Title: The 11th's the Charm
Fandom: Torchwood, Doctor Who
Pairing: Ianto/11th Doctor
Characters: Ianto Jones, 1st Doctor, 2nd Doctor, 3rd Doctor, 4th Doctor, 5th Doctor, 6th Doctor, 7th Doctor, 8th Doctor, 9th Doctor, 10th Doctor, 11th Doctor
Genre: Slash, Alternative Universe
Summary: Ianto keeps meeting a mysterious man throughout his life...
Ianto is six when he meets the man for the first time.
He's playing football on the sidewalk with Tommy Talbot and it's summer, first day of the long awaited holidays and their moms let them play all afternoon.
Tommy laughs saying that Ianto is an awful goalkeeper and while the boy is busy at saying that it's not true, the ball rolls past his foot and ends up in the street.
The cars are passing fast and Ianto is too focused on the ball to see where he's headed.
When his foot is about to touch the asphalt, he feels a hand grabbing his shoulder pulling him backwards.
Ianto looks up and finds a very old man with snow white hair and a severe expression on his face looking down at him; for a moment, the boy is reminded of his grandfather who passed away that spring.
"Watch where you go, boy," the old man scolds him and Ianto finds himself nodding, the ball now forgotten while he watches the stranger turn the corner of the street.
Ianto is ten, it's the Christmas' Night and he's wandering around the streets on his own because he fought with Rhiannon and he slipped away from home before anyone could notice.
Standing in front of the toy shop's window, he wonders how long he will have to wait before being; able to finally leave Cardiff; he wants to go to London and forget he ever lived in this place.
When he hears a unusual sound coming from the alleyway next to the shop, he walks in that direction and sees a man with brown hair staggering out of an old blue phone box.
Ianto isn't sure why, but he thinks he knows the man from somewhere.
Their eyes meet and the man smiles. "Well, we see each other again. Keep away from the street, will you?"
Ianto frowns for a moment before a surprised expression comes over his face. "How… how…"
"There will be time for explanations," he cuts the kid off, "now, what year is this?"
"It's 1993. What's your name?"
The stranger smiles softly at him. "You can call me the Doctor."
"Just the Doctor."
"Okay," Ianto nods and extends his hand. "I'm Ianto, Sir, Ianto Jones."
"Nice to meet you Ianto Jones." The Doctor shakes his hand before looking around sighing deeply. "I'm sorry but I really have to go," he quickly says before turning around and starting to head from the direction Ianto came from.
The boy looks after him for a moment before yelling, "Are we going to see each other again?"
The Doctor turns around and grins. "I'm sure we will Ianto Jones."
At thirteen, life for Ianto isn't easy. He doesn't know how to fit in with the other guys from school, Tommy has moved away to Scotland more than a year before and just conquering his friendship had been hard and he isn't sure if he wants to try again.
Therefore, he finds himself spending most of his time on his own; he observes things, studies and takes notes and it's not long before he has jotters full of notes about every strange thing he has seen.
He's on a school trip in London when he sees the Doctor again, or at least who he thinks is the Doctor; he can't be sure because he has changed his appearance again and is now blond and older and has a young woman with him.
Ianto follows them being careful of not being spotted, of hiding behind a corner every time the Doctor or the woman look back.
He follows them almost all day long while the two keep running through the streets of London.
When the sun is almost completely gone and the orange tinting the sky is disappearing into the dark blue of the night, he loses them and resigns himself to go back at the hotel where his class is staying for the week.
He's almost there when he hears someone calling his name and when he turns around, the Doctor and the woman are standing not far away from him smiling. Running, Ianto goes over to them.
"You shouldn't be following me around, it's never a wise choice," the Doctor scolds him and the woman takes a step forward extending her hand.
"I'm Sarah Jane. The Doctor talks a lot about the boy that he keeps meeting in the most disparate places.
Ianto shakes her hand and smiles. "I'm Ianto Jones."
"Are you paying attention to where you walk?" the Doctor cuts him off.
"Yes. I'm thirteen now and…"
"You could still be hit by a car."
"You said we'd be seeing each other again," Ianto interrupts. He's resolute and annoyed because to him it looks like the only thing that is turning to be constant in his life, is a man that keeps changing his aspect and who allows strange creatures through London dirty alleys.
"And we're seeing each other again, Ianto Jones. I travel a lot and I never know when I'll be coming back to a place."
The kid nods and sighs. "Would I be able to come with you one day?"
Sarah Jane smiles when she sees the hope sparkling in the boy's eyes. "I'm sure that one day he'll come to pick you up. When you're a little bit older," she answers for the Doctor that just nods before waving at him and starting to walk away.
"Are you keeping an eye on him?" Ianto asks to Sarah Jane who nods.
"Because I think that you have to face worst things than a busy street and someone should make sure that he's careful."
"I will, Ianto. It's been a pleasure to meet you."
The boy nods and then turns around walking away.
When Ianto meets the Doctor again it's been two years and now he's almost fifteen. This time they meet in Edinburgh where Ianto has gone to visit his aunt for the summer.
The Doctor has once again changed his aspect and this time he has curly brown hair and looks younger; Ianto would like to ask him why he keeps changing.
The previous week he watched Visitors with Arthur - his new friend - and now is absolutely sure that the Doctor is an alien but doesn't know how to ask.
This time, however, Ianto doesn't follow the Doctor but keeps on walking up Calton Hill and then ends up sitting on a bench and without really realizing it, he waits. He waits until the sun has gone down and the city is shining with its ethereal lights.
When the Doctor flops down on the bench beside him, Ianto isn't really surprised. He opens his backpack and takes out a bottle of water passing it to the man.
"Are you an alien?" he asks out of the blue and the Doctor laughs almost chocking himself with the water before turning around to face the boy noticing how much he's changed; he's taller, skinnier and his hair is longer and his eyes are sadder.
"What makes you think that?" he asks seriously when he's finally able to catch his breath again.
Ianto shrugs. "It's the fourth time I've seen you and it's the fourth time you look different. I think being alien is the only possible explanation."
"You're very cleaver, Ianto Jones."
The boy shrugs again. "No, it doesn't take a lot to understand that if you keep changing your body, then you're not from around here." He turns around to look at the Doctor and arc an eyebrow. "Where's Sarah Jane?"
"I'm traveling with someone else. Her name is Romana and she's of my same species."
"You have lots of questions."
"Just a couple really."
The Doctor stares at him for a long time but Ianto never diverts his gaze. Finally, the alien nods. "I will answer your question but then you will have to answer one of mine."
"It's only fair," Ianto nods and turns the attention of his gaze back to the city. "Why every time I see you, you look different?"
"When I'm close to dying, I can regenerate to survive."
"Does this mean that you're going to live forever?"
"No," the Doctor shakes his head and Ianto turns around to face him. "It only means that for a certain amount of times, I can ditch death but it won't last."
"You said you were traveling with a woman of your species, which one is it?"
"Oh, it's not something everyone can understand. We are called Time Lords and we can travel through time and space but we have to follow the rules that govern it and we can't stop anything important from happening no matter how devastating it is."
Ianto is silent after that, he's contemplating those words and is archiving them in his memory and once again, restrains himself from asking to go away with the Time Lord because somewhere inside him, he knows that it's not the right time.
"What do you want to ask me?" he ends up saying.
"How can you know who I am every time?" The Doctor is genuinely curious about that because it's never happened to him before and he wants to know why.
Ianto shrugs. "I just know. And I don't think I can explain it, but I just know that it's you. That's all."
"Oh, you humans will never stop to amaze me."
"You should have chosen a better race than ours to protect."
"You think you're not worth saving?"
"Sometimes I wonder what good we will leave behind."
The Doctor slips his arm around Ianto's shoulders and brings him closer in some sort of weird half-hug that he's not used to give and that - if the way which the young man's shoulders tense up tells anything - the boy isn't used to receiving.
"Then it's a good thing that I know how to see the best in people," the alien murmurs in the rebel hair of the boy. "Now you should go back to your family and I should go back to the TARDIS, that's my spaceship by the way. Romana will be waiting."
Then the Time Lord stands up and extends his hand to Ianto. "I promise that one day I'll take you with me."
The young man nods and stares at the hand before reaching out to shake it. "I hope so."
It's his sixteenth birthday and Ianto can't even concentrate on the party his friend threw for him long enough to wait around for the birthday cake.
He has already decided that he's moving to London and he won't come back unless it's a matter of life or death.
He walks out of the pub and heads to the park and when he's there he sits down on a bench taking a cigarette and a lighter out of the pockets of his worn out jeans-jacket.
He keeps the first drag of smoke in letting it fill his lungs and then breathes it out into the night air while his eyes are fixed up towards the sky. Not for the first time, he thinks about the Doctor and wonders where he's now, on what planet, in which universe…
Then, as if someone has read his thoughts, he hears a familiar feeble sound and turns his head around quickly finding the familiar blue box a couple of feet away from him; the wooden door opens creaking.
Ianto frowns and makes to stand up, but he sees the "new" Doctor staggering out of the spaceship and coming to sit down next to him.
The cigarette is burning quietly between his fingers and the boy keeps staring at the Doctor waiting for him to break the silence.
He glances towards the blue box and wonders who's traveling with the Time Lord this time but before he can actually ask anything, he finds himself being engulfed into a tight hug.
"What happened?" he asks quietly.
Ianto's frown deepens and he pulls back a little to be able to look into the alien's eyes. "Who?"
"Adric. He…" the Doctor trails off and his eyes find their way to the cigarette burning in the boy's fingers. "Those things are going to kill you."
Ianto shrugs and takes a deep drag from the cigarette without looking away from the other man's eyes, with defiance, as if saying that it doesn't matter because he could end up under a bus by the time the alien will show up again.
"Who's Adric?" he cuts him off before throwing away the cigarette.
"He was traveling with me and he was killed. The Cybermen," the Doctor shakes his head. "I shouldn't talk to you about these things. It's not time and…"
"What does it matter?" Ianto shrugs and his eyes are once again fixed in the Time Lord's. He'd like to tell the man that today is his birthday, and that he'd very much like to be taken away even just for the night. "You have a time machine," he ends up saying instead, "Why don't you go back to save him?"
"I can't. Time rules," the Time Lord replies diverting his gaze.
"So if I was to die, you wouldn't save me?"
The Doctor glances at him in surprise for a few seconds before answering. "If it was a fixed point in time in the story of this world or another, then no, I wouldn't."
"Then what use is it to have a time machine if you can't fix things?"
"There are some things that can't be changed," the alien answers before standing up. "They have to happen, even though they're awful so you can have the history, Ianto."
"Sure, the old 'there's always a reason for everything'thing."
The Time Lord smiles and shake his head. "When we'll be traveling together, you will understand."
"I guess." Ianto sighs and stands up. "I'm sorry for your friend," he says sincerely.
The Doctor nods and hugs Ianto who once again doesn't return the gesture. "You don't like contact, do you?" and the boy could swear he hears amusement in the alien's voice.
"Not much. Anyway," he pulls back and scratches his neck nervously. "I guess I will see you."
"Yes, very soon."
Ianto shrugs, "if you don't know when."
The Doctor just smiles before turning around and the boy watches him disappear.
The Doctor knows very well that he shouldn't be here in this moment. Traveling through Cardiff always makes him think of Ianto and it's been a while since he has last seen him and he's not sure which year it is this time and he could seriously be messing up the timelines doing something stupid.
So he finds himself wandering around the city with his rainbow-like umbrella thinking about how Ianto would surely be happy to meet K-9 and is so distracted that at first he doesn't notice he's standing in front of a cinema.
He stops there waiting for the rain to stop and after a few seconds feels someone tagging at his coat. When he looks down and sees a kid about five years old, he sighs, because he knows those blue eyes that are staring straight at him.
"Hello!" he says with a smile.
The boy frowns. "You know Sir, you look like that man from the movie. Do you have a chocolate farm?"
The Doctor chuckles. "No, but I have a spaceship," he finds himself saying. "You know what that is?"
"I saw Star Wars with my cousin last week," the boy replies smiling. "Can I come with you?"
The little smile leaves Ianto's face as quickly as it appeared. "No, I can't now. I have to go see Paula and Alec for ice-cream tomorrow and tonight Mom is cooking my favorite dish. What do you say about another time?"
"What's your name?" The Doctor asks amused even though he already knows the answer. He's seen lots of things in the universe, but nothing like this boy.
"Jones, Sir, Ianto Jones."
"Then you let me know when you're ready, okay Mr. Jones?"
The kid break into a huge grin. "You can bet on it."
Ace is pulling his hand laughing and the Doctor can't help but laugh too.
They're walking through Cardiff, Ace is talking a mile a minute and the Time Lord is as always happy to listen to her but when he sees a young boy with short hair and worn-out jeans running down the street, he stops walking.
Just a few seconds pass before two policemen are chasing after the boy yelling to stop.
The Doctor can't stop staring at the boy and Ace finally stops talking and frowns. "What is it?"
"Nothing, I just thought I saw someone I knew," he says but doesn't move from where he's standing, just keeps staring at the policemen and the boy until they turn around a corner and then waits to see them coming back.
"C'mon Mr. Jones, don't try to run away again," the alien hears one of the policemen saying and he turns around quickly trying to avoid making eye contact with Ianto.
"Doc..." Ace starts but the Doctor grabs her arm and starts in the direction of the TARDIS.
Grace and San Francisco are just behind his back when the Doctor decides to go visit Ianto again. If he remembers right, it's been almost four years since he has last seen the boy, but when he arrives in Cardiff and goes over at his house, he finds it empty.
"No one lives there anymore," he hears someone saying from behind him and he turns around to find a woman in her late 60's staring straight at him.
"They moved away. For whom of the family were you looking for?"
The Doctor clears his throat. "Ianto, but I guess it's too late."
"Oh the boy was the first one to leave a long time ago," the woman says shaking her head. "And he never came to visit. He's always been a bit weird but he was a good guy. He's living in London now."
The Time Lord nods and then goes back to the TARDIS; the last image of Ianto being escorted away by the police still vivid in his memory.
Ianto tightens his grip around the mug in his hand and waits. The TARDIS is behind him, at this point he knows everything about the spaceship thanks to his new job. He still wonders how he ended up here but it looks like being a good researcher for the Government was enough to be recruited by Torchwood.
Torchwood that hunts aliens; Torchwood born to kill the Doctor.
When the spaceship sunk into the Thames, Ianto was sure that the Doctor would show up soon, plus, the TARDIS will probably remember him and he didn't have to look for long before finding it.
A tall man with short hair and a leather jacket is walking in his direction and unconsciously Ianto straightens his shoulders, fixes his shirt and his tie.
When the Time Lord is just a couple of steps away from him, the boy smiles. "Saved the world again?"
"Ianto," the Doctor doesn't know what to say because of all the places, this was the last one where he had expected to find the young man. "How…"
"I followed my instinct." Ianto takes a couple of steps forward until he's standing just bare inches away form the other man. "You never looked so hot and young before," he said smiling.
The Doctor feels it in his tone and can read it on his face how much the boy has changed. He doesn't answer him but just frowns. "What are you doing here in London? A couple of years ago I came to visit you in Cardiff but a woman told me that you had left, all your family."
Ianto shrugs and on instinct offers his coffee to the alien who refuses. "I just wanted to go away and I did it. I thought your spaceship could always find me."
"Sometimes she doesn't listen to me when I ask to go somewhere."
The younger man smiles. "I came to London to study and Torchwood hired me during my first year at University."
The Doctor opens and closes his mouth a couple of times and in the end, between all the emotions he's feeling, angrily he hisses, "Torchwood? You, Ianto?"
"It's been six years for me since last time I saw you," his answer is detached. "I needed to know that I didn't imagine everything, that you were real and that you were truly an alien."
"And you decided to work for Torchwood? I didn't think you were such a dim-wit. What they do here…" the Doctor shakes his head and leaves the sentence unfinished. "One day something bad will happen here and you will find yourself between a rock and a hard place."
Ianto shrugs again; in the last six years he's become more indifferent towards people and sometimes he thinks that if it wasn't for Lisa, he wouldn't even feel still human. Plus, he's angry at the Doctor because he didn't come back, because he made him feel like he wasn't important.
At the end, just like the Doctor, he too he reacts with anger but does silently; it shows with a flame in his blue eyes and the cold words, "What does it matter?" that he hisses at the alien before starting to walk away.
"I won't be able to come back to you, Ianto! Not if you keep…"
"I've been great these last six years," he cuts him off. He briefly wonders what he expected to happen by talking with the Time Lord after so long, but the truth is that perhaps he just wanted to see him again.
He turns the corner and heads back to Torchwood aware of the eyes following him.
His ears are still ringing when Ianto finally closes the door to his apartment behind him and slides against it down to the floor.
He wants to cry but the pain is still too strong to just let it all out; so he leans his forehead on his knees and tries to put order in his mind but all that he's able to see when he closes his eyes is Jack aiming his gun at him, ordering him to shoot Lisa and then the gunshots of Tosh, Owen and Gwen.
What hurts the most, was the Captain's choice of the to use Myfanwy as a weapon; her who had once been the symbol of the start of their relationship and when he had been able to feel something for him that now was frozen somewhere in his heart.
Ianto lifts his head in surprise and springs to his feet turning on the lights.
There, in the middle of his living room, is the man he had been waiting years to see again.
He'd like to run up to him and hug him but he can't make himself move because for the first time since everything has happened, the Welshman is ashamed of himself.
"Ianto…" the Doctor takes a step closer and the young man studies him; he looks younger than he has ever seen him, more modern with his Converse and stylized hair.
For a moment, Ianto smiles and the Doctor can't help from smiling back.
"I was wondering where you had disappeared to."
"I told you that as long as you worked for Torchwood…"
"I saw you," he cuts him off feeling some of his old anger coming back; the same anger of that day when everything was falling apart all around him and he just wanted to be taken away. "At Canary Wharf when there were the Cybermen and the Daleks."
The Doctor looks away and puts his hands inside the pocket of his trousers. "I wanted to come looking for you but…"
"Too many things to do," he finishes for the alien nodding before taking a step away from the door.
While he walks he takes off his jacket and lessens his tie trying to ignore the pain that shoots through the shoulder he landed on when Lisa threw him across the Hub.
"I'm still working for Torchwood, so why are you here?" he asks when he's standing just a couple of inches away from the Doctor and puts his hands in his pockets mirroring the pose of the Time Lord.
"The TARDIS took me here," he replies before frowning noticing just now the bruises and the blood on the young man. "What happened?"
Ianto shrugs and goes to sit down on the couch while he can feel the Doctor's gaze following him. "Remember when the Cybermen killed Adric?"
The Doctor nods and Ianto sighs leaning his head back against the headrest and closing his eyes. "Well, they didn't have the same mercy towards someone I cared a lot about."
"You defeated them before they had the chance to finish their work on her and she remained half converted. I hid her away until I found your friend Jack and convinced him to hire me at Torchwood 3. Before you ask how can I know how you two know each other, it's because he can't stop talking about his "great Doctor". He's been talking so much about you that he ended up working for Torchwood back in the 1800's."
"Jack is alive?"
Ianto shrugs again. "Yes."
The Doctor shoves his hand in his hair messing them up and takes off his glasses putting them in one of the pockets of his coat.
"Go on," he encourages Ianto after several minutes of silence.
"When I was hired I took Lisa into the base and hid her where I knew no one would go looking and then I spent the last year trying to find a way to save her. Today a doctor arrived and I thought he could help her but she ended up killing him and the same things happened to the girl that used to deliver us Pizza. Then Jack forced me to kill Lisa and when I couldn't, he and the other members of the team did."
Ianto opens his eyes and for a moment just keeps staring at the ceiling above him; he's starting to feel tired and finally ready to surrender to the emotional storm happening inside him.
He hears the Doctor taking a couple of steps towards him and can feel the anger radiating by the man.
"You kept a cyberman hidden knowing what they can do?"
Before he can say anything, a hand grabs his arm shaking him. "Why? What were you thinking?"
"That she had been there for me!" Ianto shouts looking straight into the alien's eyes. "I had to do the same," he quietly says before lowering his gaze. He feels something flowing down his cheek but when he wipes it with his hand, he finds blood instead of tears.
He's about to curse against the cut on his eyebrow when he feels something soft being pressed against his wound.
When he looks up and his eyes fix into the ones of the Doctor, something changes; it's like a little shiver running down his spine, an imperceptible shift in the air; but he can feel it and if the way in which the Doctor's hand shakes is a clue, he's not the only one.
When he was little and he fell from his bike, his dad told Ianto that the third time was the charm but it never really worked for him. Even this time, three tries weren't enough; he needs eleven.
It's summer when, while he's walking towards the Hub, Ianto glances towards the bay and finds a young man that looks about his age standing against the railing. He's staring at him from under a blond fringe and from above a bowtie hanging sideways.
Ianto smiles walking closer to him. "Bowtie and braces?"
"Still with the suits?" The man asks him back.
Ianto laughs before placing his fingers on those prominent cheekbones to caress them softly. A lopsided grin plays across those perfect lips that are unknown to him.
"Are you ever going to stop rejuvenating?" he finally asks when the wandering hand stops to frame a skinny cheek.
"At least now I don't look like your grandfather or your dad."
The Welshman smiles and, without realizing it at first, his left hand goes up to frame the other cheek of the alien.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to take you away, Ianto Jones." A sudden sadness touches the features of the Time Lord and Ianto feels uneasy for a moment.
"It's time?" His tone reminds the Doctor of that boy of six years standing on the edge of the street.
"It's now or never. Tomorrow something will happen that will trigger the events that will lead to your death."
He's being brutally honest, but when he feels Ianto's hands shaking against his cheeks, he grabs them and makes them stay where they are before taking a step forwards.
"And before you ask, this time it's different. I've already broken the Time Rules and I'll do it again probably, but this time it's for you." The Doctor takes a deep breath and smiles. "So, are you ready? Because this is the best moment I would say. I've just escorted my last companions to the altar and I'm free. So…" he waves a hand in the air and sighs. He feels so full of hope for some reasons that he can't quite fully understand.
Ianto smiles. "I think I'm ready after twenty years. And then, I mean, mom hasn't cooked my favorite dishes in a while and Paula is now Paul and Alec has moved away to California."
"Perhaps, we could drop by for a visit," the smile on the alien's face widens.
They're standing so close now, that their noses are almost touching and Ianto can truly see how young the Doctor looks.
"You know," he finally says, "you've been someone that looked like my grandpa, then Willy Wonka, then a skinny man wearing Converse and now you look like a student just out of University," he trails off and chuckles, "Barely. But," he stops again and this time shakes his head a little because he can't really decide what to say in this moment that without a shadow of doubt will change his life forever.
"And you're the only one that has seen me through most of them."
"Yeah and now I'm ready to come with you and not because you've just told me that otherwise I will die, but because I want to, I've been wanting to follow you for a very long time now."
"Brilliant!" The Doctor laughs and looks even younger at Ianto. "There are so many things I want to show you and…"
The two men look at one another and in the end Ianto's lips bent into a smile. "Shut up," he whispers before bringing his mouth together with the Doctor's.
It's just a simple gesture, a kiss, but that's all it takes to make them feel sealed.
Whilst Ianto is taking the chance that he's been waiting for his whole life, he glances at the cameras outside the Tourist Office happy that Jack isn't at the Hub now. A big smile breaks on his face and he's sure that he hasn't felt this happy in his entire life.
He brings two fingers to his forehead in a military-salute gesture directed at the Captain because he knew that this is a good-bye. For a second he wonders what the Immortal will feel watching Ianto going away with the man for whom he had once left them behind.
"Ready, Ianto Jones?"
One last smile, one last glance at his past and then he follows the Doctor back to the TARDIS, to follow the only person that has always come back to him, to follow the man he has been waiting for all his life.