The phone rang in his ear a fifth, sixth time before he pulled it away and pressed the off button, snapping it closed.
Ianto heard Jack come up behind him but Ianto didn't turn around. He couldn't stop staring at the cell phone in his hand, a small part of him willing it to ring, his mother's voice saying "oh! I'm sorry; we didn't make it to the phone in time," his father chuckling in the background. Another part of him wanted to smash the phone under foot.
"No," Ianto said calmly putting his phone down on Jack's desk and shoving his hands in his pockets. "It's not as if they ever answer," he muttered.
Behind him, Jack put his hands on Ianto's shoulders and pressed against his back.
"Maybe you just need to get a new cell phone number-"
"Like last time?"
"-once a week."
"And then they'll be forced to answer. 'Who does this strange number belong to? Let me find out!'"
Ianto leaned back against Jack and smiled despite himself.
"Then drive them into paranoid fear of ever answering their phone."
Jack scoffed and wrapped his arms around Ianto's shoulders kissing him on the cheek. Ianto leaned back into the embrace feeling an old ache inside him, one that never truly left.
"Or maybe," Jack said breaking into Ianto's thoughts. "They will finally answer."
Ianto forced out a smile at Jack's attempt at optimism, pushing his cynicism aside. "Maybe."
Iona told her mother when she was four years old that she wanted to be a boy when she grew up.
Her mother had whirled around from where she'd been standing at the sink, dropping what she was doing with a clatter which made Iona start in her chair.
"What?" Iona repeated back, confused.
"What did you just say?" her mother said coming closer.
"I want to be a boy when I grow up," Iona repeated with a smile.
Her mother scoffed and turned away. "Don't be ridiculous, Iona."
Iona blinked and shook her head. "But you asked me what I wanted to be."
Her mother looked back at her. "I meant what you wanted to be as in: do you want to be a teacher or a nurse."
"I can do those things when I'm a boy too; don't be silly mum!"
Iona heard her mother sigh heavily and she turned around again, plate still in hand.
"Iona, why would you want to be a boy? It's much better to be a girl and that's what you are. You can't be a boy; it's impossible."
Iona wanted to say 'but that's all I want' to her mother yet the words would not come out. She didn't know how to explain, how to say to her mother that she could feel it. She could feel that a boy was what she would be, what she should be.
Instead Iona just nodded and looked back down at the sandwich on her plate. Even though she was only four years old Iona felt pain at what her mother had said. It was as if someone told her that dreams never come true. For some reason she just knew that she should be a boy when she grew up. It just had to be possible.
Iona loved playing in her father's tailoring shop. At the far corner of the shop there was a small dais in front of three large mirrors where clients could come and be fitted by her father. At the other end were the cashiers counter and the main shop window which looked out onto the street. The shop itself had high a ceiling and a dark wood interior hearkening back to the Elizabethan era. In between were racks upon racks of finished suits. At six years old the suit displays were like a forest she could run through or hide in.
Iona's favorite part of the shop was the suits themselves. All the men who came into the shop looked so dashing in the suits her father tailored for them. Each one fit so perfectly and made the men look so powerful, so important. Iona wanted to look just like that. The three piece suit was her favorite. She liked the look of the tie tucked into the vest. It was a perfect package.
Sometimes her father would ask her opinion on suits he was making.
"What do you think, little lady?" He held up two swatches of fabric. "Pinstripe or solid?"
Iona pointed. "Pinstripe, definitely!"
He grinned down at her and turned back to the paper in front of him, pinning pieces of fabric to the page and scribbling away with a pencil.
Her father was so good at making suits he could tell some of the men who came in exactly what they wanted before they even opened their mouths. He would shout out color and size, style and the number of buttons, sizing men up just by the way they walked. Iona was in awe.
She would wander around the shop as her father worked, weaving in and out of the suits on display. Often she would just walk through the shop touching all the suits, imagining what it would be like to wear a suit all the time. The fabrics felt good against her skin and she longed to wear one of her own. She would get a black pin stripe suit, vest included, with a white shirt and a flashy red tie.
"You'd be amazed," her father would say. "What the right suit can do for a man."
It made her smile. Iona wanted the right suit for herself.
Film night at the Electro held special meaning for Iona. The event was always just her and her father. It was something special which just the two of them could share together, no mother allowed. To Iona it was like a boy's night out.
The old films always entranced Iona, showing things in simple views. Boy and girl meet, girl hates boy at first, then boy wins girl over, fall in love, the end. The black and white film glamorized the past in a way which Iona adored. It felt like a simpler time when everyone found a happy ending.
"Tonight is Casablanca," her father said, holding her hand as they walked into the theater.
"Casablanca," Iona repeated pondering over the strange word.
"It's a place in Africa," her father said knowing without her telling him what she was thinking. "It's a classic American film which everyone should see at some point in their life."
Iona chuckled. "I guess then its tonight for me!"
Her father looked down at her with a smile and nodded.
During the film her father kept giving her random facts about the time period, 'at this point in the war' or 'now this song he's playing' and such things. However, Iona barely heard a thing he said she was too engrossed. The story was basic, 'boy loves girl but is kept from her' done with extra flair. There was music, there was intrigue, there was love, and there were dubious motives all on the back drop of an exotic location during a war. Iona loved it. She wanted to jump right into the screen and stand up like Lazlo, rallying the nightclub to sing the French national anthem or like Rick, close up her club for the night, keeping the shady police at bay.
When the film was over and they were walking home again her father looked down at her.
"So, how would you like to be Ingrid Bergman in that film? Have two men loving you, fighting over you?" He laughed. "Well, maybe not at ten."
Iona just laughed back at him. She didn't tell him that the one she really wanted to be in the film was Humphrey Bogart.
Growing up Iona was always fairly androgynous. At the time it felt like a sort of justification for everything she was feeling. If these feelings were so wrong wouldn't she look more like a girl in appearance? Wouldn't there be some sort of sign to tell her these feelings would pass and she really belonged in this female body? Yet she grew up with a small chest and hardly any curves to speak of. Her face was square in shape and she felt like she was all edges, not the soft curves and dips that women were supposed to be.
"Maybe you're a lesbian."
Iona shrugged at her friend Beth. "Maybe, I don't know."
"Well, do you like girls?"
Iona leaned back against the brick wall where they were sitting outside school. She looked at the football team practicing on the green, white and black ball bouncing all over the field.
"You know this is kind of a serious conversation to be having over lunch."
Beth took a bite of her sandwich then pointed it at Iona. "You're the one who just blurted out 'I don't look like a girl, I look like a boy' and made me spit crisps all over the street."
Iona raised one eyebrow and sighed putting a hand over her eyes. "You've got me there."
"But really," Beth started again as she tore into her sandwich further. "Maybe the reason you've come out all butch, joining the rugby team-"
"I like rugby."
"And!" Beth continued. "Maybe it's all just the lesbian part of you coming out. I mean you dress like one already as well you know."
Iona laughed. "Look who's talking."
"Hey," Beth said balling up the plastic wrap from her sandwich. "I'll have you know that corduroy pants and button up shirts are very comfortable."
"Spoken like a true lesbian."
"Thank you, Ms. Jones."
Iona repressed the grimace at Beth's use of the word 'Ms' and looked down at the untouched sandwich in her lap. Maybe she was a lesbian. She'd fancied some girls but she'd fancied some boys too. Obviously she was confused but she just didn't know how to right it. She didn't know who she could talk to about it all truthfully since there was certainly no way she would tell Beth about the boy she felt she had to be. So, she was stuck in her own head.
"One thing's for sure," Beth said interrupting Iona's thoughts.
"You aren't a girly girl."
The both cracked up and Iona gave Beth a good natured shove.
"That is definitely true."
"Mum, can I ask you something?"
They were sitting in the den together, she in a chair and her mother with a magazine on the couch. Iona felt hot and kept clenching and unclenching her fists on the arms of the chair.
"Yes?" Iona's mother said glancing up from her magazine.
"How did you know you… I mean, do you always feel… Did you ever…"
Her mother put down the magazine, turning so she was directly facing Iona.
"What is it, sweetie? You can ask me."
Iona swallowed slowly. She didn't know how to ask what she needed, desperately needed to know. She needed to know if she was alone in this, if everyone felt so horribly wrong at points in their lives, if she was going to change, if it was a phase, if she would feel like this forever.
"Do you ever feel wrong?" She blurted out looking at her mother in earnest.
Her forehead crinkled. "What do you mean, dear? Do I ever think I'm wrong? I certainly have made some wrong decisions in my life, we all do."
"No, not like that."
"I mean like you, just… yourself. Have you ever felt wrong?"
Iona's mother just stared at her, face confused. Iona sighed.
When she was fifteen Zachery Thomas asked her out on a date to the cinema. He was a nice boy, dirty blond hair and quiet eyes. Maybe he was what Iona needed to feel right. Maybe she just needed the right person to make herself feel like a proper girl.
She was wrong.
On their date Zachery was a perfect gentleman. He opened all the doors for her, bought the tickets to the film, got her popcorn, yet all the while Iona felt so wrong. She wanted to tell him to just stop it, don't do this for her. He put his arm around her shoulders while they watched the movie and walked her home afterwards because it was dark. It made her feel sick. What were they in, one of the old movies she had watched as a child at the Electro? It was ridiculous.
On her door step he stopped, feet shuffling. "I had a great time."
She smiled and nodded, unable to get words out with her stomach churning. He looked at her under the light of the porch and she could tell he wanted to kiss her.
"So, um, maybe we could do it again sometime?" he asked.
Iona coughed, "Maybe… I'll call you."
"Ok," he said but still did not leave.
"Well, Good-" Iona began but before Iona could finish Zachery's arms wrapped around her waist and he kissed her on the mouth.
She stiffened in surprise but kissed him back. It was just a kiss, people kissed all the time. Yet all she kept thinking was, 'he keeps treating me like a girl' with his arms holding her like she was some sort of china doll. When they broke apart he beamed at her.
"Good night, Iona."
Then he half ran off her porch and down the sidewalk. Iona watched him go and knew she would not be able to do it again. It wasn't that he was a boy; it was how he saw her, how he treated her. She couldn't be pampered and paid for and held like she was a flower. She wasn't a girl who would giggle or swoon or dance with arms on her waist. She just wasn't a girl.
It was the clearest she had ever felt it and the thought of how wrong she was, trapped in this body, made her fall to her knees on the porch, angry tears pooling in her eyes.
It took a long time but Iona finally accepted the truth she had felt for so long. This was not who she was supposed to be. This body was wrong, this life was wrong and 'she' did not fit with the person inside.
She'd always kept her hair somewhat short. Even before she knew the truth about her self she'd kept it that way just because she liked it better. It had been around her chin in length for a long time but now she'd had enough.
When she came home with her hair cropped short against her head, parted to the side, it was a storm. Her father slammed his newspaper on the table and stomped out of the room. He didn't even look at her as he went. Her mother screamed and screamed, throwing dishes and practically spitting in her face.
"How could you do this? I've had enough of this idiocy from you! Why would you do this to us?"
"It's my hair! I can do as I like with it!"
"You look ridiculous!"
"Just shut up, you stupid girl!"
"Mum, I'm not a girl. I've told you, the way I feel is-"
"You are a girl! You need to act like one and stop trying to turn yourself into something else! This is just stupid rebellion! You are just trying to punish me for something by doing all you can to embarrass your father and I!"
"Not everything is about you, mum!"
"You are not a bloody boy; you are my daughter and just look at you now!"
When Iona's mother finally ran from the room, tears falling down her face, Iona felt her body slump. Her hands were in fists and she had a strong desire to run away too, to leave the house and not look back. Turning her head, she looked at herself in the mirror on the wall. She was not sorry she did it.
Every spring in May Iona's school held a dance for the season. It was supposed to be a formal affair, suits or tuxes for the men and dresses for the women. Everyone could go with or without a date, though most went in pairs. It was the event of the year and everyone looked forward to it. It was supposed to be a special night for everyone.
Iona bound her chest, gelled up her hair and went in a tux. She didn't make it past the parking lot.
Tim Johnson, Michael Hall, and Kevin Hunter were standing by a tree a bit away from the dance hall each with a bottle of beer. Iona gave them a quick nod and tried to keep on walking. She'd been dressing boyish at school, pants all the time and her hair short now but this was different. She'd been worried about going in a tux but it had just felt so wrong to wear a dress. How could she wear a dress when she was really a boy?
"Whoa, whoa," Tim ran out in front of her blocking her path. "What is this?"
"What is what?" she replied tersely.
She knew rumors had been going around about her, people saying she was a dyke, she was queer. None of them exactly hit the mark.
"I think her tux is nicer than yours, Tim," Kevin said from where he leaned against the tree.
Michael laughed and came up along side Tim. "Trying to look like James Bond or something?"
"I'm just going to the dance," She said, trying not to look intimidated.
"Oh really?" Tim said touching the collar of her jacket. "This doesn't look like proper dance attire to me. They check you at the door you know and girls need to have formal dresses."
Iona smacked his hand away.
"Is this some sort of lesbian thing?" Michael said. "Are you the boy out of the pair? Where's your femme?"
"You don't know what you're talking about," Iona said, trying to stay calm.
She glanced quickly from side to side but there was no one else around, no one to see what she could feel was going to happen.
"Don't think you're a boy, do you, in that tux?" Tim said, his voice gaining a darker edge to it.
"Get out of my way," Iona said.
Tim moved closer and Iona backed up a step. "Hmm, you know they say that dykes just need the right man to fix them."
Iona punched him in the jaw, knocking him back and causing him to drop his bottle which shattered on the pavement.
'Shit…' she thought just as Michael grabbed her arms from behind.
"You fucking bitch!" Tim shouted holding the side of his face.
He spit blood out on the ground then stomped over to her hitting her in the face as she'd done to him. Pain seared through her and she couldn't stop a yelp of pain. Before she could fully react he punched her in the stomach. Michael let go of her arms, pushing her forward so she fell against Tim who shoved her off. Her stomach felt like it was on fire and stars kept breaking out in her eyes. Suddenly, Michael pushed her up against the car next to her, hand tearing at her jacket and vest, ripping open her shirt and exposing her chest.
"Look at this, trying to hide her tits too."
"Get off me!" Iona growled, pushing Michael harshly back from her.
Then suddenly Tim punched her again in the side of the head and she felt to the ground, landing on her wrist with a crack.
"You're a fucking freak!" he said, spitting on the ground next to her.
"Come on," Kevin said, his voice calmer than the other two. "Let's just go inside."
Tim sniffed loudly and nodded after a pause. "I think she's learned her lesson."
All three turned and walked away toward the building leaving Iona where she lay. Rolling onto her side, Iona tried to slow her breathing down, feeling pain in her stomach with each breath. She could taste blood in her mouth and was worried her wrist was broken. Slowly, she sat up and leaned against the car next to her. What had she been thinking? Still, Iona would not let herself cry.
When she walked in the house the first thing she saw were the suitcases at the bottom of the stairs. For a wild moment she thought her parents had planned a surprise vacation but logic soon won out and fear gripped her chest. Putting down the grocery bag, she closed the door behind her and her father appeared at the end of the hall ahead of her.
"What's going on?" she asked though inside she already knew.
"We've had enough."
His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were staring at a point just over her shoulder. Iona had to force herself to not start screaming right then.
"We want you out of our house."
"You're kicking me out?"
He just nodded, still not quite looking at her. For a moment Iona just stared back at him, her father, the man she grew up loving, idolizing.
"That's it?" she said quietly.
"We've tired to get you to stop," suddenly he was looking at her, anger and betrayal on his face. "We've tried to get you give up this ridiculous boy nonsense and be what you are but you've been stubborn and completely rebuffed us. How are we supposed to help you if you won't let us, if you don't want us to?"
"I don't need to be helped! I know what I am!" Iona snapped pounding her fist on the table by the door.
"No, you do not! You think something impossible, something just… unnatural!"
"How can you say that?"
"Look at you!" He said taking a step forward pointing at her baggy pants, t-shirt, bound chest and short male haircut. "You are deluding yourself and playing this ridiculous fantasy like it's the truth!"
"Fantasy!" Iona screamed. "Fantasy? What the hell do you know? You don't know how I feel! You can't understand what this is like at all!"
"Oh, yes it is a fantasy! You want to change yourself and become a man! Listen to that. It does not make any sort of sense and is just wrong."
Iona ran an angry hand through her hair, "No, it's possible now; it's a procedure now, there is surgery! This isn't just a phase or a choice; it's what I am! It's not as though I'm the only one. Other people have done it. I can become a man, become what I really am!"
Suddenly, her father seemed to come to life and started walking down the hall closer to her until he was right in front of her, yelling all the way.
"You keep telling us 'I'm a boy, I'm a boy,' well you're not a boy! You are our daughter! A girl! Don't you think every time you say things like that to us it breaks our hearts? You are the daughter I raised, not some boy in your mind. You were born female, you are a girl, that is what you are, nothing else! Thinking you are really a boy because it's how you 'feel' it's not right, it's just…." He stopped, chest heaving and fists clenched at his sides.
Iona held her ground and stared hard at him. "It's just what?"
He stared back at her but did not respond.
"It's just what?!" She screamed.
"Disgusting!" He shouted. "It is disgusting! You are disgusting. I can't see my child, my daughter, in you anymore! I don't know what you've become but it's not a child of mine!"
His last words seemed to echo off the walls as the hall fell suddenly and terribly silent. Iona felt like her heart was going to explode, that her legs were going to give way and she was just going to fall down dead. She kept staring at her father hardly able to believe who she saw.
"Where is mum?" she managed say, not really realizing she said it for a moment.
Moving backwards a step, he looked down at the suitcases and then back at Iona.
"She didn't want to see you."
He turned away from her and walked up the stairs. At the landing at the top he stopped and looked back down at her.
"I expect you to be gone in the morning."
As her father disappeared from the stairs going around the corner Iona's strength ran out and she fell to the floor. For a long time she lay there staring at the wood paneling until she finally stood up, picked up both suitcases, and walked back out the door.
Six months after Iona turned 18 she officially changed her name to Ianto Jones and his world changed.
Pavi asked him out after their 'Chemistry in Practical use and Commercial Practice' class. Ianto had just walked out the door, book and notebook in hand, when he promptly dropped his bag, spilling the contents out on the floor.
"Fuck all…" he muttered crouching down to gather up his things and shove them back in the bag.
"Here you go," said a voice and Ianto looked up to see a boy holding out two pens for him.
Ianto straightened up, hoisting the strap of his side bag back onto his shoulder, and took the pens from him.
"I'm Pavi," he said extending a hand.
"Yes, I've seen you in class," Ianto replied taking his hand. "Ianto Jones."
They shook hands and smiled. For moment there was awkward silence, Pavi not leaving after the initial introduction with a 'nice to meet you, got to go to my next class' and Ianto not leaving with a 'thanks for picking up my pens, I need to be going.' So they stood there looking at each other until Pavi spoke in a rush.
"Would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight? I know a place nearby and they serve some great food which you'd like. Well, I think you would like and all but it's still good and yeah, that's it."
Ianto would have laughed had he not exploded with nerves inside. Panic filled his head at what this could mean. Ianto didn't know anything about Pavi other than they had a class together and he was gorgeous. He hadn't dated much since his transition and the fear of rejection was strong.
'To hell with it,' Ianto thought and nodded at Pavi.
"That sounds great!" he said, keeping his expression calm.
A smile burst across Pavi's face, "Great! That's great. Ok. So, uh, I'll meet you out front around 6:00 and then we can go get dinner."
Ianto nodded again gripping the strap of his bag. "All right, yes, I'll see you then."
They stood awkwardly for one moment more before both turned away in time, walking in opposite directions.
Ianto felt giddy as he walked away back to his dorm. Pushing aside the fear and doubts in his mind, Ianto smiled. It was going to be great. He had a date tonight!
Ianto had tried to dress nicely, jeans that showed off his arse and a black dress shirt. He'd seen the appraising look Pavi gave him when they met outside and Ianto put a check mark on his mental success list. The meal was as good as Pavi had said and the restaurant had a great view of the street. The two of them chatted, commenting sarcastically on the people that passed by, categorizing them by dress. Pavi brushed Ianto's hand with his twice during the date and both times it sent jolts of electricity through Ianto's body.
After dinner they walked back to campus together, shoulder's brushing as they walked. Ianto was talking about something meaningless, how his biology professor had assigned them something ridiculous, when suddenly Pavi stopped walking.
"What-" Ianto started, turning to look at Pavi.
However, before he could even complete a coherent question Pavi was pushing him back against the building, lips connecting with Ianto's. It was then that 20 year old boy mentality kicked in and the only thing on Ianto's mind was 'more, yes, now.' Pavi's body pinned him to the wall and he buried his hands in Pavi's hair wanting him as close as possible. He could taste the ghost of food in Pavi's mouth and under tang of tobacco. It all felt like fire, hot and wonderful and so fast it was like falling. Then suddenly Pavi's hands which had been on Ianto's sides grabbed at the zipper of his jeans, one hand grasping hard, and Pavi jumped back.
"What the hell?" he said.
Ianto swallowed slowly, back still against the wall. "Pavi… I…"
"Oh my god," Pavi said suddenly staring at Ianto as if he'd only just seen him. "Oh my god. You've got to be kidding me."
"Pavi, I can explain," Ianto said standing up straight.
"You're a girl!"
Ianto flinched as if he'd been slapped. "No, I'm not… I'm… I haven't had the surgery yet… It's expensive and…"
Pavi made an expression as if he was choking. "You're a… you're a tranny?!"
Ianto grit his teeth and tried to stay calm. "Pavi, please, I know we only just-"
"Ok, yeah, whatever, that's enough," Pavi said, cutting Ianto off. "I'm leaving."
Then he turned and rushed away down the street, not quite at a run.
"Pavi, wait!" Ianto cried halfheartedly after the other man.
Ianto stood on the sidewalk watching Pavi's retreating form until he couldn't see the distant figure any longer. He tried to breathe in and out slowly, just breathe. His mind was racing and his stomach churned. Then violently he turned and kicked the wall with enough force to cause a stabbing pain in his foot.
"Fuck!" he shouted, bouncing on his other foot.
Staggering back from the building, Ianto put both feet back on the ground, panting in anger and pain. He put his hands on his thighs, leaning over, trying to calm down. Staring at the sidewalk, he wished that just for once, just once, he could be normal.
Ianto's work at Torchwood certainly did not fall among the most illustrious of alien related positions, no field missions or the most confidential items of alien tech. He began as a junior researcher with a level 2 security clearance on his badge. Much of his work involved organizing and filing for the head researcher of his section but he did get to assist with the smaller projects. Prior to Torchwood he'd worked in various places, the Abrams solicitor office, the Cardiff Bay Water Research Center which ended up closing it doors, and some other places in between. Now he was somewhere permanent, somewhere he could make friends, somewhere he could kick start his life.
"You're Ianto, right?" he looked up from his desk at the man standing beside it.
"Just started last week?"
"Yes, a bit of a wild ride."
The man laughed. "Yeah, everyone's first week is a bit like that. Much of the 'ok so the alien part really is real' going through most heads."
Ianto laughed and grinned.
"So, I'm Anthony," he pointed behind himself at a man and woman near the door. "That's Elise and Rob. Would you like to join us for lunch?"
Ianto nodded in surprise. "Thank you, that would be great."
"Been eating at your desk?"
Ianto tired not to blush at the guess hitting correctly. "I've been pouring over the archives."
"Got to jump in feet first, my man," he said in mock aristocratic tones. "Torchwood has to protect the empire and ward off those alien threats."
Ianto smirked and quoted the guide book. "Every scrap of alien technology a potential threat."
"Exactly," Anthony said then waggled his eyebrows as he walked backward toward the others. "Especially in the cafeteria."
Ianto grinned and stood up, following Anthony over to the others. Inside he felt a new sort of freedom. He was making brand new friends in a new job in what felt like a whole new life, a life for the man Ianto Jones.
Ianto couldn't explain how perfect it felt with Lisa. He'd been on some dates with women since his transition, a few dinners, a few good night kisses but nothing much more. Lisa was a new beginning. She felt like a door opening and sun streaming through. Everything she did made him smile, made him laugh, and just made him exceedingly happy. He did not want to lose that.
For so long he'd been afraid. How would any woman he got close to react to his past? He would have to tell her, of course, and when he did would she just reject him straight out? Would it be like Pavi all over again? Ianto tired to tell himself it was a paranoid fear but he knew, sadly, this wasn't the case. Lisa, however, broke all stereotypes and when he finally told her it was better than he could have ever hoped.
Ianto blinked, not expecting that to be the first thing she said after his pronouncement.
Lisa shrugged from where she sat across from him. "I just haven't heard that name before," she grinned. "Then again I hadn't met anyone named Ianto before either."
"You haven't been to Wales very often."
They both laughed and the tension which Ianto had been carrying bunched up in his shoulders and back eased slightly. He took a shaky breath and looked away from her.
"I was afraid you would… that you…."
Lisa smiled again shaking her head. "When you said you wanted to tell me something I was afraid you wanted to break up with me."
Ianto scoffed and shook his head back at her. "Definitely not possible."
"Certainly not what I was expecting you to tell me, of course," Lisa added with an awkward laugh and Ianto's face fell slightly.
"No, no!" She said suddenly at his change of face.
Lisa put her hand over his and threaded their fingers together. Squeezing his hand, Lisa looked right into Ianto's eyes, her expression earnest.
"I love you, Ianto," she said. "And whatever or whomever you might have been before doesn't matter because I love you as you are now."
It felt like a line from a cheesy romance film but for some reason it felt like the perfect thing for him to hear. Lisa really meant what she said. She did not care about whom he was born as but the man he was now before her. She really just loved him and it felt like fresh air entering a blocked room. Her hand in his felt like safety, like life. He pulled his chair closer to her, bumping their knees together.
"You are an amazing woman, do you know that Lisa Hallet?" he said, putting his forehead against hers.
"It's been said," she replied.
Ianto chuckled and kissed her. He wondered how anything could make his life more perfect than it was now.
Jack had grabbed Ianto by the waist, pressing them together, and kissed him with such a passion that Ianto had been unable to think. Jack was the kind of kisser that made your head spin and you heart beat so much that you almost forgot to kiss back. This wasn't the first time Jack had kissed him; however this kiss had the spark which said 'I'm just getting started with you so you better learn how to get out of handcuffs quickly if you want even the tiniest chance of gaining control of this sexual encounter.' Jack had that sort of ability. Then suddenly when Ianto found himself on his back on Jack's desk, he just blurted it out.
"Jack, I was born biologically female and I transitioned to male when I was 18."
Jack stopped, hand on Ianto's belt and lips inches away from Ianto's. Jack raised an eyebrow but did not move away.
"Just full of surprises aren't you, Ianto Jones?" Jack said leaning in and kissing Ianto.
"Wait," Ianto said pushing Jack back slightly. "That's it?"
"Were you expecting me to say something else?"
Ianto blinked up at Jack and pondered for a moment. To be fair if anyone would take the knowledge that the person they had pinned down on desk with the intention of shagging was transgendered in complete stride it was Jack. Ianto laughed once.
"I suppose not."
Jack nodded with a mocking sage manner.
"Can I get back to taking off your clothes now?"
Ianto grabbed Jack by the neck and pulled him down on top of him. "Yes, sir."
"God, that sounds corny," Jack muttered pulling off Ianto's tie.
"Just kiss me."
Ianto was just happy, plain, ordinary, normal person, happy. He had Jack; he had Torchwood; he even had Tosh and Owen and Gwen. He had a life, strange as it may be with Weevils in the basement and a pterodactyl by the roof. All of it felt like the right place to be. He was a man in his own right with everything he needed now and though he missed his parents, missed that connection to family and his past, right now in his life he was happy.
Ianto looked at his cell phone resting next to the coffee mugs. He reached out to pick it up then drew his hand back. Instead he stood up, filled two mugs with coffee and walked up to Jack's office. There was no need to use the phone.
"All right, we've been discussing the procedures involved in the transition a lot and I know you've been going to your counselor every week."
Iona nodded, feeling the anticipation rising.
"From here on out it's not just going to be talk anymore. From here you're not going to be able to go back and it's not going to be easy or quick going ahead. This will be real."
Iona couldn't stop the grin from forming on her face. "I know."
Doctor McCaffrey smiled back and folded her hands on her desk.
"So, you need to be sure and it's the last time I'm going to ask you. Are you ready and committed to this transition to becoming a man?"
The words made Iona's heart swell in her chest. She could start her life anew the way she'd always wanted. She wouldn't have to fumble over pronouns or feel guilty when choosing between the male or female restrooms. She could finally refer to herself as a he, as a him, as a man in every way. Her adult life would be the way her whole life should have been. Lifting up her chin she nodded assuredly.
"Yes, I most definitely am, more than anything."
The doctor nodded back at her and opened the folder on her desk. "All right then, let's get cracking. Oh!" She stopped and looked up at Iona. "By the way, do you have a name picked out?"
"Yes, I do," Iona said with a smile. "Ianto."