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Chapter 14


Half an hour later, Tosh and Owen were sitting at their workstations in the main part of the Hub enjoying a quiet cup of coffee. Methos was sitting on the sofa watching Jack and Ianto, who were in the office providing silent reassurance to each other. When the Cog door rolled back everyone started in surprise to see Gwen storm in and barrel towards Jack’s office with fire in her eyes. Jack and Ianto had heard her come in and returned to the main part of the hub.


“I'm not doing it. I won't drug him,” she declared when he met her in the middle of the room.


“You have to,” Tosh said quietly as Methos walked over to join the group.


“We can't allow him to remember,” Owen added, sounding unconcerned.


Ianto shook his head sadly, “It's the rules.”


Gwen looked around furiously, “But none of you have any partners outside of this.”


Jack struggled not to look at Ianto. Their relationship was none of Gwen’s business. He certainly wouldn’t use it to get her to follow orders. “But we understand how you feel,” he told her calmly.


“No, you don't,” she shrieked. “No, you don't, Jack. You all think it's cold and lonely out there, but it isn't for me, because I have him. He matters, and I've lied to him for long enough. What he did today was so brave. Braver than any of us, because we signed up for this, but he didn't - he did it because he loves me! And I won't take that away from him! I won't! And if that means I have to quit, or you Retcon me or whatever, then, fine, fine.”


Tossing his water bottle to Ianto, Jack honed in on Gwen, “You really think you could go back to your old life before Torchwood?”


Gwen shrugged, “I wouldn't know anything different.”


His voice cracking at her cool dismissal, Jack croaked, “I would.”


One moment, they were all staring at the smug look on Gwen’s face, and the next Methos was in motion. Like a cat, he pounced, pinning her to the desk and pressing the blade of his dagger to her throat. “You stupid bitch,” he snarled. “This isn’t about you! It never will be.”


“Adam,” Jack warned. “Let her go.” He saw Tosh and Owen going for their weapons and motioned to them to stand down. He felt Ianto at his back, waiting for orders. “Just step back from her and we can all talk.”


“Shut up, Jack,” Methos warned. “You’re a damn fine leader, but I’ve watched you make allowances for this one too often the last few days. The Jack Harkness I know wouldn’t let anyone talk to him that way, let alone put people he cares about at risk. She almost got Joe and Ianto killed today. You may not care, but I sure as hell do.”


Jack regarded the scene before him in stunned silence. Gwen whispered, “It wasn’t my fault.” She starred at the blade with wide eyes. “I couldn’t let them hurt Rhys.”


“Oh, grow up,” Methos snarled, his eyes glinting in anger. “You are a bit player in all of this. It’s bigger than you could ever imagine. You put anyone I care about at risk again, and that includes Jack, Ianto, and your team-mates, I will find you and I will end your sorry excuse for a life.”


“You’re threatening me?” Gwen gasped, eyes wildly searching for Jack to help her. “You’d kill a woman in cold blood?”


“You think?” Methos grinned ferally. “I was born thousands of years before chivalry ever existed. I’ve fought alongside women, and I’ve killed them. I’ve seen more death than you can ever imagine. I was Death. Killing you would be easy. Letting you live is harder. Give me a reason, Gwen. Give me just one, and I will.”


“That’s enough,” Jack finally roused himself at the menace in Methos’ voice. “Let her go,” he said in a tone that brooked no resistance. Seeing Jack’s hand on his Webley, Methos backed off, glaring at the Captain. Jack turned to his second. “Gwen, give Rhys my love and I will see you tomorrow.”


Gwen looked furious. “Jack, he . . .”


“Go home!” Jack shouted; his patience at the breaking point. He loved Gwen just like he loved Tosh and Owen, but she pushed his buttons like no one ever had. “You’ve done enough.”


Turning on her heel, Gwen raced out of the Hub leaving stunned silence in her wake.


Jack turned to Methos and made a decision. He’d have to find another way to keep an eye on the ancient and his partner. He would not let this man threaten his people or tear apart his team. He pushed down the little voice that said he also wanted him far away from Ianto. “Adam, I appreciate your help and your consideration of joining us, but I think it’s time for you to go. Mac was probably right about this job not being for you two. I'll keep you posted on anything that concerns you.”


~


The team looked on a bit stunned as Jack sent Gwen home then fired Methos, MacLeod, and Dawson, but Methos couldn’t disagree. He’d find another way to keep abreast of the changes Jack had warned them about. He wanted Mac and Dawson far away from this group before one of them did something irrevocably stupid. “Fine. We’ll see you around, Jack,” he snarled as he grabbed his coat and headed towards the door. He stopped and turned around. “Owen, can’t say it’s been a pleasure.” The doctor gave a little wave. Methos turned to Tosh, saying something in Japanese that caused the technician to blush. Finally, he turned to Ianto, his expression softening. “Take care of yourself, Ianto,” he said. “Try to keep Jack out of trouble.” With that, he left as the Cog door rolled shut behind him.


After Methos’ departure, Jack turned and stormed up to his office, slamming the door. Ianto knew he’d pull up the CCTV and watch Gwen and Rhys to make sure they were safe. Owen and Tosh buried themselves in work. Ianto was moving about, getting ready to clean up when he felt the heavy weight of the dagger Methos had given him against his thigh.


A quick check of the CCTV told him Methos was standing by the bay, leaning against the railing talking on his mobile. He was probably calling MacLeod to come get him. Making a decision, Ianto pulled on his coat and exited through the tourist office. He found the Immortal standing exactly where he’d seen him earlier. “I think you forgot something,” he said airily, holding the dagger out to him hilt first.


“Keep it,” Methos said without looking back at him. “As you saw, I have others.”


“Thanks,” Ianto slid the dagger back into the thigh sheath. “Thank you for today. Jack won’t say it, but without you there it would have been an even worse clusterfuck.”


“Yeah,” Methos sighed. “Look Ianto, I know you care about Jack, but don’t let him put you at risk the way he did today.”


“It’s Torchwood, M … Adam,” Ianto reminded him. “It’s my job.”


“I don’t mean the job,” Methos turned to face him. “I mean Gwen Cooper. He based decisions today on her because she has some sort of attraction or power over him. I know what it’s like to deal with someone like that. Trust me, there’s a woman Mac and I know who makes Gwen look like the golden girl she thinks she is. She almost destroyed both of us. Don’t let Gwen do that to you. If you think Jack’s not thinking rationally because its Gwen, call him on it. He’ll thank you for it.”


“I don’t know if that’s true,” Ianto said quietly. “He gets enough opposition. He’s earned my loyalty.”


“Not at the expense of your life, Ianto,” Methos shook his head. “Nothing’s worth that.”


“There’s where you’re wrong,” Ianto replied. “I owe Jack everything, including my life if it comes to that. There are things about my past you don’t know.”


“You think?” Methos asked, wondering how the young man would react to hearing about the dark, cold nights when he’d told Methos everything about himself.


“I know,” Ianto told him. “Besides, you’re wrong about Gwen to a certain extent. She wasn’t on form today, and she should have stood down, but she’s a good leader. She took over when Jack left and she kept us together and alive.”


“You’re sure about that?” Methos demanded, thinking of the way the young Welshman had kept the team going and kept him going after the Toclafane. Gwen had barely managed to keep pace as her reality crumbled around her.


“Yes,” Ianto said resolutely. “I am.”


Methos was about to say more when his mobile chirped. He looked down to find a text from Mac. “On our way. Joe AOK. Meet us at the hotel. D.”


“MacLeod?” Ianto asked with a small smile on his lips.


“How’d you know?” Methos replied with an answering smile.


“You’re softer when you look at him or talk to him, even if you’re yelling,” Ianto observed. “Your eyes are ancient, but not when he’s around.”


“No,” Methos admitted. “Not when he’s around.”


“You’d die for him, but you’d much rather live for him,” Ianto added.


Methos shook his head. “You are wise beyond your years, Ianto Jones.”


Ianto rolled his eyes at the reference to his age. “I’m right though, which means you understand how I feel about Jack. I don’t want to die for him, but I will if it comes to that.”


Methos leant forward, cupping the back of Ianto’s head with his hand and grabbing his coat in his fingers. “For what it’s worth when Jack looks at you, he’s softer and younger, too,” he said. “You take away the horrors. He needs you like I need Mac. I just hope he appreciates how special you are. A different time and place, I could have fallen in love with you, Ianto Jones.” I did, he added silently as he leant in and placed a gentle kiss to the stunned man’s lips before turning and vanishing into the crowd that was milling about.


Ianto stood still for several moments, his fingertip outlining his mouth. He had no idea that up in his office, Jack had changed camera angles and was watching the exchange with a strange expression on his face.






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