Title: Follow your daughter home (1/1)
Warning: A/U, implication of past mpreg
Characters: past Jack/Ianto, OC
Disclaimer: Torchwood and all it's characters belong to R.T.D. I'm just playing with them.
Summary: Jack finds more than just food waiting for him at a diner.
A/N: Beta-ed by my cousin.
She's at his table quite frankly before he is. "Hi. Can I get you anything?"
He orders without looking up. "Uh, water right now would do. Thanks."
"Right." He hears pen impact paper and then heels as she wanders off towards the kitchen. He looks towards the kitchen just in time to watch as she disappears behind the wall. Her pinstriped pant leg and tip of her patent leather heel is the last thing he sees and after thinking that she was way overdressed for working in a diner, he finds himself drawn into the past. Back to another person who was constant overdressed. He too wore pinstripes. It was like the design of choice for the overdressed and under 30 crowd were pinstripes and patent leather shoes.
Seconds later she reappears around the corner with an already sweating glass in her hand, and Jack nearly swallows his tongue. Her dark russet coloured hair is pulled back into a tidy ponytail, her rectangular black frames are perched precariously on the tip of her pert nose, her form fitting navy blue dress shirt is iron and pressed and pinched at the sides just enough to show her slender waist. the only thing that undoes the "perfectness" of her appearance are her slouched shoulders. Jack frowned.
When she reaches his table he takes a moment to look her over. Her name tag, which has "Ceridwen" spelt out in proud black letters, is lined up with the third button from the top of her shirt. The light above him is reflecting unobstructed off the tips of her shoes, and even though she wears no make-up, her face is impeccably clean and full of natural colour. Jack finds himself having to swallow the rising bile as he bites the inside of his cheek and smiles at the woman.
Ceridwen smiles back as she set the glass on a coaster with one hand and pulls a notepad out of her back pocket with the other. He pales at the efficiency of it all. "Have you decided on what you'd like, sir?"
"Uh," his mind is suddenly blank as he stares at her.
She smiles and her midnight blue eyes sparkle. "You alright, sir?"
He blinks once and then twice and nods. "Uh, yeah, yes, I'm fine." He tries to smile at her and hopes he didn't grimace. "A cheese burger combo would do fine. Everything on it. Sprite – no ice."
Her slight smirk as she writes down his order is what makes him come undone, but he manages to bite back on his freak out until she is around the corner again and out of ear shot. "Ianto!" his fists come down on the table and make the cutlery and glass of forgotten water jump. "you bastard."
He hadn't realized how long he had been sat seething in his own juices until a rather large plate of fries and what looked to be half a cow covered with a bun was set in front of him. The Sprite came next. Jack looked up just in time to see Ceridwen smile at him and walk away. He calls her back to the table before he's formulated a plan.
"The accent." He says quickly. "American?"
She actually blushes. "I like to call it North American, sir. My tad and I went all over."
His pulse quickens. "Tad? Your fathers Welsh?"
"Yup," she answers with an easy smile. "I am too, actually. Was born here."
His heart skips a couple beats as he tries desperately to smile. "Oh really, where?"
"Wrexham. We moved to the U.S.A. when I was 18 months old."
North-East Wales, you idiot! "Why was that?"
"My Tad found work there." Her eyes drift to the meal in front of him and she smiles again when they make eye contact. "I'd better let you get back to your meal before it gets too cold." She turns just a bit. "It was nice meeting you, sir, I-"
"Jack." He corrects her. "My name's Jack."
"Ceridwen." She replies. "It was nice to meet you, Jack."
Jack did his best to finish, but could only get halfway through before the burger mixed with nerves started to talk back. He left the Sprite untouched on the table along with the price of the meal and a rather hefty tip under the plate with a tiny note that said "For Ceridwen".
The door clicked and then a shuffle and then nothing. He stood up and waited for her appearance. Ceridwen's tired face appears moments later. Her shirts undone to the third button and the top of her name tag is the only thing visible just above the top of her breast pocket.
"How was work, Ceri?" he took her knapsack off her and pulled the kitchen chair out.
She quickly collapses in it with a sigh. "Alright, I guess. Brin forgot to order more Tetley's for the staff room so I haven't had drink all day, Mags called in dead-"
"But not before begging me to take her shifts for the coming two weeks. I can't wait to get through with school. I'll be in the air and not literally on the floor. Oh yeah! Gregory quit – I help Alun clean the floors." She stuck her leg out. "Ruined my pants completely."
The caked on blood surrounding a large cut in the knee of her pants makes Ianto stare at his daughter. Her cheeks flushed to an almost dangerous level. "Feel on the vent near the window. Old metal, sharp edges."
He immediately turns to the cupboard behind him and pulls out a clean cloth and a bottle of disinfectant. He bends at her feet and before she has time to stop him, he's torn the pant leg completely and sets to work cleaning up her wound.
"Dad, those weren't even 2 months old. I could have easily sewed em up."
"I thought they were ruined completely."
"I could have worn them around the house or something! Now they're useless."
Ianto's eyes gleam mischievously as he stares up at his daughter. "Make shorts then." And proceeds to laugh out loud when Ceridwen snorts indignantly.
"When, in my near quarter century of life, have you ever seen me wear shorts?"
He shrugs. "I use to put you in shorts all the time in America."
He looks up just as Ceridwen rolls her eyes and smiles as he looks back down. "Ok, post puberty. When have I ever voluntarily worn shorts?"
"Can't say I have-" "exactly" "But it would do wonders for your legs, my dear." "Hey!" he holds her leg when she tries to pull it away. "My legs are fine."
"There's nothing that would lead anyone to believe you've spent most of you life in the Southern United States." He nods at a job well done and moves to stand. His bones creak and crack as he forces himself to his feet again.
He's putting away the disinfectant when Ceridwen chooses to reply. "I burn!"
"So do I! but I still went out in the sun as much as I could. You won't get it much in Wales."
"Nothing wrong with that."
He smirks and leans against the counter and then crosses his arms over his chest and stares at Ceridwen. "I give you a year or two tops before you'll be begging to return to America." At Ceridwen's indignant glare he shrugs a shoulder and turns towards the living room. "Face it, Ceri, you may talk a big game, kid, but I know you." He turned the corner, but circled back just enough to call "Uncross your arms and get that scowl off your face, child. It's unbecoming." He hears Ceridwen huff before starting on his way again.
When the bells above the door rings for the first time the next day Ceridwen jumps to her feet and turns only to be met with the easy face of the man from yesterday, Jack. She smiles back and begins adjusting the cutlery and placemats on the table closest to her. Jack sits in the chair adjacent her and doesn't move. She can feel his eyes burning into the side of her face but doesn't move her attention from the table. "What would you like, Jack?" she tries to be as polite as she possibly can this early in the morning. She stands up quickly and covers her mouth with her arm when her face begins to contort with a yawn. Ceridwen wipes the tears from her eyes and blinks before turning to Jack and apologizing.
He just smiles. "Not a morning person?"
"Not at all." She answers truthfully. "I'm covering a couple shifts for a friend."
She smirks. "Not entirely. I'm working towards gathering the funds I need to get my Commercial Pilots license. So, this is a huge help."
The shock on his face barely registers before its gone, only to replaced nano seconds later by a huge grin that doesn't reach his eyes. "That's great! My grandfather was in the R.A.F." he pulls at his greatcoat with pride. "This is his."
She smiles. "It's brilliant." She pulls the notepad from her back pocket and then the pencil from her breast pocket. "Now, what can I get you?"
When she fetches the mail after her shift and finds a cheque with £10,000 written clearly and deliberately on the line Ceridwen nearly faints and when she reads the tiny note that accompanies it that simply says, "Have fun, Captain! – Jack" She has to hold onto the postbox when her legs give slightly.
She hides the cheque and letter in the change pocket of her knapsack and shoves it in the closet.
He doesn't make it to the diner the next day or the day after or the day after that or even the month after that. The next time Ceridwen sees him is as she's coming in for a landing a week into her course. He's standing just beyond the gate, his hair and greatcoat whipping about in the chilly mid November wind seem to be ignored as he just stands and watches her plane. As she approaches him she notices how unnaturally pale his faces is and swallows the sudden emotion rising in her throat. She readjusts the collar of her bomber jacket her Tad had bought her as a gift before she left home in September, one last time before stopping at the gate on the opposite side of Jack.
"You're good, kid." He smiles but it doesn't reach his eyes.
She smiles nonetheless.
"With my help you could be the best!"
She allows herself a small smile before asking, "how'd you know what school I'd be in, Jack?"
"How come you haven't come to the diner for a while?"
"Are you answers going to be one word?"
Her lips press together as she studies the older man in front of her. "Are you alright, Jack?"
He nods. "Fine."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
He laughs at that. "There's nothing to talk about, kid. Stop trying to worm your way into my head."
She sighs in resignation and then smiles. "Would you like to go get a drink?"
His blue eyes shine for the first time that day. "I do believe that's the most intelligent thing you've said all day."
Ceridwen throws her head back with laughter as she rounds the gate and lets Jack wrap an arm around her shoulder. She eyes him for a bit and then smirks when he turns his head and begins to stare at her, she smiles at the odd look on his face. "Don't look so upset, Jack, I am glad you're here."
"I've been away from home for going on two months. It's nice to see a familiar face."
He casts her what he hopes is a smile as he tightens his hold around her shoulders, and lowers his head as they begin to walk in the opposite direction he had come from.
Seconds later, Ceridwen begins talking about her life since the last time he'd seen her and he nods politely, but if she'd been paying attention to his face she would have plainly seen that he was really miles away. "If she only knew how familiar. Damn you, Ianto."
If either of them had bothered to turn their heads in the opposite direction right about the time they started to walk away they would have seen a middle aged man in a red Ford Focus watching them with blown eyes and a slack face.
"No." Ianto curses. "No, no, no, no!" His fists hit the steering wheel in perfect time as his voice elevates. "NO!" He throws his head back and lets loose an earth shattering yell and then straightens his head and watches as they disappear around the corner. "DAMN YOU, JACK!"
Ianto had secretly made the trek from Newport to Welshpool because he had wanted to spent some time with Ceridwen, who he hadn't seen since September. Everything had gone well, until he pulled into the car park and watched her walk away from him having a rather animated one sided conversation with the one man he hoped she'd never meet. Her father.
The smile in time when the plate of fries are placed in front of them. Ceridwen grabs the ketchup bottle and places a large dab of it on the side of the plate as Jack salts them. They set their codiments down in time and then grab for their first fry.
"So," Jack starts as he chews. "Hows life?"
Ceridwen cast him a puzzled look. "You weren't listening to me, were you?"
He at least has the decency to bow his head.
Ceridwen just laughs. "I'm not going to repeat everything so I'll just paraphrase, it's alright. You?"
It's Jacks turn to laugh as he raises his head again and stares into Ceridwen's eyes. "It couldn't be better." He smiles fondly when Ceridwen blushes and lowers her head.
The two sit in compatible silence for a while before Ceridwens face breaks into a grin. Jack stares at her, uneasy. "What?"
"Wanna play twenty questions?"
"You're a little old for that, aren't you?"
"C'mon, man, it'll be fun."
A slight chill of familiarity shoots down his back and has him agreeing before common sense can prevail. It's that damn pout. Too much like her father's for his own good.
"Ok, me first!" Ceridwen leans back in her chair and stares at Jack and then shoots forward again. "What did you want to be when you grew up?"
He's just about to answer when he shuts his mouth and reconsiders. He can't exactly say alive, can he? "I wanted to work for the C.I.A."
"Cushy. Government jobs are awesome! I've always wanted to be a pilot. My tad says its in my blood, but I can definitely say it isn't from his side. That man hates planes."
"He's always sat in the aisle seat with white knuckles and a nervous twitch. Always told me there wasn't a washroom on the plane so I shouldn't even ask just so I wouldn't get up."
Jack, who had been taking a sip of his coffee, snorted then coughed hard as the laugh caught in his throat. Coffee and laughter hurt. Ianto Jones, afraid to fly. Now that was something. He thought with a gleeful little smirk.
"What's your last name?"
"Harker," he answered without missing a beat.
"Mine is Jones." She answers with an unimpressed eye roll. "So is 99.99 of the population of the U.K. It's rather annoyin-" her cell rings and she flashes him an apologetic smile. "Sorry."
He nods and leans back in his chair.
"Hi Tad!-I" her eyes wander to meet his. "Yes," she smiles. "But don't-what? No. No, tad, I don't-Fine!" Her eyes are big as she pulls the phone away from her ear. "He wants to talk to you."
He casts her a cool grin, but inside his stomach is twisting violently. "Hello?"
On the other end Ianto's seething with unrelenting anger. Jack can practically feel it emanate through the phone. "Where did you find her, Jack?"
"She's a great waitress. Very pretty smile." He smiles when Ceridwen blushes.
Ianto's sigh rattles through the phone. "Why are you doing this?"
"She is. I saw her flying today, a natural if I've ever saw one."
"Just give me one straight answer." Ianto begs. "Please?"
His eyes close as memories and regrets assault his mind. "Look," he says as his stomach begins twisting. "I got to go." He opens his eyes just enough to see and hands the phone back to Ceridwen. He casts her a pained smile as he rises to his feet, throws a five pound note on the table and rounds it quickly. He places a quick kiss on Ceridwen's forehead, runs his hand over her hair and pulls back. His heart breaks at the confusion and hurt radiating from her eyes. He nearly gives in. But a quick glance down at the phone in her hand has him straightening his back. "I'll see you around, alright? Be careful."
He waits till he's outside and around the corner before he lets the tears flow. A heavy sob that catches in his raw throat brings him to his knees. It takes all he has, but Jack manages to crawl his way into a shaded corner behind the restaurant and this is where he sits and waits out the tears.
When he makes it back to the Hub three days later its amidst concerned glances and sympathetic whispers. He ignores everyone and everything and locks the door to his office. He pulls out the bottle of Jack Daniels concealed in the fake bottom of the bottom draw of his desk and then moves towards his Webley, which he had left on his desk when he'd left, makes sure the cylinder's loaded and tucks it into the holster on his belt. He takes one last look around his office with a shuddered sigh before he grabs the bottle and starts towards his quarters.
He couldn't give Ianto what he wanted, but he could sure as hell try.