Jack's breath was coming in short bursts as they slammed into the collapsing building.
Not-Owen was behind him shouting orders as they entered the room that the other team had last reported from.
Blood. So much blood and body parts. Oh God. They were too late. Too late. No.
Gunshots silenced the snarling monsters feasting on the bodies. Jack fell by a familiar body and with his stomach threatening to empty into his mouth, he turned it over to look into the lifeless eyes of Ifan.
It had not been a quick death, it had not been pretty. The woman he had sheltered with his body was still alive, just.
He knew they were talking, the shrieks of the dying woman should have moved him but he was stuck. Kneeling in shit and gore holding a lifeless body that was never his to start with. Poor Lisa, who was gonna tell her.
Gradually, he became aware of Gwen's sobs as she tried to wipe the blood of Ifan's face.
"It's not Ianto Gwen," his voice rough and betraying his own sorrow. "It's not our boy."
"No" Gwen sobbed, "But it's still a bit of him. Even if it's just a spark or a shadow. It would have been enough!"
"No." Jack shook his head, gently laying the body back down, "Nothing but all of him would be enough for me!"
He straightened his back to look over at Not-Owen and they silently agreed it was time to leave. The scratching of claws behind the door was more than enough to back up their decision.
"She said they set the charges, we can at least take some out as we leave," Not-Owen yelled motioning to the device he now held in his hand identical to the one in Jack's pocket as he pushed the recall buttons on the corpses they could find.
As the bodies winked out of sight Jack took a deep breath and shook out his coat. OK. Captain Jack time.
The mission to blow the main manipulator relay in the hub and their secondary relay for the rift manipulator in London was compromised, all that mattered was killing some of these disgusting fucks!
"Right then Harper, let's go." Jack barked, kicking open the door and entering hell.
Jack held Ianto as he remembered the battle to the fall-back shelter. The explosions had rocked the city and at first he hadn't realised it wasn't just them that was causing the shaking. The ribbon of energy was terrifying and all thoughts of fighting were lost as he struggled to get Gwen to safety. She was all he had left. Survive. Just make sure she survives!
The eventual dissipation of the ribbon was a relief but their victory at re-closing the rift was short-lived as it became apparent that its final bite was to dump Hades on them.
Losing the secondary team had hurt and the decision to send Not-Owen's team back had been a hard one but the only way to save them. The offer for them to follow was kind, but Rhys and Anwen … this was their home. Jack considered it for a nano-second then dismissed it too. Martha needed him. Earth needed him still. This was his penance for those he had failed. This was his place to defend until the last man. Those they collected along the way, lost along the way. God, what a mess.
Finding Ianto in the med-bay and knowing immediately it was the right one, had been monumental. The suit was ruined but recognisable as the House of the Dead suit and Jack didn't care if the rift ate the whole world, it had spat his poor old heart back into Jack's arms. The Gods had tested him and he had passed their test. This was his reward.
Jack finally wins! What would the Doc have to say about this?
Jack wondered what Ianto's story was and his impatience seemed to bleed into the man in his arms, causing Ianto to sigh with annoyance at being woken.
Jack grinned at the sound, recognising it as a common complaint every morning they had woken together.
"Hey tiger-pants" Jack kissed him softly.
"Nutta!" Ianto growled but smiled just the same.
"Hey, I'm Captain Nutta the third to you, thank you very much" Jack murmured stopping all further conversation with his mouth.
"Oi" a voice called from the other side if the door, "If you shag 'im ta death Martha won't be pleased ya know"
"Fuck off Mickey! Shaggin here!" Jack roared, hooking a boot from by the bed and throwing it at the door.
Ianto's deep bark of laughter was wonderful.