On Thursday morning, Rory sits at her desk and adjusts a few screws on a robotic arm when she hears a knock on the door.
"Come on in, Lillian," she calls.
Mrs. Jones enters timidly and asks, "How'd you know it was me?"
"There's no one else in the house according to the security grid," Rory replies with a bright smile. "Have a seat."
"You don't mind?"
"No. I'd like the company, and maybe I could use the extra set of hands."
As Lillian watches Rory use her own electrical impulses to wiggle each finger of the hand, she asks, "Did you always want to be an engineer?"
"Well, I thought about becoming a medical doctor, but that was for about two seconds. Other than that lapse, I knew that this is what I was meant to do."
"It must be nice to be so certain of something."
Rory puts down the arm and asks, "Lily, what's wrong?"
The older woman's hand trembles slightly as she confesses to her new benefactor what she cannot say to her son. "I'm scared. I hate not knowing what's going to happen next. I don't know how to function without some sense of structure."
"Neither do I," Rory tells her.
"And the future looks so huge and messy. I don't know where I fit in," Lillian confesses.
"You're still in transition. Once your brain is ready, once you feel in control of who you are, we can figure it all out."
"I don't want to be a burden to you."
"You're not. I enjoy having you here."
"But you are eventually going to have to go back to your lab. You can't work from here all the time."
"You could come with me," Rory offers.
"I'm beginning to feel like a child who needs to be baby-sat," Mrs. Jones mutters.
"Actually, I was thinking along the lines of a real job. You know, I could always use some help with some administrative tasks."
"That's just nepotism."
"Hey, the company got its name from my great-grandfather," Rory says. "And you'll feel better once you have something to occupy your thoughts."
"It's not just that. I also feel as though I'm intruding. I understand that Owen works odd hours. It must be difficult to spend time with him - just the two of you. I know what it's like to be part of a young couple. Lately, those memories have been coming back to me. I remember how wonderful it can be when it feels as though you are the only two people on Earth. Before Ianto was born, I remember Dylan used to chase me around the house, and when he'd catch me, he'd hold me close as if I was the most precious thing to him."
"Owen always kisses the back of my neck. It always sends shivers down my spine."
"Then you can imagine the rest," Lillian says as both women share a laugh. "The two of you should have your life together without worrying about me. I suppose I could move back to Newport with my parents… well, the Goodalls. I don't even know what to call them."
"They raised you. They are your parents. But moving in with them… is that what you want?"
"I don't know if I'm ready to live on my own," Lillian admits.
"I suppose that I can understand that. I suppose everything is still so new to you."
"Do you ever get scared? You know… about people finding out who you are and of what might happen?"
"I do," Rory admits. "That fear can keep you sharp and always on your toes. It sometimes feels like a rip in my favorite pair of jeans. I can learn to live with that imperfection because those jeans make me feel so good."
"That's one way of looking at it."
"Of course, Jack always says that most people are too busy caught up in real life to notice misfits like us, and if all else fails, we still have Torchwood and ret-con."
"I'm glad we found each other," Lillian says.
"Me too," the engineer replies.
Despite all of Rory's protests that she needn't move, Lillian decides to rent a tiny one-bedroom flat in Newport. Using his resourcefulness and his powers of persuasion, Ianto even manages to pull some strings to get her a job at the local library as a clerk.
After helping Lillian move her furniture into her new home, Ianto and Jack stop at the park before getting back to the hub. It's already dark, but neither man is terribly concerned by that. They seem to prefer the solitude and the cover that the night gives them.
"I've always liked this park," Jack comments.
"It's where we first met," Ianto replies.
After the younger man takes a blanket and a flashlight out from the boot of his car, the two men find a nice spot and lie on the ground, looking up at the stars.
"Do you ever get to the point where you just feel jaded?" Ianto asks. "I mean, there are times when we get a new case, and I don't always see the bigger picture. My mind just makes lists of all the things I need to do, the equipment that I need to prepare, the information that I need to pull up."
"You are my efficiency expert. You're just doing your job."
"But even when we're done, I'm ready to file the missions away, and I move forward to the next challenge quickly. All of those people we help, the people we can't save, the people we ret-con - they quickly become statistics in my head."
Jack turns on his side and places a hand on his lover's chest. "That's your way of coping," he says reassuringly. "Some of the things that I have you do requires some detachment. Christ, if you sat around thinking of all those people, you'd go nuts from all of the unnecessary guilt, and everyone would be aware of Torchwood's activities within a week."
"You make me sound cold and callous." Ianto's voice has a trace of accusation.
"No. What I'm saying is that you have your principles. You understand the sacrifices necessary for the survival of this planet."
"Most of the times I'm just following your orders."
"You wanna know something?… Sometimes, I wonder if I see alien influence everywhere. I look at everyone and everything with suspicion. How twisted is that?"
"Very," Ianto teases.
"I'm serious. Every shadow becomes a potential threat. The person who handles my dry-cleaning might be a ticking time bomb. The next big thing in the tech world might be from out of this world. I live in fear that there's something that I might miss."
"You're always so strong for us."
"Well, now you know that deep down inside, I am just a paranoid man."
"It can't be easy walking about knowing so much, having seen so much. On top of that, Torchwood warps the mind. Of course, one can make the argument that we were already pretty warped to begin with."
With a cynical laugh, Jack says, "I guess we were."
"I wonder what my father would have said about my mother's true identity, as someone who isn't accustomed to all of the wonders of the universe. Perhaps he would have taken it all in stride as long as my mother was fine. There's no way to really know. He always bottled things up which did him in, in the end."
"Like father, like son. That's why I need you to take care of yourself. I need you to relax every now and then, and stop worrying about everyone else's needs," Jack says.
"It's hard to do that," Ianto admits.
"Is there anything that I can do to help?" Jack murmurs just before kissing him. He presses his boyfriend to the ground and caresses his body. The scent of Ianto's sweat after an afternoon of heavy lifting is impregnated on the man's shirt, which Jack greedily inhales. He's always found that aroma so arousing.
Ianto sighs deeply and submits himself to pleasure. It didn't matter if they were in a public place or that anyone could walk up to them at any time. Actually, if anyone was in the park at this time of night, they were probably up to the same thing, Ianto thinks to himself as the Captain makes his way down his body. Jack could probably demonstrate a thing or two. However, his thought are interrupted by the sounds of heavy breathing. He opens his eyes.
The older man starts to unbuckle his lover's belt.
"You are so beautiful."
"Jack!" Ianto yells as he kicks the Captain aside.
"What the -" Jack finally sees the Weevil who has been watching them with great interest.
Jack quickly lunges for the Weevil and tries to wrestle it to the ground while Ianto runs to the car to grab his Weevil kit. As Jack kicks and thrashes about to avoid being bitten. Ianto quickly grabs the blanket and covers the Weevils head with it before plunging a needle into the neck of the interloper.
"He should be out for the next hour," Ianto says.
"Plenty of time," Jack replies, leering at the young man.
"You take his legs and I'll grab his arm."
"What about your blow job?"
Ianto sighs as they wrap up the Weevil in the blanket and pick it up. "There are sacrifices to be made at times like these."
"I hate it when you twist my words around," Jack says.
"You can do whatever you want to me when we get back to the hub."
"Really?" Jack asks. "But can we stop at the shop so I can pick up a candy necklace?"
"With a Weevil in my car?"
"It'll take five minutes."
"Why do I put up with you?" Ianto moans.
"Because the candy necklace won't be around your neck when I eat it," Jack replies with a raised eyebrow.
"Yep, that would be the reason," Ianto says with a stoic nod.
Weeks later, Rory straddles her boyfriend's lap as he sits on his sofa. Ever since Lillian moved out, she spends more time with Owen at his place because her house feels empty.
"So what's the plan? Are you killing her with kindness?" she asks.
"Your mum. You know, you're nice to her until she breaks down, and she has no choice but to be nice to you. Is that why your sending her to Spain?"
"Because the next time she whines about how I held her back in life, I can throw her little excursion to Barcelona in her face," Owen replies.
"You are something else," Rory says.
"What about your family? When do I get to meet them?"
"You already know Jack and Ianto."
"I mean the rest of the Templeton family. Have you told them about us?"
"We see each other at board meetings. We exchange pleasantries. They give me their reports. I give them mine, but we don't socialize."
"So I guess we shouldn't expect them at the wedding," Owen blurts out.
"What wedding?" Rory asks, but a split second later she puts two and two together. "You and me?"
"Don't look so shocked. I can commit."
"I'm not doubting your commitment. It's just a wedding… wow. We…I just thought that we'd live together first, and then eventually… maybe…Really? You want to get married?"
Owen just sits there, feeling completely foolish. "That was a shitty proposal. I should have done it properly over a nice meal. I don't even have a ring. It just came out, and -"
"Owen, do you swim?"
"Where?" Owen asks, completely confused.
Rory drags her man to his feet and says, "I'll tell you when we get there."
Owen and Rory park outside the gates surrounding a large mansion. The alien leads him to the security panel, and whispers to her boyfriend, "Okay, you are my look-out while I take care of the alarm. If the dogs find you, just say 'Frodo' in a calm, yet authoritative voice."
The expression of shock on Owen's face only makes Rory giggle, but he nervously surveys the place, looking for any security guards on the property and trying not to think about large dogs attacking his privates. While the doctor isn't looking, Rory quickly enters the security code into the touch pad and opens the gate. She grabs the doctor's hand and runs with him to a large building behind the main house. She begins to pick the lock, but Owen takes over since she is taking longer than he'd like. Rory turns on the lights so that they are dim, but they can still see what they are doing. The building contains a heated pool with several changing rooms on the side.
"I didn't think you were serious about swimming," Owen says.
"Well, of course I was," she replies. "Now take off your kit."
"I didn't bring a suit."
"Neither did I," she says before disappearing into a changing room.
Owen laughs when a naked leg emerges from behind the door and does a little kick. He quickly takes off his clothes and tosses them aside. Rory comes out of the room wearing a towel and tosses an extra one at Owen. Slowly, she peels it off, Owen can't resist lunging at her and pulling her into the pool. She squeals in delight as the two hit the water and playfully pushes him underneath.
The two of them mess about in the water until Owen takes his girlfriend into the shallow end and kisses her neck. However, just before things really heat up, the lights flash twice. Rory stops him and presses her finger to his lips to get him to stop. The lights flash again.
"Everybody out of the pool," she announces.
"Shit!" Owen exclaims as he races for his clothes.
He tries to remember his Torchwood identification number and struggles to create a plausible story for his presence inside the pool house. He knocks on the door of the changing room, and Rory steps out wearing a robe and with her hair wrapped up in a towel.
"Let me handle this," she says, placing her hand on his chest.
"Hey, I'm Torchwood. That has to count for something."
The doors open and a tall, heavy-set man in his seventies enters the room, followed by a beefy, younger man wearing a dark, black suit. The elderly man is not amused.
"Just what exactly are you doing here?" he barks.
"Let me explain…" Owen says.
"Hello, Uncle Reggie," Rory says in a cool, collected voice.
"Certainly, you can afford a pool of your own with all of the money Imogene left you," Uncle Reggie bellows.
"Yes I can, but I like this one," she answers cheerfully. "And really, I never come by to visit…"
"You should have better manners that this - to show up here unannounced like a couple of children. You used to know your place in this family."
"And what place is that? Employee? Lackey? Owner of this house and a third of the family company?"
Owen's jaw drops as he turns around to face Rory, "What the…"
"It's more fun if we sneak in," she replies. "I thought you were into all that cloak and dagger stuff."
"You used to behave like a Templeton. If Bertram could see you now…"
"He'd probably find the whole situation amusing."
"Bertram was a dignified man."
"Yes, he was, but he didn't have a stick up his arse," Rory snaps back. "Unfortunately, you didn't get to know him the way I did."
Reginald Templeton exhales, trying to hold onto his temper, "I hope that you'll keep an eye on your friend."
"Absolutely," Rory replies.
After Uncle Reggie leaves, Owen looks at Rory and says, "You are one bad mother-"
"Shut your mouth," she says with just the right amount of sass.
"Do you really own this house, and if you do, how fast can we kick him out?"
"Reggie made some bad investments that Bertie had to cover. Luckily his children are better at running the company, but when Bertram died, he left Imogene the house. When she died, she left it to me. He always pays his rent on time, and I have better things to deal with, and that house is so not me," Rory explains. She takes a deep breath. "Well, that's my family. Do you really want to be a part of that?"
"I think I can handle them," Owen replies.
"Then, I say Dr. Aurora Harper has a nice ring to it."
He cups her face and kisses her before saying, "I love you."
"Ha! I knew it!"
Owen groans and pulls her in for another kiss.
"I love you, too," Rory tells him. Suddenly she yells, "Did you hear that, Martin? We're getting married."
"Yes, Miss Templeton. Congratulations," a voice drones over the speakers.
"Who the hell is that?" Owen cries.
"He's the watchman. He's the one who warned us about Reggie," Rory explains.
"You mean he was watching when we were…?"
"Martin isn't interested in my dirty pillows. Now your naughty bits are an entirely different matter."
"He is gorgeous," Martin announces.
"Isn't he?" Rory replies. "Ooh, I've got to ring Jack and tell him the good news. Why don't you take a few laps in the pool?"
Looking up at the security cameras, Owen snickers and says, "Why don't I take you dancing instead?"
When Ianto arrives back at the hub that evening, Jack greets him with an enthusiastic hug and a kiss.
"What a lovely way to be greeted," the Welshman murmurs.
"I was just on the phone with Rory. She and Owen are engaged," the Captain says. "He loves her. He really loves her."
"Now, he's in for the ride of his life," Ianto comments. "At least he won't get bored."
"I thought that you'd be happy for them."
"Oh, I am. It's always entertaining to watch Owen with someone who can cut him down to size," Ianto says.
"Saves you a bit of work," Jack points out.
"How is your mum?"
"She's doing well. Every now and then, she still has the occasional memory lapse, but those are becoming less frequent. She said she missed you at dinner," Ianto tells him.
"I'll come next weekend. Besides, I wanted the two of you to have some time alone together, and I had a blowfish to detox and send back home."
"Sounds like a quiet evening. I suppose I have some cleaning and disinfecting to do."
"I took care of it already," Jack boasts.
"Right now, I just want to sit back and relax with my boyfriend. Maybe watch a movie…" Jack holds up a copy of Jason and the Argonauts. "I know you've been thinking about your father a lot lately. I hope that this brings back happy memories."
"Thank you," the younger man whispers.
"To be honest, I've never watched this before."
"You haven't?" Ianto asks in make-believe shock.
"I know. I am so deprived."
Ianto corrects Jack with a wink, "Depraved is more like it."
The Captain pinches his lover's ass and chases him into the bedroom. The two men snuggle on the bed and watch the movie; however, while Ianto is caught up in nostalgia, Jack has a very different reaction. Watching man after muscular man in skimpy costumes gives Jack all sorts of ideas.
By the time Jason and his crew board the Argos, he whispers to Ianto, "This is very homoerotic."
"You found Ocean's Eleven homoerotic," the younger man counters.
When Hercules leaves the crew to search for Hylas on the deserted island with the giant bronze statues, Jack comments, "Now, would he do that if he wasn't in love with him?"
"All right, maybe those two…"
"What if this movie made you gay?" Jack teases.
"Now I know who to blame," Ianto shoots back.
"But you love me," the older man replies.
Jack doesn't say another word and allows his boyfriend to watch the rest of the movie in peace. Getting lost in the classic adventure once again and feeling happy to share it with someone he loves, Ianto leans on Jack's shoulder. Seeing the joy he brought to his boyfriend, the Captain begins to enjoy the movie, especially the fights with the hydra and the skeletons.
However, at the end of the movie when Zeus says to Hera that he'll let Jason be happy for now and that he has other plans for him, the two men look at each other. Jack can feel his heart beating faster. Without a sound, Ianto kisses his boyfriend and turns off the television. He gets off the bed, places the DVD back in its case and says to Jack, "So Owen and Rory. That was pretty fast."
"Owen is grabbing a hold of his life with both hands," Jack replies.
"They do try to live in the moment, don't they?"
"Yes, they do."
"Make me feel alive." Ianto's simple request almost breaks Jack's heart.
But heartache is for another night. "As you wish."
The men find themselves playing laser tag against four arrogant, pimply-faced teenagers. After Ianto takes down the last man of the opposing team, Jack collects five quid from each of them. Ianto is somewhat embarrassed since logic tells him that they are highly-trained grown men, but he's also snickering quietly. For one blessed night, he's not thinking about how short life is or about the next attack on Earth; instead he's wondering if the next thing that Jack might suggest is riding shopping carts down a hill or planting an army of garden gnomes on Detective Swanson's lawn. This wasn't what he had in mind when he asked Jack to make him feel alive, but never in his life has he been this immature. He's enjoying every minute of it.
"Of course, we can beat you. You're just an old man," Jack says in a whiny, high-pitched voice as he taunts the adolescents. "What else did they call me?"
"An old fart," the Welshman answers.
"Well, this old fart kicked all of your asses. Who's next?" Jack announces.
"Come on, Dirty Harry," Ianto says. "Let's go."
"But I'm having fun," the Captain whines.
"Me, you, an abandoned office, a copier…"
Jack gasps. He turns to the group of teenagers, and with a quick salute, he says, "Well, I guess that's all for now, kids."
A/N: Okay, that started out as somewhat angsty, but disentegrated into fluff. I can't help it. I kind of like the idea that Owen is with someone who will jerk him around a little because he was always so arrogant on the show, and I believe that Jack and Ianto use their humor as a weapon to cope with their work.