Title: Christmas Tradition
Warnings: slight Gwen-bashing. Malexmale love.
Prompts: Jack/Ianto, fluff, romance, Ianto/Tosh friendship, any Tosh pairing.
Notes: This story is based around basically four team members of Torchwood – Jack, Ianto, Tosh and Owen, but Gwen is mentioned in the beginning. It also contains some Original Characters but only two are important in the story.
Summary: AU. Every family has its traditions, even Torchwood. Jack/Ianto. Tosh/Owen.
Gwen Cooper turned Williams had spent the last week of her time at Torchwood before her Christmas break, talking about her special family Christmas' that she had experienced as a child. It was almost as if she wanted to make them jealous by speaking of roast turkey and snow covered trees, surrounded by neatly wrapped presents and marshmallows in hot chocolate. If that was her plan, it had failed. Each moment of the conversation just seemed to be filled with the annoyingly high pitched welsh voice and blank, fake smiles. Gwen seemed to think they were just trying to make themselves feel better because they never said anything about their own holiday plans. She seemed to assume her colleagues would be spending the holidays either alone or working.
No one bothered to correct her.
It had become traditional for the four members (once five) of the secret organisation to spend Christmas together – the rift permitting, of course – like a true family. Though they had biological family around the world, Torchwood meant that they were distant from them and this time of year improves the teams bonding, which had only strengthened over the pass year or so – though they did still make time for their families. It was an excitable time of year that all looked forward to. As it was a team experience, there was a passing thought of inviting Gwen to join them but it was discarded – after all, they all needed a break and she had made it clear that she had family to see.
Every year, the location of the festivities changed, as if on a rota. This year would be held at the home of Toshiko Sato, so, when Gwen skipped out of the Hub on Christmas Eve, shouting her goodbyes, real true smiles crossed their young faces and they all rushed to gather their coats and scarves and gloves; before leaving.
"We have to get Jaden from day care before we come by." Ianto listed, "Get changed; grab a couple of bags, the presents…"
"The presents are round at my place as well as some of Hayleigh's toys. I need to grab them quickly." Owen spoke.
"I'll go on ahead. Need to send Chloe home and put up a few more decorations. So…give it about an hour? Hour and a half?"
Jack straightened his military coat and grinned. "Sounds perfect Toshiko. See you three then."
Quick hugs (and a kiss between Tosh and Owen) were shared before the four members of Torchwood went their own ways.
Chloe Milliards was the twenty-year-old babysitter of the secret daughter of Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper. Hayleigh Katie Harper had been a pleasant surprise for both parents – in truth, the 15 month baby girl was what brought the technician and the medic together officially. She was a secret because only three people (other than her parents and babysitter) knew of her existence: Jack, Ianto and Jaden Harkness-Jones. Not even their families knew of the couple or the new addition. It was the plan to reveal all at the turn of the year – a very happy new year indeed. As soon as Tosh found out she was pregnant, she wanted to tell everyone what was happening but she was afraid of what everyone would say. She knew for a fact that her family would not be happy about it and Owen had made it perfectly clear he didn't want to be involved with her by starting an affair with Gwen. It wasn't until she was at least six months later, when the perception filter that Jack had given her as a present had lifted, that Owen even knew he was going to be a father. As her teammate, Tosh knew she should tell Gwen that she and Owen were parents but…she didn't know what it was, she just never felt that Gwen, as she was, should share in that happiness. Chloe was cooing at the giggling brunette, who was lying across the play mat and kicking her legs happily, when Toshiko came through the front door. Hayleigh was a beautiful child, the prefect mix of both of her parents. She had Owen light, straight hair and high cheek bones, while she had Tosh's dark eyes and face shape. She was so giggly and happy, got on with everybody, and so innocent. Tosh found it ironic that such a child could be born to a family so confusing and so dark as a Torchwood family.
"Tosh!" the young woman greeted happily, leaning back on her heel, "So how was work?"
The young mother smiled at the young girl slightly. Chloe didn't know what she did but she never asked, through she was always asking whether her day was okay. It was very sweet. "It was hectic but it always is around this time of year. How was she?"
"Brilliant, as per usual. Spent most of the morning asleep, woke up in time for lunch." Chloe explained as she straightened up, "After that, we just played with the toys and watched Play House Disney. It was fun. She's a sweetheart."
Tosh's smile widened into a grin, as she lifted her only child off the play mat and into her arms. "Hay is always a good girl, aren't you sweetie? You're a good girl." Hayleigh giggled happily as she shared an Eskimo kiss with her mother. Toshiko turned towards the babysitter. "Thank you again Chloe, especially on such short notice. I'll give you a little extra to…"
"No, really its fine." Chloe waved her off, "I'm just happy you hired me and I get to spend do much time with this little angel."
"I insist." Tosh pushed as she pulled her Christmas pay from her back pocket with one hand. From that she removed the babysitters pay: the standard £60 a day, plus £40 extra. "Please. Think of it as a Christmas bonus…"
Chloe looked hesitant but accepted the money despite it all. "Thank you Tosh. I should be going – it's my turn to get the shopping today. I hope you and Hayleigh have a good Christmas. Remember to call me if you need me."
"I will but hopefully you can have a nice holiday, without my interruption. Lord knows we both need one. I'll see you after the holidays are over and – work permitting – not a moment earlier."
Tosh waited until the front door closed with a loud click before turning back to her bubbly daughter, grinning. "Come on baby. Let's get you ready for when Daddy gets home, hmm?"
"Daddy!" Jaden Harkness-Jones, age three and a half, ran out of the day care centre at first glance, throwing herself into the arms of the Captain. Jack lifted her into his arms with slightly swing, causing her to laugh, and rested her on his hip. She beamed up at her two daddies.
"Tad!" she greeted loudly as she leant out of his arms to reach out and plant a sloppy but affectionate kiss on the cheek of Ianto Jones. He wasn't biologically her Tad – during the time the rift has opened uncontrollably, Jaden had fallen through from the 1960s. When Jack had disappeared with the Doctor, Ianto became the young girl's self-appointed career. In those three months, the two had grown close, like family. When he became 'serious' with her Daddy, she had instantly dubbed him "Tad". It warmed the Welshman deep inside every time he heard the three letter word.
"Hey sweetie. How was your day?" Ianto asked, smiling as he took the school bag from her small hand.
"It was okay. I made Christmas cards for everyone but you can't have them until tonight." Jaden told them, as if scolding a child, looking adorably serious for a toddler.
"Sounds good." Jack agreed, his grin wide, "Now come on Miss Harkness-Jones. The faster we get home, the faster you can see Hayleigh."
Her eyes brightened. Since the arrival of the baby Harper, Jaden had fancied herself a big sister to the little thing. Since her biological little sister, Alice (or Melissa, as she was back then) was now in her 40s with a son just five years older than her, Jaden never really got the chance to be an older sibling. She had declared to be Hayleigh's older sister, even when "Daddy and Tad give me a baby brother". Jack and Ianto had gone red at the innocent statement – Owen had teased them about it for months afterwards.
"Why are we standing around then?" Jaden demanded, her eyes narrowed with determination and frustration. "It's not Christmas until we get to Aunt Toshiko's house. Come on!"
The two parents just laughed wholeheartedly, before the small family exited the schoolyard together, to begin the start of a family based holiday.
Owen was the first to arrive, three bags in hand. It had been almost two days since he'd last seen his baby girl with all the work Torchwood had been throwing at him the pass couple of days and he was desperate to see her smiling up at him once again – it was obvious by the way the collar was curled underneath his shirt. As soon as he stepped over the threshold, he had taken Hayleigh into his arms and hugged her tightly, before reaching over to kiss his baby's mother soundly, lovingly – though it ended faster than attended because the child felt it was a good idea to place a small, spit-covered hand into the mix. Disgusting, but sweet, the two decided when they saw her bright face, smiling up at them. Owen placed seven (surprisingly) neatly wrapped presents under the tree decorated with an ice theme, stating that Tosh's present was the most expensive (even with a Torchwood salary) so there was only one of them, whilst the baby girl had three, and the Harkness-Jones family had one each.
The others arrived a few minutes later. Jaden rushed in first, heading straight for the play mat that Hayleigh had been placed on while father and daughter bonded. She sat crossed legged on the floor beside the mat and watched completely entranced as Hayleigh knocked and tugged on the shining, noisy mobile that hung over her on an arc. Ianto apologised about Jaden's behaviour as he hugged the young mother, who only laughed it off. After all, they all knew what Jaden was like, especially when it came to her 'baby sister'. Jack dropped the duffel bags on the floor in the passage, as instructed, and pulled both Owen and Tosh into a bone-crushing hug, shouting "Merry Christmas!" at the top of his lungs, causing Hayleigh to babble happily with him, the happiness in the room contagious. Ianto placed the large bag of presents they had brought with them, under the tree – all obviously wrapped by Ianto because Jack was hopeless. As they unwrapped the layers that had been lathered on to protect them from the blistering cold weather, the excitement and the anticipation of the big night grew – let the festivities begin!
It was around six o'clock that Jaden deemed it was time to hand out her hand made Christmas cards. It was as if she suddenly remembered them when she shocked everyone by letting out a gasp and jumping to her feet. She rushed into the hall and started going through the duffel bag she had helped her Daddy pack for her. A moment later, she ran back into the room, a huge smile taking up most of her small face, with A5 sized white cards pressed to her chest. With one hand (and a little help from her Daddy) she slid into place between her two daddies.
"What is that sweetness?" Tosh had asked, smiling at the small girl.
"I made Christmas cards today in school." Jaden answered proudly, "I want to give them to you today. I was going to do it tomorrow but I couldn't wait any longer."
Each card was specially crafted for the specific person it was destined to, though all were equally covered in glitter and feathers and pencil drawings. A coffee mug was drawn on Ianto's card with orange and red feathers floating out of the dark brown drink like fumes. Jack's had a small family drawn on the front (her, Ianto and himself) which were surprisingly good for a three year old, with red glitter ("Because it's your favourite colour, isn't it Daddy?") surrounding the stick figures. A strange creature with big teeth was drawn on the front of Owen's card, with bright pink feathers for claws and sliver glitter for eyes – Jaden, rather frustrated, told them it was Janet when Owen kindly questioned the girl. Tosh's card had a green and yellow computer that, apparently, was eating glitter and feathers through the CD input. Each card had the recipients names carefully printed in a childish font in gold glitter pen. She had even made one for Hayleigh, though she couldn't appreciate it, but she did giggle when she saw the drawing of the cartoon snail that had become her favourite toy.
"Thank you Jaden…these are beautiful…" Jack hugged his blushing daughter to his side as he gazed down, wide-eyed, at the family of stick figures that held likeliness to the real life people. Only Ianto knew of Jack's insecurities about losing his family through the curse he carried about with him, that he was afraid he would forget them over the billions of years he was bound to live…but moments like this, presents like this, from something so innocent, he would never forget it.
Jack and Owen had taken up one of the sofas, spread out next to each other. Content smiles played on their faces as they watched their loved ones interact. It was getting late and it was time for the toddlers to go to bed. Jaden had wanted to stay up and wait for Santa but Ianto had told her that Santa only came to a house when everyone was asleep – "If you're still awake, he won't be able to come here, will he?" To help them to drift off, Tosh and Ianto had decided to retell the young children the Nativity story. Each parent holding their own child to their laps, Ianto spoke the story using deep Welsh vowels that made the story seem all the more interesting, while Tosh used the clay figurines from the nativity scene at the base of the Christmas tree to keep Hayleigh interested – she preferred to have stories acted out for her, rather than just listening to them.
"…At last Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. It was crowded with other people who needed to pay their taxes. Mary was very tired and needed a place to stay. At each inn, the story was the same. There was no room for them. Eventually, one kind innkeeper said he had a stable where he kept his animals. They were welcome to stay there.
"And so it was that a few hours later, Mary gave birth to her son in that stable. She wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger full of hay.
"At the same time, on a hillside overlooking Bethlehem, some shepherds were watching over their sheep. A bright light appeared in the sky. They were very afraid. It was an angel sent by God. The angel told them not to be afraid, because he had some good news. He said the Son of God had been born and they would find Him in Bethlehem.
"The shepherds wanted to go and see the baby. When they arrived at the stable, they were filled with joy at seeing Jesus lying in the manger. They knelt down and worshipped Him. They told Mary and Joseph how the angel had appeared in the sky and told them that Jesus was to be the Saviour of the world…"
"We're lucky men…aren't we?" Jack muttered, his blue eyes glued to the picturesque sight before him. Owen hummed in agreement. After everything that had happened over the years, after everything they have done to those they loved, it was amazing they had even gotten his far. For Jack, his immortality always seemed to get in the way. It had destroyed his relationship with Alice and Stephen; it kept him living in fear of what the future would bring to him – could he live with a loved one, knowing that soon they would die and he would be left alone once again? Could he live with the fear that he might accidentally pass his curse onto his children – was it selfish that he would happy about it? But Ianto, his beloved Welsh angel in red, had come along and just blown him away. Even the betrayal of trust against him, when the team had found out about the partly converted Cyberwoman that had once been his girlfriend Lisa, had not turned him away from the gorgeous young man – it only proved that the man had a strong heart and was willing to do anything for those they loved. Jaden had been an even bigger miracle, Jack believed. The now three year old had disappeared back with he was married, before Alice was even born, and had left a hole in his heart that he couldn't ever seem to fill. To have her show up in the 21st Century, in the middle of the Hub, of all the places the rift could have dropped her, couldn't have just been a coincidence – something else must have been at work.
In the spare bedroom that Tosh had prepared for them, Jack and Ianto laid on the double bed in each others arms, contented. A travel cot had been placed beside the bed, where Jaden was now fast asleep in, cuddling her teddy bear to her chest. The two parents watched the innocence on the young girls face as she slept away the night, anticipating tomorrow where she would wake up and find her presents under the Christmas tree.
"I love doing stuff like this. Family stuff." Jack whispered as not to wake her, "And not just for us, but for her…I never really knew proper family Christmas, none that I remember anyway. I want Jaden to have these happy memories, even when we're gone. I want to have these happy memories when you're gone…"
Ianto placed his hand on his lover's cheek, caressing it gently. "It's Christmas, a time for love and family – not for thinking such depressing things. We don't know what's going to happen in the future, even with your…extensive knowledge, so stop thinking about it. We're here now, alive and well, and that's all that matters…"
Jack closed his eyes at the feeling, leaning into the gentle touch and pressed a kiss to the soft skin of his palm. "I know…I'm sorry, I'm trying okay? I just can't seem to escape that fact…"
Ianto had this completely serious look on his face as he turned his partner's face towards him. Jack looked confused as he ran his thumb across his bottom lip before seizing him into a kiss. It was firm, passionate, gentle, and completely unexpected. There a moment of mild of confusion before the fervour was equal on both parties. Both clung to each other tightly, deepening the kiss instantly as they tasted the taste they had become familiar with other the past year of their relationship. It was obvious to both that, had Jaden not been asleep in the room, not even a feet away from them, they'd both be naked. Soon, the light headed feeling became too much and they pulled apart, foreheads resting together, panting heavily though their grips on each others clothing did not lax.
"Was…that…a good…enough…distraction?" Ianto panted out, his eyes twinkling teasingly.
Jack grinned charmingly, his eyes glazed over. "Perfect….I love you, Ianto Jones."
Ianto's face lit up instantly at the three words that he knew meant so much more coming from Jack Harkness. He placed his head in the crook of his neck and nuzzled the skin, pressing small kisses and, sometimes, biting in places to draw moans from the willing 'victim'.
"I love you too, Jack Harkness. Always."