"Ianto?" he called softly, looking around the hub.
The time-lock bubble had saved most of the internal structure, Tosh wins again. Well done my little girl.
Jack took in the cold barren cavern, her heart long gone. Eviscerated. Even the water was silent. Hothouse gone.
The bomb may have only killed him for a while but it had been the death knoll of the hub. She would never hum with life again. At least the Larggettes hadn't found a way in. Their sour smell absent.
Jack closed his eyes for a moment and could see them again.
Tosh, my little swan.
Tosh biting her pencil as she winds a lock of hair around her finger, watching steams of data scroll past. Her glasses threatening to fall off her face as she frowns at the monitor.
White coat over the back of the chair and her deep red turtle neck sweater hugging her curves, inviting a cuddle from behind that used to make her squeak with surprise each time. Her high heel stuck in the foot rest of the chair as she taps to Owen's music.
Owen, the grumpy old badger.
Owen's music beating through his feet as Owen slams about autopsying the latest freak show. Yelling absently for Ianto to come hold something. Swearing, muttering and stopping every now and then to argue with himself before groaning and restarting something on the computer. So many autopsies done at night, always with complaints.
Ianto, my hidden Tiger.
Ianto, suit impeccable as ever as he cruises his domain like a shark. Saying nothing but seeing everything. His eidetic memory recording the filing away every misdemeanour that brings team members one step closer to the dreaded decaf. Bobbing to pick up something Owen threw, reaching up to un-hook Gwen's jacket and throw her a glare as he places it on the coat rack.
Ianto looking up at his office with a small smile that says "I see you too, sir!"
Gwen, sister of mine.
Yelling, blaming, challenging and so loving. Laughter as she watches him fall off his own chair laughing at Ianto's eye roll from something Owen did. The gap in her teeth mocking him as her eyes dance.
With a sigh opening his eyes, Jack returned to the remains of the hub. They fade away like smoke and fog. Grains of sand between his fingers.
The tech was all gone, UNIT had stripped what wasn't buggered but Jack knew they would never have found his bolthole and he rushed into his office praying to the Gods he didn't even believe in anymore.
His desk sat mocking him, a report on mung-fish hibernation still open like he has stepped away to call out for his coffee. Fuck, he had. The last day they were happy.
His coral was gone. Unit Fuckers.
The secure safe was still that. He couldn't believe UNIT hadn't found it but Ianto had obviously opened it and checked it before closing it again, the re-set light still green telling him it had been less than six hours since it had been opened. Weapons? What had Ianto been looking for?
The manhole was open. Gods, please.
Jack slid down the ladder and looked around anxiously. He had been here. He could still smell the soap from the shower.
The steam had dissipated from the alien tech Jack had installed to ensure they always had hot water. Nothing worse than a cold shock halfway through … well, the towel was neatly hung.
Jack reached out and ran his fingers along the wet towel and imagined Ianto drying himself as he always did. Hair first, then face and shoulders.
He would methodically work his way down to do his feet last. Logical to chase the water down he told Jack whose method was to rub everywhere vigorously and then flick the towel around his shoulders to do his back, his hair usually still wet.
God the good natured bickering about wet hair in the bed. Jack smiled softly at the memory then turned to leave the bathroom. Boots.
The bed was neatly made with Ianto's hospital corners, different to his own military folds.
His boots sat by the bed, one laying on its side and Jack could imagine him sitting on the edge of the bed as he pushed them off with his feet. He only did that when he was tired.
That meant he had slept, then rose and re-made the bed.
His boots were there.
Jack stood defeated. Gone. Just missed him. Jack looked at the ceiling and sighed.
His boots were there.
He quickly climbed the ladder and ran for the aviary. Climbing the ladder to the nest, he knew it was a long shot but he had nothing else to go by.
He sat there in the back of the nest, Myfanwy's body between them. He had been waiting for him, listening to him moving around. He must have heard him, right?
Oh Gods no old girl. Not you too. Poor thing, Ianto had loved her so much, worrying in winter as he climbed carefully with wheat packs to place under her wings as she slept. Freezing her meals in summer for fishy Popsicle treats.
Ianto was staring right through him impassively and he started forward only to have a huge head swing into his line of sight.
Fuck! She was alive. Not just alive, well. Jack looked up and saw that her gates were still open. Ianto had told him that he had released all the "guests" before the hub went and Jack had wanted so badly to believe him. Typical that this other version of Ianto would care about her too. His flying lizard as Owen used to call her.
Myfanwy seemed to recognise him and she trilled softly, pushing against him.
"Hey old girl, how ya doing gorgeous?" he whispered, kissing her boney beak.
"I did a stupid thing and I don't know how to tell him it's OK." He said louder, taking a deep breath.
She breathed on him and he smelt offal. Sheep for tea my dear? Larggette? Or are they sour.
"I scared him and nearly hurt someone important. He would really like you but I don't think Flash would last long" he smiled, ignoring Ianto who had stopped retreating further and was now listening to him.
"His name is Angel. He's been a bit sick but he's OK now" he stroked her face and she crooned with delight. Poor thing so alone. "Martha stopped me from doing something unforgivable."
"Liar" Ianto hissed to his left and he realised too late that Ianto had flanked him by sliding past along the wall.
Jack turned to grab at him but Ianto was already twisting to run again.
"He's alive! Your blood worked" Jack yelled at him, "He's alive!"
Ianto hesitated at the ladder and turned back to stare at Jack.
"He misses you. He won't eat and he asks for you constantly. He wouldn't sleep last night without your bloody lullaby. Francine is going spare trying to comfort him, please … Yan … please" Jack reached for Ianto again but he shook his head and stepped back.
Jack could do nothing but scream as Ianto fell from sight, down into the dark cavernous hub below.