Notes: Set post-"Exit Wounds". So many thanks to lemniskate for helping me prod this into being.
Rating: PG-13 for language.
Disclaimer: Torchwood is the property of the BBC. This is a non-profit work of fanfiction.
Ianto Jones never thought it would end like this. A death, maybe: his, most likely, in the line of duty in Torchwood, or Jack being spirited away by the Doctor or some other mysterious figure from his past. (In his most private, unspoken fantasies, he grows old with Jack, who, of course, remains ageless and beautiful, and dies in his bed, knowing he's done good work for the future of humanity.)
"Security pass," Jack Harkness says, not meeting his eyes. Jack has perfected this. His gaze is directed somewhere at Ianto's forehead.
Ianto unclips his security pass and places it on Jack's desk.
"I have to take your gun." Gwen's voice is quiet and apologetic. Ianto doesn't look at her; he unsnaps the holster and places the firearm in her outstretched hands. He feels her start to reach for him and steps away. His face is burning; he doesn't want her sympathy.
Jack makes a quiet sound. His gaze is still fixed somewhere past Ianto's eyes. He's placed the Retcon pill on his desk. Ianto thinks absently, absurdly, that the desk will never be this clean again.
Ianto reaches out for the pill. Part of him wants to grab Jack's face and force him to look at him, to really look at him. Instead, he takes the pill, palming it. He doesn't need to be told when or how to take it.
Jack remains silent. His hands are folded on the desk and he's staring resolutely past Ianto. Ianto turns, without a word -- what is there to say? -- and walks out of the Hub for the last time.
Ianto sits at his kitchen table and stares at the pill for a long time. It's one of the strongest varieties. Once he takes it, four years will be gone in a blink. He'll wake up in the morning and have forgotten his entire life with Torchwood.
He remembers how Jack told him, once, that the Time Agency stole two years' worth of his memories. Ianto wonders if Jack was the agent of his own memory loss. If it would be better or worse to not know it was happening.
He leaves the pill sitting on the kitchen table next to a glass of water and goes to bed. It'll still be there in the morning.
When Ianto's alarm goes off, he blinks at it and shuts it off. He's sitting bolt upright before he remembers that he doesn't have to go in to work today. Or ever again. He remembers the Retcon pill on the kitchen table, then rolls over and pushes his face into the pillow.
An hour of trying to get back to sleep proves useless, though. He gets up, feeling bleary and slow, showers, dresses (in jeans and a wrinkled button-down, rather than one of his typical suits). As he pulls socks on, he smells coffee. That's weird: he doesn't usually make it at home in the morning, preferring to wait until he can get to the better machine at the Hub.
Jack is in his kitchen. The sight of him hits Ianto like a blow. Jack's coat hangs from the coathooks behind the front door, and he's puttering around Ianto's kitchen like he owns the place, ducking into the fridge to retrieve eggs and bacon. When he stands, Ianto clears his throat, and Jack glances at him before shutting the refrigerator door.
"What are you doing?" Ianto asks.
"What does it look like?" Jack replies. He sets the egg carton down and begins cracking eggs into a sizzling pan already well-lubricated with butter. It hisses and spits at him.
"Making breakfast," Ianto says.
"That's what I'm doing."
"Do you want breakfast or not?"
Ianto ignores the question. "Why are you here?"
"Look, if you don't want me to cook for you--"
"JACK," Ianto shouts. Jack flinches and looks at him, full-on for the first time since two days ago. His eyes are bleak. Ianto's familiar with that empty look; he's soothed it from Jack often enough in the past.
"Let me do this," Jack says quietly. Ianto sighs and slouches into one of the two chairs at the kitchen table. The Retcon pill is still there, along with the water from last night. Ianto contemplates both, then pushes them away. If he's going to have this conversation, he wants to do it clearheaded.
Jack finishes cooking everything -- bacon, eggs, sausage, fried bread, with juice in fresh glasses -- and brings it all over to the table. Ianto raises an eyebrow but takes the plate offered him. He has no appetite, but he was raised with manners, so he obediently cuts up bits of egg and bacon, watching Jack wolf the food heartily. After a few bites, Jack notices that Ianto's not eating and he gestures with his fork. "Go on, eat, already," he says with his mouth full.
"I'm not exactly hungry," Ianto says quietly. Jack shoots him a look and Ianto meets it with one of his own. He feels mildly triumphant when Jack's the one to look away first.
"Please tell me," Ianto says, after a minute or so of complete silence. "Why are you here?"
Jack puts his cutlery down and looks up at Ianto again. "I knew you wouldn't take the Retcon last night. I thought if I came over here and..."
"Buttered me up with breakfast?"
"Something like that." There was a time, not even very long ago, when that phrase would have been innuendo, when it would have been very close to literal. Jack pushed him up against that very refrigerator not a week ago--
Ianto swallows and regains his composure. "I can't do it, Jack," he says quietly.
Jack nods. "I guessed as much."
"I can't. I won't." Ianto pushes up from the table. His steps take him into the flat's tiny lounge. (Not that the flat is large overall. Two steps covers the distance from lounge to kitchen.) He hears Jack's chair scrape back, but Jack stays seated. Ianto's grateful, at least, that Jack isn't trying to use his endless amounts of charm to get Ianto to take the pill.
"It's the only way, Ianto."
"There's got to be something else." Ianto won't look at Jack. He covers his biceps with his hands, hugging himself. His skin feels chilled under his shirt.
"Ianto," Jack says quietly, "you killed Tosh."
Ianto turns on Jack with a roar. The words he's been shouting for two days fill his mouth and burst forth again. "I didn't kill her!"
Jack flinches, but his gaze stays on Ianto, resolute. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't have to. They've been over the CCTV a hundred times. They've scanned Ianto's brain. Jack hauled out the lie detector again. The only one who doesn't believe Ianto killed Tosh is Ianto. And Tosh, probably, alone in the dark. Ianto adored Tosh.
"You've always believed in me, Jack," Ianto says, his voice trembling. "I've never given you a reason to doubt me. I'd die before I let anyone hurt Tosh."
Jack's eyes are hooded, dark. "There's no other explanation," he says, in that same maddeningly soft, rational tone.
"Why won't you--why can't you even let yourself entertain the notion it was Gray?" Ianto hears himself begging now. They've been over this, too. "He was there. In the Hub. He trapped us all. He could have planted--"
"He had no reason to," Jack says, and ballooning rage bursts in Ianto's chest.
"You fucking lunatic," he swears. "He only fucking wanted you dying repeatedly for two thousand years and only blew up Cardiff and only killed Owen and only recruited John Hart to help him get his revenge on you, why the fuck wouldn't he kill Tosh to stop her helping us stop more death?"
Jack's hands are trembling, Ianto can see, where they rest on his knees. When he speaks again, his voice is hoarse. "He should know how fragile life is. He was tortured--"
"That doesn't give him the right to visit murder on us." Ianto's arms clutch at himself. He feels cold to the bone. "Jack, your brother wanted all of us dead." When Jack remains silent, Ianto takes a cautious step forward, then another, until he's standing in front of Jack. He kneels, the lino hard and cold beneath his knees, and takes Jack's hands. Jack raises his lonely eyes to Ianto. "If you make me do this, you're finishing the job for him," Ianto whispers.
Jack doesn't tell Gwen he's bringing Ianto back to the Hub. He just does it. She gives a startled gasp when she sees Ianto coming in through the cogwheel door behind Jack.
"Jack--" she starts. Jack shakes his head.
"Something's going on, Gwen."
"Has he taken the Retcon?"
"He's standing right here," Ianto says, annoyed.
"Ehm, sorry, sweetheart." Gwen gives him a concerned look. He knows she's scared of him and he hates that. "What's happening?"
"Ianto thinks--" Jack rakes fingers through his hair. He's stopped in front of Tosh's workstation, still scattered with papers, bits of tech, the debris of her occupation. "He didn't do it," Jack says, after a pause, as if he's stating a fact.
"But we've been over this," Gwen starts. "Not that I want to believe--"
"Then why do we?" Jack looks at Gwen with new eyes. "We're awfully quick to accept this."
It's a rehashing of the argument that's been going on for the past two days. Three, now, Ianto thinks absently. Neither of them wanted to believe that he was capable of shooting Tosh, but in the face of inarguable (apparent) evidence, they'd both come to the conclusion that it must have been what happened. No matter how many times Ianto said that he'd been released from the cells at the same time as Gwen and John Hart, that he was locked up when the gunshot that killed Tosh was fired...
Ianto looks up at them suddenly. "I know how to prove it," he says. Cut off mid-statement, Gwen and Jack both blink at him. Just as abruptly as the idea came to him, another follows: they won't like it. He shakes his head. "Let me see what I can find."
"I'm not so sure," Gwen starts, but Jack shakes his head slowly.
"What is it?" Jack asks Ianto.
Ianto bites his lip. "I need some time." He doesn't think it'll take that long, really, now that he thinks about it; but he doesn't want this to look like he's buying time, either.
Jack's silent a moment, assessing, his eyes missing nothing; then he slowly nods. "All right. You have a week. You're on suspension. No accessing Torchwood files. If you get into the system from home--"
"I know," Ianto says tersely. One of Tosh's programs will alert them. It's all right. There are other ways. He gives them both a quick nod. Gwen's eyes are sympathetic, but in her face he can see that she doesn't believe he'll find anything. Jack, on the other hand, looks like he's daring to let himself hope. Ianto takes that look into himself. He doesn't know when he'll see Jack again, so he has to have something to hold on to until then.
He turns and heads out of the Hub. Behind him, he can already hear Gwen asking Jack whether he thinks it's a good idea, but he doesn't stay to listen. The cogwheel door rolls shut and Ianto hurries up the stairs.
It takes him three days to find John Hart.
Though Hart has a working vortex manipulator, Ianto suspects he won't go far at first. Certainly Cardiff is pretty difficult to get out of at the moment, what with the roads in an amazing state of disrepair. So he spends a day walking the city, where he can, watching construction crews here and there starting the repair process. The damages had to be assessed, triaged before repairs could begin. The police are stretched thin across the city making sure that order is maintained, which means that John Hart (Ianto refuses to call him 'Captain', even in his head) has plenty of opportunities to cause mischief.
He may have helped them once he was free of Gray's control, but Ianto knows that leopards don't change their spots.
He's developed enough contacts through Torchwood that he can make quiet inquiries here and there about the activities of a certain man of average height, wearing a red jacket of military design, probably starting fights or stealing from people. Surprisingly, he gets no information. It's not that people aren't talking; it's just that they haven't seen him. Could John Hart really be keeping himself under the radar?
Ianto learns otherwise when he sees the listings on eBay. He's developed a spybot program of his own that searches the listings every six hours and culls likely alien artefacts based on a specific set of phrases often associated with them. Since he started doing this, Torchwood's acquisition rate has gone up; at any rate, he's at least managed to snipe quite a few of auctions out from under Henry Parker, which gave him far too much pleasure.
This time, there are several new items being sold in the Cardiff area, due, no doubt, to the explosions unearthing likely relics. Three of them he writes off instantly; just old Roman stuff, as anyone with half an eye should be able to tell. Two more go on his watch list, flagged with a notation to pass the links on to Jack. He's already halfway through the e-mail when he remembers Jack's injunction: wondering if it applies to e-mail as well, he decides against. The links will keep. He'll be back in Torchwood -- and absolved -- before the auctions expire.
The last two listings are the ones that bring him up short. They are very clearly alien in origin; Ianto recognises one of them, in fact, as an Arcturan beverage holder. He'd catalogued one in the archives only a few months ago. When he looks over the seller information, Ianto lets out a sharp laugh of disbelief. The seller, located in Cardiff, is one 'hardharted'.
Surely he wouldn't be this stupid.
Ianto sends a message through the system anyway. Couching his message in broken phrases and netspeak, he does his best to sound like a stumbling idiot with too much money on his hands, offering to buy the items for far more than 'hardharted' has listed them. Since no one else has bid on the artefacts yet, Ianto figures it won't be a hard sell; he just has to wait for a response.
He doesn't have to wait long. Heating water in the kettle, he hears the sound announcing new e-mail. He leaves the kettle on the stove and goes to investigate. Sure enough, a message through the eBay system: 'hardharted' is eager to unload the items and would be more than happy to meet him. Ianto grins. Greedy bastard.
Within two more exchanges, a meeting time has been arranged. John mentions that he'll be recognisable by his distinctive red coat, and Ianto's barely able to reply with something sardonic. He keeps himself in check, though. He needs John Hart on his side for this.
The bar on St Mary's is not one of Ianto's regular haunts. It fits Hart, though, all dark corners and girls (and boys, for that matter) in far too little, with pounding music to drive every thought out of one's head.
Ianto's dressed more or less appropriately; knowing Hart would recognise him instantly in a suit, he's chosen old jeans, a faded t-shirt and a loose button-down open over it. He finds a spot by the bar to wait, buying a beer and holding it in one hand to maintain the appearance, though he doesn't drink.
When Hart walks in the front door, Ianto feels himself go on high alert. He turns his face away for a moment, then looks back at Hart, who's stopped still where he stands. Good, Ianto thinks, he's seen me. A big bruiser walks into him from behind and gives Hart a shove; Hart moves without responding to the implied insult, and Ianto smiles to see that he's jarred Hart sufficiently. He stands, putting down the beer, and crosses over to where Hart's still standing -- taking a step or two back from him, actually, which gratifies Ianto's ego far too much.
"I'm done with you people," Hart says. "I don't know what you want, but your bloody Captain Jack told me to go and I did, so you can't do anything to me--"
Ianto shakes his head. "It's not like that," he says. "Those alien artefacts you're selling -- very overpriced, by the way--"
"Fellow's got to eat!" Hart protests.
"You should choose a less conspicuous username," Ianto comments. "Anyway, I need your help."
It galls him to have to say the words; he knows there's no other way to get what he needs from Hart. It works, though. Hart puffs up with a smug grin. "Should have known. Some new crisis you can't solve without an extra gun hand, eh, eye candy?"
Ianto lets the implied insult slide. Though it rankles, he has to rein in his tongue. "Not a gun hand."
"Some other kind of hand, then? I have to admit, I wondered what Jack saw in you--"
"Not that either," Ianto grunts, pushing away the inquisitive hand already reaching for him. "I'll pay you for the artefacts, but we need to go somewhere and talk."
Hart grins. "Thought you'd never ask."
"All I want to know is what you remember happening in the Hub after Gray locked us in the cells," Ianto says tonelessly. They've reconvened at a coffeehouse a couple of blocks away from the bar; Ianto didn't like the idea of driving Hart anywhere in his car, but Hart solved the issue by saying he had other transportation. Ianto wasn't terribly surprised to see Hart pull up on a motorcycle. He didn't ask where it came from.
Hart shrugs, slouching back in his chair. "The same as you. Why?"
"Tell me," Ianto says. He can't help crouching forward around his own drink, which he isn't touching.
"From when we got ourselves locked in?" Hart looks thoughtful. "Gray came round and taunted us, then he left us in there..." He trails off. "There were shots. Your cute tech girl. Then a lot of waiting, and then Jack freed us."
"All of us?" Ianto persists. "This is important, Hart."
"Why should I help you?" Hart's posture doesn't change, but the challenge in his voice rises. Ianto resists a growl.
"How about to make up for your part in putting Jack into a grave for two thousand years?" He hears his own voice rise and breathes in sharply.
"Hey, I apologised for that--"
"It's not going to be forgiven that easily," Ianto snaps.
Hart begins to smile. "Eye candy's got a backbone," he says.
"And a name," Ianto mutters.
With a sigh, Hart takes a long drink of the coffee in his paper cup. He makes a face and looks at it. "Not nearly as good as yours, Ianto Jones." Ianto raises an eyebrow, and Hart sits up, putting the cup down. "All right. Fine. Part of the reason I got out of there as fast as I did is I didn't want to be around for the fallout of you having shot your techie girl."
Ianto feels his last hope crumble into ash. He can't contain the hollowness. This is it. He's going to lose the last four years of his life, Torchwood, his purpose. Jack.
It's a surprise, then, when Hart continues. "But that's the funny thing. When I thought about it later, that wasn't what I remembered."
"What?" Ianto peers up at him again, startled.
"Not that I care," Hart clarifies. "I just thought I was hallucinating or something, maybe I got hit on the head. Cause I would have sworn, I saw you somehow get out of your cell, take off -- you really do know how to use that gun, don't you? That's what I remember thinking. All these shots, heard the girl scream. Figured I'd be getting out of there as fast as I could."
"And afterwards?" Ianto prompts. "When did the memory change?"
"Not 'til the next morning, I found a hotel on the other side of Cardiff to bunk down in. Gorgeous desk clerk, she let me stay free of charge--" Ianto makes a 'hurry up' motion with his hand, and Hart rolls his eyes. "I was trying to piece together everything that happened, and what I remembered was all three of us gettin' out of the cells together when Jack got us out."
Ianto stands up, nearly knocking the chair over in his hurry. He grabs for John's wrist. "You're coming with me."
"What? I am not!"
"Listen," Ianto hisses, "you are my only chance of clearing my name. I don't like you and I know you don't give a shit about me, but I need you to tell the others exactly -- exactly -- what you just told me."
Hart gives Ianto's hand an idle glance, where it's wrapped around his wrist. "And how well, do you suppose, they'll believe me?"
"More than they do me at the moment."
Hart looks genuinely surprised by that; he shakes his hand free of Ianto's grasp and shrugs. "Not like I've got anything better to do right now anyway."
When they arrive at Roald Dahl Plass, Jack's already standing by the water tower. Ianto wishes he could be surprised by the sight of him. He feels a pang instead and beats it back.
"What's this?" Jack snaps, when he catches sight of Hart striding along behind Ianto.
"Oh, I'm hurt." Hart folds his arms, his eyes snapping. At any other time, Ianto would feel far too glad at Jack's evident dislike of Hart.
"My proof," Ianto says. The wind whips at them, catches water from the tower and sprays it over them in a fine mist.
Jack's shoulders square; his eyes snap. His face gives away nothing. "So show me."
"You have to let him back in," Ianto says.
Jack blinks at Ianto. "Is it opposite day? Did I miss a memo or something, because I'm really getting tired of A, being told what I should be doing when I'm the leader of this team, and B, when did you decide to be all friendly with John Hart?"
Ianto remembers slugging Jack hard enough to knock him to the pavement only a few steps from here. He carefully flexes his hands. It would be a mistake to repeat that action. "John," he prompts instead.
Hart sighs, but shrugs. "The last thing I remember about being locked in the cells is that after Gray locked us in, there were gunshots, and then you showed up and let us out. All three of us," he says pointedly. "Me, Cooper, and eye c--Jones."
"No," Jack says, but the automatic protest is fainter on his lips. He shakes his head. "When I came out of the morgue, I saw Tosh and Ianto holding the gun--"
He stops. Blinks. His eyes meet Ianto's.
"Are you sure?" Ianto says quietly. For a few moments, he's not sure if Jack hears him over the loud wash of water. Then Jack inhales harshly and looks out at the Bay.
"I don't know," he says.
Hope surges hard in Ianto's chest. He swallows it down with a shaking gulp of air. When Jack looks at him again, Ianto can see the uncertainty and doubt writ across Jack's eyes.
Hart's glancing between the two of them. When the silence begins to stretch into awkwardness, he groans. "Oh, come on! Dramatics, the lot of you. Why I stayed in bloody Cardiff I don't know. Look, come here." He reaches for Jack's arm. Jack yanks back from Hart with a warning snarl and Hart mutters, "For fuck's sake, I'm not going to molest you. Just -- walk."
And they do. Ianto wonders briefly if Gwen's monitoring the CCTV from below, if she's confused by the sight of the three men suddenly trotting off in the opposite direction from the Tourist Centre's door. They head up the Plass and keep going, past designer boutiques and quaint cafes designed to suck money from tourists. Past the St David's Hotel. Ianto trails behind Jack and John, his hands shoved into his pockets, watching the broad span of Jack's back as he walks. How many times has he had that wool coat cleaned, he wonders absently. How many times has he touched that spot between Jack's shoulderblades where the brace straps join; how many times has he kissed him there? Will he ever get to again?
They've gone perhaps four blocks when Hart stops them. He turns to Jack with a raised eyebrow. "Now I know you bloody live in that place, which is why you probably can't stop believing what you remember. But believe me when I tell you that once I got the fuck out of there, my memory changed."
Jack's gaze trails back in the direction of the Millenium Centre and the Bay.
"What do you remember?" Ianto whispers.
Jack goes still. After a moment, he dredges up a breath and his eyes meet Ianto's. They're paler than Ianto's ever seen them. "I let you all out of the cells after I chloroformed Gray. Gwen grabbed me. Then you. John asked if there was a line--"
Ianto shoves himself into Jack's arms with a rough gasp. He doesn't know how long they stand that way, whether it's minutes or hours or days, Jack's arms surrounding him, his hands covering Jack's back under the wool coat. It probably isn't very long before Hart coughs loudly and says, "Look, I appreciate a sentimental cuddle as much as the next man, but if I'm not in the middle of it I find myself getting bored very quickly."
Ianto draws in a breath, the first deep one he thinks he's taken in six days, and lets go of Jack. Jack, however, doesn't let go of him, and when Ianto lifts his head to tell Jack they need to go back, his mouth is stopped by Jack's. Though it's brief, Ianto feels a pang of need hit his nerves hard. Jack does let go of him then, with a last squeeze of his shoulders, and then turns to John.
"Thank you," he says.
John shrugs. "Least I could do."
Ianto bites down on the clever remark he would have made three hours ago. John Hart has raised himself in Ianto's eyes. Instead, he nods his own thanks.
"Do you know what might be doing this?" Jack asks John. "Some post-hypnotic trigger, maybe? Was there a B plan in case something happened to Gray?"
John shakes his head. "Haven't the foggiest. I was only privy to the parts of the plan that involved you. Well, you and bombing Cardiff. I know he needed your team out of the way."
Jack still looks a bit sick when it comes to thinking that his brother would kill the rest of them, but Ianto suspects he's starting to reconcile it when he says, "Meaning dead if necessary. But what would make us think Ianto..."
He trails off, his eyes widening as he looks at John. John gives him a blank look, then tosses it at Ianto, who meets it with one of his own. "Shit," Jack says. "I know what he did." And he's off and running back toward the Oval Basin. With a curse, Ianto takes off after him; John's only a moment behind them; Ianto hears him shouting something about how he's not in shape for this, and resists the urge to laugh absurdly.
"Memory distortion device," Jack says.
"Memory distortion device?" Gwen repeats.
Jack tosses the object to his desk. It's a small thing, rectangular and flat, resembling a modern mobile with a touch screen and buttons for settings. Ianto somehow overcomes the desire to smash the thing to pulp.
It had been obvious, Jack told himself when he opened the cryogenic chamber in which he'd stored Gray and found the device in Gray's pocket. In retrospect, of course Gray would have some kind of backup plan. He'd been plotting Jack's two-thousand-year torture for some insanely unhealthy length of time; he wouldn't be satisfied even in death, Jack thought. If Jack defeated him, Gray would still try to find some way of exacting revenge on him. It was lucky Jack had chosen the path of mercy; if he'd had Gray killed and buried, the thing would still be working -- and inaccessible.
"What does it do?" Gwen asks.
"You program it to override existant memory with another one." Jack points at the device's screen with a pen, reluctant to actually touch it. "Once it's active, it beams the overriding memory constantly to everything in the surrounding proximity. In this case, it was set to make everyone believe that Ianto somehow escaped his cell and killed Tosh. It's pretty advanced: it affected the machines, CCTV, the lie detector. But its range is limited. Once John got out of proximity--"
"I remembered what really happened," John finishes. He's leaning on the door frame of Jack's office, arms folded. Gwen shoots him the occasional daggered look.
"God, I can't believe I really thought Ianto would do that." Gwen rubs her face. "I am so sorry," she tells Ianto. He waves it away. He can afford to be dismissive now.
"Gray was banking on the fact that I sleep here," Jack continues. "And it would have worked, because with him still here and the thing constantly emitting, none of us would have suspected any different."
"Except me," says Ianto, "and I would have been Retconned to forget it all anyway."
"Well," says John, straightening up, "no need to thank me. I'll get rid of this little troublemaker for you--"
He starts to reach for the device, but Jack's hand catches his wrist. "Your help is appreciated," Jack says, his voice icing over. "We'll take care of this."
John raises his hands in surrender. "Excuse me for trying to help!" He tips Gwen a wink; she gives him a disgusted look and turns away. As he starts to head out of the office, Ianto glances back at Jack, then stands and goes after John.
"What?" John says when Ianto touches his shoulder. "Come to knock me out on behalf of the Captain?"
"No." Ianto sticks his hand out. "Thank you."
John looks down at Ianto's hand, then up at him again. He waits a moment as if expecting some trick, some sucker-punch; but Ianto leaves his hand where it is. Slowly, John takes it, shakes Ianto's hand.
"You're welcome," John says.
Ianto nods, lets go, and watches John walk to the cogwheel door and out of the Hub. Once the lights have stopped flashing, he turns back to Jack's office. Jack's giving him a very peculiar look, but he gestures to Ianto to come back in.
"I guess I owe you an apology," Jack says.
Ianto swallows. "Nothing to apologise for."
"I think that's a little--" Jack starts, but Ianto shakes his head.
"If you want to tender an apology," he says, "let me destroy the device."
Jack nods, nudging the device toward him. Ianto doesn't reach for it yet. Later he'll take it downstairs and use the biggest cudgel he can find on it. For now, though, Jack is reaching into his desk drawer.
"I believe this belongs to you," Jack says. He holds out Ianto's security pass. Ianto closes his hand over it and around Jack's fingers. Neither of them lets go.
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this page last updated on 20 april 2009