“May I get you some coffee, sir?” Ianto said, turning to look at Jack the moment they stepped into the Tourist Information Centre. Jack raised his eyebrows at the question. Ianto hadn’t spoken a word to him in the half-hour since Peter had left them standing up on the pier. Not even when Jack’s comforting hand upon his shoulder had become an urging tug, pulling him away from the moment and back into the harsh glare of the present.
“Ianto-,” Jack was at a loss for words himself; he didn’t completely understand the attachment between Ianto and Peter but felt he should try at least to say something to comfort the young man.
Ianto forced a smile, “I shall put some on,” he said. “No doubt Toshiko would like a cup after being cooped up in here herself all morning.”
Jack nodded his head; there really wasn’t much else he could do. Ianto slipped behind the counter, hitting at the button beneath the desk and opening the passageway that would lead Jack back into the main portion of the hub. Jack hesitated only long enough to watch Ianto slip behind the beaded curtains before making his way down to the hub.
“Was he alright?” Toshiko pounced on him the moment he entered the hub and Jack smiled softly at the worry etched across her face.
After Ianto’s disappearing stunt with Peter, he’d been forced to get Toshiko involved, running a trace to see if she could find them. It had taken some time, but eventually she’d managed to run a heat sensory programme through the CCTV network that tracked their flight towards the pier. Thankfully both young men had been visible by the time Jack and Nathan eventually reached them.
“He’s alright,” Jack confirmed, “all things considered.”
Toshiko nodded her head though her worry was not relieved at all. She stood, slightly hunched, wringing her hands and looking very much like she had something to say to that.
“Tosh?” Jack prompted with a curious frown.
“Where’s Ianto now?” She asked, forcibly stilling her hands.
“He’s up in the Information Centre. Preparing coffee or something, though I don’t expect we’ll be seeing any for a while.”
Toshiko nodded her head, but still hesitated to say more.
“Right, what’s going on?” Jack asked, cocking his head at her. “What’s got you so… jumpy?”
“I’m not jumpy, I just… I managed to find out how Ianto and Peter know each other.” She bit at her lip, looking none too pleased with herself for admitting it.
“And?” Jack prompted again.
“Well, it took a bit of time,” She began, eyeing the hub cautiously once more before gesturing for Jack to follow her up into the board room. “At first I tried tracking him down through the CCTV network, running a face recognition programme against the recorded feeds for the bay area. I got a few hits but nothing I could follow up on. His ability to become invisible put a damper of tracing him through the network pretty fast.”
Toshiko moved over towards the laptop she’d already set up, the blown up image on the screen in front of Jack was showing only snow. He looked back to Toshiko who was dancing her fingers swiftly over her keyboard.
“I started tracing Ianto instead,” She continued, not looking up at the Captain. “In the hopes that I could get a lead on Peter though him and-,” and here she hesitated. Jack was beginning to feel a strong sense of foreboding. “I found out how they met.”
Before Jack could open his mouth to hurry Toshiko along, the image on screen suddenly switched to a grainy black and white feed.
“That’s the Millennium Centre,” Jack said, flicking his gaze to Toshiko who nodded once before turning her attention back towards the screen. Jack frowned as he too turned back, watching the empty rooftop scene for a few minutes.
“Just watch.” Toshiko interrupted him, her voice tight. Jack noticed she’d gone a shade or two paler than usual. He was beginning to worry now.
Biting back his questions, Jack kept his eyes trained on the screen before him, watching as the sudden emptiness was interrupted by the arrival of a dark suited individual.
“Ianto,” He breathed, unable to help himself as he watched the unmistakable form of the Welshman walk along the rooftop before pausing. The minutes dragged on. Jack was feeling his agitation grow as he both anticipated and dreaded seeing where this was leading.
Eventually, Ianto started moving. He started stripping in fact and Jack felt his eyebrows rise as he watched Ianto remove first his suit jacket and then his shoes and socks. He hesitated only seconds before moving towards the edge of the roof, so close that his toes curled themselves over the lip of the building, from what Jack could make out.
Jack found he could no longer breathe. Even his heart seemed to have stopped beating as he stood as if with Ianto on that rooftop, waiting, waiting, waiting… for the moment when he’d decide either way- to jump, or not to jump?- Ianto turned his head skywards, a smile curving his lips as the wind buffeted him and he made up his mind.
Jack gasped shakily as he watched Ianto spread his arms and jump.
- - -
Ianto leant against the counter of the small kitchenette he kept just off the main floor of the Information Centre. The kettle had stopped boiling minutes ago but he made no move to continue preparing the coffees he’d promised Jack.
He danced his fingers lightly over his lips, his eyes closed as he preserved the moment of his first and last kiss with Peter. He’d never experienced something so intense through a kiss before. He’d felt alive, blissfully and unquestionably alive in that one moment when his lips had been sealed with Peter’s, their mouths moving hungrily against one another’s.
Ianto blew out a ragged sigh, feeling his breath ghost across his fingertips and dispelling the imaginings that he was back in that moment, standing up on that pier in Peter’s arms, safe and warm and untouchable until Jack and Nathan found them; till the moment was stolen from them both.
Ianto sighed again, dropping his fingers from his mouth as he opened his eyes and took in the tidied surroundings of his office space.
There was nothing else for it. He thought to himself as he turned towards the kettle. Peter was gone. He didn’t know why he felt quite as attached to the young American as he did, but it would do him no favours to pine over someone he’d known for less than a week. He’d suffered enough heartache already without adding a third to the mix.
His hands shook despite himself as he poured hot water into the two mugs of coffee he’d been preparing, stirring them methodically before placing them onto a small tray with the intention of carrying them down to the hub. He wondered fleetingly if Peter would think of him at all as he travelled back home to America.
It was a bittersweet musing, and one Ianto was quick to push aside as he moved towards the beaded curtain. No sooner had he stepped out into the Information Centre proper, than the door opened to permit Gwen and Owen both. The former stumbling ungracefully over the threshold, the papers she’d been carried flying dramatically across the room before Owen managed to catch her and prevent her from smacking her face off the floor.
Ianto placed his tray carefully upon the counter. Gwen was cursing, her face flaming red as Owen sniggered beside her, helping her to her feet. The Welshman was about to enquire after Gwen when he noticed something amongst the scattered papers.
Crouching down, Ianto cautiously reached out to pick up a Polaroid image. The name ‘Myrna Evans’ was written in permanent marker beneath the image of a pale woman, her eyes wide and glazed over in death. Her face was streaked with blood and- perhaps the most stomach rolling part altogether- the picture showed that the top of her head has been removed.
There was another picture beside the first which Ianto hesitantly reached out for. It showed a young boy, late teens probably, pinned to a wall by various pieces of cutlery. The top of his head too had been removed. Glyn Evans. The marker beneath the image read.
“It’s what we call a no-brainer,” Owen said, snatching the pictures from Ianto’s fingers. Ianto looked up at him with a frown.
“I beg your pardon?” He asked, straightening himself. He felt oddly light headed.
“The victims,” Owen said, stepping aside as Gwen began gathering up her paperwork. “All their brains have been removed, hence, ‘no-brainer’.” The doctor grinned at him.
Ianto’s frown only deepened. He had the strangest feeling that these images should be familiar to him, that he should recognise something about these people.
“All right, tea-boy?” Owen asked, his grin sliding from his face. Ianto mentally shook himself and nodded briskly at Owen.
“Fine,” He muttered, sweeping his eyes over the papers on the floor once more before picking up his tray and hitting the button to open up the passageway. He could hear Owen muttering to Gwen about his mental stability as he left.
Ianto was still thinking about the pictures as he entered the main hub. The niggling feeling he had about recognising them only growing the more he thought about them. He swept his eyes over the deserted hub, seeing only a flicker of light coming from the board room. No doubt Jack and Tosh were going over something relating to these recent murders he’d been hearing about. There was something about them that had Jack wondering if extra terrestrials were behind them. Perhaps they had something that would jog his memory?
He carefully manoeuvred his way up the stairs, pursing his lips at the discarded coffee mugs that had been set like a trail of breadcrumbs along the staircase. Most likely Owen’s doing. Ianto thought to himself. He noted that many of the mugs were only half finished and he wondered just who had been appointed coffee maker that morning.
Ianto had just reached the doorway when he heard Jack suck in a startled breath. He peered cautiously into the room which was otherwise hushed of sound. Both Toshiko and Jack were avidly watching the projection screen, their faces pale and their eyes wide. Ianto was shocked to see the glitter of tears upon Tosh’s face as she stared ahead.
He turned his attention towards the screen, his eyes landing curiously on the image projected in time to see a blur of movement as something shot up from the ledge of a-
Ianto felt his insides turn to lead as he realised what he was seeing.
-two men landed in a tangled heap atop the roof of the Millennium centre. One was Peter Petrelli. The other was himself, Ianto Jones.
The coffee tray slipped from his suddenly slack fingers.
- - -