ANOTHER WORLD

A/N: For the sake of anyone unfamiliar with Torchwood and, by default, Doctor Who, I think I need to make clear a few points, in direct relation to the final three episodes of season 3 of Doctor Who.

For anyone who has not yet seen the season finale of Torchwood, and the final three eps of season 3 Doctor Who, the following points could be considered fairly major spoilers.

1. Towards the end of the season finale of Torchwood, Owen shot Jack point blank in the head, and twice in the chest. Jack re-animated a couple of minutes later, much to the shock of his team. Up until that point, only Gwen had been aware of Jack's immortality.
2. Jack, along with the Doctor, was captured by the Master and imprisoned for one year aboard the sky ship, The Valiant. (see Doctor Who, The Last of the Time Lords)
3. When the paradox machine was destroyed at the end of The Last of the Time Lords, time reversed itself, and consequently those on board the Valiant at that very moment have the burden of terrible memories of a year that never happened.
4. Though it was never specified in the show itself, it's the general belief of fans that Jack was tortured and tormented horribly by the Master during his year in captivity. Point of reference: The Sounds of Drums. The Master, referring to Jack's temporarily lifeless body after shooting him down with his laser screwdriver: "And the good thing is, he isn't dead for long. I get to kill him again!"

For the purposes of this story, Jack did not rejoin the Doctor immediately after coming back to life after the incident with Abaddon, but rather approximately a week later.


That night
The Plaza Hotel

“Is it just me,” Owen mused as they sat around the large table in their hotel suite, “or are the American pizzas a lot better back home in Cardiff, than here in America?”

“That’s purely psychosomatic,” Ianto pointed out. Owen grunted as he grabbed yet another slice.

“I don’t care what it is. It still isn’t as good as back home.”

“And yet that’s his fifth piece,” Jack mused.

“Screw you, Harkness,” Owen shot back good-naturedly. Jack just laughed as he pushed aside his own plate in favour of a stack of files.

“What Ianto is trying to say,” Tosh said, “is that nothing is ever as good as it is back home.”

“If you’re all done there,” Jack spoke up in wry amusement, “we have work to do. We need to get through these files before tomorrow.”

“Oh, for crying out loud, Jack, give us a break!” Gwen complained. “None of us can see straight. Just because you don’t sleep doesn’t mean we don’t either.”

Jack let his hands drop down to the top of the table, and he looked around at them slowly. Gwen was right, he realised. They were all nearly falling asleep at the table. None of them would absorb anything from the files, regardless of how long he insisted they stay up and read for.

“Okay,” he conceded quietly. “Go to bed, get some sleep. But don’t expect to get a lie in tomorrow.”

“If you get us up before dawn, Jack, I might just shoot you,” Owen grumbled. Jack raised an eyebrow slightly.

“You already did that once,” he said, and a deathly silence abruptly fell. Owen, however, didn’t miss a beat.

“Yeah, I did, and now that we know it’s not permanent I might just be tempted to do it more often.”

A grin spread across Jack’s face, and he laughed openly.

“Go to bed, all of you. And thankyou.”

“For what?” Tosh wondered, baffled. Jack regarded them all with a serious look.

“For coming here with me.”

“There’s no need to thank us, Jack,” Gwen said, sounding vaguely surprised at his expression of gratitude. He regarded her seriously.

“Yes, there is. You didn’t have to come. None of you did. I appreciate that you all agreed to come and help stop this… this thing.”

“And let you have all the fun?” Owen snorted. “You must be joking.”

Shaking his head in amusement, Owen got up and stretched before turning to head for his bedroom.

“’Night, all. And I’m not kidding, Jack. I do not want to be woken up before the sun is up tomorrow morning.”

Jack couldn’t resist a grin as the young doctor walked from the room.

“You guys all heard that, right?”

“Yes, why?” Tosh wondered. A smug look filled Jack’s face.

“Because at the moment, sun-up here is around six o’clock in the morning. You guys are my witnesses, in case he really does try to shoot me.”

Laughter erupted at the table and, one by one, the others excused themselves until only Jack and Ianto were left.

“Sir?” Ianto asked quietly even as Jack started to flip through the files on the table in front of him. “You’re not really planning on sitting here reading those all night?”

Jack didn’t look up at him, keeping his eyes fixed carefully on the first open file.

“Go and get some sleep, Ianto. While you can.”

Ianto stood, torn over whether to do as Jack had told him, or whether to refuse. In the end, he settled for a compromise, and began to walk around the table, collecting the rubbish the others had left behind. Jack did look up, then, and the expression on his face was one of annoyance.

“Ianto, what do you think you’re doing?” he asked, his voice a half-growl. Ianto regarded him placidly, unperturbed.

“What does it look like?” he replied placidly. “I'm cleaning up.”

“For God’s sake, go to bed!”

“I will,” Ianto conceded, “if you come with me.”

Jack’s eyebrows shot up, and a moment later a grin spread slowly across his face.

“Are you propositioning me?”

“Nothing quite so lurid, sir. All I’m saying is that you need sleep as well.”

Jack opened his mouth to argue, but Ianto didn’t give him a chance to say a word.

“We’re all exhausted, Jack, including you. And don’t say you’re not. If you don’t believe me, go and take a look at your reflection.”

“What about it?” Jack demanded to know. Ianto didn’t back down in the face of Jack’s irritation, regarding him with visible sympathy.

“Jack, you look like you did just after you came back to life after defeating Abaddon.”

That brought Jack back to reality with a painful jolt, and he sat back slowly. He knew only too well what Ianto was talking about. For a couple of days after coming back to life that time, he’d walked around with chalk-white features and large, dark shadows under his eyes. Finally, Ianto had lost patience with trying to tell him to rest, and had conspired with Owen to drug his coffee. He’d slept for the next two days.

Despite his aggravation at their tactics, Jack had been forced to admit that he felt better after getting some real rest. This was a different situation again, though, and his refusal to sleep had less to do with being busy than with his fear of the nightmares that waited for him to slumber.

The last time he’d slept, he had woken up screaming so hard that he’d lost his voice. That had been just under a week ago, and he’d not allowed himself to sleep again.

“I know about the nightmares, Jack,” Ianto told him softly, and Jack looked up at him sharply. Ianto went on, hoping he wasn’t overstepping some invisible boundary, and not particularly caring if he did. “I don’t know what they’re about, because you haven’t explained anything to us yet, but I understand that. But even you can’t go on indefinitely without sleep. Come to bed with me. Maybe it’ll help, just not being alone.”

“And maybe it won’t,” Jack answered back in a soft, bleak voice.

“Why don’t we try and see?” Ianto pressed. He held a hand out to Jack expectantly and, after a long moment’s consideration, Jack reached out and took it. A warm smile lit up Ianto’s face, and he didn’t hesitate to draw Jack up out of the chair.

“Good man,” he murmured, and led Jack down the hallway to his allocated bedroom.


Elsewhere in Manhattan

“What did you really think of that Torchwood lot today?” Alex wondered as Bobby brought fresh coffee out from the kitchen of his apartment for them both. He looked thoughtful as he sank into the sofa beside her.

“I think their captain is an arrogant show-off,” he said after a moment’s contemplation. Alex laughed out loud at his succinct appraisal.

“And here I thought you’d been blinded by the gadgets.”

Bobby smiled in reaction to her good-natured teasing.

“Not quite. I don’t know about the rest of them, but that woman… Gwen… It seems like she’s still trying to find her feet with them. It’s not all that surprising, really, when she has to contend with him. She has potential, though. I think she could be a brilliant profiler, if she’s just given the chance.”

Alex didn’t dispute him. Indeed, she had recognised the same potential in the young woman. She also agreed with him, though, about the group’s larger-than-life leader.

“They didn’t exactly operate like you’d expect,” she mused. “It’ll be interesting to see what goes on tomorrow.”

Bobby glanced sideways at her.

“He was flirting with you.”

A ghost of a smile flickered across her face and caused the corners of her mouth to curl upwards before she could stop herself.

“Yes,” she agreed lazily. “He was, wasn’t he?”

“Would you…?”

He trailed off abruptly, and Alex couldn’t help but be amused by the way his brow creased. She knew that look only too well. He had been on the cusp of asking her something that was bound to prove to be moderately unpleasant, at the very least.

“Would I what, Bobby?” she asked in a deceptively placid tone, and Bobby hesitated once more. He knew he had to be very careful with his wording here… although, it was entirely likely that it didn’t matter what he said or how; he was still likely to land himself squarely in some very hot water.

“Would you go out with him? If he asked, I mean.”

Alex frowned, then. She admitted she was very tired, but not so much that she missed what he was hinting at. It didn’t take long for her to comprehend what he wasn’t saying, and she was not impressed.

“Is this is another Talbot ploy, Bobby? Because I might just dump this coffee over your head if it is.”

“Sorry,” Bobby said quickly, a red flush heating his cheeks. “I… I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Oh yes, you did,” she retorted, quietly amused at the way he was trying to discreetly shift out of arm’s length – something that was impossible when the sofa had them almost hip to hip as it was.

“Sorry,” Bobby mumbled again. “Forget I said anything.”

Silence reigned between them for a good ten minutes before Alex spoke suddenly.

“Yes.”

Bobby eyed her with some degree of wariness. He suspected that he knew what she meant, but it would have been suicidal to jump to conclusions.

“Yes?”

“Yes, I’d go out with him, if he asked,” Alex confirmed, her attention seemingly fixed on whatever the movie that was on the television. “Mostly out of curiosity, but also…”

Bobby raised an eyebrow quizzically.

“What?” he pressed, not really expecting to get an answer. He was surprised when she did respond.

“Well, basically, he is pretty damned good-looking, Bobby. That, and I can’t help wondering if he can back up that cocky swagger with the right moves, or if he’s all talk like ninety-eight percent of the male population in this city.”

Bobby allowed a wry smile to form on his lips at her choice of phrase.

“Ninety-eight percent? Should I be feeling insulted, Eames?”

“Since I’ve never dated you,” she retorted, “I’m not going to answer that. Although just between us, the graffiti on the wall of the ladies’ room on the twelfth floor suggests that you do have the moves to back up the talk.”

Just as she’d hoped, Bobby went flame red, and sank down into the sofa. He didn’t say another word to her for the duration of the movie, his attention apparently fixed on the screen. Alex’s attention, however, was as far removed from the movie as it was possible to get, her thoughts gradually encompassed with musings over what a night out with Captain Jack Harkness might be like.


Alex was so caught up in her musings that she never noticed the surreptitious glances Bobby occasionally sent her way, and she never noticed the slow smile that spread across his face as a multitude of ideas on how to unravel the mysterious Torchwood sped through his mind.


Ianto awoke to near total darkness. He lay still, comfortable and warm beneath the bed sheets and blankets of his hotel bed, trying to decide whether it was worth even contemplating what might have woken him up. All seemed to be quiet. He couldn’t even hear street sounds from within the room. Kudos to the hotel concierge, he mused, for following his strict request for a suite of rooms in the quietest part of the hotel.

Just as he was about to decide it wasn’t worth the time, effort or potential removal of himself from the cosy warmth of the bed, a new sound reached his ears; the sound of someone sobbing. The sound was muffled, and for a long moment Ianto thought it was coming from another room. Gwen’s room was closest to his, he thought. Maybe she was having a nightmare…

Nightmare

Ianto’s heart skipped a beat, and he sat bolt upright. His head swung around, and he was confronted with the very sight that he had hoped they would have avoided. Jack lay face down on the mattress, completely uncovered, and his body rigid with fear and tension. The sobs were coming from him as he cried softly into his pillow.

Heart in his throat, Ianto reached out one hand tentatively, speaking as his fingertips brushed lightly against Jack’s shoulder.

“Wake up, Jack.”

If it were possible, Jack went even tenser, and a frightened cry escaped his lips. Ianto withdrew his hand, starting to feel sick. What, he wondered, had been done to Jack to reduce him to a state like this? A tiny part of his mind already suspected, but he couldn’t bring himself to face that possibility. Hoping he wasn’t making a foolish mistake, Ianto lay down carefully beside him and slipped an arm protectively around his shoulders.

Jack immediately went into near convulsions, his entire body screaming panic attack. Ianto refused to let go, though, tightening his hold on the captain, and slipping his other arm around so that he was holding Jack with both arms. Jack continued to struggle, but his struggles had a certain restraint to them. It was as if, in the midst of his nightmare, he was being physically restrained.

Ianto hugged him tighter, wondering with growing desperation what he could possibly do to wake Jack up without causing him more unnecessary trauma and distress. He was saved the worry, though, when Jack suddenly awoke with a strangled cry.

Wha…?” Jack gasped, twisting wildly in Ianto’s arms. Ianto, for his part, refused to release his hold on Jack.

“It was a nightmare,” he murmured in as low and soothing a tone as he could manage. “It was just a nightmare. You’re safe, Jack.”

Jack went very still and for several seconds the two men just lay there, staring at each other. Then, as Ianto watched, Jack turned a ghastly shade of green, and twisted almost violently out of his embrace.

Sitting up again, Ianto watched as Jack virtually fell out of the bed and fled into the nearby ensuite. Moments later, the sound of retching reached Ianto’s ears. Cautiously, Ianto left the warmth and comfort of the bed, and followed Jack through into the bathroom.

The sight that met him shook him badly. Jack was on his knees, slumped over the toilet bowl and trembling violently. Tears streaked his face, and he seemed to be struggling to contain fresh sobs.

Ianto collected a cloth from the basin and dampened it with cold water before crouching down beside Jack. He said nothing, and asked no questions. He simply reached around and gently wiped the damp cloth over Jack’s face with one hand, whilst rubbing his back with the other.

Slowly, very slowly, Jack’s trembling began to ease, and some clarity returned to his eyes.

“Think you’re ready to get up?” Ianto asked, and Jack nodded.

“Yeah, think so,” he mumbled.

Ianto got up and pulled Jack to his feet, and guided him out of the bathroom, and back to the warm sanctuary of the bed. Once he’d ensured that Jack was comfortably back under the blankets, he vanished back into the bathroom and returned a moment later with a glass of water.

“No coffee?” Jack queried. He sounded genuinely disappointed, Ianto mused.

“The last thing you need is coffee,” he told him lightly. “Here, take a few mouthfuls of water.”

Jack accepted the glass, and took a few conservative mouthfuls. Silence fell for a while, and when Jack spoke again, it was in a soft and bitter voice.

“I knew it wouldn’t make any difference.”

There was no admonishment in his voice, no hint of ‘I told you so’; just a tired resignation. He’d resigned himself to having violent, terrifying nightmares, Ianto realised, and he obviously didn’t believe that anything would stop them.

Ianto stared at Jack, taking in his pallid features and the ever darkening circles beneath his eyes. The man was exhausted, and his mental defences had just taken a severe battering. A part of him rebelled strongly against the idea of taking advantage of Jack when he was clearly in a vulnerable state of mind, but at the same time Ianto couldn’t ignore the chance to encourage Jack to take the first step towards sharing the horrors he’d suffered.

“Talk to me, Jack,” Ianto said, before he could change his mind. “Please, talk to me.”

It was all that he said, but it seemed to be enough. Perhaps it was that his defences were down, or maybe he was finally ready to talk, but Jack began to speak softly in a conscious effort to keep his voice from breaking.

“The Master knew about me… knew that I can’t die. He knew long before he captured us, before we found out who he really was. The freak, he called me. Guess he was right about that, at least.”

“No,” Ianto said tightly. “No, you’re not a freak, Jack. If that’s what he called you, then he was wrong.”

Jack smiled sadly, and covered Ianto’s hand briefly with his own, squeezing lightly. He paused, then, staring down at the bed covers as he tried to put his thoughts into some cohesive order.

“I could have escaped, you know,” he admitted tremulously. “I could have gotten out of there with Martha, but I didn’t. I stayed behind.”

“Why did you do that?” Ianto asked, baffled. “Why did you stay, when you had to know what he was likely to do to you?”

But even as he asked the question, he thought he knew the answer, and the look on Jack’s face only confirmed it for him. There was one very powerful reason why Jack had not fled the Valiant with Martha, and that reason was a certain Time Lord with whom Jack’s life seemed to be inextricably interwoven.

Slowly, Ianto was beginning to form a clearer idea of what had happened in, as Jack himself had frequently referred to it, the year that wasn’t. He and the rest of the Torchwood team knew the basics, according to what Jack had told them on his return. Harold Saxon had turned out to be a Time Lord, like the Doctor, but according to Jack he was evil and as insane as they came. He’d trapped the only other Time Lord still living, along with Jack, and enslaved the world for a year with the aid of a thing that Jack had called a paradox machine.

Tosh had asked him to explain that more, and Jack had steadfastly refused, saying that it was better if no one ever knew the details of it. He’d been so intense with his response that she’d not asked again.

When the Master had finally been defeated and the paradox machine had been destroyed, time had reversed itself and that year had literally been wiped out of existence. The only ones who remembered were those on board the Valiant at the time and that, Ianto had reflected more than once, had to be a terrible burden to bear if everything Jack had told them was to be believed.

“I couldn’t abandon him,” Jack whispered as fresh tears slowly forced their way out of his eyes. “Even though that’s what he did to me, I couldn’t do it to him. So I stayed.”

“You stayed on board a ship,” Ianto summarised. “A prisoner in the hands of a psychopath who knew you couldn’t die. I suppose I can imagine how he treated you.”

“It didn’t take him long to start on me,” Jack confessed in a bitter voice.

“Talk to me,” Ianto encouraged him. “What did he do to you?”

“Tests, he called them,” Jack said bitterly. “He said he needed to know how it worked… How my body healed itself… so that he could get the maximum benefits out of me.”

“Bloody hell,” Ianto whispered. He understood well enough the implications in that statement. Jack went on, talking as though the floodgates had finally been opened.

“Stabbed, shot, hanged, gutted, burned alive, suffocated, beaten to death, poisoned, left to bleed out, carved up by that bloody laser screwdriver…”

Jack paused, shuddering as he ran through the litany of torturous deaths that he’d been forced to endure. Ianto listened in numb silence, sickeningly aware that what Jack was telling him now was probably only the tip of a very big iceberg.

“He experimented on me… called it scientific curiosity. He injected me with something one day… never told me what it was. All I know is that it was some sort of virus. It made me so sick, but it didn’t kill me. And every time my body fought back, the virus mutated and just made me even sicker. Three weeks, he left me like that. It was three whole weeks before he got bored and shot me in the head. And… that whole time… the entire twelve months, he left me chained in the bowels of that goddamned ship. I wasn’t allowed to sit or lie down… I had to stand there the whole time, spread-eagled with my arms chained to opposite pillars. But… You know something, Ianto? All of that I could deal with. It was bad, but I could cope. What I couldn’t cope with was when he ordered me to be isolated. No contact with anything or anyone at all…”

Jack swallowed hard, only to discover that his throat was utterly dry. He took a mouthful of water before continuing in a soft, hoarse voice.

“He brought the Doctor down one day. He forced him to sit there and watch while he tortured me. The Doctor… he tried so hard to help me. For a while he was able to shield my mind from the worst of the pain, but then the Master realised what he was doing, and forced him to stop. In the end, there just wasn’t anything he could do. The Master tortured me almost to death.”

“Almost?” Ianto wondered, and Jack nodded.

“Yeah. He stopped just short. See, one of the things he discovered was that as long as my injuries don't become life-threatening, my body will heal at a much slower rate. Not normal speed, but not super fast, either. So he stopped just short of actually killing me, and then the son of a bitch ordered me to be left completely isolated. No one was allowed to come anywhere near me until he said so. I wasn’t allowed to see anyone or hear anyone at all. It didn’t really affect me that much to begin with. I was in way too much pain to really take any notice. I don’t know how long it was before I started begging for someone to talk to, but after a while, all I wanted was to hear another voice… any voice… but the Master denied me even that.”

He fell silent momentarily, and Ianto wondered if he had finally reached the limits of what he was prepared to talk about. He was surprised, therefore, when Jack continued to talk in a subdued, grief-stricken voice.

“Have you ever known what it’s like to be so desperate for contact with someone… anyone… and to have it totally and completely denied? To be in so much pain that you want to die? And the only thing that might help to make it even just a little more bearable would be having someone sit with you… talk to you… touch you… and it’s the one fucking thing you can’t have.”

Ianto felt a minor shockwave ripple through him at the same time as the tears began to trickle down his own cheeks in a powerful emotional response to Jack’s words. He’d rarely heard Jack swear, and the worst to pass his lips was an occasional ‘bloody’. He couldn’t even be certain that he’d ever heard the word ‘shit’ pass the man’s lips. To hear him now use a word that was such a well-used part of Owen’s vocabulary told Ianto more than anything how awful his captivity had truly been.

“No,” Ianto whispered through a veil of tears, as he realised suddenly from the silence that Jack was actually waiting for a response, that his question hadn’t been rhetorical. “No, I don’t know what that’s like. I’m so sorry, Jack.”

“I always used to need to be around people,” Jack said tiredly. “I craved company. You know that.”

Ianto nodded in wordless agreement. Yes, he was very familiar with Jack’s deep-seated need to have other people constantly around him. He could barely begin to imagine how hard it must have been for Jack to be cut off completely.

“How long?” he asked, though he was not entirely sure that he wanted to know the answer. The pain in Jack’s eyes was almost enough of an answer for him, but he didn’t try to stop Jack from replying.

“Over a month. I don’t know for absolute certain how long it was… I wasn’t exactly keeping track. All I know is that I damn near went mad.”

“What stopped you?” Ianto asked softly. A soft wisp of a sigh escaped his lips, followed by a name that Ianto didn’t recognise.

“Tish.”

“Who?” Ianto wondered aloud.

“Tish Jones, Martha’s younger sister.”

This time, Ianto’s lips parted in a wordless ‘Oh’. He’d not yet met Martha Jones face to face, but he knew about her from Jack. He had spoken a number of times about her, citing her courage and strength with fervour. Jack spoke in a tone that was heavy with a mixture of grief and gratitude.

“He broke me, Ianto. That time… The Master broke me. I don’t know at what point I stopped being aware of everything around me. I just did. I was so out of my mind with the pain and the loneliness that in the end I just retreated inside my own mind. I don’t know how long I was like that for. I have a vague memory of the Master coming to me and trying to get a reaction from me… I think he even brought the Doctor down, thinking it’d snap me out of it. But, I guess I was too far gone.”

Tentatively, Ianto reached across and intertwined his fingers with Jack’s, quietly relieved when Jack responded in kind and squeezed his hand affectionately.

“How did she help you?” he asked, making a mental note to find this Tish when they got home and thank her profusely for bringing Jack back to them.

“Tish came to me,” Jack said softly. “She did something no one else did. She hugged me.”

Ianto was torn between surprise and wry amusement. A hug seemed almost too… innocent for the likes of Jack. Even after the incident with Abaddon, he hadn’t come back to life until Gwen had kissed him.

“A hug?” he echoed with a half smile. “No kiss of life there, Jack?”

Jack didn’t smile at the gentle teasing, and Ianto felt his stomach knot up a little as a fresh tear rolled down Jack’s cheek.

“I went for over a month without any kind of contact. It nearly drove me mad. Then Tish came… and she hugged me, Ianto. She just hugged me, and held me, and talked to me. She saved me, and I don’t think I ever thanked her for that.”

“When we get home,” Ianto murmured as he settled back down beside Jack in the bed. “We’ll go and see her, and thank her together.”

“Together?”

“Of course. I want to be able to meet the young woman who was able to save Jack Harkness from going mad.”

Jack was silent for a long minute, and then Ianto suddenly felt a violent shudder pass through him. A glance down told him that the shock of his memories was still threatening to send Jack over the edge.

“I’m sorry,” Jack whispered, feeling sick again as he realised just how much he’d just off-loaded to Ianto. The younger man shifted closer to Jack, encouraging him to rest against his shoulder.

“Don’t apologise. You needed to talk about it, and I’m glad that you finally did.”

Jack allowed his eyes to slide shut, lulled into a new calm by the sensation of Ianto’s fingers stroking his temple.

“Thankyou,” he mumbled, and a moment later Ianto felt Jack relax in his arms as sleep finally took him. Leaning down, Ianto brushed his lips over Jack’s forehead in a tender kiss.

This was a big change – the last time they’d been together like this, in a comforting rather than a sexual way, their roles had been very definitely reversed, with Jack giving all the comfort. It was strangely reassuring to Ianto that Jack was able to receive comfort as well as give it. It told him that despite every fantastic thing that Jack was, beneath it all he was still essentially human.

Smiling sadly to himself, Ianto settled down properly next to Jack, and fell asleep with his captain wrapped firmly and protectively in his arms.


When Ianto awoke again, it was to an empty bed. He sat up slowly, looking around, but Jack was definitely gone. Not entirely surprised, but perhaps just a little disappointed, he climbed out of bed and headed into the ensuite to take a shower.

He emerged dressed and ready to go twenty minutes later to find Tosh and Gwen up already. Less surprisingly, there was no sign of Owen.

“Good morning,” Gwen greeted him, at the same time handing him a cup of fresh, steaming coffee. When he stared at it blankly, she nudged him in mock annoyance. “Well, go on, try it. It’s not poison.”

Bemused, he took a sip and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t bad at all. He looked back at Gwen quizzically.

“You?” he asked, sounding more than a little incredulous. Gwen chuckled, tickled that he even bothered to ask.

“Go on, you know I can’t make a decent cup of coffee. That’s why you banned me from the kitchen. No, apparently Jack arranged this with Room Service.”

“Ah,” Ianto murmured. “Where is Jack, anyway?”

Tosh held up a piece of paper with just a line or two scribbled in Jack’s handwriting.

“He left for One Police Plaza a few hours ago. Told us to give Owen until six to sleep. He wants us there by seven-thirty. Since it is...” She paused, glancing at her watch. “Since it’s a quarter to six now, Sleeping Beauty has another fifteen minutes. I suggest we order some breakfast and be ready to get moving.”

Ianto nodded, distracted by the realisation that he’d been so deeply asleep that he hadn’t noticed Jack removing himself from his embrace. When he came out of his reverie, though, it was to find both Gwen and Tosh staring at him curiously.

“Is everything all right, Ianto?” Gwen asked, and Ianto answered with a quick nod. He saw no reason for divulging the fact that he and Jack had spent the night in the same bed, or about the nightmare Jack had suffered. He felt a momentary sensation of surprise as he realised that Jack had never actually told him what the nightmare had been about, and he couldn’t help but wonder whether or not that had been deliberate on Jack’s part.

“Everything’s fine, Gwen,” he answered placidly. “I think I’ll go and wake Owen. It’ll probably take him fifteen minutes to wake up anyway.”

“Take a pillow,” Gwen called after him as he started away down the hall. Ianto paused, and then looked back at her questioningly.

“Why would I need a pillow, then?”

“Trust me, you’ll need it,” she answered. “He doesn’t like being woken up early, and he’ll throw anything at you that he can lay his hands on.”

Ianto snorted as he headed down the hallway.

“That would explain the three smashed mobile phones in the last month and a half, then.”

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