Title: Starting Anew
Pairings/Character: Neville/Draco, Jack/Ianto, Suzie/Luna/Tosh, John Hart/Owen, Gwen, past Ianto/Draco
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or Harry Potter
Beta: RoyalLadyEmma for the awesome beta work as always.
Summary: After the war Draco needed a fresh start, one free from his past and to do that, he ended up seeking out an old friend who could help him adjust to the muggle world. He just never counted on finding something that’s even stranger and more dangerous than the magical world or his old life clashing into his new one.
For the h/c bingo card April challenge
It had been five years since the war, five long years since Draco Malfoy left behind the wizarding world in which Harry Potter and his side had come out victorious. Draco knew there was no place left for at Hogwarts; he was an outcast on both the light and dark sides. He was an unwanted, someone without a home, without friends, and without hope.
Only his mother truly cared about him. She had been brave enough and clever enough to lie to Lord Voldemort about Potter's supposed death all to learn if he was okay. Draco had never been more humbled by or in awe of his mother than he was at that moment.
So, with his mother's urging, Draco left behind the wizarding world and the only life he'd ever known for the bewildering world of the muggles. Always a forward thinker and expert organiser, she had everything planned out and put in place so that a whole new life waited for him. It was a new start, one where he wasn't the son of two Death Eaters and he wasn't the Prince of Slytherin; he was just Draco Malfoy and he liked it that way.
But as luck would have it, his new life simply refused to stay ordinary for long.
It all started when he ran into an old wizarding friend, well... not so much just a friend but... well, actually he was Draco's very first crush, his first true love and his first time...
As the cold rain pounded down on him Draco picked up his pace and once again cursed himself for deciding to settle in Cardiff. It never bloody stopped raining! Grumbling to himself he continued to run between shelters dodging the passing bodies who were also rushing to take shelter. All was going well until Draco crashed into a hard, suit-clad body.
Stumbling over his own two feet and nearly stomping on another pair wearing red-soled Louboutins, Draco was grateful when a pair of strong hands caught him and held him upright. A shudder ran down Draco's spine as a man's gentle voice washed over him in an apology, "I'm terribly sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going."
Despite the croaking tone of the voice and the sound of pure pain lacing every word Draco would have known those lyrical Welsh vowels anywhere. "Ianto?"
Startled by the sudden blast from the past, Ianto Jones blinked several times in surprise as he stared into familiar blue-grey eyes. "Draco? What are you doing here?"
Draco couldn't put enough words together to answer the older man; his mouth literally hung open for a moment as he stared at the broken man before him, his eyes widening and narrowing as he took in the sight of the healing bruises on the man's cheek and the ones that the high collar couldn't fully hide. "Ianto, what in the world happened to you? You look like death warmed over!" The lost, hollow look in Ianto's eyes reminded Draco of the look he'd seen in his own eyes and in so many others after the war and it pained him to see such a look in his friend's eyes and it reminded him that not all scars were visible and the greatest ones leave marks on ones heart and soul.
It had been years since, much like Draco, Ianto had left behind his wizarding life in order to gain a fresh start in the muggle world, but unfortunately, from the broken look on Ianto's face Draco could see that it hadn't worked out like he hoped.
"That is a very long story, Draco, one that I do not wish to speak about in public," Ianto explained his voice choked by unspoken emotions, but his pain quickly became forgotten as he looked at Draco with questions and worry in his eyes. "When did you arrive in Cardiff?"
Respecting Ianto's need for privacy, Draco nodded once and answered, "My train got in this morning; I was just heading out for a bite to eat when the skies opened up and tried to drown me!"
"That's Cardiff for you, totally unpredictable." Ianto grinned at him. "Do you have a place to stay?"
That brought a smile to Draco's face; even in pain himself Ianto always thought about the needs of others first. "How you ever ended up in Slytherin I will never understand." Draco was shocked to see a flash of pain appear briefly in Ianto's eyes. Not wanting to cause the Welshman anymore pain Draco quickly answered Ianto's question, "Nothing permanent; I'm staying at a hotel for now."
Unsure of himself for a moment, Ianto shifted from one foot to the other. "I have a spare room and umm... it would be nice to have a friendly face around." That would be the bloody understatement of the year! Ever since the discovery of Lisa's partially converted body and her subsequent death at Torchwood's hands, the only member of the team he'd seen during his suspension was Suzie. Jack had tasked with her with bringing him home once he'd cleaned up the mess, and in an unusual show of humanity, she'd let him cry all over her shoulder. Ianto had found himself coming to enjoy his visits with Suzie she was the only friend he had during his isolation from the outside world, it was only her vouching for him did Jack finally allow Ianto to leave his flat and venture outside.
'I'll kill whoever has hurt Ianto so deeply.' Draco vowed to himself; he didn't have many people who actually cared for him but Ianto was on that list and nobody got away with hurting those Draco Malfoy cared about. "Thank you! That would be wonderful."
Inordinately pleased by the unexpected turn of events, Ianto gave Draco a very rare smile. "I agree."
Peering at the pouring rain, Draco held out a hand and felt the raindrops beat down on his palm. "But I do have one question for you, though does it always rain here?" The young blonde man tried not to wince when he heard the childish whine in his voice.
For the first time since he left the wizarding world, Ianto let a small laugh escape his lips and a true smile graced his handsome face. "I'm afraid so, my friend, I'm afraid so." His laughter only grew as Draco's painful groan was echoed by a low roll of thunder.
Remembering that Draco had been on his way to lunch, Ianto took him to a quiet, out-of-the-way cafe that served excellent soup-and-sandwich combos, perfect comfort food for a cold and rainy Cardiff day. Over the next two hours, the old friends talked about old times, caught up on mutual friends, and ironed out plans for Draco to move in with Ianto. Draco flat-out refused to be just a guest, insisting that he pay equal shares of everything.
By the time their meeting was over, Draco had managed to gain the full story of everything that had happened to Ianto since the young Welshman had departed Hogwarts. Ianto talked about his life from the time he joined Torchwood One, to the day he met Lisa to the fall of Torchwood One. When he talked about his desperate attempt to save Lisa, how he was forced to use his magic in order to save one of his co-workers who was slowly being corrupted by dark magic, his eyes were tortured when he talked about the heartbreaking moment when Lisa was lost to him, Ianto broke down in silent tears.
Quietly and unobtrusively, Draco slipped away from the table and made a necessary trip to the men's room; he lingered for a few minutes, washing his hands thoroughly and tidying his hair. When he returned to their table, Ianto had collected himself and other hand red-rimmed eyes, there was no hint that anything had been amiss. Ianto gulped down half his iced tea before meeting Draco's eyes; "Sorry about that."
"First time you've told anyone about Lisa?" Draco toyed with the last piece of pickle on his plate.
Ianto nodded; "The peopled involved know, but you're the only one outside of Torchwood. Even Lisa's parents believed she died at Canary Wharf."
After hearing the story Draco only had one other thing to ask, "So they really have no clue that you're actually a wizard? What kind of geniuses do you work with anyway?"
Ianto just shook his head sadly. "I hid that part of me from them just like I hid Lisa from them. I used magic to try and help Lisa and in the end I only made things worse for her. Since then I haven't used magic for any reason, so they've never had anything to notice."
In true Malfoy fashion, Draco hunted down every one of Ianto's so-called teammates and gave them each a very strongly worded piece of his mind. After calling them out on their selfishness, their thoughtlessness and the way they'd cruelly used Ianto for their own benefit, Jack shocked everyone when he offered Draco a job. With no job prospects in the muggle world and nothing else available, Draco accepted; 'I might as well give this muggle lifestyle a chance,' he decided, 'and I'll even go one better and not do magic until Ianto decided to do magic again.'
Upon joining Torchwood Three Draco instantly made it clear that he was Ianto's friend first and foremost and he immediately started acting as his protector. He knew that Ianto was still healing from the tragic loss of Lisa, and oddly enough, he was aided in his efforts by Suzie, Torchwood's second-in-command, who refused to hold Ianto's deception over his head like a weapon. She felt she owed him that loyalty after his quick thinking saved her from being taken over by the alien glove, and she became a mother tigress protecting her cub.
For his part, Draco certainly enjoyed sitting back and watching Jack, Owen and Gwen carefully tip-toeing around what they said to Ianto knowing that otherwise they would gain Suzie's fury. It didn't take long for him to warm up to Tosh; Draco quickly discovered that the woman had a genuinely pure and kind heart. On Ianto's first day back from his suspension, Draco went in to work with him, and she brought him a cup of coffee, something no one else had bothered to do.
The four of them became a closely-knit group and eventually Tosh convinced Suzie and Draco that Jack and Ianto had very strong feelings for one another, feelings that neither man had yet acted upon, and together, they plotted to play matchmaker for the two stubborn men.
When she made her romantic pronouncement, Draco and Suzie stared at Tosh like she had finally lost it. "You want to set Ianto up with Jack? Are you out of your mind?" Suzie demanded to know.
Nodding his head in agreement Draco crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm not about to set Ianto up with heartbreak, Toshiko; we've all seen the way Jack flirts with Cooper and the way she shamelessly throws herself at him ought to be against the law!"
Tosh waved her hand in a dismissive manner, and it was a very unlike Tosh way. "Oh, puh-leese, Gwen is just the flavour of the month, the newest in a long line. Jack's only interested in her because he thinks Ianto's still angry at him for what happened with that thing in the basement, plus, Gwen gives Jack something Ianto doesn't and that's a massive ego boost. Unlike Gwen, who looks at Jack and sees her hero, a knight in shining armor, Ianto sees Jack in a way none of us do; he sees the man behind the hero. Draco, you said even after the rest of the team had gone home, angry with the way things turned out with the fairies, that Ianto stayed back to comfort Jack."
As much as he hated to admit it Tosh did have a point. During the incident with the Fae, he and Ianto had stayed out of it; they both knew that denying the Fae their Chosen One would have grave consequences for both the muggle and the wizarding worlds. Ianto had been angry on Jack's behalf over the callous way the others were treating Jack after he was forced between giving away one little girl or destroying the world.
That night Draco had tried waiting up for his friend and roommate, but Ianto hadn't come home until the early morning hours; he'd stayed just long enough to grab a quick nap before showering and changing his clothes. He'd been out the door enroute to the Hub before Draco had even had a chance to talk to him, and the first thing Draco heard about when he walked through the cog door was the fact that Ianto had refused to serve them his good coffee. In fact, Ianto had made it perfectly clear that until the other members of the team apologized to Jack for their behaviour, they would continue to receive decaf. It was a point which Gwen was still on about to this day.
"And Jack did take care of Ianto after our run-in with the cannibals," Draco grudging admitted as he recalled how their leader had waited on badly-beaten and terrorised Ianto hand and foot as the young Welshman slowly healed from the damage those monsters had inflicted on him. A soft smile crossed Draco's face as he remembered walking in on them more than once to find Jack gently cradling Ianto in his arms and comforting him after yet another nightmare.
Tosh smiled smugly at them. "See, Jack cares for Ianto a great deal and I think that scares him; for all his outrageous stories of sex and conquest, he doesn't know how to act on these real emotions. I think that with the right little nudge from us, Jack and Ianto could be truly happy together."
"Fine! But I'm only doing this because I know it will make Ianto happy and because I refuse to let Gwen didn't sink her greedy claws into Jack. However," she held up a hand as she saw Tosh's face light up with a happy smile. "I reserve the right to use Jack as target practice if he hurts Ianto in any way," Suzie growled out and as if to emphasise her point, she reached into her desk drawer, pulled her handgun out and plunked it down loudly on the desktop.
Draco knew that he had no other choice but to agree as well; he found it quite endearing that for a petite woman, Toshiko Sato had the heart of a dragon. "So what's your plan?" Suddenly not at all at ease, he felt a fission of worry flash through his belly when Tosh grinned wickedly.
Tosh's plan had been simple; for someone who claimed not to do jealousy as loudly and as often as Jack did, both she and Suzie knew that when it came to Ianto it was a whole different story. Suzie was beyond convinced that part of the reason Jack had offered Draco a job was because he wanted to keep a close eye on the blond man. In Jack's opinion, even for an 'old friend', Draco Malfoy was far too friendly with his Welshman.
True to Tosh's theory, it hadn't taken much to bring out the green-eyed monster in Jack. Draco made sure to touch Ianto far more often than was truly necessary in Jack's eyes for simple friendship. It was never anything too big or too blatant, just lingering touches on Ianto's shoulders when they were talking, or the soft brushing of fingertips on hands when Ianto handed him his cup of coffee, or leaning in close to share a few words murmured into Ianto's ear.
Tosh's plan worked perfectly. Within a matter of hours, you could literally see steam pouring out of Jack's ears as the man stood on the landing outside his office and watch Draco shamelessly flirt with and fondle his Ianto's body. "Ianto!" Jack's voice boomed through the Hub and echoed in the rafters loudly enough to make Myfanwy shriek with annoyance. "My office, now!" he barked, effectively cutting short whatever Draco and Ianto were doing because he suddenly needed Ianto's advice or help with... something. He'd think of what in a minute. All that mattered was getting Ianto out of the greedy wanton clutches of that blond devil!
But what finally forced Jack to act in a more forceful, profound and promising manner was when Tosh and Suzie accidently let slip the fact that a long time ago, Ianto and Draco had been each other's first everything. They been at a nearby pub on one of Jack's team bonding missions and both women knew they were well within earshot of Jack when Suzie 'confided' in Tosh about the men's early history. That unexpected piece of news, added to Draco's own little hints that he wouldn't mind picking up where they'd left off, had been the proverbial straw to break the camel's back.
Fueled by pure jealousy Jack slammed his glass of water down on the table and then stalked over to where Ianto was standing at the bar. As he waited for the bartender to fill his order, he was being hit on by some muscle-bound hunk with piercing green eyes. If Jack hadn't been totally fixated on Ianto, he might even have given the hunk a second look himself.
All Jack saw was a mixture of green jealousy and red rage as his vision clouded dangerously. As if it hadn't been enough to learn about Lisa, now Draco was sharing Ianto's flat and they used to have a romantic past together. Making matters even worse, now this muscles-for-brains buffoon was hitting on Ianto? There was only so much Jack could take before he snapped.
Trying his best to appear calm as he leaned casually against the bar, Ianto was growing increasingly nervous; the gorgeous man in front of him just wouldn't take no for an answer. It wasn't that Ianto wasn't flattered because truthfully, he was just a little, but compared to Jack this man was a mere spark to Jack's bright and shining flame. Before he could politely turn the man down a third time, a strong arm suddenly wrapped itself possessively around his waist and pulled him back against a firm, warm chest.
"Back off, he's mine!" Jack snarled before he smashed his lips down onto Ianto's in a passionate claiming kiss.
A soft moan of surrender and desire escaped Ianto as his lips willingly parted beneath Jack's probing tongue and his fingers twisted into the fabric of the immortal's shirt, pulling him even closer. Jack wasted no time in laying passionate claim to what he knew was his.
Draco fought the urge to grin as he watched Jack wrapped his arms possessively around Ianto and level a glare at the man who'd had the nerve to flirt with his Welshman. 'Looks like that little seed of jealousy I planted worked when I let it slip to Jack that I was once in Ianto's bed and wouldn't mind sharing it again.' Despite his own renewed feelings towards Ianto, when it came to his one and only true friend, Draco would do whatever it took to make sure that Ianto Jones was happy.
As Jack laid claim to Ianto, Suzie reached across the table and closed Gwen's gaping open mouth and then hissed in a dangerous voice, "If you do anything to come between them Gwen Cooper, it will be the very last thing you ever do."
About to voice her indignation over Suzie's extremely rude and presumptuous behaviour, Gwen took one look at the promise in Suzie's eyes and wisely shut her mouth, choosing instead to sulk in her chair and glower across the room at Jack and Ianto. Not fooled for a moment by Gwen's submissive behaviour, Tosh, Draco and Suzie could tell by the look in her eyes that she was not about to give up on getting Jack in her clutches and her bed. It was at that moment when Draco knew that if he had to in order to protect Ianto he was prepared to wipe her memory and not the nice way with Retcon. After all, he wasn't a wizard for nothing, now was he?
For the first time in his life Draco was truly happy; he had friends who generally cared for him, a job he actually enjoyed doing, and he'd even begun to ignore the Cardiff weather. Yup, all in all, he was getting along just fine... until it all changed.
Having finished the weekly shopping trip to Tesco's, Draco was humming quietly to himself as he approached his front door; he didn't know what the song was called, but he heard it in the market and now he couldn't get it out of his head. Shuffling the carrier bags so he could reach his keys, Draco opened the door and entered the flat he still shared with Ianto and came to a sudden halt, the bags falling to his feet in a heap. However, last time that had happened, it was because he'd walked in on Jack and Ianto stark naked on their couch and in the middle of a rather heated love-making season.
Draco had been up before dawn the very next day to throw the offending piece of furniture out for the bin men to collect. When Ianto saw the new sofa that Draco had delivered that very afternoon, he wisely didn't say a thing, although Jack had chuckled knowingly. In fact, Ianto had even had the grace to blush and shyly murmur 'thanks' as he'd led Jack down the hall to his bedroom. As the door closed behind them, Draco could hear Ianto chastising Jack for laughing, which only made Jack laugh even louder.
Gathering his spilled groceries from the floor, Draco dumped them on the kitchen table and then glared at Ianto as he demanded, "What are they doing here?"
Seated on the couch across from Ianto were Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. Ianto sighed. "Draco, surely you remember that Neville and Luna were two of my closest friends at Hogwarts, and that they played a big part in helping me disappear from the wizarding world." The moment Ianto had befriend Neville and Luna had proved how different a Slytherin he was from the norm, only to cement that fact home when he fought on the light side during the war.
Luna smiled sweetly at Draco. "It's good to see you free from the darkness that hung off you but you still have a way to go before you find your happy ending.."
Neville, Ianto and Draco just stared with bewildered awe at the dreamy-eyed blond woman who inexplicably began humming the same jingle that Draco heard playing in Tesco's. "Do I even want to ask what she meant by that?" Draco asked; as always, he was quite unsure of how to deal with Luna.
A small smile appeared on Neville's face. "If you want to stay sane then no, just go with the flow, cos sooner or later whatever she's talking about will become clear." A teasing glint entered his eyes as they landed on Ianto. "So, Draco, tell me all about this Jack person; is he being good to our Ianto?"
Ianto's face turned an adorable shade of red as Draco smirked wickedly. "Oh, the things I have to tell you! I just don't know where to start!"
Somehow to everyone's surprise, Neville and Luna became full-blown members of Torchwood Three. Ianto was convinced that it was because Luna reminded Jack of the Doctor and his off-the-wall way of predicting things and he'd decided that it was a good idea to be able to keep a close eye on her. And to Draco's horror he found he actually liked spending time with them, something he never would have done while they were at Hogwarts, although he would never tell them that; after all, he did have a reputation to uphold. And he would deny to his dying day that he was beginning to have feelings for one of them that were more than simple friendship.
Never in his wildest dreams did Draco think the day would come would come when Neville and Luna would be two of his best friends; the only one closer to him than them was Ianto. It was scary how much they and their lives had changed over the past seven years. They had all grown in different ways and the two most unlikely people from the wizarding world were now the best friends the former Prince of Slytherin could ask for.
After Luna and Neville joined Torchwood Three things really began to get interesting. The four wizards managed to stop Bilis Manger from not only sending Tosh and Jack back in time but they also managed to stop him from unleashing his master, the demon monster Abaddon. In between these big events, the team dealt with myriad Rift alerts and Weevil sightings, as well as mundane events like the pipe in the upper level bathroom bursting and creating a lovely waterfall-effect down the Hub's side wall.
Then one day, the Doctor arrived for an unexpected visit, and with Ianto's urging and blessing, Jack left Cardiff with the Time Lord hoping to get answers he'd been waiting for nearly two hundred years. Despite the hell that the Master unleashed on the world, the wizarding world remained blissfully ignorant of and untouched by the invasion of the Toclafane and the subsequent decimation of Earth's population.
Unfortunately, something went wrong when Jack destroyed the paradox machine, thus freeing the TARDIS from her imprisonment and sending time spinning backwards. Somehow, those who magical persons who were in the muggle's world and all the muggles who were at the centre of the event clearly remembered the Year That Never Was and that brought forth a whole new set of problems, starting with the arrival of one John Hart.
Having reluctantly surrendered all of his weapons to Ianto and his silver tray, John Hart eyed every piece of eye candy on Jack's team, deliberately and blatantly running his eyes over their bodies. He knew instantly that the handsome man in the well-fitted suit who'd locked his weapons away belonged to Jack; his ex's body language screamed 'touch him and I will rip you into tiny pieces!'
Deciding to put the conquest of Ianto's body aside until later, John instead focused his attention on Luna and Draco. "Oh, two blonds!" he leered enthusiastically. "Just think of the fun I could have with them!"
As John turned his lascivious grin on Tosh's direction, Suzie growled low in her throat and took a protective stance in front of both Tosh and Luna. It was a move that had Jack raising a curious eyebrow as he heard his second-in-command hiss out a warning. "Keep your eyes to yourself and I won't be force to rip them out of your head."
Instead of being threatened John merely grinned at Suzie, "Oh, I like you," he informed her. "You're going to be a real tigress in my bed!" he announced before turning his attention to Jack and to the immortal's abject horror, the troublesome former Time Agent declared, "I think I'm going to like it here!"
After John led them on a wild goose chase that ended up with Gwen once again being the damsel in distress, Draco and Suzie couldn't help but wish John had thrown Gwen into the Rift along with the bomb. To Jack's dismay and until he flirted with Neville, Draco's amusement, John Hart refused to leave Cardiff stating that he was going to stay and enjoy the sights. The fact that he was openly leering at Ianto and Owen when he had said that was how they inexplicably ended up with another former Time Agent on the team.
Draco had no clue how it happened but somehow he found himself thinking about Neville in more than friendly terms. Sure Neville had grown up into a very handsome man but he wasn't Draco's type so why couldn't he stop thinking about him. And then there was Luna and her mysterious, unnerving smile, and the way she'd wink every time she saw the two of them together.
Watching Draco and Neville tiptoe around each other, Luna wondered how two boys could be just so stupid and blind? Didn't they see their friendship had blossomed into something so much more? 'Men! I will never understand them or how hard it is for them to talk about their feelings. Thank goodness I had the sense to fall for Tosh and Suzie.'
Now normally Luna was a very peaceful if spacey girl but right now she was ready to bang Neville and Draco's heads together and knock some sense into them. Luna just couldn't understand what they were waiting for. Even Owen had found happiness with John Hart of all people, after the Time Agent, tired of having Owen avoid and ignore him, had practically jumped the medic's bones one night. 'I just wish they could have acted on their feelings without this,' Luna thought sadly.
Then Gwen's fiancé, Rhys Williams, the brave and supportive Welshman who thought the sun rose and set with his girlfriend stumbled into the world of Torchwood and got pulled into their latest mission. Everyone on the team felt pity for him; they all thought Rhys was a genuinely good guy who deserved far better than Gwen Cooper, especially when they saw the way Gwen used her relationship with Rhys in a twisted attempt to make Jack jealous. Her efforts failed miserably however, because ever since he'd publically staked his claim on his Welshman that night at the pub Jack only had eyes for Ianto.
As they neared the Warehouse that stored the poor lost space creature that they were going to try and rescue, Draco couldn't get rid of a feeling of foreboding that permeated his being.
'Well, this is a complete disaster!' Was the main thought running through Draco's mind as he followed Jack's lead and stepped out into the open with his arms raised in the air.
The rescue plan had abruptly fallen apart when the men responsible for carving a Space Whale into saleable chunks managed to capture Ianto. At Gwen's haughty insistence, he'd gone to check on Rhys; contrary to her assumption that Rhys was either frightened or useless, Ianto discovered that his fellow Welshman was handling himself quite admirably, given the circumstances. Then, in what Draco, John and Suzie all privately thought was a bonehead move, Gwen deliberately disobeyed Jack's orders and gave herself up to the villains. Once again, Gwen's insistence that she knew better than anyone else had placed his mate in danger and Jack couldn't stand back and let that happen.
Things went out of control from that moment on. Rhys got shot in a very brave and crazy move to protect Gwen. Dale then swung his gun around onto Draco who was trying to stop the flow of blood coming from Rhys. Neville didn't think at that moment; he just acted on instinct as he saw the gun's muzzle pointed at Draco. Sudden and intense pain blossomed in his chest; it was something he'd only felt when on the receiving end of one of the Death Eater's dark curses.
Ianto freed his hands from their rope manacles at the same moment he saw his friend get hit and without giving a single thought to his own safety, Ianto wrestled desperately to get the gun away from his captors. Dale pulled the trigger several times during the struggle and in an unforeseeable tragedy, the bullets ended up striking the Space Whale. Hearing the magnificent creature cry out with pain gave Ianto a very heavy heart.
Despite Ianto's best efforts to disarm the man, Dale finally overpowered him and Ianto found himself staring down the receiving end of Dale's gun. As he prepared himself for the end, the only thing Ianto could think of was, 'Please don't let Jack see me die!'
"Die!" Dale snarled savagely as his finger slowly began to squeeze the trigger.
Ianto refused to be cowed and his eyes remained wide open and fixed on Dale's. Suddenly, two gunshots rang out simultaneously and Dale drooped to the floor, dead. Ianto blinked as he found himself staring into his would-be killer's empty, sightless eyes before slowly getting to his feet and looking around. He immediately saw that both Jack and John had their guns out and it was clear who had saved him.
Desperately wishing he could take his young lover in his arms and reassure them both that he was okay, Jack hated himself for having to do this instead, but Ianto was the only one in a position to pursue the others. "Ianto, go after them!"
Ianto wrenched his gaze from Jack's, took one look at Neville lying bleeding in Draco's arms, and felt his magic stir to life. It took all of Ianto's self-control not to let loose with his magic and wreck vengeance on Dale's cohorts. 'No I have a much better plan.' Ianto grinned as his hand landed on his Taser.
At the mission's successful albeit heartbreaking conclusion, Draco somehow found the strength to contain himself long enough to make sure Neville was going to be all right before he struck. Snarling like a feral beast he tightened his hand around Gwen's throat and bared his teeth at the sound of her terrified squeak. As his fellow team members tried to calm him down, Draco had only one thing to say. "She nearly got Neville killed because she can't follow orders! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't end her miserable life right here and now?" His fingers visibly tightened around Gwen's neck and her eyes actually began to bulge out.
Knowing he only had one chance of stopping his friend from doing something he'd forever regret, Ianto rested his hand on Draco's shoulder; his own blue-grey eyes were flashing with barely controlled rage over his friend injury. Keeping his voice low and reassuring, Ianto quietly responded, "Because she's not worth you staining your hands with her blood and more importantly, Neville wouldn't want you to do this."
Draco looked deeply into Ianto's eyes, seeing the truth in his friend's gaze, the young wizard relaxed his grip on Gwen's throat. He paid no attention to the fact that she fell to the ground, gasping for air with tears streaming down her face. Leaving her lying there, Ianto led Draco over to the sofa and sat down with him, one arm around his friend's shoulders.
As he watched his young lover talking quietly with his teammate, Jack knew the time had come when he had to make the choice he'd been putting off for quite a while. In his heart, he knew that Gwen hadn't fit in with Torchwood from day one and the sad thing was that she hadn't even tried to become a member of the team. She had consistently and deliberately disobeyed every one of his orders and with her selfless actions today she had put everyone in danger, especially his beloved Ianto. "Gwen, in my office now! Owen, take good care of them."
Feeling significantly better after talking with Ianto, Draco went down to the medical bay where Owen was treating Neville's wound. Fortunately, it was a through-and-through in his side, an injury he would soon heal from. Despite Owen's thinly veiled threats, "get out of my way or I'll feed you to Janet", Draco refused to leave his fellow wizard's side even as the others huddled together around Tosh's desk listening to the unbelievable scene playing out upstairs.
For several excruciatingly tense minutes the team listened to Gwen pleading for a second chance, "I can do better, I promise, I was just distracted by seeing Rhys in so much danger! Jack, please just give me another chance, I will prove to you that I belong here with you," followed by her feeble attempts to cast blame on the other team members, "It's not my fault, Jack! Every time I try to do my job John and Draco get in the way and make me look bad; they're clearly jealous of me, and I'm pretty sure that Tosh has been altering the videos to make her look good."
When her words fell on deaf ears, Gwen tried a different tack. "You know, Jack, I didn't want to have to say this, in fact, I was hoping that he'd be man enough to come forward and tell you himself, but Ianto really messed up bad back at the warehouse. I mean, he was so careless and unprepared that he got himself captured, for pity's sake! That was just a rookie mistake, he could have gotten us all killed! Ianto is just a Tea-Boy, Jack; he really shouldn't be let out in the field with the rest of us."
Even though his blood was boiling through his veins as he listened to Gwen malign his beloved Welshman, Jack still managed to calmly survey the woman over steepled fingers. "Is that your professional opinion, Gwen?"
Thinking that Jack was actually on her side, Gwen warmed to her topic. "Oh yes, Jack. Back when I was a constable, Ianto would never have graduated from basic training! I know you think you have feelings for him, but I think that's just because you like his coffee."
"Well, he does make good coffee," Jack permitted a brief smile to cross his face.
"That's right! See, even you agree that he belongs in the kitchen, not out in the field with professionals like you and me."
Confident that she was safely back in Jack's good graces, Gwen brazenly took a seat on the corner of Jack's desk. "So, we're agreed then, from now on Ianto stays in the Hub while we're in the field. You know, Jack," her voice changed to what she thought was a sultry tone, "I'll be happy to go Weevil hunting with you any time you want."
Down on the Hub's main floor, John snorted with laughter and Tosh blushed sweetly. They all knew that Jack and Ianto's version of 'Weevil hunting' included some very hot and sexy after-action.
"Uh... yeah, that's not gonna happen," Jack couldn't prevent the knowing smile that lit up his face. 'I do love Weevil hunting with Ianto!' "You're done here."
No matter how much she cried her crocodile tears, pleaded and bargained with him, and threatened him with bodily harm, Jack still fired Gwen and ordered both her and Rhys to be Retconned. As Jack escorted her down the stairs and out the cog door, the members of Torchwood watched and listened as she heaped foul-mouthed curses and insults at them all, although Ianto certainly drew the brunt of her verbal abuse. For safety's sake, Tosh keyed up the CCTV coverage of the Tourist Office's front door, and it wasn't until they watched Gwen stomp off across the Plass that they released a communally held breath.
Down in the med bay, Owen had finished tending to Neville's injury and had injected him with a combination pain killer and sedative. "It was a clean wound, I've stitched him up and he'll rest now," the medic reassured Draco. A quick glance at the way Draco was clutching Neville's hand sent him a clear message and he quickly tidied up, shed his white coat and went up to the main floor.
As he watched Gwen growing smaller and smaller on the CCTV monitor, he felt a brief wave of sympathy. Having been in Gwen's shoes of being fired from Torchwood, Owen knew exactly how she was feeling. At some point in the twenty-four hours, she would be Retconned; Jack would find a way to get to her and the next time she woke up, she'd never remember Jack, Torchwood or any of the fantastic things she'd seen and experienced over the past few years. Once again, Owen thanked his lucky stars that he'd been able to fix things with Jack and stay with Torchwood.
Seeing Owen, both Ianto and Luna hurried over to the railing, anxious to see about their friend, but when they saw the tender way that Draco was pushing back Neville's fringe and the way that Neville reached up and brushed a tear from Draco's cheek, they knew it was time to give the men their privacy. Sensing that a long overdue talk between the two men was about to begin, Luna and Ianto quickly ushered everyone out of the Hub with the promise that they'd pay for the first round at their local.
Neville blinked sleepily at Draco as the blonde wizard glared down at him with worry and fury in his eyes. "What the hell were you thinking?" Draco roared his calm suddenly completely gone. "It's that damn Gryffindor bravery that compels you to risk your life for others. I would have been fine!" He was so upset that he was squeezing Neville's hand a bit too tightly, which he realised when Neville squeaked in pain and pulled his hand away.
At one time Neville would have shrunk in on himself and never dared to speak up but he was no longer that scared boy. Neville Longbottom had fearlessly stood up to Voldemort and he certainly wasn't about to back down now. Deep down inside, he knew that Draco was simply taking his fear of losing him out on him and he tried to keep that in mind. "I was thinking about protecting you! You're shorter than me, Draco; that bullet could have killed you and I couldn't let that happen."
That pronouncement stunned the blond and left him with his mouth hanging and truth be told, he wasn't exactly sure how he should react to that. One minute ago, he'd feeling extraordinarily grateful that Neville was still alive, and now he was feeling extremely touched that anyone would risk their life for him, much less Neville. Only his mother had ever protected him before and try as he might, he couldn't help but blush at the protective look in Neville's eyes and he reacted the only way he knew how. "I don't need anyone to protect me! I certainly didn't need you to throw yourself in front of a bul..."
Draco's protest was cut off when Neville reached up with his good arm, wrapped it around the blonde's neck and smashed their lips together in a very possessive kiss. Draco couldn't contain his moan of long-hidden desire as Neville laid claim to every inch of his mouth.
The kiss went on for several moments until the need for air finally forced them apart and Draco blinked with bewilderment as he came to realise that somehow during their kiss he had ended up on Neville's lap with Neville's good arm wrapped possessively around his waist. Deciding that he rather liked where he was, Draco licked his suddenly dry lips and then blushed when he saw the depth of the love and lust blazing in the dark-haired man's eyes. Knowing that it was all for him made Draco's belly clench with need.
This time, it was Draco who initiated their next kiss, and he put his all into plundering Neville's mouth; as their tongues battled one another, he felt himself desperately wishing they were anywhere but the examination table in the medical bay. Realising that it he didn't stop soon they'd reach a point of no return, Draco ended their kiss and pulled far enough away that he could look Neville in the eye. "Why did you really take a bullet for me?" he whispered; before let himself go any further, he needed to know that his feelings weren't one-sided.
Neville favoured Draco with a soft smile and a gentle kiss to his forehead. "Because I love you, Draco Malfoy, and it would destroy me if anything were to happen to you."
As he realised that Neville returned his feelings Draco's heart thudded so loudly in his chest that he was sure the other man could hear it. It felt oddly wonderful – or perhaps wonderfully odd – that someone other than his mother could love him back and was willing to say so out loud. "I love you too, Neville Longbottom, which is why you are never allowed to put yourself in danger again."
"Oh is that so?"Neville's eyebrow disappeared into his hair as he studied Draco's face fondly. "Then I guess you'll just have to stick around to make sure that I don't get into any more trouble, won't you," he said coyly. "You know us Gryffindor; we always put ourselves in danger."
Draco let out a dramatic, put-upon sigh complete with an eye roll that would have made Ianto jealous. "If I must."
Neville grinned with delight as he tightened his grip on Draco's waist. "Oh, trust me, lover, you must," he purred before pulling Draco into another soul-searing kiss.
Daily life and Torchwood business in the Hub flowed so much smoother with Gwen Retconned and gone; Tosh even remarked that it was as if new life had been breathed into the Hub. And as Neville wrapped arms comfortably around his new boyfriend's waist, Draco realised that he finally had something he would never have had in his old life, he had friends that truly cared for him and someone who loved him and he knew that he couldn't be happier.