disclaimer: I don't own TW
a/n.: obligatory CoE fix-it
a/n2.: forgive me the corny title and suggest me a better one. please :)
Ianto Jones hurried down the street, searching for his destination. He'd already got the clothes he wanted for Gwen, Rhys and himself, so only Jack's' were left to go. And Ianto, knowing his lover, didn't bother checking out the ordinary shops –no, the Captain wouldn't settle for anything but his period military clothes, invasion or not.
But the shop itself was nowhere to be seen. He carefully transferred all the bags into his right hand, and with the left he took the piece of paper with the address on it out of his pocket. He read the paper, then the name of the street and frowned. The shop was supposed to be here. He checked the paper again then started walking, reading the names of shops at least twice, so he wouldn't miss the one he wanted.
He was so engrossed that he didn't notice the man coming out of the coffee shop until they collided. The bags of clothes scattered around him –he dropped them after he felt a sharp pain in his arm. It felt like a prick of those big needles Owen used for injections, but he dismissed the memory and turned to the man in front of him.
He must've been around Ianto's age, maybe a little younger, and he was busy tucking something into his pocket. Ianto tensed when the man pulled his hand free, but relaxed when he saw the sheepish grin on the young man's face.
"Sorry man, I didn't watch where I was going," he said while collecting the bags of clothes, and Ianto was surprised to hear the thick welsh accent.
"No problem, I didn't either," answered the tea-boy. The man grinned widely when he realized Ianto was welsh as well.
They stood up, and Ianto was about to leave when he felt an arm on his shoulder. He turned back, and saw the young man holding his piece of paper with the military shop's address out to him. When Ianto took it, the other man spoke up.
"It's in the next alley," was all he said before he walked away with a strangely smug and satisfied grin etched onto his face.
Ianto watched him for a couple of seconds, wondering about the stranger. He didn't know why, but he expected to see a gap between his front teeth.
Jack was working furiously to find a way to defeat the 456. They killed Ianto, they weren't allowed to take the children, to kill more, to live. They messed with Torchwood, with Jack, and now they were going to pay the price.
It didn't take a long time to find a way to get rid of the aliens, but they couldn't come up with a way to send the wave back to the 456.
Of course, there was a way, but Jack didn't want to accept it. Not yet, anyway. It involved sacrificing a child, frying him, as the man next to him so charmingly put it. One child's life for millions, a treacherous voice in his head said, but he still didn't agree to it. The only child on the base was Stephen; and while Jack knew that he had to use his grandson, he wasn't willing to make the decision until there was hope for another solution.
As the deadline approached, Jack slowly realized that there was nothing he could do. He turned to the soldiers, intent on ordering them to bring Stephen, when he noticed a post-it stuck to the other laptop. A word 'child' caught his attention, so he reached out and retrieved it.
The 456 has a child, and you have computers.
Jack re-read it a couple of times when the meaning hit him. The room where the tank resided was full of high tech equipments, it should take a couple minutes of hacking, then they would be able to get them to produce the required sound. And the child in the tank with the alien was still alive, he or she could be used as a transmitter.
Jack let out a strangled laugh and silently thanked whoever wrote the note, then got to work.
He woke up in a cold, red-tinted and airless place, and it took him a good couple of minutes to work out that he was in a body-bag. It took him considerably less time to get out of the thing, even with his strangely weak state –he figured adrenaline was a wonderful thing. He opened the bag and breathed in the fresh air.
When he finally gathered enough energy to actually sit up, he wasn't surprised to see room filled with dozens of red bags. He didn't expect special treatment, a separate room –he was just a corpse like the others.
Or not, he corrected himself mentally, because he felt quite alive. He was breathing –not like Owen, who used to breath only to be able to speak-, moving, and feeling the cramp in his right leg. The latter he couldn't explain, it was unusual for him to get a cramp while lying on his back.
When the pain became too intense, he tried to move his leg, but it wasn't cooperating. Ianto let himself panic for a couple of seconds, then moved his hand, trying to massage the pain away. Trying being the keyword, because his limbs felt way too heavy and weak to do any work.
When he heard the voice from behind his back, he was glad for his inability to move. This way instead of jumping into air from the fright, he could only let out a strangled yelp, which was much less embarrassing in his opinion.
"The cramp will pass in a couple of minutes," spoke up a man with a familiar voice. He was sitting somewhere behind him, so Ianto tried to turn around to face the stranger. He failed spectacularly. The unknown man chuckled, then moved. Ianto heard as he picked up a chair, and a moment later he entered the Torchwood agent's sight. "Don't try moving around. You were dead, your muscles stiffened. I already gave you an injection, you'll feel the effects soon, but it'll take you a couple of weeks to heal completely," he continued.
"You seem to be very fond of injections," snapped Ianto when he recognized the man from the previous day, and realized that the pain he felt in his arm then was indeed from a needle and just a stray memory of Owen.
The stranger chuckled again, and Ianto got angrier. He knew that it wasn't the smartest idea to piss off the man with the big needles and the ability to bring you back to life, but his leg was hurting and he didn't care. He wanted to see Jack and Gwen. But mostly Jack.
"What happened? Where are the others?" he demanded.
"If I'm right, Miss Cooper and her husband are busy protecting the children of your sister, and Captain Harkness is working on a plan to destroy the 456. Your death hit them rather hard," the stranger answered, and Ianto froze as a thought entered his mind.
"What do you want with me? If you want to blackmail them with me, I can tell you they won't help. As you said, they think I'm dead, so even if you take me, they'll know it's just a way to manipulate them."
"You think so? I heard that you do crazy things when you love someone," asked the brunette stranger.
"Jack doesn't love me," answered Ianto automatically. It became painfully clear when Jack said ' Don't ' after his admission.
"You might be surprised," was the only answer Ianto got before the brunette stood. "Are you ready to go?" he asked.
"I'm not going anywhere with you!" said Ianto, though he knew that if he wanted, the man could easily drag him out. In this state Ianto couldn't fight him.
"Oh, bloody hell!" exclaimed the other man. "I'm not here to harm anybody or to conquer the planet or whatever is going through your head. If I wanted those things, I would not be here, I would be killing off your teammates. Gwen and Rhys are not a big deal if you have a gun, and I heard a block of cement does wonders to Jack."
Ianto stayed silent and unmoving, waiting for a better explanation.
The man groaned. "Fine, what do you want to know."
"How did you know how to save me?"
"We've been working on the antidote for years. A couple of weeks ago we realized that there wasn't one. The poison is the most complex thing I've ever seen. It's base is a simple retrovirus that makes your body attack itself, but it has many other strains attached –we neutralize one, two other take its place. Like a chimera. That makes it impossible to cure it. Not without killing the infected person. That's the only solution."
"You were dead."
"What did you give me?"
"I believe your Doctor Harper named it the Vista virus. First it's slow, then it crashes your system and takes forever to reboot. So the poison only infected you, it didn't kill you. Technically, I did that," came the reply accompanied by a smile. Ianto returned it, as he slowly put the pieces together.
"So you saved me. You say you know Owen's work, and that you've been trying to find a cure for years. But Owen is dead, and the poison was created today. Or a couple of days ago, if what you said about rebooting taking forever is true," Ianto repeated everything he knew so far. Looking at the man the answer seemed obvious, but he needed another piece to really believe it. "How?"
The other smiled again, realizing what Ianto wanted to hear. "Torchwood."
Ianto nodded again, then held his out to his fellow agent, silently asking him to help him stand up.
When he was in a vertical position again –though leaning heavily on the other man, Ianto decided to try to confirm another theory.
"So? No gap between the teeth?"
The not-quite-stranger laughed. "No. But my sister has one."
Then together they walked out of the makeshift morgue.
Without Toshiko's skills, hacking the Thames House's system was harder than Jack expected, but they did it. The alien exploded, the children were released, and the people of Britain were again without a Prime Minister. Lois was free to return to her business, and arranges were made to take Alice and Stephen home.
Gwen and Rhys were on their way back to London in their own car –Rhys was comically relieved that his new vehicle was neither stolen nor towed. But even the relief that they were safe didn't make up for the event they were returning for.
They had to take Ianto home.
Shortly after he said goodbye to his daughter and grandson, Gwen and Rhys arrived. They packed up their stolen equipment, and were getting ready to leave when they heard a car coming and stopping at the warehouse. Still cautious after the recent events, Jack and Gwen pulled their gun out and moved closer to the door.
The newcomers' footsteps echoed loudly, and soon the door opened. The Torchwood members aimed their guns, then promptly lowered them back, choosing to stare at the two men in disbelief instead.
In front of them was Ianto, supported by a stranger.
"Ianto?" whispered Gwen. Jack continued to stare. So did Rhys. The man in question nodded.
When nobody seemed to be inclined to move, the other man groaned lightly, then nodded at the Captain.
"Catch," was all he said before throwing Ianto at the surprised man. Luckily for the lovers, Jack had good reflexes. "So. Ianto'll be better in a couple of weeks, Rhys and Gwen, the nursery should be blue, Jack, don't be a bastard. It was nice meeting you, I've gotta go. Bye."
The man turned to leave, but Jack snapped out of his shock, freed his right arm from around Ianto's waist and aimed his gun at the departing brunette.
"Not so fast. Who the hell are you?"
Green eyes widened slightly at the sight of the weapon, but the stranger quickly regained his cool. "Someone who saved you."
"That's not an answer," argued back Jack, but before he could continue, Ianto squeezed his shoulder lightly.
"He's a friend, Jack, trust me," he spoke, and his voice seemingly triggered Gwen, who threw herself into his (and Jack's) arms. They hugged her back. Rhys was still staring at the stranger, and Ianto could see the wheels turning inside his head. He grinned, Rhys figured it out in less time than all of them.
After disengaging himself, Jack lowered the gun, but was still waiting for an answer.
With an eye-roll, the man tossed a metal cube to the Captain, who instantly recognized it. "A paradox machine?"
"Yup. Don't worry, it's a one-time thing. It'll disintegrate in a couple of hours. And I really have to go now," he added, fiddling with the wrist strap he wore on his left. Ianto wondered why he hadn't seen it before. It'd have spared them a lot of explanation.
Jack looked like he had a million more questions, but Rhys beat him to it.
"Could you help us out with a name?" asked the older Welshman. Gwen looked at her husband strangely; a moment later her eyes widened and turned to her teammates, only to see Ianto smiling back at her. She involuntarily placed her hand on her belly, like she wanted to touch her unborn child. Son.
The no-longer stranger looked back up at them and grinned. "Ianto. My name is Ianto Williams." He waved one last time then disappeared, leaving four confused but happy people behind.
A little while later, after the married couple dropped them off at Ianto's flat, the two men were sitting on the couch in an awkward silence.
Gwen and Rhys immediately started to plan their new life with the baby, starting with getting blue paint.
Ianto wasn't looking forward to be alone with the Captain, but he didn't want to hold up the others, who were eager to return to their lives
Jack said only a handful of words to him, and was obviously avoiding the topic of Ianto's 'final' moments. The Welshman decided then that he hated last words, and made a mental note to never do that again. Yes, he would rather suffer and die in silence.
He wanted to say something to break the silence, but didn't have any idea what should he talk about. Should he crack a joke about coming back from the dead like Jack, or break up with the man who didn't seem to love him back, or apologize for his admission and carry on, or should he just act like nothing happened?
None of them sounded good, so to win a little more time to think, he blurted out, "I'm going to call Rhiannon. You know, to tell her...," he trailed off. Jack didn't even look up, just nodded.
He was a step away from his bedroom, where the phone was when Jack's voice stopped him.
"We need o talk," said the immortal, and Ianto felt his strength leaving him again. Only this time it had nothing to do with his death.
"I know, sir. We can talk after I called my sister," he answered, putting up his brave face. He turned back to his bedroom door when Jack called after him again.
"I love you too," it was a quiet admission, full of wonder.
Ianto froze for a moment, then with a sigh he closed his eyes. Jack wasn't ready to say it, Ianto doubted that the older man even thought about his feelings before today. He realized that Jack himself needed to come to terms with it, and that he shouldn't push Jack with his own feelings or words. But he also knew that he couldn't just leave after what was said.
So he settled for the immortal words of Han Solo, and quietly answered with a smile,
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