No Place Like

Notes: Set after the Doctor Who Series Four finale, "Journey's End".This is really just a tiny little coda to the episode.

Characters: Jack, Ianto, Gwen (canon pairings)

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Torchwood and its characters are the property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies. I make no profit from this fanfic.

Jack stands in the pouring rain and looks at the front door of the tourist office. He could go in; he should. He will. But it's strange coming back to Torchwood after being in the TARDIS. It takes a readjustment, a shifting of himself. He left only to help the Doctor, to assist in any way possible. This time, at least, he wasn't slipping out without notice; and just like he promised Ianto and Gwen, he's back. But he's not quite ready to walk in yet. He's still working to discard the role of companion, slipping it from his shoulders so that he can reassume the mantle of leadership.

When the door to the office opens, he's not really surprised. He's in clear view of the CCTV, after all, and he hasn't made an effort to hide himself. Gwen emerges from within, her long coat slung on; she lifts an umbrella immediately to cover her head, and he smiles to see her.

"Jack," she says fondly. She steps close, then, ignoring the fact that he's soaked, throws her arms around him and hugs him. He holds her tight, breathing in the smell of her, her life and vitality and the scent of her body wash. She smells like Earth. He smiles and rests his cheek on the top of her head for a moment.

"I knew you'd come back," Gwen says, stepping back from him and patting his lapel. "We both did."

"Ianto's still here?" he asks. She nods, and her smile is gentle.

"Ianto, and a rather large hunk of metal that used to be a Dalek," she says. Jack supposes he goes pale at that, because Gwen immediately shakes her head, her eyes stern. "We're fine, we're both fine. There's -- it was a time-lock. The Hub was time-locked. It was something Tosh came up with. It saved our lives." She gives him a commanding look. "Go in there and see for yourself," she says. "I'm going home."

"Give Rhys my love," he tells her, and with one more quick hug, she passes him and heads up the stairs from the quay to the plass. The rain from which he was briefly shielded by Gwen's umbrella pounds down on his head again, and suddenly he feels the chill of it. He hurries into the tourist office and locks the door behind himself.

The Dalek is there, as promised, a burned-out shell in the middle of the cogwheel door. Jack edges around it, feeling a little shudder as he brushes a hand over the metal skin. He's been killed twice by Daleks now and he still doesn't care for the experience. Scanning the main level of the Hub, he sees no one moving. The Hub itself is generally intact, more or less as he left it, though he can see that things have been knocked about a bit by the motion of the Earth's journey through space. "Ianto?" he yells, peeling off his coat, now wet through.

Motion in his office catches his eye; Ianto stands there, looking slightly dishevelled but none the worse for wear. A sudden feeling of warmth goes through Jack, and he drops his coat on the sofa to cross the Hub and step into the office again. It feels like a lifetime, even though it's only been a few hours. Unsurprisingly, Ianto's been tidying; he has the coral in his hands, and he looks as if he's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

"You're back," he says.

"I'm back." Jack swallows. Ianto cradles the coral delicately in his hands, and Jack resists the urge to reach out and grab it from him. After a long tense moment, Ianto carefully sets the coral down on its stand, under the lamp that keeps it warm, and steps back. His throat works.

"Welcome back," Ianto says. Jack doesn't hold back any longer; he steps around the desk and grasps Ianto's nape, tugging him close, and Ianto comes wordlessly into his arms.

Now, Jack thinks with sudden blinding relief, now I'm home.

"Sometime," Ianto whispers in his ear, "you need to tell me what happened."

That makes Jack laugh, and he squeezes Ianto to him for a moment. "I will," he promises.

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this page last updated on 23 january 2010