Here's the bonus chapter I promised. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed the first chapter! Please review if you can, and I make sure I reply to all reviews. Thanks as always to my dedicated and patient beta Prothrombintime. Also a special thank you to Furious Dee for suggesting a location for Jack's retreat. Enjoy!
Jack woke with a start. He bolted upright and the bed covers fell away as he gasped for breath. He quickly closed his eyes and concentrated on regulating his breathing. He felt disoriented, and his head throbbed painfully. The slightly cool air of his bedroom chilled his sweat-dampened skin, and his body gave an involuntary shiver. A bead of sweat formed at the base of his neck, and he felt it trail slowly down the length of his spine.
He opened his eyes again and gazed blearily around his generously proportioned bedroom. It wavered in his vision but gradually came into focus. A large window dominated the wall on the left side of his bed, and a weak hint of daylight pushed its way into the room from around the edges of the heavy blinds.
He glanced at the clock on the bedside table. It declared the time as 6.35 AM. The large, bright blue digits of the display hurt his eyes, but they infused the room with a soft azure glow that he'd always found comforting. Collapsing back onto the bed with a sigh, he shivered again as he pulled the covers up around his shoulders.
He'd returned from his two week retreat early the previous evening. He'd stayed in a small cottage outside the coastal town of Tenby, spending long, lonely days sitting on a quiet stretch of isolated beach and staring out to sea, followed by evenings of drinking himself into oblivion. He'd decided that the one upside of his condition was that no matter how much alcohol he consumed, he could be certain that he wouldn't die of liver failure.
The headaches continued along with bouts of nausea and vomiting. It was more severe in the mornings, but abated as the day wore on. The episodes of disorientation and memory loss that he'd been experiencing over the last few months, however, had been curiously absent. The dark nightmares had also receded, temporarily at least, but he'd put that down to the alcohol. The nightmares had been the worst aspect of everything he'd gone through so far. They were more vivid than anything he'd experienced before, and they terrified him to the depths of his soul.
His drinking trend had continued with his return home that evening. After unceremoniously dumping his bags in the hallway of his apartment, he'd headed for the kitchen and located the bottle of scotch he always kept on hand. He vaguely recalled staring mindlessly at the television for an hour or so, and then stumbling to his bedroom and collapsing onto the bed.
In retrospect, he was surprised that he'd had the presence of mind to strip off his clothes and get himself under the bed covers. He'd noticed that his clothes were neatly folded and piled up on the chair by the window. He thought that seemed a little odd – he expected them to be scattered haphazardly across the floor.
Jack stared up at the ceiling and focused again on his breathing as he tried to settle his mind. He knew that his fate was sealed. He accepted that now. He had to, and no amount of rage or self-pity was going to change the inevitable outcome. The only thing he could do was make the most of the time that he had left. He needed to stop feeling sorry for himself, stop dwelling on all of his regrets, and stop lamenting all of the things that he would never have the chance to experience. He needed to get back to work and focus his efforts on making their project a success. His contribution would be his legacy to the world.
With a weary sigh, he pushed himself upright and swung his legs to the floor. The thick, soft carpet felt good against his bare feet. Standing up, he stretched out his body and padded across the room to the en-suite. He showered quickly, completed the rest of his morning routine, and then dressed in his favourite dark blue shirt and charcoal suit trousers. He laid his suit jacket on the bed, placed his shoes on the floor beneath, and moved to the kitchen. He was desperately in need of coffee. He always struggled to face a new day without at least one caffeine fix in his system.
Just as he was savouring his first sip of the strong brew, his phone rang, filling the silence of the apartment with its loud, monotonous trill. The sudden noise abruptly startled him out of his thoughts. He reached for the handset on the kitchen bench-top and pressed it against his ear.
"Harkness," he muttered by way of greeting.
"Jack Harkness?" An authoritative female voice asked. The voice was distinctly Welsh.
"Yes," Jack replied.
"Mr. Harkess, this is Detective Inspector Cooper, South Wales Police CID. I'm calling about John Smith. You're listed as his emergency contact."
Jack felt his heart start to pound. "That's right," he responded quickly. "What's going on? Is he okay?"
"I'm very sorry, Mr. Harkness… Jack…" The voice paused. "John Smith was attacked last night. I'm sorry to tell you that he's dead."
Jack felt his legs give way and he slid to the floor. He lowered his arm and looked at the handset in shock.
Jack's hand shook as he brought the handset back to his ear. "No… no, that's not possible. This has to be a mistake," he stammered.
"I'm sorry. I know this must be a shock. We need to talk to you about Mr. Smith. Can you come to the station, please? Immediately, if that's possible."
"Um… yes, all right," Jack replied automatically.
"Cardiff Central Police Station. Please ask for Detective Inspector Gwen Cooper."
Jack disconnected the call and dropped the phone to the floor. It had to be a mistake, he told himself. It was just a case of mistaken identity. It was a ridiculously common name after all. They'd often joked about it.
He grabbed the phone again and tried calling John's mobile, then his home number, and finally his office line. He got diverted to John's voice mail each time. As a feeling of cold dread consumed him, he picked himself up, raced back to his bedroom, shrugged on his jacket and shoes, and frantically grabbed his keys, wallet and mobile phone. He hurriedly left the apartment, slamming the door closed behind him. His only thought was getting to the police station and proving that this was all some horrible mistake.
Jack sat anxiously in the waiting area at the central police station. He belatedly realised that he should have stopped at John's apartment on the way to see if he was there. He'd tried calling John again while he was waiting for Detective Cooper without success. With each passing moment, he was becoming more frantic.
A young, blond haired man approached him. He was dressed in a cheap and slightly ill-fitting suit, and had a harried look about him.
"Jack Harkness?" He reached forward to shake Jack's hand as Jack stood up. "I'm Detective Andy Davidson. Sorry to drag you in here so early." He grimaced apologetically and gestured for Jack to follow him. "Can you come this way, please?"
They proceeded down a long, wide, brightly lit corridor and were intercepted by a brunette woman of average height. "This is Detective Inspector Gwen Cooper," Andy said, introducing them.
Jack glanced briefly at Gwen. He guessed she was in her early thirties. She was slim and attractive, with long straight black hair, an oval-shaped face, and large inquisitive green eyes. Her attire consisted of figure-hugging dark trousers, a white shirt and fitted black leather jacket. While she was undeniably feminine, there was a tough, no-nonsense look about her.
She gazed up at him curiously, and in Jack's opinion, slightly inappropriately. "Jack? Thanks for coming in. I'm sorry we have to meet under these circumstances."
Jack nodded. "Can I see the body?" he asked abruptly. "This has to be a mistake."
"This way." Gwen strode quickly away, leaving Jack to follow her, with Andy trailing along behind them.
Ten minutes later, Jack was sitting at a desk, feeling shell-shocked, and desperately trying to banish the image of John's ashen corpse from his mind. Gwen placed a cup of coffee down in front of him and then sat down at the other side of the desk. "I'm very sorry for your loss," she said quietly as she looked at him.
Jack nodded mutely and reached a trembling hand towards the cup. He managed to take a sip but then quickly put it back on the desk and pushed it away. "Where… um, where did it happen?"
"He was found at the rear of a bar on the corner of Bute and Stuart streets. Near the Plass," Gwen explained. "His money, credit cards and phone were taken, but they left his wallet and ID." She paused for a moment. "The person who did this… well, it looks like they enjoyed it. He was stabbed over a dozen times." She shook her head sadly. "It would have been over quickly."
Jack didn't respond. His mind was reeling. He couldn't comprehend the fact that John had died in such a brutal manner; his last moments in the world suffering in unimaginable pain, and either alone, or with an inhuman monster at his side. Jack felt like he was going to be sick.
"Had you known him a long time?" Gwen asked, breaking into Jack's thoughts.
"Almost fifteen years," Jack confirmed as he tried to keep his voice steady. "We met at university, and we've been friends ever since. I've worked with him for the last six years…" Jack's voice broke, and he rubbed roughly at his eyes. "He was my closest friend."
Gwen looked at him curiously. "You went to university here in the UK? And you've lived here since?"
"Yes," Jack replied, knowing that she was wondering about his pronounced American accent. "I was born here in Wales, but I grew up in America. The accent just kind of stuck."
Gwen nodded. "Did he have any family? Next of kin?"
"No, there's no-one," Jack stated evenly. "John's sister died a long time ago. There's no-one else."
"Are you sure?" Gwen pressed.
Jack looked up at her and frowned. "I would know if there was anyone. He would have told me." He shook his head. "His work was his life. His friends and colleagues were his family."
Gwen looked disturbed by that statement. Jack guessed she was part of a large family and probably had a wide circle of friends. "When did you last see him?" she continued.
"Two weeks ago," Jack replied, reaching up and rubbing absently at his temple. "I've been away, taking a break from work. The last time I saw him was the night before I left. I only got back last night."
"What time did you arrive home yesterday?" Gwen asked.
Jack had to think for a moment. "Just after seven PM."
Gwen was writing in a small notepad on her desk. "And were you at home all evening?"
"Yes," Jack confirmed.
Gwen nodded. "And did you have any communication with him while you were away? Or when you returned last night?"
"No," Jack stated emphatically.
Gwen looked confused. "But you said you were good friends?"
"We are." Jack pressed his eyes closed briefly. "We were. I needed some time to myself. I... I'd just received some upsetting news. John understood that I needed time to deal with it. He knew we'd talk when I got back."
Gwen watched him, apparently waiting for him to explain further, but Jack didn't elaborate. "You need to find the sick bastard who did this," he ground out angrily a moment later. "John is… was… one of the most brilliant minds of our time. Whoever did this… they need to pay."
"We'll do our best," Gwen assured him. "Can you tell me if he had any enemies? Do you know of anyone who might have had a reason to want to hurt him?"
Jack shook his head and sighed heavily. "No," he said firmly. "Everyone liked him. Everyone who knew John respected him."
"Okay," Gwen said, giving him a small smile. "I need to have a look around his home, and I'll need to talk to the people he worked with."
"That's fine," Jack replied absently. "I can show you."
Gwen nodded and stood up from her chair. "Can you wait here for a minute? Then we'll head out."
Jack watched as she walked away and spoke to her colleague. He retrieved his phone from his pocket, and with trembling fingers he called Owen to tell him their friend and boss was dead.
Jack had taken a taxi to the police station, not trusting himself to be able to drive and get there in one piece, so Detective Cooper drove him back to the bay area. He directed her to John's apartment building. It was only a few minutes by foot from Jack's apartment, and they were both close to the Roald Dahl Plass where their offices were located. They had both enjoyed the convenience of living close to work.
Taking the lift to the fourth and top floor, Jack ushered the detective along a short stretch of corridor to the front door of John's apartment. It was one of only two on that level. It was a large apartment, and the access to it was relatively private. Jack could only recall seeing the elderly married couple who owned the other apartment once before.
"Jack, what sort of work do you do?" Gwen asked as Jack dug out his keys from his trouser pocket. He and John each had a spare key to the other's home.
Jack noted the casual way Gwen had asked the question. He was very aware that she was scrutinising him carefully. "Computer software," he answered simply, choosing the easiest response.
He unlocked the door and they walked inside. "Oh, wow," Gwen said as she looked around the large open plan living area and kitchen. "It obviously pays well."
Jack shrugged. "I suppose," he said as he watched Gwen continue to look around inquisitively.
A shadow of movement caught the corner of Jack's eye, and he whipped around to look down the passage leading to the bedrooms and bathroom. A tall young man with dark brown hair appeared from the doorway of John's study. He turned and moved towards them. He was dressed in a smart, well-tailored, grey pin-stripe suit, an indigo coloured shirt, and a coordinating striped tie. Jack couldn't help but notice that he was extremely handsome, with pale, smooth skin, short, neatly groomed hair, and soulful blue-grey eyes.
"Who the hell are you?" Jack demanded loudly, wondering how in the world this stranger was wandering around John's apartment.
The man's eyes went wide as he looked at Jack, and an expression that Jack couldn't quite discern flashed across his features before they settled into an impassive mask. "Ianto… Ianto Jones," the man replied quietly.
He tentatively reached out his hand towards Jack in greeting.
Jack continued to stare at him suspiciously. He'd never heard that name before, and he couldn't fathom why this man was here and not even attempting to hide his presence. "I'm John's nephew," the young man added in explanation.
Jack gaped at the man in shock, but he endeavoured to compose himself, and finally shook the extended hand. Ianto's hand was soft and warm, but he returned Jack's handshake firmly. "Sorry… I'm Jack Harkness. I worked with your uncle."
"Jack?" Ianto said, staring back at him.
Ianto's accent was distinctly Welsh, and he stretched out the vowel in Jack's name in what Jack had to admit was a very pleasing manner. "John wanted me to meet you," Ianto added.
Jack had to give himself a mental shake as he found himself continuing to stare at the other man incredulously. There was something distinctly familiar about him, almost like a feeling of déjà vu, yet Jack was absolutely certain that he'd never met the man before in his life. "I didn't know John had a nephew," Jack said uncertainly. "I didn't know he had any family for that matter. He never mentioned you."
"Oh," Ianto replied, and Jack noticed that he didn't seem to be particularly surprised.
"How did you get in here?" Jack asked.
"I've been staying here. I arrived a few days ago from Paris. John wanted me to come and work for him. He'd asked me to in the past, but…" Ianto paused and gave a slight shrug, but then his expression became pained. "Well, I finally decided to take him up on his offer."
Ianto glanced over at Gwen who was watching their conversation intently. Jack was speechless. He didn't know which of these pieces of information was more unsettling – that John had a nephew he'd never heard about, or that John had been planning to bring this stranger into their team without first discussing it with him. Eventually Jack found his voice. "You know what happened?"
Ianto looked at Jack sadly, and nodded. "John wasn't here this morning and we'd planned to go out for breakfast… I tried his mobile, but he didn't answer. So then I called the, um… office… I thought he might have worked all night or gone in early." He paused and his voice wavered slightly. "I spoke to Dr. Harper, and he told me what had happened."
Gwen chose that moment to step forward. "I'm Detective Inspector Cooper, Mr. Jones. I'm sorry for your loss."
Ianto turned to look at her. "Er… thank you."
Gwen glanced up at Jack and then looked back at Ianto. "I need to ask you some questions about your uncle."
Ianto nodded tightly. "Yes… yes, of course."
"Jack, can I meet you at your office once I've finished here?" Gwen asked him. "I need to speak to your colleagues as well."
"Sure," Jack replied, feeling relieved to have a reason to excuse himself. He needed some time to think. "If you call me when you're ready, I'll meet you on the Plass by the water tower." He fished out his wallet and handed a card to Gwen. "Here's my mobile number."
Gwen gave him a questioning look. "Our offices are underground. The entrance is tricky to find," he explained.
Jack turned back to Ianto. He stepped forward, and reaching out, he gently touched his arm. "Have we met before?" he asked hesitantly and then cringed to himself. "Sorry, I know that sounds like a bad pickup line. But you seem familiar."
"No," Ianto replied quickly. "No, that's not possible."
Jack noted the tense way that Ianto had responded, but he realised that it was probably due to shock. Jack nodded in agreement. His mind was just playing tricks on him.
Ianto gave him a sad smile. "Despite the awful circumstances, it's good to finally meet you." He paused and lowered his eyes for a moment, apparently trying to compose himself. "John always spoke very highly of you, Jack. I know the two of you were close."
"Yeah, we were," Jack replied quietly, his heart constricting with pain.
But in spite of himself, he found that he was mirroring Ianto's sad smile with one of his own. "Nice to meet you too, Ianto."