Pairing - Jack / Ianto,
Summary - Five years after leaving, Jack and Ianto return to find a lot of changes and few old faces. Follows on from 'Eternity'- probably best to read that first.
Spoilers - Post Children of Earth, but only minor ones.
Old Town New
Chapter 3- A day in the life
The dark of the night was illuminated by the flashing blue lights of the emergency vehicles as they approached. In the middle of the street, a black four-by-four lay on its side, the passenger side door caved in and the windows shattered. A short distance away, a second vehicle had been abandoned, the drivers’ door wide open and its occupant long gone. It hadn’t fared much better than the four-by-four, a thin wisp of steam rising up from the wrecked engine compartment and smashed in panel-work. A police car was the first to reach the vehicles, mere seconds before two paramedics got out of the ambulance and ran over to join them. A small crowd of bystanders watched in horrified fascination as one crawled in through the shattered windscreen of the four-by-four, the glass crunching as she stepped on it, to get to the driver. A policeman scanned the other car quickly and, once realising that it was empty, focussed their attention on the occupied one.
“Sir, can you hear me?” The paramedic reached out to press two fingers to the pulse point on her patient’s neck and then called back to her colleague. “We need to get him out of here now.”
Inside the car, Ianto heard the woman’s voice. It sounded as though he was hearing her from underwater, the voices and sounds dull and fuzzy. He could feel the glass from the window pressing into the skin on his cheek but he couldn’t muster the strength to move. Every inch of him hurt; even taking a breath felt as though his chest would explode.
The paramedic leaned in as she saw his lips move.
“Say that again, please. I couldn’t hear you.”
Ianto forced himself to take a breath, letting out an involuntary whimper as a burst of pain shot through him.
“I’m sorry, Jack.”
The paramedic frowned. “Who’s Jack? Is he hurt as well? Sir?”
Two miles away in the Torchwood building, Gwen looked up from the report she was writing as Isabella came running into her office, tears streaming down her face.
“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” Gwen stooped down to pick her daughter up. “Have you hurt yourself? I thought that Uncle John and Uncle Jack were supposed to be looking after you.” She frowned. “Well, mummy’s going to have a few words with those two when she finds them.”
Isabella struggled in her arms, pointing at the door.
“Uncle Jack fell down,” Isabella said, sniffling. “He won’t get up.”
Gwen settled Isabella more firmly in her arms and set off toward the reception room. When she had left, the three of them had been playing a game of pirates, the furniture rearranged into a ship. John and Jack had been enjoying themselves, even going so far as to getting dressed up with pirate hats and plastic swords, just as Isabella had. When she got to the room, however, she saw the desperate look on John’s face as he knelt on the floor. Jack lay prone before him, his head resting in John’s lap.
“What happened?” Gwen set Isabella in a chair by the door. “Sweetie, you stay there while I go and check on Uncle Jack.”
As she crouched beside Jack, Gwen felt someone move next to her and glanced around to see her daughter sitting down, cross-legged, on the floor. She was watching Jack through glistening eyes.
“One minute we were playing and then he just stopped,” John told her. “He went completely still and then just sort of crumpled to the ground. We thought he was joking around but then when he didn’t get up again…”
Gwen couldn’t feel his chest moving under her hand and so she tried to find a pulse instead. Still nothing. She had a bad feeling about this.
“He’ll come back from it, right?” John pressed. “He doesn’t die; he said so himself.”
Looking at his anxious face, Gwen caught a rare glimpse of the real John Hart. He had always made his feelings towards Jack clear but in their usual teasing and fighting style. Now she could see just how truly concerned he was, how devastated he was at seeing Jack like this. He had seen Jack die and resurrect before but this was different. Usually, there was an injury of some kind, a reason. This time, there was nothing to see.
A sudden thought struck Gwen. “Oh shi- sugar,” she corrected, with a glance at Isabella. “Where’s Ianto?”
She could see the moment when John’s thoughts caught up with hers. “He went out for pizza a while ago.”
Gwen grabbed her mobile and dialled. After a moment of it ringing, it was answered but no one spoke. In the background she could hear police sirens.
“Hello? Who’s this?”
A female voice answered. “My name is WPC Mitchell, ma’am. Who am I speaking to?”
“Gwen Cooper. Where is Ianto?” Gwen asked. “The man who this phone belongs to. I know that he’s been hurt so just tell me, OK?”
WPC Mitchell paused for a long moment as though trying to work out what to say, or if she should tell Gwen anything at all. Eventually, the WPC passed her over to someone else and Gwen actually felt sorry for her. When she had been with the police, that had been the worst part of the job; having to break the news that something had happened to people’s loved ones was awful. There was a whispered conversation that she couldn’t hear and then a male voice came onto the line.
“Ma’am, my name is Paul, I’m one of the paramedics on scene. I’m sorry, but your name is not listed as the emergency contact on Mr Jones’ ID,” he said. “I can’t discuss my patient’s condition with anyone but his listed contact.”
Gwen sighed, whatever sympathy she’d had quickly evaporated. Had she ever been this much of a pain when she had been a WPC and had to talk to people at accident scenes?
“Is the name that you have for his contact Captain Jack Harkness? Well then we have a problem. Mr Harkness is-” Oh, how to explain this one, she thought. Jack was technically dead but she could hardly tell them that, could she? “He is unavailable at the moment and I cannot contact him. Listen, my name is Gwen Cooper. I’m with Torchwood and in that car is Ianto Jones. If you check, you’ll find that I am cleared to discuss any medical or legal issues.”
She managed to get the name of the hospital that he would be taken to and called for Loz, Lizzie and Adrian. As a doctor, Adrian would be able to get in to see Ianto quicker than she would, and hopefully get him out of the hospital before he rose from the dead and scared the daylights out of the morgue staff.
“John, stay with Jack. I’ll call Rhys to get Isabella,” Gwen said as she put her coat on. Glancing at her daughter, she muttered, “Lord knows the damaging effect that this is going to have on her.”
But Isabella was not to be moved. She refused to leave Jack’s side, crawling around to huddle next to John when Gwen tried to take her from the room. Gwen watched as her daughter reached out and clutched Jack’s hand.
“She’ll be fine here,” John said. “Let her see that Jack will wake up from his ‘sleep’ and that he’s OK, in case it happens again.”
Gwen, Adrian and Loz marched up to the hospital reception desk as though they had every right to be wherever they wanted, leaving Lizzie with the vehicle. They had found that if they acted as though they owned the place, they tended to get more cooperation.
“We’re here to see Mr Ianto Jones,” Adrian told the blonde woman at the desk. “He was brought in a short time ago following an auto accident.”
She frowned. “If you could just take a seat, I’ll call the doctor-”
That would be too late, Gwen thought, shaking her head minutely at him. He glared at the girl; it wasn’t her fault that she was following procedure but they didn’t have time to be polite.
“I’m Doctor McAuley and I was called with regards to Mr Jones’ condition,” he snapped. “So, just tell me where he is and I’ll find my own way there, OK?”
She nodded, checking the information she had on her computer. “Resuscitation room three.”
The three of them set off in that direction, ignoring the woman’s protest that Loz and Gwen couldn’t go through into the restricted areas.
By the time they reached the room, the emergency team had stopped working on Ianto and had already called time of death. As they went into the room, a doctor turned their way.
“What are you doing in here? Out!”
Adrian again used his credentials to get them in and the doctor reluctantly agreed, explaining that Ianto’s injuries had been too severe. He listened as the doctor ran through the list, all the time glad that Ianto wasn’t a regular human. Still, even with his healing ability, that must have been agony.
“We will, of course, be required to complete the post mortem before we can confirm any more.”
Adrian shook his head, glancing back at Gwen.
“Gwen Cooper, Torchwood,” she said, flashing her ID at him. “I’m afraid that I can’t let you do that. Mr Jones is to be transported back to our facility as soon as possible, understood?”
It took them a bit of arguing before the doctor gave in, relinquishing his patient reluctantly. They were on their way back to Torchwood within thirty minutes.
Back at the base, John finished getting Jack onto the couch, thinking that it would be more comfortable than the floor when he did wake up. He felt a gentle tug on his sleeve and looked down into Isabella’s worried face.
“What’s wrong with Uncle Jack?”
John crouched down in front of her to meet her gaze. Huge dark eyes stared back at him, glistening, although he could tell that she was trying not to cry. Pulling her into a hug, he lifted her and sat them both in a chair. For a moment, he wanted to laugh; who would have thought that he’d actually have got so attached to the little girl? He had never imagined himself to be a kid-friendly kind of a guy before arriving here. He genuinely liked the kid, felt a protectiveness toward her that the title of honorary Uncle deserved.
“He’s just not very well at the moment,” he told her.
“Will he get better?”
John nodded. “If Uncle Jack or Uncle Ianto get hurt, it’s not like if you or me do. See, they get better, no matter what’s happened, but they need to sleep for a while they do. He’ll be fine, Princess, you’ll see.”
They both jumped in surprise when a phone started ringing from Jack’s pocket. A few moments later it stopped, only to begin again and John fished it out. Not good, he thought; the display said ‘Rhiannon calling’.
There was a pause and then a welsh-accented woman’s voice spoke. “Who are you? What are you doing with Jack’s phone?”
“I’m John Hart,” he said. “I work at Torchwood with Jack and Ianto.”
“Oh. Look, I want to talk to Jack. Or Gwen Cooper.”
This wasn’t getting any better. “Jack is unavailable and Gwen isn’t here. Maybe I can help you?”
By this time, Rhiannon’s voice was getting panicked. “I got a call from the police to say that Ianto had been in an accident but when I got to the hospital they said that Torchwood had come and taken him away. What the hell is going on? I want to know what you people have done with my brother!”
John looked at the door hopefully, wishing that Gwen would come back so that she could talk to Rhiannon. Unfortunately it was just him and Isabella and, tempted as he was, he couldn’t give the phone to her.
“Rhiannon, I need you to calm down for me, OK?” he said, stopping her before she could say any more. “Listen, Ianto is fine, I promise you.”
“But the doctor said…”
John promised her that Ianto would be around to see her as soon as he could, knowing that she wouldn’t believe him unless she could see with her own eyes. He would have told her to come here but since she had no idea that he would rise from what she saw as dead, it was likely to give her a heart attack.
A few minutes later, Isabella let out a squeak of alarm and clutched onto John as Jack’s previously still form moved. He took in a deep gasping breath, his eyes wide, as he rolled onto his side.
In the back of the Torchwood van, at present looking like a private ambulance, Gwen shouted for Lizzie, in the driving seat, to stop. Loz looked around from the passenger seat, having never seen this before. Ianto began struggling, trying frantically to get air back into his lungs. His hands clawed at anything he could find, looking for something to ground himself. Gwen and Adrian leaned over him and he grabbed at Gwen’s arm, squeezing tightly enough to bruise.
“Ianto, you’re OK!” Gwen told him. “Relax, you’ve seen Jack do this a hundred times. Just calm down.”
Eventually, he stopped gasping for breath, the shock wearing off a little and he let Gwen pull him into her arms. Lizzie started driving again.
Isabella climbed up onto the couch and sat down on Jack’s legs, looking at him in a mixture of curiosity and wariness.
“See, Princess, I told you he’d be OK,” John told her.
Jack smiled at her and held out his arms and she scrambled over him for a hug. “I’m alright, honey. Really.”
By the time that Gwen and the others returned, the two men and Isabella were in the kitchen area, getting biscuits and orange juice. Jack would have preferred a beer at this point but alcohol was not allowed in the building seeing as Isabella was frequently there. When he saw them come in, Jack set his glass down and strode over to Ianto, folding him into his arms before kissing him.
“Is it always like that?” Ianto asked a moment later. “It hurt. I knew I was dying and I was so scared and then coming back…” He shuddered involuntarily. “How have you not gone insane, doing that for so many years?”
Jack gave him another light kiss. “You’ll get accustomed to it, but it will never be comfortable. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.”
Ianto couldn’t say that he ever wanted to do that again but he had to remind himself that no matter how it had felt, he had been given his life back. He had another chance. Again.
“I know this isn’t the best time,” Jack began, “but what happened? Gwen said your car had been run off the road.”
Ianto nodded. “A car came through the red light at the crossroads and hit me. He must have been going pretty fast; I hardly had the chance to react. I lost control and hit the kerb. That must have been what made the car roll.”
“The police think that the other driver was drunk,” Gwen said. “I called an old friend on the way home and he asked around. There were beer bottles in the car. So far, they haven’t found the other driver.”
Ianto nodded. “I thought I saw someone get out of the car and run but I wasn’t sure. It’s all a bit hazy, to be perfectly honest.”
Making an executive decision, Gwen instructed John and Loz to get the two men to their room.
“You two need some rest,” she said. “That means no work, got it?”
It was a sign of how Jack was feeling that he didn’t even cast a sarcastic salute her way to accompany the muttering of,
John told them about the phone call on the way and Ianto called his sister the minute they were alone in their room. It was an emotional conversation, considering it was the second time that she had been informed of his death, only to have him suddenly reappear, alive and well.
“You’re going to have to tell her,” Jack said as Ianto slid into bed next to him. He pulled the younger man’s body toward his, cuddling them together under the covers.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Ianto told him. “What’s going to happen when she realises that I’m not aging, or like today when I suddenly come back to life? What if she actually saw it happen?”
It had been a huge shock for Rhiannon when she had found out that her brother was alive almost four months after she had been informed that he had been killed in Thames House. That had been an uneasy reunion, made difficult due to the fact that Ianto couldn’t explain to her exactly how he could have survived. His sister knew nothing of Torchwood, of the world he had been involved with- aliens and invasions- beyond what had happened with the 456. Without telling her about the Doctor and Jack’s situation, it was impossible to explain his own.
Gwen agreed that she should know and so, the following morning, Ianto and Jack climbed out of the black four-by-four on the council estate just outside of Cardiff city centre. The street was quiet at this time of day, with the kids at school and most of the parents at work.
“Ready?” Jack asked.
Ianto reached out to take Jack’s hand. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
Rhiannon greeted Ianto, firing questions at him as she invited them in, offering them drinks, before sitting down in her lounge. Her gaze then settled on her brother, waiting. He had said on the phone that he had something to talk to her about.
“You look like you did when you were eight and you broke mum’s favourite vase and couldn’t think how to tell her,” she commented. “What is it?”
“Give me a minute, OK,” he said. “I don’t really know how to say this.”
She frowned. “Is this going to be another conversation like the ‘I’m sleeping with my boss, and he’s a bloke’ type of conversation or a ‘while I was away for all those years I was really in prison’ type?”
Ianto returned her frown. “Prison?”
“Just a thought,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders. “You never did tell me where you’d been.”
“Yes, well it’s all part of the same story,” he told her, taking a deep breath. “It started that day in Thames House…”