Summary: Season 2, sometime before Reset. While the rest of the team are hunting Weevils, Ianto Jones disappears from the Hub. When the CCTV shows that the Doctor is responsible, what will Jack do?
Amy wrapped her arms around her knees as she watched Rory stagger to the bed where the Doctor lay motionless. Well, motionless except for the TARDIS’s random whirling. It was making her seasick. Or space-sick, or Void-sick, whatever. She didn’t want to move from the mattress that they had anchored so carefully. “How is he?” she called to her husband.
Rory had lowered himself to the floor. “It’s easier to crawl,” he explained. He didn’t come straight back though; he detoured to the box of food that they had brought with them. He extracted two pouches of juice and some power bars, and then rolled over to her. “We need to eat.”
“Don’t want to,” Amy said. “I’ll hurl.”
“Try anyway. We’ll need our strength.”
She took a swallow of the liquid and made a face. “It’s got a kick like pomegranate. Probably some greenish yellow thing somewhere in the Greater Andalusian galaxy on a planet named Gorlitiricia picked by people three feet tall with arms that can extend to the top of the trees.”
Rory grinned. “Or it could just be pomegranate like it says on the label.”
“With him you never know.” She shook her head. “How is he?”
“His pulse is normal for his double hearts and he’s breathing all right.” As the TARDIS swung violently, Rory grabbed the bars before they skidded away. “It’s not time for another shot yet.”
“It’s the not knowing, you know? We don’t understand what’s happening to him. We don’t know what’s going on with the TARDIS. Pretty much all we know is that he said this would fix the timelines he’d messed up.” She broke off a piece of Rory’s bar and chewed it solemnly. After she swallowed she said, “He was really hard on himself. Said he was a coward and he’d betrayed someone more than once and time was fractured because he was too stubborn to do anything to fix it.”
Rory slid an arm around her shoulders. She leaned into him, feeling somehow safer. His voice was soothing. “I didn’t get that much. But I did get a name. A first one anyway. He said that after what he was doing, he’d be lucky if Jack ever spoke to him again.”
“So now we know of two people. Ianto Jones and Jack whoever. I wonder who else will show up?”
Owen was sitting with Martha going over their readings of yesterday when he heard laughter coming up through the tunnel from the car park. It was Jack’s laugh – the one where he was genuinely amused and not just making noise for effect. He stood and went to meet them. “Well, if it isn’t Captain Glow and Golden Boy. Nice of you to join us.”
Ianto raised an eyebrow at him, and looked at Jack. “He’s been waiting just to deliver that line. No wonder he’s annoyed.”
Jack grinned and said, “Good morning to you, too, Owen. And ladies.” He made a flourishing bow.
Owen made a gagging gesture. Tosh stepped to Ianto and hugged him. “You look good today. I’m glad.”
“I feel okay,” Ianto said. “I’m going to make some coffee. Jack has had his caffeine buzz, but I’m guessing the rest of you haven’t.”
“Even if we had, we’d still want yours,” Gwen assured him.
“I’ve heard it’s quite something,” Martha added.
Ianto turned away, but not before they’d seen the blush. Owen shook his head. How someone who’d been shacking up with Jack Harkness could still do that was beyond him. At first Owen had thought it was part of the innocent act that Ianto had put on for all of them before they’d found his crazy robot in the basement, but he’d since decided it was genetic.
Jack had started after Ianto and Owen called to them, “When you bring ours down, be prepared to get poked with needles. Martha and I are thirsty for blood this morning.”
As they went down the stairs into the med bay, Martha said, “I’ve never seen Jack look like that.”
“Like what?” Owen started setting out tubes and syringes. He was a good doctor, but not such a great phlebotomist. Hopefully Martha could do it better than he could.
“Like happy.” Martha began marking the tubes. “I mean, he smiles and he’s charming, and he certainly knows the effect he has on people, but he’s always seemed to me sort of detached. So close and no closer, you know? But with Ianto…” She trailed off.
Owen looked up at her and shrugged. “We don’t know what it is either. My theory is that Ianto Jones is really some sort of alien lust god and Jack is the only one that he affects. Tosh just thinks it’s romantic. Gwen… well, Gwen wanted – maybe still wants – Jack to herself, but since Jack’s return from that little trip that he’s never told us about, it’s been pretty much all Ianto, all the time.” He mimed zipping his lips. “They’re coming.”
“Never mind, Dr. Harper, I know you were gossiping.” Ianto came down the stairs holding a tray. Jack followed him, sipping coffee from the cup Ianto reserved for him. Owen had been on the receiving end of instant decaf when he’d nicked Jack’s mug once. He had never tried it again.
Ianto offered the tray to Martha. “Careful,” he warned. “It’s hot.”
Owen snagged his cup and they all watched Martha as she sipped. Her eyes widened and she looked up. “It’s true. I didn’t believe it, but it’s true.” She glanced at Owen and grinned. “I thought it was just more of your nonsense.” She turned back to Ianto and said, “I hope you’ll let me worship at your feet like the others. This is fantastic.”
The blush crossed his cheeks again, but he smiled. “The first one’s always free,” he said in a mock-undertone. “Remember, you’ll have to come to your supplier if you want more.” Ianto put the tray down, but stiffened. Gesturing at the tray of syringes he said, “Are you planning on taking all my blood?”
“Only half. The other half will be from our illustrious leader. Roll up your sleeve, boss.”
“Hey!” Jack was frowning, but only slightly. “What do you need my blood for?”
“Comparison, you whiner.” Owen patted the table. “Come on. Don’t dawdle.”
Jack sighed dramatically. “Oh, the sacrifices I make…” He sat on the table and scooted towards Ianto until they were touching hip to shoulder. “At least I get to share it with you.”
“How sweet.” Owen mimed gagging again. “Give me your arm, Captain.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Martha taking Ianto’s blood. She had drawn her three vials and was reaching for a plaster when she stopped, her eyes riveted on the injection site. Ianto, who like most sensible people, had turned his head away, snapped it back at her gasp. Jack barked, “What?” at her.
Martha said slowly, “It’s gone.”
“What’s gone?” Owen said, having a sudden inkling of what she was going to say.
“The needle mark. It’s not there.”
They all stared at Ianto’s skin just below the elbow. It was smooth and unmarked. Martha indicated the vein she had drawn from. “It was there. The hole and a small bruise.”
Owen glanced at Jack’s arm, but he knew he would find the same thing. Jack always healed before his eyes. Without thinking, he grabbed a scalpel. With a muttered, “Won’t be deep,” he scratched Ianto’s arm with the blade, giving Ianto no chance to protest. It started to bleed and then stopped, sealed itself and disappeared. They all stared.
“Jack!” Tosh’s shout caught them all by surprise. “The TARDIS signature! It’s on the Plas near the fountain!”
“Well,” the Doctor said cheerfully to Donna, “this is Cardiff. Soon we’ll get an answer to the mystery. I’ll just set the old girl to refuel…”
“Refuel?” Donna stared. “The TARDIS uses fuel?”
“Not like petrol or anything. Cardiff has a Rift running through it. Didn’t I mention that?”
“No. What’s so special about this Rift thing?”
“This one actually is a hole through which things travel in time and space. Taps right into the Time Vortex. Great for the TARDIS. Bad for the immediate surroundings though. That’s what Torchwood does – protects people from what comes through the Rift.”
Donna sighed and shrugged. “Whatever. Let’s get out and see what’s going on.”
The Doctor grinned. It would be nice to see Jack and Martha again, no matter what the circumstances. He’d help straighten out the problem and they could have a nice reunion party. “Follow me,” he said, breezing through the door.
She was right behind him, but they hadn’t taken more than three steps when the distinctive sound of guns being cocked stopped them. The Doctor looked up into the cold eyes of the man he called Jack Harkness. Spread out around them were two women and a man, their faces determined. Standing behind Jack were a tall dark-haired man and Martha Jones.
The Doctor was surprised, but tried not to show it. “Is this how Torchwood greets all their visitors?” he said, using his most cheerful voice as though it were some sort of joke.
“No,” Jack said. His voice was like steel. “This is how the friends and teammates of Ianto Jones treat his abductor. Step away from the TARDIS, Doctor, and keep your hands away from your coat.” Jack didn’t take his eyes off the Doctor, but spoke seemingly to Donna. “I don’t know who you are, Ma’am, but I have no quarrel with you. If you want, go back inside. Otherwise, step away from the Doctor so you don’t get caught in the crossfire.”
“Donna, do as he says,” the Doctor ordered. He was beginning to understand how serious this was. This was not his cocky and fun-loving Companion. This was the ex-Time Agent, the thoroughly trained soldier, facing down an enemy. “Go back in the TARDIS.”
“I’m not leaving you.” She stepped in front of the Doctor. “I’m Donna Noble. Just what are you on about anyway? The Doctor didn’t abduct anyone.”
Jack’s glance didn’t flicker. “We don’t plan to hurt you, but you’re coming into the Hub. We want answers.”
The Doctor tried again. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jack. I didn’t…”
“Ianto,” Jack interrupted, “is this what you saw in the Hub?”
The man behind Jack spoke. “Yes, that’s the TARDIS.”
“And do you recognize this man?”
“He’s the man who came out of the TARDIS. He waved something with a blue light on the end and that’s all I remember.”
There was no mistaking the ring of truth in his voice. The Doctor was bewildered. Jack went ruthlessly on. “Gwen, do you recognize this man?”
“We saw him on the CCTV. He’s the man we saw standing over Ianto in his flat. He said, ‘He’s just sleeping’ and then went inside that thing there.” She pointed at the TARDIS. “It disappeared after that.”
The Doctor tried again. “Martha, you surely…”
Martha was shaking her head. “I saw the CCTV footage of you, Doctor. I saw you point your screwdriver at Ianto. I saw him fall and I saw you drag him into the TARDIS. And then later, it was just like Gwen said. You were standing over Ianto in his flat. I saw you with my own eyes. And you were caught on the CCTV again. You abducted Ianto. There’s no denying it.”
The Doctor slumped in defeat. Even Martha was against him. He looked at Donna. She was staring wide-eyed at him, doubt in her eyes. “All right,” he said. “I didn’t do this, so I don’t know what answers I can give. I’ll come inside.”
“Not armed. Very slowly take your screwdriver out and give it to Miss Noble. Miss Noble, you’ll take it over to the woman on your left.”
“My screwdriver isn’t a weapon,” the Doctor protested.
“I’ve seen what you can do with it and I’m not exposing my team to your tricks.” Jack was implacable.
Sighing, the Doctor slowly reached into his inner pocket and withdrew the screwdriver. He held it between thumb and forefinger and passed it to Donna. “Do as he says, Donna. Please.”
She marched over to the Japanese woman and thrust it at her. “Don’t break it,” she said. Somewhat nastily, the Doctor thought.
“Owen, with me,” Jack said. “We’ll take them down on the lift. The rest of you go the other way.”
When the lift reached the floor of the Hub, Jack ordered Owen to take Donna and the Doctor to the conference room. For himself, he knew he needed to put some distance between them before he choked the Time Lord until he turned blue. He ran lightly across to the cog wheel door and waited until it rolled back.
“Go on up to the conference room,” he told them, but caught Ianto’s hand before he could move away to pull him into the kitchenette. Ianto glanced at him and tugged him into his arms before Jack could say anything. Of course he knows what I need, Jack thought as he rested his head in the curve of Ianto’s shoulder. He always knows.
“Let the anger go, ami munuar,” Ianto whispered soothingly. “It won’t help us get answers. We need those most of all.”
“I know,” Jack whispered back. “But to listen to him denying everything… It’s worse than I thought. He’s lying and we don’t know why.”
“We’ll show him our proof. There’s no mistaking it was him I saw. He’s even wearing the same hideous suit.”
The note of sartorial snobbery in Ianto’s voice plowed through Jack’s emotional upheaval and he felt himself smiling. “Well,” he said, raising his head, “we can’t expect everyone to have your exquisite taste.”
“That’s better.” Ianto gave him that smirk that he liked so much. “You’re Captain Jack Harkness and you’re going in there to smack down an alien. We all know you can do it.”
“That’s right, I can.” Jack took a deep breath. “Just one thing. For now, stay close, and keep me between you and him. I wish I had more time to explain. There’s a reason. I’ll let him get a good look at you in a while, but for now, I don’t want you to face him alone.”
“All right,” Ianto conceded. “I’ll cater to your paranoia for a bit. Just don’t make a habit of it.”
“Thanks.” They shared a chaste kiss and then went up to the conference room. Ianto followed Jack with his usual deftness, keeping Jack carefully in between himself and the Doctor. Jack had always admired the way Ianto could do that – move in a way that didn’t look at all deliberate, but was.
Instead of his usual seat, Jack sat in the middle of the table, directly facing the Doctor. Ianto sat behind and to the right of him, so that he could see, but still keeping most of Jack in front. Jack drew in a deep breath. “Are you ready to tell the truth now, Doctor?”
“I am telling the truth, Jack. I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I haven’t abducted anyone.”
The Doctor’s denial sent anger down Jack’s spine, but he didn’t let it show. He said evenly, “Tosh, show them the abduction.”
She nodded and started the playback. Jack didn’t look at it. He watched the Doctor’s face. Many expressions flitted across his countenance, but the most common one was bewilderment. When it stopped, he turned his head to Jack. “I don’t understand…”
Jack stopped him with a harsh statement. “The camera shows the TARDIS clearly. You, dressed just as you are now, came out of her and assaulted Ianto with your damn screwdriver and dragged him onto her. It’s right there in front of your eyes. Play the return, Tosh.”
The playback from one of the cameras they had put into Ianto’s flat came on. The TARDIS faded in and the Doctor emerged, again pulling Ianto along the floor. He laid him down just as the door burst open to show Jack with Martha and Gwen just behind. Jack had dived to the floor beside Ianto, but the women had watched open-mouthed as the Doctor stepped back inside the TARDIS and the ship faded from sight. Jack made a motion and Tosh stopped it.
The Doctor didn’t move. He was staring at the blank screen. Jack let a little of his inner rage show in his voice as he said, “Still deny that you had anything to do with it, Doctor? What lie are you going to tell next? Not the TARDIS? Not you coming out of her? Not your screwdriver? Not your hands dragging Ianto around like some sort of rag doll?”
The Time Lord finally looked at him. “I… I can’t… it wasn’t me, Jack. I wouldn’t do that. I’m your friend…”
That was the final straw. Jack jumped to his feet and leaned across the table, his voice cold. “You are not my friend! You have never been my friend. My only friend on your ship was Rose and she’s gone! You abandoned me in a dead satellite in a heap of Dalek dust. You avoided me for more than a century. When I finally managed to chase you down, you went to the end of the universe to try and get rid of me. And when I was dying in a room full of radiation – a job that you volunteered me for while I was dead – you told me I was wrong and you couldn’t bear to look at me!”
Jack went on relentlessly. “You need more proof of what you did? You still don’t believe it? Then take a good look at Ianto now!” Ianto rose as if on cue and came forward. Jack strode to the door of the room leaving Ianto facing the Doctor. “Is he wrong, too? The Vortex is in him, isn’t it? And where would he have got it if not in the TARDIS? Look at him, Doctor, and tell me he hasn’t been in you ship. You’ve made him like me, haven’t you? An impossible thing that shouldn’t exist? Will you for once tell me the truth?”
The Doctor stared at Ianto who met his eyes without a trace of expression. He turned wide eyes to Jack and then back to Ianto. “It can’t be,” he whispered. His eyes rolled back in his head and he fainted.
The TARDIS stopped moving. So did the Doctor. Rory jumped to his feet and went to the table where he proceeded to make a thorough examination. He let out a sigh of relief and smiled at Amy. “It’s okay,” he said. “Everything’s still working. Pulses and respiration are fine, and the meters are giving readings again. See?”
She came to his side and looked at the screen. Rory was right. The random dots on the screen were resolving themselves into letters and numbers and graphs. She could feel the hum of the ship’s normal rhythms. “I guess we’ve turned the corner,” she said.
“I hope so.” Rory showed her his watch. “Another eighteen hours and he should wake up.”
Amy grabbed him around the waist and led him in an impromptu dance. “I knew you could do it!” She ended it by giving him a long sloppy kiss.
“It’s not over yet,” he warned.
“But she feels better and he looks better. Don’t be such a downer.” She crossed to the door. “I’m going to make us something hot to eat. And, then I’d like to suggest…”
Amy winked at him. “Well, if he’s resting comfortably and we still have a few hours, there is that lovely garden we could explore.”
He caught her drift. “Exploration is always good for the mind,” he agreed solemnly.
She laughed and headed for the kitchen.
Ianto had watched the others take the Doctor’s limp form out of the room – to the Med Bay he supposed – but he didn’t move to follow. He kept hearing echoes of Jack’s words as his mind struggled to readjust. Jack thought he was now carrying the energy of the Vortex which would make him… not exactly immortal, but unable to stay dead. Instead of a short Torchwood lifespan he was looking at one that would stretch into trillions of years and that was too overwhelming to consider.
Gentle familiar hands rested on his shoulders and turned him around. Concerned blue eyes met his. Jack said, “I’m not going to ask something stupid like ‘Are you okay?’ I know you’re not. I’m sorry I did it this way. I wanted to warn you, but…”
“It’s all right,” Ianto said, surprising himself. His voice sounded so normal to his ears, even though everything had changed. “When did you know?”
“I didn’t know until I saw him look at you without me in between. It didn’t even cross my mind until we saw you heal that cut this morning.”
“Owen said energy like the Rift only not. The glow when we touch…”
“It’s Vortex energy. I should have guessed.”
Ianto closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, he said, “What are we going to do?”
Jack suddenly smiled and pulled him into a close embrace. Ianto relaxed and let his head rest on Jack’s shoulder. “I like your pronouns, Jones, Ianto Jones,” Jack said. “We – as in the two of us together.”
“I… I just don’t… I’m sorry…”
“Shut up,” Jack said, the words more like a caress than a rebuke. “Do you remember telling me that when I apologized for sneaking into your room the night I got back and watching you sleep? ‘Shut up and let me help’ were your exact words. So now I’m saying it. Shut up and let me help, ami taviav. We’ll figure this out.” Jack tilted his chin up and kissed him lightly. “Right now, there’s a very selfish part of me that wants to waltz you all over the Hub singing thanks to anyone who will listen that you won’t be taken away from me by death.”
The knot of tension and shock around Ianto’s gut loosened a little. “I’ll let you be selfish if you’ll keep me from falling apart.”
Jack grinned at him. Ianto felt his heart lighten more. “I know you’re still in shock. But it’s all right. You’ll be all right.” Jack kissed him again, longer and deeper. “We’ll be all right.”
Ianto believed him.
They’d given Donna a stool to sit on while she watched the two physicians work on the Doctor. They were quick and efficient, although the man had a sour look on his face. She wondered if he always looked like that. He had since the moment she saw him. The other one, Martha Jones, the woman that had called and left all the messages was nicer. Since she had travelled with the Doctor, Donna was willing to trust that she knew what to do.
When they finally stopped hooking things up, Owen made a note on a clipboard. “Well, my diagnosis is a common garden-variety faint. What do you think, Dr. Jones?”
“That’s what it looks like.” Martha peered closely at a screen. “Brain rhythms indicate he’s sleeping.”
“I’ll take your word for it. Seems a little active for ordinary sleep.”
“Time Lord brain.”
“Right.” He put the clipboard down. “I should go check on Ianto now that our visitor is stable, but I don’t want to catch love’s young dream in a clinch. It messes with my sensibilities.” Either he’d forgotten Donna was there, or he didn’t care, probably the latter. “But we know how Jack feels about his immortality. If this guy gave Ianto the same treatment, there’s going to be a lot of emotion flying all over the place. I’d just as soon treat it now than wait for an explosion.”
Martha looked up at him. “I think that’s a good idea. Check Jack’s blood pressure while you’re at it. See if you can get him to calm down. He’s been so wrought up and now this. I’m not sure how much more he can take.”
Owen grabbed a cuff from a cabinet and headed up the stairs. Martha watched him go and then leaned close to the Doctor. “All right,” she said coldly. “You’ve got one minute to tell me what’s going on before Jack and I throw you into a cell to rot.”
The Doctor’s eyes popped open. He took in the entire Med Bay with both Donna and Martha and then said, “It’s true then,” he whispered in a sad voice. “I didn’t dream it.”
“True that you’re a kidnapper, yes.” Martha did not show any signs of relenting. “True that your ship changed Ianto to be like Jack, yes. Now tell me why and it had better be good.”
He shook his head and sat up. “I know what has happened, but I don’t know why. For that we’ll have to see if the TARDIS knows.”
“Jack is not letting you back on the TARDIS until he gets an explanation. He’s angry and hurt and frightened for Ianto’s sake. And I’m right there with him. My family owes their lives to Jack, remember? Or is that another thing you’ve conveniently forgotten?”
“Please, Martha.” He reached a hand out to her, but she crossed her arms, glaring. He shook his head again. “What a mess I’ve made. I’d say it’s impossible, but it obviously isn’t.” He got off the table. “Donna?”
She was so startled she jumped. “Doctor?"
His eyes had never been so unhappy. The one thing that Donna enjoyed most about the Doctor was his unlimited enthusiasm, even under the most terrifying conditions. She had never seen him look like this – lost, helpless, and ashamed. When he spoke, his tone was so weary. “You’re one of the best friends I could ever have. I’m sorry you have to see this. Afterwards, if you don’t want to go with me, I’ll ask Jack to get you back to London.”
“That’s a bit beforehand, isn’t it? What have you done that’s so bad? Are you telling me that what they’re saying is true?”
“Yes. And no. It won’t be easy to explain. I’d rather do it only once.”
Martha nodded in grim satisfaction. “Let’s go back to the conference room then.”
They arranged themselves in the conference room again. This time Jack and Ianto sat side by side across from the Doctor and Donna. Owen had given Ianto and Jack quick checks and warned them both about the effects of shock. He had then placed himself in the chair closest to the door and put his gun ostentatiously on the table in front of him. That alien wasn’t going anywhere without giving them some answers. Martha was next to the Doctor, Tosh beside Ianto and Gwen between Owen and Jack, also with her gun on the table. Jack spoke first. His voice was calm, though grim. “Well, Doctor? Are you ready to tell the truth now?”
The Doctor spoke sadly, “I’ll tell you as much as I can. I think I know what has happened.”
With a sigh, he continued, “Captain, this isn’t easy for me to admit. I wouldn’t have believed it possible without seeing it. You’re right. The TARDIS and I are in those videos. However, it wasn’t this me that you saw. You saw a future version of me.”
“A what?” Gwen, Donna, Tosh, and Owen spoke simultaneously. Martha and Jack exchanged looks and Ianto waited. Owen pulled his gun closer while he cocked a professional eye at Ianto. He wasn’t sure how many more shocks he could take without collapsing.
The Doctor continued in his weary voice, “A future version. Someone I’m not yet, but will become. Please, let me finish and then I’ll answer your questions if I can. There are… rules about Time Travelling. The most important one is to not cross your own timeline, if at all possible. Sometimes it’s accidental and unavoidable, but it’s good practice to avoid contact with your past self. The rule was made to keep you away from temptation, you see. Because we’re taught from the beginning that we should never under any circumstances interfere with our own timeline. The consequences of such an act are often fatal and usually throw the Universe into a paradox from which it cannot recover. It is the ultimate unforgiveable sin.”
He stopped to take some deep breaths. No one moved. “But the evidence is that I have committed that sin. Not only did I back up over my timeline, I did it in such an ostentatious way that it would force this version of me to know about it. My future self knew that you would get in touch with the me of this time and that I would realize what had been done. I must… must have made a colossal blunder right about now, something that set up a paradox so massive that it would have destroyed the future.” He looked up and Owen could actually see the glitter of moisture in his eyes. “And, I’m sorry, Mr. Jones. It must have been something to do with you.”
Owen glanced at Ianto. His expression was as composed as ever, but his face had no colour at all. Owen was relieved that Jack had an arm around him now, to steady him. Ianto opened his mouth, but no words came out. He tried again. “Why me, Doctor?”
“I wish I had an answer for you,” the Doctor said regretfully. “I don’t. Perhaps the TARDIS does. It had to have been a compelling reason to… to…”
“To make another immortal,” Jack cut in, still with that bitter resentment that marked his earlier anger. “To make Ianto a fact. I know what you think of me, but if you say one word to Ianto about him being wrong…”
“No!” This time it was the Doctor’s turn to interrupt. “No, I was the one who was wrong. Wrong to say that and wrong to think that.” He passed a hand over his face. “Blimey, this is hard. On Gallifrey, achieving immortality was another unforgiveable sin. Only once in our history did a Time Lord become so and he was sent to another dimension as an abomination. So, like you said, I’m prejudiced. I couldn’t face the idea of my ship actually creating an immortal being, so I blamed you for the entire mess. It must be important for you to be here and it is now apparent that you aren’t meant to be alone. Instead of running away, I should have been trying to discover why. It’s come to this now, and I’m more ashamed than I can say over my past behaviour. And what my future self did to you, Mr. Jones, is unforgiveable. My apology means nothing, but it’s all I have to offer.”
Owen couldn’t think of anything to say. Neither could anyone else, apparently. The silence was deafening.