To katie: I'm sorry. I didn't understand your question. Before Present Jack goes where?

And I want to thank enzymion, katie, and Candybree for reviewing. Thanks! And this chapter is a bit shorter than the others. Sorry!



Chapter #3: Getting Some Things Off His Chest



No, it was just a bad idea all around. Jack wouldn't want him sneaking around behind his back to learn all his secrets no matter that this Jack was basically offering them on a silver platter and even seemed to want him to know. It didn't matter that Ianto wouldn't remember it. It would still be a betrayal of trust and Ianto wasn't going to do that again.

Ianto shook his head. "No, I don't think so. I really should be going." He started to leave, but Future Jack tugged him back down.

"But you don't even have anywhere to be!" Future Jack said, sounding dismayed that his offer had been refused. "Why can't you just sit with me a while longer?"

Ianto turned back to Future Jack, a serious expression on his face. "I can sit with you, but you can't tell me anything. I will leave."

"Oh come on," Future Jack pleaded, "Don't tell me you don't want to know. You were all for it a minute ago."

"And then I realized it was a stupid idea and stopped thinking about it," Ianto replied snappishly. "So either shut up or watch me leave." Almost immediately after he said that, Ianto wanted to take it back. Future Jack or not, this was still his boss. You just don't tell your boss to shut up.

"I mean . . ." Ianto looked horrified, but Future Jack only smiled sadly.

"Look at you," he said, "Even now you're making me better than I am." Future Jack heaved a sigh and let him go, looking down at his lap and seeming ashamed for wanting to tell Ianto about the future. "You're right. It was a stupid idea. I just thought . . ." he trailed off, leaving that thought hanging. But Ianto could guess what he had thought.

"It was . . . It was nice of you to offer though," Ianto said, taking pity on this future version of his boss.

"No . . . no you said it was stupid and you meant it was stupid," Future Jack said, looking up to give Ianto a self-mocking glance. "You don't have to sugarcoat things for me."

"I'm not sugarcoating," Ianto insisted. "It was a nice thought. It just was a stupid one as well."

"Ah thanks," Future Jack said in an aw-shucks manner, clearly getting back into a more jovial mood. Putting his coffee to the side, he tugged Ianto closer to him, putting an arm around his shoulders in a brotherly way and leaning back against the worn back of the sofa. "So what can we talk about?"

Ianto tried to shrug, but he was effectively trapped against Future Jack's chest. "You can tell me general things. Things that have nothing to do with me."

"But I want to tell you all about things that have to do with you!" Jack complained, whining playfully. "You wouldn't be interested in the other things."

Ianto managed to sit up a little so that his head was resting on Jack's shoulder and wrapped an arm around Future Jack's waist. He smiled. This was almost kind of nice. "Sure I would," he said. "What have you been doing lately?"

Future Jack actually thought about this. "Well there was that one thing. That was kind of weird."

Strange stories about the Rift were always interesting, so Ianto lifted his head and asked curiously, "What?"

"A talking cat nun if you can believe that," Jack said, looking down at him with smile, "From the future. New Earth to be exact."

Ianto just looked interested. "What did it want?"

"I think it was a she," Future Jack informed him primly before continuing, "And she wanted what any cat nun wants—a handful of 21st Century mold and a ride home."

At that, Ianto blinked. "Mold?"

Future Jack smiled again at his confusion and nodded. "Yep. Mold. She was very particular about the mold too. Had to be a certain color and shape. We couldn't just grab what was left at the back of the fridge and send her off with that. We actually had to go on a mold hunt."

"A mold hunt," Ianto repeated slowly, almost incredulously.

Jack seemed to sense his rising disbelief. "I'm telling the truth! She wanted mold! I offered her candy and a whole bunch of other little 21st century trinkets, but she just wanted her mold."

"Huh," Ianto said as he sat back and thought of that.

Future Jack smiled. "Yeah, that's about what I'd thought you'd say."

Ianto turned back to him. "Any other weird things happening?"

"Not really," Future Jack said, relaxing back against the seat, arm still thrown around Ianto's shoulders. "There was that almost invasion of donkey-sized chinchillas, but that's pretty much it."

Ianto turned to him with wide-eyes. "Did you just say donkey-sized chinchillas?"

"Yeah," Future Jack said musingly, clearly remembering that day. He turned to talk to his employee. "You remember that, Sara?"

"Yep," Sara said, nodding her head cheerily. "Looked like huge rats. Andrew had an absolute fit."

"Ah yes," Jack said, obviously amused as he turned back to Ianto. "Andy and his rat phobia. We learned a lot about him that day."

Ianto smiled. It looked like the future was alright if Jack could still be close to his team.

"So which one of your team do you . . . you know?" Ianto gave Jack a significant look.

Amusement passing, Jack just looked confused. "Huh?"

"You know . . ." Ianto said again with a smile, "Which one takes my place?"

Future Jack seemed to suddenly freeze, his face horrified. "Takes . . . takes your place? No . . . no one! How can you . . . how can you even ask that?!"

Ianto frowned, wondering what the big deal was. "I just wanted to know which one you were shagging."

"Ianto," Future Jack said, taking him by the shoulders and looking him in the eye, seeming to want to make sure that Ianto got this one point. "You and me weren't just "shagging"." What we had was—

Ianto jerked away suddenly. "I thought you said you weren't going to say anything!" he exclaimed.

"Well I wouldn't, but then you had to go and say things that just aren't true!" Future Jack tried to explain. "That are so far from true that – that— Jack seemed to be having trouble finding words. "Well they just aren't true!" he eventually settled on.

"I told you not to tell me!" Ianto said, getting up from his seat so that he could leave.

"Ianto!" Future Jack said, jumping up and grabbing Ianto by the arm.

Ianto shook him off, taking his arm back to glare at the older man. "No. You said you wouldn't say anything. I'm not supposed to know any of this."

"Will you just listen to me!"

Ianto shook his head and started to leave. Jack rushed after him, catching up to him by Gwen's desk.

"I just wanted to say— Future Jack started.

"I'm not listening," Ianto said as he stepped around Gwen's desk and headed for Tosh's.

Future Jack continued tenaciously. "That what we had was—

"Still not listening," Ianto said, moving around some papers on Tosh's desk, being careful of the alien artifact she was in the middle of figuring out.

"It was special!" Jack still continued. "I mean, I never really said it but—

Ianto had to stop him there. "Sir, stop. Just stop." He turned to regard Jack seriously. "Why are even you telling me all this?"

"Why?" Future Jack repeated, almost as if he didn't know why Ianto even had to ask. But then he smiled sadly; able to admit he was glad Ianto was finally listening. "Because if I don't then I'll never be able to."

That made sense and Ianto nodded, looking down at the papers in his hands, not needing anything more. But Jack still had things to say.

"I never was brave enough to ever really tell you this stuff when you were alive, you know?" Future Jack said, looking at Ianto seriously. "I mean, I assumed you knew, I seem to remember basically doing everything but tell you, but there's still always that doubt." Jack tucked his hands in the pockets of his greatcoat, frowning to himself as he was lost in sad memories. "And then you die," he said softly. "Much, much too soon. And whatever chance I had to tell you was gone, just like that." Future Jack snapped his fingers to show how quickly the chance had passed. He looked back up at Ianto to regard him with sad eyes. "You know, I never stopped regretting that."

Ianto didn't quite know what to say to that. "I'm . . . I'm sure I knew."

"Well I certainly hope so," Future Jack said before smirking suddenly, clearly still a little sad, but trying to regain his cheek. "But you always were a little slow with things like that."

Ianto frowned and, looking a little miffed, said, "I was not."

Future Jack's smirk grew. "You were," he corrected. "I mean, you could understand my moods with almost unnatural ease and always, always knew when to bring me my coffee before I'd even realized I'd wanted it, but you never could tell how I felt about you." Then Future Jack frowned again, looking sad once more. "You never did quite stop thinking yourself as undeserving."

Not having anything to say to that, Ianto looked down at the floor.

"And you were deserving," Future Jack said, stepping closer so that he could almost touch Ianto, trying to look Ianto in the eyes but Ianto had ducked his head. "It may seem cheesy, but I was the undeserving one."

Ianto shook his head and took a step back. "No . . . you . . . you could never . . ."

"I was," Future Jack said seriously. "You have no idea how many times I messed up. How many times I did the wrong thing with you."

"But I . . ."

"You made one mistake," Future Jack said. "And you did it because you were in love. I think that's a good reason to do anything, really. Well," Future Jack smirked again, "Except refuse me my coffee. That was just plain cruel when you did that."

Ianto let out a half-choked laugh and shook his head again, keeping his head down so Jack couldn't see the expression on his face.

Jack couldn't know how much he had regretted that thing with Lisa. How it had haunted his nightmares for weeks afterwards. He had essentially killed someone just because he couldn't let go. He had lied to the team and put them in danger when they had trusted him. There just wasn't anything good you could say about a person who did something like that.

"Hey," Future Jack said gently when Ianto still refused to show his face. "Are you, okay?"

Leaning against Tosh's desk, Ianto tried to pull himself back under control. Patting down his suit, he stood straight again and tried to ease any of Jack's concern. "Yes, sir. I'm just fine."

Jack frowned, still concerned. "You always say that, but I never know when you really mean it.

"I . . ." Ianto started to speak, not really sure what he was about to say when he heard the sound of the lift being activated. The others were back.