Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood or Doctor Who, 'cause if I did Jack and Ianto would be the Doctor's companions forever!!
This was a one-shot that turned into… something else. I can write more, but I don't know, depends on what you guys want.
Time Lords and Teaboys
"I dunno if that's a good idea Jack." protested The Doctor as he entered the coordinates for the Hub into the TARDIS.
"Oh come on Doctor! I just want you to meet my team. You'll like them. And I know Tosh and Ianto will have a million questions for you." Jack grinned at him from his seat. The Doctor had to admit it was hard to say no to that smile. And he wasn't quite ready to be alone again, now that Martha had gone back to her family.
"Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with meeting the people who are important to you, but I do have an issue with Torchwood."
Jack stiffened and then he stood up, walking over to the Time Lord. There was a very serious expression on his face. One the Doctor had seen far too often while they'd been prisoners of the Master. Jack reached out and pressed his hands down on the Doctor's shoulders in a reassuring manner.
"Doctor, I swear, this team of mine is nothing like the Torchwood you've met. They're a little odd, no question, but I know they are no threat to you. You'll like them. And Ianto will make you the best cup of tea you've ever had."
A strange expression passed over the Doctor's face at the mention of Ianto but it vanished almost at once.
"Oh… oh go on then!" he grinned, that usual mischievous glint in his eyes. Jack's smile broadened and he let go of the Doctor's thin shoulders. "But you'd better be right about that tea!"
"I assure you Doctor, Ianto makes the best coffee and tea in the universe and I would know a bit about that."
"I'm sure." The Doctor pressed the right button and they both grabbed onto the consol to stay standing as the TARDIS brought them to Cardiff. "There we go! Cardiff, specifically, the Hub! A week after you left. Little bit more than you wanted, but I'm sure your team won't mind."
"I'm sure they won't. C'mon Doc!" Jack darted out of the TARDIS with a huge grin on his face.
The first thing Jack saw was Gwen staring open-mouthed at the TARDIS. Then he saw Tosh and Owen standing a little way off, looking equally stunned.
"Jack?" Gwen's voice was tentative, hopeful. It reminded Jack a bit of a little girl asking if he was really Santa.
"Hey there Gwen. Miss me?"
Gwen approached him slowly, searching his face. Then she launched herself at him and crushed him in a hug. Jack laughed and hugged her tight. Then he let her go just in time to catch Tosh as she did the same thing.
"Harkness where the hell have you been? And what the hell is with the Police Box?" demanded Owen as he walked over to Jack. Jack grinned and hugged Owen tight –"What the fuck?!" grunted Owen. Jack couldn't describe how much he'd missed his team over that year that never was. Even Owen who could be the most annoying prat in the world.
"I promise I'll explain everything, but where's Ianto?"
"He's hiding the Archives, like he has since you disappeared." said Gwen, sounding a little sad. Jack felt a twinge of guilt. He knew Ianto was uncertain of his place in Jack's life. And after that kiss… and just taking off like that… oh Jack wanted to kick himself now.
"Well, call him up. Let's see if I can make him jump out of his skin." Jack grinned, hiding his guilt. Besides, this would probably be his only chance to try to scare the crap out of Ianto and actually have a hope of succeeding.
"Oh that won't be necessary sir."
Jack nearly had a heart attack and jumped a foot in the air at the sound of Ianto behind him.
Spinning around, he met the tired expression of Ianto, who was impeccably dressed as usual in a suit.
"Damnit Ianto!" he yelped, before grabbing Ianto and crushing his lips to the younger man's. He'd been dreaming about doing that all through that hellish year. He was just glad the Master hadn't been able to pick up his longing for Ianto to use against him. The very idea of what the Master might have done to Ianto still sent shudders through Jack's body.
Ianto leaned into his kiss, but then shoved Jack away, looking very angry. He said nothing, but the look said it all. It said, 'Stop messing with my head and heart.' Jack felt his own heart thump painfully in remorse.
"Well, this place certainly looks interesting." commented the Doctor. Ianto's eyes widened and he spun around to look at the Time Lord who'd just come out of the TARDIS. Jack wondered what had taken him so long.
"You!" Ianto blurted. "You're the Doctor."
A very bizarre expression passed over the Doctor's face, but then he smiled, "That's me! Hello there." and he waggled his fingers at Ianto. Ianto stared at him, looking rather pale.
"I saw you." he said, trembling just enough for Jack, who was almost pressed against him to notice, "You were at Canary Warf."
The Doctor stiffened and then he nodded, "So were you?" There was great pain in his face as he asked the question. Ianto nodded,
"I was stuck in the middle of it all. You made it stop." Ianto sounded a little dazed. The Doctor nodded. "Thank you."
Jack blinked at the strength of the feelings behind those two small words. The Doctor was unsurprised, only nodded again and then the subject was dropped like a stone.
"Coffee sir?" Ianto fixed him with his most professional look. Jack could only nod, his mouth practically watering at the thought of, not just coffee, but Ianto's coffee. That coffee made him believe in a God at times. "Doctor?"
"I'd rather a cuppa if you didn't mind?"
"Not at all." Ianto gave him a little smile and walked away, disappearing into the small kitchen that contained the ingredients for heaven.
"So where have you been Jack? Why'd you just disappear like that?" asked Gwen. Jack sighed. Oh how to explain this?
"I'll tell you everything once we're settled. You all deserve to hear this. Including Ianto."
Owen rolled his eyes and muttered about 'kissing up to the teaboy', but it seemed to be out of reflex more than anything. Jack didn't reprimand him, but made a mental note to keep an eye on it. The Doctor was staring at the kitchen with an expression that Jack couldn't interpret. What was going on in that eccentric, mad haired head of his? Jack wished he could ask, but he had a feeling he'd get nowhere.
An hour later, Jack felt his chest expand in a way he couldn't believe. It really did feel like a weight had been lifted off it. He'd pretty much told them everything that he'd told Martha, plus the whole business with Saxon and the fact that he was a Time Agent. Now he was just waiting for three of his team members to pick their jaws up off the ground and the final one to actually change his expression.
The Doctor had been bizarrely quiet, his feet crossed on the table, which had earned him a faint scowl from Ianto as he'd handed out the drinks. However that had vanished when the Doctor had given the tea a 'brilliant!' before wincing at his burnt tongue and pulling an exaggerated face. Ianto had smiled in amusement and the Doctor had given him a wide grin.
Now though, Ianto was staring at Jack with an impassive expression and the Doctor was looking between Jack, his tea and Ianto. Jack, for some reason, was very aware of the bright red colour of the Doctor's shoes as they rested on the table. They stood out a mile in the gloom of the Hub. He looked away from them and saw that Tosh was beginning to compose herself as she stood up. Then she walked over to Jack and smacked him on the arm.
"You dolt!" she scolded, "Why wouldn't you tell us any of this before? Didn't you trust us?"
"Of course I trusted you, but I've spent so long keeping myself a secret it… it's a hard habit to break."
"So it's ok for you to know the ins and outs of our lives but not for us to know a thing about you?" demanded Owen. Jack could feel the retort, 'Well I didn't always know what you lot were up to.' on his lips, but if he said that Ianto would never forgive him.
However, the Gods were not smiling on him today and one look at Ianto told him the young man knew what he was thinking. Better and better.
"Ok, I admit that wasn't fair but-"
"Blimey I like it here." piped up the Doctor, grinning. "Definitely about as far from Torchwood London as you could get. Wouldn't catch any employee there yelling at Yvonne." And he chuckled. Ianto nodded, but remained silent. The Doctor looked at Tosh and his smile vanished in an attempt to look serious, "Sorry, you were all yelling at Jack. Continue." And he took a swig of his tea, his brown eyes twinkling with mischief.
"Couldn't you have at least left us a note?" demanded Gwen, her puppy eyes at full strength.
"I thought if I caught the Doctor, I'd be able to say goodbye… oh ok, I didn't think. I'd been waiting over two hundred years for the sound of the TARDIS and then it just happened and I didn't think, ok? The Doctor was never good about his timing, and if it's any consolation, I died trying to get to him, clinging onto the side of the TARDIS through the vortex."
Ianto hissed and winced, apparently the only one who understood what that actually meant. The Doctor threw the young man another weird look, then gave a little half smile into his tea. Then he looked at Jack,
"You must have one hell of a grip to have managed that by the way Jack."
"A desperate grip is a better term I think." said Jack, quirking an eyebrow. What was on the Doctor's mind to have him all shifty like this?
"Either way, you'd better lay of the secret keeping Harkness, or I'll shoot ya again." said Owen, sounding stern. Jack quirked his eyebrow again and then nodded, knowing that Owen didn't mean it, but at the same time, he did.
"For all the good it'll do." muttered the Doctor, rolling his eyes with a fond expression. Jack grinned at his friend. "Now, Jack, you said something about a Pterodactyl?"
"I'll introduce you sir." said Ianto, pushing away from the window, and gesturing for the Doctor to follow him with a slight inclination of his head. The Doctor's grin nearly split his face in two and he all but jumped to his feet. Who'd have expected him to be that eager to meet an overgrown, featherless chicken, as Owen sometimes called the Pterodactyl?
Jack sighed as he watched Ianto lead the Doctor up to the Pterodactyl's nest.
"Well, I've got work to do." grunted Owen, seeming satisfied for now.
"Me too." said Tosh, following him. Gwen lingered.
Jack often wondered if Ianto's comments about Gwen were founded or whether the Welshman was jealous. What Gwen said now only made him more unsure about whether the woman was really that enamoured with him.
"He was really angry with you for running off with that. He was the one who realised what had happened, said he recognised the sound the CCTV recorded. That and you yelled 'Doctor' at the top of your lungs in the Plass."
Jack's lips quirked in amusement, wondering how demented he must have looked tearing across the Plass with his huge bag on his bag containing a hand in a jar and screaming 'Doctor' like he had. Gwen gave him a stern look,
"Ianto needs to know where he stands with you Jack. I see it in his eyes, especially when Owen's feeling especially bitchy. He has no idea whether you even like him. He needs to know that or else… I'm scared that we might realise he's disappeared proper."
Jack felt alarmed by her words and nodded. He wanted nothing more than to corner Ianto and tell him he did care. But seeing as Ianto was avoiding him, he might have to wait a while.
When Jack had decided to wait a while, he'd been thinking along the lines of a few hours, when the Doctor left and the rest of the team had gone home. However, he hadn't counted on his unpredictable Time Lord staying for a day and manipulating Ianto's time, mainly by demanding to see the Archives and, since Ianto would hang anyone else who went down there, only the gorgeous Welshman could do it. That had kept him occupied for the past… twenty hours?!
Jack decided to give Ianto a break and save him from the Doctor for a little while. He hurried down to the Archives and found Ianto had fallen asleep at a table and the Doctor was sitting opposite him, an open folder in his hands and his eyes fixed firmly on Ianto. The look on his face was one Jack knew, but couldn't remember how he knew it. It wasn't the kind of look of desire he might have expected from the way the Doctor had been monopolising Ianto's time. It wasn't a fascination like Ianto was some strange creature that needed to be studied. The gaze was affection, wistful… longing.
"You wore out my tea-boy." said Jack in a scolding tone. The Doctor jumped a mile and looked guilty before plastering his face with a smile.
"Did I? Well, from the looks of it, keeping this place running is a full time job. Would have happened anyway."
"Yeah, been meaning to sort that out. He needs a life outside of this place." Jack tried to sound off-handed.
"He doesn't have a girlfriend or something?" asked the Doctor, trying and failing to sound nonchalant.
"Closest thing to that is me and… well, I'm not exactly committed relationship guaranteed. Plus he's mad at me for taking off like that."
The Doctor's expression was just as bizarre as the last one. It was almost protective. Why would he be protective of Ianto? He didn't know him. Did he?
"Are you… do you love him?"
"I have no idea yet. Occasionally, yeah, I think so. But then I think about how, he betrayed my trust by hiding his half-converted Cyberman girlfriend in my basement and then he went against me again with the rest of my team and nearly ended the world."
"And of course, you wouldn't try to save someone you loved if you thought there was half a chance of saving them?" asked the Doctor.
"Hell yeah I would, in a heartbeat. It's not that he tried to save her, I understand that. It's that for a full year he looked me in the eye and lied to me. I thought that we had an understanding between us. I thought we… I don't know what I thought. Quite frankly I couldn't believe that he was able to put up with my flirting and flirt back with me so much that I didn't think about what we had between us."
The Doctor rolled his eyes. Ianto shifted, then jerked as he woke up. His cheeks went a lovely shade of pink as he realised the other two were looking at him.
"Sorry sir. I didn't mean-"
"No, it's ok Ianto. Go home and get some sleep. You look like you could use some. I've got things to talk about with the Doctor."
"Very good sir. Doctor." Ianto nodded to the Doctor who smiled at him, before brushing past Jack without looking him in the eyes. Jack gave him five minutes to go before saying,
"Why don't we go talk in my office? It's a better place."
The Doctor nodded, a knowing look on his face.
Soon they were both seated, and Jack poured them both a glass of scotch. "So… why are you obsessing over Ianto?"
The Doctor winced, "Was I that obvious?"
"Doctor, a mentally-deficient rat could have noticed."
The Doctor grimaced. Jack sighed, "I'm not annoyed, I just wanna know why. I know you're a naturally caring person, but what's going on that you're trying to hide?"
"I guess I should tell you something first." The Doctor downed half his scotch before speaking again, "A long time ago… lifetimes ago really, I had a family. A real one. Wife, two children, daughter and son. I considered myself one of the luckiest Time Lords alive. We travelled in the TARDIS as a family, saving worlds and having fun wherever we went. It was perfect." The Doctor smiled into space, no doubt seeing in his mind's eye his family. Jack leaned forward, eager to hear more. This was not where he'd thought they'd end up. The Doctor frowned then, "But it went bad. My wife was killed, and, and she couldn't regenerate. She'd never told me, I don't know why, but she was on her last incarnation. Been through 12 regenerations. She wasn't much older than me, only a few decades, which is months to us. How she got through them all I'll never know. Either way, she died."
"I'm sorry." said Jack with great feeling.
The Doctor nodded, accepting his words. "My son, who was still pretty young by Gallifreian standards, took it real hard. But life went on, and eventually we were able to function again. We even had fun. Then my daughter fell in love with another Time Lord and got married. Soon I was a grandfather. My son and I continued to travel, couldn't exactly stick around could we? I was a fugitive at the time. Little while on, my granddaughter joined us, although her mother wasn't happy about it. We all travelled together. Around that time we found Earth and started exploring it. My son… he fell in love with humans, with Earth…"
The Doctor fell quiet, staring into his glass, swirling the scotch around. Jack waited for him to continue, but when it looked like he wouldn't Jack prodded him by asking,
"What's this got to do with Ianto? Does he look like your son or something?"
The Doctor lifted his head and then rolled it back as he let out a loud sigh, "This is gonna sound like the biggest cliché in the entire world but… he is my son Jack."
Jack blinked. Jack blinked again. Jack blinked a third time.
"That young man who you're not sure you're in love with or not is my son."
"That's not possible!" Jack said it almost on top of the Doctor's scolding words. "Ianto's human."
"That's right. He is."
"Then he can't be your son because you're a Time Lord and you said your wife was a Time Lord so your son couldn't be anything but a Time Lord and Ianto's human, therefore he's not your son!" rambled Jack, having a sinking feeling his logic was about to be shattered.
"My son was a Time Lord, but after we came here, he fell in love with Wales. He wanted to explore it, wanted to live in it like a true human would. I wouldn't let him. I told him that it was too risky, what if he wound up in hospital? Having two hearts might've 'caused a few problems. Of course, he had an answer for me. He always did." The Doctor smiled in a wistful manner as he said this last bit. "Always one step ahead of my arguments, always with an answer to everything… my clever, clever boy."
"So… how's Ianto involved exactly?"
"My son's answer was for him to become human, using the same method that the Master used. He trapped himself in a fob watch and became human, with no memories of who he'd once been. He went from being my son to being Ianto Jones, aged 18. I wrote up his memories myself, allowing him to think his whole family had died in a car accident when he was younger and that he'd been placed in various foster homes. Now that he was old enough he was living alone, moving to a new town, a small one in Wales he'd selected himself, and that was how I left him."
"You just agreed like that?" Jack's voice dripped with dubiousness.
"Oh God no! I yelled and he yelled and it was only when he used that damn guilt trip on me that I agreed."
"What was the guilt trip?"
"That wouldn't it be better for me to make him happy than for us to part under bad circumstances since he'd do it anyway. Worked like a charm I can tell you."
"I'll bet." Jack chuckled. But his amusement was trying to hide his complete shock. There was a soft clatter, making them both jump. Jack stood up and looked down into the Hub. Ianto was there, clearing up Owen's desk. He hadn't gone home after all. The Doctor soon joined him and stared down with a forlorn expression.
"How old is he now?"
"26." said Jack, matching the Doctor's soft tones.
"Still so young. But I can see it in his eyes. He's suffered. That wasn't supposed to happen. He was supposed to have a happy life."
"Hard to have one with Torchwood."
"Of all the places for him to go looking for a job!" growled the Doctor.
"Actually, Torchwood recruited him out of university. His intelligence attracted them."
"Well then why is he called the tea-boy around here?"
"Because he makes us coffee and tea… but he does so much more than that. It's just it's the only thing he does that we acknowledge." Jack couldn't help the guilt in his voice as he admitted that. The Doctor gave him a disapproving look. "I'm trying to bring him into the team, but the last time I really did that, he almost wound up getting eaten by cannibals –long story."
The Doctor closed his mouth ruefully. Jack shifted where he stood, folding his arms across his chest. Hundreds of questions were buzzing in his head.
"What's his name?" he asked, seizing on the simplest of them.
"Ianto." said the Doctor.
"I mean his Time Lord name."
"Ianto." The Doctor raised his eyebrows at Jack's dubious expression, "No really, it is Ianto. Hell of a coincidence that it's a name in Welsh too, but it's true. He's always been Ianto. Well, that's our name for him. His full name's a bit of a mouthful."
"But he's not my Ianto." said Jack, feeling a little sad about that.
"He is. He's no idea of his past. He's Ianto Jones, a human, tea-boy of Torchwood and in love with the insufferable Jack Harkness."
"You think he's in love with me?"
"Why else would he be so angry with you for leaving?"
"Good point I guess."
Ianto turned away from Owen's desk and seemed to feel their gazes on him because he looked up with an almost innocent expression of curiosity on his face. He was clearly bewildered by the fact that the two men were watching him so intently but soon looked away and continued with his work.
"Are you going to tell him the truth?" asked Jack, glancing at the Doctor out of the corner of his eye. The Doctor's brow was furrowed.
"I dunno." he muttered, "I want to, I really want to. But I can't take this all away from him and I know what it's like. I did it once, made myself human. Became John Smith, a naïve school teacher, and when I was forced to become the Doctor again, I hated him, because I wanted to be John Smith."
"Hell of a personality issue." muttered Jack. The Doctor gave a mirthless smile. "Maybe you should, Ianto can make his own decisions."
"He might want to become a Time Lord again."
The Doctor's eyes glistened with a lonely hunger. Jack understood that look. The hunger for another one like you, the need for a kindred spirit. But as well as that, the Doctor clearly wanted his son back. He loved his son, it was obvious.
"I've got the fob watch. It's in the TARDIS, in a special safe. I thought it was safer for me to hold onto it, seeing as I knew what it contained. He might've pawned it or something and before you know it, some clever sod would open it and become a Time Lord… or something like that. I really don't know what'd happen." The Doctor shrugged.
"I think you should tell him."
"No. He deserves to believe this life is real. That he is real. Because he is. He is as he would be if he'd been born on Earth. But once you find out something like this… you can't ever really think of yourself as real again. It just doesn't work." The Doctor sighed and turned to Jack, "So… I'd like to just get to know the young man that was my son. If I can't be his father, I can at least be his friend."
"Yeah. Besides, I'd rather take it easy for a couple of days. Been a bit of a hectic year… that never was. If I worked for a company I wouldn't be entitled to those owed sick days, would I?" the Doctor smiled, but the humour was forced.
"I won't force you to do what you don't want to Doctor." said Jack.
"Good, and Jack?"
"Don't treat him any differently because of what you know now. What I've told you doesn't change him in the slightest. He's still Ianto Jones and he's still in love with you. So do something about it."
"Are you giving me your blessing Doctor?" Jack gave his friend a wry grin. The Doctor chuckled, scuffing the ground with one of his shoes, his hands deep in his pockets.
"I guess I am. And mind you take good care of him Jack Harkness."
"I will. I promise."
Ianto yawned as he took the lift back up to the tourist office. He hadn't slept properly in all the time Jack had been gone, to busy trying to keep the Hub running and his mind off how Jack had just taken off, like the kiss between them had meant nothing.
He grabbed his car keys and was about to leave, when he paused, thinking.
Jack and the Doctor had been talking about him. Ianto had known that just by noticing how they were openly watching him. What they could possibly discussing about him, he'd no idea. Maybe they were sharing a good laugh over how gullible he was, or how sad for believing that Jack gave a damn about him. It had been all too clear from the CCTV footage of Jack pegging it across the Plass that it was the Doctor that held Jack's heart. Ianto had just been a bed warmer.
The knowledge hurt. Ianto had tried to tell himself that he didn't care, but he did. A lot.
With this thought burning in his mind, Ianto went to the computer in the office and quickly accessed the CCTV footage. If the Doctor and Jack were going to mock him, he at least deserved to know just what it was they were saying about him.
Something wasn't right. Jack had known that quite quickly, but his thick skulled brain had trouble guessing exactly what it was that was wrong. At length though he realised what it was.
Owen was not the last one to arrive that morning. Owen was always last. Always!
Yet Jack knew that he wasn't last today. And that meant he was a team member short. And the fact that it had taken him so long to note this told him who was missing.
Ianto hadn't taken a day off in his life! So where the hell was he?
Jack became more concerned when he couldn't reach Ianto on his phone. He tried to track it, but came up with nothing. Either the phone was broken, or Ianto was hiding. The latter seemed more likely, but why Ianto was hiding, Jack couldn't fathom.
"Where the fuck's my coffee!" howled Owen when the coffee was an hour late. The Doctor eyed Owen with an infuriated glance, but the other doctor took no notice. Only Jack saw and understood the look. If his son was being treated like a slave, Jack would have punch the asshole doing it to the next century.
"Ianto? You'd better get down here, Owen's going to go homicidal soon." chuckled Tosh into her Bluetooth. There was no answer and Tosh looked bewildered. "Ianto?"
"He's not here Tosh." said Jack with a long suffering sigh.
"Well where is he? I need coffee." whined Owen.
"And are you incapable of making it yourself?" asked the Doctor in a biting tone. Owen actually looked chastened for a second before saying,
"It's Ianto's job."
"Besides, only Ianto can make the right kind of coffee. He's a whiz at it." said Gwen. The Doctor looked a little mollified.
"I don't know where he is. He's not answering his phone." said Jack, "And don't bother Tosh, I already tried to track it." he added as Tosh reached for her keyboard.
"That's not like Ianto at all." mused Gwen.
"Ah, he's probably just pissed at Jack. He'll get over it and come back." said Owen, waving a dismissive hand. Jack put a hand on the Doctor's shoulder, to sooth him as the shoulders tensed. He was tempted to hit Owen himself.
"Tosh, when did Ianto log out?"
"At… 11:48 last night. That's odd." Tosh looked up at Jack, "He accessed the CCTV for your office for 11: 20 and onward before he left."
Jack's eyes bugged out and the Doctor's whole body went ridged.
"No, no, no." hissed the Doctor, darting to the computer and staring at the image of himself and Jack sitting, talking. The Doctor straightened up, eyes huge, teeth gritted. "He knows."
"Shit." spat Jack, "Tosh see if you can find him, we'll go looking."
"Jack what's happened?"
"I'll explain when we find him. He deserves the explanation first." said Jack, pausing only to grab his coat and phone. The Doctor and he jumped into the SUV and Jack floored the accelerator. The Doctor would probably have put up a protest if he hadn't been so focused. As it was he was silently seething at the misfortune and pushing away from the dashboard.
"Why would he check the footage?" the Time Lord grit out between his teeth. Jack knew the Doctor was angry at himself for ever saying a word, not at Ianto.
"Probably wondered what we were saying about him or something."
"Huh! Curious as ever. Just like his mother."
"And his father." reminded Jack, finding his lips twitching in a smile. The Doctor gave him a surprised look and then he grinned,
"Yes… just like his bloody father." and he let out a bark of a laugh.
Jack's phone rang and he answer his headset,
"Jack, he's at his flat, I tracked him through the city with the CCTV cameras, and he hasn't left yet."
"Thanks Tosh." said Jack, relaxing a little now that he knew where to go. He hung up. "How're we gonna explain this to him?"
"I dunno." murmured the Doctor. "I really don't know."
"So we'll just wing it?"
"Pretty much." The Doctor rubbed at an eye, then leaned back in his seat, looking apprehensive. He seemed to be trying to meditate or something to calm himself down, prepare himself for this.
Ianto's apartment was on the other side of Cardiff, something which made it all the more impressive that he was able to get to the Hub so early each day. It took them a while in the morning traffic to get there. When they did, all was quite on the street. Jack wasted no time in kicking Ianto's door open and rushing in. The Doctor's hand held his sonic screwdriver in a useless fashion as he followed with a sigh.
Jack was almost afraid of what he'd find as he searched the apartment.
"Ianto!" he called, feeling panic rising up.
"Here sir." came the faint call. Jack followed it like a lifeline and found Ianto in the sitting room, surrounded by photos, documents, and other memorabilia. He was staring down at a photo with a lost expression on his face.
"Ianto…" breathed Jack.
"That's still my name sir… isn't it?" Ianto looked up at the two men, his eyes demanding answers, but also clouded with confusion. He looked like a frightened, stubborn child.
"You've always been called Ianto, Ianto." said the Doctor. Ianto focused on him,
"You're… you're my father."
"No. Not anymore. Your father was a Welshman, born and bred, and your mother was Welsh too, as are you."
"Those are just lies though, aren't they?"
"They're real to you. That makes them real."
"But what if I'm not real? I mean, I'm not, am I?"
"You're as real as we are." said Jack, walking towards the young man and crouching down in front of him. The Doctor did the same. "You're Ianto Jones, the man who can make the best damn cup of coffee in the universe, the man who keeps the whole Hub running without a squeak of a hinge. The man who puts up with all sorts of shit without a word of thanks… the man who I care very deeply about."
"I'm just your part time shag sir." said Ianto, grimacing and looking away. Jack grabbed his chin, making Ianto look at him.
"You're far more than that! And don't you ever think otherwise."
"What else am I supposed to think? You come back from the dead, kiss me and then take off. What were you trying to show with that kiss?"
"That I was glad that I could do it again." said Jack, before kissing Ianto hard. Ianto shoved him away,
"Don't just do that! Don't give up trying to explain yourself and try to get away with it by giving me one of those damn kisses! I want you to bloody well tell me how you feel. And I want you to tell me right now that you're not suddenly more inclined to care about me now that you know what I really am!"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean are you not suddenly more interested in me now that I'm suddenly connected to the Doctor? After all, he's your one. He's the person you think about all the time, even when I'm standing right in front of you."
"That's not true." protested Jack.
"Oh really? Not even when we were in bed together were you really with me. I kidded myself because I needed something, anything to chase away the nightmares in my head, but I never had you completely. Part of you was always with him."
"Ianto…" Jack reached out for Ianto and Ianto flinched away, shutting his eyes tight.
"No Jack. You and him have torn my life apart twice now. I don't want a third."
"We didn't mean… you shouldn't have been… it just…" Jack grasped for words and came up empty handed.
"Ianto, look at me." said the Doctor. Ianto did after a few moments. "As far as I'm concerned, my son is locked in a fob watch by choice, and you are a person I've only just met. Those are the facts of it. And both facts are real. You are real Ianto. It doesn't matter where you were born. The fact that you have lived your life since, lived it as you chose, makes you as real as anyone else. You have the complete choice of whether or not to open the watch or continue on."
"But you would like me to open it. Wouldn't you?" spat Ianto, although there was little venom in his tone.
"Yes. I won't lie to you. I'd love nothing more than to have my son back. I love him. But he made his choice. Just like you can make yours."
"What was his name? Your son."
"His full name was Iantosmorashthrimoret."
Ianto and Jack's eyebrows shot up to their hairlines. The Doctor shrugged, "You see why we called him Ianto for short."
Ianto looked away and trembled. "I don't know what to do." he whimpered.
"There's no rush, no pressure Ianto. You don't have to do anything if you don't want it."
Ianto looked down at the photograph in his hands. In it was a man, with dark hair, and familiar eyes; a woman with blonde hair and two children. Both were dark haired, although one, a boy, had almost black hair while the other, a girl, had more brown hair. They were smiling up at Ianto, hugging each other. A happy family.
"This is fake. But I remember the day it was taken. I can't wrap my head around it."
"It's real to you, thus it's real."
Ianto's lips curled in a wry grin, "I think, therefore I am."
"Smarter words were never spoken." said the Doctor with conviction.
"Hard to believe a human thought it up." Ianto's smile widened just a fraction.
"Maybe he had help." shrugged the Doctor.
"Hey! Don't take away our achievements!" scolded Jack, poking the Doctor's shoulder. Ianto chuckled and then sighed.
"I'd say Owen's catatonic about now. Unless he's tried to make his own coffee, in which case he's dead. Although which will kill him first, his coffee or me for touching my kitchen is another matter."
Jack laughed with genuine amusement. "Shall we go save him?"
"I suppose. The Hub won't clean itself… although I need a shower and change." Ianto glanced down and only now Jack realised he was still in the suit from yesterday.
"We'll wait." said the Doctor, and he patted Ianto's shoulder with minimum awkwardness. Ianto nodded and got to his feet, where he paused, looking thoughtful. Then he bent over and picked up a notebook, handing it to the Doctor without a word. He then left the two of them alone. The Doctor waited a few moments until Ianto had disappeared into his bedroom before he opened the notebook. He smirked a little in amusement.
"It's a Journal of Impossible Things."
"The Chameleon Arch cannot take away everything. There's always lingering memories in the subconscious. It happened to John Smith too. He drew all sorts of things from my life, and it looks like Ianto has too. Oh look, there's pictures!"
Jack shuffled around so he was looking over the Doctor's shoulder. "Who's the old-timer?"
The Doctor lifted his head, and stared at the wall, a blank expression on his face. "That would be me Jack."
Jack almost flushed in embarrassment. Almost. "Seriously?"
"Seriously. I was in my first incarnation at the time. That's the only one who died of old age. Anyway, that would be the face Ianto –my Ianto- would have grown up with. And this, this is his mother, Emann. God she was beautiful. And so strong and stubborn. First love of my life." The Doctor sighed in a wistful manner, looking into space. Jack admired the sheer artistry that had created the image of a woman with high cheek bones, delicate chin, long hair caught up in an elegant twist, with jewels entwined in the hair. Her eyes were sharp, clever and loving.
"And who's this?" Jack pointed at the drawing of a young woman, with dark hair judging by the shading.
"My granddaughter, we called her Susan."
"Just like her mother and grandmother." sighed the Doctor, snapping the journal shut, as if looking anymore would cause him pain. Jack put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it, offering comfort. The Doctor gave him a sad smile of gratitude. They sat in silence until Ianto came out, dressed in a neat suit, with his hair as tidy as ever. It was like none of the things had been said, or discovered.
"I'm ready to go sir." Ianto's voice was quiet, demure.
"Aren't you gonna have some breakfast?" the Doctor didn't seem to notice how his tone slipped into paternal. If Ianto did, he didn't show it. His face an expressionless mask.
"I'm not hungry. Never am. Shall we?"
Jack sighed. He'd known Ianto wasn't one for food, only eating to make sure his distaste for eating didn't show on his body. Breakfast usually made Ianto sick, so he avoided it with much effort. It was one of the things Jack had learned about him, but hadn't really allowed it to bother him.
Without commenting further they walked out of the apartment. Ianto drove his own car, a new one since Jack had insisted on getting rid of the one that John had killed himself in. Ianto had said nothing about the matter.
"What's wrong with him Jack?"
The Doctor's voice was low, repressing anger and a little distant as he stared out the windscreen, elbow resting on the sill of the window.
"He's… got issues. To be honest I don't know all of them. I know he's borderline anorexic, because he can't stand food, but because he refuses to let anyone find out, he eats with us all the time and that keeps him from falling completely. His obsession with neatness is verging on OCD, and he can't stand anything out of place in the filing system. He hides with his suits, believe me, Ianto in suits and Ianto out of them are two totally different people. Also… he lacks confidence, in every sense of the term."
"He was supposed to be happy." murmured the Doctor. "This is what Torchwood does to people."
"I swear Doctor, my Torchwood is different."
"And yet he's got all these issues and you're not denying that they're related to Torchwood."
Jack grimaced, "There's not much I can say that will help my case or you to feel any better, so I think it's best that we just not say anything at all."
"Fair enough." The Doctor glared out the window the entire drive back and Jack was relieved to reach the Hub.
That relief didn't last long of course.
After taking the lift down to the Hub, Jack, the Doctor and a mute Ianto, found Gwen, Tosh and Owen staring at Ianto like he was… like he was an alien.
'Oh… just brilliant.' Jack's thought rang through his head with such sarcasm, it was like Ianto had said it, had he been up for it.
"You lot saw the footage?"
"Yeah. We did." said Owen, looking at Ianto with a withering look. Ianto meanwhile just walked past them and into the kitchen. After a few minutes the delicious smell of coffee wafted towards them.
"This changes nothing." said Jack, "Ianto's still the same guy he was yesterday."
"No he fucking well isn't! He's an alien." spat Owen.
"Um, 'scuse me? Aren't you a medical doctor?" asked the Doctor.
"Yeah, what of it?"
"Well, haven't you done various tests on each of your teammates?"
"Then you know better than anyone here that Ianto's human as they come." said the Doctor in a tone that stated in no uncertain terms that he thought Owen was an idiot. Owen struggled with his mouth for a moment before snapping it shut.
"Ianto had no idea at all?" asked Gwen.
"None. He wouldn't have ever guessed if I hadn't opened my mouth."
"So… what now?"
"Now? Well that's up to Ianto, isn't it? If he wants to, he can open the watch and let out the Time Lord, or he can continue on as he is. Both choices are real and valid. It's up to him."
"How does a Time Lord become human?" asked Tosh.
"It's a complicated process, via the Chameleon Arch. It's a sorta rewriter of biology, removing memories and the sorta… essence of the Time Lord and creating a new essence of a human, with new memories."
"And it's contained in some kind of watch?"
"A fob watch. And if the Time Lord turned human opens it, they become a Time Lord again. But it's got a perception filter on it so they aren't inclined to look at it. A perception filter is-"
"We have one on our lift." said Tosh, almost dismissing the filter in favour of understanding the Arch. The Doctor looked a little put out, until Jack said,
"Doctor, you are looking at a woman who will actually be able to understand most, if not, All of what you say. Don't waste such an opportunity."
"Oh, well, when you put it that way!" The Doctor all but pounced on Tosh and dragged her to the side and soon the two were nattering in techno-babble that no one, except maybe Ianto, could follow.
A few minutes later Ianto appeared, a tray in hand and he handed them all coffee (or in the Doctor's case, tea) and disappeared down into the Archives without a word. The Doctor paused in his talk with Tosh to watch him leave with a gloomy expression on his face. Jack ached for the both of them, wishing he could do something to help.
"Can I have it?"
The Doctor jumped a foot in the air, whipping around to see Ianto standing just inside the TARDIS. He looked tired, and the Doctor didn't blame him. The rest of the team had left several hours ago, even Tosh, nursing an overloaded brain. Maybe the Doctor should have saved the technical details of Time Travel for another day.
"The watch? I'd like to have it." Ianto took another, if little, step into the TARDIS.
"You're going to open it?" The Doctor tried to keep the hope out of his voice, but knew he failed as Ianto looked away, looking shy.
"I don't know yet. But I'd like to have the watch… I think it might be a help for me. I don't know why."
"Well… can I ask that you not destroy it if you chose to leave it? For one, I'm not sure what would happen, and two… it's all I've got left. Not just of my son, but inside that watch is the only other Time Lord left. The others are all gone."
"Time War. We fought with the Daleks. We lost. Not much else to it. The whole species, the whole planet, went up in fire."
"Except me." murmured the Doctor.
Ianto stared hard at him for a very long time. Then he said,
"So are you." replied the Doctor. Ianto inclined his head ever so slightly. "Would you like to open it?" Ianto shrugged, "Are you scared?"
"Yes. If I open that thing, I'll be lost."
"You don't know that."
"If your son was anything like you then I would be. You… you fill rooms with your presence, your intelligence, your… eccentric behaviour. I'm pretty much invisible, even if I was in a cupboard with someone else I wouldn't be noticed."
"What would you be doing in a –oh never mind." The Doctor made a gesture to wait and went to the attic of the TARDIS, which was conveniently right next to the closet. After a quick poke around he found the safe and opened it up with the special code (Ianto's Gallifreian birth date). There nestled in silk from the planet Dorg (pretty place full of idiots who spent all their time weaving) was a silver fob watch. Engraved on the casing were the symbols of Gallifrey and its twin suns. The Doctor took it out and stared at it. It seemed to pulse in his hand, like even in a fob watch, his son's hyperactive nature couldn't be hidden.
Closing his fingers tight over it, cherishing the unnatural warmth coming from it, the Doctor could almost hear the double heartbeat of a Time Lord. His son's heartbeat. The Doctor remembered, when his son was just a boy, how he would lay his little head on the Doctor's chest and listened to the double drumbeat of life. He said it made him feel safe, just like his father's arms did when they held him. The Doctor, who'd been a bit stiff in that incarnation, had smiled and held on tight.
"You really miss him."
The Doctor jumped for the second time and wondered where Ianto had learned to sneak up on people like that. Still he didn't turn around, only stared down at his hand, holding the watch.
"I do. I really do. You've no idea how much."
"I'm sure I don't."
The Doctor took another moment to feel the warmth, having been without it for over two hundred years, then stood up and walked over to Ianto. He held out his hand and pressed the watch into Ianto's.
Ianto held it tight, just like the Doctor had and then opened his fist, looking down at the watch. Then he gave a small smirk,
"Maybe this explains the stopwatch thing."
"Oh, you really don't want to know." Ianto blushed, looking away. The Doctor smiled to himself. "I won't destroy it, just so you know."
"I know. But I still needed to say it."
"Of course." Ianto seemed to weigh the watch in his hand before slipping it into his pocket. "Good night Doctor."
Of course, Ianto didn't go home, even though he knew he should. Instead he walked along the waters edge of Cardiff Bay all night long, his head spinning as he tried to grasp what had happened to him in less than two days.
Ianto was curious, beyond curious really. He could only begin to imagine what the other Ianto must have seen. Supernova from a front row seat? The birth of Planets? All sorts of wonderful, beautiful cultures? Anything was possible, that's what Ianto had learned at Torchwood, if nothing else.
The fob watch was burning a hole in his pocket. Ianto was reluctant to take it out, because he knew he wouldn't be able to resist that damn temptress called curiosity. He'd pop open the watch and become a Time Lord and god knows what would happen to him, plain old human Ianto Jones?
Ianto knew he'd be lost, overwhelmed by the sheer size of the essence of a Time Lord. After all, he was a mere human. Admittedly a mere human who handled more jobs than was probably sane and did a damn good job at it, but still human. What was a human who could produce the best coffee in the world (he'd been praised to know it for a fact) to a person who could be anywhere and anywhen in the universe?
'Cut it out!'
Ianto jumped at the faint but forceful voice that seemed to echo from a great distance to him.
'Honestly, enough! Get over your angst and be realistic.'
Ianto fished out the watch and stared down at it.
'Look, I don't know about you, but, quite frankly I'm utterly bored with listening to the sadness. It's all I've been picking up for years. Now why don't you try being positive, if you can.'
"Positive? I'm hearing a voice coming out of a fob watch. What possible reason should I have to be positive?" asked Ianto, not phased at all for some reason.
'… that is a very good point. I'll leave you to your moping, shall I?"
"Please do." said Ianto, smirking when there was silence again. He rubbed his thumb over the engraved surface of the watch. It was really a very beautiful thing. A work of art. And the most innocuous (careless?) place to stick your soul into!
Ianto chuckled to himself and pondered his decision. To be human or to be a Time Lord. To risk getting lost, or pass on a huge opportunity.
Ianto sighed and closed his eyes, weighing the choice he'd just made in his mind. It felt like a comfortable weight. He smiled. And his fingers closed around the watch tight.
So, what do you think? Should I continue on, or leave it there? Let me know!