"I think I may have figured out why the artifact sent them away."
Tosh looked up at Gwen and smiled. "Yes. I finally found a reference to another device Torchwood One found decades ago."
"Wouldn't we have it, then?"
"You would think. Unfortunately it was mis-catalogued and lost during the attack on Canary Warf."
"What does it do, exactly?" Gwen asked, rolling her chair up to sit beside her colleague.
"If what I've read is correct, it focuses on the person touching it. Sort of like a mood ring."
"But it didn't change colors…"
"Well, no," Tosh said, shaking her head, "but the similarity lies in the fact that it can sense how a person is feeling. According to the research done on the last Adiliniean Conducer to come through the rift, it's meant to change the outcome of certain events. An alien fix-it, if you will. The person holding it thinks of how they could have done things differently, the device activates, and it sends them to wherever it is the event occurred."
Gwen frowned. "Oh, Jack's not going to like that, is he? He's always saying going back to change the past is a big no no."
"I don't think he'd be too happy about it, no."
"So why did it take Ianto? And what is it Jack needs changed?"
"That I don't know," Tosh admitted, removing her glasses and rubbing the bridge of her nose. "All I can think is proximity. They were standing next to each other, so perhaps it has a range. As for what Jack could possibly need to change, your guess is as good as mine."
"Alright, well, we know that it's connected to Jack, and that his past is full of mistakes he thinks he's made, so maybe it was something with Ianto? Something he wants to do differently?"
"Could very well be."
Gwen's frown deepened. "So how do we get them back?"
"That's the tricky part. We can't."
"The Adiliniean Conducer works on its own schedule. When the event has been changed, the person transported will be returned."
"And we're just meant to sit here and wait until that happens?"
"Tosh, that's not what Jack would want! He'd want us to get him back!"
"I realize that, Gwen, but we don't know when in time they were sent, or what it is Jack might have wanted to change. Without those crucial pieces of information, there's no place to even start. The device is going to have to do what it was meant to do."
"It feels like we're failing them somehow."
tw tw tw tw tw
Jack watched as Ianto disappeared through the doors of the pub on his way to his first day at his new job. He smiled, shoving his hands in his pockets and heading across town. If they were going to be staying a while Jack needed to get a few things done. First on his list was a job of his own. They were going to run out of money quickly and he had no intention of making Ianto take care of him.
There were a couple of places he'd considered, but working on the docks seemed the most logical. From his first time through the area he knew that there was always a need for more workers to load and unload the coal industry's supply. It was long, tiring work, but it would be an honest living, and between him and Ianto they could support themselves as long as they were stuck in this time.
That led him to the second item he needed to check off his to do list. He wanted to keep an eye on what was happening with himself at Torchwood. While he didn't like the idea of working so close to where his other self could potentially spot him, he also didn't like the idea of being any further away. If he knew when and where his doppelganger was at all times, he could feasibly keep himself hidden. It wasn't ideal, but he had to try.
Workers on the docks received a daily wage. It wasn't much, but Jack knew it would be enough to keep them fed, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their backs. And with Ianto's pay they would have some money to put away. In time they could even buy some land on the outskirts of the city. It was just coming into itself, if he'd guessed the year correctly, and there would be land for cheap.
He shook his head at himself. It was as if he really planned on staying there long term. But if he were honest with himself it didn't sound all that bad. Just he and Ianto, living by themselves, working and taking care of each other. It wouldn't be a bad life. Sure, they'd have to be careful and hide their relationship, but not much would be different in that regard. Maybe they could make it work in Cardiff after all.
He arrived on the docks and took a look around. He found the man he assumed was in charge and approached him. "Hello there," he greeted him, holding out his hand. "Jack Harkness."
"Aye, pleased to meet you, Jack. How can I help you, lad?"
Lad. He never tired of being considered so young. "I'm actually looking for work. Happen to have any?"
"I might. Where're you from, then?"
"America," he replied, giving his now standard answer. "Just arrived yesterday. I've friends in the area but could really use some work. Don't want to wear out my welcome."
The older gentleman eyed him carefully. "Don't usually hire anyone who's not Welsh," he explained, waving a hand around. "Our boys need the work, you see."
"I understand that. Perhaps on a trial basis, then? Maybe see what I can do before you make a final decision? I'm a hard worker."
"Well, I don't suppose I can argue with that. When can you start?"
Jack grinned. "Whenever you need me. I'm free right now."
The man nodded. "Alright then, lad, you have a deal." He shook Jack's hand again. "We'll try it for a week, and if things work out, we'll renegotiate."
And just like that, Jack found himself employed. After his work day ended he walked back to the pub, meeting up with Ianto who was on his way out. He handed him a newspaper he'd purchased on the way. "Nineteen fourteen," he told him, falling into step next to the Welshman.
"Wow. A little later than I'd expected," Ianto replied, handing the paper back.
"Me, or the year?"
Ianto smiled at him. "The year, Jack. You're right on time."
"I got a job, Ianto."
"Did you? On the docks?"
"Yep. Just got off work."
"That would explain the smell."
"Very funny, Ianto. So how was your day?"
"It was quite nice, actually. I only had to clean up my own messes, and even though my job includes making the coffee no one was yelling at me to bring it to them."
"Give it time," Jack told him. "You'll miss Owen soon enough."
When they arrived at the inn Jack met with the owner, collecting their laundered clothes. It would take a few more shifts before he could afford to get them another set of more appropriate attire, unless he was able to sell something else. But apart from his boots and his braces, there really wasn't anything left.
That night they ate leftovers that Ianto had brought home from the pub. He was given a free meal during his shift, but hadn't been hungry. It was a rather large portion of bangers and mash. More than enough to feed them both.
"I'm glad you got that job today, Jack. Pretty soon we'll have a steady income. Although I won't be paid until the end of the week."
"That's the nice thing about working on the docks, I suppose. Getting paid daily."
"Good. Then maybe tomorrow we can have a real meal again."
"There's nothing wrong with this one, Ianto."
"Maybe not the food itself, but I feel like we went from not having to really think about money to having to watch every penny we spend."
Jack sighed. "It'll get better."
"I wish it didn't have to, Jack. I'd like to go home, to where we belong."
"So would I, Ianto," he said, "so would I."