Chapter 1 Hello
Jack thought it would be another predictable day. Nothing special ever happens anymore. With a soft hum he tripped up the steps of Torchwood 3 headquarters, again lamenting the lost hub, and into the front office.
Gwen looked up from her terminal and rolled her eyes “Her nibs wants to see you”
“Eh?” Jack grunted as he winked at her, still a handsome woman, “That sister of yours?”
“Jack! I’m well into my late sixties and my daughter may look like the “me” you once knew but there is no way I could pass for her sister!” Gwen scolded as she blushed anyway.
Jack slipped through the door with a parting leer and wandered to the office Anwen would be working in.
“Hey cutie” he said jovially and she looked up with a smile.
“Hey Uncle Jack. Got a weird ping here” she looked back at the screen.
“Oh?” Jack leaned over and started to read the Unit Memo that Anwen had caught through one of Tosh’s programs.
It scanned for anything running through the Unit servers with Torchwood in the title. This memo had “Torchwood Agent” in the wording and Jack frowned. Gwen was right out there. There was no other … shit. Rex?
Jack rolled Anwen out of the way and began reading it more seriously. This one said the “subject in their long term care was showing signs of stress as he did every year at this time” Jack frowned. So he means a male. This time of year? Jack wondered about it and ran the date through his mind. July? August? Just … maybe still Rex? Must be Rex.
The retrieval was going to be a cake walk. Not only was the team champing at the bit to show the Captain that they were worthy of his attention but this would be the first real attack against UNIT who were the bane of their lives.
As the small but enthusiastic team ransacked the building with the Unit guards glowering from the floor with their hands behind their head, Jack looked for Rex. The room wasn’t hidden, just boring like all the rest. Jack paused at the door and took a deep breath before pushing forward into the room.
Two things hit him. Hard. One - UNIT were being too well treated out there and needed a good beating. Two – the hand visible through the restraints and filth was white.
Jack opened his mouth to call out when Spike entered the room. He had Martha’s lithe physique but his father’s brash mouth. Jack smiled at his much loved godson and watched as he approached the bed. Rearing back in true Jones-Smith style, Spike let loose a mouthful of ugly.
He turned to Jack with wide eyes and shook his head. As Jack slowly approached the bed Spike brushed past him and when Jack stopped at the foot of the bed the first cries of pain were heard faintly from the main room as Spike wailed into one of the nearest bastards in a red cap.
Jack pulled at the disgusting sheet that had been thrown over the prisoner and as it slowly slid off to pool at his feet he blanched at the smell. Shit, piss and other body fluids soiled the once white cotton and Jack looked up expecting the worst.
The worst? Oh Gods.
Jack shook as he took a step closer and a sob escaped. Emaciated, beaten and bloody, damaged yet still recognisable. Ianto Jones lay chained to the bed.
Jack's hands shook as he struggled to undo the shackles holding Ianto down and Ianto's whimpers increased as Jack finally let the first one fall to the ground. As he got the second shackle loose, allowing both legs to be free Ianto lashed out.
The kick to his face took Jack by surprise. He fell back with a bark of pain as Ianto scooted up the bed and desperately pulled at his wrists still shackled. The whimpers were now snarls as Ianto struggled and tugged.
Jack called his name but Ianto didn't seem to hear him, so terrified he didn't even see who was speaking. Jack reached out and touched Ianto's arm and he screamed. Jack wept.
Several team members burst into the room, causing further distress to Ianto who now was shrieking as he struggled like an animal in a gin trap.
"Get out!" Jack roared as he tried to get between them and Ianto, tears streaming down his face.
As they slowly retreated Ianto became still. His eyes were wide and he was panting as he stared up at Jack. Now he saw him, Jack was able to crouch by the bed.
"Hey sweets." Jack whispered and Ianto leaned closer. Jack realised that he was smelling the air and leaned in so Ianto could scent him.
Taking deep breaths, his nostrils flaring, Ianto breathed him in. Then he leaned back and stared at him, no longer struggling.
"Hi" Jack said softly, reaching again for the wrist restraint closest to him.
Ianto was so still he was a piece of art. Jack let the restraint fall and looked up. Ianto still hadn't moved but a small beat of sweat had started to travel down the side of his face.
Jack slowly waked around the bed, not wanting to reach across in case it startled him again, and reached for the final restraint. He placed his hand over the wrist and rubbed his thumb over the pulse point as the other hand undid the restraint and the metallic clunk was like a gunshot.
Jack looked into Ianto's eyes, searching for recognition. Ianto started back, cool and restrained now by nothing but Jack's gentle touch.
"Ianto? Do you remember me?" Jack asked, desperate for acknowledgement.
"Sir?" Ianto whispered looking at the hand holding him.
Jack released the wrist and began to withdraw his hand and Ianto's shot out like a rattlesnake, seizing it and squeezing. Jack leaned forward, moving from a crouch to a kneeling position as Ianto looked at the hand now his hostage. Bending down, Ianto sniffed at Jack's wrist and then licked it. Jack laughed and Ianto gasped, dropping the hand and shooting back so fast that he slammed into the wall.
Jack stood and held out his hand, hoping against hope that enough of Ianto remained aware enough to respond. After a few agonising moments, Ianto reached out and gripped his hand, crawling from the bed.
Now standing, Jack could see the damage. Ianto had lain in his own waste, a horrible rash to his buttocks and the backs of his legs was evident as well as the beginning of bedsores. Jack wondered if sexual assault had occurred, then swallowed it down as he glanced back at the sheet on the floor. Bruises and contusions showed he had definitely been beaten, repeatedly. Needle marks pocked his arms. Thin, shaking and pale he was still bloody gorgeous.
Jack slid his coat off and swung it around Ianto's shoulders, pulling the lapels together with a soft smile.
"Love this coat" Ianto muttered to himself as he rubbed his fingers down the woollen fabric.
"Yeah, I think it missed you, can you see the damage I've done to it?" Jack joked and was rewarded with a ghost of a smile.
Jack led Ianto to the bedroom door and Ianto pulled back.
"It's OK. You have the coat on remember?" Jack said and Ianto frowned. "Nothing will hurt you, not in my coat. Has anything bad ever happened to you while you were wearing my coat?"
An eye-roll. An Ianto Jones Special, just like that. Then he was gone again. But for a brief moment, Jack had seen the real Ianto Jones standing there.