jack had stopped the car on the lawn well back from the house and they jumped out, running towards the nightmare vision of fire trucks and smoke.
"Bert," Ianto called to the nearest fireman. He was already striding across the drive to meet them.
"It's not as bad as it looks," he assured them. "The fire's out. That smoke is the last of it. There's some damage of course, but the exterior is stone and the walls are thicker than bricks. Looks like the fire started in the front hall, of all things, but at least it was well away from the library and the grand hall."
"When can we go inside to see what's salvageable?" Toshiko asked.
"Not until tomorrow. The place has to be inspected – make sure the roof won't come down on your heads. And it won't be habitable for a while anyway – not until it's cleaned and aired out. It's not just fire - there's smoke and water damage too." He gave them all a sympathetic look.
"Milly over at the B&B will put you up for the night, free of charge. Why don't you think about heading over there once I get rid of the crowd. Plan on being back here at one – it'll take us that long to do an inspection." Bert nodded and left, heading towards the crowds of onlookers. In front of the house, the firemen were milling around the fire trucks talking. The smoke from the house had thinned and now it was easy to see the broken windows and charred drapes that suggested the damage inside.
Jack put one arm over Ianto's shoulder and the other around Tosh's waist. Deliberately, he turned them away from the house towards the people who had been so generous in trying to help them save Torchwood. Some nodded as they left, but many came over and shook their hand or expressed their sympathy. They had offers of clothes, food and places to stay. By the time the last person had gone, they were teary-eyed but grateful.
The drive to the B&B was sedate compared to their earlier trip to Torchwood. No one felt like talking and the radio was turned so low it was barely a whisper.
Milly was waiting for them and gave them each a hug before urging them into the house. She showed Tosh to her single room first, pointing out the emergency travel bag she'd put in the bathroom with travel-sized shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant as well as a toothbrush and a comb. She'd even left a lounging dress for Tosh to wear so she wouldn't have to sleep in her clothes.
A plate with a large turkey sandwich and fresh fruit was already laid out along with a steaming teapot. They bid Tosh goodnight and followed Milly next door to a double laid out with the same travel kits and food. They assured their hostess that they didn't mind sharing and thanked her sincerely, promising to let her know if they needed anything else.
A short while later Tosh knocked on the door. She had showered and put on the dress – it was far too big on her but it was clean and didn't smell like smoke and ash. She was carrying her plate of food and looking a little bit lost.
"Can I come in for a while?" she asked Jack. He had stripped down to his boxers and was obviously waiting for Ianto to finish showering before taking his turn.
"Please do. Just don't expect a lot of conversation." Jack sat down, picking at his own plate of food while looking towards the bathroom door. "He's taking it hard."
"I'm not surprised. He loves that old place. Told me it was the closest thing left to home since his father died."
"What about his parents' home?"
"His sister lives there with her family – husband and two kids. Ianto said that's how he came to stay at Torchwood – he didn't have the money for a place of his own and there wasn't room for him with his sister."
Jack started to reply when the bathroom door was flung open and a towel-clad Ianto ran out.
"We've got to get back to the house."
"Why?" Jack demanded at the same time as Tosh said, "We can't…"
"I was thinking about it," Ianto insisted. "Why would a fire start in the front hall. There's nothing there."
"But it's the perfect place if you want to do the least amount of damage to more important areas of the house." Tosh said.
"Like the study, there the safe is," Jack added, already reaching for his clothes. Unlike the others, he had an idea of who had set the fire and why. With them out of the house, Owen would be free to search it at his leisure.
"Don't leave without me," Tosh demanded as she raced back to her room to get dressed.
They parked out of sight of the house and made their way as quickly and as quietly as they could across the grounds, approaching from the south side of the house where the grand ballroom was located. Ianto had borrowed two torches from Milly and he and Tosh carried them, carefully keeping the light pointed downward while Jack led the way.
Some of the windows had been broken so it took just a few seconds to get inside. The smell of fire and ash was heavy in the air and the floor was wet, but there didn't seem to be serious damage. Ianto paused a moment and looked up at the large sculpture of the famous pirate, Captain Jack Harkness. Even in the gloom it was impressive where sat on a wide platform that formed the entryway into the grand room.
"Still standing," Ianto whispered, patting one of the many columns that help up the platform. His hand came away flaked with ash and he made a face as he used his handkerchief to wipe it off. Tucking the cloth back into his pocket, he led the way towards the door.
Slipping into the deserted hall, Tosh pointed towards herself and then the stairs. She had taken a few steps in that direction when they heard the noise and the three of them froze. Jack motioned for them to spread out and started towards the sound.
There was a faint light in the study and two figures standing close together, one holding a partly shielded light and the other wielding what looked like a prybar.
Without hesitation, Jack charged at the figures, torch held like a weapon. He grabbed the nearest figure while Ianto went after the other one. Tosh dove into the fray and the lantern was knocked away and shattered.
There was a shuffle and cursing - especially when Jack realized that he had Owen's sister instead of the man himself - they were so similar it was hard to tell them apart in the erratic light of the torches.
"Damnit! Damnit!" Owen had taken a good swing with the prybar but Ianto had dodged it and had tackled the man, slamming him into the wall and jarring one of the paintings. They went sideways into a chair and nearly fell but Ianto caught his balance and shoved Owen back, turning him before slamming him face first into the wall.
"Get this ape off me, Harkness," Owen snapped.
"I don't think I will," Jack said calmly. He held a struggling Janet while Tosh used the shoelaces from her trainers to bind the woman's hands. She handed one to Ianto and he bound Owen's hands too. He kept his grip on the man, not willing to trust the thin laces to hold the furious man.
"We had a deal," Owen spit as Ianto shoved him into a chair beside Janet. Ianto stood behind them, one hand fisted in the collar of Owen and Janet's shirts. Tosh was on her cell phone calling the police.
"We had nothing. You wanted me to pretend to be Jack Harkness, when you knew I was him all along. You wanted to use me to steal my own money."
"Jack?" Tosh said with an edge of ice in her voice.
"It was all a con, Princess," Owen sneered. Beside him Janet huddled in her chair and looked miserable. "Bring in someone who resembled Torchwood's missing heir and get him to find the treasure. Imagine the bonus of finding the man himself, blissfully unaware because of amnesia. It was perfect." He looked back at Ianto then added. "And it was all made possible by your helpful butler, isn't that right, Jones?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Ianto said stiffly, his hands tightening their grips on the thieves.
"No idea what I'm talking about?" Owen mocked. "Then I guess you're here licking Jack's boots because you enjoy it and not because you're planning to claim the treasure yourself?"
"Do you always talk this much?" Ianto wondered.
"Only when I'm being made to be the only villain in the story. You're the traitor spending his nights in the masters own bed." Owen sneered up at Ianto. "Or haven't you managed to work your questionable charms on old Jack here?"
Ianto never should have released his hold on Janet but a split second after he did, everything went wrong. The woman dove for Jack, her hands still tied, although the laces were obviously loose. Tosh tried to stop her and the three of them crashed sideways into a small table while Owen used his freed hands to shove Ianto backwards and take off. In the distance there were sirens.
Ianto was after Owen, the darkness and watery floors slowing them down as they crashed into walls and furniture. It wasn't until Owen turned into the ballroom that Ianto caught up with him and the two of them crashed into one of the posts holding up the platform with Captain Jack's statue. There was an ominous crack as the heat-damaged paneling gave.
The struggle continued and they careened into another pillar and then another, working their way along the row of obstacles until they both went down, Owen having the upper hand for the moment.
He punched Ianto as hard as he could and felt the other man's grip go slack, but Owen didn't have time to enjoy his victory - the sirens were too close. Scrambling to his feet, he allowed himself one vicious kick to Ianto's side before racing for the broken windows and tumbling out onto the lawn where he ran for the nearest line of trees.
"Ianto!" Jack pulled the dazed man to his feet and into his arms, holding on tight for a moment before the arrival of the police required him to let go.
"He got away," Ianto said dully.
"But Janet didn't. I have a feeling we'll be seeing Owen again soon." Jack steered Ianto into the hallway and directed him towards the study while he went to meet the police.
"Ianto, are you alright?" Tosh demanded. They didn't want to risk turning the lights on until the house had been inspected in the morning, but she had one of the torches on and Ianto used the light to navigate to her side. He couldn't help suppress a smile at the sight of Janet on the sofa, face-down and bound hand and foot with Tosh sitting on her back. Janet wasn't struggling.
"Janet tells me she found your journal when she was snooping around - seems she made a copy of the Torchwood keys before she was dismissed and she's been sneaking in when she knows we're out." Tosh looked at him seriously. "We'll have to talk, the three of us, once this mess is settled."
Ianto nodded once then let the silence lay between them until Jack returned.
"Ianto…" Under other circumstances, Ianto might have laughed at Tosh's stern expression. Instead, he took a swallow of strong black coffee and started to talk.
"I keep a journal. Have done most of my life." He rested a hand on the cover of the battered book. He hadn't spared it a thought while they were dealing with the fire and then Owen, but he was very grateful to still have it. He didn't like the thought of that man or his sister having read it, but there was nothing to be done about that now; Owen and his sister Janet were off to jail and he was here in the B&B with Jack and Tosh deciding how to tell them what they needed to know of his past.
"There's been a story in my family, passed down from father to son since the time of Captain Jack. My grandfather passed it to me and I wrote it down. I imagine that other family members have tried to find the truth in the story before I came along, but as far as anyone knows, it was never proven. And," Ianto leaned forward a little, trying to convey the importance of what he would say next. "No one outside the family was to be told. Ever. Not even the women in the family were to know, although I suspect some did."
He tapped his journal. "A few pages torn from an old journal were passed down with the story - it was supposed to have been written by Captain Jack himself. It was written to my ancestor, also named Ianto Jones. It wasn't quite a love letter, but it was intimate and in it, Jack promised half of his treasure to his Ianto." Ianto looked at Tosh, his expression pleading.
"I came to Torchwood to find the treasure - not to steal it or take what didn't belong to me. I only wanted what had been promised to my ancestor. We've never been a rich family and we don't need to be. But I'd like my sister and her family to be comfortable."
"And you don't want anything?" Tosh asked coldly.
"Of course I want something," Ianto said emphatically. "I have dreams just like anyone else. I want to be able to travel - to see all those places I've read about. And I want some nice suits and a good car. I don't mind working for those things, but if my family is due some of that treasure, why shouldn't we have it?"
"Why indeed? In fact, why share it at all when it could all be yours? I should have known you had a reason for being so helpful and so willing to work here when I could barely pay you a living wage."
"I'm not a thief." Ianto's voice faltered as he reached for his friend and she pulled away from him. "Tosh please, I didn't tell you about this, but I never lied to you. We even joked about finding that treasure together."
"You said you'd take only your fair share," Tosh said quietly, remembering that afternoon when the two of them lingered over tea and spun out fancy plans for treasure hunting.
"I meant every word," Ianto insisted. He looked at Jack. "You were gone so long, and the house was empty. I was afraid that someone would come in a find the treasure and take it for their own - someone who doesn't have a right to it."
"After tomorrow we won't have a right to it either," Jack reminded them. "Even with what was raised at the pub tonight, it's not enough. And then there will be the repairs... "
"Then we have to find that treasure tonight." Ianto grabbed his journal and flipped through it to a page near the middle of the book. "With the three of us working together, we can outwit the Captain." He pointed to a neatly written list on the page.
"Here. This is what we know about the Captain and his treasure. Captain Jack was a controlling man with a somewhat skewed sense of humor. He'd want the treasure close - somewhere that he could see it, or at least keep an eye on the place where it was hidden. A lot of people have suspected that it was hidden in the cemetery but I always favored the house as his hiding place. The Captain oversaw every part of the design for the house - it would make sense with all the hidden passages and secret rooms that he'd include a place to hide the treasure."
"The house is a mess and it's not safe to wandering around there in the dark." Tosh argued. "Especially if we're looking for hidden rooms."
"It'll be dawn in less than an hour." Jack countered. "If we take time to sleep now, we'll be getting there along with the reporters, the fire inspector and hordes of curious villagers. Ianto's right - we have to go now."
Tosh sighed and reached for her shoes. She was bone-weary but a part of her still couldn't resist the lure of a treasure hunt. She just hoped Milly was a deep sleeper or they'd have a lot to answer for in the morning.
They parked out of sight among some trees and retraced their path from earlier that night when they'd been worried about thieves breaking into the house. Now they were trying to avoid being seen and drawing the attention of anyone who might be out as such an early hour.
They clambered in through the broken windows in the ballroom again and started across the room intending to start their search in the study. They were just passing under the large statue of Captain Jack when Tosh kicked something and it clattered against one of the posts. She swept her flashlight across the floor searching for the object and gasped when she realised what she was seeing.
"It's a doubloon," Jack whispered, picking up the gold coin and examining it under Tosh's light.
"Not just one," Ianto said in an odd voice. The others turned to him and saw Ianto prodding at one of the support columns that held the large platform where Captain Jack's statue overlooked the grand room.
A small piece of the wooden post had broken away, probably when Ianto had been fighting Owen. Ianto pulled more wood free revealing a laticework of iron. Beyond it was a mass of gold doubloons and other precious objects.
Ianto reached in and plucked out one of the gold coins, clutching it as he started to laugh. He gave Tosh a happy kiss on the cheek before pulling Jack into a fierce embrace.
The three of them laughed themselves out, holding onto each other until they finally calmed. By the time the sun rose, they'd taken enough coins to pay the taxes and covered up the rest of the treasure that filled not just that post, but all five of the other posts as well.
When the inspector arrived, he was surprised to find three very happy people just finishing breakfast in the wreckage of their home.
"No floral wallpaper," Tosh called from the other room as Ianto passed her with a book of wallpaper samples.
Jack was in the dining room mulling over paneling options. He grinned up at Ianto before calling back, "What if I like floral wallpaper?" He laughed at the look of disgust Ianto gave him. "Maybe not."
"You can indulge your affection for flora in the garden, Jack. Not in the living room."
"But what about my affection for stubborn Welshmen? Can I indulge that anywhere?"
"Except for the kitchen. You've already done that." Ianto set down the book and stepped into Jack's personal space. "And no, you can't persuade me to change my mind. What if Rhys or Gwen walks in?"
"Like they haven't seen you two already?" Tosh called before leaning into the room and giving them a sickly-sweet smile. "I'm thinking of getting rid of the television - you two are far more entertaining."
"Glad to be of service, milady." Ianto gave her a bow, then a considering look. "You still have that invitation, I believe."
"I do. I just can't believe you had it printed up and included an RSVP card. As if you two don't get up to enough by yourselves."
"Variety is the spice and all that," Jack said lightly as he slid his hand down Ianto's back and started to grope. Tosh just laughed and left the room.
"Speaking of variety," Ianto said calmly as he grabbed Jack's hand and held it still. "I believe there are still a few out buildings we haven't fully explored. You bring the lantern and I'll bring the shovel. "He took out the stopwatch Jack had given him as gift just last week. "Ten minutes and counting."
Jack laughed and watched him go before walking over to the newly-framed parchment hanging on the wall. It had been found in an exquisite gold box at the very bottom of one of the posts full of treasure. He smiled as he read it again, delighting in Captain Jack's direct manner as he congratulated the finder for discovering just one of Torchwood's many treasures.
As he followed Ianto's path Jack decided that the Captain was only partly correct - Jack had actually found two treasures. If the Captain's Ianto had been anything like his, Jack was sure he'd agree.