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Chapter 7

Arriving back at Tosh's the woman only had to take one look at the despondent looks in Jack and Ianto's expressions and felt her shoulders slumped. "I take it your fears proved correct and Owen is behind everything?" she asked Ianto as she took him by the hand and led him into the lounge.

The Welshman let out a deep sigh and nodded his head. "He wants to reverse time and save Katie and if I don't hand over the coral, he's threatened to kill you and Suzie." Ianto told her the truth in a soft voice. "He's not our friend Owen anymore, Tosh; he only cares about saving Katie and it doesn't matter who he has to destroy to do it. Did you do as I asked?"

Horrified that someone she had once considered her good friend would threaten her and her wife Tosh silently nodded her head. "I planted the trace like you wanted and I have to say it's some of my best work yet; it cannot be detected by any tracers human or alien." There was real pride in Tosh's voice.

Ianto smiled at her. "That's why you are the best, my friend."

And suddenly Jack knew exactly what Ianto was planning and he smiled brightly at his ex. "I should have never doubted you, Ianto. Sometimes I forget just how clever you are."

Ianto smiled at Jack's praise. "Thank you, Jack. I said I would give Owen the coral, I didn't say that I’d let him keep it. Owen has been one step ahead me this whole time and I think he already knows where the Well is, so I'll give him the TARDIS coral and let him led us to the Well of Time and the treasure of the Time Lords."

Excited by the prospect of besting the onerous and clearly insane Owen Harper, Jack barely refrained from reaching out and kissing Ianto. He may have a chance at winning Ianto back and he knew that moving too fast would only set him back, but still it was hard.

Sensing that there had been a significant change between the two men Tosh looked from one to the other and realised that she could actually feel the spark of energy that had always been between the two had come back to life and she wasn't sure how she felt about that. On the one hand, she was so very happy for them; both men were her dear friends, Ianto especially, and she had seen firsthand how deeply they loved each other. The pure joy in Ianto’s eyes when he told her about Jack for the first time had brought tears to Tosh’s eyes.

On the other hand, however, she remembered how totally devastated Ianto had been when he’d learned that Jack had cheated on him. It had nearly destroyed him and for a short time, Toshiko had actually feared for the man’s life; his lover’s betrayal had left Ianto feeling completely worthless and unable to be loved. 'I hope for both your sakes that this time it turns out better than the last time and I swear, Jack, this time you treat Ianto right or you will be answering to me first and then to Suzie,' Tosh vowed silently. ‘That’s if there’s anything left for Suzie to deal with!’

******

The next morning, as the sun began colouring the sky in delicate shades of pink and gold, Jack and Ianto arrived at the chosen meeting site, an actual stereotypically rundown warehouse that would have been right at home in the newest horror movie. While Ianto knew that Tosh's tracker would let him follow Owen and the baby TARDIS from a safe, undetectable distance it was still hard to hand it the precious article over to Owen.

Owen couldn’t help himself as he stared in true awe at the baby coral and realised that he could hear Katie's voice in his head; he knew at that moment that he was holding a real TARDIS coral in his hands. "I always knew that you were a man of your word, Jones, but on the safe side…" Owen tossed a set of time cuffs at Jack and Ianto. "These are set to open up in five hours, plenty of time for me to get far away from here and for the two of you to have a much needed talk."

Ianto cringed; even Owen could tell that that he and Jack were long over-due for a frank discussion. ‘Could things be any more embarrassing?’

Normally Jack wouldn't have a problem being handcuff to Ianto but dank, filthy warehouse was definitely not the setting he’d ever imaged. No, when they did talk he wanted it to be in a romantic setting where he could whisk Ianto off his feet and show him out much he loved him, rather than just tell him. Still for now they had no choice but to go along with Owen's plans in order to assure that he was too far away to harm Tosh or Suzie.

Once he was sure that Ianto and Jack were safely handcuffed to a post Owen knelt down in front of Ianto and looked him straight in the eye as he patted him on the shoulder. "I promise you, Ianto, when this is all over and I have Katie back, I will give you the coral back unharmed. Once I’ve put time right you'll see things will be different, they’ll be better for everyone and maybe as a thank you I'll even make sure that Harkness here keeps it in his pants when he meets Gwen." Owen felt a slight twinge of pain in his chest as he saw the flash of pain that appeared in Ianto eyes at his taunt but he ruthlessly shoved it down; he had no room in his plan to show weakness, not when saving Katie was so close he could taste it.

*******

"When I said we had to talk this was not how I pictured it," Ianto confessed ruefully as he found himself cuffed next to Jack.

Jack smiled sadly at Ianto, his own blue eyes showing his regret for his actions in the past. "Our talk will wait, right now I just need you to know how much I have regretted meeting Gwen Cooper and hurting you and I want a chance to prove to you how sorry I am."

"I know, Jack, I can see how much you do and I promise when this is all over we will talk. I want to clear the air between us just as much as you do." Taking a chance Ianto squeezed Jack's hand and then left their hands entwined; Jack felt a sense of real hope filling his chest.

******

True to his word the handcuffs unlocked exactly five hours from the moment Owen had locked them around their wrists and the men wasted no time in getting away from their dreary prison. Jack could have kissed Tosh when they arrived at the hanger bay to find the Myfanwy prepared and ready for them, her tracker on the coral active.

"Tosh, you're an angel!" Ianto thanked his friend by pulling Tosh into a hug. "Are you sure you don't want to come? It’ll be quite an adventure," Ianto asked as he released her.

Tosh shook her head. "You know I would but I need to stay here and get in contact with Suzie to make sure she knows that Owen threaten her." While the call of adventure was indeed strong the need to make sure her wife was safe was much more important.

Ianto understood and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Give Suzie my love and I'll see you after this is all over," he promised.

Tosh threw her arms around Ianto. "Stay safe," she whispered before releasing him and then, to Jack's surprise, the petite Japanese woman gave him the same treatment except that she hissed in his ear, "Stay safe and remember this is your last chance, Jack, don't mess it up."

Jack nodded his head. "I know, Tosh, and I promise you I will bring Ianto back in one piece."

Satisfied that her point had been made Tosh pulled away from Jack and nodded her head. "Good. I look forward to hearing your tale when you get back."

******

Ianto hated the fact that they were five hours behind Owen and even though Jack pushed the Myfanwy's engines to their maximum they couldn't close the gap, so to keep his mind off of Owen reaching the Well of Time before him Ianto plotted their course and checked it meticulously against the pages of the Time Lord's journal. As he studied the star charts recorded centuries earlier, he muttered to himself, "Kronos! Jack, we’re heading towards the planet Kronos!" Ianto breathed out in shock once he realised where the tracker was leading them.

Jack stared at Ianto, "Kronos? Are you sure?" Kronos was universally classified as a forbidden planet; its surface was intensely hostile and could not support any form of life. Before its designation as off-limits, several exploratory attempts had resulted in death for all participants. It was the perfect place to hide the knowledge of the Time Lords.

"Luckily Myfanwy is fully stocked with everything we could need." Jack patted his console affectionately; his ship was as amazing as she was beautiful and he told her so quite often.


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