Ianto knelt to hug the children as Jack waited impatiently shifting from foot to foot like a small child himself.
In the three months since the 'Drill' things had progressed quickly and now the crew saw them as a couple, even if not yet formally bonded. Preliminary reports had been done, Ianto had doctored a few and Jack was again amazed at the level of intelligence as Ianto liberally added spelling mistakes and bad grammar to some forms for crew members that had no idea they had submitted their reports already.
It was now about to come to a head as Torchwood orbited Sol3, the order to return to base one you do no ignore and Ianto was hoping it did not bode a court-martial.
He rose and addressed Rhiannon "Sissy. I know some are going down to see Slo3 … it is not home now. We can never think of it as that, please do not go."
"Awwww" David whined.
"David, our home is gone. Destroyed, do you want to feel sad or be grateful we are here? Mica might become upset if she sees, do you want that?" Ianto asked calmly, "When I get back we will have a fly over of some parts, Jack will want to see the oceans where the cleaning bots are anyway, yeah? I will take the Myfanwy low and you will see more than no anyway."
David pouted but agreed.
Rhiannon caught Ianto's eye and they shared a moment, their fear of not knowing if Ianto would come back at all. Soon he was moving with Jack beside him, the hand at the small of Ianto's' back more one of comfort than haste.
Myfanwy landed without fanfare and they were led to the room where Ianto was to learn his fate and that of the crew he had so carefully handled. The council were waiting and rose as they entered, looking with interest at the couple who wore the regulation gunmetal grey although Ianto did also have a small splash of green in his tie that Jack had noted already and not commented on.
That's Ianto. Defiant to the end.
"Captain Harkness, Lieutenant Jones please be seated" one intoned and Jack blinked as he turned to Ianto and mouth 'Lieutenant' to him. Ianto glared and sat, fidgeting with his papers.
"We have received the first of your reports and are interested in the exercise you undertook, especially the conclusion that although the crew did not act appropriately they succeeded in proving our point that humanity prevails." A man said softly and Ianto felt his balls shrivel as their Chairman looked down at them "I understand these are preliminary and it may be years before a full report is finished but the upgrade of the Torchwood that was downloaded to show the clever and efficient cleaning of the system is being added to the start up lists for all the fleet ships as they roll off the production line. The drills will help improve efficiency no end. This will greatly improve the efficiency of our birds as well as crew. I am impressed with the level of clarity here. Also … I note Mister Jones' submission that the red and green emergency lighting was frightening to crew who did not understand our warning colours that have existed for hundreds of years and after careful consideration it is the recommendation of the Great Council the that blanket ban be lifted on those two colours when onboard a Space Craft. Red and Green are important colours, they should be seen and not feared as they are what may save a life. Or a ship. For here on out, red and green are no longer to be subversive when in space however, Mister Jones is being defiant today."
Ianto bowed politely, "Sir, this was my father's tie. Good luck."
"Yes, I remember it well. Your father was a hard man but a fair one. He argued the colour bans as well. This drill had proven that we are not all machines and are capable of rational thought still. You agree with this view?"
"Sir, I believe we are capable of great things, terrible things and in the end only the righteous shall prevail. To this end, I would like to explore the restrictions set out in the past, do they still apply? Ave we now become so…afraid of compliance that we have lost some of the qualities that gave us the ability to create? Inspire? For it is no secret that we have not advanced as a people since these were imposed, for all the greatness of the wondrous change…I respectfully point out that we are stunted." Ianto felt Jack jerk with alarm as Ianto subversively challenged the rules, "My lords and ladies, I look at all of you and I do not see robes or autons but people with thoughts, opinions and individuality. Yet … where are the artists? Not a new piece of music to stir our hearts, the school teach the same thing as when I was a child, no advanced technology or applied sciences. In restricting colour, in imposing harsh regulations we have also, as a people, stunted our growth. IS this a good thing? Or not. I do not know and wish to explore that premise. I wish to have an embargo on the Torchwood, an exemption of the colour rules so we might explore the effects of the reintroduction of colours. To hear that you agree, the reintroduction of red and green into the world was both surprising and extremely exciting for me. I know I am on the right wave length as those of you who agreed to this must also see what I do. We are not stupid anymore and hopefully are now so well schooled in what happened that we have learned from it. Time to test the waters."
The room held its breath and the Chairman considered, for all the bullshit and bluster he was the only one who could decided such a thing and he silently nodded, the room focused as Ianto felt his jaw drop and cleared his throat to cover his shook at such an open win he hadn't expected.
Jack rose and Ianto bowed slightly, clutching the back of Jack's tunic as he sought to be calm and Jack said with equal shock, "As it is the will of our people, the agreement of our lords? The Torchwood will implement a new task. This task will not be easy and not without flaws but if we are about to reintroduce colours into our world we want to reassure the council that we will endure to continue the excellent way of life that was chosen by said council with their forward thinking and compassion for the people."
"Now bow and fucking run" Ianto hissed under his breath, both men bowing then walking from the room, both collapsing against the doors as they panted with shock.
"Ianto, did you just thumb your nose at them and get thanked for it? Shit. Shit. We are exempt from the rules?"
"Yeah" Ianto's face settling into a grin, "I just got the Torchwood to go natural."
Jack hoped this was a good idea.
Things were going to be crazy.
Chapter 2: Tiger has Shade?
Ianto was driving, Jack going over the files being downloaded to his tablet, even though they both knew Ianto would go through then resection them into the correct titles, even as Jack sought a single one that he recognised as his. Most of the work assigned seemed to be for Ianto, as per usual.
It wasn't until Ianto slowed the vehicle did Jack look up and realise with horror that they were in a lock-out zone. Ianto waved their creds with a look of distain at the guards who saluted and opened the blockade, letting them into an area that was not exactly Agency Friendly. Their Hover stood out like a sore thumb with the insignia on the side.
"Trust me" he said as he reached out and taped a code into the Hover and Jack gaped as several things happened at once. The hover changed pitch, the windows peeled back to show the atmmo was safe and not full of the fumes Central City had and the third most interesting thing for Jack was the soft music that emanated from the speakers.
Ianto turned a corner and Jack now saw something else that had him dropping the tablet to openly gape. As they moved through a maze of large concreted wall-like structures he looked back and found bright colour splashed on the side not visable outside the fencing.
Jack finally saw that they were entering the Subversive Zone.
Ianto moved along with a soft smile and he glanced over to see Jack leaning over to touch the ground, the sad fluffs of grass were not the bright green of our verse, more a sad yellow but still colour in a world where mostly concrete ruled. Jack was engrossed, the Hover stopping to make him straighten and look straight at open Subversives blocking the Hover with their arms folded defiantly.
"HEMMAK!" Ianto yelled and he clambered from the hover and one of the men lit up, his teeth flashing as he rushed to greet Ianto, Jack carefully extracting himself to slide around the back of the Hover and stand behind Ianto nervously.
"Look at you!" one laughed as he poked at Ianto, "Like a raincloud! Boring man!"
"I know" Ianto laughed "Is he here?"
They were led into a boring grey building, no doubt so the drones travelling at height did not detect anything but once the doors closed Jack's eyes widened. Colour. Everywhere. Bright splashes of …well … everything. Like a psychedelic trip. Jack was entranced, reaching out to touch a neon green lamp and whisper "green. This is green. Wow."
"Super green" a voice said and he turned to find a black man on a bright red suit with a white shirt and purple tie. Now Jack was speechless.
"Idris" Ianto said happily, "hello old friend."
"Hello Toto" the man smiled as they hugged and Jack was now drawn to a goddess that was stalking the two embracing men, her dress black with red flowers splashed on the fabric, green leaves and a bright pink moth Jack knew were once called butterflies peppered here and there. Blue peeked underneath, underskirts that flared as she walked and Jack saw long slender legs of a dancer.
"Ianto?" her voice was soft and hesitant.
"Lisa" he smiled as he released the man called Idris and embraced her, their kiss shocking to Jack who considered Ianto his. Her hand moving to Ianto's butt cheek made Jack clench his fists and it was not unnoticed by Idris who looked back at the ex-lovers with his own surprise.
"Lissy, break now" he warned as he stepped forward and yanked on her arm, Ianto staggering back and Jack now saw that he had been trying politely to get away from her.
Ianto laughed softly, "Still a bloody octopus Lissy."
"Still taste like a cup of goodness" she replied then looked at the captain, "And who is this cup of sweet tea?"
"Mine!" Ianto said and Jack felt the swell of pride as her face fell.
"Really? You finally find a male counterpart that could handle you?" Idris was laughing as he slapped Jack on the shoulder and addressed him, "You must have a constitution of steel, the patience of a saint and the ability to slap him hard. This one is a shit when in a mood. I knew he wanted a male bond-mate. So glad he found one in the end."
Jack find himself smiling as he replied, "actually, I quite like him smacking me behind closed doors."
"Captain!" Ianto gasped with genuine glee, "so naughty Cariad."
Lisa looked between the two men, "I see. Come to show me my replacement?"
"I came to see Idris, not you" Ianto was annoyed now, his frown forming as he stepped closer to Jack in a show of ownership, "I have things to discuss. Official things between our people and I did not think you were here, not in the middle of the week. All those subversive posters to sneak up about the place … so much to do, so many guards to catch you and so few willing idiots to do your bidding while you stay safely behind the barriers."
"Now now" Idris growled, "Not that old stone. No more throwing them please. She has not sent out a subversive team in months."
"She did last week, your own nephew caught in the madness!" Ianto's reply was low enough for Idris to hear but not his men and the smile faded from the man's face as he turned to look at her with anger.
"Brian? You sent Brian into the grey zone?"
Her leer at Jack changed to one of shock as she swung to face one of her security team.
Seems Ianto was surprising them both today.
Chapter 3: claims
The drinking glasses were coloured glass and Jack was enamoured with his, holding it up so the light filtered through it. Ianto ignored him as he spoke with Idris, "It was told to me that he and two others were postering city hall's back doors with colour rants. They were watched and followed for almost an hour before being pinched by the Heddlu. They are being held and are most likely to be sent to the mines."
Idris looked at Lisa who was shaking her head, "I swear, I did not authorise it. Not our own nephew. We promised Gerry we would look after the boy, not …not…use him!"
Jack focused on the woman again and saw her reaching for Ianto's' hand, said hand sliding back out of her reach as Ianto continued to ignore her. Ah. Jack pondered this and it finally dawned on him why they were here, Ianto was trying so hard to make the Torchwood something better. Brighter and Jack glanced at the purple glass one more time then spoke.
"We have just been authorised to release Torchwood form the laws of Sol3" he said calmly, Ianto not reacting let him know he had guessed correctly so he continued, "To that effect we are to be a flag ship in reintroducing colour to a society in small increments. Ianto and I will have years… if we do this right, release what we want back to base and fly beyond their reach where we could have literately years of freedom without the bondage of the Black and White Law."
Idris stared at Jack like he had grown another head as Lisa snorted, "And why the hell would they do that?"
"Because I tricked them" Ianto replied sagely, Idris snorting with amusement as he nodded.
"Your long game you used to talk of when we scoffed at your obedience" Idris guessed.
"Ianto is a breath of fresh air that I thank the Gods for every day" Jack said easily, "He has a plan. I will follow his lead, even as I pretend to be in charge. It seems to be working so far."
Ianto smiled softly and the room did not exist, no one else existed in that moment as Ianto's face changed to show raw affection.
"Bonded" Idris said softly, "You are soul-bonded."
"Yes" Ianto retuned his gaze to the table and Jack cleared his throat.
"Ianto and I are a team. We run the Torchwood. Clearly Ianto is about to stir the pot" Jack rose, "Come on. Before the ship leaves, we have some new recruits to snap up from holding do we?"
"Yes sir" Ianto rose and looked at the siblings across the table, "This is the last time I will come here, the last time we will sit at the table. I hate you. I love you. I miss you. I wish I never knew you. I revel in the fact we are bonded forever in the rainbow of our lives."
Idris rose and responded, "I hate you. I love you. I need say no more to one who is clearly of a part of my own self."
Lisa finally rose and said softly, "I love you. I hate myself."
I hate you both, love you both and will never forget the feeling of such freedom" Ianto nodded like that was an acceptable statement and turned to go, Jack blinking then turning to follow but a large black hand caught his elbow, "Brian. You can help him?"
"IF we are quick yeah. He might not like it and will not get a free ride from either of us but he will live, yes. Ianto came to let you know I think … not just about me but about him. We will do what we can" Jack nodded, the mines known for the quick change over of unwilling slaves who died from the radiation within months of arriving.
Once they were back in the hover and exiting the zone Ianto said softly "Thank you. I have faith in you, I knew you would not shame me or let me down. I was proud to have you there beside me."
"I wonder" Jack turned to him, "was that so I could see them in that world? Or so that world could see me?"
Both" Ianto said shortly, "It was an ending and a beginning. They now see I do not need them, I have you. Also ... they see you are someone who is not an enemy."
"And this Brian?"
"Gerry died in the second great colour war, Brian only a toddler from the Abandon Rock she had rescued before he died form the exposure. Lisa and I raised him as our own. When things turned sour and I left, he was heartbroken and blamed them for my hurts be it true or not, he rebelled. Like all good little shits he did not rebel by being opposite to their beliefs, but openly used them to taunt. Idris and Lisa are unable to chastise or punish the actions because they are their own beliefs he uses to gain their anger" Ianto laughed, "I fear I taught him well. He is a clever little shit. The others look to him as a martyr, even as Idris and Lisa could throttle him."
"How old?" Jack was starting to like this kid. To be left to die for his subversive appearance only to become someone so strong in the Order.
"He will be sixteen, the other two I think similar in age and libido. All hate the Laws, all buck the system and behind closed doors all are just kids trying to grow too fast" Ianto glanced at Jack.
"Will they be rough?"
"Massive. I am releasing a Fergit into a Vellid field" Ianto said and the image of a large rampaging creature eating all the crops had Jack snorting.
This was going to be interesting … for all of them.
Chapter 4: scoop and run
Myfanwy touched down in the courtyard of the 'containment centre' that was so much a prison there were even armed guards who watched the Torchwood insignia glisten as Ianto took a moment to take a breath and then turned to watch Jack address those with them.
"The three youths we are taking into our custody will not be compliant, they are subversive. Deeply so. Ah … also they are from the forbidden zone so don't show any alarm if they taunt you."
"So … why are we taking them again?" Andy asked as Rhys and another man called Haw hefted their own pulse rifles, Rhys excited to be given a security detail that bought him out of the bloody kitchens.
"Because one of them is family to me" Ianto said.
"But…they are black? Like…not the acceptable black-black but that pretty brown that was outlawed and mostly bred out now?" Andy was super confused now.
"Brian is a pretty soft brown like some puppies they kill at birth, yes" Ianto let his anger show, "the other two is one male and one female. All have brown eyes, brown hair and brown skin. All are pretty, striking almost and subversive in appearance. They were separated from their parentals at birth and released to the zone."
"And they say there is no segregation now the colour is gone" Rhys muttered with anger, "A child between me and Gwen has a fifty percent chance of inheriting my mother's soft brown curls. My mother had green eyes, I remember that colour when she came in the night to kiss me goodbye. The culls widening to those the shades did not work for."
"Yes" Ianto said softly, "Brenda right?"
"You read my file?"
"You would be surprised the things I know ensign" Ianto smiled then motioned for them to go, Jack striding out with his hands in the pocket of his blue/grey coat knowing it was open subversiveness to wear the coat that was a family heirloom, his great grandfather's from some distant war.
"Hi" he said cheerfully to the guards that quickly rushed to surround them, "Got a pick up."
Ianto then noticed the captain's grin as he winked and Ianto took the hint, stepping forward to soothe and handle like a boss. Soon they were in the facility and waiting in a holding room. Andy had stayed on the transporter, disliking the entire place and who could blame him.
The three youths were brought in struggling against the guards in their plain grey jumpsuits, one with a shaved head and Ianto knew the hair must have been coloured.
"Stop it!" he snapped and one looked up with surprise, staring at the man who stood with that commanding presence of a superior. "All three of you will cut that out right now. Look at me. Be still."
"That's all, cheereo" Jack waved to the guards who blinked with confusion.
"He means fuck off" Rhys said flatly as Haw moved closer to the youths, placing himself between them and the guards.
"Well? Don't keep him waiting then" Ianto said as Jack rocked on the balls of his feet and pretended to ignore them. As door clanged hut and Rhys let out a breath sighing to Ianto.
"Did you hear that? I said the F word" Rhys hissed.
"A veritable bomb thrower, you are!" Ianto replied blandly and Rhys started to snigger.
"Come on then" Haw said softly, "Fuck off with ya!"
More sniggering as the two men revelled in the subversiveness of it all.
"Cut it out ya divvys, we ain't out of this yet" Ianto hissed, "Keep it straight a little longer, once we are home you can do a fucking re-enactment for the crew at evening meal, even make Andy and a few others be the guards but please for the love of gods, do not nut anyone!"
Sniggering and giggles as they pretended to head but each other then connected with yelps.
"See?" Ianto sighed.
"Boys, please. No roughhousing in the prison yeah?" Jack said happily as he looked at the youths, "So … which one is yours Tiger?"
Ianto pointed to the one with fuzzy hair and huge eyes that were drinking in the madness around them, "that's Brian. Me and Lisa took him when he was about six months old, little bastard. Loved him like a son and it broke my heart when I was told I had to leave. Couldn't bear to take him into the bland world of order so I left him with Lisa. I trusted her not to let him fail."
"Hello boy" Ianto smiled, "Now, we are not out yet. A little longer, go back to sulky shit-mode or they might suspect we are not about to punish you in the engine room."
They led the youths out to the waiting vessel and one slowed as she looked up, "The Myfanwy. Isn't that a bird from the Torchwood?"
"Yep. I'm the Captain" Jack said happily, "Captain Jack Harkness of the Torchwood. Ianto here is my PA and general co-conspirator…I mean ... bond-mate."
More sniggering as Rhys and Haw were telling Andy in hushed voices what had happened and then re-enacted head butting one another, another 'owww' as they connected and stood glaring at one another as they rubbed their foreheads.
"For the love of gods" Ianto said as he settled in the pilot seat, "Stop that before you destroy with little brain cells ya have left."
Jack glanced back and winked as the youths gaped.
They had no idea what they were about to become part of.
Chapter 5: hello goodbye
Myfanwy touched down and Idris was running for it, his face one of despair as the gangplank slowly lowered then Brian and the other two were first out into his arms as he laughed and clutched at them.
"You know you have to go, it's not safe for you now. You are all marked" Idris said sadly, "You were so foolish."
Lisa was standing back and Ianto glanced over at her, knowing she was responsible and trying to come to terms with what she had reduced their child to. "Right, you have an hour. Go collect what you can and return. If you do not return I will leave without you and you will be dead next time they find you."
Ianto walked away, Jack watching with a resigned grimace knowing it was killing Ianto to act so cold. He knew Ianto was beyond hurt that this was happening and doing the best he could by them.
Idris turned in time to catch the sorrow on Jack's face before he schooled his face into the Captain and turned to face him, "Right. You and me need to talk Idris. Come on, let him have a moment to say goodbye as I do not think we will set foot on this planet again. For all the restrictions and allowances the council are giving us, we are about to misbehave in such a manner that they will not be able to ignore it."
"What do you mean?" Idris asked with surprise.
"Come, let's talk about it."
Andy peeked out and looked down at the grass with interest, then crept down to crouch and touch it.
"That's nothing mate, follow Toto" Lisa said softly, "He's heading for the tunnel houses. Come on, you want to see colour?"
Andy rose with interest, following Lisa as she led him to a new experience that would leave him reeling for days.
Idris poured the tea, Ianto making a small noise of delight as the dark amber liquid gurgled into the cup and Ianto leaned over it to smell and groan. Jack watched and copied, then took a sip.
"You think that' something, you need to ask Toto here to use that old machine over there" Idris pointed to a chrome thing that shone at them, "He is the only one that ever made it work."
Ianto rose and walked over to touch it, "Its warm. You've already heated it up?"
"I do remember how to do it, even if I create shit" Lisa said with a grimace, "Please? Once more?"
"Weeeeeeeeeeellllll" Ianto seemed to consider "I guess. One last time."
Jack watched as Ianto danced like some intricate routine around the thing as it made noises and such, then he swung with two cups, placing one down for Jack and one for Idris the turning back to bang something and two ore came out.
"Coffee?" Jack asked as he finally recognised the smell.
"Not like you know" Idris smiled, "Not replicator shit, this if the real thing. Caffeine, pure caffeine. Take a sip. Go on."
Jack furtively lifted the cup and started, it was not black but a brownish tan with a swirl in it.
"Mmmmmmmmm" Idris was having some sort of orgasm, "A Mochachino!"
Jack took a sip and it exploded in his mind as well as his mouth, his eyes blowing out as he took another sip.
"His eyes are so exotic" Idris said to Ianto as he watched Jack remove the fogging glasses and examine the cup some more before the next sip, "Pretty."
"Boeshanninan" Ianto said softly and Idris seemed to jump in his seat, taking Jack's attention as the man had some sort of conniption, then Idris started to laugh.
"What?" Jack asked as he lamented the now empty cup.
"Boeshanninan, like Ianto's father!" Idris laughed some more, "My gods. You found a bond-mate with your unique life span? Interesting."
"My father was Boeshanninan" Ianto said softly, "A secret the authorities didn't know. The baby of my grandparents died while they were on a cruise, they 'purchased' a baby at market and passed it off as their own. Of course no one realised the swap until I was born and he was still as a teenager, my mother aging but he wasn't. He was tested and found to be Boeshanninan. I believe you studied under him. The Brigadier Stranith. Jones was my mother's name. I did not want to be readily recognised as a Boeshanninan half breed as it might influence my selection for the Torchwood. I wanted on, I needed on. I did not need to be any more important that just a PA. If they knew I was Boeshanninan I would have been in the crew as a Lieutenant, my true rank marked within minutes and unable to create what I needed for Rhiannon and the kids to get on board."
"And once again, I am grateful for that mind" Jack assured him, "but you have to stop hiding so much. Gods, do you even have a real file anymore?"
"What?" Ianto deadpanned "Do you really think I had one to start with? Jack ... I was born this side of the border!"
Idris was surprised as Jack roared with mirth.
Tiger flicked that tail again.
Chapter 6: Welcome to a new world
"Torchwood, this is Myfanwy coming in for docking procedure, entering the bay now" Ianto's voice was velvet as was his touch and as the vessel came into the main hanger the first youth gasped, then started to whoop as the colours along the inner walls of the hold showed bright reds and greens.
Ianto swung to look at them as she cycled down, "Right. We are authorised to have red and green for now, once we are cleared to exit Sol3 control we are free to initiate whatever the hell we want. This vessel is no longer Sol3, it is now recognised as it's own entity and we can have colour as long as we keep it from the pictorials back there. Pull ya heads in, keep quiet and watch others to learn who you do and don't trust. They don't know out there. The lights that just followed us in are not going to please everyone."
Ianto walked out to find Jack already talking calmly to those who were running to look at the lights that had blasted on as Myfanwy moved past, her inner codes now assimilating throughout the Torchwood and by this evening there would be a lighting that would take breaths away.
"It is a computer programme designed by Mister Jones, yes we have clearance to have the colours and we are also allowed further exploration" Jack was booming out, then cheering as people revelled in the open subversiveness.
"Now … we have three new crew members about to disembark. These young people have come to us for… learning purposes. We are going to learn how to adjust to open subversiveness while they learn to try and fit in. Anyone with complaints about them are to come to me and Mister Jones." Jack looked around the bay with raised eyebrows, "also … while we are at it, the powers that be know me and Ianto are bonded. Anyone wants to comment on that can do so now too."
Silence then someone near the back yelled "About time!"
Jack suddenly smiled, "I know. He likes to run though and I am getting old."
Laughter and applause as Ianto emerged from the now cooling bird, unaware of the conversation and as he smiled and waved to Mica with a large bouquet of red roses he had covertly taken from Idris the place erupted.
"What" he said with shock, "what's he been telling you lot now!"
Laughter as he glared at Jack then walked down to hand the flowers to the little girl who was squealing with glee at the splash of colour, "Taddy! Oh Taddy!"
"Go, Mama will find a vase in your common room and me and Captain will come tonight for a special meal, just us in the inner sanctum. I even had a new tunic made."
She ran to Rhiannon who accepted then and smelt them with open awe, others rushing to look and smell as well. Who knew a colour could smell so sweet.
The three youths crept out and the pace grew quiet, Ianto turning to motion them down, "These are my friends. As you can see, they are of colour. One even has green eyes and all are from the Forbidden Zone. One of them is as my own, please be patient and kind as they try to fit in. Learn from them as you also help them."
Rhys was down the gangplank and he stood next to them, calling out "Gwen, the berth next to us is free. One can go in there and imbibe with us! We are without a child, we will take a youth as ours."
Gwen nodded and stepped forward, her eyes falling on the young girl who seemed terrified, "Hello pet. Just you? Or is one of these lads yours?"
The girl patted the arm of the boy next to her and said softly "Kirby. He's called Kirby. I'm Jemma."
"Well, a berth of your own, the two of you. A young couple, yeah come on love let's get you settled." Gwen said as she opened her arms, "Look at your wonderful eyes. I could stare into them forever, no wonder he is besotted. Like an angel, you are."
Brian glanced furtively at Ianto who sighed and said "Well? Come on, you're apparently with me. When I move in with the Captain you will have my berth next to Rhia, your aunt."
"What do we wear?" Brian asked, "We have only what we are standing up in."
"I have things for you from Idris" Ianto said softly, "Keep your voice down, monitor your tone please. You are speaking to a senior crew member. Like it or not, you will learn authority."
"From one prison to another" Brian snorted.
Then David was running for them, his arms out as he called for his uncle "Taddy Ianto!"
Ianto dropped to a knee and let the boy smash into him and they hugged fiercely, Ianto rising with the too large boy sill in his arms. Kisses, then he placed him down as David laughed, "She got flowers. What did you bring me then?"
Ianto pretended to consider then reached into his pocket, the huge bandana he pulled out a bright apple green.
The place froze as Ianto calmly tied it around David's neck like a cape.
"I have an entire trunk full of these, all the children are allowed one. You are all now allowed to wear these as a show of compliance to the new introduced colours into our regs." Ianto said loudly, "We have red cloths for the Galley tables too."
Brian looked around with confusion as the place came alive.
He was finally starting to realise he was in a new world.
Chapter 7: tokens
Ianto led Brian to his berth, "you can use that bed there, luckily this is a double berth. Once Jack and I are formally bonded we will share a berth and this will be yours."
"Just like that?" Brian snorted, "You left me, you come back like some…some great hero and snatch me back from the Mines Ship only to dump me here?"
"Yes" Ianto said as he anger grew, "I dumped you here. Terrible way to go."
Brian turned at the sarcasm and saw Ianto's fatigue as the man slumped onto the bed with an arm over his face. "Are you OK? Tadda Toto?"
"You can take those useless shades off ya know. We have now allowed shade-less interaction" Ianto replied as he let his arm fall back and looked up at the ceiling, "By this time tomorrow the entire vessel with have red and green lights. Change. There are clothes in that bag from Idris. I am going next door to speak with your aunt. Don't piss me off and the other door is locked so don't think you can take off on me. It's a prison remember?"
Brian sat on his bed as he watched Ianto storm next door, things finally setting in.
Were they free?
Rhiannon turned as Ianto entered and she motioned to the table where the roses were on display in the large green glass decanter she had hidden in her things for years. Finally, it was on display. Ianto grunted and in a moment of madness walked over and pulled a bright gold ribbon from his pocket to tie around the vase as Rhiannon gasped with glee.
"Oh Ianto, where did you get that?"
"Lisa" Ianto said softly, "She says hello. She sent ribbons for Mimi and some handkerchiefs for David. Also…this is for you."
He removed a scarf of soft silk, pinks and burgundy swirls with gold thread.
Rhiannon was afraid to touch it, even loking at it felt so…naughty.
"Oh dear Goddess" she sighed as she looked at the most exquisite thing she had ever seen, "The pale one. What is that called? Like a newborn child before the skin cools."
"Pink" Ianto smiled, "Roses come in that colour as well. Lisa sent cuttings that hopefully will grow for you. This time next year there might be roses this colour on your table."
"Oh my goddess, it looks so … quaint" she gushed, finally reaching out to accept the scarf and now she felt the silk with a gasp.
"If you will excuse me, I need to visit Toshiko and Owen, I have things for Owen's clinic" Ianto kissed her cheek, "Me and Brian will be here for the evening meal. We are looking forward to it."
"Well you may be, I remember that boy and he looks even more subversive than when a small boy clinging to you." She snorted.
Ianto went back to his berth and found Brian standing with a look of confusion as he looked at the clothes in the bag, all sold colours with subversive tones.
"Get hanged, I will be back in half an hour to take you through to see your aunt and cousins. You had better be polite and calm. If you piss me off I will bloody take your head off, understand? You have put me on the spot with your foolishness. At a time when I am trying to ensure the safety of my sister and her children, here I am yet again putting you first."
"Yes sir" Brian said softly, then he turned and looked at him, "Are we safe?"
"Yes" Ianto said as he picked up a parcel and walked off.
He walked to Tosh and Owen's, rapping to get access then walking into their outer room to wait for them. Owen was first out, his face flushed as he rushed over, "You OK? I hear things took a detour."
"Yeah, my adopted son and two other youths. All sixteen or seventeen … at the age of subversiveness. I do not know what I am doing here, he turned from me about four years ago, told me I was not his father and I had no right to shade him." Ianto sighed "Now I have to save his ungrateful arse."
"Typical teenager then" Owen snorted, then Tosh came out, the wall moving to show the little Japanese room they lived in. He smiled and offered her the parcel.
"I bring a gift for the yougling" he said softly, "I hope you do not find it too presumptive."
Tosh looked at him with surprise then smiled, "We have not announced yet, want to be out of the Sol3 limits so I do not have to take part in their testing."
"We are exempt. Today the Torchwood was given to me and Jack and marked as a separated nation" Ianto smiled as he reassured her, "We are no longer subversive. That word no longer applies on board this boat."
Tosh opened the parcel and gasped as an antique Japanese kimono peeked from the paper, her hands shaking as she folded it back to look at the brilliant blues and greens, the golden dragons in the fabric almost alive.
"Loving Goddess" Tosh sighed as she stroked the forbidden contraband.
"When you are heavily with child you will walk to the Galley in that! I will give you my chair for comfort and everyone will gush and be jealous at such open beauty" Ianto said as she held the robe with wide eyes.
"We are family" Ianto said softly, "We will endure. The Torchwood is our home. Our planet now. We are a new people, we are the people of Torchwood. A new race."
Toshiko held the fabric to her face as Owen swung back to look at him.
"Well?" he demanded with open cheekiness, "Where's my bloody gift?"
Chapter 8: Brian has more than just shades removed
Ianto was pleased to find Brian cleanly washed and clothed in mostly regulation clothing apart from bright red converse shoes. This new allowable item was being snapped up by most of the crew.
They waked into the next berth where Brian froze and looked at the bright room with shock.
"Hello brats" Ianto said as he sat and the children rushed to show him their pictures they had done with the bright coloured pencils he had given them. Brian sat and tried to keep out of the way as Rhiannon bustled about heating the food and soon they were all seated, hands out as he glanced at Ianto in question.
"They want to give thanks" Ianto said as he reached out to take Mica's hand as well as Rhiannon's. Brian took each child's hand and watched them bow their heads as Rhiannon nodded to Ianto.
"Goddess of all things, thank you for lenience and compassion in a time of confusion. God of war, thank you for being quiet today and God of chaos…Loki, you need to take a break man, seriously" the children giggled as Rhiannon growled softly, Ianto continuing "And last but not least God of love, thank you for such blessings we do not deserve. Amen."
Brian watched them dig in, feeling lighter as the same blessing given at meals as a small child endured, "Tad?"
"Are we OK?" David asked with wide eyes, "Really? The cool cloaks? We can really wear them to school?"
"Yes, all children have one so there is no favouritism or segregation. We talked it over with the lawmakers and they agree that if we are all including a colour it cannot be construed as subversive if there is global agreement. As we are now out own little metal planet, if we all introduce a colour to our uniforms, it is acceptable. We will slowly do this, Red and Green are now openly acceptable. Other colours may be used in Inner Sanctums. Every now and then we might let another colour out, only if we can see a way for everyone to wear it." Ianto nodded.
"But… what man will wear this pink" Rhiannon sighed as she stroked her scarf she was wearing with pride.
"Actually, I think it would quite suit me" Ianto said haughtily and they all giggled as he took the scarf and put it on his head like an old woman, pulling a fishy face, "Well? Is it me?"
"Oh Ianto, how dare you show everyone our private plumage" Jack said in an equally silly voice from the doorway, his face open and full of affection as he entered leaned down to kiss Ianto openly. Then from behind his back he pulled around two little glass birds in the palm of his hand. A green one and a red one.
"I think David should choose first, Mimi gets all the pretties" he said as he knelt and David went still with wide eyes, then reached for the red and Mimi squealed with glee.
"I wanted the green one!" She said as she cuddled it and Jack looked at David.
"Good man, you knew that didn't you" he smiled, "Well done. That is how a man behaves for a woman. Especially a sibling. For that, tomorrow you can stand by me for the morning trooping."
David lit up as he looked at his mother, "Can I?"
"If Uncle Jack says so" she smiled.
"I can't wait until the official bonding" David as Ianto took a sip of his drink "Then I shall call him Daddy!"
"Oh shall you now. What if I want to be called Mamooska? Or Shamooo?"
The children giggled at his playing as he poked at them, Ianto's face softening as he reached out to straighten Jack's hair, "My Cariad, you are a Twypsn."
"Arg, again with letting them see our private things, you know I like to be called that in the bedroom" Jack used the silly voice again as everyone laughed, even Brian as he felt himself relax, seeing that this was not what he had thought it was.
Later after Ianto and Jack and kissed goodbye Brian sat on his bed watching Ianto fold his tunic carefully for the laundry bag.
"I … I missed you Taddy" he said softly.
"And I you" Ianto didn't turn around, "But you chose. It hurt but I understood, my militarial life was not for you and when your Mama Lisa and I agreed to apart you chose. It hurt that you didn't chose shared parentage but … her world is so much better than mine, after all it half-killed me to leave her."
"Now I see why" Brian said as he leaned back amd frowned, "You've put years into this. For them. You will always choose for them before yourself."
"Our Mother died. I had to care for Rhiannon, our father had left us before Mama's death for another and there was no way he would take us in now. I was there when they announced what would happen, I saw the only chance for the children. What else could I do Bri? I asked Lisa to come, for both of you to be part of it and she told me you and her could never be with me." Ianto stopped fussing and sighed as he looked down at his hands, "Why I know you hate me and this now. I will be gone from this berth soon, you can pretend you don't know me in public and I will never refer to you as my son. Continue to call me uncle as my sister's babies in there now choose to call me Taddy. For all the truths … these are lies that suit you all."
Brian felt the sting as Ianto moved to the bathroom and leaned back to consider things.
He had not been told there was a choice, his adopted mother telling him Ianto had abandoned them.
The cow had lied.
Chapter 9: stepping forward
Brian found Ianto already up when he woke, moving about the room quietly like he always did, the soft hum new though.
Then the Captain entered without a warning ping and Brian saw that this was marked as his berth too, their relationship true.
"Hey good looking" Jack said happily.
"Stop that" Ianto scolded without looking up, "If you are going to have a naughty day warn me now so I can blame a sugar rush or allergic reaction to something."
Jack seized him in a kiss, then stepped back, "Will you be at the trooping Tiger?"
"Well ... since David is going to stand there with you I guess I must be. Would be rude otherwise" Ianto quipped happily, his face glowing in a way Brain had never seen either.
"Did you love Mama Lisa?" he blurted, Ianto swinging as if just remembering he was there.
"Yes. I wanted to bond, have children. The entire kit and caboodle but her work was important too"
"The revolution" Brian snorted. "Right."
"Well, it is important to her. I personally didn't care anymore, not once the weather bombs started to gather and those responsible lost control of them" Ianto shrugged, Brian rising from this bed with surprise.
"What? Wait, are you telling me those were engineered?" Brian gaped, "Tad?"
"Funny. You call him Taddy in here. My daughter does that. Uses the title in private and no one else can hear but then pretends to drop it. Are you ashamed to have a parental that seems your age when three maybe four times that?" Jack aside calmly, "Alice makes out she doesn't even know me out there. Once upon a time she told people I was her brother."
"Brian is in unaware of my mixed parentage sir. Lisa didn't like people to know it as her people push for pure blood. Ironic yeah? They want to argue that it is wrong to segregate and at the same time only want to breed with their own kind. I was a sort of… pet I guess. I was useful for crossing the lines. But she did not want to breed with me" Ianto sighed then looked over the Brian as he now spoke to him.
"She told me she could never breed with me, you were confusing for her. She loves you yet also must point out you are not her mistake. You are mixed, clear in the paler brown of your skin and the fact your hair is not black but brown too. Your mother or father was not black." Ianto paused and then shrugged "Not that I cared. I loved you for you. Thought you beautiful with your sweet fat little cheeks. Lisa and I … not the same."
"So what now?" Brian asked as he straightened up his clothing to hide his shock.
"Well … decide who you want to be. Name, place…whatever. Either you find a place in the crew or I will set you a placement" Jack said as he motioned for Brian to walk with them.
"What do you mean…a name?"
"Are you a Jones? Or do you want to be your own person with no connection to us?" Ianto asked as the other door opened and the rest of the family joined them to all walk to breakfast, "Good morning wife."
Rhiannon giggled as she shoved at Ianto and accepted his hand to hold, walking together happily as they always had as children, "Mica wanted to ask if you were going to take her to school like you always do."
"Of course, where else would I possibly want to be?" Ianto said grandly, "David can go with Jack and she can go with me, you can stay and clean up while I go to watch the trooping, then if you like there is that sewing class for the day in C Class, they are going to show how to add the new sections to the uniform. Some cuffs or pocket edgings or something. My presence there might stop any negative Nellies."
"Oh! I would like that" Rhiannon gushed happily, "David loves green and Mimi wants red. Is that subversive, different choices?"
"From what I understand, when in the limits, if the uniform has both it cannot be listed as subversive. Once out in space, who gives a rat's arse" Jack said as he held his hand out to David and the little boy shone with delight as he accepted it.
Brian glanced at Ianto, "I'm a Jones. BJ."
"OK. BJ it is" Ianto nodded like it was no big deal, even as his face showed his delight in Brian's decision.
Jack glanced at the young man as they entered the Galley and hoped he didn't disappoint Ianto who was clearly attached to him. BJ noticed the way others reacted to them and hoped he didn't stuff it up either.
He never thought he might get off that planet.
Or see his Taddy again.
Chapter 10: A new day dawning
Rhiannon sat fingering the gunmetal grey tunic her brother had brought to her along with the button tin.
Ianto was sorting the buttons on an old wooden tray that had been painted white at some stage, his fingers working to separate eight then another eight.
"These on the left, these on the right. Two rows travelling down the double breast" Ianto said as he calmly placed the buttons down, "Let's start as we mean to go on. I want those black buttons gone."
Rhiannon looked at the buttons and then at him, "Are you sure we are allowed to alter our official dress tunics? I thought it was only in our own homes…I mean …..this is openly subversive ….. I mean … can he protect you if there is backlash?"
"We are exiting the borders, by the time you are done we will be in Galactic Space and I will wear that tunic to the evening meal" Ianto said firmly, leaving no doubt of his mind and she nodded, taking a deep breath as she cut the first black button to ping across the floor.
Jack was talking with a Delegate who had requested a tour with them for their first flight with colour. (yes her) Jack had suspected a subversive streak in this woman and was not let down as she appeared for the evening meal with a green pin on her outfit that had three little red rubies, like cherries hanging from it. She was explaining that it had been her great-grandmother's and as an heirloom was allowed to remain after the cleansing if kept away. The hush that fell over the room alerted Jack to Ianto long before he turned to see his PA walking confidently towards him with Mica in tow.
Mica had large red ribbons on her pigtails, so she matched her Taddy who had the buttons shining in the light. A row of cherry red ran down one side, the green running a parallel bright apple. Jack had a moment of imagining undoing those with his mouth before blinking back to action.
"There you are" he smiled broadly, "and Mimi, you not edible are you? You look so sweet!"
She blossomed as she held up her little arms and he lifted her up, the white dress flaring up to show pale green undershirts and the red shoes Ianto had also decadently allowed her to wear.
The entire room were transfixed as Jack leaned in and kissed Ianto on the lips before drawing back to look at the two males that had followed, BJ and David in matching tunics of soft pale grey with matching green collars and a red button at their throats.
"Rhiannon!" Jack gasped, "You look gorgeous!"
Rhiannon stood nervously in her white dress, the bright green sash around her middle clasped with a red flower at the buckle, three more smaller flowers in her hair as it swept to a side plait. Her face one of fear even as she curtsied politely at the compliment.
"Ianto, look at this family. Lovely" Jack said soothingly, "Look, the good Lady Davron has a broach as well."
Ianto stepped forward and looked at it, "Cherries. Lovely, my mother had a broach like that, rubies. I think it might still be in my secure locker. The red stones are rubies, from our own planet. The Green are from Gerfit 3, they do shine don't they."
Lady Devron reached up to touch her broach, "I did not know the red was of our own Sol3."
"Yes madam, these were a gift of affection … I think it was called a Love Token. Cherries to represent the cycle of life. Death and rebirth. Fitting madam. For we are birthing a new age are we not? This introduction of colour, this test to see if we have evolved enough to be more than mere representations?"
"You are a clever man" she said softly, "You are also vey subversive."
"Madam" Ianto whispered as he leaned in close, "The Gods are, they are too naughty for their own good sometimes. Loki seems intent on poking at me."
She roared with mirth as she leaned back and the room erupted back into conversation as Ianto was accepted, BJ settling at the table with quiet shock. He had never seen Ianto work someone, had never known Ianto was capable of manipulating people and now he sat and watched Rhys approaching with a vase of flowers for the Captain's Table.
"My offering" Jack said as he held the chair for the Lady, "Tokens of affection, I like that. At our bonding ceremony I hope we have a lot of colour then."
"By then I may have weaselled another one or two into the colour wheel" Ianto quipped as he smelt the red carnations and those around them laughed.
BJ looked at his plate as the green peas winked back at him.
Ianto had not been joking.
BJ really hoped for orange somewhere.
So ends this part.
The next will be called 'The Blues'