“Did you enjoy your lunch?” Jack asked as Ianto came in through the cog door.
Ianto glanced over toward his lover’s office; Jack stood, hands in his pockets, leaning on the door jamb and with a blandly neutral look on his face.
It immediately set of Ianto’s internal ‘Jack’ alarm.
Was Jack up to something?
He stopped in his tracks. “It was just fine,” Ianto answered slowly. “Rhiannon says hello, and she misses you on IM lately.” He knew that Jack and his sister hadn’t been getting on – mostly in their cat fights over fanfic – and while Ianto thought the whole thing childish he did know that he wanted the two of them to get along.
Besides, if Jack was determined to write the purplest prose in the history of smut, then Ianto figured he deserved a few bad remarks.
And…once again, Ianto Jones despaired of being the adult in their relationship. Not to mention his own family.
That brought out the Harkness pout. “I won’t talk to her if she won’t respect my storytelling abilities. And you’re no better!”
Ianto barely stifled a sigh. Okay, he admitted that maybe he’d been a bit hard on Jack, but it was actually just a wee bit embarrassing. Jack hadn’t even hidden his identity, signing up on the IJS website as JackHarkness1. He’d bragged about it in the forums and had actually uploaded some highly charged photos too. And Ianto wasn’t going to even think about the manips…
The younger immortal wasn’t ashamed of his relationship with Jack…far from it. But honestly…it was obscene, all the flaunting.
It didn’t make it any better that the majority of the IJS members loved Jack to pieces, and that was after the animosity that had heralded Jack’s presence not all that long ago, because Jack had failed to tell Ianto that he’d loved him before Ianto had died at Thames House.
It just proved that the Harkness Charmtm was contagious through the Internet as well.
The world was doomed.
Ianto opened his mouth to say something, but somehow Jack managed to cross from his office and to shove his tongue down Ianto’s throat so quickly that he promptly forgot what he was going to say.
Jack knew just how to distract Ianto, to the young man’s dismay…and pleasure.
Two days later Ianto remembered the Jack-vibes he’d gotten, back in the Hub.
But it wasn’t something that Jack did that reminded him.
It was a right cross that knocked Jack back onto the stone pavers of the Plass.
Damn…he’d had no idea Rhys Williams could punch so hard…
Ianto was impressed.
“Stay down, Jack bloody Harkness,” Rhys growled. “Unless you want me to knock you on your arse again!”
Jack – very intelligently – stayed put.
“Would you mind explaining why you just punched out Jack?” Ianto asked calmly, thinking that Rhys would have had a very good reason for it, since he wasn’t a violent man by nature. Although, there was that one time in the pub during the Wales v England match…
No, Rhys would have had a good reason.
“That bastard Retconned my Mam!” Rhys snapped. “Again!”
Well…not that Ianto wouldn’t have taken great pleasure in Retconning Brenda Williams, but he wouldn’t have been caught.
Jack looked completely unrepentant.
“And why do you think Jack Retconned your mother?” Ianto asked, really wanting to be the voice of reason in this conversation, and at the same time hoping they wouldn’t draw too large a crowd. Thank God it was after dark and the Plass was pretty well deserted…
“Because she forgot that Gwen was pregnant! And when she saw that, she not only broke the Retcon that Jack gave her – and she remembers you coming round for tea, don’t bother to deny it – but she also remembered our bloody wedding!”
Well, wasn’t that…special.
Ianto looked down at Jack, who had a sheepish expression on his face. “Jack?”
“Oops?” At least the immortal had the grace to look ashamed of himself.
“It’s a bit more than ‘oops’, mate!” Rhys shouted. “She also remembers you calling her an ugly bitch!”
Ianto cringed. Not one of Jack’s finest moments…even if it was true that Brenda wasn’t the prettiest woman on the planet, or that he’d believed her to be a shape-changing alien. That wasn’t something you’d go and yell at someone.
“Jack,” Ianto sighed. “You know you’re rubbish with the Retcon. Why didn’t you come to me to help with the dosage?”
Rhys was gaping at him, and Ianto had to wonder just why that goldfish look was so popular. “You would’ve Retconned my Mam?”
Ianto shrugged. “I have done it before you know.” And the Retcon would have held, if Jack hadn’t decided to take matters into his own hands and dose her again. After all, there was a reason why Gwen broke the Retcon in the first place, and it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that Ianto could get the amounts right in his sleep. “Well, it does sort of depend on just why he did it.” And what he’d been up to while Ianto had had lunch with Rhiannon two days ago. He crossed his arms. “Care to explain, Jack?”
His lover wore a stubborn look that reminded Ianto of his nephew David in one of his more stroppy moods. “Do you mind if I stand up? The pavement’s not doing a thing for my ass…”
Ianto gently moved Rhys out of slugging range, then held out a hand to his lover. He enjoyed Jack’s arse far too much to let it rest on the hard paving stones for any longer. Jack tried to delay by brushing himself down, but the younger immortal just stared at him. “Spill it, Jack,” he finally ordered. “You must have thought you had a good reason…”
“I did!” Jack exclaimed.
“Then, all you have to do is say what it was. I’m sure Rhys would understand.”
“Not bloody likely,” Rhys muttered.
Jack dragged his toe across the pavers, looking like a kid who’d got caught doing something they shouldn’t. “It was…well…” then he mumbled something too low for either man to hear.
“Excuse me?” Ianto said.
“It was…” Once again, Jack didn’t say it loudly enough, but Ianto thought he heard the word ‘story’.
“What about a story, Jack?’ This was getting ridiculous. Was he going to have to threaten his lover with decaf to get him to talk.
“It was the story,” Jack answered, enunciating each word carefully. “I know it was her.”
Realization dawned. “You mean…you Retconned Mrs. Williams over a story written on the IJS website?” It was now officially ridiculous. “Why on Earth would you do something like that? And how did you even know it was her?” Everyone had a username on the site; it wasn’t Ianto’s fault that Jack had used his real one.
“Bloody hell,” Rhys swore.
“It was what the story was about,” Jack admitted, meeting Ianto’s eyes defiantly. “No one writes you with someone else. Besides, I didn’t like being called a ‘shallow, over-sexed man-child with ADD’. “
Ianto flatly refused to go goldfishy. “Jack, it was just a story. It didn’t mean anything.”
“Still…after what she said on New Years, it bothered me. I didn’t want anyone else to read you being happy with anyone else.”
The younger immortal was touched by Jack’s feelings, but he couldn’t let his lover go around Retconning anyone who decided to write something he didn’t agree with.
“Was that Happily Ever After in Penarth?” he asked, recognizing the ADD line.
Jack nodded. “It had to have been here, since she’s Rhys’ mum and she was the one who wished that Rhys had married someone like you.”
Ianto had to admit that Jack had a point on the authorship. Happily Ever After in Penarth had been a Rhys/Ianto story, the only one so far on the site. He could see where Jack would get the idea that Brenda had written it.
He was going to say something to that effect, when he was disturbed by a sound it took him about five seconds to identify.
It was Rhys laughing.
He and Jack simply stared at the man as Rhys bent over, laughing until he couldn’t breathe. Every so often he’d point a finger in Jack’s direction, and then start laughing even harder. His face went red, and Ianto was getting even more irritated than ever.
“You mind sharing the joke?” Jack snapped.
Rhys struggled to regain control of himself. “You’re the joke, mate,” he finally managed to wheeze. “My Mam didn’t write that…I did!”
Well, that hadn’t been at all what Ianto expected.
“You’re Queenbee2?” Jack asked incredulously. “I thought – “
“I wanted people to think I was a woman,” Rhys shook his head. “Didn’t want it to get out that I was writing gay porn with me as one of the stars, now did I?”
“But Rhys,” Ianto said, feeling suddenly in awe. “Happily Ever After in Penarth is brilliant! Why aren’t you writing professionally?”
Rhys blushed in pleasure. “Wanted to in Uni, but my folks said I’d never make any money from it. So I kinda gave it up.”
“But…” Jack stammered. “I mean, you and Gwen…”
“What I write doesn’t have anything to with Gwen,” Rhys snapped. “Besides…who wouldn’t want to be with Ianto? He’s gorgeous, and a hero. I’m a straight bloke and I can see it.”
Ianto felt his face heating up. “Rhys, I’m flattered…”
“Well I’m not!” Jack exclaimed. “The way you painted me in that story…”
“I call it like I see it, Jack,” the other man answered. “I don’t know how Ianto puts up with you.”
Jack looked at Ianto. “I know I get on your nerves sometimes, but I’m not that bad…am I?”
Ianto looked at Jack. Yes, he could be immature and sometimes had the attention span of a hamster, but Jack was his, and while he’d loved the story that description had irritated him.
And so, he moved beside Jack, and put his arm around his lover’s waist under the greatcoat. “No Jack,” he answered, “you’re not that bad – “
Whatever Ianto was going to say was swallowed up by Jack’s mouth, and that was perfectly fine with him.
Later that night, Jack rewarded Ianto for putting up with him.
Rewarded him four times, in fact, which made them late getting back to the Hub that morning…not that Ianto minded. The others could deal with instant until he got in.
“You know,” he said, setting Jack’s first cup of coffee of the day in a clear spot on the desk, “as touched as I am that you want me all to yourself, you’re going to have to stop Retconning anyone who writes something you don’t agree with.”
“I know,” Jack said. “I just don’t like the idea of you being with anyone else…even in fanfic.”
Ianto had the sudden feeling of extreme sappiness well up inside, and he had to forcibly tamp it back down. He didn’t acknowledge that sort of thing; it wasn’t in his nature. He preferred being snarky and an adult, thanks much. Besides, he didn’t want to remind Jack that he’d once been quite addicted to Rhiannon’s Harlequin romances. It clashed with his manly façade. He had a tendency to lose his dignity enough in this job. “Just don’t do it again,” he cautioned. “Unless you ask me to mix the dosage. Can’t have any inconvenient memories popping up, now can we?”
The smile Jack gave him warmed him even more than the sappiness had.
“Now, back to work,” Ianto said. “If you finish those reports by the time I get back from Brenda Williams’ house, I might give you a treat.” Damage control was one of his specialties, after all.
“Do you promise?” Jack leered.
Ianto kissed the leer off his lover’s face. “I might even let you read me some of your fanfic.”