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Shadows of the Past

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1 September 5192 (Earth Standard Date)

Luna University

The Moon


“And remember your reading,” Ianto called out over the students bustling out of the lecture hall, on their way to their next classes.  “I expect you all to be at least through chapter five by the next class!”

Only a couple students acknowledged him, but Ianto knew they’d all heard.  He couldn’t help the smile on his face as he began to pack away his materials into the leather satchel Jack has given him on his first day, in order to clear the room for the next instructor to take over.

When Rowena had suggested a syllabus based on dragon history, Ianto hadn’t been at all certain it would be popular.  He’d given such lectures in the past, and they were always well attended, but an entire term? 

It had turned out that it had indeed been popular.  So popular, in fact, that Rowena – as History Chair for the University – was seriously considering adding another course to the curriculum, as well as one dealing with the Star Dragons as well.  She was certain such classes would cut down on most of the rampant rumours that swirled about their family, and Ianto couldn’t deny that.

There were times when he really wished Arthur had never started most of the original rumours regarding the family.  It had been bad enough when Anwyn had done it; his grandson had just made things worse.  Too many people saw the Star Dragons as miracle workers as it was, when that was actually farther from the truth as one could get. 

He knew that Rowena would want him to teach those courses as well.  Ianto wasn’t so certain he wanted to; it would take a lot of his time, and he’d need to discuss it with Jack first.  Still, it was a good idea.  Star Dragons had gained recognition as their own race within the Human Empire, with their own laws and traditions, and as patriarch it was Ianto’s duty to educate those who would either twist things or deliberately misunderstand.

He finished gathering up his things, and then left the large room, nodding to the instructor who would be holding the next class as he passed her on the way out.  The hallway beyond was filled with students and teachers as they made their way between lecture halls or offices, and the dragon dodged and wove his way amongst them, heading toward the tiny closet that Rowena had lent him as his own private office.

Luna University was one of the largest centres of learning in the Empire.  Built in the immense Oceanus Procellarum, in the northern hemisphere of Earth’s Moon, it was once the location of one of the first domes on the lunar surface, until the larger cities were built on the Mare Insularum and the Mare Imbrium, leaving the area unpopulated until the then-Emperor chartered the University in the 27th century.  Ianto could remember when construction had begun, and it still amazed him just how much that original school had grown up over the centuries.

His office was on the sixth floor of the History building.  It was miniscule, as befitting a temporary instructor, and Rowena kept trying to tempt him into tenure by offering him a larger one.  While she did have a point that there wasn’t enough room in the place to swing a cat, Ianto was actually fairly content to use the cramped quarters for the time being.  If he decided to cave under her heavy-handed hints and stay on, then he’d think about something larger.  Until then, he’d stay where he was. 

The main advantage of the office was the large window that looked out onto one of the many quads that made up the History sector of the campus.  Artificial lighting glittering down from the girders that made up the struts of the atmospheric dome for this section of the University in a wavelength that encouraged both the trees and grass that had been transplanted from various planets to grow. Natural sunlight did stream in from the clear panes of the dome, but it was partially blocked out by the radiation shielding that kept out the harshest glare of Earth’s primary.

From where Ianto’s office was, he couldn’t see the blue marble that was the Earth, but he could feel it deep within his bones, and the dragon wondered why it was so apparent now, when he’d lived on Hubworld for six hundred years before his retirement from Torchwood without seeming to notice.

Maybe he had.  Maybe he was just in denial.

Ianto squeezed between the well-stocked bookcase and the desk, settling himself in the not-too-comfortable chair that had been wedged in between the desk and the window.  He set his satchel down on the nearly clean blotter, sighing as he tried to relax.  He turned on his computer, and while he waited for it to boot up he took his lesson plans out of the satchel, wanting to go over them once more before his next class tomorrow. 

He was interrupted by a soft knock on his door.  He looked up, smiling at his son-by-mating, Henry Morgan, as the magical immortal stood there, one shoulder leaning against the jamb, wearing his slightly anachronistic clothing paired with a moss coloured scarf that was tucked into the front of the dark blue jacket he had on. 

He did wonder what it was about immortality in humans that had them staying with one sort of style of clothing for most of their lives, because Jack was the exact same way.  Phillip less so, but he’d certainly kept his fondness for expensive suits when working, even if they all had the Torchwood logo on them somewhere.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” he asked, leaning back as much as he could, resting his hand on the top of his files.

“Rowena has sent me to come and fetch you,” Henry answered, his old British accent still noticeable in the Galactic Standard he now spoke.  “It’s lunchtime, and she says you’ll forget to eat if someone doesn’t poke you.”  He shrugged, using the shoulder that wasn’t propping up the door jamb, a slight smirk on his handsome features.  “Of course, I know that’s a lie, so it’s most likely just Rowena wanting you to join us, and using an excuse so flimsy it could be knocked over with a feather in order to convince you.”

Ianto laughed.  He genuinely liked Henry, and there were many times he wished he’d met the immortal much earlier than he had; he would have certainly poached him for Torchwood back in the day.  Henry was one of those sorts who truly was a Jack of Many Trades: he’d been a medical doctor when he’d first discovered his immortality, back in the 1700’s, and had held so many different jobs in the meantime, becoming a master at many of them.  He’d been a gravedigger, a coroner, a police officer, even a pilot of a space-going cruise ship…and now he was a Professor of Ancient Languages, having become proficient in so many of them. 

It did make Ianto wonder just how many immortals there were out there, and he and Jack had never known about them.  Although, they both thought that Henry’s way of coming back to life was hilarious.

The dragon chuckled.  “She has you trained well.”

“Your daughter is frightening,” Henry countered.  “And our children are learning her tricks.  I soon won’t stand a chance against the lot of them.”

Rowena and Henry had adopted two of the children from the eggs that River had found and brought home, nearly eighty years ago.  It had seemed like an impossible task, to raise all of those poor children, but River had included a Time Lord stasis vault, and they now had all the time in the universe in which to bring those children back into the world.

Several members of their family had decided it was their turn to raise children, and since Henry had been positive that he and Rowena would never have children of their own – although Rowena was positive it would happen someday; after all, her very male father had carried both her and her twin – they’d taken two of the eggs, revealing the pair they called their twins, Jocelyn and Abraham.  Jocelyn was a studious young dragon, her scales blue and red, and Abraham was a light brown and tan, and more like his Granddad had been in his youth: brash and flirty, and Ianto often teased Jack that Abraham must have been his biological son, even though that would have been impossible. 

Jack accepted the teasing with good grace and the satisfied leer of a job of corruption well done.

While Jack might have mellowed bit over the centuries, he was still a borderline egomaniac with the sex drive of an Earth rabbit, and could flirt with anyone.  Ianto wouldn’t have him any other way.

“And you love it.”

The smile Ianto got from the man was downright sappy.  “Yes, I rather think I do.”

He knew he wasn’t going to win against the united front of his daughter and her smitten mate, so he capitulated and crawled back out from behind his desk.  “Well, I am a bit hungry.”  He was, now that Henry had mentioned lunch.  “It’s just too bad there’s such a lack of virgins this century.”

Henry snorted.  “One of these days, we’re all going to find a virgin and offer them up as a sacrifice, and then see what you do.”

“Oh, believe me, it’s been done,” Ianto laughed.  Leaving his papers on his desk, he ushered the British immortal out of the office, locking the door behind them.  “Let me tell you about the time, back in Old Cardiff, with our first Torchwood team…”

He regaled Henry with the story of how Owen, Rhys, and Toshiko had gotten together and had presented him with a young woman, tied to a makeshift altar, and offered her up as a virgin sacrifice to the mighty dragon.  He had Henry cackling as they made their way out of the building and down into the quad, heading toward the café that Ianto knew was Rowena’s favourite. 

It wasn’t one of Pryce’s tea shops thought.  It surprised Ianto how much those were avoided when he was with any member of their family. Yes, he’d been horrified when one of his children hadn’t liked coffee, and had gone to the extreme of opening a chain of tea shops, but he was honestly proud of Pryce for making her own way, and being successful at it.  Besides, they had other beverages besides tea, and their selection of scones was quite impressive.

Still, the café that Rowena always met them at was quite nice.  They had a decent selection of good yet inexpensive meals aimed at the ‘broke University’ student, and coffee that wasn’t half bad.  Ianto quite enjoyed their cheese and meat pasta, and would often get two orders.  After all, as a dragon his metabolism and inner flame needed the fuel, and he had quite a healthy appetite.

Rowena was waiting for them when they entered the café.  It wasn’t quite crowded, it being a little past the traditional lunch time, but it was busy enough that Ianto was glad his daughter had gotten them a table.

She got up and hugged him; he returned it gladly.  “I did just see you this morning,” he quipped as they pulled apart.

Rowena rolled her eyes at him as they took the other chairs at the table.  “I can’t hug my Tad when I see him?”

The dragon laughed.  “Just don’t tell your Dad about it.  He’ll get jealous that I’m receiving all the love, as it were.”

“Oh Goddess,” she chuckled, “if only you were wrong…”

Ianto knew his mate, after all.  Jack might pretend he never did jealousy but Ianto knew different.  And him seeing one of their children and getting hugs on a daily basis was something that would definitely work to that goal.

The three of them each perused a menu, although Ianto knew what he was going to get.  They decided on a couple of appetisers before the wait-being came to take their orders; like any other sort of University business nearly everyone who worked there as wait staff were students trying to make money to cover their courses.  Ianto would make certain there was a large enough tip when they left.

They chatted easily as they waited for their food.  Ianto, while being very much a creature of Earth, always enjoyed his times offworld.  That sense of being somewhere new, living a new life and being a different person had always been exciting for him.  He recalled, when he was a child, of not wanting to ever leave home; that had changed, that first trip away from Ddraig Llyn, back with his father when they’d gone together to meet with Kilgarrah at Camelot. 

He’d first met Merlin and Arthur on that journey.  Sometimes it was amazing what destiny brought his way.

Of course, after his family had been killed Ianto had become a recluse in his own valley, mourning what he’d lost, and not wanting to risk himself in the lands beyond.  Years later, once he’d healed in both body and soul, he’d taken trips away from Ddraig Llyn, when rumours of dragons would reach him, but those rumours, each and every one of them, had proved false.

Now he understood why, thanks to a certain time-travelling archaeologist who just happened to have been married to the ultimate meddler.

The cheese and pasta was just as good as Ianto remembered.  As he ate, he laughed at Rowena’s description of Abraham’s latest shenanigans and how he’d tried to rope his sister into his scheme to hook up with two of his classmates.  Jocelyn’s horror at having to deal with her brother’s ‘farce of a love life’ almost had him falling out of his chair.

“If he doesn’t calm it down,” Henry complained, “he’s going to get some girl or boy pregnant.”

“At least he can’t get himself pregnant,” Rowena pointed out.

“This is true,” her mate agreed, taking a bite of what the future called shepherd’s pie, which really wasn’t all that much like it as far as Ianto could recall.

“Hello, Ancient One.”

That unexpected voice sent a shiver down Ianto’s spine.