Jack stepped off the invisible lift just before the woman hit Ianto, and before he could think about it his gun was in his hand. "Back off!" he snapped.
"Where the hell did you come from?"
The two responses came at the same time and he paused, eyeing the stranger suspiciously. She was unarmed, at least, didn't seem to have any weapons on her person, and wasn't acting particularly murderous. "Ianto?" he asked, not taking his eyes off her, or lowering the Webley.
"This is my sister, Jack. Rhiannon. Please, can you put the gun away?" He was standing uncomfortably, Jack realised now, as though he wasn't sure what he should be doing with his hands, but there was more embarrassment than fear.
Come to think of it, any enemy that resorted to slapping probably wasn't much of a threat. A little sheepish, he returned his weapon to its holster, giving Rhiannon more of an appraising look now. She didn't look much like the daughter of a tailor, but he supposed there were reasons for that, like there'd be reasons why she seemed built different to Ianto, who was too thin at the best of times. She had a more healthy weight without swinging the other way. Knowing the relation now he could see similarities between them, too. "Captain Jack Harkness," he introduced himself, flashing a bright grin now that he knew the situation was under control. "Sorry about that. I get a bit overprotective of my staff."
Ianto snorted softly. Rhiannon had turned her attention away from him completely, staring openly at Jack and apparently gearing herself up for a good shout. "You've got a gun? That's not half-dangerous! I thought you were civil servants, what's a civil servant need a gun for?" She turned sharply back to Ianto, eyes flashing. "Do you have a gun?"
To Jack's surprise, Ianto took a step back before recovering himself. "I-- I don't-- Look, can we go somewhere else to talk?" He looked around at the open Plass deliberately, drawing attention to how exposed they were, and after a moment Rhiannon nodded.
The tourist centre office was a little crowded with the three of them there, but Jack didn't seem particularly inclined to leave, and to be honest a part of Ianto was glad to have him there. He was a solid presence next to him, reassuring, even though opening up his personal life to his scrutiny like this left him open and vulnerable all at the same time. It was... confusing, and not a combination of emotions he was used to.
"Go on, then," Rhiannon prompted, her tone almost accusing. "You been missing three months, dropped off the face of the earth, and now I find you're all mixed up in something with guns and who knows what. This isn't a mob thing, is it?"
The nagging guilt that had been swimming around in his stomach ever since he spotted Rhiannon turned quite suddenly to amused surprise. "Welsh mafia? This isn't The Sopranos, Rhi. It's--" He glanced at Jack, quickly, and read no censure in his expression. "Special ops. And I'm sorry I didn't call, I just... needed some space. After what happened in London."
"You could've bloody called! To let us know you were alive. On your birthday if nothing else. We thought you were lying in a ditch somewhere!"
It was close enough to the truth to make him wince, and he felt Jack stiffen next to him in sympathetic discomfit. He would've preferred to argue about the special ops thing, really. At least he could think of things to say about that. "I'm sorry," he repeated.
He must have looked about as miserable as he felt about the whole situation, because Rhiannon sighed, expression softening a little as she cuffed him round the shoulder. "You're a bloody idiot sometimes."
Jack's mouth twitched like he was trying not to laugh and Ianto wondered, randomly, if he had any siblings wherever he was from. Whenever. The idea that there might be a whole brood of them was almost as strange as the idea that they might not have been born yet. (And didn't that open up some interesting tangents - what if you had one kid, went back in time and had another? It would be a bureaucratic nightmare.)
But then Rhiannon's eyes narrowed again, his brief respite from interrogation over. "Do you have a gun?"
"Ianto's not a field operative," Jack filled in smoothly, and Ianto decided he'd have to thank him properly for that later. It sounded more like a no than anything he could think of. "He operates our communications systems from base and keeps everything running smoothly. It's the safest job there is, and one of the most important. We're lucky to have him."
They sounded like the soft lies PR people told the public, but the last sentence had a warmth in it that settled in his stomach and fluttered around a little. Definitely thanking him properly later, even if the 'most important' bit was utter bullshit. "It's good," he added, meeting and holding his sister's gaze as though to prove his sincerity. "It's useful. And it pays better than temping." Grabbing a piece of paper, he quickly scribbled down the number of his mobile - it still felt strange and new, but of course his old one had been canceled long ago, as she had evidently found out for herself. "My new number. Promise I'll answer it. You know, as long as the world's not ending."
"Pillock," she retorted, rolling her eyes like he was joking, but she read it through a few times, probably trying to memorise it, before pulling out her purse to put it carefully inside. For all her bluster, her movements made it look like something precious. "And you're bloody well coming to dinner on Saturday. The kids are worried as hell about you."
He nodded and agreed, even though he knew what she really meant - I've been worried as hell about you.
"I didn't know you had a sister."
"Evidently not, or that would have been a lot more complicated. It's not in my file?" The idea of more complicated made Ianto's head hurt; even as things stood, he was sorely tempted to go and hide in his quarters for the rest of the evening and sod Torchwood, the Rift and all of Cardiff. Instead he settled for taking the tumbler of scotch Jack held out for him, appreciating the burn of it down his throat. "Thanks."
He was stretched out on the sofa, and had to shift his legs to make room for Jack. "You looked like you needed it," he replied, a wry note in his voice. "Your file was wiped too well to recover the information. Suzie did the same thing, actually, but the only time she mentioned family in three years was when her mother died."
"Oh. Right." He did remember that, if he actually thought about it instead of trying to forget the whole thing. He knew the reasons he'd done it, intellectually - getting rid of the extra security protocols he'd programmed, and a certain bitter desire not to have Torchwood traipsing through the pathetic remains of his life - but it was impossible to recapture the feelings. A good thing, he supposed, since now there was no way out from that level of misery. He still missed Lisa, enough that the mornings he woke up next to Jack were still surreal as hell, but he had another purpose now. Another life.
He took another sip of the scotch, taking it slow to avoid the headrush of too much alcohol at once, and glanced across at Jack. "Do you have any family?"
He was silent just long enough to make Ianto think he wasn't going to answer. "I used to," he said finally. His voice sounded like it came from far away.
Decorum, Ianto decided, could go to hell. He twisted around enough that he could lean against Jack's shoulder. No one else was around, after all, and if he felt a bit ridiculous and childish, well, he'd get over it. "I don't know what I'm going to tell her when she realises I'm not getting any older."
"I don't think there is a right answer." Jack shifted enough to sling his arm around Ianto, body heat radiating through the layers of fabric that separated them. He was always so warm. "You can either try and explain, or disappear. Transfer to Two. Try to keep London in line. Go on holiday."
"Yeah." None of the options sounded very appealing, but he'd known it would be tough when he'd chosen this. It was just different, thinking about the problems in the abstract, and actually coming face to face with them. He'd have to come up with a way to explain the last few months in more detail, including how the hell he'd have gotten this posh job in special ops. "What do I do?" he asked, not really expecting Jack to have the answers, but hoping.
Jack turned to press a light kiss to the top of his head. "You go to dinner on Saturday, take whatever she dishes out, and then come home for as many orgasms as you can handle before passing out."
Ianto smiled into Jack's shirt. It wasn't a solution, but he liked how it sounded. "We should practice that last bit. You can't do a marathon if you never run, after all."
"Good idea. I'm working on a list of all the things I want to do to you. It's quite extensive." He stood, holding out a hand to help Ianto to his feet, and as he drained the last of his drink he decided he was going to have to research exactly how extensive this list could possibly be.