Ianto ran like a larggette was after him. He ran for a living once. He knew how to corner and he knew how to pace himself. He had been pursued by Weevils. He had been pursued by werewolves. Hell, even Jack couldn't catch him once he found his rhythm.
Mickey never had a chance.
Up the stairs, through the main room. Breathe. Run. Door. Run.
People rose from their tasks to watch him run past. Joe dropping the plates in his hand to join the chase.
Ianto moved like an athlete. He was one once. He ran track in college. He won then. Now there was nothing left to lose. His arms pumped, elbows close.
Lean forward, better balance. Move. Don't look back.
Mickey was panting, dropping his big gun from his shoulder, followed by his jacket as he struggled to shave the distance between them. Shit. He never even ran like this for the Doctor. Another corner and Ianto gained more ground. Fuck!
Jack was in so much trouble he may shoot him himself. Mickey growled under his breath. God Ianto can run.
"Ianto! Baby wait, what happened" Francine called, coming from the mess hall with her hands still wet from the dishes.
Mickey's look as he passed told her the story of the thump she'd heard from below and she began to wail. Joe abandoned the chase to cradle his wife as she sank to the floor howling with grief. No. Not their little Angel.
Ianto ran like he was trying to save the world. He'd done that too.
Up, up. Outside, get to the fresh air. Away from that below.
Tish ran from the mess hall flinging the dish towel on the ground, past her parents to follow the fleeing men.
Sky. Ianto was out. Mickey was miles away and Ianto took a moment to slow and take a deep breath. His second wind kicked in and he surged forward. Ianto reached the outer gates and was through before the alarm could be raised, fleeing into the dusk.
Ianto wept like his heart had been torn apart. Yep, been there – done that too.
Close the gate, save them one more time. Goodbye my loves.
Mickey screamed after him to stop but whether he even heard or not, we may never know.
Jack stared at Martha with shock as the streak of red on her cheek bloomed into blood. A drop slid down her cheek like a red tear as she stared back at him, her mouth open.
She slowly removed her hand from the gun she had thrust away from the child and her shaking hand touched her cheek, coming away wet with blood.
"Oh Gods, the ricochet winged you" he murmured reaching for her cheek.
They both looked down at the small child shivering on the bed, his large dark eyes looking up in confusion.
"Oh Gods" Jack sobbed, drawing him into his arms as Martha looked deeply into Angel's eyes.
"Blue. A faint ring of blue but it's there. Oh my God! He did it. He saved him!" she laughed looking back up at Jack who was inspecting the boy himself.
Blue rings of iris. Oh Gods, his pupils were blown but the white was clear. Ianto had done it.
He turned to tell him so and noticed for the first time that they were less two people than before. Ianto and Mickey were gone.
Jack rose from the bed and handed Angel to Martha as the sense of dread he had felt earlier returned with a vengeance. Not rats in his stomach this time, Larggettes ate at him from the inside as he went back over the last few minutes.
The alarms sounded. Klaxons resounding off the concrete walls.
Jack ran knowing there was no hope. Knowing even as he reached the outside compound and found Mickey on his knees staring out into the dark. Tish still screaming Ianto's name as she struggled in Denday's arms while he tried to disengage her fingers from the fence she was clinging to.
Jack looked at Mickey bleakly and Mickey surged to his feet, throwing himself at Jack as he pounded his rage and grief at him.
Jack held him in his arms, containing him. Hugging him.
"He's alive" he finally said. "Ianto saved him with a transfusion of his bite-immune blood."
Mickey stopped trying to hit him and stared at him with open hatred.
"Tell Ianto that, oh no wait. You can't. He's gone!" he screamed.
Jack sank to the ground with horror as it sank in that Ianto was out there, in the growing dark. Alone and unarmed. Thinking Angel was dead.
Jack had tried to leave immediately but the others argued that it was not fair to leave Angel as he would only sleep in their bed.
Next morning he left early, Francine still trying to beg Angel to eat something in vain.
Micky, Gwen and Martha silently climbed into the SUV as Gwen checked her ammo. Everyone was dry eyed and grim as they sped into the city. Following the most logical route. From the warehouse to Ianto's old flat. Jack hoped that in this state he had automatically gone the way he would have always gone in the dark before he had settled her in the Hub.
The flat was silent and stale. Jack stood staring at the bare walls and faded carpet. After Tosh and Owen died he all but lived at the hub with Jack. The explosions had left the building damaged, he refused to move into another.
Jack knew it was selfish that he had been secretly pleased Ianto had given him those final months of his undivided attention. It was obvious from the cobwebs and dust that Ianto hadn't been here.
Long shot but worth a try. Mickey looked at the little kitchen and opened the fridge, then a cupboard. Jack suddenly felt uncomfortable having Ianto's place looked at so dispassionately. They fucked on that counter he was leaning against. Ianto kissed him as he served his dinner at that table the gun was slammed down on, dust rising.
Jack felt time slow as he watched the explosion of dust. Idiot!
With a bark of impatience he returned to the SUV where the others were waiting nervously. Gwen looked at him in silent question and he shook his head as he slammed the old girl into gear and pulled back into the street.
They were silent as they crept through the streets, looking at the damage done. Gwen realised where they were going and could have smacked herself. Of course.
They pulled onto the Plas and Jack drew the SUV to a stop where the lift had been. He wearily climbed from the driver's seat and looked up at the tower. Closing his eyes he breathed in Cardiff.
They had repaired the cobblestones and you could not even see where the explosion have torn her heart out. The tourist information centre sat waiting the door shut but clearly had been opened recently judging by the debris pushed to one side in a sweeping arc from the door. Jack felt Gwen behind him as they entered the office and he reached for the button.
His heart soared as the wall swung open, welcoming them home.
The cleanliness of the place told Jack he had finally got it right. Only Ianto would clean this well, even the steps had the lightbulbs replaced. The cog door was standing open and Jack stepped cautiously into the remains of the Hub.