Chapter 32

After an uncomfortable night with Walter between them, a chaste kiss was all that could be afforded as Jack rushed to work late.

Ianto dropped Walter off and was also late, as Rhiannon demanded a blow by blow of the make-up talk.

"No sex? Still?" she gasped, which made him feel worse.

Arriving at work to find a stranger in his office didn't help as he felt his feathers definitely become ruffled.

The letter sitting in his in-tray informing him of his suspension pending an investigation into a possible interoffice relationship fuelled the fire until he wondered if smoke was coming out of his ears, he was so mad.

How the hell was he supposed to have received the bloody letter if it was in his in-tray? Bloody idiots! Like he'd led Kieran on, for god's sake!

He stormed downtown to his lawyer, who then spent half an hour on the phone - god knows what that'll cost - to inform him that it had been an automated letter sent in error. Unfortunately, the letter also initiated the staffing change and until they sorted it, he was effectively suspended on full pay.

Anyone else might have been pleased, but this was Ianto. So much to do and he didn't even know if the archives had been thoroughly cleaned. Now he could have up to a month before he could get back in there. God knows what those bloody nob-heads could do in that space of time without his supervision.

Jack was not answering his phone, and Ianto wondered if they were staring down the barrel of a break-up.

When the phone rang, he was in Tesco's, buying cheese and wine. Said no more pills, not no life!

Ianto looked at the screen and saw Gwen's name flashing. Huh?

"Gwen? You need something?" he said distractedly, picking at the wine label on the bottle.

"Ianto? Where are you?" she asked.

"Tesco's. Wine for dinner. Jack and I need to talk." He dismissed a bottle and chose a second from the display.

"Ianto. I need you to find somewhere to sit down," she said, and Ianto was instantly on alert.

"What is it? What's happened?" he demanded.

"Ianto. God. There was a tip off for someone we were after. Jack went to investigate. When he didn't call in we went to find him. The meeting place was by the docks …" She gasped with grief, "Someone has beaten the living tar out of him."

"Is he dead?" Ianto was calm. So calm. He was the iceman.

"I don't know. He was alive when they loaded him onto the ambulance but ..." she broke down.

The sound of the bottle exploding as it hit the floor made the toddler in the trolley at the checkout burst into tears.

Ianto ran from the store with the phone wedged against his ear as he tried to open the door of the SUV Jack had told him to take, but his hands shook too much and he sank to the ground sobbing.

"Tell him to wait for me," he cried down the phone. "Tell him I love him and please don't die on me."

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