A/N: This is it. The End Chapter. I'll keep this short: Thanks for all of the support I've gotten from fantastic readers. I'd love more reviews now that it's finished, but I'm incredibly grateful to those who have been encouraging me along the way. Oh, and I TOTALLY forgot that Owen can't eat or drink anything. Arrgh! But I don't have time to fix it. If y'all would just roll with it, that'd be fantastic.
About two hours later, the cog door alarms went off and Gwen, Tosh, and Ianto came in, carrying boxes loaded with materials from Fischer's lab. As soon as they set the boxes down, Jack came out to meet them, but he didn't even acknowledge their load. Gwen told him they'd found it easily enough, and he listened as she explained what they'd found, files, chemicals, paper copies of files, old CCTv footage of the area around the Hub, and a few other odds and ends related to Torchwood. The whole time, Ianto stood there noticing that Jack didn't look at him at all, listening only to Gwen and then saying, "All right. You two need to sift out anything related to Torchwood Three. Tosh, I need to meet with you in my office for a few minutes." He turned on his heel and left, not even, it seemed, noticing Ianto at all. This was bothersome. Jack was in cold mode, and to be on the receiving end of his silence was harrowing. Owen went back out to the SUV with Ianto and Gwen to help unload the rest of the materials, and Tosh looked at Jack's retreating figure, having noticed the darker glare in his eye immediately. She followed him to his office, and he sat down.
"Tosh, I need you to create fake files from Fischer's work. Can you do that? UNIT wants to take Fischer and everything we have on him into their custody – they're saying we can't be objective about this case. I can't have his research in their hands, though. He knows too much about me. Can you create dummy files to hand over?" He was quick and to the point. Then he added, "By tomorrow?" This time he looked at her sheepishly, knowing this was a big request.
Tosh thought for a moment, and then answered, "I think so. I just have to alter one set. I can wipe his hard drive on his computer and we can claim that he did it himself, right? Then all we have to deal with are the files on the jump drive?"
"Sure. That's good. Yeah." Jack nodded. "If you need any help, just ask Gwen or Ianto. Can you bring them up to speed on what you're doing?" He asked.
Tosh told him that wouldn't be a problem, wondering if she was imagining him avoiding Ianto, and he said, "Okay. Thanks. I just can't have UNIT getting this stuff." She saw his grip on his chair tighten and knew he probably needed her to leave. She did, and when she looked back as she left the office, his head was down and his hands were clenched even tighter on his chair. She knew he was still in pain. She went to the boxes of Fischer's materials and got started on the hard drive. When Gwen and Ianto finished unloading the SUV, they came to find her. She told them what Jack said, and they agreed to help her if they could, so she said she'd call them when she needed help. Gwen went down to check on Owen and Martha's search for a flat-out cure, and Ianto climbed the stairs to Jack's office. His door was shut. Ianto knocked, but didn't get an answer. When he went in looking for Jack, he couldn't find him. Jack wasn't even in his bunker. He went to Tosh and asked if she'd seen him.
"Let me check something, Ianto," She said, knowing he was probably desperate to find Jack and talk to him. She pulled up CCTv footage of the Hub in the last half hour and found Jack climbing the stairs. "Check the roof," she smiled.
Ianto sighed, "I should have thought of that first." He paused and looked at Tosh, "I think he believes what I said to Fischer. How can he believe any of it?" He asked desperately.
Tosh gave him a quick hug, "You'll work it out. He'll listen. Just be honest about where it came from and it'll work out."
Ianto nodded and began his ascent to the roof to find Jack. Sometimes he really hated Jack's roof fetish, particularly when he knew how upset Jack really was and just wanted to get to him, rather than taking a ten minute climb to the top of the roof. And he did know today. He knew that the physical pain Jack was going through was knocking Jack for an emotional loop as well; having to rely on everyone else to fix things was not his style. When Ianto found Jack on the roof, he was huddled near the railing instead of standing and gazing out at the city. He was obviously in pain, and Ianto stayed at the door, waiting for it to pass, even though he really wanted to go and hold his lover until it was over. He decided that keeping his distance might be best for the moment.
After it was over, Jack unfolded himself and stood back up to look out at the expanse of the city, taking a deep breath. It was a bright afternoon, and not too cold. He didn't seem to notice Ianto standing there.
"Jack?" Ianto asked after a minute.
Jack didn't turn around, so Ianto walked over to him, still not trying to touch him and simply standing near him with his own hands on the railing. When Jack still didn't say anything, Ianto spoke.
"I used to hate you. I thought I wanted horrible things to happen to you. You know this, Jack. You were the one who helped realize that none of the hate was real, in the end. You were the one who showed me that the hate I felt was actually toward the Cybermen and Torchwood One. You were the one who came round to my flat with pizza and movies and made sure I had food in my cupboards and paid my bills for the months it took me to get over what happened with Lisa. You did it and you didn't have to, and I found myself enjoying you and hoping you'd be round with pizza and . . . dammit, Jack. I was acting yesterday. I had to act in order to get the poison for Owen. You know all of this!" His voice had cracked at the end, and he found himself gripping the railing of the roof as if he, too, were in pain.
Jack was silent for several minutes, and Ianto was about to give up and leave, and then Jack said with a cold voice, "You're a very good actor. Of course, I've known that since the incident with Lisa, too." He was quiet again, and then he said, "But I know the hate isn't real. I never said I believed that part, Ianto. I never said that, and I don't believe you hate me."
Ianto couldn't figure this out, then. He said quietly to Jack, "I told you I didn't want to do this. I told you when they asked me to go talk to Fischer that I didn't want to do it. I knew what I'd have to say and I knew there would be fallout. This is not my fault. You and I have something important. We have issues, too, and this is obviously brought them to the surface. But this is not my fault and now you're shutting me out for something I did to help you." Suddenly Ianto's voice rose and he found himself angry. "When you're ready to let me in so I can defend myself, let me know. Until then, I apparently have some archiving to do." He turned, waited for a moment for Jack to try and stop him, and when Jack stayed where he was, Ianto left. He went back downstairs and straight past Tosh and Gwen and carried a box of Fischer's things down to the archives where he could sort in silence.
Tosh and Gwen looked at each other and Gwen said, "This could be bad. He said some bad things, and Jack's not really in the right state to be reasonable about it."
Tosh looked at Gwen incredulously and said, "But he was acting! Surely Jack knows he was acting. Jack's not being fair."
Gwen looked down the stairs where Ianto had disappeared and said, "He was acting. But he had to pull his material from somewhere true, and I bet that's what's got Jack upset. He knows it came from a true place, and I'll bet he never thought he'd see that place with Ianto." She paused for a moment, "And Jack's not thinking very straight right now is he? Maybe once this poison is gone he'll regain some sense."
"I hope so," said Tosh.
Jack stayed on the roof for some time, but finally came back down to the Hub. He found his way to Martha and Owen, who were looking over a computer screen when he arrived.
"I think the time frame is pretty short now," He said to the doctors. "It still hurts like hell, but not for long. It's just long enough to keep me from being reliable, though, so I'd appreciate some good news from you two."
Martha and Owen looked at each other and grinned, "You just couldn't wait, could you?" Martha said.
Owen followed, "You had to storm down here instead of letting us make a grand entrance with the cure? Typical. We're 'just medics' after all."
Jack smiled, "You have it?" Both medics nodded, and Martha held up a syringe.
"We're going to give you this, and then we're going to sedate you. We think it needs some time to work, you could use a rest, and when you wake up we're both betting good money that you're cured."
"Good money I don't have, by the way, Jack," laughed Owen. "She's gonna make me take her to dinner if it works the first time, and I get dinner if we have to have a second go."
Jack laughed. "I hope you have to pay, Owen." Owen nodded and Martha pushed Jack's sleeve up and gave him the injection. Owen handed Jack a pill cup and said, "Go down to bed and take them. They'll work pretty quickly, and you'll sleep for at least a few hours. We'll handle things up here." Jack nodded and climbed the stairs, went to his bunker, and went to sleep.
Owen and Martha gathered the rest of the team and told them about the cure, and as Gwen saw it dawn on Ianto that Jack hadn't come to find him after Owen and Martha's good news, she looked right at Ianto and said, "He'll see reason when he's feeling better, you know."
Ianto smiled and nodded. "Thanks."
Jack did sleep. Tosh and Gwen worked on the files with Owen and Martha's help to make them more medically believable, and Ianto sorted through Fischer's belongings. By evening they had things sorted and the Tosh was still working on the files, changing the time stamps and user codes so that they all matched and wouldn't stand out as anyone's work but Fischer's. Jack woke up feeling rested, and after an hour without any pain at all, he gathered everyone in the conference room.
"I want to thank all of you for pulling together to help me," he said quietly. "Fischer will be handed over tomorrow late morning and we can be done with all of this garbage." He smiled at Martha and said, "How about I take you out to breakfast before you leave in the morning to go home?"
She stood and gave him a quick hug, "Sure, Jack. Owen's taking me for dinner like he owes me tonight, so that'll get me through 'till I get back to London."
Jack looked at Owen with a grin, "I owe you a round at the pub tomorrow night, so you'll get your money back. Thanks," he said to his medic sincerely.
Owen just grinned and nodded, a witty retort feeling out of place at the moment.
"Gwen and Ianto, you go home and get some rest tonight. I can't believe we haven't had any alerts through all of this; you should grab some sleep while you can. We'll probably pay for it tomorrow. Tosh, I hate to keep you here, but …" He trailed off.
"You need the files finished. I know, Jack. It actually shouldn't take me very long to finish up," She smiled.
Jack leaned back in his chair and grinned at everyone, "I have a team of geniuses. This is very, very helpful to me when an evil genius comes knocking. I have to remember this for the future." He winked at everyone and said, "Get out of here," and he shooed them away.
Ianto was the last to leave, and Jack said, "Ianto, stay here for a bit?" Ianto's face lifted a little, though he was far from happy about the way the afternoon had turned out, except for Jack getting better, of course. He nodded at Tosh and Gwen, and then turned back to Jack. He wasn't sure what to do.
Jack walked over to where Ianto was standing in the entryway to the room and closed the door behind him, softly. He looked Ianto over with pain free eyes that weren't even anticipating anything knocking him down anytime soon, taking in the crisp suit, the angled face, and Ianto's eyes, dark and reserved. He knew he'd hurt the young man earlier, but he was determined to get everything out and resolved, no matter what the consequences. He steered them both over to the chairs and sat down, pulling Ianto into a chair next to him. He folded his arms and looked Ianto in the eye.
"I'm sorry," he said softly, tenderly. "I'm sorry I rejected you today for what you did out of your desire to help me. I know you were scared like I was of what Fischer accomplished here. I know you wanted to help. I," Jack's voice faltered, "I never thought you hated me, really. That wasn't the part that upset me, but I don't know how to explain what did."
Ianto ran his fingers through his hair and cocked his head thoughtfully, "You could just try telling me which part did upset you, whether you know why or not."
Jack smiled softly, looking down, "Smart man, you are." He sighed, looked back at Ianto's face and said, "You said I was an emotional wreck craving anyone who could get into me. You said I was addicted to physical and emotional attention and it wasn't hard to supply." His voice broke and he looked away as his eyes filled with tears and he wiped them quickly away. "Is that really what you think?"
Ianto expelled a breath slowly. He leaned over to Jack and took one of his hands in his. "Jack," he said as he forced Jack's face back to his and looked him in the eye, commanding Jack's gaze. "We are both emotional wrecks. We both have such awful pasts and dysfunctional ways of dealing with things. We're nowhere near healthy, in my humble opinion," he said with a grin. He saw a glimmer of a smile slip from Jack's eyes and he continued, "That's the end of what I think. The rest of the statement you quoted, well, frankly, that's what other people think of you, Jack. It's a nutshell psychobabble version of 'he'll shag anything that moves' and is everything anyone has said as a warning about you, as an armchair psychoanalysis of you, or as an attempt to degrade you." He paused for a moment, looking into Jack's clouded eyes. He reached up and brushed Jack's cheek with his hand and said, "I dredged up anything I thought would help, Jack. All I wanted was for that maniac to stop hurting you. You can ask Tosh and Gwen what kind of wreck I was minutes after that tape you watched. Yes, I think you're a wreck. But you're the wreck who holds me when I wake up screaming, you're the wreck who knows exactly how long down in the archives is too long for my sanity, and the wreck who sacrifices himself, literally, to keep me safe. I don't see any of that as a negative." He leaned in and gave Jack a small kiss, which was returned gratefully.
Jack pulled back softly and looked into Ianto's smiling face and said, "If all of that is true, then may I please take my wreck down to my bed and keep him safe tonight?"
Ianto smiled, nodded, and leaned into Jack's embrace again.