There were only three of them. Owen figured he'd be able to surprise them. He was clutching one of the guns they kept in the SUV and was crouching behind the counters in the kitchen niche. He had crawled to the garage door through the ventilation shafts, knowing that he would be seen on CCTV if he'd take the corridors. The door to the garage was easily opened from the inside and he was glad to see that it still recognized his retina when he went back inside. Via the ventilation shafts, he'd reached the main Hub and now, he was waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

That opportunity came faster than he'd anticipated. Rick hadn't interrogated Jack any further while Owen had been gone, seeming to want to give him time to work through Owen's 'death' and that he was following through on his threats. Instead, Rick and Lance were going through some more boxes while Kenya was sitting at Tosh's computer, apparently getting to know their programs. "Rick!" she said suddenly. "It's John. He just walked by one of the cameras in the lower levels."

"What?" Rick asked and joined her, staring at the screen. Owen's grip around his gun tightened. The lower levels … John had probably used Gwen's retina scan to get in through the garage. And he obviously wasn't trying to hide his presence. Rick said, "He's on his way up here. Get ready." They all readied their guns and pointed them at the corridor John would come out of – they were standing with their backs to Owen! There was no doubt they would shoot John on sight and Owen wasn't quite sure why John was taking such a risk, but he didn't much care. He knew that he could help. He carefully approached the intruders and hid away behind the water tower. He pointed his gun at Lance and waited, concentrating on every sound, blocking out the trickling of the water. He could hear John approach and just one second later, Lance shot. There was an answering shot and Owen didn't waste any more time. He hit Lance square in the chest. Kenya whirled around to him and Owen ducked behind the water tower when the electrical charge of her gun headed towards him. He heard John and Rick shooting at each other and then Kenya's hurried steps when she looked for cover. Owen peeked around the tower and managed to shoot her in the shoulder. Kenya cried out and stumbled down a flight of stairs. Owen hurried towards her to take away her gun, but she was faster. The charge of her gun hit his leg. The only flaw in her plan was that Owen didn't feel pain anymore. He grabbed her gun out of her surprised hand and was just about to help John out with Rick when Rick stumbled backwards, clearly hit.

John emerged from the corridor, blood soaking through his jacket from a wound in his flank. John kicked Rick's gun away and pointed his own at Rick's head, his face a cold, determined mask. Owen expected a joke, a sly remark, maybe even a flirty come-on, but John just said, "Look at me."

Rick met John's eyes, defiant. "I gave Jack a reasonable warning," he said.

John just stared at him and a feeling of dread settled in Owen's stomach. Whatever had John so pissed off must have something to do with Ianto. "I gave you a reasonable warning when I told you to stay away from Ianto." He shot and Rick crumpled to the floor, dead.

Kenya cried out "No!" and tried to get up, tried to attack John, no matter what, but he just turned towards her and shot again, killing her instantly.

"Hey!" yelled Owen. "That wasn't necessary."

John ignored him. He searched Rick's pockets and found the keys for the handcuffs. Then he walked over and unfastened each pair with quiet efficiency, keeping Jack for last. Jack grabbed John's lapel with one hand. "John?"

"When I left them, Ianto was alive. That Doctor friend of Martha's did everything he could ..." For a moment, silence hung over them, then John said, "He was too late. I'm sorry."

"Where?" Jack asked.

"Gwen's flat."

At the mention of her name, Gwen seemed to be able to tear herself out of her silent shock. "I'll drive you."

"I'll stay here," John said. "Help with the clean-up."

Jack barely seemed to hear him. He was already on his way out the door, Gwen in his wake. Owen pulled himself out of his own shock and quickly hurried over to Tosh, who was still sitting huddled against the railing. He was worried that, maybe, she'd gotten hurt. He was startled to see her cry. "It's my fault, isn't it?" she asked.

"What?" Owen asked.

She looked up at him. "I activated Sophia's manipulator by accident, remember? They found us because of me. The baby … it's dead because of me." She sobbed and Owen pulled her into his arms. He racked his brain for anything to say, but he couldn't find any words that were adequate enough. Instead he just held her tighter and whispered, "It was a girl. The baby was a girl." His eyes found John, still standing where Jack had left him. "Hey," Owen said softly, "let me have a look at that wound?"

John stared at him and it took a long time before he answered, "No. I'm fine."


When Jack entered the bedroom, Martha's quick and quiet words of warning lost their significance. Just seeing Ianto was enough to confirm that he already knew – he knew – that he'd lost the baby … their daughter. Still weak, pale and ill, he was lying on his side facing the door, his eyes closed, motionless. The tears rolling down his face were the only thing giving away that he was even alive. The Doctor was looking up at Jack from his position on the edge of the bed. His hand left Ianto's shoulder and he got up to step towards Jack, past the TARDIS that was so out of place in this private space. Jack closed the door, locking out Martha's concern, Gwen's comforting touch and Rhys's awkward pity.

The Doctor touched his arm. "He is going to be okay – health-wise. The antidote took effect."

"Thank you," Jack whispered.

The Doctor nodded and left the room quietly.

Jack waited until the door had closed again before he stepped up to the bed and opened his mouth to say something, anything, but he didn't know what. Nothing would make this better, everything would make it worse. So he stepped even closer and crouched down, touching Ianto's face with hesitant fingertips. Ianto took a deep breath and let it out again, but he didn't open his eyes. "Losing Lisa was bad. This is worse. This is ..." Jack cupped his cheek. Ianto whispered, "You didn't even want the baby." The quiet words hit Jack like a slap. "And I told John that I'd prefer a boy," Ianto continued with a sob. "It's like we cursed it … cursed her."

"She didn't die because we cursed her," Jack answered. "She died because that monster killed her."

"No," Ianto said, "she died because we weighed her life against a code and she lost." Finally, he opened his eyes, staring at Jack with so much grief and pain that it took his breath away for a moment. "We didn't deserve her, did we?"

Jack sat on the edge of the bed. Then he lay down and gathered Ianto to him, bundling him up in the duvet and tucking him against his chest. After a while, he toed off his shoes and crawled underneath the duvet with Ianto, sharing warmth and cocooning them against the world.

He ignored the Doctor softly telling them good-bye and the TARDIS leaving.

He ignored Owen coming in to tell him that John had left.

He ignored the ache in his heart when he realized that John leaving meant he would probably never know what he did to deserve such hate from someone he'd called a friend. He would never know exactly why they took his memories.

He ignored Gwen's offer to have lunch, then her offer to have dinner – her plea to eat anything at all. And he also ignored the quiet voices of their friends in the living room, clearly wondering what they should do about the two men in Gwen's bedroom.

His world narrowed down to just this bed, this man in his arms. Ianto's even breaths when he slept, his heaving sobs and pained tears when the grief hit, the soft words of comfort when Jack cried. Nothing else was important.

Jack doubted that anything else ever could be again.