Jack was pacing again. He’d tried sitting down, but that way lay insanity; he needed to be doing something, anything, because he couldn’t settle, and so he paced. Not that it was helping much. The waiting was always the worst part, never knowing if this would be the time that nothing could be done.
The girls kept giving him sympathetic looks, Owen had already yelled at him twice for hovering, saying it was annoying him; Jack knew there were things he should be doing, but his thoughts were whirling too much for him to even remember what they were, never mind focus on any one of them.
This was all his fault. He’d been careless, so stupid, he’d let himself get distracted just for a moment but that was all it had taken. He and Ianto had been tracking the creature for over an hour; they were both out of breath, winded and panting from the chase, when they cornered it in a cul-de-sac. Ianto always looked so good when he was breathless and dishevelled, Jack just hadn’t been able to resist sneaking a peek at him. He’d only taken his eyes off the beast for a split-second, but that had been enough. It had leapt at them, slashing with razor-sharp talons, and though Jack had managed to shoot it, it had been too little too late. The damage had been done and the bottom had fallen out of his world. He hardly remembered the drive back to the Hub.
Backwards and forwards he paced, silently cursing himself for his own stupidity. Time passed with glacial slowness as he waited for news; the seconds ticking past felt like hours and his whole body ached from the tension. If only he could turn back the clock, undo the last couple of hours, do things differently…
Approaching footsteps broke through his tortured thoughts and he spun around, half afraid to hear the news, but still he had to know.
He stared with anxious eyes at the man approaching him. “Tell me.”
“Think yourself lucky, the blood made it look a lot worse than it really was. It took quite a few stitches, but your coat will be fine once it’s dry,” Ianto reassured him.