Actions

Work Header

To Be Continued

Chapter Text

“This is it, kids!”

Jack pushed open the door of the taxi and out climbed the slightly battered and beaten members of Torchwood 3. Jack fished some cash from his wallet and paid the cab driver before exiting the car himself. St David’s Hotel – class personified. And a 10-minute walk from the hub, but they weren’t planning on leaving so there was so worry about bumping into their past selves. Jack had called ahead in the taxi so waiting for them in full were 5 luxury rooms complete with plush double beds, glorious en suites, and enough spa treatments to have them relaxed into next month.

While Jack walked to the front desk and collected their keys, the rest of the team looking around with half smiles. They looked a mess, Owen especially. He was covered in blood and still holding a bandage to his side. They were all dusty from the explosion as the bomb had entered the rift and Tosh’s face was bruised and stained with dried blood. The staff eyed them as Jack handed out the keys and instructed them all to go clean up. There was a gift shop where they could buy some fresh clothes – “Something nice, we’re having dinner later” - and everyone disappeared to their rooms. Everyone but Jack and Ianto.

Jack looked him up and down, a sad smile across his face. Ianto tilted his head at Jack, unsure what to say. Before he could decide, Jack found his voice.

“Go get ready. Have a shower, buy a new suit from the shop. Whatever you want. Tonight’s on me.”

Ianto chuckled and adjusted his shirt cuffs under his jacket. It was a nervous habit he’d never been able to shake, not since he was a kid. “On Torchwood, you mean.”

“No, on me. I don’t even think you could hide this much expense in the budget.”

“You underestimate me…” Ianto had meant it as a joke, but Jack’s head snapped up from where he was studying the floor. His mouth hung open and Ianto could practically see him trying to find the perfect words to say. He shook his head instead and dropped his eyes to the ground.

“You should go up. We’ll meet at 10 for food.”

Sensing Jack’s mood, Ianto inclined his head then moved to step past him towards the lift. Jack caught his wrist though, and pulled him to stop. Ianto turned his head slightly, enough to see Jack’s face, his blue eyes full of emotion. Ianto hadn’t seen Jack this up close since his dramatic return. He looked sad, and older somehow.

“You know I would never, right?” Jack practically whispered. Ianto was confused, and his face must have shown it because Jack continued. “Underestimate you, that is. I hope you know how much I... How much I respect you.”

They held eyes for what felt like a million years. Jack’s were filling with water, a sight Ianto was not used to. So, he did was Joneses did best, and carefully extracted himself from the situation. He nodded at Jack, used his free hand to squeeze the older man’s shoulder in what he hoped was a comforting gesture, then turned towards the lift. He heard a sniff behind him and tried to file that interaction away with the rest of his Jack-related-mildly-confusing-situations.

_

Jack had made sure the table they had for dinner was perfect. They were sat by the biggest window in the dining hall, with a beautiful night time view of the bay and in the distance, the water tower. The team arrived slowly, first the girls in brand new dresses looking absolutely stunning and relaxed. They told Jack about the powerful showers in their rooms and the tempting array of spa treatments they planned to take full advantage of. Owen arrived next in similar if cleaner clothes. He’d rebandaged himself and taken a few more painkillers, which didn’t stop him ordering a double scotch for dinner, though it probably should have. While they waited for Ianto to arrive, the 4 of them perused the menu, choosing things they liked the look of, things they couldn’t imagine being nice, and already scouting desserts. However, Jack’s mind wasn’t on food, every few seconds he glanced up at the entry way, hoping to see the familiar frame of Ianto Jones wandering through. Owen was just starting to comment on how ‘of course the teaboy is taking the longest, he’s more high maintenance than both the girls put together’ when Ianto walked in.

Jack’s breath caught in his throat. Ianto was wearing the same suit as earlier, but it was free from explosion dust and had definitely been pressed. He’d exchanged his wrinkled pink shirt for a crisp white one and a sharp black tie. He looked great and Jack couldn’t tear away his eyes. Before he knew it, Ianto was at the table, settling into the chair next to Tosh and opposite Jack, and apologising for his tardiness.

“-And the showers here are amazing, I could have stayed in there all night.” Jack caught the end of his sentence to Tosh, too busy staring at the younger man to pay attention to the rest. Ianto opened his menu and settled back into his chair. “What’s everyone having?”

Owen laughed from the head of the table and patted Ianto on the shoulder. “You’re so used to catering for us, mate. Turn it off, you don’t have to take our orders here.” Ianto blushed slightly as the 4 of them chuckled. Tosh patted his arm gently and picked her menu back up.

“I’m thinking fish. The breaded scampi looks nice. Gwen?”

Gwen looked up from her menu and over at Tosh, she seemed positively overwhelmed. “Oh God, I don’t know. Maybe steak? Maybe the carbonara, though that pie does look good…” Jack grinned from next to her, although Ianto noticed it didn’t quite reach his eyes.

“I’m having the burger. Supposed to be quite good here.” Jack took a breath, the kind of breath he took before launching into an unbelievable and probably quite untrue story from his past. But no such story followed. Owen narrowed his eyes, not sure what to make of their suddenly tight-lipped Captain. He looked over at Ianto briefly who was staring at Jack, not with his usual doe-eyed expression, but instead something much more concerned as Jack leaned over to ask Gwen about her food. Ianto seemed to sense Owen looking at him and glanced over. He shrugged and looked back at his menu.

The waitress came over and within minutes their orders were being made up. There was a silence as everyone sipped on their drinks and adjusted in their seats. Jack sensed he needed to say something, start the apologies now, get them over with quicker.

“I-” He’d barely opened his mouth before Owen was waving a hand in front of his face.

“Not now, Jack, okay? We know you’re sorry, we just want to enjoy the meal, then tomorrow you can give us all the details, beg forgiveness and all that bollocks.” Jack looked shocked at Owen’s words, and his insight. He nodded and looked down at his hands. It was great to be back, it really was, it was just a matter of re-adjusting to certain things. Like Owen’s sharp edges, and well as his softness. And Tosh’s calm demeanour, and Gwen’s fire… And Ianto… Sometimes Jack couldn’t believe they were all still here, still with him. It had been a long year…

Gwen filled the silence quickly. “So, Ianto. Did you see the match the other night?”

And just like that, it was like Jack had never left. Ianto’s face lit up.

“Yes! Could you believe how shit we played? I’ve never felt that let down by a Jones.”

Gwen laughed and they launched full into a rugby conversation. Tosh offered small insights, mostly about which players were the most attractive. “Gareth Thomas” Ianto weighed in without missing a beat. Jack’s head whipped round which luckily no one noticed and he styled it out with a sip of his water. Owen sniggered.

When their food came out it was a thing of beauty, all conversation was suspended while they ate. All the noise was soft moans and occasional ‘This is so good’s. Jack ate slowly, savouring every bite. He hadn’t really eaten since getting back to Cardiff, and he hadn’t really eaten over the past year anyway. This food was outstanding, everything he wanted his first meal home to be, with the personpeople – he cared about most. When the plates were clean and their stomachs fit to burst, the 5 agreed dessert was out of the question. They simply couldn’t eat another thing. Jack promised an equally indulgent breakfast and thanked them all for joining him to eat.

They stood slowly and hovered around the table, jackets back in place and key cards ready to head back to their rooms. Jack spoke up.

“Really, thank you for this evening. And I know you made it quite clear you don’t want to hear it now, but I am sorry. I am so sorry for leaving the way I did, and for returning the way I did. I’m sorry I left you all with no explanation and probably a lot of mess to clean up. It was never meant to be that way, and I hope one day you’ll understand my reasons for going, and my reasons for returning…” Jack looked up briefly and caught Ianto’s eye. He continued. “And-” deep breath. “And I hope one day you’ll be able to forgive me.”

There were a few seconds heavy silence before Tosh came around the table and pulled the captain down into a soft embrace. “Already forgiven. We missed you.” She kissed his cheek and stepped back. Gwen gave Jack a one-armed hug, a little unsteady on her feet after a couple of glasses of wine. “Welcome home, Jack.” Gwen’s slightly slurred words warmed Jack’s heart and he smiled as she and Tosh stumbled back towards the entrance to go to their respective rooms. Jack was glad to see them getting on more. He turned back to Owen and Ianto.

“Bar?” Ianto suggested. Which surprised Jack. What surprised Jack even more was Owen’s shaking head.

“Better not. Probably already pushing it with the pain killers. We’ll go down the dockside once I’m off the meds, but I’m hitting the hay.” Owen patted Ianto on the back and turned to Jack. He offered him his hand. “Good to have you back, Captain… And… And I’m sorry again for everything that happened before you left.”

Again, Jack felt himself lean back in surprise. He smiled, shook Owen’s hand and patted his un-injured shoulder.

“All water under a bridge we crossed many, many miles ago. Go get some sleep.”

Owen inclined his head and turned on his heal. Jack and Ianto both watched him go, again finding themselves alone together. Jack turned to Ianto with a half-smile.

“Still fancy a drink?”

Ianto met his eyes, and nodded.

“Sure. Why not.”

Chapter Text

Ianto once again found himself stood along the railing outside the tourist office. He’d walked a little further today, wanting to get away from the hub. He’d walked past the boat tour stands and the weird looking sculpture and found himself staring out towards the water. It was one of those days where he wondered If it was all worth it. He wondered if he was doing the right thing with his life, if he should leave, should he change his name and move to another city and leave this whole crazy life behind. It was one of those days…

Ianto had loved and lived in Cardiff for a lot of his life, barring his brief tenure in London, and he’d mostly been happy. Cardiff was home, but sometimes he felt desperate the leave it. It was so stuffy, so full of bad memories, todays adventure added to the list.

Every time Ianto closed his eyes he saw Owen’s dead body lying on the ground. It didn’t matter that he was walking about downstairs insulting everyone and causing a mess as usual. He was dead, had died, and Ianto been powerless. The past few days had been non-stop, with the hospital then breaking into Henry Parker’s house. Ianto was sure Owen would be okay, especially after he’d nailed it in the field. But it was still that sickening sense of what if…?

Ianto reached into his pocket and pulled out a half-squashed packet of cigarettes. He barely smoked anymore, mostly because every time he did Jack inevitably found out and gave him an ear full for it. But today he couldn’t give less of a shit, he’d heard the lecture before, he could stand to hear it one more time for the sake of a bit of stress relief. He felt the relief instantly as he took his first drag. It’d been longer than he’d thought then…

Ianto was so lost in his own thoughts, the cigarettes and the lazy way the water splashed against the shore line, he barely noticed when someone came and stood next to him. He was slightly surprised though, when he turned and saw Owen Harper. It’d been months since he’s last stared out into the water and had Owen show up at his side to lecture him about smoking, bitch about Jack then invite him to the pub to get slaughtered. It felt like longer.

“Still smoking then.”

Ianto took a drag and blew the smoke out slowly. He cleared his throat before he answered.

“Looks that way.”

Owen huffed out a laugh.

“I suppose I’ll save you the 'you really shouldn't be smoking' speech, it’s not like you haven’t heard it before.”

Ianto shrugged, already bored of this conversation. They stood in silence for a while, both watching the water, the boats in the distance, the happy tourists taking pictures along a pale grey backdrop.

“You can ask me how it felt if you like, I’ll tell you the truth.” Owen’s voice was soft. Ianto waited for the calm intake of breath. It never came. “And I understand if you don’t want to hang out with me in the same way…”

Owen actually sounded nervous. Ianto turned his head in complete shock, cigarette hanging dumbly out the corner of his mouth.

“Are you mental? This doesn’t change a thing. You’re still the same prick you were before. I just won’t shoot you from now on…” Ianto took a long drag, the smoke spilling out in inconsistent clouds as he spoke. “And as for wanting to know… I don’t. I don’t think I could live with the knowledge.”

They lapsed into stiff silence after that. Ianto was burning with anger, he didn’t know why, or who to direct it at, but his insides twisted viciously. Owen didn’t push. Ianto didn’t know if he appreciated that or not. He wanted to be prodded and poked until he could explode, throw something and scream. He wanted to get angry and storm off, and kick something and feel bad about it later. But Owen wasn’t giving in, wasn’t letting him go that easily. Jack was certainly too upset to push him, and the girls had already gone home. The emotional week had taken it all out of them.

“I think I’m angry at Jack.” Ianto said, with sudden realisation. If Owen was surprised he didn’t show it. He stood there quietly, waiting for Ianto to finish. Ianto took a deep breath. “I wanted him to leave you in peace. I obviously wish you hadn’t died. I was gutted – am gutted – but you did die and you deserved to rest. And now I sort of find it hard to look at you because I end up feeling ridiculously sad… because I remember what you looked like, splayed on the ground. Great bloody wound in your chest and I couldn’t do anything…” Ianto took a big breath, he pushed back from the railed and started to pace. “But Jack brought you back, and now you’re here and you seem so… sad. And lost. And I don’t know how to fix it or what to do, cus I’m the guy that fixes everything, and I always have the answers, or coffee, or the answers and the coffee. But I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. And I- I…" Ianto's hands flailed in the air briefly as he searched for the words. "...And I’m really gonna miss going to the pub with you…”

Ianto’s breath ran out. He stopped pacing and turned to look at Owen, who had turned on the spot, watching him intensely.  Owen approached him carefully. He’d seen Ianto lapse into anxiety attacks many times before, so he knew not to make a sudden movement. That was how you got punched in the face. Ianto’s heavy breath was the only sound as Owen steadily came closer. He was seconds away from completely losing it, the tears pooling at the corners of his eyes. Owen reached him and gently pulled him into a hug, they hadn’t done this much, only on the odd drunken occasion where no one was allowed to know. Ianto collapsed into the embrace, burying his head in Owen’s shoulder and crying.

“It’s not your job to know everything mate. And it’s not your job to fix this. It’s done, I am what I am and…” Owen took a moment to gather his thoughts. “And I’m okay with it. Maybe this was always meant to happen, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe whatever I need to do I haven’t done yet, and this is the universes way of keeping me around a bit longer. I will be okay though. I will.” Owen pulled back, held Ianto by the shoulders and looked him in the eyes. “I will be fine, but you won’t be if you don’t start looking after yourself properly. I have noticed you slipping again – missing meals, smoking more. Don’t let it slip, Jones.”

Ianto nodded, his eyes red rimmed and skin flushed. “I’m sorry.”

Owen shook his head, “Nothing to be sorry for. But I do suggest we put you back on your medication.”

Before Owen had even finished his sentence, Ianto was shaking his head. “No, I don’t want to.”

“Mate, it’s just something to think about, to help you regain balance-”

“-I’m very balanced-”

“Sure, okay. Say that to the man who skimmed past a full breakdown not 30 seconds ago…” Ianto flinched and Owen deflated. “Okay, I’m sorry. That was harsh. I just want you to think about it, okay?”

Ianto nodded. “Fine.”

“Fine.”

They wordlessly started to walk back towards the hub. As they meandered Owen gave a half smile and bumped Ianto’s shoulder.

“Get Jack to take you home, I’ll hold the fort.”

Ianto shook his head again.

“You’ve only just been reinstated.”

“Yeah, and? Martha’s still here for another night, we can do the graveyard shift together. You need to go home and sleep. And so does Jack. So when we get back downstairs I want you to get him and your coats, jump in that swanky car of yours and get the hell out of here. The world can be saved another day.”

Ianto stopped walking and smiled back at his friend.

“Y’know Owen, you’re alright.”

Owen grinned.

“Right back at you, teaboy.”

 

Chapter Text

The whiskey slipped down Jack’s throat with a familiar ease and simultaneous burn that settled him no matter what. It brought back memories of the early 20s, of sitting in smoky bars, making eyes at handsome men and gorgeous women and hoping something would come of it. He wasn’t in a smoky bar this time, it was barely anything. A pub not too far away from Ianto’s flat. Ianto’s old flat. Jack’s brain supplied cruelly. They’d been here a couple of times, back in the day. Had some food, a drink, then fumbled their way back to the apartment. Maybe shagged in the bed if they made it that far, or the sofa, or the wall, or the alleyway not 5 minutes down the road. Jack stood his glass back on the bar and wiped at his eyes. He was too tired to cry again, the ache in his heart was something he had seldom felt before. Not this intensely. The bar tender topped him up with no encouragement, a sympathetic look on his face for a man in mourning.

As he sat there, Jack’s thoughts drifted further and further back. Starting with the last day, the last day he spent with Ianto before the children began to talk. It wasn’t even that long ago, that was the part that hurt the most. It was so… tangible. They’d spent the morning in bed, having a rare lay in. They’d come into work, seen Gwen, laughed with her about their tardiness then began research on the hitchhiker that’d been picked up on a scan. Jack liked to keep an eye on those things. It had been a good day, a normal day. Nothing special. Although now Jack couldn’t help but pick out everything. Ianto’s smile as he’d rolled over in bed and looked at Jack, the way he made breakfast in his pants and asked Jack if he thought he needed to lose weight (Jack didn’t), the way his hands had slid softly over the steering wheel on the way to work. The sound of his heart beating as they fell asleep.

Jack wished he could remember more. He wished he didn’t have to remember it. He wanted nothing more than to look up and see Ianto sitting there, sipping a lager and smiling in that way he did when he thought no one way looking. Jack wanted to notice these things forever, and never have to recall them. But here he was. Half a bottle of whiskey down and a pain in his heart worse than any physical injury he’d ever sustained – and there’d been a lot.

He wasn’t sure how he ended up there, but all of a sudden Jack was stood outside Ianto’s apartment building. The flat was still full of Ianto’s stuff, yet to be cleared out but Jack couldn’t face it, not yet. He’d been sleeping in hotels since he had returned to Cardiff, despite Gwen’s offer to move into her flat with her and Rhys. He hadn’t wanted to impose and quite honestly, couldn’t stand being around a couple right now. It would only remind him of what he’d lost. Jack’s mind was so far gone, replaying the events of the past weeks with a heavy heart, that he didn’t notice the presence of another person standing next to him. Not until they began to talk.

“Nice night to stare at a building…”

Jack turned his head to see a young woman with bright blond hair and a long coat standing next to him. She offered a sad smile.

“I guess.”

They were quiet. Jack didn’t know what to do. He really wasn’t in the mood for company.

“I understand if you don’t recognise me.” The woman said after a few minutes silence. “It’s been a while.”

Jack sighed heavily. His grief and frustration mounting in his chest until he just couldn’t take it anymore. “Look, I don’t know who you are, and I couldn’t really care. I just want to be on my own.”

Jack turned to storm off into the night, but the woman caught his arm as he turned.

“Jack.”

“How do you know my name? I don’t know you?”

The woman tilted her head, Jack squinted his eyes. He looked her up and down, his eyes catching on the hand at her side. She saw him looking and lifted so he could see the strange silver device she held.

“No…”

“Jack…”

“No… It can’t be… Doctor?”

“Hi.” The Doctor moved her hand from Jack’s arm and waved. “Been about 2000 years, give or take.”

Jack stepped back, his eyes swimming with tears.

“Where were you?”

The Doctor recoiled.

“What?”

“Where were you?” Jack ground out through gritted teeth. “We needed you, earth needed you and you weren’t here. How could you?”

The Doctor shook her head and twisted half around on the street. “The children…”

“Yes, the fucking children. It’s only just happened. Last time I saw you was only a few months ago, when the earth got moved.”

“Jack it’s been 1000s of years for me. A lot has happened.”

“Then why are you here now? In 2009? That’s the year by the way, since you didn’t ask.”

The Doctor rubbed at her forehead, she looked at Jack and saw a man completely broken.

“I just came to refuel, picked a year at random but I was hoping to bump into you. I’m sorry, about everything Jack. I never intended to arrive… now.”

Jack pulled away from the doctor and sat down on the curb. The Doctor followed him and sat next to him, a few feet apart. Together they glanced up at the building where Ianto Jones had once lived.

“How did you find me?”

“Well, the bay is sort of blown up, so I had a vague idea of the year. I parked a bit further up than normal. I gathered since your old base wasn’t there you we’re probably staying with that Ianto. You mentioned him quite a bit during our travels. Didn’t take long to find his address.”

Jack’s eyes filled with tears and he couldn’t reply. The ache was so painful he felt like someone was trying to rip his heart out of his chest.

“I’m so sorry Jack. He was a great man.”

“You didn’t know him.”

“But I knew of him.”

Jack choked back a sob.

“That’s not enough Doctor. He should still be here. He would have been, if you’d showed up. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to swoop in at the last minute and save everyone…” Jack let the tears fall down his face. “You were supposed to save me.”

The Doctor gently reached out and laid a hand on his shoulder, and was relieved when Jack didn’t shrug it off.

“I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say. But the 456 is earth history, universe wide history. I couldn’t change the events that happened here, because they changed the way intergalactic law worked. After the 456 incident, the shadow proclamation enforced harsher laws for invading species to earth. You don’t know this, because it’s just happened, but there won’t ever be a situation like the 456 again, earth becomes protected in a way Torchwood could never have predicted, or UNIT, or even me. Invasions still happen, don’t get me wrong. But you guys, UNIT, even a few underground vigilante groups keep them at bay. You see Jack, it may feel like you’ve lost everything, but you also saved everyone. You helped defeat the 456, you helped the shadow Proclamation realise what a great threat earth is constantly under. You did that, you and your rag tag team.”

Jack sniffed. “But I don’t have that ragtag team anymore. Can’t you see Doctor, I don’t care if I saved the city, or saved the world, or saved the whole fucking universe. I only care that I couldn’t save him. That you didn’t save him. Screw the rest of the world. I would throw it all away for 5 more minutes with that smile… for 5 more minutes with Ianto…” Jack stood and started to pace. The doctor looked up at him, her eyes glassy.

“You really loved him…” Jack nodded. “Did you ever tell him?” Jack shook his head, a painful sob coming from his chest. The Doctor's face morphed with a sly smile. She nodded to herself, the cogs turning in her brain. “Well… There might be something we can do about that?”

The Doctor stood and started to walk back the way she had come from. Jack’s head snapped up, he took a quick glance back at Ianto’s flat then followed the fast paced woman.

“What are you talking about?”

“I’ve known you a long time Jack, and I’ll know you for a lot longer… I’ve never seen you like this. Never seen you so in love. I want to help.”

“Help?” Jack wiped at his nose as she stalked ahead of him. “you’re not gonna do something stupid?”

“Stupid? Me? No! Maybe a little bit naughty.”

“You’re not gonna break any rules?”

“Rules?” the Doctor scoffed. “I make the rules, Jack, or have you forgotten all of our adventures together? Rules are made to be broken, and lives are meant to be saved. If we’re not supposed to do this, then we won’t succeed. But I for one, have a good feeling. C’mon.”

They came across the TARDIS and the Doctor hopped inside, leaving the door open for Jack to follow in behind. He hesitated. He hadn’t been inside the TARDIS in a long time, and clearly, it’d changed a lot since then. But whatever the doctor was going to do, it sounded like it would bring him to Ianto at least for one more time. He had to go in.

“Sorry about the mess! I left Ryan, Yaz and Graham at home for the weekend, and I never got around to cleaning up after dinner.”

Jack walked in, his jaw dropping. The interior was vastly different, warm light and the console lit up in 100 different places. He liked it.

“Love what you’ve done with the place Doc, and Ryan, Yaz and Graham? New friends of yours?”

The doctor hummed in reply as she whizzed around the main console.

“They’re a good bunch, a good team. Team TARDIS. You’d love them.”

“I’m sure.”

“But this isn’t about them. This is about Ianto Jones.”

The Doctor stood tall and proud, her coat draped behind her like a cape.

“Let’s go get your man.”