For once they walked hand in hand across the Plas, to where the Doctor had indicated he'd parked the Tardis.
The day was nice out. The sun was high in the sky, making the afternoon seasonably warm, there was also a slight cool breeze that swept along the bay, but it didn't detract from the warm weather.
When they reached the big blue Police box, Ianto took a deep breath, in preparation of what he was about to see. After all the stuff he'd read from the Archives and the information Donna had shared he was prepared for anything.
Jack opened the top button of his shirt and reached beneath his white t-shirt. He pulled out a long piece of string, with a key dangling from the end. From the looks of it Ianto discerned it was for a Yale lock, and as Jack fitted the key to the lock on the Tardis door, he thought he heard the box sigh softly, as if welcoming home an old family member.
"Prepare yourself Ianto. It's bigger on the inside. Just remember that," Jack warned him. He had wanted to see Ianto's surprised look when he'd opened the door, but he didn't have the heart to spring that big a bombshell on him.
Jack turned the key until he heard the satisfying opening click, and rubbed his hand on one of the door panels, like an affectionate pat between old friends. He pushed the door open and gestured for Ianto to go first.
Ianto was excited but hesitant. He pushed himself forward and forced his legs to move over the threshold.
Suddenly he was through the door and, even with prior information, he let out a large gasp at the sight before him. It was inconceivable. He never dreamed it would look like this. The space was so big! He wanted to step out the door just to check he wasn't being fooled, but Jack was behind him, ushering him in further.
"I did try to warn you," Jack laughed out loud at the look on Ianto's face.
Donna had explained too Ianto, but now Ianto could see words were not sufficient enough to convey the awesome size of the inside compared to the outside. It reminded him of the bag Julie Andrews always carried in Mary Poppins. It was big enough to carry lamps and rugs on the inside, but on the outside it was just a normal bag.
Jack steered Ianto onto the ramp that led to the console in the centre of the room. The place was empty, but Jack knew the Tardis would alert the Doctor to their presence.
"Jack, this is… this place is breathtaking."
"You should have seen my face when I was first invited aboard. After all I'd seen with the time agency, I never dreamt of seeing this amazing beauty," said Jack wistfully.
Before Ianto could have a proper nosey around the Doctor came bounding out of, seemingly nowhere, closely followed by Donna. They exchanged pleasantries then the Doctor took Ianto on a tour which he could tell he'd been bursting to ask for, while Donna and Jack got acquainted.
"So…Donna. How did you meet the Doctor?"
Donna looked at Jack with a wide knowing smile. Jack could tell straight away that this was going to be a long story.
"Well… I was about to get married to someone I used to work with. While walking down the aisle, I was transported here, to the Tardis. The Doctor was not happy to see me, I can tell you! I was all kitted out, the white dress and veil and all that. I looked a bit of an idiot now I come to think about it. But it turned out that my fiancée was in league with a huge underground half human, half spider – the Racnoss? It wanted to destroy the Doctor and me at Christmas. The Doctor being the Doctor saved me. It would have been funny if they hadn't tried to kill us both. And there were these…Santa robots and deadly spinning trees at my reception.
Donna realised that she had been ranting a bit.
"Anyway, once we'd saved the world, I went back to live with my granddad and mum. A year later I saw him again in this building, in London. Well not in it...he was scaling the outside in one of those window cleaning machines?" Jack laughed at this, "Turns out we're quite good at saving the world together."
"What did you do before you met the Doctor?" asked Jack.
"Oh I was a temp from Chiswick. A nobody. It changed my life meeting the Doctor. I couldn't imagine going back to working in an office, five days a week. Not when I could be exploring planets with him, saving lives, and living."
"It's odd," said Jack, "that you met him again a year later. It's taken me over 100 years to meet the Doctor again."
"I know! But these things happen. To be honest, I was investigating strange goings on in the vain hope that I would meet him again; just happened to be in the right place at the right time. At first he wasn't happy to see me, but I knew things about what was going on that he knew nothing about. We ended up saving the Adipose children, but not their nanny, Miss Foster. Then I couldn't not go with him, it was like fate had pulled us together.
Erm…What did you mean? About it taking you 100 years to meet the Doctor again? Are you serious? You're like, over 100? You're looking really good!" Donna's eyes bulged a little when she said the words one hundred.
"Thank you," Jack was warming to Donna. No wonder Ianto had taken a shine to her. She was an interesting individual.
"So captain. How did you meet the Doctor? Ianto told me you were a companion once."
Jack looked at Donna, and thought hard about the question. She confused people by talking a lot then slipped in a personal question, typical woman. Jack wanted to tell Donna, he didn't know why but he seemed compelled. She'd understand, as Martha and Rose had, but Jack knew if Ianto and Donna were friends, then he should at least tell Ianto first before he told Donna. Especially as he was working on their 'trust' issue. Jack was saved from telling Donna anything as the Doctor and Ianto returned from their tour. Ianto's eyes were wide with excitement and his cheeks were flushed.
Jack turned to Donna and said in a quiet voice, "I'll tell you some other time."
"Let's get this tour underway lady and gentlemen, allons-y."
The Doctor gave them no time to say anything else as he walked them out of the Tardis door. His companion and two friends had to trot hurriedly after him before they lost sight of him. Once outside, Ianto efficiently took over from the Doctor and started their tour of the city.
Ianto took them around Cardiff Bay, where they peered into the small unique shops and cafes. He told historical tales about the marina and buildings that were there before the age of mass hotel building had taken over. They walked around the Millennium Centre, the town hall and the National Assembly building. A flash of Torchwood ID got them through the security without having to queue or be scanned. The Bay alone took up what remained of the morning.
Ianto then directed them back to the front of the Millennium Centre to get on a big red bus, renowned for their guided city tours. Safely on the bus, with Ianto taking care of the tickets with the conductor, he let them sit where they want, and helped them plug in their complimentary ear phone so they could hear the automated history lessons being given as they passed each significant tourist attraction.
Once settled, this gave Ianto time to relax and take in the scenary without having to do much work. It was a little chilly on the bus, as the Doctor had made sure they sat on the top deck, so they could get an unobstructed view.
It felt good to feel Jack's hard thighs squashed intimately against his own, even though Jack's objective was to stay seated on the hard bench and not slip off as the bus took the turns in the road viciously. Ianto felt Jack struggle to get comfortable, his shoulders were hunched to give Ianto some breathing room between himself and the window of the bus. Taking pity on Jack, Ianto lifted Jack's left arm over his head so Jack's arm stretched over the back of seat, leaving Ianto free to spread out a little and lean against Jack's warmth at the same time.
At first Jack was baffled by Ianto's movements, but when he realised he relished the move. They were hugging, on a bus, travelling through the middle of Cardiff. He didn't really have any inclination to look out the window, as he had the best view of all sat beside him.
The Doctor and Donna had seated themselves right at the front of the bus, and were so engrossed in what they were seeing they didn't notice the move.
Ianto thought about taking the Doctor and Donna to see the castle, but he halted the words before they were out of his mouth. He couldn't do it to Jack, the place still held painful memories. The place where he saw Cardiff explode, in several powerful explosions as he watched and had no control over stopping or preventing the devastation. No, they wouldn't be going to the castle. Not today anyway.
After 30 mins of cuddling, and a bit of necking, they jumped off the bus outside the Millenium stadium and Donna just took in the sheer size of it. They waited for a guide to become available in the foyer of the grand stadium. Donna and the Doctor oohed and ahhed over trophy cabinets and photos while Jack made comments about legs and arses of players past and present.
They ended the day back down at the bay, transport taken care of by their favourite red bus tour. They found a small restaurant that neither Ianto nor Jack had yet visited, as it hadn't been open long.
"Thank you for today. I know it was hard work, but you did really well. Maybe you missed your calling as a tour guide. All you needed was a big red umbrella so we could all spot you if we got lost," the Doctor said in a complimentary tone as they secured a table, and ordered drinks.
Ianto laughed softly, adding a playful tone to his voice "I think you might be right Doctor. But if I hadn't missed my calling, then what would Jack do without me?"
Ianto left the question open ended, and didn't expect any response.
"I don't know Ianto. What I do know is that I'm glad you fought to be a member of my team. I can honestly say I've never said this before, but ...that pterodactyl brought us together, which is why she now gets premium meats not the cut off stuff."
Stunned by Jack's answer but pleased, Ianto laced his fingers with Jack's under the table.
The rest of the meal went by quietly, with lots of laughter and sharing of old tales, mostly from Jack and the Doctor. Ianto was very comfortable, sitting there, sipping a glass of red wine. Something he hadn't done, probably since their first date. It was nice. Ianto hoped that there would be more moments like this, when the Rift wasn't throwing out problems for them to deal with.
Donna nudged the Doctor after dessert, giving him a subtle head nod, indicating that they should get back, and leave both men to the rest of their evening. Just as subtly the Doctor nodded his head in agreement.
"Well gentlemen, this has been a marvellous day. We've enjoyed ourselves immensely, but we should be getting back. Donna needs her beauty sleep, but we were thinking about staying another day...if that was alright with you? See a little more of the city."
Before Jack could answer, Ianto jumped in, "We'd love to take you out again tomorrow. Maybe we could start a little earlier, rift permitting, and take you both down to the beach? I'm sure it's not often that you drive around anywhere. It'd be a shame not to see all the mountains on the way to the beach, instead of using the Tardis."
"I second that," said Jack, smilingly.
"Well it seems that we have a consensus. What time should be turn up?"
"We'll pick you up. What time Jack? 9am sound okay?"
"Sounds great. We'll bring the SUV, Doctor you will love her, she has all the latest features."
So they bid each other good night, went their separate ways, and enjoyed another restful night.