Rating: PG-13 (language, violence)
Spoilers: Children of Earth, scattered ones for the rest of the series
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to the BBC. Everything you don't is mine.
Summary: It's seven months after the events of "Crossing Back" and the fun begins with a building collapse.
Author's Notes: Sequel to Crossing Back and Crossing Eyes and Dotting Tees. I'd highly recommend reading those first before you attempt this or nothing with make sense. Be warned that Crossing Back is a fix-it fic.
Sorry for making those of you who have been waiting for this wait so long, but it's here now so let's dive in!
Now this was just embarrassing, Ianto thought. Not only was this the second time in his life he’d been caught in a building collapse but it seemed that he’d blown his second chance at life after less than a year. This was really, really, embarrassing. He made a note to choose some better last words than last time. The last thing he said to Jack today was “remind me when this is all over to submit this day to Fuck My Life.” That was better than a request to be remembered by a long shot. Not like Jack would have any problems remembering him after this.
The day had been a shitty one even before the building collapse. A quartet of travelling aliens had bumbled their way out the Rift and had then proceeded to try and sell the good people of Cardiff various skin treatments and diet pills. Harry had been sent to the hospitals to deal with all the people who had been silly enough to buy it all while Mel, Jack, and himself had split up to find the aliens and dole out the retcon to any innocent bystanders. None of the reserve staff was available except for Lachlan but Ianto resisted phoning him in. Mel had enough on her hands and throwing her brother into the mix would do nothing but ensure a nuclear holocaust.
Of course these four had to have shown up in his zone. He’d called for backup but no one was close enough to do any real good. In the interest of time and his own sanity he’d decided that he’d risk the end of the world and called in Lachlan Telson. He’d take the Irish spitfire on later.
Somehow, between the two of them, they’d managed to corral the enterprising extraterrestrials into an empty warehouse to explain to them that Earth was not the best place to sell their wares. Ianto had breathed a sigh of relief at that and Lachlan had stepped out to contact the others. That had seemed to be the end of it and Ianto had moved on to finding out if they had a way home.
Disastrously, said way home was via some sort of explosion which had taken the building down with him still inside it. Fantastic.
His Bluetooth had fallen out of his ear and had been crushed, thus losing any ability for the team to use GPS to find him, and he was pinned between two slabs of concrete quite effectively. He could feel the breath just being forced out of him one little bit at a time, but that wouldn’t be what killed him. He’d done suffocation before after all. What would dispatch him would be the massive bleeding from his abdomen from the pane of glass that was currently embedded in him.
Ianto tried to sort out exactly how much time he had. Gwen would have read what had happened on her display screens and then would alerted the team and then phoned Andy to get the police out and the EMTs on standby. Ianto wished he was able to tell her that yes he would like some EMTs, please and thanks. Harry was amazing but he would need a hospital in the near future. That was, of course, assuming that he had one.
He hoped Jack got here before he went anywhere though. He really wanted to say a proper goodbye this time. That was all he wanted and he had promised. That and he’d ask Jack to submit this day to Fuck My Life for him.
Perfect silence for several moments. He could hear some distant noise and then let out a pained sigh of relief when he heard Mel’s sharp order of “Let us through, we’re Torchwood!”
Footsteps, at least four pair of. One of which started yelling his name while obviously trying not to sound desperate. Jack, then. “Ianto! Ianto! Can you hear me?”
“YES!” he shouted, his throat burned like it was a shout but he knew bloody well it was more of a rasp. “DOWN HERE!”
The sound of footsteps running around above him filled him with hope. Someone had to find him, someone had to. He couldn’t be that far under. It was only two stories after all. He felt the pain in his stomach begin to fade and he knew that was a big problem. He couldn’t fall asleep, not for any circumstances, he was NOT falling asleep.
He focussed on a tiny bit of light pouring into the darkness. He forced his eyes to look up. A tiny hole, maybe just over an arm’s length above him; just big enough to send a signal.
Ianto struggled to bring his one free arm to his neck and somehow managed to get his steadily numbing fingers to rip off his tie. He forced his arm to stretch and push the tie and his fingers through the hole. He shuffled it around the wreckage as best he could, hoping that the tie stood out amongst whatever he was buried under.
“THERE!” That was Lachlan’s UNIT issued bellow. “RED TIE, JACK. THREE O’CLOCK!”
The tie was out of his grasp and he felt a familiar hand grab his fingers. “Ianto!” came that voice. So beautiful and so important even while muffled. “Can you hear me?”
Ianto tapped his fingers twice.
“Are you hurt?
Another two taps.
Now how on earth was he supposed to answer that with taps? Or with just his hand for that matter? As he wracked his brain, trying to remember the Morse code for “very fucking bad,” he felt his eyes drift close and his hand grow slack. He pulled himself back to awareness and knew at the feel of Jack’s hand tightening around his fingers and the corresponding yelling that Jack knew.
“You stay with me!” Jack commanded. “You stay with me. Mel! Lachlan! Can you move faster? He’s dying down there!”
Desperation had never sounded good on Jack Harkness. It always made people feel more hopeless then they had any right to be. Ianto caught himself shutting his eyes again, not seeing the use of staying awake waiting for an event he probably wouldn’t live to see. Waste of energy, that.
“Don’t you give up!” Jack shouted down the hole. “You’ve made it through worse than this. You can make it through this. I know you can! You haven’t said good bye, you can’t go without doing that.”
He had to go and mention that, didn’t he?
“Jack!” Mel cried. “Give us a hand here!” Jack’s hand vanished and he felt a great pressure lift off of his chest. He breathed easily for the first time in too long. The weight was still there but nowhere near as much. He felt wind tousle his hair and he squinted against the light. Whatever his hand was sticking through now vanished and he felt his hand fall back down to his side.
Jack’s hand caught his and next thing he knew Jack other hand was on his forehead. “Ianto, open your eyes for me. Come on. You can do it.”
Ianto opened his eyes and suffered a déjà vu so extreme that he almost believed he was actually at Thames House in September 2009 and not in some collapsed Cardiff warehouse in August 2013. “There you are!” Jack beamed with an agonized forced cheerfulness. “Knew you could do it.”
“Glass,” Ianto said, bringing this conversation to the point. He twitched his free hand toward his stomach, which was still covered by whatever was on top of him. “Gonna…bleed out.”
Jack looked down and appeared to go green. Ah, so that puddle of blood must be getting rather impressive. Ianto gave himself bonus points for still being able to speak.
“FASTER!” Jack yelled. “We need to get this wall off of him!”
It was a wall? That made sense. Jack vanished again, Ianto could barely hear anymore. He did, however, hear his own horrifying howl when the thing was pulled off of him, ripping the embedded glass out with it.
Harry descended upon him in moments from out of nowhere, Mel and Lachlan appearing as de facto nurses. Lachlan was limping and one arm was certainly not symmetrical to the other. Mel was clearly shouting at someone through the Bluetooth, it was either Rhys or Andy. Everything was getting that same blurred around the edges feeling that he’d sort of noticed at Thames House that day. The only thing that seemed somewhat in clearer focus was Jack, who was at his head holding him still by the shoulders and looking down at him. He was saying something but his lips were moving too fast for him to understand a word. He just nodded as best he could.
“Stay with me.” Jack’s voice was coming through now. “You have to stay with me.”
Seven months ago he’d made Jack a promise. It was a promise he’d hoped he’d not have to act on for awhile yet. No choice now. He moved a hand. It felt almost as heavy as it had when he’d woken up in their bed that day. He flung his bloodied hand around Jack’s neck and pulled him down so he could whisper in his ear. “I’ll be okay,” he rasped. “You know that.”
Jack shook his head. “Stay,” he begged. “Please.”
“I love you,” he brushed lips against Jack’s cheek.
Ianto shut his eyes and let go.
“He’s not breathing,” Mel reported.
It registered in Harry’s mind but he didn’t allow himself to think of the man’s name. Everything personal had to be left aside. Mel would have made a good doctor, he mused. Her detachment was a frustration at the best of times but, right now, he wished like mad that he could have her ruthless rationalism at hand.
“Jack, get back,” he ordered.
It was a silly order and he knew it. He waited for the muscle to enforce it anyway. Lachlan pulled Jack away, still forceful with only one good arm, and Jack immediately started to fight him. “Get the hell off me, Lachlan!” he snarled. “LET ME GO!”
“You stay where you are!” Mel ordered. “Let Harry work here!”
Sending off a silent thanks to his friend he moved up to give those two first breaths. He was ordering Mel to go grab the defib out of the SUV as he started pounding Ianto’s chest. “Andy,” he panted into his Bluetooth, “where the fuck is that ambulance?”
“It’s trying to get through the street closures,” Andy replied. “Not my idea but I’m trying to get rid of it. Is it bad?”
“It’s Ianto.” That was all that was needed. Two more breaths.
Mel arrived with the defib and she ripped open Ianto’s shirt to get to his chest. “Harry?”
“Don’t mind the blood, just stick the pads on,” he urged.
“Harry look!” She grabbed him and pulled him to look at the gapping tear in Ianto’s midsection.
At least there should have been a gaping tear in Ianto’s midsection.
“Harry!” That was Lachlan’s voice. “What’s happening?” A strangled yelp and Harry knew that Jack had broken free but it didn’t matter anymore. Jack all but threw him aside and he heard him gasp. He’d noticed, then.
Ianto Jones had been impaled by a pane of glass which had then been torn out. The gash in his stomach that was no longer bleeding was not an appropriate signature for such a blow. The other point of concern was the fact that this tear was getting smaller.
“He’s healing,” breathed Jack in wonder.
“He’s not supposed to be able to do that,” Mel all but snapped. She fixed her green laser stare on Harry. “Harry did you-”
“I checked!” he reminded her sharply. “Martha checked, bloody UNIT checked. He’s as mortal as the rest of us.”
As if in defiance of that remark Ianto’s eyes flew open and jerked to a sitting position as if someone had tied ropes to his limbs and then pulled. Hard. He sat up gasping and looked wildly around him and then started to fall backwards again. Jack moved just in time catch him before he smashed his head on the rubble. They looked up at each other. Jack was gaping at him and Ianto was blinking like Jack as though he didn’t know him. Harry didn’t think he’d ever seen either of them look more confused.
“Did I do it again?” Ianto rasped.
Jack had no words. He only leaned his head down, resting his forehead against Ianto’s and took deep, shuddering breaths. Ianto raised a bloody hand up to rest on top of Jack’s head. It would have been quite a romantic moment circumstances notwithstanding.
“Cancel that ambulance,” Harry told Andy on the Bluetooth. “Tell them it’s all under control.”
Harry shook his head, forgetting that Andy couldn’t see it. “I’m not sure.”