TITLE: A Nostalgic Yearning
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood and it's characters are property of the BBC. Finn, Rhiannon, Chris and all other characters are property of me. Although why you'd want them is beyond me.
PAIRINGS/CHARACTERS: Jack/Ianto, Gwen, Owen, Tosh, OC's
SUMMARY: Take two men, a small child, a seaside town, throw in a few locals, some Welsh rain and you've got a perfect holiday. Don't you?
AUTHOR NOTES: This is the sequel to my story, "Family Matters". This will not make sense unless you have read Family Matters. Set in season two of Torchwood but obviously not sticking to canon so fit it in where you want. The title of this piece "A Nostalgic Yearning" is taken from the book 'The meaning of liff' by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd where they describe Aberystwyth as being "A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for."
Ianto groaned as he rolled over in his bed, flinging out an arm to tilt the alarm clock forward enough for him to be able to read the digital display. Numbers blinked back at him as he tried to figure out what they meant, his brain trying to form coherent thoughts as his doorbell rang again.
"Ignore it." Jack's muffled voice came from the other side of the bed as Ianto pulled himself from underneath the duvet, grabbing his jeans that were slung over the chair on his side of the bed.
"If someone's ringing my doorbell at two in the morning Jack it's probably going to be important." Ianto grumped as he tried to pull up his jeans without falling over. The window rattled in its frame as the wind ripped through the trees outside, his doorbell sounding again as Ianto stooped to pick up Jack's shirt.
"It'll be kids playing knock and run." Jack called after him as Ianto descended the stairs to his front door. He flicked the porch light on as he entered the hallway in an attempt to stop the visitor ringing his doorbell for a fifth time.
"I'm coming." He called out as he searched blindly for his keys on the hall table before discovering they were actually hung up on the hook by the door for once. He had to stop the door from blowing inwards and knocking him out as he pulled Jack's shirt closed across his chest.
"Ria?" Ianto stifled a yawn as his sister stood staring at him on his front doorstep. Finn was in her arms, his head resting on her shoulder, asleep. A Thomas the Tank Engine backpack was hanging from her arm and she was wearing her pyjamas with a coat over the top, her eyes red ringed from crying.
"Can I come in?" her voice sounded hollow as Ianto stepped back to let his sister into the house, shutting out the wind and rain behind her.
"What's happened?" Ianto questioned, ushering her into the kitchen where he flicked the lights on. He blinked dazedly in the bright glare as he moved to the kettle, automatically flicking the switch, some part of his mother kicking in. Because if someone turns up at two in the morning on a night like this wearing their pyjamas the situation definitely calls for tea. He watched as his sister sank into one of the kitchen chairs, Finn still cradled close to her as she dropped the bag she was carrying.
"Chris, he's," Ria looked like she was going to burst into tears again and Ianto moved over to her, kneeling down so he could wrap his arms around his sister and nephew.
"Why don't I go put Finn down on the couch then you can tell me what's going on?" Ianto coaxed, pulling the little boy from his sister's arms. Finlay turned into Ianto's warm shoulder, his thumb stuck in his mouth as he continued to cling onto the ear of his moth eaten rabbit Ianto had bought him when he had been born with his other hand.
Ianto disappeared into the living room, not bothering to turn the light on but lying Finn down on the couch in amongst the cushions before he pulled the throw from the back of the couch, tucking him in. Jack's coat was still slung over the armchair and he placed that over his nephew as well, watching as Finn grabbed blindly at the sleeve of the wool coat, obviously finding it of some comfort. Ianto smiled; like Uncle like Nephew.
When he returned to the kitchen Ria was sat at the table with her head in her hands as the kettle finished boiling. He made two cups of tea and brought them over to the table, placing one in front of Ria and clutching at the other one with both hands.
"He's been cheating on me, on us, Ianto." Ria whispered as Ianto sat down opposite her.
"He's been sleeping with someone at work. I've known now for the past few months but I didn't want to say anything, I didn't want to ruin things for Finlay, he needs a father Ianto and I didn't want," Ria burst into sobs.
"Hey, come on." Ianto reached out a hand to her, getting up from his side of the table and moving round to embrace his sister again. "He's not worth crying over Ria." He soothed as she continued to sob.
She stopped crying into his shoulder when they both heard the floorboards of the stairs creaking. She looked up at him, a hand on his shoulder before it dawned on her that the shirt he was wearing didn't smell like her brother.
"Ianto, I'm sorry, I didn't know there was someone here." She was pulling herself to her feet, looking about for the bag she'd dropped earlier. "We'll go."
"Ria!" Ianto grabbed both of his sister's wrists to stop her mad dash to the door. "It's fine. It's just Jack."
"But you were busy. It's fine, really. I'll go and I'll find a hotel for us to stay in." Ria was trying to struggle out of Ianto's grasp now, desperation in her words.
"Ria." Ianto's voice was soft as he tried to turn his sister towards him, tried to stop her franticly leaving but she pulled free of him, dashing out of the kitchen only to met by another body, partially dressed, stood in her way.
"Hey," Jack put both of his hands on Ria's shoulders. "You're staying here." Jack's tone of voice left no room for argument and Ianto watched from the kitchen doorway as his sister sank into Jack's arms, defeated.
Ianto closed the door to his spare room, catching one last glimpse of his sister and nephew curled up in each other's arms just as the sun began to leak into the hallway through the bathroom window. He half sighed, half yawned, as he stumbled across the hall to his bedroom. Jack was still sat up in bed waiting for him.
"How is she?" Jack questioned sincerely.
Ianto gave him a disbelieving look.
"Right," Jack looked chagrined. "Daft question."
Jack watched as Ianto pulled off Jack's shirt and his jeans and slung them back over the chair on his side of the bed before crawling back under the covers. Ianto sighed again as he turned into Jack's arms, closing his eyes, praying for sleep to come quickly.
"Some days I wish I didn't have family." Ianto whispered. "I feel horrible for thinking it but I've got enough on my plate helping you save the world without stopping my sister's falling apart." Ianto felt Jack's lips on his forehead.
"Sometimes it takes things like this to put the bigger picture in prospective." Jack replied as Ianto settled further into Jack's arms.
"Also I hate to be the barer of bad news," Jack broke the silence, an apologetic tone to his voice. "But we need to be at work in an hour."
Ianto groaned into Jack's chest before pulling a pillow over his head.
Ianto jerked slightly as his head slipped from where it had been resting in his hand. He blinked a couple of times to get the world back into focus and found Owen waving a hand in front of his face.
"Oh you are with us then." Owen snarked leaning back in his chair looking rather smug with himself.
"Sorry, what?" Ianto questioned, trying to pick up what was going on. He glanced at the screen in the conference room and found that Tosh was now standing in front of it instead of Jack and they'd already moved on from Weevil sightings to something else. Although he wasn't entirely sure what and they were all staring at him expectantly.
"I was just asking if you know roughly how many bus loads of tourists we get on match days? Since they seem to be targeting tourists, we'll need to be extra vigilant this weekend." Tosh looked at him bashfully as Ianto blinked a couple of times. Since when was he the bloody tourist office and city council?
"Dunno," he shrugged and caught Jack's eyebrow shooting up into his hairline in his peripheral vision. "Maybe a couple of hundred?"
Ianto watched as Tosh frowned at him and his apparent lackadaisical attitude before turning back to the screen and continuing her debrief. Ianto didn't miss the fact that Jack's gaze remained on him until Tosh asked his opinion on something and then only reluctantly did he turn away as Ianto muffled a yawn.
"Ianto all I'm saying is just take a week off to sort things out at home. Spend time with Finn or something. Catch up on sleep?" Jack tried to hide his smile as Ianto tried to muffle a yawn again; both of them failed.
"Jack it's fine, I can multitask you know, unlike some people." Ianto argued.
"Was that aimed at me?" Jack asked incredulously and Ianto just shot him a dirty look before retreating out Jack's office.
"Fine have it your way Mr. Grumpy!" Jack called loud enough for Owen to hear. The latter gave a snort of laughter, smirking at Ianto until he caught the tea-boy's glower and promptly spun back around in Gwen's chair to face the computer monitor as the rift alarm sounded.
"You know this never would have happened if you had taken me up on my offer of paid holiday." Jack teased as the SUV pulled up outside Ianto's front door.
"I'm not really in the mood for an 'I told you so'." Ianto grimaced as he tried to undo his seatbelt, his left eye closed. Jack wasn't sure if it was swollen shut or just closed trying to block out as much light as possible to try and dull the ache. Jack eventually came to Ianto's rescue as he slide gracefully from the SUV going round to Ianto's side to help him out of the car.
"You're not really in the mood for much at the moment. Which is a shame considering I brought you home." Jack gave him a sly smile that Ianto missed, too busy trying to stay on his feet as he leant against the side of the SUV.
"Keys?" Jack asked a moment later as they stood on the front doorstep. Ianto looked at him blankly for a moment, glancing down at Jack's outstretched hand. He wasn't quick enough with a reply before Jack was patting down the pockets of Ianto's suit jacket, a hand on the small of his back to keep him upright.
The next thing Ianto knew he was thankfully being lowered onto his couch by Jack's steadying hands. He let out a groan of approval as he rested his head back into the couch cushions, closing his eyes.
"Is Uncy Yan ok?" A small voice piped up from somewhere over by the television which Ianto only now realised was on.
"Uncle Ianto isn't very well Finn." Jack explained. Ianto heard Jack taking his coat off which meant he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. "So we need to be very quiet and use our inside voices so he'll get better quickly."
Ianto's eyebrow would have quirked at that had he not known how much it would hurt for him to move at all. Where on earth had Jack learned the phrase 'inside voices'?
"Ok." Finn replied in a rather loud stage whisper. "Are you going to make him soup? Mummy makes soup when I get sick."
"I don't think he needs soup at the moment." Ianto could hear the chuckle hidden in Jack's voice as he felt Jack pulling off his shoes. Finn must have had a disappointed look on his face because Jack started to reassure him. "But when he does you could maybe help me make it?"
"Oh God! What happened?" Ria all but shrieked from the doorway and Ianto tried to crack open his eyes to reassure his sister he was fine, just dazed and tired and severely concussed.
"Ssssh Mummy!" Finn admonished in a rather loud whisper. "Uncy Yan got an owie so we have to use our inside voices."
Ianto felt himself smiling as Jack manipulated his suit jacket, tie and belt from him before lying him down on the couch. Ianto let his mind drift as he vaguely heard Jack trying to explain what had happened, no real need to lie about his job this time. It wasn't as if it was entirely Torchwood related.
He awoke sometime later to the smell of food wafting out of the kitchen towards him. There was a doctor's stethoscope lying in the middle of the living room floor next to some train tracks and a half used box of plasters. He presumed Finn had been trying to play doctor at some point. He gingerly touched his head to check if Finn had been playing doctor on him but found no new plaster's than the original gauze Owen had taped to his forehead some hours ago.
He followed the sound of voices and entered the kitchen to find Ria sat at the table, hands wrapped round a mug of tea as Jack stood at the stove, braces hanging down by his sides, shoes off and sleeves rolled up. He looked the picture of domesticity and it made Ianto smile.
"Ah, sleeping beauty awakes." Jack smiled as Ianto shuffled round to the other seat at the table and plonked himself down rather unceremoniously.
"How you feeling?" Ria questioned, eyes full of concern as they traced what was no doubt by now a spectacular bruise down the side of his face. Ianto could see Jack looking at him over his shoulder.
"Groggy." He answered truthfully as he yawned, rubbing at the back of his neck
"That's what you get for tripping over your own two feet into a wall." Ria teased. Ianto glanced at Jack who was pulling down an extra plate down from the cupboard.
"Technically I was pushed." Ianto bit back, his eyes still on Jack as he started to dish up.
"Fine, next time I'll let you be run over by the hell Granny on a scooter." Jack retorted, banging the pans into the bottom of the sink. Ria giggled into her mug of tea.
"Please. That would probably have hurt less than a solid wall." Ianto sniped.
"Hungry?" Jack questioned, trying to change the subject as he spun towards Ianto, two plates piled with what appeared to spaghetti bolognaise in either hand and a megawatt smile on his face. Ianto stomach grumbled in response as Jack put the plates down on the table before going back for his own.
"Leave them." Ianto waved vaguely at the pots and pans Ria was trying to pile into the sink, his head cradled in one of his hands. "I'll do them later." Ianto thought for a moment as his head started to throb again. "Or I'll get Jack to do them later when he comes back from work. He looks good in marigolds."
Ria laughed as she continued to scrub at the bottom of the pan.
"He's a good man you know." Ria said after a long moment, placing the pot deliberately on the drying rack before turning to face her brother. "Mam would have liked him."
"Yes, but Dad now thinks I'm gay." Ianto admitted, sighing slightly.
"Da doesn't understand the concept of love Ianto and you know that as well as I do. Just because you fell in love with a man doesn't make you gay." Ria caught the look of confusion on Ianto's face and she rolled her eyes in response.
"Oh please Yan, I've seen the way you look at him. At first I thought he was just the person there to pick up the pieces after Canary Wharf, Lisa and Mam, but he stuck around. He really cares about you."
Ianto could see tears in his sister's eyes but he didn't say anything, he knew what was coming.
"I thought Chris was the same you know. I thought he really cared. We had a child together, but the first time a bit of skirt catches his eye he's off like the clappers. Settling down into a new life; one which doesn't involve either me or Finn." Ria let out a sigh as she abandoned the dishes, coming back over to the table and picking up the dishcloth to dry her hands.
"You deserve better than him Ria." Ianto reached out and took her hand, re-iterating everything he had said last night to her while she was in floods of tears, almost inconsolable.
"I'll have Jack when you're done with him." Ria teased, smiling slightly.
"You may be waiting a while." Ianto smiled back at her as Ria bent to kiss her brother on the forehead, avoiding the left side of his head.
"If he makes you happy Yan then I'll wait a lifetime." Ria replied, a hand on Ianto's shoulder as he blushed.
"Mam!" Finn's distant cry came from somewhere above them, breaking the moment.
"Coming." Ria called back, squeezing Ianto's shoulder before she disappeared out the kitchen.
Ianto tried to stop himself from giggling as he watched Jack bundling up his shirt and trousers before flinging them onto the chair at Ianto's side of the bed.
"Finn playing Doctor earlier on by any chance?" Ianto inquired as his hand reached out for Jack's forearm. Jack followed his gaze down to the plasters stuck haphazardly on his hairy forearm. Jack hardly had time to protest before Ianto was ripping the first one off, causing Jack to yelp and pull his arm back, rubbing furiously.
"Ow!" Jack frowned, a look of indignation on his face as he pulled his arm further away from Ianto. "Next time I think I'll let Finn minister to you see how you like band aids being ripped off."
"You leaving the other ones on then?" Ianto questioned, smirking slightly as he settled back into the bed, turning the pillow over to find the cool side before laying his head down carefully.
"For now." Jack replied, pouting slightly as he got into bed with Ianto.
"You know you don't have to stay tonight. Ria can check in on me, make sure I don't die during the night. Plus there's always Doctor Finn." Ianto teased, but there was a seriousness in his voice as he watched Jack pull the duvet up over both of them.
"I know, but your bed's comfier." Jack smiled. Ianto knew Jack was avoiding the real reason, avoiding revealing how he really felt about Ianto as he had been doing for so long now. The thing was though Jack was better at saying things with actions. He was a get up and go man rather than a poetic one and that was one of the reasons Ianto loved him. Also, if tonight's dinner and the fact Jack was now here in his bed without the promise of sex, an arm draped possessively over Ianto's torso, was anything to go by then Ianto had a pretty good idea that Jack felt the same way, even if he had never, and would never, voice it.
"Where do you think you're going?" Jack barked, hands on hips like he was some kind of mother hen as Ianto stopped in his tracks on the threshold of the kitchen.
"To the kettle." Ianto pointed dubiously across the expanse of his kitchen, shuffling further into the room, his eyes still on Jack warily.
"Why are you dressed in a suit?" Jack tried again.
"Because I didn't think it would be suitable to wear my maid's outfit." Ianto could play silly beggars all day if he wanted to.
"You have a maids outfit?" Jack voice sounded incredulous and Ianto smiled to himself as he poured hot water into his mug. Ianto turned around to find Jack shaking his head, presumable trying to get rid of the distracting image of Ianto with a feather duster in his hand wearing nothing more than a skimpy dress. That image would be distracting Jack all day and Ianto knew it.
"You're not going into work." Jack said defiantly, a finger pointing at Ianto like he was a naughty school child. Ianto looked impassive as he tried to fish his teabag out his mug with a knife that had been left on the breadboard.
"You're on a weeks holiday, sick leave, suspension. Don't care what you call it, you're not going into work." Jack continued, holding up a hand when Ianto looked like he was going to interrupt. "And if you say no I swear I will get Owen to sign you off saying you're a danger to the team and yourself if you don't get some rest."
Ianto sighed, sagging against the kitchen counter. He could use with some extra sleep, and his head was still throbbing spectacularly after it's meeting with the wall and the pavement yesterday. He'd honestly like to spend time with his nephew as well, maybe take him off Ria's hands for a few days so she could sort things out with Chris.
"Ok." Ianto agreed, nodding slightly. Jack seemed to sag with relief as well. "On one condition."
Jack's eyes widened slightly, eyeing Ianto suspiciously sure that the Welshman had some evil master plan tucked up his sleeves.
"What?" The word got lengthened in the middle by Jack's cautiousness.
"You take some time off too."