Author's note: I'm sorry, it seems to be taking me forever to write these days. This is the problem with university and friends and work and christmas and ridiculous ammounts of family lol. Well, here's a new installment of the fic, I'm sorry it took so long, but hopefully it's better than the last. I'd like to thank DayDreamerNiteWriter, who, as always, is my personal Ianto and beta and just general wonder. Also, thank you to all of you. Your reviews are stunning, and your concrit is extremely welcome, I'm glad to be writing a story which everyone seems to enjoy so much. If there's anything anyone wants to see, or any way you think I can improve, please do let me know (I'm not easily insulted, honest) and I'll try to incorporate it. Anyway, enough of the essay, please r&r, your reviews are my oxygen. love and bubbles xxxx enjoy...
By the time Ianto got to bed, it was already 1:30 am. He and Jack had been playing monopoly, and Jack had an odd way of being able to roll the dice so that he never once landed on Ianto's hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane. Ianto, however, seemed to be paying out practically every roll. He was certain that Jack was cheating, but he couldn't prove it, so he just played the gracious loser for the three hours it took them to complete the game. Jack, however, was extremely pleased with himself, until Ianto pointed out that he had, in fact, only just beaten a ten year old boy. That wiped the smile off his face, but only for a moment before he was scooping a now fairly heavy Ianto up and hugging him tight.
"Missed you." He mumbled, before setting him back down. "How 'bout I let you win next time?" Ianto smirked and offered him a raised eyebrow.
"How do you plan to do that? By not cheating?" He grinned.
"How dare you!" Jack gasped in mock offence. "I have never cheated at any board games we have ever played!"
"How about that time when we were playing snakes and ladders and you insisted on going up the snakes as well as the ladders?" Ianto asked, and Jack looked for a moment like he'd been caught out, before grinning devilishly.
"S'not my fault if you don't properly explain the rules of your boring 21st century games." He grinned. Ianto just laughed.
"Fair enough, I'll make sure to do it better next time we play." He began putting all the pieces back in the box, and Jack bent down to give him a hand.
"So… I've set you up a bedroom in the lower levels… You should probably get some sleep. Want hot chocolate before bed?" Ianto nodded.
"Yes, but I'll make it. Don't want you to have to replace the kitchenette again, do we?" He smirked and handed Jack the game to put away, before meandering off to make the drinks. "I'm assuming you want one too?"
"When do I ever not want one of your amazing hot beverages?"
Now, Ianto was curled up in the bedroom Jack had put together for him in one of the old store rooms. He'd even gone so far as to decorate it. The walls were still the same horrible stone grey, but there was a light-shade on the bulb in the ceiling, and a carpet of sorts on the floor. The bed was constructed of some storage boxes with a mattress on top, but it had nice, clean, blue cotton bedclothes, and a bedside table with a lamp on it. The room was warm, which was odd for the lower levels, and the bed was cosy and smelt like Jack. Ianto burrowed into it, forming a warm cocoon around himself, and drifted off to sleep.
Tosh wriggled around again to get comfortable, and Owen grunted his disapproval from beside her. She glanced at the clock, it was 6 am. There was no point fighting the queasiness and going back to sleep again, she'd only be up in an hour. Having already thrown up three times since 2 am, she wasn't really game for round four yet, so she padded into the kitchen and made herself a soothing cup of camomile tea, before settling at her desk to check out the readings from a system scan she had been running of the Hub's security systems. All was well, but she was still going to work on an extra layer of defence… just as soon as she stopped feeling so… nauseous all the time, (damn this stomach bug) and once they'd sorted this Ianto thing out.
Thinking of Ianto made her think of the device, and she wondered if her work computer, which had been meticulously reading every document in existence for her, had come up with any possible links to tell her a species, planet or even galaxy for the contraption. She would have to wait until she got into the Hub to check that, but she hoped she'd have a lead waiting for her. Not that Jack seemed so anxious to change Ianto back anymore, he seemed to be enjoying the whole experience. Sighing, she headed for the shower in the hope that the hot water would wash away her sickness.
Gwen smiled as she heard Rhys singing Tom Jones in the shower. He was just adorable sometimes. Feeling oddly elated, she decided to be lovely and make him breakfast, so she raided the fridge for bacon and set the hob to heat some oil. Bacon sandwich was Rhys' favourite, and he couldn't possibly be in a bad mood after his favourite breakfast. He'd been a bit of a grump lately, and she supposed it was because she was neglecting him, so she vowed to make him happy today by coming home early and cooking him a nice surprise dinner. She popped the bacon in the frying pan, hoping that the smell of it cooking would lure her hungry boyfriend out of the bathroom. It worked. By the time she had constructed the sandwich, he was sniffing around her, clad only in a towel, and inquiring as to the occasion.
"Do I need a reason to cook you breakfast?" She asked, with a smirk, and kissed him lightly on the lips. "S'got brown sauce in and all. Must be your lucky day!" She set the plate on the breakfast bar and he sat himself in front of it, reaching out to take the orange juice which she had just poured him.
"Mmmh. Thanks love!" He mumbled through a mouthful of food, and she laughed at him before fixing her own breakfast and settling at the bar beside him.
"Keep tonight free eh?" She asked with a mysterious grin.
"Why? What'choo planning?" He asked, mouth still full of sandwich.
"Not telling, just keep the night free. And be home ten minutes late." She winked, gulping down his juice and kissing him before he could protest to his new lack of drink. "Gotta go, work and all. Have a good day love." She called, grabbing her keys and blowing him a kiss as she headed for the door. He pretended to catch it, and she giggled before rushing out.
Jack glanced at the clock again, and wondered whether or not 7:30 was too early to wake Ianto. Admittedly, if he were in his usual state, he'd have been in work for at least an hour already, but he wasn't in his usual state, and they had finished monopoly very late last night… It wasn't so much that he needed to see Ianto, he had some small amount of patience for that, but rather that he seriously needed a coffee. To the point that he was getting the shakes. Just as he was about to give in and wake the child up, the cog door rolled open and Tosh wandered in. She looked fairly awful, but at least she was carrying Starbucks, and there were two cups on the tray. Jack approached her carefully and offered a simple,
"Hello." He smiled as she looked at him blearily.
"Been up since 6." She stated. "Traffic was shit. Got coffee… Feel like hell." She passed the tray to him and collapsed in her computer chair, groaning and clutching her stomach. Jack stifled a laugh. Tosh never swore, so hearing her do so was quite entertaining. He was, however, overcome with concern when instead of turning on her monitors and getting down to it, Tosh merely flopped onto the desk, letting her head rest there, and sighed.
"Tosh… You ok?" He asked gently, placing the coffee down next to her. He reached out to brush the hair out of her eyes. She was hot to the touch and her face was flushed.
"Apart from the fact that I got 4 hours sleep tops, and my insides feel like someone's been at them with a blender, yeah, I'm absolutely wonderful thanks." She practically growled. Jack decided that immediate action was required. Tosh. Was. Never. Ill. NEVER! So this was a major issue. He grabbed his phone and quick dialled Owen.
"Owen!" He said as the medic picked up, not giving him a chance to speak. "Get here. Now. Tosh is sick. Fix her." With that, he hung up, and went back to frowning at Tosh uncertainly. Mostly he was uncertain as to whether it would be ok to drink the coffee she had bought anyway, even though she was obviously in pain.
"Go ahead." She sighed, as though reading his mind. "Yours is the big one."
"Thanks." Grinning, and biting back a lewd comment for her sake, he took an experimental sip. "Oooh. They're doing the Christmas blends already?" He asked. "S'not even December yet!"
"Tell me about it." She grumbled. "I want to kill Christmas and everything associated with it." She banged her head against the desk and forced herself to sit up, turning on the monitor. "Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that my symptoms are very much like morning sickness?" She queried softly. "And why do I have a serious craving for Rees' Peanut Butter Cups?" Jack smirked.
"C'mon, just 'cos you're throwing up doesn't mean you're pregnant. And everyone likes peanut butter and chocolate together. Also, for future reference, we have these things, dunno if you've heard of them. They stop people from getting pregnant. Very rare and hard to come by, but well worth it. Think they're called 'condoms' or something…" He grinned, and dodged the fist she threw at him lazily.
"Thanks for the sex education talk Mummy." She growled. "Now go away before I start throwing sharp objects…" Jack didn't need telling twice. He swooped off towards the underground network to wake up Ianto.
Ianto was happy. He was warm and comfortable and dreaming about playing fetch with Myfanwy on a warm summers day. He was content. Until he was woken up rather suddenly by an over-grown toddler bursting into his room with all the energy of an excited spaniel. Jack burst in and jumped onto the side of his bed, making the whole thing bounce and shift a little closer to the wall. He then set about tickling Ianto in earnest.
First, Ianto groaned. Then he yelped in surprise. Then a string of expletives no child should utter poured from his mouth, and he kicked Jack hard, accidentally landing a blow in his crotch. Jack immediately stopped the tickling and bent double, making an 'oof' sound then keening like a dying animal.
"Ooops." Ianto managed through his giggling. "You ok?" He peered at Jack, almost a little concerned.
"Noooooooo." Jack whined. "I think you broke me." He collapsed onto the floor next to the bed, and didn't move.
"Jack?" Ianto leaned towards him, still on the bed. "Jack!" He was getting concerned, so he jumped off the bed and went to check his boss' pulse. And that was when Jack stopped playing dead and jumped up at him. Ianto started so hard, he fell over backwards and landed on his bum on the floor, shocked.
"Tooooo easy!" Jack taunted, laughing, and Ianto couldn't help but join in.
Once he'd stopped laughing, Ianto got to his feet and started making his bed, ignoring the disgusted face that Jack pulled at him, and his protests that making your bed was pointless when you could just leave it like it was and then crawl back into your comfortable position again the next night. Once he was satisfied that everything was tidy, he went over to the little dresser that Jack had provided him with, and grabbed his clothes.
"I'm going to have a shower." He said matter-of-factly. "Can I go home later to check my voicemail and stuff?"
"Sure." Jack drawled. "I'll take you as soon as today's briefing is over."
"It's ok, I'll go by myself."
"Er… After last time you went out alone and almost got eaten alive? No way am I letting a ten year old out on his own!"
"Well, I'll be eleven, so it's ok."
"No, it isn't young man!" Jack retorted sharply. "You do NOT leave this Hub alone. Understood?" Ianto grumbled and felt his anger rising.
"Who do you think you are? My father?" He growled.
"No, Ianto." Jack spat. "But I am responsible for your safety. You'll do as you're told. That's an order. Got it?"
"Got it." Ianto mumbled, glaring at Jack's shoes, before he trudged off meekly towards the showers. Jack ran a hand over his face and sighed. He Hadn't meant to come across so mad… Nor had he meant to sound suspiciously like his own father had sounded when angry. It was just that he was scared to death of Ianto getting hurt… He decided it was all in the past, and made his way up to his office, where he was greeted by an extremely bubbly Gwen.
"Morning gorgeous." She grinned, and gave him a wink.
"Morning Gwen." He couldn't help but smile back at her infectious grin. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm going home early tonight." She smiled.
"Oh? Says who?"
"Says the liquorice allsorts I put on your desk just now. Bertie Basset's authority cannot be challenged." She giggled, and Jack turned to check that there was indeed a liquorice offering on his desk.
"Everything seems to be in order." He said with a small smile. "I expect you in on time tomorrow though."
"Aye aye Captain!" She gave a salute, then left to do some work, and Jack looked through the glass of his office to watch her descend the stairs and go to her desk. Owen and Tosh were sitting together at her desk, and he appeared to be checking her pulse rate and temperature at the same time… and sitting a little too close for a professional too.
"Well, your pulse is fine." Owen frowned and dropped Tosh's wrist reluctantly. "You are hot though." He mused, pressing a hand to her forehead gently. "Come to the lab and let me take some blood samples and stuff… we'll see what's what." Tosh nodded sedately and followed him off towards the medical bay.
"The thing is, the symptoms are suspiciously like…" She began.
Morning sickness. Yes." Owen said rather too quickly. "But it can't be can it? I mean… you're on the pill, we used protection… It's just not possible…"
"Accidents happen Owen."
"Well, this accident is not happening." He growled. "We'll deal with the outcome when we know it. Let's not get angry speculating.
"No.. I suppose.." Tosh stopped mid sentence, a look of abject horror on her face, and promptly vomited all over the floor, and Owen's shoes.
"We could, however, got angry about the vomit on my expensive new sneakers." He noted grimly. "I'll call Teababy and he can clear this up…"
"No!" Tosh protested. "I'll do it, just… fetch me a glass of water?"
"Sure." He left her sitting on his bench and clutching her stomach and went to get a glass. When he returned, she was rinsing the floor, and took a gulp, washing it round her mouth before spitting it into the bucket she seemed to have conjured from nowhere. Who knew there was a storage cupboard in the medical bay? Owen certainly didn't. He frowned and moved forward to take the mop away from her, propping it up against a surface, before pulling her into a gentle embrace. "Whatever happens… We'll deal with it." He managed, before releasing her and making a hasty exit. Tosh looked at his retreating back, and smiled.
Ianto savoured the shower. It seemed that Jack was in a hyper mood today, and he suspected that there would be little peace for him before the night fell. A little quiet time in the shower made him feel a lot better, and he considered the way Jack was behaving towards him recently… He almost seemed to be getting gushy, which was just… icky… If icky was even a word which could be used by those with rational minds. Ianto considered that perhaps this was what Jack thought he wanted. In fact, it was the opposite. It was perfectly alright for them to feel upset when they were torn apart by meddlesome doctors, but pouring out emotion over it was… unnecessary and… untidy. Ianto hated untidiness. He resolved that he would make this thing he had going with Jack work on a non-gushy level. After all they could still l… no, not the L word… they could still care about each other but keep the atmosphere light, like it had been this morning. After all, sex with your gorgeous, charismatic, well endowed, sexually creative (as if that covered it) and charming boss wasn't fun if it wasn't… well, fun. Smiling to himself, he remembered when Jack had first made a move on him.
Almost a year earlier…
Ianto sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He'd only been gone for ten minutes, just checking on Lisa, and the Hub was a complete tip. It looked like Suzie and Owen had brought back that slime alien, only they hadn't bloody bothered with bagging it up, had they? Growling, he resigned himself to the fact that he wasn't going to be 'back in a minute' as he had told his girlfriend, he was going to be several bloody hours.
"Fan-bloody-tastic!" He murmured, padding over to the cupboard. "Oh no way!" He groaned as he opened it. It had been… raided- probably by Jack considering the sheer level of chaos. The supplies were all over the place instead of in their usual tidy stacks and colour-coded, alphabetised order. And his bucket and mop had been pushed right to the back, and the bucket was buried under piles of sticky notes, staples and ball-point pens. Sighing again, Ianto bent down, stretching out under the bottom shelf to reach for the bucket… And that was when someone pinched his arse. He jumped so hard he hit his head on the shelf above him, and recoiled so quickly he knocked the offending bum-pincher to the floor behind and underneath him. Squawking in a highly undignified manner, he twisted round, one hand clutching the back of his head, and came face to face with a rather surprised, but still very smug Captain Jack Harkness.
"Sorry I startled you." He grinned, purring every syllable. Ianto sighed, and was about to relax when he realised that he was, in fact, sitting in his boss' lap. His male boss' lap. Squeaking and blushing like a schoolgirl, he leapt to his feet.
"W...What were you doing?" He gasped, and Jack stood, leering at him.
"Weeeeell, I was on my way to my office…" He pointed in the direction of his office, and waggled his eyebrows suggestively, "When I came across a stationary cupboard with the most amazing butt sticking out of it." He grinned and licked his lips, and Ianto found himself reminded of a big cat stalking it's prey… A rather sexy big cat stalking his prey, but Ianto didn't go for men. He swallowed involuntarily, and Jack continued. "Naturally, I had to stop to pay attention to this unexpected and delightful phenomenon." He took a step closer to Ianto, who stepped back, closer to the cupboard. "And then, I decided that in order to truly appreciate the perfection of this butt which had been so efficiently presented to me, I would have to give it a little pinch." He leaned forward even closer.
"Er.. Oh!" Ianto had leaned back a little too far from Jack's advances, and tripped over a box of hole-punches in the cupboard. He ended up flat on his arse between the highlighters and the tip-ex. Jack laughed and offered him a hand, whilst simultaneously taking a step backwards. Ianto took the hand and stumbled to his feet.
"Sorry if I upset you." Jack winked. "I'll leave you and your alien slime alone." With that, the Captain was gone, and Ianto was left nursing his embarrassment, and a continuing crush for his boss.
Back in the present…
Ianto laughed as he towelled himself dry. The memory of his reaction to Jack, and his blatant denial of his attraction to the other man was priceless. But then, he had been with Lisa technically. It was odd how he'd gotten over her in so short a time, but he supposed that when you were in Torchwood, there was no time for letting the past fester within you, and no space… Too much bad shit happened. Funny though, how Jack seemed to get away with it but wouldn't let anyone else brood even for a second. Putting those thoughts aside, Ianto pulled on his clothes and bounded towards the Hub. As he arrived, he checked the clock; it was 9:13, and high time he started doing some work.
Gwen looked up as Ianto entered the Hub, and smiled sweetly in his direction. She was in a particularly good mood today, although she wasn't sure why. He looked cute in his slightly-too-big clothes, although he would fill them out in a couple of hours' time. Today he was wearing ripped jeans and an orange hoodie with some indiscernible logo on it. She waved as he passed her, and he waved back, grinning.
Tosh wandered into the main Hub just in time to see Ianto disappear into the kitchenette, and to hear Jack hollering something about meeting in the boardroom in 5... She rolled her eyes and steered herself towards said boardroom, groaning at the queasiness she still felt. Fortunately, the bathrooms were close to the boardroom, so if she needed to throw up, she could just dash out.
Owen was in the small section of his workstation which he had dedicated to alien greenery, watering the plants when Jack boomed out to the Hub that he wanted everyone in the boardroom for a briefing in 5. He was hoping to get a hothouse for them as soon as possible, but for now they could survive in the corner her had given them, under a nice, hot lamp. He finished watering his alien fern, smiled at it slightly, told it it was a good little fern, and headed for the meeting, not relishing the prospect of more work. He would have preferred to have spent the day with his plants. They weren't nearly so mundane, irritating or stupid as boring, healthy humans. In fact, they were his secret pride and joy, and he enjoyed working out what nutrients suited each one best, the amount of light it needed to thrive, and, most importantly, whether it could be trained to discard foul smelling pollen all over the Teaboy. Fortunately, three of them, it seemed, could, and Owen was going to take great pleasure in potting a couple of samples.
Jack paced the boardroom, looking up as Tosh walked in. He offered her a little smile, and pulled the chair out for her, bending down to speak quietly into her ear.
"I'm not going to say anything about this in the briefing, I don't want any panic, but I've had a worrying thought. Tosh, what if… What if the device doesn't stop ageing Ianto when he reaches his usual age? What if he keeps on growing older until he dies and there's nothing we can do to stop it?" Although quiet, his voice sounded tense, and Tosh glanced up to see genuine concern in his eyes.
"Jack, even if that is the case, we'll find a way to stop it." She promised quietly, but with determination. "I'll get to work on finding you a definitive answer to whether the effects will continue or not as soon as the meeting is over." He nodded, apparently satisfied.
"Thank you, Toshiko. I know I can count on you." With that, he was back in his usual place at the head of the table, and the others were meandering in and taking their seats. Jack gave Ianto a smile, which didn't quite erase the worried look in his eyes, but it was so faint that Tosh doubted even Ianto would notice. Fortunately, he was having yet another argument with Owen about whether or not TinTin was acceptable children's TV. Gwen was all smiles today… Tosh suspected she was getting some, but it was none of her business and she still felt sick, even more so with the new added worry of the possible danger Ianto was in. Swallowing down the bile, she put on her 'let's get to business' face, and opened a file on her hand-held computer to take notes.
"So, why are we here?" Owen asked in a particularly peeved drawl. Sounded like Ianto had won the argument again.
"Good. Good question." Jack murmured. "We're here because we all seem to have lost the will to live." He looked at them all closely. "I mean, the rift has been quiet for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, and all of a sudden my secret alien-hunting organisation has turned into the set of Home and Away. There's sex everywhere, people are calling afternoons off willy-nilly… not that I mind, on a quiet day" He added, looking at Gwen, "But some warning would be nice. C'mon people! Wake up and smell the weevils! I want something doing. I want samples being analysed, I want tech being played with, I want Gwen working around the clock to find something, anything that will give us a lead on the device which has altered Ianto. I want us all to stop sitting on our arses just because nothing life-threatening has happened, and remember we aren't just here for the death defying stunts." He paused for breath and eyed them all like naughty school children.
"So, here's what's gonna happen. Owen, I want you to spend the day working with those alien plants of yours. If I'm right, several of them could have potential uses. One of them looks like an alien fern I've encountered which could boost our weevil spray to stop them becoming resistant. Find out everything you can, report it back to me. Gwen, I want you to do some digging. Start with our own archives, although don't mess them up too much, or you can do the babysitting." He winked at her and glanced at Ianto, a grin on his face. "If there's nothing in there which can help us, start searching elsewhere. Police records, local papers, national papers, hell, international papers. Anything at all about sudden age changes, I want it noted. There has to be something useful out there, I need it. Ianto, I'll take you home now, but when we get back, I want you to go back to cataloguing. There's a backlog of space junk which needs sorting, and then you can help Gwen to solve your problem. Tosh, you know what you're doing. Get down to it. Ianto and I will be out for a while, if you can deal with any disturbances without us, do, if not, I have my mobile, and my headset. Call me." He paused again, looking at them all intently. "Go!" He shouted, and there was a rustle of movement as they all scattered to their various workstations, leaving Ianto and Jack alone in the boardroom. Ianto watched with a smirk as Jack stretched idly, a smile playing on his lips. "Man, I love being in charge." He grinned, before ushering Ianto out of the room and towards the garage where the SUV was parked.
When they reached his flat, Ianto breathed a sigh of relief. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary from the outside. No break-ins, no vandalism. Pleased, he allowed Jack to open the front door, and they stumbled through, kicking off their boots and hanging their coats up. Everything was as it should have been. There was a little dust about, but Ianto decided he could clean that up later. Making his way towards the living room, he noticed that his answering machine had several messages on it.
"Who calls me except for you?" He asked, turning to scrutinise Jack. "Have you been leaving lewd messages on my answer phone again?"
"Only two." Jack grinned. "The other two are from someone else." He flopped down on the sofa, and Ianto shrugged before pressing the button on his alien tech answering machine. To anyone calling from the outside, it was just the usual 'leave a message after the beep' jobby, but when Ianto accessed his messages, it was pretty much a sentient being, which had named itself Albert.
"Good morning Mr Jones." Albert said, in a voice which always made Ianto shudder at first because it reminded him of a Cyberman. "How can I help you today?"
"Morning Albert." Ianto replied. "I'd like to access my messages please."
"You sound different today, Mr Jones. Is anything the matter?" The machine enquired politely, and Jack snickered from the sofa and murmured 'I'll say'.
"A few problems with some alien technology, Albert, but I'm fine, thank you." Ianto said with a slight smirk, astonished that his answering machine could be sympathetic.
"Very well, you have four messages, two from Captain Jack Harkness, which are not, if you'll pardon my assessment, to the best of tastes, and two from your mother, which I suggest you listen to right away."
"My mother?" Ianto arched an eyebrow in Jack's direction. "Right, well, put Jack's ones in my 'things to listen to when I'm extremely bored' folder, and play me the ones from my Mam."
"Right away, Sir." The machine replied, before switching to the standard feminine BT voicemail voice. "Message received yesterday at 11:47 am." And then, his mother's cross voice came over the line. "Ianto Jones, you promised you would contact me to confirm what's going on for my birthday tomorrow. Since I haven't heard anything to the contrary, I plan to arrive at your flat at 12:30. Someone had best be there to let me in, young man, or I'll have your guts for garters!" She paused momentarily, then continued in a much friendlier voice, "I hope you're well and feeding yourself properly, and you've gotten yourself a girlfriend. See you tomorrow, cariad, love Mam." The machine beeped, and the BT woman was back. "Message received today at 9:15 am." Mam was back, and her voice was cross again. "Ianto bloody Jones, you are just like your bloody father, he never replied to my messages either! Well, I'm just putting my overnight things in the car, and setting off, so I'll be there at 12:30 like I said, and if you aren't there, mark my words young man, there will be trouble! Trouble!" The machine beeped again, and fell silent. Ianto stood stock still, too stunned to move, until Jack broke the spell.
"Well, that's not good." He said with a frown. Ianto turned to him, a pained look on his face, and spoke in an extremely high-pitched voice.
"Not good? Not good? It's fucking awful! It's 10:15 now! She's always early so she'll be here in 2 hours. I haven't anything for her to eat, I haven't got her a present, and I'm going to be a fucking 11 year old when she gets here! WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO?" He flapped his arms exasperatedly. "I cannot believe I forgot her birthday!
"Calm down!" Jack said soothingly, getting up and wandering over to him. "I'll sort it." He said, patting Ianto on the head.
"Wait… She said overnight things… She's planning to stay?" Ianto paled. "She can't stay!" He looked up at Jack. "Jack, you have to fix this. Please!"
"Hey, it's alright." Jack said soothingly, with a small smile on his face. "I'll call in some favours and make you favourite son of the moment, and you wont even have to see her." Hugging Ianto to his side, he picked up the phone. "Albert, could you get me the Cardiff Hilton please."
"Certainly, Captain." Albert replied, and within seconds, the phone was ringing.
"Good morning, the Cardiff Hilton, this is Thomas speaking, how can I help you?" Announced a posh-sounding masculine voice over the phone.
"Thomas." Jack exclaimed with a grin like the devil on his face. "It's Jack Harkness."
"Oh, God! Harkness, not while I'm at work, and not now. I've got myself a respectable boyfriend, and we're going steady." Jack listened intently, grinning like a loon, then chuckled. Ianto rolled his eyes and decided to ignore everything.
"Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, That's not why I'm calling…"
"Don't call me Tommy." Thomas snapped.
"Baby don't be like that!" Jack snickered loudly.
"Don't call me baby either…Are you laughing at me!?" He asked in response to Jack's growing laughter.
"Never at you, Thomas, Never at you." Jack stifled his laughter and made shushing motions at Ianto, who was giggling inanely behind him. "Anyway, I'm not calling for your usual supply of outrageously good phone sex, I'm calling to… well, call in that favour."
"Oh…" Thomas' voice sounded a little disappointed that Jack wasn't going to try harder to persuade him into sex, but he got over it quickly enough. "So, what can I do to get rid of you?"
"Weeeeeell, A good friend of mine, and I don't use the term good friend lightly, has managed to.. Misplace his mother's birthday present. I want your best suite for her, and a full day of pamper treatments, and dinner included, and anything else you can throw in to make everything fabulous, and I don't want to pay for it." He grinned as he head the cogs turning in Thomas' mind.
"I can't, Jack. We've got some ambassador in the Royal Suite…I can get her the Grecian Goddess Suite?"
"Oooh, I always liked that one better, so many brilliant places to have a canoodle…"
"Yes, Jack, I remember…"
"Of course you do. Her name is Mrs Jones. I'll bring her over later. And thank you, Tommy."
"Any time, Jack… And don't call me Tommy."
"Bye, Baby." Jack grinned and as he put the phone down, heard Thomas protesting. He turned to Ianto with a triumphant smile on his face. "There, all done."
"Brilliant." Ianto smiled, determined not to feel jealous of this mysterious Thomas character who had apparently had several 'adventures' with Jack all over the Hilton. "But how are we going to explain the fact that I can't see her?" He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, and Jack struggled not to laugh at the insanity of it all.
"Well, I could meet her and give her an excuse… Say I sent you on business abroad and your flight got cancelled and you're very sorry but you didn't want her to be put out on her birthday, so you arranged the Hilton…"
"My God…" Ianto murmured. "You really aren't just a pretty face, are you?" He grinned up at Jack, who pulled a face back at him. "But that doesn't solve the problem of a present… I suppose I can send it in the post in a few days and say I bought it abroad and sorry I couldn't see her…It's not perfect, but it'll do…" He breathed a sigh of relief and flopped down on the sofa.
"Great, and I'm sure she'll love me…" Jack grinned, seating himself next to Ianto.
"Oh God!" Ianto groaned, covering his eyes with a hand. "Now, Jack, if you do anything, anything at all to my mother, I will personally castrate you, and you can spend the rest of your days not enjoying your previous varied sex life."
"Me?" Jack asked with an 'oh, but I'm so sweet and innocent' face, "Do anything? I mean, with your mother? How could you even think something like that?" He chuckled. "At worst, I'll probably flirt with her, but I mean, it's not like I can help that…" He grinned again, and Ianto laughed.
"That's true… You even flirted with the automated ticket system at the cinema…"
"Whaaaat!? She has a very sexy voice…"
"If you go for robots…"
"Now, now, I'm not the one who had a robot girlfriend…" Jack grinned, only to be rewarded with a swift, and fairly hard punch in the ribs.
"Not funny, Jack Harkness. Not funny at all." Ianto stood up and stalked towards the kitchen.
"Oh, Ianto, don't be all prissy with me. I was kidding." He sighed, and Ianto stopped on his way to the kitchen, and threw him a glare.
"Oddly enough, I'm still quite angry that you killed her." He growled, "Now I'm going to go make coffee and resist the urge to return the favour." With that he was gone, and Jack was left shaking his head and wondering when Ianto was truly going to forgive him. Sighing, he decided to leave Ianto to cool off, and picked up a book from the coffee table, flicking through it absently until he returned.
"Cappuccino." Ianto stated flatly, putting the cup down next to Jack. "Sorry I over-reacted." He murmured.
"No, I'm sorry." Jack said softly. "I shouldn't joke about it, not this soon. Not ever, really." He reached across to where Ianto had sat down again, and ruffled his hair affectionately.
"Well, it's behind us now…" Ianto sighed, trying his best to re-arrange his hair. "I just… I won't forget her, Jack." He smiled weakly. "Now drink your coffee before it goes cold." He said simply, taking a sip from a cup of his own.
"I'm not sure you're old enough for caffeine yet…" Jack mumbled, taking a long drink.
"Well then you can go fuck yourself." Ianto smiled. "Because I need a fix, before I commit murder."
"Well, we don't want that. And I find it quite amusing when you're hyperactive."
"So it works for both of us." Ianto chuckled. "So… What am I going to do whilst you sort out my Mam?" He frowned up at Jack.
"I'm sure you can find something to occupy yourself with, but you'll have to stay hidden." Jack smiled.. "And c'mere you!" He scooped Ianto into a bear hug. "Let's not argue. We'll see if we can set up some things for you to do in your bedroom."
"Alright." Ianto grinned, returning the hug. "I could play cards..." Jack released him and he wandered off into his bedroom, just in time to collapse in a heap on the floor, and become an eleven-year-old. Sitting up and rubbing his eyes, he looked up to see Jack in the doorway with his coat and shoes.
"If she sees these, she'll get confused." He pointed out, depositing them on the foot of the bed. "Want some cards? How about a book?"
"Yeah, there's a book I've been reading somewhere… Probably in the bathroom, I like to read in the bath." He flopped onto the bed.
"Ok, and I'll get you some juice as well, you might be in here a while." Jack sauntered off to find the book, and Ianto lay back on the bed, and attempted to get used to the odd sensations of a nearly pubescent body. He had always been a gangly sort of child, legs too long for his body and an irritating habit of falling over them at inopportune moments. Sighing, he pulled the cover over himself and snuggled down into his own bed, feeling more than a little run down.
"I've found the…" Jack trailed off as he stepped into the room and saw that Ianto had already fallen asleep. He looked at the sleeping 11 year old, curled around the duvet and snoring softly, and smiled. He really was adorable. Then it crossed his mind that in a few days' time, he might not be quite so adorable, so he decided to sit and watch him sleep a while. Putting the book on the table, and the juice next to it, he carefully settled himself on the bed next to Ianto, and brushed some stray hair out of his eyes.
Next thing he knew, it was 20 minutes later, and the doorbell was ringing. He'd gotten lost in thoughts again. Ianto blinked awake at the noise, and grumbled slightly before rolling over. Jack chuckled quietly.
"Stay here, I'll be back later." Jack whispered, before hastening towards the door, which was already ringing for the third time. Putting on his best 'look at me, aren't I handsome, charming and loveable' face, he opened the door.
"Ianto Jones! How long does it take to…" Ianto's mother practically screeched, before trailing off and taking in Jack. "Oh." She smiled coyly. "Well.. Hello."
"Hello." Jack replied, and couldn't help making it the most innuendo filled 'hello' he'd ever uttered, and that was saying something. Ianto had never said that his mother was hot! Jack usually didn't go for women much over their thirties, and Mrs Jones had to be nearing 60, but boy had she looked after herself. For one thing, she'd kept a figure which most women in their twenties would kill for, for another, she had barely a wrinkle in sight, and then there was her hair… The same stunning black as Ianto's and pulled up in a bun on her head, but pieces of hair had broken loose and were tumbling down to frame her face. He realised with a start that he was staring at her, and extended a hand just in time to seem suave, and not creepy. "Jack Harkness, I'm Ianto's boss."
"Oh, really?" Mr Jones looked up at him. "He mentioned you, but he never said you were handsome…" She looked him up and down and smiled roguishly. "I'm Mrs Jones."
"Of course you are." He said, and it was true, because if he hadn't just left him sleeping in the other room, Jack would have sworn the eyes he was looking into were Ianto's. "And Ianto never said how gorgeous his mother was." He took a step back and gestured. "Come in, I'm afraid I have a disappointment for you."
"You wouldn't disappoint me, I'm sure." She practically purred as she walked in, and Jack detected a hint of Ianto's sarcasm there. He grinned, then reminded himself that Ianto Jones' mother was most definitely out of bounds, and checked himself before replying.
"I'm not sure that sentiment will last, I'm afraid. You see, Ianto is stuck in Brussels…" He flinched as she whipped round to face him, a stern look on her face, which reminded him all too much of Ianto when he spilt a coffee.
"Stuck?" She spat. "In Brussels? But he's supposed to be taking me to lunch for my birthday!" She sighed. "Oh, what will I ever do with that boy?"
"It's my fault really, Mrs Jones. You see, he told me about your birthday, but I sent him to Brussels anyway. He was due to get back early this morning, but his flight got cancelled, and we're not yet sure when he can fly."
"Oh, silly boy. Silly aeroplanes. Bloody Brussels." She shook her head. "Well, he could have phoned and told me, now I'll have to drive all the way home."
"Actually," Jack ventured. "That's why I'm here." He grinned. "Ianto felt terrible about breaking his promise, so he's arranged a surprise for you instead. He's booked you a night at the Cardiff Hilton and a day of pampering to go with it. I'm to take you to the hotel and get you settled." Jack smiled as Mrs Jones' face lit up.
"The Hilton? How much do you pay him?" She laughed. "Oh, how lovely! He's such a good boy." She grinned at him, and he laughed.
"Yes he is. Now, would you like me to drive you? Or would you prefer to take your car?"
"Oh, I'll take my car. You can lead the way in yours." She trilled, buzzing with excitement. He followed her out of the flat and locked the door, grinning because his plan had worked. He Jumped into the car and drove the relatively short distance to the hotel, careful to drive like a normal human being so that Mrs Jones could keep up in her tiny silver convertible. When they arrived, he pulled up and handed his keys to a bell boy, waiting for Mrs Jones to do the same, and getting the luggage out of her boot. Grinning flirtatiously, he offered her his arm and they walked together to the reception desk, where Tommy was sitting, looking like he was about to throw up.
"Hi, Thomas." Jack purred, making a big show of checking the name tag on Thomas's uniform. "You should have a booking for this lovely lady, Mrs Jones." Thomas frowned at him slightly, then looked at his list.
"Yes, sir, I do have a booking. The Grecian Goddess Suite, for one night, and a deluxe pamper package to begin tomorrow morning. Is that correct?"
"Certainly is, Tommy. You don't mind if I call you Tommy, right?" Jack asked with a wink. "I believe dinner should be included in that as well?"
"Yes, Sir, dinner tonight, and breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Will that be everything that you'll need, Madam?" He asked, addressing Mrs Jones for the first time. She flushed and smiled.
"Yes, that sounds wonderful. What time are the meals served?"
"Dinner is from 7 'til 10:30, breakfast from 7:30 'til 10, and lunch from 12 'til 2. Or you may order room service at any time." Thomas reeled off with a dazzling smile, and Jack decided he'd worked in customer service for far too long. "Can I get someone to take your bags for you?"
"Oh, no thank you." Mr Jones smiled. "I've got my big strong man here for that." She gestured to Jack, who found himself blushing a little, despite himself. Seriously, did the ability to catch him off-guard run in the blood of the Jones family? He nodded, and cleared his throat.
"So, we'll er… just be needing the keys…" He mumbled.
"Certainly. Here you are, Madam. The suite is on the 6th floor, you can't miss it." He offered the keys, and Mrs Jones took them and thanked him, before setting off towards the elevator. Jack picked up the two bags and followed her.
Tosh groaned and made another dash to the toilet. Her insides were churning, she'd already thrown up everything she had, and now all she could do was retch uncontrollably. The door to the bathroom creaked behind her, and Gwen edged in, holding a glass of water.
"Still no better, love?" She enquired softly, and Tosh shook her head, and bit back another wave of bile, taking a small sip of the water to wash the taste from her mouth, and spitting it out into the toilet bowl.
"I wish I was dead." She groaned, closing her eyes. "I can't do anything, anyway, not whilst the computer is running scans… Ask Owen if he has any good sedatives, would you?"
"Of course, love. I'll go now." She slipped out, and Tosh leaned against the cubicle wall, breathing shallowly, and willing her body to stop aching.
When Mrs Jones opened the door of her suite, she was greeted by the scent of jasmine. Strong enough to make her nose tingle, but not overpowering. Grinning like a teenage girl, she pushed open the door, and Jack watched as she took in the sight of the gorgeous room before her.
"Oh God!" She squealed. "It's beautiful!" She stepped over the threshold, and he followed, watching her take in the room. It was huge, with a full bar in one corner, a dining table and chairs, some sofas and a chez long, and floor to ceiling windows masterfully decorated to look like the arches of an ancient Greek temple. The décor was luxurious, and all in the style one would expect from the title 'Grecian Goddess Suite'. The furniture was rich purple, the walls a mock stone colour, and the floor carpeted in thick cream, and scattered with exquisite rugs. Two ornately carved archways led into a bedroom and a bathroom, complete with a Jacuzzi and a state of the art rain shower. The bedroom held one of the biggest beds Jack had ever seen, furnished in the same rich purple, and scattered with exotic flowers, and a chocolate on each pillow. The wardrobe was huge, and there was a marble vanity table next to yet more floor to ceiling windows.
"Think you can cope here?" Jack asked with a grin. "I mean… It's the best Ianto could do at such short notice…" She rounded on him with a look in her eye which made something inside Jack want to run away. Unfortunately, Jack had seen that predatory gleam before, and it usually preceded amazing sex… So he stayed where he was.
"Mr Harkness, you are a tease." She purred, taking steps towards him, and he instantly stepped back, remembering just exactly who it was.
"Well, I… Er… I should be going Mrs Jones." He mumbled, realising that she was backing him into a corner. If he hadn't been so worried that he was going to end up doing something he would seriously regret with Ianto's mum, he would have laughed at the fact that this was one of his preferred methods of seduction. Well, now he knew how the prey felt, and it was exhilarating. Exhilarating but terrifying! She was still advancing on him, a coy smile on her lips.
"Now, now. You don't have to be shy…" She purred, so close now that he could literally feel the heat coming off her. The scent of her pheromones was overwhelmingly strong. Mrs Jones was a sexy woman, and she had Jack Harkness right where she wanted him.
"I don't really think this is a good idea, Mrs Jones." He complained, feeling like an awkward teenager all of a sudden. "I mean… I'm your son's boss and…"
"Oh, come now." She drawled. "Ianto won't know a thing. I'm certainly not going to tell him. And even if he does find out, he'll get over it." She smiled, pushing her face close to his, and he felt a sudden need to escape.
"I somehow don't think he would." Jack said softly, gently pushing Mrs Jones away.
"Oh, really?" She laughed. "I can take rejection Mr Harkness, don't worry." She turned away and laughed again. "Honestly, don't think Ianto would get over it. Next you'll be saying that you're having a love affair with him!" Jack laughed nervously.
"I just don't like to mix business with pleasure." He tried, casually, and she rounded on him.
"Now I do not believe that." She said with a smile. "I suppose it's the age thing, eh?" He opened his mouth to protest, but she silenced him with a wave of her hand. "Never mind. I've been turned down before, and I'm sure I'll find some other way to entertain myself this evening. That young man on reception seemed like a nice boy…" She winked. Jack repressed the giggle which threatened to overtake him.
"I'm sure he is." He said with a twinkle in his eye. "Have a good birthday, Mrs Jones. If there's anything you need, just call." He scribbled down the number for the tourist information centre, and flashed her one last smile before he turned and left. In the lift, he glanced at his clock. It was 2:30 pm. Had time accelerated itself whilst he had been with her? It seemed like they'd only been upstairs for ten minutes. Obviously not.
Ianto woke up an hour after Jack left. He wondered what was taking so long, the drive to the hotel was only ten minutes. He was struck by the sudden thought that maybe his mother had come onto Jack. It would be beyond the Captain to refuse. Ianto had seen his Mam at work seducing men in pubs, and it disgusted him. All the same, he had to admit that she had a talent, and often ended up pulling men almost as young as her son. He hoped that it wasn't the case, but when Jack still wasn't back at 2:15, he lost hope. Sighing, he dropped the book which he had picked up from the bedside table, and padded towards the kitchen, intent on drowning his disgust and the small pang of despair he felt by drinking copious quantities of coffee. By the time he was sipping at his third cappuccino, the door was creaking open, and Jack was walking in. Ianto noted with disgust that he was humming the tune of 'Me and Mrs Jones'. He wandered into the kitchen looking pleased with himself, and Ianto felt the urge to vomit.
"Well, I'd say it was a success." Jack grinned. "Although, if you'll excuse me saying so, your mother is a minx." He set the machine to make him a latte, and turned to see Ianto looking thunderous.
"Jack Harkness, did you fuck my mother? Because if you did, I swear I will kill you a thousand times over!" He growled, looking as menacing as an eleven year old could.
"What!?" Jack gasped. "No!" He looked appalled. "She cornered me in her room and tried it on, but it felt way too creepy. I mean… She's your Mother!" He stammered. "It would be… sick." He watched as Ianto's face relaxed, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Yes." He said quietly. "It would." He rubbed a hand through his hair, slowly feeling the caffeine take effect. "I'm sorry, it's just… She's done that sort of thing before. Slept with people in my life and decided that my feelings don't matter."
"Well, she never stood a chance with me." He said soothingly, settling on a chair opposite Ianto. "You got anything else to do here?" He asked casually. "Because we should get back to the Hub."
"Nope, I did it all whilst you were gone." Ianto replied, draining the last of his coffee. Jack downed his mug quickly, and smacked his lips.
"Great. We'll pick up pizza on the way back." He quickly rinsed out their mugs, and Ianto tidied up, then they got back in the SUV and headed for the Hub.
Owen sighed. He'd sedated Tosh, and she was sleeping peacefully on the sofa. Gwen was doing Gwen stuff, he wasn't sure what, and he had been left alone with his plants. Unfortunately, his new technical dooda had decided to pack up mid cycle, spraying a viscous mixture of mushed up plant extracts at him. He would have to clean it up, he supposed. Sighing again, he went to get some cleaning stuff, and that was when Jack and Ianto arrived with pizza. Immediately, he abandoned his cleaning project and headed for the food.
Tosh woke up half way through the pizza, and attempted to eat half a slice. Owen had taken some samples from her, and they were busy being analysed in the lab (thankfully they hadn't been in the machine that had gone haywire). She promptly went to the toilets to throw it up, and declined to have any more. Apart from that, lunch passed uneventfully, and the team chatted amicably for the first time in a few weeks. Tosh fell asleep again at the table, and Jack lifted her like a child, tucking her under a blanket on the sofa, and kissing her forehead tenderly. He hoped that she wasn't pregnant. It would make things far too awkward around the Torchwood base.
He popped over to her desk, but her broad scan was still running, and there was nothing yet to report. Sighing at his feeling of uselessness, he went to see Gwen.
"Shouldn't you be going?" He asked with a smile. "Y'know, living your life and all that."
"Oh!" Gwen squeaked. "I almost forgot. Right. Nearly found a lead I think, but I'll take a look tomorrow. Gotta go do the whole romantic dinner thing. You should try it sometime." She grinned sarcastically, and winked before dashing for the exit.
"Have fun." He called after her. "Owen, you may as well go home too, take Tosh and put her to bed." He looked at the medic, who was reading the analysis sheet from Tosh's samples.
"Yes, I think bed would be best. She's not pregnant, she's got a virus. It's not alien, it's just one of those lovely winter vomiting things. She'll recover, but she might've passed it on to one of us. We'll have to be careful."
"Hmm." Jack sighed. The last thing he needed was for his team to fall ill when Ianto was possibly in mortal danger. Still, there was nothing eh could do. "Well, take her home. Do what you can for her. I'll see you in the morning. Tell Tosh to stay home if she wants to." He smiled at Owen, who gave him a look as if he were insane.
"Tosh, stay at home? C'mon, she's as likely to do that as I am to turn up on time." He grinned, and Jack laughed.
"Point made. Now, scram!" He shooed Owen over to Tosh, and smiled warmly as he declined to wake her, and picked her up instead. Owen was stronger than he looked, and Jack was sure he'd make it all the way to the lift before Tosh woke up. Grinning, he turned to Ianto.
"I know that look." Ianto said sceptically. "What are you up to?" He arched an eyebrow as Jack pretended to be all innocent.
"I want to go out for dinner." He grinned. "Fancy accompanying me to the pizza express on the seafront? We can go to the cinema first."
"Do I have to call you 'Dad'" Ianto pouted.
"No, Daddy will be fine." Jack joked, and Ianto swiped at him. He laughed. "Call me whatever you like." He trilled. "I'm in need of a good film, and some good cannelloni."
Gwen looked around. In the few hours since she had been home, she had transformed her living room into a romantic den. The table had been moved to the centre, the sofa and coffee table pushed to the side. On top of the table was a white cloth, several candles scented with ylang-ylang and her best silver cutlery, a moving out present from her parents. The room was filled with spices from the cooking she had done, using as many aphrodisiac ingredients as possible, and the lights were dimmed, barely casting a glow over the romantic setting. She had set champagne in a bucket of ice at one end of the table, and romantic music was playing from the stereo. In ten minutes, Rhys would be home, and she was going to spend this evening showing him how much she really cared.