Anything recognisable to Torchood S1, 2 and 3 belongs to Russell T. Davies at the BBC. Now pass the Retcon.Summary:
Set five years after Another Life
.Another Life | Chapter One
To Another | Chapter One
Ianto watched impatiently as Jack cooed at the baby in the pram. He folded his arms and sighed, Giacomo stood beside him and ignorant to the world as he played on his hand-held console.
It had worried Ianto to start with, the first time he'd ever seen the long row of prams and pushchairs that parents would leave outside shops and supermarkets while they did their thing. Ianto recalled his grandmother saying everybody used to do that when his Mam was a baby, and if one of the babies started crying, inevitably someone would come along and pop a dummy in their mouth or give them a bit of a tickle.
The same arrangement had come back now that the world seemed to be safe enough and pram harnesses had DNA recognition – and Ianto would have thought that a wonderful thing, were the 'inevitable someone' not always Jack bloody Harkness.
“Ianto!” Jack called, crouched in front of a neon pink pushchair. “Ianto – have you got any of those wipes? This one's thrown her dummy on the floor.”
With a sigh, Ianto turned Giacomo around and started digging in the rucksack on his back without disturbing his game. He chucked Jack the pack of wipes. “The shop will be shut before we can get Giacomo near it if you fuss any longer,” he said.
Jack waved away his concerns. “Just a minute.” The child in the pram before him paused her screaming when the dummy was popped into her mouth, and Jack used the wipe to dab at her face, too. “There you go, Princess,” he cooed, “Aren't you beautiful?”
Ianto grabbed the scruff of his neck. “C'mon, Harkness. Fuss over your own offspring for a change.” He dragged him away from the bank of babies and Jack laughed as he was marched away. He ruffled Giacomo's hair, who was following them only on autopilot and gave no reaction.
“We're going to get Giacomo's new shoes first, then we're meeting Elaine at the chocolate place,” he informed them, and Jack slipped an arm through his. Ianto's other hand flew out to drag Giacomo out of the way of a mobility scooter user on a mission, and he guided them on a beeline for the shoe shop, finally managing to pry Giacomo away from his console.
Jack stepped in. “Ianto said 'no', Giacomo. Now sit over there and get your feet measured.”
Giacomo huffed over to where there was a queue of children with itchy fingers deprived of games consoles with sales assistants scanning their feet. While they waited for Giacomo, Ianto began browsing the shelves of shiny, black shoes and picking up a couple.
“What about these?” Jack asked, pointing at a plain, simple display shoe that looked comfortable and practical while still being smart. Ianto wondered if he was ill.
“You do realise those are a painfully sensible suggestion?” he asked.
Jack held up his hands. “The sooner we get the shopping done, the sooner we can meet Elaine and Ian. Tell him he's having these,” he said, and pushed the display shoe into Ianto's hands. Ianto shrugged, then took them over to where Giacomo's feet were just being scanned.
“You're having these,” he said, passing the shoe to the sales assistant so that she could go and fetch the correct size. He thanked her before turning to Giacomo and ignoring his tirade of 'Awwww no – but!'. “No point arguing. Your Dad picked them out.”
Giacomo looked up and scanned the shop for his Dad, then sighed. “He's chatting up the man on the till.”
Ianto tutted, then twisted Giacomo so that he could get into his backpack. He pulled out a bag of hard-boiled sweets and offered one to Giacomo.
Sure enough, the Captain soon sauntered over to see if any were in the offering for him.
The sales assistant returned with the correct size shoes for Giacomo and he tried them on. He pulled a face, and Jack ruffled his hair. “You're having them, kid,” he assured him.
They paid for the shoes and an extra pair of laces. “Well,” smiled Ianto, “That was relatively painless.” They made their way down the high street to the chocolate café, and Ianto was rather pleased to find that for once, they'd made it to a meeting spot before Elaine. He found them a table with plenty of room while Giacomo wandered over to the chocolate counter to pick out some treats and drinks for them all.
Something hurtled across the café and collided straight into Jack's side. Something with blond hair, a bright red t-shirt and a very haggard-looking mother trailing after it and dragging a large suitcase.
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! I went to the aquarinum and I saw swordfishes. Real ones! And then we went shopping and that was boring and my Mammy bought me these: Look, look, look!”
“Oh wow!” Jack exclaimed enthusiastically as five-year-old Ian stamped his feet so that his trainers began to flash lights of all different colours.
“He,” Elaine pointed at Ian, “Is a little horror.”
“Why did you buy him the trainers, then?” asked Ianto.
“To shut him up,” she explained with sigh. Ianto raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. “I'm at the end of my tether, Jack,” she said, “His school are saying they don't what him back and I've no idea what school will take him now he's been expelled.”
“Send him to a private school, like we did with Giacomo,” shrugged Jack.
“Yes, because I have your budget, Jack.”
“We'll back the cost,” Jack told her, waving away her concerns. Ianto felt his eyebrows shoot up and his eyes go wide.
“Problem, Ianto?” Elaine asked, as if he was purposefully trying to stand between her son and his education.
“We're just struggling a bit at the moment,” he replied coolly. Gawd, he hated this 'Mrs. and the Ex' thing Elaine had started up after she found herself single and divorced.
“We'll find a way,” Jack promised her gently as Giacomo returned to their table with a box of chocolates.
“Giacomo, Giacomo, Giacomo!” squeaked Ian, running to give his big brother a hug. Giacomo grimaced and awkwardly patted his back. “I'm staying for the summer!”
“I know,” Giacomo replied.
“Look at what my trainers do, Giacomo! Look, look, look!” He stamped his feet on the spot and Giacomo watched the shoes light up with a clear expression of envy.
“Those are stupid,” Giacomo sniffed, turning up his nose.
Ian looked like he was going to cry.
Ianto slapped Giacomo's wrist. “You're not allowed any chocolate,” he scolded.
“What? They are stupid! You think they're stupid!”
Elaine tugged Ian onto her lap. “Well, Ianto was always a snob,” she said disdainfully.
Ianto rolled his eyes. “You need to learn the difference between sensibility and snobbery,” he retorted, “And I don't think the shoes are stupid, actually. I had some when I was five. Giacomo did when he was seven.”
“I hardly wore them,” sulked Giacomo.
“You grew too fast,” Ianto reminded him, “I'd have bought you some more if you didn't turn into a brat the second we entered a shoe shop.”
Giacomo pouted. “Can I have my game back?”
“Because I said so.”
Elaine cleared her throat, still allowing Ian to cling to her on her lap. “Just give him the game if it shuts him up.”
“I don't want him to shut up,” Ianto pointed out, “I want him to join in the conversation.”
“Do you have to argue with everything I say?” she snapped.
“Only when what you say is monumental idio-”
“Ladies!” Jack cut in, “Enough!” He glared at them both. “Ian has lovely new shoes, Ianto thinks they're cool, Giacomo isn't allowed his game because we want him to join in the conversation and you two are going to stop bitching like schoolgirls.”
Ianto's eyes narrowed minutely. This was Jack's second sensible observation today. He simply nodded, leaning to the side slightly to make room for the waitress with a tray of their drinks. He sipped his iced chocolate appreciatively, then noticed the silence around the table had gotten awkward.
Giacomo was eyeing the box of chocolates mournfully, Jack was staring at the table lost in thought and Elaine was staring similarly into the middle distance. Ianto cleared his throat. “So … Giacomo … Why don't you tell Auntie Elaine your news?”
He perked up a bit. “I got into Louvre Art School,” he told her proudly.
“In New Paris?” she asked, and he nodded. “Oh … I see. Isn't that a boarding school?”
Giacomo nodded. “I'll miss home a bit at first, but I'll get used to it.”
“Don't you think he's a bit young for boarding school?” Elaine hinted.
Ianto set down his glass. “He chose the school and went through the application process himself. We're not going to change his mind. It's what he wants.”
“Are you sure you shouldn't wait a few years, honey?” Elaine asked Giacomo, “Finish your growing up then move away?”
Giacomo shook his head.
Elaine sighed. “Didn't you at least try and get him into King's?”
“What's it to you?” asked Ianto.
“Ianto … I know you don't like to be told you're wrong …”
Ianto sighed dramatically, and glanced over at Jack to see if he'd find any support there. Jack took the hint.
“Elaine, it wasn't Ianto's decision, or mine. It was Giacomo's.”
“Eleven-year-olds don't know what they want.”
“I do!” Giacomo scowled. “Gawd, lady. Why do you turn every meeting into a big drama?”
Ianto snorted his drink, and Jack had to bite his lip pretty damn hard. Elaine glared at them all, then dumped Ian on Jack's knee. “That's it!” she snapped, “Have a lovely summer, Ian. Mammy will pick you up in six weeks.” She kissed his cheek, and left the big suitcase by the table before storming out.
Ian began to cry, and Jack tried his best to shush him and comfort him.
“I … w-want m-my MAMMY!” he wailed, and Ianto massaged his temples.
Giacomo leaned over to whisper to him. “Was I like that when I was five?” he asked.
Ianto shook his head. “You were bloody golden when you were five.”
Fed up and noticing the other customers were shooting them 'looks', Ianto ushered Giacomo and Jack carrying Ian out of the café. Ian was still crying and refused to let Jack put him down.
“He's too heavy,” Jack complained to Ianto, who was dragging the wheeled suitcase behind him.
“Give him here,” he said, and they swapped suitcase for child. “Ian,” Ianto tried, firmly. “Ian.”
Ian sniffed and looked at him.
“You're too old to be carried. So either you walk, or we leave you here, okay?”
A new wave of tears came and the temper tantrum was beginning to escalate. Ianto put Ian on the ground. “Are you going to behave?” he asked, and Ian folded his arms and plonked himself down on his bottom, kicking his legs and hammering his fists. “Are you going to walk nicely, Ian?” Ianto tried, crouching down, “Or are you going to carry on like a two-year-old?”
Ian glared at him.
“If you don't walk, we'll leave you here,” Ianto said again.
Ian ignored him.
“Fine.” Ianto straightened up. He took hold of Jack's arm and started guiding him, Giacomo and the suitcase away from the insolent child.
“Ianto,” whispered Jack, “What are you-”
He stopped when a little hand tried to snake into his. He looked down, and found Ian sheepishly walking beside him and staring at the ground. Jack glanced over at Ianto trying not to look too smug, and smiled to himself.
Giacomo had watched the entire tantrum with a grimace.
“Gawd, this summer looks like it's going to be fun,” he said sarcastically.
Ianto flopped down onto the bed, finally allowed a moment to breathe. He heard Jack enter the room and felt the mattress dip a little as he sat on the bed, too.
“Ian is finally asleep,” he said, relief evident in his voice.
“Why did we agree to this?” asked Ianto. “How did you get me to agree to this?”
He felt Jack move and his warm body pressed against Ianto's side, an arm resting over him and squeezing him a little. “I wish I could make you feel better,” he said quietly.
Ianto turned his head and opened his eyes. “Just tell me you appreciate it.”
“I more than appreciate it,” he told him earnestly.
Ianto smiled, then leaned in and kissed Jack's lips. “I feel much, much better,” he assured him.
“I was thinking,” Jack breathed, nibbling on Ianto's earlobe, “What if you fuck me? I bet that'd work …”
“Can we try it?”
His hand ghosted down Ianto's back, slipping under the waistband of his pyjamas and fingers probed lower. Ianto squeezed his eyes shut, his neglected libido rearing up at the mere mention of sex. God he missed Jack's cock.
“If nothing happens, we stop,” Ianto insisted, and Jack nodded and pulled him closer to kiss him properly.
Ianto practically writhed against Jack, their arms tightly around each other and kissing passionately. Flipping them so that he was in between Jack's legs, Ianto rocked his hips down and tried to push through his instinct to stop when he didn't feel Jack's excitement and carried on. He slid his hands down Jack's sides, slipping his thumbs under the waistband of his pyjama bottoms and tugging them down Jack's legs. Jack raised his legs practically above his head so that Ianto could get them off, grinning.
Gently, Ianto pressed a finger between Jack's legs and found that Jack had already prepared himself. “You ruin my fun,” he pouted, his voice coming out low and grizzled.
“You tease too much when you finger me,” Jack replied, before using Ianto's t-shirt to yank him down and kiss him. Ianto ghosted his fingers down Jack's body as they kissed, finding him still unresponsive.
He swallowed, took off his pyjama bottoms and pulled open the bedside drawer and got a bottle of lube. He squeezed some onto his hand and moaned quietly as he stroked himself and buried his face in Jack's neck. Panting and losing patience, he raised his head to look Jack in the eye. “Are you sure?” he asked.
Jack nodded, raising his chin to peck Ianto's lips. “Don't stop,” he said firmly, “Don't stop for anything.”
“Shush,” Jack cut him off, “It's been too long since I felt you come inside me.”
Ianto squeezed his eyes shut. “We're supposed to share this,” he whispered.
“Don't be such a girl,” Jack teased, “You'd insist I did the same.” He spread his legs wider, raising his knees to his shoulders and leaning a little so that his flesh would brush against Ianto's cock. “Fuck me,” he breathed, “It might just happen.”
“And if it doesn't?”
“Then it's no different from a woman faking an orgasm, is it?” Jack pointed out, then added, “Only it's a bit harder for me.” He quirked an eyebrow at his own pun.
Ianto positioned himself right, and stared into Jack's eyes as he nudged his way inside him. He gasped and moaned softly, almost a whimper, as he pushed himself all the way in, sweat breaking on his brow. Jack's nails scratched into his scalp, and his mind melted as they rocked together and kissed.
It was over pretty quickly, and Ianto was almost embarrassed. “Fuck,” he muttered into Jack's neck, his lips brushing over dry, not particularly flushed skin. He pulled out of Jack's body, and Jack protested.
“I like it when you're inside me,” he pouted, frowning when he realised that Ianto was hugging himself and turning away. “Hey – what's wrong?”
“I don't feel right,” admitted Ianto, “Nothing happened for you. It made me feel … I dunno. It was just an orgasm. There was no … joy.”
“I'm sorry,” Jack said quietly.
Ianto realised Jack thought it was his fault. “Oh, no – Jack,” he soothed, turning to that he could face him and pulling the covers over them. “It's not your fault. Not even a little bit.”
“I just thought … I dunno what I thought.”
“You know what I realised?” Ianto asked, pulling himself close to Jack and pillowing his head on his bicep, putting Jack's other arm over him and putting his own arms around Jack. “It's not sex I miss, or coming,” he said softly, “It's the intimacy that we have when we're fucking; the intimacy we never share any time else because I'm too uptight to let go.”
Jack touched his nose with the tip of his finger. “You're not uptight,” he smiled, “Just sensible.”
“Mmmm,” Ianto replied, his eyes drifting closed. “Don't pressure yourself, Jack,” he murmured, “I don't miss sex. I miss you.”
“Ianto … Do you still love me?”
Ianto opened his eyes. He had been thinking about that, actually. “Yes, Jack. I love you.”
Jack looked relieved. “I've been … worried,” he admitted.
“Me too. But everything will be okay, as long as we work through all this shit together.”
“Okay,” Jack promised, kissing his nose and making him smile. “I love your nose,” he told him, and Ianto cracked an eye open to give him an odd look. Jack shrugged. “It's a lovely nose.”
“Mmph,” Ianto sighed, sleep creeping up on him. “I like your smile,” he mumbled, “It's a lovely smile …”
He snuggled down into Jack's arm, and let unconsciousness wash over him.
“Ian, be careful with Shirley!” Ianto tried not to shout through gritted teeth.
“I'm just stroking her,” whined Ian.
“She's old, and you're going to hurt her if you do that – look, she's whimpering now. Put her back on her bed.”
Shirley looked distinctly grateful to be away from the five-year-old's rough and grabby hands. She watched timidly as he pretty much ran to the other side of the room where Ianto kept their neatly stacked and organised video chips.
“Wanna watch this,” Ian demanded, tugging out a brightly coloured Transformers-esque box from the middle of one of the stacks and ignoring it as it tumbled down around him.
Giacomo was sat on the couch, and he glanced up from his game to tut at the mess. He put his game on standby and started picking everything up, and Ianto was more than grateful as he himself tried to wrestle the box from Ian and tell him he'd been naughty so he didn't deserve to watch it.
“But I want to!” shouted Ian, stamping a foot.
“Well you can't,” Ianto replied, cursing in his head Jack's quick exit that morning to go job hunting. He'd better come back as the bloody King of England.
Ian was crying and throwing a tantrum, and Ianto wondered if he really was five. He massaged his temples as Ian ran back and forth as he wailed, hitting one wall then running back into the other. He'd already had his lighty-up shoes confiscated, told he would have to go to bed straight after tea with no afters and had his visit to the park cancelled.
Ianto was getting to the end of his tether, and was one more lap of the living room away from implementing the one punishment he hoped he'd never have to use.
There was a yelp from Giacomo as Ian threw one of the slippers from his feet at him, and Ianto snapped. He grabbed Ian's arm. “That is it!” he fumed, dragging him to the bottom of the stairs, “Sit there on the Naughty Step for five minutes, Ian Harkness, because you have been throwing things, messing things up, losing your temper and been very, very naughty!”
Ianto turned on his heel and left him there, checking his watch and going into the kitchen to do something that looked important so that he was close enough to the stairs to put Ian back.
Ian had had enough warning, as far as he was concerned, and Ianto was going to go insane pretty soon if things continued like this – and they hadn't even made it through their first morning yet. Obviously, Ianto blamed Elaine's lax parenting and teaching Ian that he could have anything the moment he asked for it as long as he yelled enough.
Turning, Ianto found Ian in the kitchen doorway, stamping his feet again. Ianto carried him back to the step. “Your five minutes starts again,” he told him, “You will stay there until those five minutes are finished, or I'll put you back and start over again.”
Ian kicked him.
“Shall I kick you back?” Ianto challenged, and Ian thought about it then shook his head. “Don't kick me then,” Ianto snapped, and left him on the step.
He would never understand how Jack could have ever wanted one of those child things.
A very disturbed part of Ianto's mind reminded him what Jack had been like when they'd re-met six years go, when part of him was trapped behind an Emotional Inhibitor and he'd given his babies away.
Ianto sort of wished he could find a balance in Jack – one that loved him, he supposed, but without the soppy romance stuff, and was happy with that and not asking, every year on the dot: “... baby?”
Jack loved kids now, he supposed, and he had gotten used to that.
Ianto returned Ian to the the Naughty Step again, explained the five minutes was starting over, and checked on Giacomo in the living room. “Okay?” he asked.
“Yup,” Giacomo nodded, “Are you?”
“I think I'm gonna have high blood pressure before this afternoon,” he sighed, then turned and put Ian back on his step again. “I'm gonna miss you when you go, y'know,” he admitted, sitting next to Giacomo on the settee and putting his hands behind his head, closing his eyes as Ian quietened and seemed like he was going to stay on his step.
“I'll miss you, too. I'll probably miss you more than you'll miss me,” Giacomo told him, putting his arms around Ianto's waist and hugging him. Ianto brought his arms down to hug him back.
“You know if you ever need me for anything, all you have to do is ask, yeah?”
“Yeah,” nodded Giacomo, “Even when I'm in France?”
“Especially when you're in France. Any time of night or day, you can call me – well, for the first six months, anyway.”
“I can't believe I got in,” Giacomo admitted, “I'm frightened I won't be as good as the other kids.”
Ianto frowned at him. “Giacomo, you can draw better than I can. You can draw better than your Dad can, and he's had a lot more practice than either of us. I've never met anyone who can draw like you, and the only similar skill I've seen is in books and galleries.”
“I didn't know Dad could draw?”
“Uh … I'll show you when you're much, much older.”
Giacomo giggled. “Okay.”
“Hmm,” Ianto frowned, “I think Ian might have stayed on his step … I'm going to go and check. I'll be right back.”
He poked his head around the door, spotting Ian sat with his head hanging guiltily, quiet and subdued on the bottom stair and waiting for Ianto to fetch him. Thank you, Supernanny, Ianto smiled to himself, and left Ian a little longer.
He sat back down with Giacomo.
“Ianto,” Giacomo began, “Are you and Dad … all right?” he asked, watching Ianto's reaction carefully.
Ianto swallowed, but decided to be honest. “Your Dad was barely home for nearly three years, Giacomo,” he said, “We're taking time to readjust, getting to know each other again.”
“You do still love each other?” he asked, his bottom lip wobbling a little.
“Of course we do,” Ianto assured him, “We're just having a bit of a rough time at the moment. It's hard when we've got so much to worry about.”
“I had these dreams,” Giacomo admitted, “You woke me up in the middle of the night and we packed up and left.”
Ianto felt a little strange inside. He had been considering doing just that at one point. “We won't be doing that,” he promised, “Not yet, anyway,” he added with a cheeky smile. “You're Dad's a difficult man to cope with, sometimes, and it takes a bit of work when he's being … well … Jack. But when it's important, he always does the right thing.”
The front door opened, and Ianto heard a woman's voice saying 'hello' to Ian sat on the stairs. Ianto frowned, warily getting up and going out into the hall. His mouth fell open, and probably would have hit the floor.
“Oh. My. God … Jack?”
The woman in the doorway watched him warily, shooing Ian away from the pretty expensive-looking skinny dress she was wearing. Her hair was long and waved a little, a deep brown colour, and her eyes were unmistakable. Rather … his eyes were unmistakable.
“I know what you're thinking,” she-he--it-Jack said, “But it's only for a month, I swear.”
Ianto looked him up and down, then, feeling faint, returned to the living room without saying a word to Jack. He sat next a confused-looking Giacomo. “You know when I said that when it comes to it, Jack does the right thing?”
“Yeah … prefix that with 'only after he's done something monumentally stupid',” Ianto sighed, and buried his face in his hands.
Why did he love this man? Why? Why? Why? Gosh - I've been so bad with updates! But EEP - BIG BANG TOMORROW. Hopefully I'll have it exactly how I want it. EEEEP.
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