Jack watched as Ianto took a sip of coffee from his travel mug. He winced, waiting to see the Welshman's reaction. Though he was normally not the one to make the coffee in the morning, Jack had asked for a quick refresher lesson and Ianto had patiently walked him through it. When Ianto's eyebrows shot up Jack licked his lips nervously.
"Well?" he asked.
"That's pretty good, Jack," Ianto replied, smiling. "Still not as good as mine, however."
Jack breathed a sigh of relief. "Of course it's not. Nobody's is." He picked up the keys from the counter. "Do we need to bring anything?"
"N0. Doctor Smith just said to bring myself."
"As long as he doesn't mind me being there as well."
Ianto's care had been transferred to Doctor Smith while Doctor Williams was out of the country at a medical conference. He'd been called out expectantly, to replace yet another colleague who was ill, and hadn't wanted to put off Ianto's next follow up visit until he returned. He'd assured them that Doctor Smith was one of the best in the department. He dealt with trauma patients almost exclusively, and while he hadn't been involved in Ianto's care up until now Doctor Williams was certain he'd be a good temporary replacement.
"I'm sure he won't, Jack."
As they drove to the hospital Jack snuck glances at his passenger. It had been a while since he'd gotten to drive, unless it was Torchwood business, and they'd taken the SUV instead of Ianto's car. Ianto was sitting back with his eyes closed, travel mug of coffee clutched between his hands in his lap, and a small smile gracing his lips.
"Penny for your thoughts," Jack told him, unable to stop the smile that spread on his own face as he looked back at the road.
"I was just thinking about the festival coming up."
Jack came to a stop at a light and looked over at him. "The pirate festival?"
"And what about it?" he asked, suspicious.
"I think we should all go."
"All, as in…"
"Torchwood, Jack," Ianto replied, opening his eyes. They were sparkling with mischief.
"You want us all to go? And who, exactly, is going to watch the Hub?"
Ianto rolled his eyes, opening the mug and taking a long drink. He was silent for a moment as he slowly swallowed the beverage. Jack was almost convinced he wasn't going to answer. "We'll put it on mobile alert."
Jack chuckled. "Alright, we could do that. But how do you plan to convince Owen that he should attend? I have it on good authority he's not really the festival type."
Ianto shot him a look. "All those women dressed as wenches? Really?"
Jack thought about that for a moment. Low cut dresses, flaunting everything. "Okay, you may have a point."
"I'd like us to dress up as well."
The light turned green and Jack hit the accelerator a little harder than needed, gaining himself a glare from the Welshman. "Come again?"
"I was speaking English, Jack, not Welsh," Ianto sarcastically replied, causing Jack to snicker. "I want to dress the part."
"So you want me to dress as…Captain Jack the pirate?"
Jack was surprised he didn't receive another eye roll for that one. "Yes and no. I don't have a thing for Johnny Depp."
"You used to."
Ianto seemed to process that for a moment. "Well in any case, I was hoping for…matching costumes."
"All of us?"
"Yes. We'd all be part of the same band of pirates, after all," he explained, smiling. "Owen could be our pet monkey."
Jack laughed out loud, gripping the steering wheel tighter. "Now that I'd pay to see."
A short time later they arrived at the hospital, heading to the medical offices car park and finding a spot relatively close. They stopped and provided Ianto's name to the receptionist, taking a seat in the waiting lounge. They were few minutes early.
"So, what made you think of the festival?" Jack asked the Welshman, opening his own travel mug and taking a sip.
"We haven't really done anything as a group since I've…well, since my accident," Ianto replied, resting his elbows on his knees. "I thought it might be a fun way to get everyone together outside of work."
"We used to do that a lot," Jack told him, placing the mug on the floor next to Ianto's and stretching. "Usually we'd go to the pub, and not anything more exciting, but it was good to get away."
"Why don't we do that now?"
"I'm not really sure. I'd say it's because it's been a bit busy, but maybe we've all just been drifting a bit."
"I heard you tell Gwen not to let things drift with Rhys."
Jack smiled. "That's right. She has something beyond what we do at work. Completely removed from it. She should make sure to hold onto that as long as she can."
"Do you ever want that?" Ianto asked. "Something outside of work?"
Jack turned towards him, seeing the look of uncertainty in his eyes and understanding immediately what he was implying. "No. Maybe long ago, but not now. I have everything I need already."
Ianto smiled. "That's good to hear."
"I mean it," Jack said, leaning closer and dropping his voice. "I wouldn't change what we have for anything."
"Not even for the old Ianto?"
"You are the old Ianto. Just because you don't remember doesn't mean you're somebody else."
"As far as I'm aware everything is new as of a few months ago," Ianto explained, shrugging slightly. "While I do remember voices and your presence before I awoke, it was like everything began the day I opened my eyes."
"Like being reborn," Jack supplied.
"I'd like you to recover your memories," Jack told him, resting a hand on his forearm, "for your own benefit. But I'm okay with what we have now. You don't have to ever remember what we had before and that wouldn't change how I feel about you now."
Ianto's brow furrowed a bit and Jack wanted to reach out and straighten the wrinkle, wondering what was making him think so hard. Ianto didn't reply, however, so Jack remained in the dark as to what was running through his mind.
"Mr. Jones, Doctor Smith can see you now," the receptionist announced, stepping around the counter with a file in her arms. "If you'll just come with me."
Jack grabbed both of their mugs of coffee and got to his feet, waiting for Ianto to pass him before following behind. They headed through the door, down the hallway, and were led into a fashionably decorated office, complete with a cherry wood desk, legs intricately carved. The chairs in front of the desk matched the design, and the walls were paneled in similar wood. Jack and Ianto both took a seat, Jack placing their mugs between their chairs.
Doctor Smith took the file from his receptionist and then she exited the office, closing the door behind them. "Mr. Jones?"
"That's me," Ianto replied. "This is my partner, Captain Jack Harkness."
The doctor reached over the desk and shook both of their hands. "It's a pleasure," he stated, opening the file and perusing it for a moment. He frowned. "Have you regained your memories, Mr. Jones?"
"No, I haven't."
The doctor looked up over the top of his glasses. "Any of them?"
Ianto shifted in his chair. "Unfortunately no."
"Doctor Williams explained that every case was different," Jack said, concerned that this doctor didn't seem to have information Ianto's doctor should have provided. "He told me, personally, that not everyone recovers their memories after an accident like Ianto's."
"Optimism," the doctor replied, scribbling a note in Ianto's file.
"I'm sorry?" Ianto asked.
Doctor Smith put down the pen and folded his hands on his desk. "Mr. Jones, have you spent any time actively attempting to access your memories?"
Ianto glanced at Jack before looking back at the doctor. "I'm afraid I don't follow."
"There are techniques we suggest, as trauma specialists, which have been proven successful in restoring much that amnesia takes away. One of those is hypnosis."
"Doctor, how can hypnosis help if there's brain damage?" Jack asked, folding his arms across his chest. He wasn't completely sure he liked this man's approach. He reminded him of Owen. No bedside manner, whatsoever.
"Well, that's just it, isn't it?" Doctor Smith replied, smiling tightly. "Mr. Jones isn't suffering from any brain damage."
"But Doctor Williams…"
"Was mistaken," interrupted the man across from them. "Look, I understand that you've been working with Doctor Williams since your accident, Mr. Jones, however, his notes and the scans differ. There is nothing in your file to indicate anything physically wrong with you at this point. It's simply…"
"All in his head?" Jack growled. The doctor didn't make any move to correct him. "So you're saying Ianto isn't remembering because he doesn't want to?"
"I'm not trying to not remember," Ianto argued, sitting up a little straighter. "I just don't remember my life before waking up in hospital."
"He wouldn't lie about that," Jack added.
"It's not a matter of lying, or trying not to remember," Doctor Smith explained, leaning back in his chair. It was leather, Jack noted absently. "What's happening in your mind right now is a defense mechanism."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "And how would that work?"
The doctor grimaced. Jack wondered if it was supposed to be a smile. "The brain is a delicate and yet complicated organ. When it believes it's been threatened it throws up walls, blocking out any information, sensory or otherwise, that it feels would be detrimental."
"Like armor," Ianto murmured, almost to himself.
The doctor picked up his pen. "I'm going to make a recommendation, Mr. Jones," he said, pulling a pad in front of him and jotting down something Jack couldn't read upside down. "I want you to meet with one of my colleagues, Dr. Elizabeth Davies. She's a well-respected psychiatrist."
"Do you really think that's necessary?" Jack inquired, seeing how Ianto's eyes had widened.
"I wouldn't recommend it if I thought any different, Mr. Harkness."
"Captain," Jack corrected.
"My apologies," the doctor stated. "Captain Harkness." He handed a copy of the paper to Ianto and placed the other in the file, pushing a button on his phone. "Please see Mr. Jones and…Captain Harkness out, Eve. There's a referral in the Jones file I'll need you to place."
"Right away, sir," she replied.
A moment later the door opened and the receptionist stepped in, smiling as she collected Ianto's file. Jack was livid, grabbing their coffees and getting to his feet. He could tell from Ianto's body language he was just as angry, though the mask he wore allowed none of that anger to show.
"We'll be speaking with Doctor Williams," Jack told the other doctor, handing Ianto his mug of coffee.
"I'm sure you understand he's at a conference in France at the moment."
"There are telephones, Doctor Smith," Jack replied, barely controlling his ire. He followed Ianto and Eve out of the office without another word. He was afraid of what he might do if he stayed to confront the doctor further.
"Have a lovely day," Eve told them, smiling brightly as she ushered them from the hallway to the lounge, stepping back behind her reception counter.
"Jack, do you get the impression he washed his hands of me?" Ianto asked as they exited into the Cardiff morning, walking side by side toward the car.
"Yes, Ianto," Jack answered, sighing. "Yes I do. And he's not going to get away with it."