Jack wanted to bang his head against the nearest tree as Owen continued to bitch about camping. “The ground’s too bloody hard!”, “It smells even worse here!”, “Where’s the loo, mate?”, “How in the hell do we get pizza delivered out here?”, “Damn it, Tea-Boy, get me a coffee, now!” Torn between shooting himself so he didn’t have to listen anymore and shooting Owen so he couldn’t complain anymore, the immortal sent a mock glare at Ianto who was standing next to him looking a little too smug for his own good. For a moment, Jack watched the graceful flexing and bending of Ianto’s lithe body as he helped Tosh unload the SUV.
Suddenly Jack’s eyes narrowed with suspicion; 'Is Ianto Jones wearing earplugs to block out Owen's complaining?' Jack took a quick glance at Tosh, which instantly confirmed that she too was sporting a pair of earplugs. He turned back to Ianto and an adorable pout graced the immortal’s face as he sent a pleading puppy-dog look at Ianto. 'Save me, please?'
Ianto rolled his eyes but the effect was ruined by the soft smile tugging at his lips as he reached into the side pocket of Jack’s bag and pulled out a third pair of earplugs. “I would never leave you to suffer, Cariad,” Ianto murmured as he pressed the earplugs into Jack’s hand and gently squeezed it closed.
Jack smiled brightly as he told Ianto, “I never doubted you for a moment.” Then, not caring at all who might be watching them, he stole a quick kiss from Ianto and he was more than pleased when Ianto melted against him. "Remind me to reward you later tonight," he whispered as one hand slipped down and squeezed Ianto's butt.
Gwen’s eyes narrowed in anger and her nails dug into the cloth of the tent she was setting up as she watched Jack fondling the bloody Tea-Boy. “Are you two going to suck face all day," Gwen snarled, "or are you actually going to be useful for a change?” She glared darkly at Ianto as she said the last part. She was sure that he was personally responsible for her being forced to set up her own tent. To make matters even worse, she was going to have to share with Tosh; 'There's no way Jack's gonna come to me with Tosh in the way!'
At that moment Tosh was even more grateful to Ianto for suggesting she bring earplugs. ‘At least I can block out Gwen tonight.’ Tosh knew that if she was forced to listen to Gwen pout and whine about Ianto ‘stealing’ Jack from her, Tosh would murder Gwen in her sleep. ‘I wonder if Owen would help me hide the body?’ Although, given Owen's drastic change in attitude towards their obnoxious team-mate, Tosh would bet even money that it would be her helping him hide Gwen’s body. That thought brought a cherry smile to her face, one that she quickly hid as Gwen turned to look at her.
Try as he might to block everyone out, Ianto couldn’t help but hear Tosh’s slightly murderous thoughts and he couldn't contain his soft bark of laughter. Jack looked at his mate with fond amusement; he was curious as to what had him laughing, and he loved the sound of Ianto’s laughter. “What’s so funny?” he asked resting his chin on Ianto’s shoulder. He felt his beloved Welshman shiver as his breath ghosted across his ear.
“Tosh is plotting Gwen’s murder and wondering if Owen would help her hide the body.” Ianto was genuinely amused to hear that Owen was having similar thoughts.
Jack let out his own loud bark of laughter. He knew that despite their thoughts, Tosh and Owen wouldn't purposely do anything to harm Gwen. On the other hand, he couldn’t fault them for thinking such things, not when he'd had been harbouring less-than-pleasant thoughts towards Gwen himself. Ever since he'd stopped looking at her through rose-coloured glasses and started seeing the flawed and selfish woman she truly was, he'd begun to understand and appreciate other people's views of Gwen.
A dark scowl twisted Gwen’s face as she saw Ianto make Jack laugh and as she watched the way Jack nuzzled the other man's neck, her jealousy roared deep within her like a beast. ‘It should be me over there with Jack, sharing secrets and making him laugh!’ It took all her willpower not to stalk over there and rip Ianto away from Jack, but she knew that if she laid hands on him, she'd end up throttling the life out of his stupid, stinking, selfish body. ‘My time will come soon enough, just you wait and see, Ianto Jones; Jack belongs with me. Pretty soon you'll be the one on the outside looking in!’
Ianto fought the urge to whimper as once again Gwen’s hatefully malicious thoughts battled against his weakened shields. ‘I wonder if my shields will hold for this mission, I don’t want to be considered weak or a hindrance on this mission; I need to prove that I can help the team in the field.’ Ianto knew that he should tell Jack that his shields were weakening again, but his stubborn side refused to let him; he wanted – no, he needed – to prove to the others and to himself that he was ready to be out in the field. ‘I just wish that Gwen didn’t hate me so much,’ Ianto thought sadly.
“Caden, Rhys, this is a pleasant surprise, do come on in.” Estelle couldn’t help but smile warmly as she greeted Caden and Rhys; she was rather fond of Ianto’s two royal guards just as she was of Jack’s young lover.
Rhys grinned brightly at Estelle and nudged the sulking Caden none-too-gently into Kathy’s house. “I hope you don’t mind us stopping by but Mr Sulky here was missing Toshiko and I’ve already had to stop him ten times from following after her,” the fire knight explained. "I thought maybe some tea and biscuits with you might help us out?" His voice was hopeful; Estelle's homemade biscuits were famously delicious.
Rhys and Estelle both watched anxiously as Caden paced the short length of Estelle's lounge, back and forth, back and forth, and it worried them. Rhys honestly couldn’t remember the last time Caden had been so on edge and Estelle knew that this wasn’t the normal behaviour of the knight. He was renowned for his ability to remain calm in a crisis and he normally inspired the attitude in others.
“We're wasting time! We should be heading out to join Tosh and the others. Something just doesn’t feel right,” Caden mumbled under his breath. He'd been on edge ever since Tosh had told him about their mission; something was wrong, very wrong, and his skin had been crawling ever since he'd learned they were going to Brecon Beacons. Despite the area's natural beauty, there was bound to be numerous unknown dangers lurking in that vast wilderness.
As icy fingers skittered down his spine, Rhys fought back the urge to shiver; from the moment Kathy had started investigating disappearances in the Brecon Beacons he'd been walking a knife's edge. The only difference between him and Caden was that he hid his emotional turmoil far better than Caden.
“Then you should go.”
"Huh?" and "What?" The men spoke at the same time and Caden froze in his tracks.
Both Caden and Rhys’ gaze zeroed in on Estelle and they found the older woman smiling knowingly at them. “You are trained warriors; you should trust your instincts and if they're telling you something is wrong then you should follow them. Plus, I don't think that Tosh or Owen would mind a little visit from the two of you. Take it from me, Jack will definitely be using this time to get some much needed Ianto-cuddles," Estelle winked at the two men.
Rhys threw his head back and let out a loud laugh. "Owen was already moaning about having to spend the night within hearing distant of them. Jack went to great lengths to keep it a secret from Owen that they're camping and I can only imagine the bitch-fit he is throwing."
Even though she'd only met Owen briefly Estelle had to agree with Rhys; Owen did not look like a man who would enjoy camping and he would make no attempt to hide his distaste. An unpleasant and troubling thought crossed her mind, causing a worried look to grace Estelle's face. "Is it wise for Ianto to be on an overnight trip so close to Miss Cooper? I get the feeling she really doesn't like him and the Beacons are an awfully long way away if something happens."
Rhys and Caden shared a knowing look; Gwen not 'liking' Ianto was putting it mildly and with them in close quarters for however long this mission took was a disaster waiting to happen. Suddenly the idea of leaving the five of them alone in the desolate Welsh countryside felt like a horror movie waiting to happen. Both men shot to their feet and bestowed a grateful kiss onto each of Estelle's cheeks. "If Kathy asks where we are please tell her that we've gone to make sure that the others don't snap and kill one another." Caden had no doubt that it would be Gwen who would push the others too far.
As she watched the knights hurry down her front path, she sent a quick prayer to the Heavens, asking that the Universe keep them all safe. "Good luck," Estelle called to the two men's back. "Something tells me you're going to need it."
Out in the wild and windswept beauty of the Welsh countryside, camp had finally been set up and while the others were relaxing Ianto was still working. He was busy handing out the coffee he had prepared and Jack couldn't help but smile fondly at his mate; even in the middle of nowhere Ianto still found a way to give them their precious caffeine fix.
Once the coffee had been delivered to the others Jack grinned invitingly as Ianto moved closer to him carrying their cups of coffee in his hands. Once his young mate was within easy grabbing range he pulled Ianto down onto his lap. He smiled even more when he heard the quick squeak as Ianto hastily balanced the cups to prevent spillage. More than that, Jack loved the blush that came over his Welshman’s face as the younger man encountered hard evidence of just what he did to Jack.
Ianto snuggled deeper into his beloved mate's arms; he was in one of his favourite spots at the moment, enjoying the feeling of Jack’s strong chest against his back. He smiled as Jack loosened one arm from around his waist to snag the cup of coffee.
"Mmm, smells almost as good as you do," Jack purred huskily in Ianto's ear, loving the shiver that coursed through Ianto's body as his hot breath tickled the back of his Welshman's neck.
Gwen glared across the fire at the happy couple. ‘It should be me in Jack’s arms, not Ianto!’ She fought back the urge to let Ianto feel her hate; she didn't want to anger Jack anymore, but... making him jealous? Well that was a whole other story. “How about we play a game?” Gwen asked as a calculating smile came to her face.
Owen snorted as he rolled his eyes. “And what kind of game do you want to play?” he drawled out as he made himself comfortable. “Something childish like, who was your last snog?" A gaff of laughter burst from Owen’s lips as he saw the blush painting Gwen’s cheeks. “Oh, you do, don’t you? Oh, that’s too rich! Are you sure you really want to know? Because something tells me, sweetheart that you won't like Jack's answer.”
Owen’s eyes narrowed with suspicion as he stared at her. “And we all know for a fact that you and Rhys haven’t been close in a long time so he was certainly not your last kiss,” Owen pointed out. He could barely contain his anger at the thought of Gwen trying to use Rhys in a desperate attempt to make Jack jealous.
Tosh could sense the tension pouring off Owen and she quickly decided to speak up before he lost his cool with Gwen. “Well, if we were going to play, mine was Caden.” As she made her admission, a soft blush coloured her cheeks as she recalled the soul-searing kiss the dark-haired man had laid on her just before she'd left on this mission. Her lips still tingled from his mouth on hers and her toes curled every time she thought of that lengthy and passionate snog in her doorway. If she closed her eyes, she could even feel his arms around her, holding her against his strong chest.
Always eager to play any game that had sexual connotations, Jack looked down fondly at Ianto. “I think it's pretty clear that I was Ianto’s last snog and he was mine.” He let his fingers trace the shape of Ianto's lips before stroking his hand down the side of his young lover's face. He knew exactly what game Gwen was trying to play with him and it wasn’t going to work. He just felt sorry for Rhys in all this; the man had been loyal to a fault to Gwen and the fact that he was willing to lay down his life to protect his prince made Jack respect him all the more.
Sensing that Gwen was about to say something very unpleasant, Tosh once again jumped into the fray. "If we're done with this silly game, I was wondering if Ianto would tell us about his home world?" and she flashed Ianto a small smile.
It had been so long since Ianto had talked about his home world to anyone other than Jack, and that had been in broad terms, no real details. It warmed his heart to see the pure and open interest on Tosh’s face, and as he looked across the fire at his friends, he could see that even Owen was unable to mask the curiosity shining in his eyes; the medic clearly had his own questions about Ianto's home.
Ianto knew Jack was waiting patiently for him to be comfortable enough to start talking about his home world and Ianto so wanted to tell them about its beauty, but the negative vibes coming off of Gwen in noxious waves instantly dashed his excitement. “I would, Tosh, but I don’t think everyone wants to hear about my true home.” He favoured his friend with a sad smile; he missed his home and it would have been a real pleasure to share even a small part of it with her.
Gwen barely concealed her triumphant smirk as she scoffed, “Damn right I don’t.” She muttered the words under her breath making no effort to be quiet. 'I have better things to do with my time than listen to made-up shit from some stupid tea-boy who doesn't know his place!'
Jack shot her a dark, 'I-dare-you-to-defy-me' glare. “If you don’t want to listen to Ianto’s stories then why don’t you go gather some more firewood and Gwen, I suggest that in the future you keep your opinions to yourself.” Jack snapped out his order. It wasn’t often Ianto was willing to open up about his past and he'd be damned if Gwen’s vindictive attitude was going to ruin this moment for the young man.
Huffing indignantly, Gwen climbed to her feet and threw her coffee cup to the ground; luckily, being made of camping ware tin, it merely bounced and ended up lying next to Tosh's foot. “Fine, I will!” With one last intimidating glare at Ianto, she stalked off into the woods. As they watched her go, there was a collective sigh of relief from those left around the campfire.
Reluctantly and with a deep sigh Owen climbed to his feet. “Someone better go with her to make sure who ever is behind these disappearances doesn’t take her because wouldn't that just be a crying shame," Owen muttered under his breath as he gulped the last of his coffee, set the empty cup on the stump next to him, and slowly began taking the same path as Gwen. Jack, Tosh and Ianto all shared a knowing grin when it became clear that he was going to take his own sweet time in catching up to her.
Jack forced himself to keep his face neutral as it dawned on him that all he had to do was get rid of Tosh and he would have Ianto all to himself. On the one hand, he didn't want to outright drive Tosh away; after Ianto she was his favourite team member. On the other hand, though, 'I really want to have a moment alone with Ianto.' Jack fought the urge to pout too obviously but he was missing out on some much needed Ianto-cuddling time.
Looking at her friends from across the flames, Tosh couldn't contain her smile as she saw the beginning of the sulk appearing on Jack's face; she knew what was going through her boss's mind. Giving an exaggerated stretch followed by a wide yawn, Tosh finished her coffee and added her mug to the stump next to Owen's. "Well, I think I'm going to take advantage of this little peace and quiet before Gwen returns, if I can fall asleep before she returns I won't have to listen to her complain about everything." Her eyes twinkled merrily as she said, "I'm sure you two can amuse yourselves?"
Jack could have kissed Tosh; here she was willingly giving him a chance to be alone with his Ianto. 'This is why Tosh is my second favourite after Ianto; she just knows when I want to be alone with my mate.'
As Ianto scrunched up his nose in an adorable way that had Jack wanting to pounce on him witnesses or no, the young man looked at Tosh with a knowing glint in his eyes. "You don't have to leave, Tosh; we wouldn't mind you hanging out with us for a while, would we, Jack?" Ianto turned his mischievous gaze on Jack.
Ready to protest, Jack's eyes narrowed until he saw the teasing twinkle look in Ianto's eyes. 'The little tease wants to play, does he?' Jack was thrilled that Ianto felt comfortable enough in their relationship to tease him around the others, however he sincerely doubted that Ianto realised just how hot and bothered that behaviour made Jack. 'Just you wait, my delicious little alien, you'll get yours in the end!' and then Jack nearly choked on his silent laughter when he realised his unintentional pun.
When he saw Ianto looking at him curiously, Jack decided he'd share the joke with him later, but for now he would play along with Ianto. "Of course not, Tosh, you're an utter joy and it's been too long since we last had a chat, and I've missed them." It was true; over the time they'd worked together, Jack and Tosh had had a lot of interesting discussions.
Tosh shook her head. "Thank you both but I really would like to get a little rest before Gwen gets back and disturbs my peace with her idiocy. Plus, a certain knight kept me up late last night," and a dark blush painted Tosh's cheeks as she recalled exactly how Caden had kept her up.
A wicked gleam entered Jack's eyes. "I take it you had a late night visitor?" He was thrilled that Tosh had found someone who treated her like the queen she was. 'Caden just better treat her right or it will be me he has to deal with.'
Being in a loving relationship with Caden was clearly bringing Tosh out of her shell because she boldly looked Jack straight in the eyes and smugly informed him, "Yes, I did, and the things Caden can do with his mouth might even put you to shame, Jack Harkness! Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to take a little nap."
Ianto unsuccessfully fought the urge to chuckle at the slack-jawed look on Jack's face. "Have a good nap, Tosh; we'll call if anything happens," Ianto promised her as he shivered lightly from the cool breeze.
"Ianto's looking a little cold, Jack; you really should do something to warm him up." Tosh laughed softly as she saw the gleam that quickly entered Jack's eyes. It thrilled Tosh to watch the love between Jack and Ianto grow more and more each day. 'Love clearly suits them both so well. Ianto's much more self-assured and Jack's outside amorous activities have stopped completely months and months ago.'
Jack had indeed felt Ianto begin to shiver. "Here, Yan, let me warm you up." Jack opened his greatcoat and enclosed it around Ianto's form, fighting back the urge to groan as Ianto pressed his body flush against his. Ianto didn't bother to hide his moan as he felt Jack's erection press into his backside.
Knowing her presence was no longer needed Tosh silently took her leave. 'I'm so happy for you the both of you.' She only hoped that someday she would be as happy as they were and in her heart, with Caden she thought she would be.
Jack and Ianto barely noticed when Tosh slipped away and disappeared into her tent; their eyes were focused only on each other. Slowly their heads inched towards one another; they hadn't had a moment alone since arriving at the Hub this morning. They'd gone straight to the conference room for briefing about all the disappearances, then Ianto had gone to stock the SUV for their trip while Jack had gone to his office to clear up a few phone messages. After that had come the long drive out to the Beacons and followed by setting up the camp.
Jack could tell that the thought, both good and bad, of all the others were getting to his mate no matter how hard Ianto tried to hide the fact. "How are your shields holding up, Yan, and no lies, now," Jack warned.
Ianto knew that he couldn't lie to Jack, the man was his lover, his mate, and they had no secrets between them, but at the same time he didn't want Jack to worry about him unnecessarily. Jack needed to keep his mind on the mission and not on him and his problems. "They're a little weak but they should hold," he reluctantly admitted.
Jack studied Ianto and seeing the truth in his eyes, he made a decision. "If we need to split up on this mission, I'm going to pair you up with Tosh." There was no way Jack was going to let Ianto work with Gwen; that would be a disaster. Jack knew that her hateful and negative thoughts would continue to batter against Ianto's shields making it impossible for Ianto to keep her out of his head. Jack would love to pair himself up with Ianto but that would leave the other three to pair up and while Tosh was professional enough to put the mission above her own feelings, Owen might not find it so easy to do the same. He'd made no effort to hide his growing feelings for Rhys and his growing anger with Gwen over her treatment of the Welshman Owen was beginning to view as his.
Ianto gazed at his mate with a loving smile. "I understand, Jack, you have to put the mission before our relationship and I know Tosh will have my back." He also knew that Tosh's mind was the quietest after Jack's and also the most soothing; he was sure to be able to keep his shields in place. "Tosh and I work well together in the field and she's learned to shield her thoughts from me quite well." Ianto nodded proudly; he'd been working with her whenever they had a few minutes together.
Jack brushed a tender kiss against Ianto's forehead. "That's all I want, is for you to be safe. I don't know what I'd do if anything were to happen to you." Jack knew that if anything did ever happen to Ianto he would never recover.
Ianto shifted slightly in Jack's lap, turning so he could rest his head on his mate's shoulder. "You know I can't promise that nothing will ever hurt me but you can believe me when I say that nothing and no one will ever take me from your side. You're stuck with me until the end of your very long life, Cariad," Ianto vowed solemnly.
"Forever it is then," Jack growled huskily before claiming Ianto's lips and sealing their vow with a kiss full of all the love he had for Ianto. Ianto twisted around again so that he straddled Jack's hips, and just as the kiss was getting more heated and hands were beginning to explore beneath clothing, Gwen's ear-piercing scream filled the air. Snarling savagely, Jack broke the kiss. "Damn that woman! She has the worst timing in the world!"
Concern flashed across Ianto's face as Tosh came running out of her tent weapon in hand. "Jack! Do you think Owen's snapped and he's trying to kill her?"
Jack had to admit that given how easily and deliberately Gwen pushed Owen's buttons, he wouldn't be at all surprised if his medic's limited self-control had indeed finally snapped. "I'm not sure but given the ill feelings building between them that's a good guess. On the other hand, it could just be something connected to the disappearances that Kathy asked us to check out."
Reluctantly, Jack helped Ianto to his feet and then stood up himself. "Either way we better check this out." He didn't need to shield his emotions from Ianto; his misgivings were written on his face and he couldn't deny that he had a very bad feeling about all this. 'I need to keep a close eye on Ianto,' he vowed to himself. Catching Toshiko's eye, Jack could see that his tech genius was thinking the same thing. 'What if it was Gwen whose sanity had snapped and her scream was the prelude to a trap?'
Once they tracked down Owen and Gwen it took every ounce of Ianto's considerable willpower not to glare and rip Gwen away from Jack. As soon as she'd seen them arrive, the hysterical woman had flung herself into Jack's arms and as she cried and babbled about finding a corpse in the woods she took every opportunity to rub her breasts and crotch against the immortal. Ianto could see that Jack was doing his best to endure Gwen's pawing at his body; the younger man rolled his eyes in exasperation and caught sight of Owen doing the same.
Jack waited until Gwen had calmed down somewhat before prying her off him and pushing her a few feet away from him. "What were you two doing when you discovered the body?" He began demanding answers from her and Owen, while Ianto spent that time taping off the scene with yellow plastic police tape. Owen's statement was short and succinct; it was clear that he was itching to complete a brief medical exam of the body. Jack quickly dismissed him so he could go and do his job.
Gwen shifted anxiously from foot to foot wishing she was still in Jack's arms but knowing that she needed to be at her best on this mission. 'I have to show Jack how much he needs me.' "I was out gathering firewood just like I said I would when I stumbled across the body." She struggled to keep her eyes wide and innocent-looking; how could she admit to the man she loved that she had trapped Owen against a tree and that she'd been trying to kiss him.
Jack raised an eyebrow; he knew full well that she wasn't telling him the whole story. "Owen, do you have anything to add?" he called over to where his medic was kneeling next to the bloody, fleshless corpse.
Irritated by the interruption, Owen looked up, a rude comment on his lips until he saw Gwen blanch slightly and then the corners of his lips curled up into a smirk. 'Oh god, it would be so easy for me to let it slip that I stumbled upon Gwen muttering about the way good-for-nothing Tea-Boy was hanging all over her man.' He caught Gwen's eye and grinned at her. 'Should I tell them that to keep me quiet she proceeded to turn her womanly wiles on me and then got enraged when I turned her down flat which led to us fighting about Rhys?'
In the end, Owen simply shrugged his shoulders and turned back to his corpse. "It basically went the way Gwen said it did." 'No,' he thought, 'I don't want Ianto to be subjected to any more of Gwen's negative thoughts.'
Jack saw Owen glance up at Ianto, who was standing next to him taking notes and handing him his instruments, so Jack focused on the Archivist as well. Concern grew in him as he watched Ianto rub his forehead forcefully, as though he were in pain, but before Jack could reach out to him, the sound of the SUV's engine revving loudly and then driving away gained their attention.
The team scrambled through the woods and back to their campsite, weapons drawn, but it was too late; they arrived just in time to see their SUV mow down the last standing tent before racing out of the clearing. "Who left the keys in the SUV?" Jack grounded out through clenched teeth; he knew it wasn't him and there was no way Ianto or Tosh would have done something so carelessly dangerous, so that only left two people stupid enough to leave their vehicle unlocked with the keys in the ignition. Jack immediately focused his anger on them.
"All right it was me. My bad!" Owen figured it would be better in the long run if he just confessed right then and there.
Jack fought the urge to shake some sense into the doctor and settled instead for rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I'll deal with you later; Tosh, do you think you could set up something to track the SUV?" he asked. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Ianto was working his magic on his PDA and he wondered what his mate was up to.
Ianto lifted his head with a shy smile on his face. "There's no need, Tosh, I've been tracking the SUV." He indicated the device in his hands. "It's been stationary for the past four minutes and I'd go so far as to say it was parked."
Unable to resist temptation, Jack pulled Ianto into his arms and pressed a grateful kiss onto his mate's parted lips. "You're amazing," he whispered against his mouth, delighted at the resulting blush that painted Ianto's cheeks. Pulling back from Ianto's tempting mouth Jack linked his hand with Ianto's free one. "All right, people, let's get this show on the road! Our mystery guest went to a lot of trouble to get our attention and we wouldn't want to disappoint them now, would we?" Jack asked with a smirking grin on his face.
A knowing look was exchanged between the other three before Owen decided to just be blunt, "You do know this has the all the makings of a trap, don't you?"
Jack hiked an eyebrow and shrugged as though it were no big deal. "Yeah, I figured that but there's no way I'm going to leave our equipment in the hands of whatever alien is behind this." That said, he turned to Ianto and a leer lit up his face. "Lead the way, Ianto, and just so you know, my very sexy Welshman, I will be enjoying the view." Jack waggled his eyebrows and ran his hands suggestively over Ianto's buttocks before releasing him.
Blushing a bright red from neck to ears, Ianto struggled to put on a professional demeanour as he glanced down at his PDA before heading off in the direction of the SUV. A quick glance out of the corner of his eye saw Jack fall in line right behind him and Ianto smiled happily to himself. he liked the fact that his mate's eyes were focused on his arse, and unable to stop himself from teasing Jack just a little bit, Ianto made sure to put an extra wiggle into his hips as he walked. Ianto didn't bother to stop the tiny smile that graced his lips when he heard Jack's low growl of appreciation.
Knowing that if he didn't stop staring at Ianto's delicious arse, he would end up throwing his mate down in the grass and making love to him right then and there, Jack quickly caught up to Ianto and linked their hands together. "You'll pay for teasing me." he whispered huskily in his Welshman’s ear, his voice promising all types of naughty payback.
“I’ll hold you to that, sir.” Ianto’s voice dropped to a seductive murmur, one that never failed to get Jack hot and bothered.
‘If we weren’t walking into a trap, oh Yan, the things I would do to you!’ Jack sent the words along their bond along with detailed images of just a few things he planned on doing to Ianto once they were alone. ‘After this maybe I’ll treat us to a weekend away at a top-rated hotel where we can be together, just the two of us, without any interruptions.’ A plan quickly began to form in Jack’s head; normally he wouldn’t leave the team short-handed but he was sure that Caden, Rhys and even Kathy wouldn’t mind helping out, not when it came to Ianto’s happiness.
Struggling through the gorse and heather behind them. the rest of the team. well, Tosh and Owen, anyway, watched with curiosity as Jack and Ianto laughed and talked quietly, holding hands and bumping shoulders, clearly lose in their own world. In Gwen’s case she was watching the two men with jealousy burning in her veins; she was dying to know what their hushed conversation was about.
Tosh fought the urge to sigh and squeal like a total fangirl; Jack and Ianto were just two adorable together. ‘I can’t wait until I get my hands on the scorching hot CCTV footage that's sure to come!’ Normally Tosh wouldn’t dare think of using the Hub's CCTV system to spy on two of her friends but the sheer beauty of these two men together was too much of a temptation for her to resist.
Owen rolled his eyes at the sickeningly sweet display going on ahead but at the same time even though he would never say it out loud, he was glad they'd finally gotten a piece of happiness that was so hard for a Torchwood agent to find and hold on to. His eyes strayed to back to Gwen who had fallen a short way behind them; the woman was glaring daggers at the back of Ianto’s head. ‘She really needs to get over herself before Jack finally has enough and Retcons her back to her nappies.’
Gwen clenched her fists as she toiled along; she wanted nothing more than to rip Jack and Ianto’s hands apart. ‘It should be me walking up there with Jack! Ianto’s nothing but an alien tea-boy wanker; he's not worthy of having someone like Jack. 'God, I can’t wait for the day when Jack finally dumps his pathetic arse.’ Vicious thoughts filled Gwen’s mind, churning around, growing in intensity.
Ianto was so caught up in his interactions with Jack that he accidentally let his shields slip and so he wasn’t quick enough to block the latest onslaught of Gwen’s hateful thoughts. Her hatred struck him like a physical blow and he ended up losing his footing, nearly landing on his face, and it was only Jack’s arm around him that saved him from falling. “Gwen?” Jack asked softly, he could see the pain on Ianto's fact and it took everything he had to fight the urge to strangle Gwen.
Pulling himself together as best he could, Ianto squeezed Jack’s hand. “I’m okay, Cariad. We’re nearly there.”
Jack didn’t like it but he knew that Ianto wasn’t about to let Gwen know how badly she was getting to him. “All right then, but once we get the SUV I want you to stick with Tosh.” Jack wasn’t taking chances with Ianto’s safety. "Keep your distance from Gwen whenever possible, okay?"
Ianto smiled sweetly at Jack and gave him a lingering kiss on the lips, knowing full well that Gwen was watching their every move. “I will, Cariad, I promise.”
Gwen was thrilled when Jack sent Tosh and Ianto off together, leaving her to pair up with him. Okay, so Owen was with them but the point was Jack kept her with him while he sent Ianto away. ‘Now we'll see who really means the most to Jack, it’s me he wanted to keep safe and not Ianto. The Tea-Boy is on his way out.’ The Welshwoman couldn’t contain the smug smile that graced her face as Jack split them up into teams.
"Have fun, you two!" Gwen waggled her fingers at Tosh and Ianto as she tucked her hand around Jack's arm, forcing him to either accept her touch or rudely shake her off. She was so pleased with her conquest that she failed to see the look that passed between Jack and Ianto.
'You have my deepest condolences, Cariad,' Ianto sent across their bond, his amusement at Jack's predicament obvious in both his tone and the twinkle in his eye. He tucked Tosh's arm in his as he smiled once more at his mate. "Shall we, my dear?"
Biting the inside of her mouth to keep from laughing at the pained look on Jack's face as Gwen tried to cuddle into his side, Tosh grinned at Ianto. "We shall!"
Once their backs were turned Tosh and Ianto shared a quick eye roll. “She really is living in a delusional world, isn’t she?” Tosh muttered under her breath having witnessed the 'I-win!' look on Gwen’s face when Jack paired her with Owen and himself.
If they hadn't been causing him so much pain Ianto would have been greatly amused by Gwen’s thoughts. “Gwen Cooper is something all right,” Ianto murmured and then shivered lightly. He could feel the eyes on them, they were being watched.
Tosh saw the flash of fear that appeared quickly in Ianto’s eyes before disappearing and she rested her hand on his. “It will be okay, Ianto, we have each other. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Ianto was grateful that Tosh was such a good friend. ‘I hope you plan on treating her right, Caden, Tosh is a one-in-a-million kind of girl.’ Ianto knew that he needed to have a talk with Caden to make sure that he was serious about Tosh. He smiled as he pictured himself sitting the knight down in a Victorian parlour and sternly asking him, "And just what are your intentions towards my Toshiko, young man?"
An unexpected sound ahead of them broke Ianto from his silly thoughts and his mind recoiled with intense distaste at the waves of sheer animal lust coming from the creature they were hunting, and the young man realised something quite disturbing: whatever it was out there, it was enjoying playing with them. Ianto could feel it toying with them, knowing that it was frightening them and taking pleasure from its cruel game of cat and mouse.
As second shrill cry came from behind him and Ianto whirled around, trying to find its source, but there was nothing to be seen, Nothing... he blinked and shook his head at the way his heart was pounding in his chest... wait... there was nothing... Ianto began to panic when he saw that Tosh was nowhere in sight. “Tosh? Where are you?” he called out. "Tosh!" A flash of movement in the corner of his eye had Ianto whirling around again but he reacted too late.
The last thing Ianto remembered before his world turned black was being driven to the ground and then blinding pain and as he lost consciousness, he prayed desperately that Jack could hear his frantic cry. ‘Jack!’
His attention occupied by the strangely empty village pub, Jack stumbled and crashed into a table when Ianto’s panic-stricken call slammed into him from across their bond, His knees buckled and he had to latch on to Owen for support when Ianto’s mind exploded in searing pain and was then brutally ripped away from his.
“Jack, what’s wrong?” Owen quickly fell into doctor mode as he watched Jack turn white and actually had to use him to stay on his feet. From across the room, Gwen saw Jack distress and rushed over to wrap her arms around him.
Within a matter of seconds Jack had regained his colour and burning rage suddenly filled him. Angrily he shook off Gwen's smothering grasp, ignoring her cry of protest as he pushed her away and looked at the medic. “They have Ianto and Tosh, Owen!" Jack snarled in pure, barely controlled fury. "They've hurt my mate!"
‘Whoever took Tea-Boy just did the stupidest thing ever! I wonder if there will be anything left of them once Jack gets through with them?’ Owen knew from the look in Jack’s eyes that he was no longer Captain Jack Harkness, the professional and responsible leader of Torchwood Three. No, he was simply a human male experiencing his worst possible nightmare; his mate had been taken by creatures unknown and that made him far more dangerous than whatever it was they were hunting, which only meant one thing.
Someone else's worst nightmare was about to begin.