Ianto and Peter looked up simultaneously to find the American standing with his gun aimed steadily on Peter, his finger poised and waiting upon the trigger.
“Back up!” The man said, tilting his gun to the side in a gesture for Peter to move away from Ianto.
“Jack, don’t!” Ianto called out, throwing up a hand as if the gesture would still Jack.
Peter straightened; raising his hands up level with his shoulders as he warily eyed the gun and the man wielding it. His heart thudded enthusiastically against his chest as he stepped away from Ianto.
“Whoa, easy with that,” Peter muttered. Though a quick brush up against his mind told Peter that this Jack wasn’t an erratic man and thus unlikely to shoot him by accident, the cold, suspicious look in his eyes worried Peter to the point of panic. He swallowed heavily.
Not even Ianto’s reassuring wash of emotion could quell the sudden build up within him. Peter breathed in deeply through his nose, feeling the first fickle flecks of heat searing up through his body. Peter prayed desperately that he wasn’t about to go nuclear on Cardiff.
“Peter?” Ianto called to him, his worry palpable in the air- dizzying him as his mind opened more fully to the barrage of emotion coming from both Ianto and Jack. The influx of emotion was conflicting, exhilarating, dangerous even as it washed over him. Peter found himself quite unable to distinguish between the feelings, not sure which were his own and which belonged to the other two men.
“Do you know this- man?” Jack’s voice broke through the bombardment in his mind and Peter forced his eyes open to focus- to quell the build up of emotion and power thrumming through his veins. The question had been directed towards Ianto.
“I- yes,” Ianto began, shooting Peter an indecipherable look before he turned back to face Jack. “Yes I do.”
Jack’s face visibly clouded with anger at Ianto’s words. “Ianto Jones,” He hissed through clenched teeth, “Am I right in assuming that you knowingly brought a potentially dangerous species into Torchwood?”
“I did nothing of the sort, sir.” Ianto replied, swallowing thickly. “And I can assure you that Mr Petrelli poses no danger to the Information Centre.”
Jack shot Ianto a sharp look, not missing the emphasis on the building’s purpose. “No?” Jack asked, his glare deepening. “Then do you mind telling me why the hell he’s burning up with radiation!?”
Jack shouted out that last part, just as his wrist-piece began to beep frantically.
“Oh,” Peter gasped.
Ianto’s head whipped round to gape wide-eyed at Peter who was now staring steadfastly down at his hands, which were glowing and crackling with an electrical power.
“Peter?” Ianto called out. Peter drew in a shaky breath, concentrating on the thrum of power rushing through him.
“Not now, please not now,” He heard Peter mumbling fearfully.
Ianto hurriedly moved around the desk, intent on going to Peter’s side. Jack reached out and grabbed at him, holding tightly to Ianto’s wrist and tugging him away.
Ianto struggled against Jack’s grip. “Jack, he’s-!”
“He’s a walking bomb!” Jack shouted, succeeding this time in tugging Ianto back.
“Jack, we need to help him!” Ianto pleaded.
“You need to make this stop.” Peter gasped out suddenly, looking first to Ianto then to Jack.
“I’m sorry, I-,” Peter grimaced as his power flared over him once more. “You- you’ll need to shoot me.”
“What?” It was Jack who answered.
“Peter-,” Ianto’s own panic flared against his mind and Peter let out a low groan, radiation spitting from his fingertips. Jack cursed and pulled both Ianto and himself back towards the hidden doorway.
“Please, shoot me.” Peter managed, just as the blaze of power lit up the rest of his body.
“There must be another way?” Ianto tried, his face desperate. He’d never expected to see Peter again, not after leaving him with biting words and retcon rushing through his system. But now… now that he was standing here, had come here to find him, had fought back the drug of forgetfulness… well, now Ianto wished… “There must be another way!” He shouted, biting at his lips.
Peter shook his head, offering up a pained smile. “There isn’t. I’m sorry, Ianto. I wanted to…” He shook his head a second time, as if clearing his mind. “I-I’ll blow up… Cardiff will be destroyed, just please! There is no other way.”
“Not a danger my ass,” Jack cursed, raising his gun more fully upon Peter. Ianto impulsively made to reach out and touch at Peter, the gesture a second too late as a bullet ripped through the air and into Peter’s body.
Ianto watched in devastation, as Peter’s eyes grew wide, his breath leaving him an instant before he dropped to his knees. Before his body slumped to the floor, the glow of radiation flared threateningly to a whiteness that had both Ianto and Jack hurrying to cover their eyes. The radiation dispersed itself into nothingness soon after, leaving only a bleeding body slumped upon the floor as testament to its ever actually being there.
Jack’s hand tightened about his arm as Ianto made to step forward.
“Don’t. You’re already infected.” Jack said, his voice even.
Ianto’s face was hard as he wrenched his arm free and purposefully stepped over towards Peter’s body.
“Then a little more exposure won’t hurt.” He snapped as he dropped to his hunches and reached out a shaken hand to touch cautiously at the man’s face.
Ianto pursed his lips, feeling an unexpected build up of emotion as he stroked his fingers over Peter’s cheek. His eyes were glazed over; staring up at him in death and Ianto couldn’t help but shiver uncomfortably as he reached out to close the lids over.
“I thought heroes couldn’t die,” He whispered, the words for Peter’s unhearing ears alone.
His cheeks were wet when he finally stood and turned to Jack.
- - -