Jack Harkness walked into the staffroom of Torchwood High School on the outskirts of Cardiff. He was assistant head teacher in charge of staffing and student issues and had been teaching for eighteen years in the same school becoming a bit of a fixture. He hadn’t expected anyone to be there but had noticed a different car in the car park when he’d arrived.
As he gazed across the room, he realised he’d stopped breathing, for there in front of him was a vision. Jack pinched himself just to check he wasn’t dreaming. Leaning over to pick something up was the most glorious arse Jack had ever seen, clad in black denim. Jack all but whistled as he breathed out. Pulling himself together, he realised this must be one of the new members of staff Jack would be responsible for. This must be Ianto Jones.
Pull yourself together, Harkness. Jack coughed politely and Ianto Jones turned round. 'Oh God. His face is even better.'
Ianto Jones was wearing a red T-shirt and black waistcoat to top off the black jeans. It was the first day back after the summer holidays and a training day for staff, so clothes were more casual. Jack found himself wondering how Ianto would look in a suit.
Jack walked forward with his hand outstretched. Ianto’s grip was firm.
“Hi, you must be Ianto, I’m Jack Harkness, assistant head. It’s my job to help new staff settle into this place. Sorry we didn’t meet at your interview. I was on a course. I’m a bit new to this assistant headship stuff myself and currently working to get my head teacher qualification. You’ve come from London haven’t you, so you should be okay here?”
“Yes, that’s right. I wanted to get in early to have another look round,” Ianto replied.
“That’s not a London accent I hear,’” Jack said. “Too many lovely Welsh vowels. Are you local then?”
Ianto nodded. “I’m from Newport. I taught in London for a couple of years but decided to come home again. My mum and sister and her family are here.”
Jack noted there was no mention of a partner and smiled to himself. “You’re not the only new staff member you’ll be pleased to know. As well as you teaching religious education and humanities, there’s also Gwen Cooper who’s newly qualified. She’ll be teaching law and sociology as well as a bit of RE and citizenship. It’ll be both our jobs to look after her. Mind you, she was a copper for three years, so she should be able to handle herself.”
“Could you tell me where room twelve is as I believe that’s going to be mine. Thank goodness I don’t have to run around the building teaching everywhere like my last place. I like to have a base.”
“Well, you might find me in there at times as I still keep my hand in teaching a bit of history and geography, and that used to be my room. If you find anything incriminating let me know. I’ll take you up there now and you can ask me any questions along the way.”
Ianto had loads of questions, but he found he couldn’t put them into words as he let Jack Harkness lead him down the corridor. As they went, Jack pointed out the staff toilets, ICT rooms, and then his office which was next door to Ianto’s room. Ianto found himself hanging on every word and wondered what Jack’s accent was as there was a faint Scottish burr to it. The main thing that Ianto noticed, however, was that Jack Harkness was gorgeous, outrageously so and an obvious flirt. Being out and being a teacher was a lot more common than it had been, but Ianto was sure, that given any encouragement, Jack would hit on him. Strangely, he found himself not minding that and wondering why, because Ianto wasn’t gay.
His real reason for returning to Wales was Lisa, his girlfriend. Her parents had finally brought her home after the accident. She had been in a coma now for nearly twelve months. Ianto didn’t intend to talk about it and become staff gossip. So far, only the head teacher, John Smith, knew about it. Ianto had been really impressed by the head and that was one of the reasons he’d taken the job.
John Smith had been brought in a year ago to raise achievement. The school’s last Estyn inspection showed it as satisfactory but that wasn’t good enough these days. Mr Smith wanted to improve the already improving exam results and he was gradually bringing in new staff and giving responsibility to others. He was also keen to expand the curriculum but thankfully, unlike many places, Ianto had discovered he believed in the humanities subjects and had no intention of watering them down.
“Here you are—room twelve. Not a bad room. The light is good and I’m right next door if you need me.” Jack flashed a smile. “Anything else I can tell you before I leave you for a bit?”
“Are we back in the staffroom at eight forty-five?” Ianto asked.
“Yes, full staff meeting. No doubt John will want to give us the full everyone together speech. Sorry, that sounded cynical. I love him really and amazingly so do the rest of the staff. He’s a bit unusual and considered to be a bit of a maverick for a head teacher, but he is the most supportive head I’ve ever worked with. You’ll be able to meet the rest of the staff then and work out which chair you can sit in.”
Ianto looked worried. He knew that some staff insisted on sitting in the same chairs in the staffroom. Schools could be funny places.
“Just kidding.” Jack laughed. “Although there are a few old timers a bit set in their ways. Some people would say I was as well as I’ve been here long enough to have taught some of the parents. Anyway, I’ve scheduled a meeting in my office for two this afternoon, so I’ll see you later, Ianto Jones.”
Ianto found himself looking forward to that meeting. He sat at his desk and switched on the computer. After ten minutes there was an e-mail, his first from Jack saying welcome to Torchwood High. This was swiftly followed by the same message from the head. So far so good. He checked the stockroom and noted which textbooks were there. He’d need to order some more to fit in with the new exams, but it looked pretty reasonable. He heard footsteps in the corridor, and someone looked in and shouted.
“Hi, I’m Gwen Cooper, the other newbie. Have you seen Jack Harkness?” Gwen was pretty Ianto noted. She was dressed in jeans and T-shirt. Her dark hair was tied back.
“His office is next door and he was going there when I last spoke to him. We’ll be working together a bit as I’m head of RE.”
“Yes, I’ve got some lower school, so we’ll need to go through the schemes of work when you’re ready.”
Ianto heard Jack’s voice shout. “Is that you Gwen Cooper? I’m in here.”
“See you later then. Sorry I don’t know your name yet.”
“It’s Jones, Ianto Jones. Yes, I’ll see you in a bit, Gwen.”
Ianto sorted some stuff out and then made his way back to the staffroom. He sat in a chair and hoped it didn’t belong to anyone. Gwen came in with Jack five minutes later. She sat with him while Jack stood waiting for the rest of the senior management team. He was soon joined by Martha Jones, assistant head in charge of curriculum matters and Dr John Smith, the Head. He was dressed more formally that the rest of the staff in a brown suit. He was tall and thin with glasses perched on the end of his nose. His hair was quite trendy for a head—rather spiky and dark. He spoke to welcome everyone back and sort out the schedule for the day.
“Welcome back, everyone. I hope we all had a nice holiday and visited some interesting places. So now we’re back, and the main aim is to get us to good or better for Estyn, who are due in sometime this year. The exam results were a ten per cent improvement overall and A-Cs including English and Maths were over forty percent for the first time, so well done everyone. The governors are really pleased so it’s onwards and upwards.”
Somebody at the back of the room murmured, “to infinity and beyond!”
The head just smiled and said, “thanks Owen, we can always depend on you for the witty remark. Now, we’ve also got two new members of staff this term and I’m going to embarrass them by introducing them. Over there is Ianto Jones, new head of RE and sat next to him is Gwen Cooper, who’ll also be in the Humanities department. Don’t worry you two most of them don’t bite, well perhaps Owen over there, but ask if you’re not sure and I’m sure, Captain Jack here, will settle you in safely.”
Ianto wondered why Jack was called Captain Jack. Mind you with that outfit he looked a bit military, dark blue trousers, shirt and braces. A bit unusual these days. Ianto was beginning to realise that Jack was unusual in many ways.
He whispered to Gwen. “Do you know why he’s called Captain Jack?”
"Yeah, he’s in the territorial army and his rank is Captain. He interviewed me and I found out that then. He’s also got a rather colourful reputation according to some staff. Owen Harper over there told me quite a lot. Seems the staff are quite liberal here. Jack is known to have relationships with both men and women so we’d better both watch our arses.”
Well, he certainly watched mine!
The head continued. “Pastoral meetings led by the Captain this morning at ten and then curriculum time after that. I’d like to meet with core subject leaders during the day. Donna will give you the times and Martha will be meeting with some subject leaders and Jack others. Again, Donna has the times and will put them up. Okay everyone, that’s it for now. Students are in at various times starting with year seven at nine am tomorrow, and I’m sure you’re all just raring to go so I’ll leave you to it. Oh yes, before I forget lunch is served in the canteen at twelve thirty on me and the governors.”
Ianto looked around the room as people began to move. Oh well, here we go.