Title TWO WORLDS, ONE LOVE
Word Count 22888
Pairing Jack/Ianto (predominently), Tosh/Owen
Rating R (a few naughty mentions of naughty fun for our boys)
Beta by: milady_dragon who also was an amazing cheerleader as I wrote this in one week.
Summary: On the day before Christmas Eve, while retrieving alien tech, Jack pushes too many buttons, and Jack and Ianto find themselves in a strange world that is also familiar. They find themselves relying on Torchwood to help them find their way home. They also learn more about their own desires and needs while trying to get home.
Warnings Mention of past and current mpreg, slight mention of an avant garde sex life
Setting/Time Cardiff - Two years after mid-S2/Alternate world Cardiff - their present time (it's complicated, you'll understand once you read)
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Torchwood! If I did, everyone would be alive, Jack and Ianto would be happy and maybe, just maybe, I could have made Gwen a likable character (and less Mary Sue).
A/N AU set about 2/3 after S2 where everyone is alive. Owen never died in Reset, Owen and Tosh never died in Exit Wounds and CoE never happened. The alternate world is based on Steampunk culture, but not exactly, so if there are some difference that are common in Steampunk but shows up here, or is missing, that is the way it is in their world.
This was written for torchwood_fest for fiwen1010. The prompt I was given inspired so many plotbunnies, and I had an amazing beta who listened to my ideas and encouraged me to include them all. I finally had to leave a couple of things out just to finish it and send it off in time to make my extension. I do intend to revisit this again someday and do the ideas I left out, as well as do more fics in this 'verse (or would that be both 'verses?). I could have kept on writing and writing this fic if I did not have a deadline. I enjoyed writing it so much, and I hope fiwen1010 finds some of the joy in reading that I had writing it. Thank you for the amazing prompts!
Jack Harkness lifted his head from the ground, realising he was lying in a grassy field. Remembering that he had not been alone before the device had inadvertently went off. he sat up quickly and looked around.
"Ianto!" he called out. He felt panic rise as he noticed the suited figure crumbled on the ground several metres from him. As he scrambled to his feet, Ianto started to move.
The younger man let out a groan and rolled over to his back. "What the bloody hell happened?"
Jack looked down at the ground near where he found himself and noticed the device he had been holding. "That happened," he said. He bent over to retrieve the device and carefully put it in his coat pocket.
"You pushed a button, didn't you?" Ianto asked knowingly.
"I thought I knew what it was, and it should have displayed a holographic message, much like from my wriststrap, if there was one," Jack explained as he walked across the grass and leaned down to offer Ianto a hand. "Are you able to stand up?"
"I think so," Ianto said, and allowed Jack to pull him up. Immediately, he swayed. Jack grabbed onto Ianto to keep him from falling back down to the ground.
"Whoa!" Jack exclaimed, holding on.
"I feel like my stomach has been through a hoover," Ianto stated, resting his head on Jack's shoulder. "My head feels like I spent the last week on a bender. Otherwise, I'm feeling fine."
"I feel a little off too. I think we were transported," Jack said. "At least it feels like it."
Ianto drew in a deep breath and finally pulled away from Jack. He straightened the sleeves on his suit jacket and then the jacket itself. "You used to do this all the time?" he asked incredulously. "How did you handle it?"
"I got the right stuff," Jack quipped with his brilliant smile.
"Oh thanks," Ianto muttered.
Jack shrugged his shoulders. "Okay, when I first teleported, I got sick as a dog. The first time I used a Vortex Manipulator, I was down for the count for days."
Ianto raised a suspicious eyebrow.
"Seriously. Just... keep it between you and me. The thing is, it didn't stop me. I wanted to work the field for the Time Agency, so I kept on it. Eventually my body got used to it. And even now, after all this time since I last did it, I managed to shake off the effects. I guess passing out might have helped."
"Right." Ianto gazed at him. He didn't say anything, but his ice blue eyes shone with gratitude. "Your secret is safe with me." He placed his hands on his hips and started to look around their surroundings. "We're near water," he observed.
"I'd say we're near the docks," Jack added, also looking around. "I would say I know where we are, but some things are not matching up."
"Oh yeah," Ianto said as he turned toward where he expected the city of Cardiff to be. "Jack, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
"What?" Jack turned to where Ianto stared with a dumbstruck look on his face. "What the hell?"
"It's Cardiff, I think." Ianto looked around on the ground and found his PDA. "I wonder if it'll work."
"It should, considering the technology it's built with," Jack said.
He continued at stare at city's skyline. The city actually had one that they were able to distinguish from where they were. The skyline consisted of spiralling towers set on supports from the main bulk of the building. Most of the buildings were topped and edged in copper and brass.
"Perhaps we should investigate where the Hub is, see if anything changed there." Ianto stated in concern. "Unfortunately what I can make out of the area, the Quay doesn't look like the Quay to me."
Jack looked around, knowing exactly where they supposed to be. "We're behind the Waterguard," he said to Ianto. "I think."
"Jack, what the hell?" Ianto asked, pointing toward the Quay but in the sky.
"Flyers." Jack turned around and realised for the first time that there were no cars. Not to say there wasn't anything using surface travel.
"Flying cars?" Ianto asked. "Bloody fuckin' hell. What is going on here?"
"Don't know," Jack said, his eyes on a horse drawn open carriage that turned off Harbour Drive onto E. Bute Street. At least he figured it had to be judging by where they were to the bay and the Waterguard. The building he remembered on that corner was replaced by a large Victorian style manor. However, instead of the Light Ship he was usually able to get a glimpse of from where they stood, there was a submarine. Not just any submarine, but a steam-powered one. It reminded him of the submarine they had in the Hub decades ago, only larger and flying the Welsh flag.
"Flying cars and horse drawn carriages," Ianto muttered.
"And submarines. I doubt I'll have any luck, but no harm in trying," Jack said, touching his comm unit. A squawk noise loud enough to make Ianto jump as Jack cringed in pain came from the unit. Jack pulled it from his ear and threw it on the ground. "Damnit!"
Ianto's attention was taken from Jack to a big black flyer that was coming in their direction. "Don't look now, but I think the welcome committee has arrived."
Jack and Ianto watched as the flyer hovered above them and then lowered itself on the grass not far from them.
"Well, we can run or we can stick around and try to get answers," Ianto muttered. "I don't bloody believe this."
"Look what it says on the side of the flyer."
"Torchwood. Oh shit." He looked at Ianto. "I say we stay. If we have any chance of getting back to where we belong, Torchwood would be it."
"Let's hope they are more like us than One. Otherwise it can get a lot worse," Ianto said as he watched a door slide open revealing front and back rows of the flyer.
"Well, would you look at that," Jack said. "Ianto, don't get too worried, but I'm certain now that we're in some parallel universe."
"Fuck," Ianto muttered as he watched two people who looked remarkably like Owen Harper and Toshiko Sato. However the style of dress was far from what he was used to.
"Hold it right there," Owen's voice warned them. He aimed a big, shiny gun that looked like a laser. He wore an olive green army shirt and brown leather pants belted up with a wide black belt with a big brass ornate buckle, under a knee length lighter brown coat. On his head he wore a black news boy cap with goggles set upon it. His pants were tucked into a pair of black leather boots with brass buckles up the outer sides.
The one who looked like Tosh, touched an earpiece. Jack noticed the coiled wire that ran from the device in her ear to a small pack on her back. She was dressed in what looked like a crème coloured chemise with a high neck under a black leather lace up corset that had shoulder straps also laced to the corset. Her blue and black plaid skirt was long, and on her head was a small dainty hat with a cluster of short feathers and jewels adorning one side. She also wore a dark blue wool cloak. "Ianto, I think we have a problem," she said to someone on the other side of the comm device.
"Oh yes we do," Ianto agreed with feeling. He glanced up to the sky and his eyes locked onto an airship.
Never one to immediately back down, Jack stepped up to the two with his arms held in plain view. "Captain Jack Harkness," he said, "and this is Ianto Jones. We're Torchwood. And this is Cardiff, Wales. Except it isn't."
"We're Torchwood, Captain Jack," Owen said, the threat in his voice. "And I advise you and your companion stay where you are and not move."
"They look just like Jack and Ianto," Toshiko said in amazement. "Except for most of their clothing, that is." Her pretty dark eyes settled on Jack's greatcoat. "At least this Jack has the same coat."
"Thank goodness for small things," Jack sighed. "Look, I can guess why you're here. There was a Rift spike in this area and you came here to investigate. And now you found us."
Ianto moved slowly to close the distance between him and Jack until they stood shoulder to shoulder, arms touching. "We mean you no harm, although I know and can appreciate protocol in situations such as this. We're lost and obviously not at home, and hoping if there is a way back, you'll provide it." Ianto shivered, feeling a cold wind come off the bay, but managed not to fold in on himself or fold his arms. Finding himself standing out in the cold December weather, or at least he assumed it was still December, he wished he had not left his thick wool grey coat in the SUV.
"Our team must be frantic," Jack added. He slipped an arm around Ianto's waist. "Listen, it's cold out here, and Ianto left his coat in the SUV, which is no longer in the area. So could you take us somewhere warm before you interrogate us? Please?"
Toshiko and Owen shared a glance and Owen nodded. "Into the flyer," she said, aiming a small brass knuckle gun at them. "But first, hand over any weapons you have. If you decide to keep any from us, we'll find out and you'll regret it."
Jack whistled in appreciation when he saw it. "That is a beauty. Antique?" he asked, losing himself upon facing the weapon he knew to be from the 1800's.
"It's quite new, really," Toshiko replied. "And modified. The bullets can be very painful. Now,
Ianto sighed and glanced at Jack before pulling out his automatic and stun gun, handing it over to Toshiko. Jack removed his holster. "That's all we have," he said, deciding not to struggle. Handing over weapons without a fuss and going along with them just might help in convincing this Torchwood team that they meant no harm and only wanted to go home.
"Now into the flyer," Owen stated, pointing his laser at them.
Jack and Ianto shrugged, and Ianto looked relieved to be hopefully getting to somewhere warmer.
Owen fell in behind them. "Go ahead," he said, touching his ear with his left hand, while he steadied the laser gun in Jack and Ianto's backs in his right.
Jack and Ianto found themselves in the back of the flyer. Owen got in on the pilot's side, while Toshiko settled herself on the left side, turning in her seat to keep the gun on Jack and Ianto. "You are obviously imposters and we're going to find out why exactly you are here."
"That's easy," Jack said. "We were investigating a Rift spike and found this device."
"He pushed buttons," Ianto said, annoyed. "He always pushes buttons when he should know better."
"Quiet," Jack warned him, but he looked rueful. "So yeah, I pushed a button. I thought I knew what it would do, but instead of some holographic message, we found ourselves here. Our team is going to be frantic. Come on, how would you feel if suddenly one of us went missing?"
"We'd be searching everywhere we can and then some places we can't until we find you... I mean them." Owen replied. "Tosh, Ianto said to bring them in but use the front door."
She rolled her eyes. "Ianto just wants to show off again. And to think once I thought he wasn't as bad as Jack."
They lifted off, giving Jack and Ianto more of a look at the strange world they found themselves in. In the bay, instead of the yachts and boats that were moored at the docks there were submarines and older style large wooden sailing boats with two or three masts. The boats were fitted with brass and copper. On the fantails, were devices that could have been steam engines. The mooring docks had changed, being constructed of copper in odd tubing and different shaped platforms. Once in the air, they were able to make out some of the older buildings they remembered. It was the newer ones that were replaced, most of them high enough to create the skyline they had first noticed, and most likely able to be seen from miles away. Some of the buildings seemed stacked haphazardly or in crooked spirals. To Ianto it seemed impossible, but judging from the admiring gaze Jack gave them, his eyes slightly distant, telling Ianto that Jack was lost in memories of encountering other societies with such engineering.
There were all types of aircars. Some of them seemed powered by jets, such as the one they were in, while others were powered by steam. A multi-passenger aircar sped by. It was open with brass rails on the edges, benches along the vehicle and the last half was covered by what looked like a half shell coming up from the left side and just slightly curving down on the right side. The awning was black and brass. There was a number on the front and the side of the aircar with a destination.
Ianto corrected himself upon realising that it was an airbus.
A harsh intake of air from Jack, followed by a sharp jab in his side by an elbow brought Ianto's attention to Jack, who was staring out the front windscreens. "Look," Jack murmured.
Ianto's eyebrows rose as they approached the Roald Dahl Plass. At least Ianto hoped it was still called that. It was still the oval basin filled, but the tall columns that he knew to be along the perimeter were taller and copper. The stairs along the edge and leading down to the sunken open area were also copper. Those were not the changes that disturbed Jack, Ianto knew. Those changes were minimal. Ianto knew what really caught Jack's attention, and Ianto was pretty sure he felt the same as Jack. Instead of the silver half-cylinder water tower that was where the invisible lift down to the Hub was, there was a taller copper obelisk that was square and tapered off on the upper half up to the smaller pointed tip. There was no Wales Millennium Centre. The aircar started a vertical descent until it lightly touched the Plass near the northern end. Owen and Tosh got out of the vehicle and turned to point their weapons on Jack and Ianto, indicating for them to get out.
"I suppose the Hub is somewhere under here," Jack stated confidently.
"You'll see, if Ianto and Jack decide to let you that far," Tosh said. They were directed toward the sprawling Victorian building, It was built in dark red brick, with towers on each curved corner and a larger tower in the centre of the building's top. It had copper shingles on the roof, and ornate carving in along the upper part of the building. In front of it were parked several horse drawn carriages and a steam-powered scooter type vehicle that was made for a single passenger.
Ianto and Jack came to realise that they were meant to literally use the front door. People who strolled along the area mostly wore Victorian style clothing, while others reminded them of pirates and medieval garb. The big difference in the styles was that most of the people, men and woman alike, had something made of leather as part of their dress, be it trousers, corset, coat or some accessory that was prominent. Most men wore their trousers tucked into their booths. Twinkling and neon lights were part of the assessories.
"It's a bit romantic," Jack mused, his eyes taking in everything. "It reminds me of what Cardiff used to be once."
Ianto snorted as they started up the stairs. People who were coming up and down the stairs, and others who sat on the large veranda that wrapped around the front of the building stopped and watched as the group made their way up the stairs. "And I suppose you had some of those strange engineered skyscrapers too," he scoffed.
"Well, no. But I've been to worlds that had buildings much in the same design. Advanced engineering." Jack took Ianto's hand and sighed. "I swear some day I'm going to find a way to take you out there and see everything there is."
"I'm seeing enough, right here in Cardiff, of all the bloody places," Ianto said with a laugh. "It's like home but yet a completely different world."
"Yeah." They stopped on the veranda and waited for Owen to open the ornate brass doors.
"So much for being a secret organization," Ianto said low, his eyes going up.
Jack's eyes followed. Above the door, carved in a long rectangular stone block was the word TORCHWOOD. Jack smirked as Owen waited for them to enter. "Front door."
"Obviously," Ianto agreed. Tosh held open the other door, so they continued to walk in, side by side, holding hands. "And now we meet the bogeymen," he said with a wink.
"Do I want to know what we look like in this world?" Jack asked.
"Well now, they do look like Jack and Ianto," they heard in a familiar voice. They glanced across the expanse of the large entry hall over to the grand staircase that came down the centre and on the landing branched out in two directions to the landing on the first level high above the ground floor.
"PC Davidson," Jack greeted, amused. "Don't tell me these suckers here actually hired you."
"Jack, be nice," Ianto warned him. "Remember, until we can prove we are harmless and only want to go home, we're prisoners. Don't make this harder."
"I can see Jack's attitude didn't improve in his double," Andy Davidson said.
He came down the stairs and sat behind a massive impressive looking desk. Next to the the desk was a tall and wide fir tree decorated with Victorian and odd looking ornaments made of metals, some even of gears, along with large lace bows. The tree twinkled by what seemed like tiny LED white lights set among the branches and made the silver garland and tinsel glitter. Thick fresh evergreen boughs were draped across the front of desk with more of the lace bows adorning it. The room smelled of fresh Christmas greenery. Across the entry hall was an ornate marble fireplace with a fire burning. Despite the openness of the large space, it had a cosy feeling. It definitely had a Christmas atmosphere to it. Jack was reminded of holidays long the past and how the holidays in his current time just never felt the same to him. Which was why he was glad Ianto was all for decorating their own home in the manner of Christmases long ago.
To Owen and Tosh, Andy said, "Take them to Waiting Room 2 and then get back to the Hub. Ianto and Jack will be joining them soon."
Toshiko nodded and smiled at the blonde curly haired man. "Maybe then I can get changed into my working clothes." She dropped the apprehended weapons on the desk. "Process these. The bosses just might decide to let them have them back, if they are telling the truth."
Andy lifted the Webley and admired it. "Nice piece of work. I never saw anything like it. I can say the same about this other handgun, but that one lacks a certain charm." He smiled at Toshiko. "You should have time to get changed. Rift predictor indicates it'll be a quiet day," Andy said.
"And it said that when these two came through the Rift," Owen said with a sneer. "Plus I'm sure they're going to cause a bloody mess that we'll have to clean up. Right. Quiet day. You two, follow me and don't forget Tosh will have a gun at your backs. So I suggest not to make a run for it. I hate it when Ianto is in a foul mood. He tends to serve us decaf just on general purposes. And that will put me in a fouler mood. Get it?"
Jack laughed as they followed Owen, walking past the desk where Andy Davidson sat, which was apparently his post. He noticed the chandelier which hung from the centre of the vaulted ceiling was lit by candles. There were some wall scounces also with fires burning in them, but lamps on the desk and tables were electrically lighted.
"PC my bloody arse," Andy quipped. "You best not get on my bad side after that remark," he said as Jack and Ianto passed.
"I get it," Jack said, ignoring the blonde behind the desk. "I get that at least there's one constant in this world, and that is Ianto is the coffee king who threatens bad little Torchwood staff with decaf."
"Small comforts," Ianto agreed with a smirk.
They were led down the hallway from the entry hall toward the back of the building and into a room. Owen closed and locked the door behind them. Jack was already looking around at the Victorian and modernist furnishings. A couch was along one wall, two arm chairs, along the perpendicular wall with a table and four high back chairs in the corner. Along the wall opposite of the couch was a wide bookcase, filled with novels and magazines. Between the bookcase and the tables was a fireplace, the fire blazing and warming the room. There were no windows in the room. The walls were an emerald green and crème vertical stripes on the lower half below the copper moulding. Above the moulding was wallcovering, a brocade of various shades of greens, from the lightest to the darkest.
Ianto sighed and sat on the couch, patting the space next to him. "At least it's warm in here."
Jack stood before the couch and took Ianto by his hand, squeezing it before letting go to cup Ianto's cheek. "You're still cold." He took off his coat and placed it around Ianto's shoulders, sitting down next to him and slipping an arm around Ianto's shoulders, pulling the younger man close to his side. "I'm going to have to teach you to keep your coat on at all times if it's cold enough to make you leave with one. No matter how dirty you might think it will get. It can be cleaned or replaced, but you can't if you die from pneumonia. Especially the replaced part." Jack leaned over and kissed Ianto's cheek.
Ianto flushed from warmth he felt from the combination of Jack's gestures and his words and nothing to do with the blazing fire that made the room a comfortable temperature. "You're right, Jack. I'm sorry." He rested his head against Jack's. "Do you still have the device?"
"In my right coat pocket," Jack replied. "Meaning it's in your possession right now."
"Good. Then we won't lose it before we get a chance to see if anyone on this team can set it to send us home."
"I hope they could," Jack replied.
"So now what?"
Jack shifted so he could hold Ianto in both his arms while leaning back in against the couch's upholstery, holding Ianto in a cuddle. "We wait," he simply replied.
They ended up waiting ten minutes. Jack was still sitting on the couch while Ianto perused the books on the shelf. There was a section on the shelf that had leather bound books which looked like classics to Ianto. A few he recognised but most of them were new to him, and Ianto knew the classics. Looking at the unfamiliar titles and authors reminded Ianto that this was not the world he knew, even if some things were familiar to him.
They heard someone on the other side unlock the door. As their attention went to the door it opened and there was a figure standing in the hallway.
Jack's mouth dropped open, while Ianto stared with wide eyes. He did still have enough presence of mind to spare Jack a glance to see how his partner was reacting past the initial response.
Ianto Jones stood in the doorway, a brass antique gun with a long nose being held casually in his right hand. He had it pointed down, but both Jack and Ianto were not fooled into thinking he was not prepared to use it. The way the familiar ice blue eyes assessed the two of them, and Ianto knew they were both sighted in case his doppelgänger had to quickly use his gun.
The Ianto Jones who had recently joined them wore a burgundy silk shirt with black tie, his black leather waistcoat was fastened by black leather straps that buckled, the buckles brass. He wore tight black leather pants and knee high boots with brass buckles. He also had a wide black leather belt with a big round garnet coloured disc set in brass. Completing the ensemble was a long black leather coat fitted with brass buttons and straps.
Jack's gaze went from the Ianto in the doorway to his Ianto and back. "Ianto Jones, I presume?" he asked.
Ianto had to smirk as he heard the slight quiver in Jack's voice. He decided to file that information away for a later time when they got home. Hopefully they would go home. If not, then it won't be so much role playing as an adapted fashion for this world. He shook his head. No, he won't think that. That would be giving up, and he was determined that Jack and he would return back where they belonged.
"Correct. I am Ianto Jones, Director of Torchwood Three." He shrugged minimally. "Well, one of them anyway." His eyes went to Ianto. "And I presume you, too, are Ianto Jones?" At Ianto's nod, he continued, "The fashion sense is outdated, by several centuries, at least, but I'm pleased to see that you still cut a dapper figure." He smiled at Ianto and then turned his attention to Jack. "Captain Jack Harkness?" He raised an eyebrow.
Jack stood up and rested his hands in his trouser pockets. "Yeah. That's me. Why do I get the feeling there's also another me somewhere around here?"
"There is. He's running diagnostics on the scans run on this room while you waited." His eyes settled on Jack. "You, at least, can almost blend in around here. And you both have the same coat." He pointed with his left hand over to the greatcoat, which now rested on the couch where Ianto had been sitting before he got up to investigate.
"You're both saturated with Rift energy," he added. He holstered the gun in a black shoulder holster under his coat. "I trust you won't try to rush me. Besides, be assured you won't get far." With that, he turned to someone who stood outside and took a brass serving tray from whoever remained out of sight. "Thank you, Suzie. You can return now." He entered the room and the door was closed behind him. "If you would join me at the table now, and we'll talk over some refreshments."
Ianto's eyebrow went up as he glanced over at Jack, who shrugged and started toward the table. Jack's eyes were still on the double of his lover, but after a few steps, he stopped to allow Ianto to join him at his side. Together, they went over to the table. They ended up taking seats opposite each other with the black coat Ianto sitting between them. They watched as he poured coffee from a copper coffee pot into three pewter tankards. They tankards were plain in design except for the familiar Torchwood 'T' logo etched in a circle.
"Is it too presumptuous of me to think you take your coffee black?" the black coated Ianto asked.
"No, not at all," Ianto replied but while he accepted the offered tankard, like Jack, he just set it before him. He wrapped his hands around it, feeling the warmth on his hands.
"It's safe to drink, gentlemen," black-coated Ianto said as he lifted his own tankard to his mouth. "I hardly intend to poison myself." He took a drink and a blissful look came on his face. "I know it's rather haughty of me, but there's no coffee like my own. Especially this blend. I discovered it on a backward little world in the Capsian system, quite a few millennia in the future, but I always make certain to return from such trips with enough to last until my next trip. Just the beans, mind. I do my own roasting around here." He watched, waiting for the two men to drink their coffee.
Ianto smirked as he raised his tankard, ignoring Jack's warning look."I'll have to disagree with you there. There is no coffee like mine."
Jack snorted. "That's my Ianto for you. He's more focused on debating coffee-making merits than questioning you travelling to other worlds. In the future, I should add." He smiled at his Ianto and raised his drink in a toast. "Oh well, here goes nothing. After all, how much could it harm me?" he asked more to his Ianto than to the other. He took a drink from the tankard and his eyes went big. "Oh my God!" he exclaimed. "Ianto, we have to find a way to get you this blend."
Ianto frowned and looked into his drink, inhaling the rich spicy aroma, and yet there was a hint of something sweet. "It is better than mine," he stated, disappointed. He took a drink as Jack watched him. "Crap! It is better than mine." He took another drink and set the tankard down on the table with a thump telling of his frustration.
"But does it count when it's by someone who is technically you?" Jack asked, giving Ianto a small smile. "If there is anyone who can make better coffee than Ianto Jones, it would be Ianto Jones."
Black-coat Ianto laughed as he had another drink. "Have some biscuits. I don't know if you are hungry after your journey, but I did not have time for breakfast yet." Ice blue eyes sparkling with amusement went from Jack to Ianto. "I ended up getting out of bed too late to have time for breakfast. We didn't even have time to stop along the way for takeaway."
Ianto smirked as he lifted the tankard and had another drink. He glanced over the rim of the tankard to meet Jack's eyes.
"At least that seems to be the same," Jack said.
Black-coat Ianto ate a biscuit and washed it down with more coffee. He set the tankard down and lifted his left arm, pulling back his coat and shirt sleeves to reveal a brass, copper and silver bracelet, each metal a cylinder and all intertwining. It held in place what looked like a fob watch. He opened the cover to reveal it was not a watch at all, but a device with various dials. It reminded Jack and Ianto of Jack's Vortex Manipulator.
"Jack, can you hear us now?" Black-coat Ianto asked.
"Loud and clear. I still haven't mastered lip reading. Unless it's your lips against my skin," Jack's voice came from seeming nowhere.
"The room, obviously, is bugged," Black-coat Ianto explained. "But I tuned out the sound until I had us settled in here. Yes, that is Captain Jack Harkness. Jack, say hello to Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones."
"Hello Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones," the Jack on the unseen speaker exclaimed.
"Right. Would you tell us please how you ended up here?" Black-coat Ianto asked the two men in the room with him.
"We already told Tosh and Owen," Jack remarked, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms.
"Yes, I know. They told us. But I want to hear it from you. If you are truly lost as you claim, the more we know, the better our chances are of helping you. Of course, while I'm almost certain that you are indeed lost and harmless, I still have to be 100% certain before letting you roam outside this room."
Jack nodded and rested his left arm on the table. "Okay, I'll give you that for being cautious. We would do the same if we were uncertain about someone coming through the Rift."
"Can't say we never had a trouble-maker coming through the Rift," Ianto sighed. "So tell me, do you also have to deal with your Jack's ex?"
Black-coat Ianto looked stunned for a moment and then chuckled. "John Hart, I take it?" When he got two nods, he chuckled again. "Yes, I do. But he knows he'll never get Jack back and that I can and will hurt him if he still decides to try."
"Oh great. You got to deal with him more than once?" Ianto muttered.
"He works for Torchwood," Black-coat Ianto supplied.
"Bloody great," Ianto sighed, making Jack laugh.
"Gentlemen, back to the matter at hand please. Ianto and I have an appointment to keep later this morning and we don't want to make the un-natives nervous by being late. And as valued a member John is, he's not worth a rebellion over."
"Right. Sorry, Jack." To the men with him in the room, he said, "So gentlemen, one more time and with more detail please tell us how you ended up here."
Jack and Ianto explained how they had a Rift alert before the rest of their team arrived into work and went to investigate. They found a device that Jack had assumed was an SOS beacon and started pressing buttons, looking for a message if there was one.
"Not that I knew what we would be able to do if it was off world or in another time," Jack said. "But I've been at Torchwood long enough never to dismiss anything. There could be a chance the message could be pertinent to us and the continued defence of Earth against alien threat. And I was wrong about what it was. Now here we are."
"You were holding the device when it enabled?" Black-coat Ianto asked.
"Yes, he was," Ianto said. "We have it with us."
"Jack, let Owen and Tosh know they were rather shoddy with checking them for other than just obvious weapons."
"Oh, I'll have a talk with them. So what do you say, Ianto? Let them in?"
"Yes. I believe them. Have a safe house for them until we know if we can help them?"
"On it now, Ianto. Bring them down."
"Right. If you would follow me, let's see what we can do about getting you home." Black-coat Ianto stood up and waited for the two men. Jack went over to the couch to retrieve his coat. Ianto helped him put it on and they followed Black-coat Ianto out of the room.
They were led further back in the building and entered another room that had just a table and chairs. On the far wall was a wrought iron folding gate that Black-coat Ianto moved away and pulled open the copper door. He held it open for them to enter. They already had an idea, but it was confirmed when the lift started to go down.
When the lift stopped, Black-coat Ianto opened the door and gate to allow them to exit. He closed the door and gate behind him. They found themselves in a basement. It was mostly open, but there were workstations set up. Wide metallic desks and frames that was close to their own workstations at that Hub, but longer and positioned differently. Along a couple of walls they noticed stairs going downward. In a far corner was an office that had a round window with thick brass fitting around it. It reminded them of the window in Jack's office. There was another office next to it, but with an octagonal window, also with the same brass fitting around it.
Toshiko was at one of the workstations, and much to their surprise, despite hearing the name, Suzie Costello was at another. Toshiko had changed into a black blouse with a gathered elastic neckline below her neck and wore slightly off her shoulder, under a brown leather corset that had straps going across the front to the side where it fastened with brass buckles on the right side, and instead of a long skirt, she wore a pair of brown leather trousers that tucked into brown sturdy looking boots that had seen better days. They were obviously her field boots, which made more sense than the dainty looking low heeled boots they noticed under her skirts earlier. Suzie also wore a corset and trousers, but the style looked more like a cross between pirate and dominatrix, all in black. She wore no blouse or undergarment under the corset, with what looked like a green lab coat with shiny brass buttons. Her black thigh high boots were shiny with two inch heels. Both women had wide belted holsters around their waists, and handguns holstered.
The door to the office which resembled Jack's back in their world opened and this world's Captain Jack Harkness stepped out. He wore a dark blue double breasted military jacket that was buttoned up with copper buttons and belted around the waist. His pants were charcoal grey pantaloons, which were baggy on the upper leg and tapered off into black no-nonsense paratrooper boots with straps and copper buckles along the top. Like the others, he had a black holster around his waist, but in the front was also a round copper disc with intricate scroll designs that gleamed. To complete his outfit was an almost familiar dark blue greatcoat. The cut was slightly different and the markings which distinguished Jack's coat to World War II were different to designate another war that they probably had never heard of.
Captain Jack grinned the usual dazzle 'em smile at his visitors. "My my, seeing this on screen is one thing, but finding oneself face to face with his double." His eyes went from Jack to Ianto and the smile turned into a leer. "And still looking sexy no matter the very outdated fashion, Mr. Jones."
Ianto found himself sputtering, much to his chagrin. Black-coat Ianto rolled his eyes. "No Jack. I am not going to do a foursome with our twins there. So forget it."
Captain Jack pouted. "Spoilsport." He winked at Black-coat Ianto and looked beyond Jack and Ianto. "Team meeting in Boardroom One now!" he called out. To Jack and Ianto, he said, "We'll take a look at your device and listen to a little more of your world to determine if we are able to return you to your rightful place. We won't discuss alternative options yet unless all options of returning you are exhausted."
"This is your Hub?" Jack asked, glancing around at the brick and tiled walls. It did not come off as impressive to him.
"The main Hub, yes," Black-coat Ianto replied as he indicated for the two to follow his partner who lead the way to the boardroom. He tapped a device in his ear. "Owen, Boardroom One, and bring your readings with you," he said. When he noticed the inquisitive raised eyebrows of his guests, he gave them a small smile. "We are able to do body scans remotely. Owen has been scanning you since you entered the waiting room."
"And the results of those scans will confirm without a doubt that what you say is true," Captain Jack added, looking back to them.
He led them to one of the staircases, which had black wrought iron railings in intricate designs and started down the stairs. "We have several levels down here. The deeper we go, the more secure the information is contained. The level we came from is classified secret, and this one is the same. It only houses our boardrooms, a lounge and the general library. We do have a general archives and medical section also on this level. When you go below this, it turns into a labyrinth that spread out below the old dockyards area."
"The monolith," Ianto asked as they came to the landing to find a hallway in exposed red brick. "Does that have anything to do with the Rift?"
Captain Jack looked at them with surprise. "I'm guessing there are enough similarities between our worlds. Yes, part of our function is to monitor the Rift. We can usually control what goes in and out of it, but sometimes we get surprises." Bright blue eyes settled on Jack and Ianto. "And yes, you are a surprise."
"We have a 79 percent success rate of placing surprises back where they belong," Toshiko said proudly from behind them. Both men moved further into the hall to allow Toshiko and Suzie to join them.
"Unless they are a threat to the Earth or Humanity," Suzie added. "In that case, they face the consequences."
Captain Jack and Black-coat Ianto walked side by side down the hallway and stopped before silver double doors that slid open when Black-coat Ianto placed his palm on it. They entered the boardroom and Ianto strode over to a coffee service area where he started to brew coffee. Captain Jack sat in an ornate antique chair at one end of the long walnut conference table. On the table were Tiffany lamps providing the lighting. Toshiko and Suzie sat on either side of Jack, facing each other.
Jack and Ianto were directed to take the seats next to Suzie. As they settled in their chairs, the door opened again, and Owen entered, carrying an electronic clipboard and a pile of folders.
As Owen settled himself in the seat next to Toshiko, Black-coat Ianto started to hand out coffee. Finally placing his tankard on the table before the chair that matched Jack's on the opposite end of Captain Jack.
It started off as a very formalised meeting, with Ianto logging in an official start and time, and setting forth the purpose of the meeting.
After Jack and Ianto gave some description of the world they knew, with Tosh and Suzie taking notes, Owen gave his medical report, confirming that Ianto was 100% human, and Jack was close enough to full human. "Perhaps even more than you, Jack," Owen said to Captain Jack. "Your 75st century pheromone levels are higher than his, but he does have the same pheromones as you."
Eyes went to Jack, except for Ianto. "I'm from the 51st century," Jack replied. "75th century?" he asked Captain Jack. "Really?"
Captain Jack nodded. "Really. I was working for the Time Agency, when suddenly we had this assignment with Torchwood, from the past. I ended up working with Ianto." Captain Jack smiled warmly across the length of the table. "Never stopped. He couldn't leave Torchwood here, and I wasn't ready to say goodbye, so I settled here. That was almost twenty years ago."
Jack reached over to take Ianto's hand in his and squeeze it. "I'm glad to see some things are the same here." He glanced around the table. "Speaking of, there seems to be one member of our team missing here. Where's Gwen?"
"Gwen?" Captain Jack asked.
"I'm sorry, it doesn't ring a bell," Black-coat Ianto said.
"Gwen Cooper?" Ianto supplied. "In our world, she was a PC, Andy Davidson's partner until Jack decided to hire her."
"Gwen Cooper," Owen said with dawning realisation. "That's Rhys' ex, isn't she?" he asked the team.
"Right," Black-coat Ianto agreed. "The one who never listened to reason."
"Flighty bird, she was," Owen said. "She was a copper, engaged to Rhys and suddenly got a bug up her arse to time travel. She didn't want to go through the proper licensing channels. Brought some half-arsed time machine and disappeared."
Captain Jack frowned. "We never were able to figure out if she was disintegrated or lost somewhere in time. Since she didn't use the Rift, there's no way of tracking her. We tried. Rhys ended up coming to work for Torchwood shortly after. He handles the airship haulage pool for us. Married to Lady Christina now. More title than money, but they're happy. Christina is one of our field agents. They met when Rhys had to offer her passage."
Jack and Ianto traded looks. "Ah, got you," Jack said.
Owen continued on with his medical report on both men. He seemed to leave something out, but both Directors of this Torchwood seemed not to notice, and Jack and Ianto were not going to call attention to something that might not be important.
They explained how they were able to manipulate the Rift for time travel and travel to other worlds, but people needed a license for it. Applications for Visas for extended stays over two days, and in some cases off world, needed to get approval from the local planetary government. Cardiff was the centre of time and space travel.
Once they got a general rundown of the world they found themselves in, Jack asked, "So what can you do for us?"
"Depends on the device," Black-coat Ianto said. "Now would be a good time to hand it to Tosh. If anyone can figure it out for you, it will be her."
"If she's anything like our Toshiko Sato, no doubt," Jack replied.
Toshiko studied it for a few minutes. "It's going to be tricky, and I'll have to study it, see if I can calibrate it with your arrival through the Rift. From there I might be able to triangulate the coordinates for your world and send you back. I wouldn't rush it though." She gazed at the two displaced men. "We'll have only one shot at this and we want to make sure we're right when we try this. Give me a few days to work it out."
Black-coat Ianto cleared his throat. "The thing is, tomorrow is Christmas Eve. And we'll be shut down until after Boxing Day. Only emergencies that cannot wait until then will be handled by a skeleton crew. And only the imminent threat to the Earth will convince me to call this team back in before then."
Captain Jack leaned his elbows on the table. "You'll have to understand us. I know you think your situation to be an emergency and getting you back as soon as possible is our main objective. But no one will die if we don't get you back tomorrow."
"No, but my sister will be heartbroken," Ianto murmured. "Jack and I were to host Christmas at our place. The first time I was hosting Christmas dinner for my family, and it's really important. It's also the first Christmas since Jack and me started to live together."
"I'm sorry," Black-coat Ianto said softly. "But this team works harder than anyone else for Torchwood. We're on call 24/7 almost all the time. So when we plan a shut down for some well-deserved relaxation, not much will convince us to rescind it."
Jack squeezed Ianto's hand again. "We understand." He looked at Ianto. "I'm sorry, Ianto. But at least there's a chance of us coming back, even if late, which is better than never."
Ianto nodded. "You're right." His eyes met Jack's. "And we're still together for the holiday. Even if we are in some safehouse. We'll find some way to make the best of it."
"I know we will. You know what, Ianto? We're going to find a way to spend the next few days that will make it a Christmas to remember forever." He smiled lovingly at Ianto and leaned in to lightly kiss him. "Are we okay?"
"Yes," Ianto said, returning the smile. "We are."
"Good. For now, we'll send you to the safehouse for tonight. Andy will take you there, since you also seem to be familiar with him. We'll give you comm devices so you can reach us if you need, and we can reach you. Andy will set you up with the standard package we give to those who are misplaced through the Rift and are of mind enough that we don't need to take them to Flat Holm. You're free to roam around if you like, just don't leave Cardiff yet. We'll also set you up with some currency enough for today. Use it carefully. No need to be frugal, but just be aware," Black-coat Ianto explained.
"Not a problem," Ianto assured him.
"I had that feeling," Black-coat Ianto smiled. "Does anyone have anything to add?"
When he was answered with shaking heads, he closed the meeting with the time and touched a dial on the device on his arm.
Which reminded Jack of something he did not look into until then. He looked over to Captain Jack, who was standing up and he noticed the flash of brown leather wrapped around his left wrist. Of course, they did say Jack was a Time Agent, so he also kept his Vortex Manipulator when he left to join Black-coat Ianto's Torchwood.
Black-coat Ianto and Captain Jack escorted them up to the main entry hall where Andy met them, both of them having currency and comm units. Black-coat Ianto spoke to Andy for a few minutes and returned with their weapons. Before releasing them to Andy's care, Black-coat Ianto said, "We'll drop by before dinner and see how you're settling in. Perhaps we can do dinner together, the four of us?"
"That would sound great," Jack said with a smile. "Thank you. For everything."
"Oh, don't thank us yet," Captain Jack said. "We're still yet to determine if you're able to go home. But we're willing to help out in making this a holiday trip to remember." He smiled at them.
"It is very much appreciated," Ianto said. "So we'll just have to thank you again later." He winked at the doubles.
Andy came from around his desk, pulling on a knee length brown coat and putting a newsboy cap on his head. "This way gentlemen," he said. "And if you really are gentlemen, we really do need to do something about those bare heads while outdoors," he added as he led them from the building.
The safehouse turned out to be a penthouse suite in what was supposed to be the St. David's Hotel. It had the same name and the same location, but it looked nothing like the hotel they knew. The red and white wood hotel was a massive sprawling Victorian style building with many towers and verandas, along with rooftop patios. The lounge to their suite looked out to one of the patios and the master bedroom had a veranda. It was a richly appointed suite with heavy brocade drapery and solid wood furniture. In the master bedroom was a four-poster large bed with draperies that closed around the bed.
In both the lounge and bedroom were fireplaces with fires burning. Jack stood by the window staring out at Cardiff Bay through the closed windows and doors. The room was warm and Ianto finally felt thawed out enough to be in his undershirt and trousers. Not long after Andy had left them on their own, Jack drew a bath in the large deep four clawed bathtub, wanting Ianto to soak and finish warming up after the time spent in the cold. Jack was just in his shirt with sleeves rolled up above his elbows and braces. His boots rested on the mat by the front door. Shortly after he got Ianto in the tub and they discovered room for one more, even if a little tight, they decided it was a cosy tight that they welcomed. So Jack joined Ianto in the tub. Both Ianto and Jack got very warmed up in the tub, and then took their activities to the bedroom.
Now they were in the lounge.
Ianto sighed as he sank further into the plush cushions. "Jack, it's not going to change the more you stare."
Jack turned to face Ianto with an amused smile. "I'm admiring not brooding."
"Whatever it is, I'd prefer you sitting here." Ianto patted the space on the couch next to him.
Jack immediately sat down next to him, wrapping his arms around the younger man and holding him close. Jack grinned as his mind went back to what he was thinking about while looking out at what he could see of this Cardiff. Ianto Jones in black leather and buckles and... that coat. It only he could get his Ianto into something like that coat. He would definitely have to look into that possibility more for some role playing fun in the near future. Hopefully in their own home that they had left behind.
Jack started to nuzzle along Ianto's jaw before they started to kiss. When they woke up that morning they were expecting to be busy for most of the day and not sitting around in a beautiful and cosy hotel room with nothing more pressing than to finish the lunch Jack had ordered to be sent to their room and cuddling by the fire.
They could have gone out for a while to explore the strange city that was both different and familiar. To do so meant one of them would be without a coat. A coat did not come with the spare clothes Andy had left them with, which amounted to a couple of changes each of comfortable clothes to be worn around the room.
Ianto supposed that they could wear the clothes outside but other people would see them as lower class, manual labourers and not gentlemen. Jack might not mind much but to Ianto it was important he was seen as a gentleman.
However at the moment Ianto did not care if they never left the room until it was time to go home. As their kisses deepened and hands explored well known dips and curves of the other's body under clothes Ianto and Jack were quite content to make a memorable Christmas in that room.
When Jack's shirts ended up somewhere on the floor and he was in only his unzipped trousers with braces hanging fro. the trousers, they decided to go into the bedroom, losing Ianto's undershirt along the way.
Just as they started to consider getting something to eat in the late afternoon Black-coat Ianto contacted them saying he was on his way and then they would decide on dinner.
Less than ten minutes later Jack was letting both their doubles into the room. Captain Jack had several paper carrier sacks while Black-coat Ianto entered laden down with suit bags.
"What's all this? Jack asked as he closed the door.
"Clothes," Captain Jack replied.
"Proper clothes for being seen in public," Black-coat Ianto added. Icy blue eyes fixed on Ianto. "Especially for you. No one wearing my face should be seen in public wearing less respectful clothes."
Ianto sighed in relief, thankful his double in this strange world shared the same respect of looking sharp and fashionable. Jack simply laughed as he slipped an arm around Ianto's waist.
"We went through our wardrobes for a few items you can borrow while you're here," Captain Jack said. "And while your own clothes can blend in, Jack, where we're going for dinner is a bit more formal. I hope you don't mind getting dressed up a bit."
It was Ianto's turn to laugh as he rubbed Jack's arm. "You have no idea what I have to go through to get this one in a suit. He's as dressed up as he gets."
"Hey!" Jack complained. "I'm not that bad. I also know when it's important to you which is why I bought a new suit for Christmas!"
As soon as he said it, he regretted it. "Ianto, I'm sorry," he said, pulling the younger but most times more mature man into his arms.
"I know," Ianto assured him. "And you do clean up nicely for me."
Black-coat Ianto cleared his throat. "We have an update to ease your minds over the next few days. Toshiko was able to give your device a full diagnostic this afternoon and she's certain she can calibrate it to take you home."
"We have records in our archives on devices like that," Captain Jack added. "They are meant to slip between parallel worlds. It's not as popular as simple time travel or going off world, but there are some worlds where they are popular. To be used for observational purposes and research of some kind," he explained.
Jack and Ianto frowned. "The biggest worry I had in being able to go home is the threat of shattering the walls between dimensions," Jack finally voiced what did not dare bring up before. "I was expecting you to say it couldn't happen because of it, but didn't say anything in the hope of us going back where we belong." He gave Ianto a sad smile.
"It's okay, Jack. I read the transcript of the recordings salvaged from Yvonne's office. I was hoping too."
"You see, that's the beauty of these babies," Captain Jack said with a pleased smile. "The Cybermen and the Torchwood where they came from uses technology that in effect punches holes or cracks in the dimensional walls. But the device you found finds a way to slip between the walls in a way that does not disrupt them or threaten to tear them down."
"Actually when we ran the device through our Archives, it pinged as contraband. It's a dimensional hopper," Black-coat stated.
"Contraband?" Ianto asked, raising an eyebrow. "So then it's not as harmless to the dimensional walls as you say then?"
Captain Jack grinned. "It's contraband only because laws governing the use of them have not been set. It's been on hold for other issues, but one of these years it will be put back on the table."
"And Torchwood, of course, will be leading the decision making process and then we'll be controlling the devices in use, and handling the application process for such trips," said Black-coat Ianto. "Despite all findings point to it being safe travel, I still would like to see it more limited than the other travels available to the public, simply because it still makes me nervous to think of all those people going between dimensions. However, that's not important to you. What is, is that we are willing to use the device to return you. You don't belong here and you are not here by your own choice. Our guess is that it came from our world, perhaps from one of the worlds that have variations of the space hopper and came through your Rift, where you found it."
"And it took us back here." Jack sighed. "We should be thankful we ended up on Earth and among friends then, if what you say is true about it coming from another planet."
"I have a theory about that too," Black-coat Ianto stated. "It most probably came from Cardiff. We do have problems with smugglers, and the dimension hopper could have been included and slipped our radar. Unfortunately that does happen more times than we would prefer."
"It's never easy when it comes to smugglers. Especially if they have the technology to disguise the contraband," Jack said.
"Exactly," Captain Jack agreed. "Not that we're not working on matching the technology or stepping up our game policing what comes through the Rift with our travellers. So, as Ianto said, it most likely ended up here in Cardiff, maybe it was tossed back in if whoever had it feared detection, or it simply was grabbed and sent your way. The bottom line is that we can trace it to exact moment you left. That's what Tosh said."
"That would be grand," Ianto said in relief. "Then the team won't worry, my family won't go crazy thinking I'm gone forever, and we can still have our Christmas as planned."
"Ask me, it just gets better," Black-coat Ianto said with a devilish grin. "You get to have two Christmases. Our team gets together, along with families for holiday festivities. We all voted very quickly that both of you are most welcome to join us. Toshiko at first thought she could send you back before we shut down operations for the holiday, but apparently a part or two was damaged in transit. I checked the archives, but we do not have anything to replace it. Good news is we know someone who does."
"Eugene Jones," Captain Jack said. "No relation, but he's a consultant for us. Manages to find and collect parts and gizmos for us. Toshiko called him, and he knows he has something. He'll be back day after Boxing Day. He assured her once he locates the parts, he'll be able to repair it and by no later than the next day, you'll be on your way. Back to the day before Christmas Eve and having Christmas with the family." He smiled brightly.
Black-coat Ianto cleared his throat. "Jack and I need to go home, get ready for dinner and make sure our sitter is settled in for tonight. We'll be here around seven. I also took the liberty to order some snacks to be sent here to hold you off until then." He winked. "If you're anything like Jack and me when we're alone, I'm sure you're hungry now and still good for a meal later."
"Sitter?" Ianto had to ask.
"Yes. Babysitter," Black-coat Ianto replied. "We have three children. You'll meet them for Christmas dinner at our place."
Captain Jack grinned as he pulled out a wallet and removed a photo. "Meghan, Franklin and Samantha," he said, handing Jack the photo. "Eight years, five and two."
"I think you're more than me and Jack," Ianto said in awe as he looked over Jack's shoulder at the two men, and their three children in a formal portrait. "Lovely family," he said, his eyes tearing up. He never gave a thought to him and Jack having children. Cautiously he watched Jack's reaction.
"They are lovely," Jack agreed. "Don't tell me that men in the 75th century are able to have children."
"There's that," Captain Jack said. "But being we have time travel, it's not unusual for a male couple to travel to a time that they can have surgery and treatments to have children. They usually stay there for the duration of pregnancy and then return with the baby."
"I did that," Black-coat Ianto admitted. "I gave birth to Samantha," he said proudly.
"Bloody hell," Ianto muttered. Did he have to have that thought planted in his head now? Bad enough the thought of having children with Jack, assuming he could get pregnant. That he would want to get pregnant, have a family. It would be more of a commitment than buying a home together and a lot more responsibility.
Jack returned the photo with a smile that reached his eyes. "We do make beautiful children together, don't we? I've always wondered if we did what they would look like." His smile grew. "Well, you need to take care of your babysitter and we all need to get ready for dinner?"
"Yes. We do." Black-coat Ianto pointed to the garment bags. "Blue one is Jack's, red one is Ianto's. Accessories are in the other bags. You can figure out what you would want to use from there."
"I hope you like what we selected," Captain Jack said with a wink. "We'll see you at seven."
At their dinner table, Jack stared at Ianto, who was in conversation with Toshiko, causing her to laugh over something and Owen to shake his head. It turned out to be a team dinner, a chance for them to kick back and relax away from the work environment and away from families. Jack and Ianto had learned there were plenty of family oriented gatherings but once in a while they went out and did something special. The night before Christmas Eve was a tradition for them, always picking out a posh restaurant to start their night. The next three days belonged to family, but this night belonged to them.
Everyone was dressed in their best. Owen was dressed in black and grey pinstriped trousers, a black waist coat, white shirt and grey ascot. He topped off the ensemble with a dark grey frock coat. When they met up outside the restaurant he was wearing a grey derby hat. It was the sharpest dressed they had seen Owen, even if he wasn't their Owen. At a time away from the others, Jack and Ianto agreed that they never had suspected to see Owen dressing to look sharp.
The women were lovely. Suzie wore a chocolate coloured long skirt and outing jacket, which was tailored to perfection to hug her and taper at the waist, with a white linen shirt under the jacket. Toshiko was in blue, a full long blue skirt with swirling designs much like wood grain and a matching blouse that tied in the back, and puffy princess sleeves that tapered midway down her lower arms and became long solid blue cuffs. Suzie had a matching bonnet and Toshiko wore a blue mini top hat with a jewelled band and a small plume of white feathers.
Black-coat Ianto looked sharp and dashing, which came as no surprise to Jack. He wore pinstriped trousers and matching waistcoat that fastened with leather straps set slightly off to his left side, with a crisp white shirt under a black slim ascot. Over everything he wore a frock coat. Captain Jack was also dressed to the nines in a double breasted black waistcoat with shining golden buttons, a white shirt and dark blue cravat and dark blue morning coat. The long black leather coat was in the coat check as well as Captain Jack's wool greatcoat. On the way to the restaurant, Black-coat Ianto wore a top hat and Captain Jack wore a Captain's dress cover. Like Jack, the rank Captain was earned during his time with the Time Agency. Unlike Jack, he had never managed to use the rank as a group Captain and pilot during two wars.
Jack's eyes hardly strayed from Ianto, who insisted on getting changed in the bathroom, allowing Jack to changing in the dressing area. Jack found himself frozen in place when Ianto stepped out from the bathroom with a knowing smirk on his face, his eyes taking in Jack, who had just finished dressing, with appreciation and obvious want. They knew they would leave the clothes on when they returned to the hotel, for just a little while. Long enough to appreciate the outfits before they were taken off.
Inside the red garment bag, Ianto found a white shirt, which seemed to be a precedent for formal dressing. There were also two other shirts, one a deep red and another a dark purple, both silk. It was obvious which were the formal clothes for the night among the three ensembles that Black-coat Ianto had selected to loan to Ianto. He put on the black waist coat that had a thin black leather collar in the front and black leather straps for fasteners, which was obviously Black-coat Ianto's preference for waistcoats. The formal trousers he selected was black wool and fit snugly, which he decided was the way they were supposed to fit, because it was not an uncomfortable snug fit. He had a red and black thin ascot tie and completed the look with a double breasted frock coat which gleamed with golden buttons etched with swirls.
Jack stunned Ianto with his look. He had a formal white shirt and black trousers, with a black and deep blue brocade waistcoat trimmed with thin black leather edging, with a matching ascot under an oddly cut morning coat. Odd but very formal. There were top hats for both men. When their two hosts arrived to the room, Black-coat Ianto and Captain Jack complimented them on how they looked. Captain Jack told Jack it was perfectly fine for Jack to wear his greatcoat for the outside. Ianto was given a long black wool coat. As a finishing touch, Black-coat Ianto presented Ianto with a walking cane. He had two for Ianto to choose from, stating he would use the one not selected. Formal wear for Black-coat Ianto, Captain Jack explained with affection, meant a walking stick. There were times he would even have one while going out on Torchwood missions.
Ianto was surprised to find both walking sticks had swords encased. He chose the one that had a round brass mechanical time piece, including gears. Black-coat Ianto was left with one with a top that had gold, brass, silver and copper discs, some were in gears of various sizes and others were with intricate designs. Black-coat Ianto explained that both the walking sticks were his favourites. When they stepped out of the hotel to the aircar, Ianto walked proudly. Jack was grinning madly when he realised that all eyes in the hotel lobby were on Ianto. He couldn't blame them. He was having a hard time straying away from the striking figure Ianto cut in the clothes and walking stick. Ianto always looked good to Jack, but there was something that night that added a special spark to Ianto. He hoped it would not be the last time he would see it.
They had a pleasant evening out. The food was good and so was the company. If it was not for the two doppelgängers, it felt like they were having dinner with their team. It made Jack feel guilty because as much as he said the team was his family, they never spent time outside work beyond drinks in a nearby pub. Jack decided when they returned to amend that.
The two Jack's kept the others entertained with stories of their time with the Time Agency. At one point everyone was greatly amused when both Jack's realised they had the camping trip which resulted in many men running full on while naked, attempting to escape something.
It was during dessert with aperitifs that Jack and Ianto received the biggest shock of changes between the worlds.
"So I come in early," Owen explained. "Extremely early to find Ianto on the couch completely naked, and completely dead. So before he revives, I noticed a ruined segment of something. I didn't give it much thought at the time. Naked Ianto was enough for me. All I can say it that I'm glad I convinced Tosh to stay home and come in at the usual time."
Black-coat Ianto rolled his eyes, but had a slight blush dusting his face. "No one was supposed to be in at that time. Jack was at home with the kids, and I was there to..." His eyes went to Jack and Ianto. "Well, I'm expendable, so when I'm alone in the Hub, I test some of the alien tech that came through the Rift."
Captain Jack laughed. "Including sex toys. Turns out that particular one was dangerous for humans to use."
"Thus why I test them out on my own and label anything that you should not go into the Archives with intent to find and sneak home for fun and games," Ianto said, his eyes on Captain Jack, the warning evident.
"Oi! Bad enough I still have the mental picture," Owen complained. "I did not need to know that!"
Toshiko and Suzie laughed, and missed the surprised look Jack and Ianto shared.
"Wait a minute," Jack said. "You mean, well, I'm going to take a guess that this doesn't sound crazy, but you're mortal?" he asked, directing his question to Captain Jack.
The other man nodded. "Yeah. I am. Owen told us about the Vortex findings after you left, just in case he was wrong and the readings were there for some other reason. After all, working so closely with the Rift, anything is possible. But if he's right, according to his readings, you're immortal, aren't you?"
"Unfortunately, yes. I am. And Ianto's mortal," Jack replied.
"The results of my tests show that you have a much higher level of what we call the Vortex. It's a part of your DNA make-up, if one knows what they are looking for, while Ianto there had lower levels," Owen explained.
Jack's eyebrows raised. "Wait a minute. Ianto has levels of the Vortex?"
"Lower than our Jack has, but I suspect that's only because of the amount of time they have been together. Jack has basically survived this long because of Ianto." Owen looked over at Black-coat Ianto.
Black-coat Ianto took his Jack's hand in his and squeezed it. "I lost Jack several times over the years. Each time I thought I lost him, that this was the end. But I couldn't let him go, I am not ready to lose Jack." He gazed lovingly at the other man with watery eyes. "I don't think I'll ever be. I guess we were lucky. He was what Owen termed 'mostly dead'. Even if he was all dead, I didn't give up on him. I gave him the breath of life and continued at it until he came back to me."
"My theory is because of that, Jack now has levels of the Vortex within him now, and with each time Ianto brought him back, the levels rose. Now, I understand that he just gives Jack that breath of life regularly in hopes of keeping him around longer. It seems to be paying off. Because of the century Jack is from, he naturally ages slower than the rest of us, but he will age and die someday. Only I noticed his ageing has slowed more, and he's starting to heal faster. In fact, after he had Franklin, within three days he was healed completely from the caesarian. Given enough time, if they're granted it, I suspect that it's highly possible one day Jack will be immortal."
"Which I'll gladly share what Ianto calls a curse with him, if it means he'll never be lonely. That's all I want. To love Ianto forever," Captain Jack explained and lifted Ianto's hand and kissed it. "Everything else, we'll deal with together."
Jack and Ianto found themselves holding hands as they listened. When Ianto turned his attention from the others to gaze at Jack, it was plain on his face and they way his eyes glittered that was exactly the way Ianto felt about Jack. Jack smiled at Ianto, hope in his eyes. "You have levels of the Vortex in you. How about we don't wait for you to die again to start doing what they are?"
"You died?" Suzie asked Ianto.
"Briefly. I don't even remember doing so," Ianto said. "One minute I'm being flung across the Hub by my girlfriend who had been partially converted into a Cyberman, and the next, I'm gasping for air, laying in the pool at the bottom of the Rift Manipulator with Jack hovering over me."
"I didn't know why at the time, but I wasn't ready to lose you then," Jack said. He squeezed Ianto's hand tighter. "I'm not ready to give you up now, but I know why. I love you, Ianto. I always will."
"I'll always love you too, Jack."
Suzie chuckled with amusement while Tosh chimed her fork against her crystal wine glass. Jack and Ianto laughed before they moved their heads to kiss.
That night, Jack vowed he would take something back with him, other than him and Ianto doing some shopping for some special role play.
"How old are you?" Ianto had to ask his double as they left the restaurant.
"1200," He replied. "I was with Torchwood for a thousand years, the last hundred I've been in charge."
Jack whistled with shock. "I've been with Torchwood for a hundred. Not counting the time I spent underground. I prefer not to count them." He threw the blue scarf he wore open with his coat around his neck, and checked if Ianto was warm enough.
It had started to snow while they were in the restaurant. Ianto seemed fine, with a smile on his face. After dessert, there was dancing to a live band. Jack had his arm around Ianto's waist, and the younger man turned to give him a brief kiss.
"If it keeps snowing like this through tomorrow, they'll be able to use the real sleighs for the sleigh rides instead of hover sleighs," Suzie commented looking up, and then down the white ground.
"Sleigh rides?" Jack asked, his interest piqued.
"Oh yeah. It's a tradition over by City Hall," Toshiko said. "Part of the Winter Festival. They start by City Hall, but goes through Bute Park, around the castle and back."
"It's also a tradition for our family," Black-coat Ianto offered. "The kids love it." He smirked as he watched Jack and Ianto look at each other. "Shall I reserve a sleigh for you tomorrow? We usually take the kids in the early evening. Then we tuck them in bed and head out to the masquerade ball."
"Would you be interested in joining us for the ball?" Captain Jack asked.
"That sounds like fun, but I'm afraid we haven't a thing to wear," Jack replied.
"We'll take care of that earlier in the day, if you like. Jack and I need to run some errands anyway. It'll be in the morning, since most of our day until we get back from the rides are with our children," Black-coat Ianto said.
"If it's not too much trouble," Ianto said.
"We'll give you a call when we're getting ready to leave," Captain Jack said with a wink. "Are you gentlemen ready to head back to the hotel? We can give you a lift."
"I think we'll walk back, if that's okay with you. Cardiff has changed, but not so much that we can't find our way back to the St. David's, even if it looks different," Jack replied.
"I would love to get a ground eye view of what has changed," Ianto said. "Besides," he added, taking Jack's hand in his, "there's something about walking in the snow when it's still fresh and clean."
"Especially when it's with someone you love?" Toshiko asked.
"When it's ithe/i one you love," Jack amended with a smile.
They said their farewells near the car park, and while the others headed off to their aircars, Jack and Ianto made their way down the street holding hands.
The air was cold and the snow still fell as a horse drawn sleigh made its way through Bute Park. In the sleigh were Jack and Ianto, snuggled under a warm blanket. Despite Jack's greatcoat and the black wool coat that Ianto was borrowing from their hosts, the blanket helped with keeping warm. That and cuddling together.
As the sleigh moved on, they were amazed at how it seemed like the same park to them, and yet not so much. At one point, Jack smiled tenderly and pulled Ianto's head close for a loving kiss. "There it is," he pointed out, his head still against Ianto's.
"Where we met," Jack replied. His smile grew as he was lost in memories. "Little did I know that the spot would become so important to me. Thank you, Ianto. Thank you for coming into my life."
"Even if I had my own agenda?" Ianto asked, slightly uncomfortable.
"I'm your agenda now. And that's all that matters. Remember we put that in the past before moving on with the relationship."
Ianto smiled and turned his head to kiss Jack. "Thank you, Jack. For giving me the chance to live again. And I am. I'm actually living."
Jack pressed his mouth against Ianto's for another kiss. As the sleigh went on, Jack and Ianto continued to kiss.
Jack awaited outside the manor overlooking Roath Park near the lake, where the ball was being held, waiting for the others to show up. Ianto had met up with Toshiko, who had the outfit he secretly selected earlier in the day, and took him to Torchwood where he could change. He wanted to surprise Jack with what he was wearing.
Which worked well for Jack, because he decided to have the same fun. He watched as carollers stood before a fountain, and holding candles, sang. The general style of clothes was Victorian/Edwardian but there was twinkling from LED lighted jewellery and buttons they wore. With a smile, he thought back to when they walked to the hotel the night before. They found themselves joining some carollers, which ended up with them being invited into homes for punch and appetisers along with the others in the group. Several hours later, the group found their way outside the St. David, so before the group moved on, Jack and Ianto said their goodbyes and thanked the group, which half were different faces than when Jack and Ianto joined them. The group had a way of picking up wanna be carollers, allowing anyone to drop out whenever they wanted. Jack and Ianto had a great time that evening. First dinner with new friends, and then dancing to a live orchestra.
Jack wore a red shirt that was edged in black lace and a huge black lace bow under a pinstriped suede waist coat that laced closed with black and gold lacing, and a black frilly frock coat. The style resembled the 18th century. His black pants had a sheen to them and was tight. If they were any tighter, they would be heavy tights. He wore calf high red suede boots that laced up the front with lacing to match his waistcoat. He wore a long dark black coat with a capelet on the upper half. One his head was a top hat with a plume of green feathers and goggles on them. He had a silver pin in the bow on his shirt that had a swirly design in red and green LED lights. In his right hand he held a bronze carnival mask with red painted designs over his left eye and along the left side. Several small red LED lights twinkled among the red designs.
He heard someone call his name and turned away from the carollers to see Toshiko and Owen walk up to him. He grinned when he noticed their outfits. Both were in medieval style clothes or something out of fantasy novels. Toshiko had a rose coloured silk gown with bell sleeves, the lower half hanging close to the ground and trimmed in white lace. She wore a silver belt around her small waist. Over the gown was a sleeveless coat of purple suede and trimmed with white LED lights interspersed down the coat. She wore a wool cloak over everything to ward away the cold wind. Her hair was pulled back into a rose snood and a thin circlet of intertwining metals crowned her head and rested on her forehead.
Owen was dressed in black and green, looking to Jack like a 15th century merchant. His feet were in ankle high green boots that curled in the front.
"Looking good, Mr. and Mrs. Harper," Jack greeted them, taking off his hat with a bow.
Toshiko giggled and hid her face behind the purple and pink feathered fan she opened upon seeing Jack. Both of them held masks. Toshiko had a half mask on a stick with purple and pink feathers and jewels.
"That's Dr. Harper to you, my good man," Owen corrected him.
"Whatever," Jack said with a grin.
"The others are on their way. We saw Suzie down the path," Tosh offered.
A minute later, Suzie arrived. She was dressed like a pirate in black leather and multi-coloured material under a thick cloak. She had a simple white full face mask. Her hat was also a pirate's hat with high thick plumes of coloured feathers.
As they greeted Suzie and started to make small talk, Black-coat Ianto had arrived. He looked like a French nobleman from around 1500, his colours black, blue and gold. He had a sheathed broadsword hanging from a gold belt that twinkled with blue and red LED lights. In his right hand, he held a half mask that made Jack think of the Phantom of the Opera, but it was a light blue and had black designs painted over the eyes. Jack's eyes went to the legs, in the brocaded leggings and forgetting himself, raised his eyes to meet the other man's with a leer.
"You look delectable," he commented.
An eyebrow raised. "Just don't let my husband hear you say that," Black-coat Ianto replied.
Jack's jaw dropped as he realised that he should have known that. While the two Ianto's looked alike, there were slight differences, but the time for the words to leave his mouth, he had forgotten that the man before him was not his lover. He started to open his mouth, unsure of how he wanted to reply when they heard from behind them, "I already did."
Everyone turned to find Captain Jack dressed in tight suede legging in blue and silver. He had a dark blue shiny shirt under what looked like a silver breastplate. He wore a thick leather belt with various colourful cinch sacks hanging from it and a cape. On the breastplate, over his abs, was a thin circlet of blue chasing LED lights. His mask looked like a helmet only it fitted over his face and not over his head. The mask was silver and over the eye slits as a thin line of blue LED lights like the circlet on his breastplate.
Jack chuckled while he greeted the other man. "What are you, a Cylon?" he had to ask as he watched the blue lights chasing back and forth.
"Cylon?" Captain Jack asked, looking confused.
"Yeah. On Battlestar Galactica," he started, then looked around at the matching confused looks on the others with him. "Oh nevermind. I guess you don't have it here. It was a movie and... nevermind."
"Ah, those video shows again," Black-coat Ianto stated. "We do have video programming, but it's not as popular as live entertainment."
Jack nodded, remembering the full orchestra band that played after dinner the night before, of having Ianto in his arms as they moved in time around the room. He smiled fondly, wishing there were more places back home where they could indulge in such activities more often. Ianto looked as if he was enjoying himself and admitted to having the time of his life. He also confessed to taking ballroom dancing classes but not having a real chance to use the skills until then.
As if the thought of Ianto evoked his lover, he heard footsteps and looked up to find Ianto walking up to join the group. Jack's eyes went wide.
"I also heard that, Jack," Ianto stated, from behind a gold mask that had curling spikes of black that crowned the mask, and golden LED lights on the tip of each spike. Ice blue eyes looked out with amusement from the slits of the mask. Jack still did not speak, which caused the others to laugh a little. "It's okay, Jack. I understand. He does look like me. Could be worse, yeah?" Amusement dripped from his voice as he closed the distance between him and Jack. "Besides," he added with a shrug, "I kinda goosed your twin there when I first saw him."
Black-coat Ianto broke out in full laughter at the admission, slipping his arm through his Jack's arm. Captain Jack nodded his head, chuckling. "He did. And it was a very nice goose. Even if I did jump about two feet at first."
Jack laughed, finally coming out of his trance, while the others continued to chuckle and Owen teased Captain Jack. "I'm sure it was. I particularly love when Ianto pokes me." He winked, his eyes going up and down, taking in a slower look at Ianto's costume. A small smile tugged on Jack's lips, and grew the more he took in.
"You," Jack started, "are amazing." He closed the remaining distance and pulled Ianto to him, going for a kiss and forgetting about the mask still in place. Ianto laughed as he lowered the mask just in time for Jack's lips to press against his.
"You look pretty amazing yourself," Ianto said and kissed Jack again.
Ianto was dressed in tight leather pants and a military style jacket that closed with clasps going upward in an diagonal. The gold clasp on the bottom was placed in the centre front, and the top was clasped by his right shoulder. He had white and grey furry epaulettes on his shoulders. A three inch white and black leather belt criss-crossed around his waist and clasped together by two silver discs looking like time pieces. Hanging from the waist, like his double, he had a broadsword. Black leather boots with silver clasps went up beyond his knees. He looked every bit the proud military officer of centuries ago to Jack. A regal black cape edged with silver braiding fluttered in the wind behind Ianto.
Ianto and Jack continued to gaze at each other, heedless of the others and the snow that had started to fall again.
Suzie cleared her throat. "So, shall we go inside?" she asked in amusement.
"They're just like you two," Tosh commented to her bosses as Owen held his arm out for his wife. She slipped her arm through his and opened the fan. With her other hand, she held her mask in place. Owen had his on already.
"Not exactly," Jack murmured, but he swore right then and there he would take care of those differences once they got home. He grinned as Ianto put the mask in place, and held his arm out for Jack to take. Jack placed his mask and entwined his arm around Ianto's. They ended up mirroring their doubles, and followed the others into the manor.
Ianto leaned back in his chair during a break between courses of the banquet, wondering how rude it would be to undo his belt, until he remembered the complexity of the belt. He heard Owen groan, and Suzie sigh.
"I just might not be able to stand up for a while," he said, and the others were in quick agreement with him.
"Thank goodness these banquets come only twice a year," Black-coat Ianto said.
"Don't worry," Captain Jack said, leaning over to look at Ianto. He lifted his goblet and smirked. "Tomorrow's Christmas meal won't be near as much food. But it will be enough."
Jack and Ianto groaned at the thought of more food, making their hosts laugh.
The string quartet stopped playing, and a half orchestra started to play. Jack pushed himself up to his feet with a groan. He glanced down at Ianto, holding out his hand. "Shall we dance off some of the calories and make room for the last course?"
"Did you miss the part where I said I might not be able to move?" Ianto asked.
"C'mon. You've moved when you didn't think you could for worse things."
Ianto smiled up at Jack. "You're right. This is definitely more pleasurable." He put his hand in Jack's and allowed the older man to pull him to his feet.
Dinner was long over and there had been dancing and socialising for the last two hours. Jack and Ianto were going around the room, following the others to the waltz style song. It was Ianto's turn to lead. He smiled at Jack, his eyes twinkling with happiness.
"I could get used to this real quickly," Jack said, his mouth close to Ianto's lips.
"I think I'm already used to it." He led Jack in a twirl and dipped him slightly, keeping in time with the other dancers. "Shame we can't find places to do this at home."
"I've been thinking about that already," Jack admitted.
"It's not been bad, being stuck here," Ianto said. "I doubt I'll ever forget this."
"Me too. Never," Jack said with a loving smile.
When the song came to an end, the dancers waited for the next song, but nothing happened. There was an excited murmur through the room from those having been to the Christmas Eve balls before, and confusion from those who were attending for the first time.
Suddenly the two massive doors to the hall opened with a resounding noise, causing everyone to turn toward the doors. Costumes of plumes of colourful feathers and jewels and lots of LED lights entered the room in six long columns of marchers with instruments. Matching masks of gold and feathers covered faces of the marching band who started to enter the room. They started a snappy number, and their steps, while precise and in time with the others had a bounce to them. They stepped back and then forward, they formed circles and half the group marched in the opposite direction than the others as they progressed through the room.
Jack and Ianto stood arm in arm among the other guests, watching in enjoyment. Before the number was done, they were holding hands and swinging them in time. Their bodies moved in time to the music, but not wanting to look away from the vibrant and entertaining marching band, did not go back to dancing. They were not alone as other around them were doing the same thing.
It was the most amusing and entertaining thing Ianto had seen. He wondered about Jack, certain there was entertainment on other worlds to bet this, but Jack was definitely enjoying himself.
Later that night, back in their suite, Ianto and Jack danced around the lounge, still in their costumes, giggling and sharing kisses. As anxious as Jack was to be able to take off the outfit, which he found out during the evening had been a uniform for Black-coat Ianto centuries ago, he wanted to be able to gaze at Ianto in it for a while longer.
They danced, they rehashed the evening and kissed as hands started to work on fastenings. Starting to undress each other and kissing, they made their way to the bedroom.
As Ianto lay on his back, with Jack hovering over him, leaving a trail of kisses along his chest, he stared up at the four-poster bed, realising that he had also gotten used to the bed. He vowed to attempt to do something about looking into a new bed when they finally got home.
Jack and Ianto arrived at the large Victorian house in an aircab. They glanced up in the sky again, marvelling at all the airships and airbuses aglow with holiday lighting when the front door opened.
"Well come on in," Black-coat Ianto welcomed, standing on the veranda. Coming through the door were voices of young children and Captain Jack's laughter. "We warned the children about you."
As they joined the other man on the veranda, Jack peered inside the house. "Are we the first ones here?"
With a smirk, Black-coat Ianto nodded. "It was planned. We knew the kids would be full of questions, which is why we made sure not to meet up with you for the sleigh rides. The buggers would have bombarded you with enough questions that would make us all quite late for the ball."
"And I'm glad we didn't miss that," Ianto sighed happily.
"Oh yes," Jack agreed.
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Jack and I look forward to it every year." He leaned against the door frame with his hands inside his trouser pockets. He wore a pink shirt under a plain looking waistcoat that was not fully fastened and no tie.
With an impish grin, he admitted, "Jack and I thought you could arrive early so while our imps bombard you with questions, you could keep them out of our hair while we finish getting dinner ready by entertaining them with answers."
Jack laughed. "Devious, Mr. Jones. I like that in you."
"Harkness-Jones, if you please," Black-coat Ianto corrected him.
"Yes Jack," Ianto said in a teasing tone of voice. "He's Harkness-Jones, and so is Jack. I'm just Jones." He playfully hit Jack's arm as he passed to follow his double into his home.
"Yeah. And I'm just Harkness," Jack said. Somehow it no longer sounded right.
With an enigmatic smile, Black-coat Ianto detached himself from the door frame and moved aside. "Right. Welcome to our home, gentlemen." He indicated for them to enter the house.
Jack and Ianto went inside and stopped in the foyer. There was a small wood and chrome table against one wall. A poinsettia plant was set on the table and two small candles set in mini-hurricane lamps, the flames flickering and casting moving glows on the wall. In a corner was a brass coat rack. Already on the rack were Captain Jack and Black-coat Ianto's coats, along with three smaller coats, two in pink and another in grey and blue. Ianto smiled at the little coats and turned just in time to find Jack starting to reach out, a look of wonder on his face, and stopping himself just in time. Jack shoved his hands in his pockets and gazed at the coats.
After the sound of the door being closed, Black-coat Ianto came up from behind them. "Unless you're planning on leaving soon, I suggest you take off your coats and place them on the coat rack. If you'll hand me your hats and scarves, please?"
Remembering his manners, Ianto immediately took off the top hat he wore and looked over at Jack, telling him with his eyes to do the same. They pulled off the scarves wrapped around their necks, and handed them over to the other man along with their hats. As Black-coat Ianto placed their hats on a shelf on the wall on the other side of the hallway, and hung their scarves on hooks under it, Ianto took off his coat and found an empty hook on the coat rack. The walking cane Ianto had decided to use that day to complete his outfit was placed in a slot along with a few other walking sticks in a holder that looked like a small bench in brass. Ianto moved so he could help Jack out of his coat and hung it up next to his.
The aroma of fresh pine and fir mingled with the woodsy fragrance of a fire burning in a fireplace and the delicious mouth-watering aroma of roasted goose, and baking. It made Ianto feel warm and cosy, and they were still just in the foyer.
Jack's eyes were on a framed painting over the table. It was an oil painting of the family dressed in their finest, with what looked like Roath Lake in the background. The two men sat in chairs. A little girl with dark hair sat on Black-coat Ianto's lap, while Captain Jack held a tiny tot that had to be no older than one, with a little boy standing between his fathers' legs, one hand on each of the man's legs.
"That was an anniversary gift from Rhiannon," Black-coat Ianto said. "We took the photo just after Samantha's first birthday. Rhiannon took the copy we sent her to one of the première painters in Cardiff."
"It's lovely," Ianto said.
"Indeed," Jack agreed. "Beautiful. And it's plain to see a very happy family."
"We are," Black-coat Ianto replied. "Are you prepared to meet the imps?"
"Definitely," Jack said with a laugh.
"I feel I need to tell you what I have to keep reminding Jack. Be careful which of your adventures you start to tell the children, and if you must, tweak the events to make them child appropriate." He grinned and winked at Jack, making Ianto laugh.
Jack gave a half salute. "Will do," he agreed, and chuckled.
"If you don't, I'll be sure to remind you," Ianto stated. He placed a hand on Jack's back to guide him toward the doorway leading into the lounge.
Just as Jack started to cross the threshold, a tiny head with light brown hair and bright blue eyes appeared, looking up at him. Samantha gripped the cherry wood moulding of the doorway, smiling up.
"You look like Daddy!" she exclaimed.
"Well hello there, young lady," Jack greeted with a grin. He stooped down and held out his hand. "You must be Samantha?"
She giggled and then pushed herself away from the door frame to stand before Jack. She wore a white gown with candy canes and decorated trees, trimmed with lace on the neck and collars. Over the gown, she wore a red pinafore with the front half split open below the bustline. She gave Jack a curtsy. "Pleasure, sir."
Ianto's eyebrow raised and his head turned to his double. "Well, I see manners are instilled at a young age." He grinned at the other man.
"Not Jack's doing, I can assure you," Black-coat Ianto sighed. "But where he lacks in assuring our children have manners, he makes up in other areas." He looked over to his youngest daughter – the one had had carried and given birth to, Ianto reminded himself, and said, "Samantha, say hello to Ianto too."
Samantha looked over to Ianto and giggled more. "Taddy's double!" She curtsied for Ianto. "Pleasure."
Ianto bent over and smiled at her. "The pleasure is all mine, Miss Samantha."
Samantha giggled more and blushed.
Ianto studied the young child as their host went over to lift her into his arms. Tiny arms went around his neck to hug him and they rubbed noses together, making Jack laugh warmly as he stood up again. "She looks like a mini female Jack," Ianto observed.
Black-coat Ianto laughed as he guided them into the lounge. "She does. The other two have both our features, but this one is going to be all Jack. Figures that's the one I carried," he said with a chuckle.
As they entered the lounge, they saw two more children run in.
The little boy pulled up short, with big wide eyes. "They do!" he exclaimed. "Daddy and Taddy have twins!" He looked over to his older sister. "Lookie!" He was dressed in dark blue just below the knee length pantaloons with banded leather cuffs fastened with copper buttons and light blue shirt with black braces.
The girl gazed up at them, slowly nodding her head. "Daddy and Taddy have twins," she said. The oldest child was dressed like her sister with a long red gown with lace trimmings and a green pinafore designed with poinsettia flowers.
"Remember that they're only here for today," Ianto reminded the children.
"However," a new voice joined them from a doorway across the lounge, "Daddy and Taddy will always be here."
They looked over to find Captain Jack standing in the doorway. Ianto snorted at the sight of the other man, while Jack simply stared. Captain Jack wore a blue workshirt much like the ones Jack wore, with the sleeves rolled up above his elbows and black linen trousers. Over everything he had a black full apron.
Ianto poked Jack in his side. "See? How come I can never get you to wear one of those when you cook. I would have less heavy duty laundry to do, trying to get half our meals off your clothes."
Black-coat Ianto laughed. "Which is exactly why I got Jack in the habit of wearing one. Like this one, I made it just for him. Then I gave it to him for our fifth wedding anniversary." He gave Ianto an evil grin, and both men stared at Jack.
Jack raised his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay! But I'm not buying it. No way I'm going to allow someone to catch me buying one of those."
"I'll take care of it," Ianto agreed. "You just have to wear it when you're cooking."
Jack smiled at Ianto and held his hand out to him. When Ianto placed his hand in Jack's, the older man replied, "Deal."
Their two hosts introduced them to their children and settled Jack and Ianto on a couch facing the fireplace. Over the fireplace, hung five hand-crafted stockings. Names were embroidered on each stocking. Over in a corner was a large tree, decorated much like the one in the Torchwood lobby, only most of the decorations looked handmade by children, among the shiny metallic and glass blown ones. Beneath it were open boxes of various toys, and clothes. The toys included simplistic toys that would belong in a time a century or more ago as well as electronic. Set up near the tree, along a wall was a complex toy train set.
Captain Jack excused himself as Ianto's eyes settled on the train set. "Is this actually steam operated?" he asked, looking at some apparatus near the track.
"It is," Black-coat Ianto offered. "Franklin, show our guests how the train runs."
"Sure Taddy!" Franklin said, as he rushed across the room toward the train set.
Black-coat Ianto laughed. "We asked the children to refrain from playing with their new toys while we have guests."
"Except Dolly," Samantha exclaimed as Franklin set up the controls to operate the train. Jack looked over to find the tiny tot clinching onto a doll that was almost her size.
"That's a big dolly," Jack stated.
"I love her," Samantha said, hugging her doll.
Black-coat Ianto rolled his eyes. "She saw it in a store window months ago, and haven't stopped talking about it. Children are like that. I suppose in a month or two, Dolly will be forgotten for something else to take her attention. It's happened with the others, but she's happy. The train set however, will be in use for quite a while. It'll go into the playroom some time after today. Jack will put it to use enough. We had one before, and it was a special time for Jack and the kids. Unfortunately over the summer time took its toll on it, since I got it for Jack before we were married. There was no question of getting a new one for Christmas. My gift to my wonderful family." He smiled warmly.
Franklin clapped his hands. "We're ready!" he exclaimed. Everyone watched as steam came from the stack on the engine car. Franklin pushed a button to sound off a whistle just like on a real train. After a few moments, he pushed a second button and the train started to make its way along the track. Black-coat Ianto joined Franklin, kneeling near another set of controls.
"I'll handle the track switches, while you make sure there's steam," he said to his son.
"Okay Taddy," Franklin agreed.
Ianto and Jack watched as Samantha settled on the couch next to Jack, getting help from the older man, with her doll sitting on her other side, while Meghan sat next to Ianto.
Ianto studied the other children. Samantha was mostly her daddy's girl in looks, while both Franklin and Meghan had Ianto's button nose. Meghan had bright blue eyes, brown hair a little darker than Jack's. She had Jack's jawline, minus the cleft on the chin. Franklin had Ianto's eye colour and jawline, except there was cleft on his chin just like Jack's. Ianto thought that the picture they had seen did not do the children justice, because they looked even more gorgeous than in the photo.
It was something he hoped someday he would have with his Jack. He felt a warmth spread through him as he watched Jack talk to Meghan, a fatherly fondness mixed with awe on the older man's face. Perhaps it would not be too hard to consider for their future now that the possibility was placed before them.
Captain Jack returned, carrying a tray of appetisers and coffee to place on the brass, cherry wood and glass coffee table. He handed the girls their cups and small pottery plates with biscuits on it, offering Jack and Ianto to take what they wanted from the platter.
"Franklin," Captain Jack called out, "come over here and sit down so you can have your snack. I need Taddy in the kitchen to finish helping me with dinner before everyone else starts to show up."
"Okay Daddy." The little boy smiled at Black-coat Ianto who hugged his son. They shut down the train set and got to their feet. Franklin went over to an arm chair next to the couch and Captain Jack handed him his cup and platter.
"Don't make a mess, because you know Taddy will have you cleaning it all up," he said with amusement.
"I won't," Franklin promised.
"Uh huh," Black-coat muttered dubiously.
"Hey," Jack started, "if we make a mess, will we have to clean it up?"
Ianto raised an eyebrow as he looked at Jack. "You're joking me, right? It will be you who will make the mess, and if you do, you'll have two Iantos making you clean up after yourselves."
Black-coat Ianto laughed while Captain Jack shook his head and Jack gaped before he narrowed his eyes to glare at Ianto.
"Oh, you are definitely Ianto," Captain Jack said. "I heard threats like that enough over the twenty years we've been together."
"Don't make Jack and Ianto too crazy with questions now," Black-coat Ianto said with a smile. He looked over to the two men on the couch, "If you'll excuse us now, we need to finish with getting dinner ready to put on the table. If you need anything, the kitchen is down the hall at the very end. You can't miss it. Or you can send one of the spawn to get us."
"I doubt we'll get lost finding the kitchen," Jack said. "All we need to do is follow our noses." He gave a bright sunny smile.
"There's that too," Ianto agreed. "Go on, we'll be fine. If for nothing else, I have a niece and nephew who are around the same age."
"David and Mica?" Black-coat Ianto asked. "You'll be seeing them soon enough, since my sister and her family will also be joining us."
"Yes. I should have known, considering you said your sister's name is Rhiannon," Ianto said.
Jack cleared his throat. "I also assume that your father's name was Franklin?" he asked Captain Jack.
"He was," the other man agreed. "It was Ianto's idea to name our first son after my dad. If we have another boy, he'll be named after Ianto's."
Ianto's eyebrows raised. "Wait! I have a question, which might be an important one before your sister arrives."
Black-coat Ianto studied Ianto's face. "I'm from this current time originally. Most of our relatives believe me to be 37 years old. Except for Rhiannon, with her living her in Cardiff with her family. Thankfully the younger me had been living in London and encountered the Doctor ten years ago. Shortly after the time I would have disappeared off the face of the Earth to my family, I approached Rhiannon and explained to her everything, and introduced her to Jack. We got engaged shortly after. Before then, I usually kept a low profile during the time another me would have been around. For his first ten years, Jack was the public face of Torchwood. If I found myself in the past returning to Earth after parting company with the Doctor." He shrugged.
Jack and Ianto nodded, remembering from dinner the other night Black-coat Ianto telling them of his meeting the Doctor and travelling with him and girl who was from Black-coat Ianto's not too distant future, and how he ended up becoming immortal.
"No need to worry about giving away any secrets. She knows everything, and in time we let Johnny in on it. It did take a little time for her to get used to the fact that her younger brother is now over a millennia older than her, but we got past that." Black-coat Ianto smiled. He grasped Captain Jack's hand. "Let's get going now. We still need to get dressed for dinner."
Jack and Ianto watched as their guests left the lounge and then turned their attention to the children. As expected, they were full of questions, but also very forthcoming with information about themselves and their fathers, and others close to the family. Over the next two hours, occasionally Black-coat Ianto or Captain Jack would come in briefly to replace the carafe of coffee for the adults and see if the children needed more juice. Each time, one of the children would ask for more biscuits, which caused their father to laugh, exclaiming no more eating until dinner.
It seemed slightly strange to Ianto to see Rhiannon and know that this woman was not his sister. Her husband was not his brother-in-law, and their two children were not related to him. Rhiannon wore a long light green gown under a dark green with golden paisley corset that laced up the back with green leather straps over her shoulders, and a second skirt that matched the corset that was attached to the back of her corset with copper rings, and was open in the front. Johnny wore black trousers and waistcoat and a simple frock coat Mica was dressed much like her two female cousins, in a holiday patterned gown under a green pinafore, and David was in black pantaloons that went down just below the knees, a white shirt and long jacket, which Rhiannon was currently taking off the boy, exclaiming he'll have it wrinkled before they sat down for dinner.
It did not stop the two child from going over to hug first him then Jack. They sat with the Harkness-Jones children asking questions while Rhiannon and Johnny put more gifts under the tree, exclaiming that Father Christmas got their houses confused.
"He does that every year," David said. "He must be getting senile."
The adults laughed, except Rhiannon who smiled, but ruffled her son's hair. "I doubt he is, but Father Christmas is a very busy man, David. I guess he leaves some of the presents for Uncle Ianto and Uncle Jack because he knows we'll make sure they get them."
"Oh, you know what," Captain Jack exclaimed, now in a white linen shirt, wool trousers and a one shoulder green waistcoat with gleaming gold buttons on a zigzag edge and belted around the bottom with a big gold clasp. "Father Christmas also left some things for you by accident. It's all right over there." He pointed to brightly wrapped gifts sitting off to one side of the tree.
David and Mica started to rush the tree, but Johnny held them back. "Hold on, demons. Gift opening will be after dinner," he said and tried not to laugh at the pouting faces that looked up at them.
"We have to wait until after dinner to open the new gifts," Meghan told her cousins. "So you have to wait too."
Jack lowered his head and covered his mouth, laughing quietly into his hand.
"That's them being told," Ianto whispered to Jack, with a chuckle.
Rhiannon pointed to her niece. "Now you see, there is a good little girl. I doubt Father Christmas will be taking their presents back."
"No Mummy!" David and Mica cried out in dismay.
Black-coat Ianto shook his head. "No gifts will be taken back if everyone sits down and waits until after dinner." He watched as David and Mica went over to sit with their cousins again.
"Johnny will lend a hand in keeping this lot under control," Rhiannon offered to Jack and Ianto. "I'm going to lend a hand with the rest of the meal to give these two a chance to finish looking presentable for Christmas meal."
"The others will be arriving soon, so if you would be so kind, could one of you let them in?" Black-coat Ianto asked of Jack and Ianto. "It will be the rest of the team."
"No problem," Jack said.
Ten minutes later, Jack was getting up to answer the door to let Tosh and Owen in. Owen carried a little boy.
"Who is this fine little gentleman?" Jack asked as he took their coats. Owen handed the little boy to Toshiko after she handed Jack her coat.
"This is Aubrey," she said said, turning so the little boy clinging to her would face Jack. "He's shy."
A little face looked up at Jack and then looked down again. He had Tosh's dark almond shaped eyes and mouth, and Owen's nose and face shape.
"He's three years old," Owen said as Jack took his coat. "Don't tell me those wankers decided to keep you on as butlers?" he asked with a smirk.
"Owen!" Tosh admonished. "Language." She rolled her eyes. "You'd think after three years, he'd be used to watching his mouth around small children."
"Longer than that, I'm afraid, dearheart," Owen commented, looking amused. "I've been hearing that from Ianto ever since Jack was pregnant with Meghan." He picked up the carry bag that Toshiko had been holding. "I assume the gifts go in the usual spot?" he asked as they entered the lounge
"If you mean under the tree, yeah. That's where Rhiannon put theirs," Jack replied.
Toshiko put down Aubrey and watched as he toddled off toward Samantha. With a huge smile, he held out his arms to the little girl who jumped up upon seeing him. The two hugged and Aubrey gave a sloppy kiss on Samantha's cheek as the adults aw'd.
Ianto came over to Jack's side. "Do you think they have anything to worry about?" he asked amused.
Jack snorted, smiling at the two children. Aubrey waved at the other children and sat down next to Samantha on a throw rug set off to the side for the children to play on. "Nah. Not for at least another five years."
Ianto chuckled and smacked Jack. They watched as the children played and Toshiko came over. "I should correct myself. Aubrey is shy around other adults at first, even Jack and Ianto, but not with other children. Give him time and he'll be trying to hold court over there." She laughed. "Also give him time to get used to you and he'll chat your ears off." She hugged each of them. "I'm so glad you decided to join us. We always have a wonderful Christmas dinner together, but when it's here... Well, Jack and Ianto always go the extra steps further with the meal. I think it's Ianto's influence, even if Jack is more a chef than Ianto."
Jack laughed and slipped his arm around Ianto's waist and pulled him close. "Sounds familiar. Ianto can cook, but that's it. He's a cook, he can do simple but delicious. Meanwhile it's up to me for anything fancier. However, he makes an excellent assistant." He leaned over to kiss Ianto's cheek.
Before everyone got settled, Suzie arrived. Much to Jack and Ianto's surprise, she was with another woman. They had no idea that Suzie was involved with anyone. The woman's name was Jenny. Suzie explained that Jenny was on an away mission and returned that morning. They had been together two years, having met in a market, only to discover they both worked for Torchwood. Jenny was something like a tour guide, taking small groups of travellers to a common destination and assuring they did not break any local laws. They then learned that some times and locations were under strict guidance to avoid any trouble, and needed to have guides accompany the travellers. When it was travel in time, Jenny would be home relatively on the same day, but when it was to another world, she would be away for the duration.
Their hosts finally emerged, dressed in formal wear. Captain Jack had a ruffled black frock coat over the clothes they had last seen him in. Black-coat Ianto wore pinstripes, his waistcoat fastened by clasps attached to small golden chains. They said hello to the newcomers, and then invited everyone to follow them to the dining room.
"You lied," Ianto told Captain Jack as he dropped into the couch with a groan. "I swear there was more food on your table."
Black-coat Ianto laughed. "You didn't have to eat some of everything."
"Everything looked and smelled so good, I couldn't resist," Ianto sighed. "Really. That was an outstanding meal. My compliments to both the chef and the cook." He winked at the two men who hosted the amazing Christmas dinner.
Jack sat down next to Ianto, looking around the room and at the evergreen wreaths still on the females' heads. It was a tradition to them, women and girls to wear wreaths of green made by the men in their lives. Some had holly berries in them, others had small poinsettia flowers and others a combination. Suzie and Jenny's were made by Captain Jack and Black-coat Ianto.
While the house had electrical lighting, they did not use it as the sun started to set. They light candles and oil lamps. The tree lights still sparkled and glittered, as they were battery operated LED lights.
Ianto placed his arm around Jack and pulled him close, kissing the other man's temple. "This was wonderful," he said.
Jack nodded, his hand resting on Ianto's leg. "It was. I found myself forgetting at times that we weren't home."
"Oh yeah. Thank you everyone," Ianto said.
After everyone settled down, their hosts went to the kitchen to return with coffee for the adults and hot cocoa for the children, announcing dessert would be after gift opening.
The rest of the evening went by quickly. Jack and Ianto were surprised to find they there were small packages under the tree for them.
"You didn't have to," Jack asked as Ianto started to blush. "We didn't think to bring you anything."
"You came to join us with our celebrations. That's enough," Black-coat Ianto stated.
"But you invited us when you didn't have to. You included us in your holiday celebrations as if we were part of your team. And loaned us the clothes we're wearing," Ianto said. "That was more than enough."
"It's no problem," Captain Jack said. "Besides, you're us. How could we not make sure you are enjoying yourself until we can get you back to your own loved ones."
Jack had received a pair of black leather braces with brass geometric buttons with swirls in silver. He raised his eyebrows and grinned at Ianto, who blushed slightly as he laughed. Inside Ianto's gift was a stopwatch with a glass back, all the mechanisms of the pieces in gleaming copper and brass. The face of the stopwatch was decorative, with a copper backing and gold dots to designate each second. It had a brass cover that was etched in swirling scrolls.
"Thank you," Ianto said. "This is lovely."
"It is," Jack agreed. "Wow! Thank you." He ran the leather of the braces through his fingers. "If you were hoping we'll never forget you, you succeeded."
"We're even then, because we'll never forget you," Black-coat Ianto said. He started to pass out glasses of mulled wine to the adults.
Toasts were made for family, health and long friendships, no matter how distant. Afterwards, they gathered around a grand piano set in an alcove with the octagonal outward curved walls, with long windows on each panel. Black-coat Ianto sat at the piano and started to play holiday songs. For the first couple of songs, Captain Jack sang, everyone standing around captivated by the Captain's smooth baritone. On the third song, he encouraged his husband to join in for a duet. Over the next few songs, they discovered that both Jack and Ianto were able to sing just as well. Toshiko also sang a song solo before everyone joined in for a few songs. The last song was sung by the Harkness-Jones children, who ended it with a resounding "Happy Christmas!" to everyone.
Soon after, it was time to put the children to bed, so it was time for the gathering to break up. Rhiannon offered to stay behind a little longer while Johnny took their children home to get ready for bed.
Jack and Ianto offered to stay behind as well to help with clean up before leaving.
When they left the house, they took an aircar toward the bay but not all the way. They walked the rest of the way, hand in hand.
When they returned to their suite, they made love. As they cuddled in blissful afterglow, Jack drew Ianto into his arms. He planted soft butterfly kissed all over Ianto's face, including his eyelids before capturing Ianto's mouth in a kiss that made Ianto's toes curl. When they broke the kiss for air, Jack gazed deep into Ianto's eyes, finger stroking through his hair.
"Marry me," Jack said in a soft tone.
Ianto's eyes went wide. At first he started to protest, thinking Jack was just caught up in the moment. Then he looked in Jack's eyes again. Thinking back to the way Jack kissed him, and how he had made love to him, he realised that Jack wanted what his double had, and he wanted it with Ianto. Instead of waiting until they were returned to their own world, Jack could not wait to take the first step in making what their doubles had their own.
He nodded, smiling up at Jack. Slipping his arms around Jack's neck, he pulled the other man down for a tender kiss. "Yes," he whispered against Jack's lips and then opened his mouth as Jack kissed him. They lost themselves in kissing for a while until they went for a second round with Jack begging Ianto to take him.
Jack caught himself from falling, at the same time to reach out for Ianto, steadying the younger man.
They both looked around their surrounding. They were back in the same place they had found the device. The SUV was nearby. Jack grasped Ianto's hand and squeezed it, smiling at him. "We're back."
"Send the signal," Ianto said, nudging Jack.
"Right." He lifted his left arm to open the control panel on his Vortex Manipulator and pushed a button. He waited for the small panel to display a coloured pattern. "Sent and acknowledged." He looked over to Ianto as he closed the cover. "And the message 'Live well and long' to the both of us."
"Owen says he is certain if the other Jack prevents himself from getting killed long enough, or at least not so much that Ianto can't bring him back, then he'll be immortal too," Ianto said as they walked toward the SUV, the black leather coat Ianto wore swaying in the wind.
"Yes," Jack said as he unlocked the doors.
"What?" Ianto asked, pausing in opening the passenger door.
"I know what you're thinking and yes. I hate to ask you to share my curse, but if you will, I'll gladly share eternity with you."
"You know I would if I could," Ianto said. He raised an eyebrow. "Besides, I'm pretty sure you already started working on it in the last couple of days. Don't think I haven't noticed those long kisses that make me feel revitalised afterwards. Talk about causing tingling through the body. The tingling feels like it's running through my soul as well."
"Good. Then it means it's doing something."
Ianto chuckled. "I'm not sure about making me immortal, but last night it sure gave me the energy and drive for several more rounds after our second one." He winked at Jack, who laughed.
Jack sat in the driver's seat and played with some controls on the panel. "We're back about ten minutes after we left. Except we packed more than three days into those ten minutes."
Ianto laughed as he settled into his seat, and started to buckle himself in, making sure the coat didn't get caught. He glanced back at the dark grey knee length coat in the back seat.
"That was kind of the other Ianto to let you take his coat," Jack said.
"It's his extra one," Ianto laughed. "So he didn't give up his signature coat to me."
"You know what?" Jack asked.
"I'd love to try out those leather braces tonight." He winked at Ianto. "Only they look much better starting off with you wearing them."
Ianto laughed. "Get moving Jack. We need to get back to the Hub and log this in. Then if the Rift predictor says it'll be relatively quiet, do you think we can convince one or two of the others to take the on call duty, at least until much later tonight?"
"I'll make sure of that, and then send everyone home," Jack agreed. Before he put the SUV into gear, he leaned over to kiss Ianto. "I love you, Ianto. And first chance we can, we need to go and pick out rings. After all, we are engaged."
"We have much to do then, even if we go for simple Civil Partnership."
Jack's smile was warm, with his eyes glittering. "I'm glad this happened. Or else I might have let too much time go by and perhaps lose before I ever really had."
"I feel the same."
Jack put the SUV in gear and started to drive away.
Three Months Later
Jack was resting on the king-sized four-poster bed they had brought soon after returning from the alternate world. He knew Ianto wanted one. In the days they had lived in that suite in the Victorian version of the St. David's, Jack learned the many advantages of having one, so he easily agreed on going shopping for one.
At the moment he did not feel like getting very adventurous with the bed and leather braces and Ianto in black leather pants or anything else they had or will use in fun and games in their bed. He quietly lied on the bed, wishing the nausea to be over.
Ianto entered the room, carrying a silver tray with tea and toast and set it on the bed next to Jack. "I have some dry toast and ginger tea. Owen said that should help you. He also wants you at the Hub as soon as you're feeling up to it for additional tests."
"I'm sorry I ruined our wedding night by being sick," Jack moaned.
"It's okay," Ianto assured him. "At least you waited to get sick until after the reception."
"What about we take a weekend soon and go somewhere other than a night at the St. David's? Maybe go to London?"
Ianto chuckled and helped Jack sit up, positioning pillows behind him. "We're going to go all the way to London and spend money on some five diamond hotel only for us to stay in the bed for the time and order over-priced room service? Don't worry about it, Jack."
"But last night was our wedding night. It should have been special."
Ianto handed Jack the tea and waited for him to have a sip. "It was special, Jack. We got married yesterday. We had a lovely reception with family and friends. It was more than I expected when I first gave my heart to you. I love you, Jack, and I'm yours forever. You gave yourself to me for the rest of my life, no matter how short or long it'll end up being." Ianto lightly rested his hand on Jack's stomach. With a tender smile, he leaned over and kissed next to where his hand rested. Lifting his head enough to smile lovingly up at his new husband, Ianto said, "Besides, you got sick because if you and Owen are correct, you're having our baby. I'm sorry you got sick, Jack, but that made last night more special than any inventive lovemaking we could have come up with."
Jack held his hands out toward Ianto smiling. "Come here," he said.
"Why?" Ianto asked.
"So I can kiss you,"
"Well in that case," Ianto said with a smile. He moved carefully so not to disturb the cup that still had some tea in it back on the service tray until he settled on the other side of Jack and snuggled next to him, the two kissing.
"Oestrogen," Jack said later as he sat on the side of the bed and watched as Ianto selected clothes for Jack to change into for their trip to the Hub.
"What?" Ianto asked, looking up from where he was laying out Jack's trousers.
"Oestrogen in the rain here. That's what keeps me from getting pregnant. They didn't have the pill in that other world, so no oestrogen in the rain."
"So you got pregnant there?" Ianto asked, trying not to grin too much.
"I'm certain when Owen determines how far along I am, it will be around that time."
Ianto went over to Jack. "So? If that's true, then if it's a girl..." Ianto gazed meaningfully at Jack.
"Meghan," he said. "We'll name her Meghan."
Ianto pulled Jack close to kiss him. "Now come on and let's find out more about this baby."
"Are you certain you're okay with this? We only got married yesterday."
"And we've been together for four years, Jack, and living together for three. At least we got married before finding out we're having our first child." He smiled at Jack and took his hand, pulling him to his feet. "Let's go see our little girl," Ianto said, knowing in his heart history was repeating itself in its own way from the alternate world.
Jack could not stop grinning as he started to get dressed.