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Another Life by a_silver_story | Part 13

Title: Another Life
Chapter: 13 | ??
Characters: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones
Author: a_silver_story
Genre Alternate Universe, Romance
Rating: NC-17 just to be safe.
Warnings: A bit of angst, and some tentacles and d/c in the future.
Disclaimer: If I owned anything in this, I'd be a rich rich rich bitch. However, I am not a rich rich rich bitch so you may all, therefore, assume I own nothing. Which I don't. It all belongs RTD and the BBC, in case any of you didn't know.
Summary: Ianto finds himself heartbroken and alone, but eventually learns that no matter what point in Captain Jack Harkness' life he finds himself, they will always fall in love.





Torchwood Index/Masterlist

First Part













Another Life



Another Life XIII





Ianto snuffled in his almost-sleep, cracking on eye open as a jolt of lightning lit up the room, followed a few seconds later by the deep rumble of thunder. Rain was beating down the windows, so heavy it was coming down in sheets, flooding the dark world outside, the little stream in the garden already bursting its banks. Groggily, Ianto sat up and rubbed his eyes.

Jack was still sleeping beside him, totally oblivious to the tempest outside as the lighting cracked again, lighting up his features in stark white before casting them both into shadow again. Ianto sighed, regretting what he had to do. Carefully, he nudged the Captain, shaking him gently and trying to wake him up.

"Jack? Jack!" he whispered.

"Grr-arr-whut?" groaned Jack.

"You need to put some pyjama bottoms on."

"Why?"

"There's a storm, and if Giacomo gets scared he'll come in here."

"So?"

"He can't get in bed with us if we're naked! Just ... hang on. You can borrow some of mine."

"Mmmf." agreed Jack, rolling over and facing away from him. Ianto picked up both their strewn clothes from earlier and put them in the washing basket inside his wardrobe before retrieving two pairs of pyjama bottoms. Lighting struck again as he forced Jack into one of them, and the rolling thunder grew louder and more ominous as the rain lashed at the window.

Gratefully, they both curled up in bed again, pulling the covers around them and snuggling up close. Letting his eyes drift shut, Ianto smiled contentedly as Jack's arms weaved around him and they began to drift off again, content.

Unfortunately, Ianto's prediction had been correct. Their peace within the storm was abruptly disrupted, the bedroom door flinging open and a high-pitched squeal coinciding with another flash of lightning. Little feet scurried across the floor as Jack and Ianto squinted in the dark, not given a choice as to whether or not they were going to allow Giacomo to get in bed. Leaning over, Ianto turned the bedside light on dim so that he could see, and as a bolt of lightning lit up the room he saw Giacomo pull the covers over his head in fright.

Jack gave a sleepy laugh, leaning over Ianto to try and pull the duvet off his head again. "What's up, soldier? Frightened?"

The thunder rumbled, and Giacomo squeaked again, throwing himself at Ianto and locking his arms around his neck.

"Don't like it." he muttered, and Ianto stroked his hair a little, trying to sit up.

"It won't hurt you." Ianto assured him. "There's nothing to be afraid of."

"Don't like it." Giacomo repeated, tensing as more lightning flashed and thunder rolled.

"Come on," sighed Ianto. "It's just weather."

"I. Don't. Like. It." intoned Giacomo, wriggling to get under the covers and shoving his head under a pillow as another bolt of lightning struck.

The Captain was already snuggling down to go back to sleep, and Ianto caught the glare Giacomo was sending in his oblivious direction. He gave him a questioning eyebrow.

Giacomo lowered his voice to a whisper. "Is he staying?"

"For tonight."

"But I'm here now."

"And?"

Giacomo bit his lip and settled himself between Jack and Ianto. "What if he rolls over and squashes me?"

"What if I roll over and squash you?"

"Mmmf?" Jack groaned, trying to figure out what the whispered hold up was.

"But you won't!" insisted Little Jack.

Jack sat up, squinting. "What's up?"

"He's worried you'll roll over and squash him." Ianto rolled his eyes. "Look, Giacomo: just lie on the other side from me instead of in the middle."

He watched the cogs in Little Jack's mind turn as he thought about it. Eventually he scowled and conceded, quickly crawling over Ianto as the thunder and lighting drew closer. Ianto began to tuck him in, settling himself back down on his side so that the Captain could spoon into his back and they'd both be able to keep an eye on Giacomo. Giacomo turned his back on them, curling up with his arms folded, but Ianto ignored his strange little tant. It seemed he didn't want Jack in the bed with them, despite how well they had been getting on earlier. Ianto assumed it was some form of possessive thing, and decided he could get over it now rather than letting it continue. Frowning, Ianto half lifted his head, realising Jack hadn't lain back down yet.

"Okay?" he asked with a slight smile.

"I ... I ...." Jack was staring at the back of Giacomo's head, his expression unfathomable. "I ... I can't do this ...."

Without warning, he threw back the covers and got out of bed. "Where are my clothes?" he demanded.

"I put them over there." Ianto pointed, getting up to follow him. "Jack? What's wrong? Don't ... don't take it personally. He's just ... not ...."

"It's too soon for ... It's too hard. Please ... I just need to be alone. This is too much ... it was too much earlier ... I can't ... I need to go ...." Jack rambled as he pulled his clothes on over his pyjama bottoms, forgetting he was wearing them or not really caring. He quickly marched out of the room, heading for the front door.

"Jack ... wait!" Ianto called darting out after him, ignoring Giacomo sat up in the bed to listen. He caught the Captain's sleeve, stopping him mid-way through the living room. He lowered his voice to a gentler timbre, pulling Jack close. "Hey ... hey ...." he soothed. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"I ... I just ... it's ... it's too soon for me to ... and he's ... he doesn't ...."

"Okay ... okay ...." Ianto breathed. "It's all too soon, and it's all too much?"

Jack nodded, touching their foreheads together as he wrapped his arms around Ianto as their eyes drifted shut.

"I can't ... he ... after everything ... he rejected me ...."

Ianto's eyes snapped open. "That ... no! He's just ... he's just being a kid! He's not rejecting you - he's just ... not used to the idea of someone else other than him and Rhys being so close. All kids do it when their parents date - seriously! He's just being possessive! It's nothing personal agains-"

"Stop it, Ianto." sighed Jack. "I know ... but that doesn't change how it feels ...."

Ianto bit his lip. "No." agreed Ianto, and he touched Jack's hair. "Look - you stay in my bed. I'll tell Giacomo that he has to stay in his own."

Jack shook his head. "He's frightened."

"So are you."

"He's six."

"You're mentally six, sometimes." Ianto pointed out with a smile. He managed to draw a quirk of a smile from Jack, and squeezed his shoulders. "Stay. I'll be here - I'll look after you."

"But ... he ...."

"He'll get used to it. And he'll love you to bits again once he's got over himself."

"That's just it." sighed Jack. "He ... he should love me already ...." His voice trailed off to barely a whisper, and he shook as tears tried to force themselves forward. Ianto felt his mouth open and close, unsure what to say. He couldn't very well say 'it's your own fault'. He pulled Jack back into a tight embrace.

"Don't run away from him." Ianto advised gently. "Be constant. Even when it all gets too much, and you feel like you're falling about at the seams, he needs you to be constant."

They broke apart and Jack nodded slowly.

"Just ... relax ...." smiled Ianto reassuringly, and took his hand and lead him back to his bedroom. Giacomo was still sat up in bed, the covers pulled right up to his chin, his hair tousled from where he'd hidden his head in them while Jack and Ianto had been away as the storm raged on.

They didn't say a word to him as Jack undressed again, nor as they slipped under the covers. Little Jack watched uncertainly as the Captain spooned into Ianto's back, resting the side of his face against the back of Ianto's head and laying an arm over his middle.

Ianto smiled reassuringly at Giacomo and reached out an arm, inviting him to cuddle closer as he usually did. A little stubbornly, and pouting a little, he settled himself with his head buried close to Ianto's chest and his body curled towards him. He obediently shut his eyes, jumping a little when lighting cracked again and relaxing when Ianto ran fingers through his hair.

Eventually, Ianto drifted off, too, leaving Giacomo to his dreams and the Captain to his thoughts.




~*~*~*~





When Ianto awoke, he smiled to himself. He had turned in the night, and now had his cheek resting against Jack's chest and Jack's chin resting gently on his head. He frowned a little when he realised that Jack was whispering, and his frown deepened when a giggle answered him before remembering the storm from the night before.

"... and then," whispered Jack. "I had to spend three days in the forests of Balhoon, living off berries and water. When I got to the other side, I finally managed to find the palace."

Ianto smiled into the skin of Jack's chest. He was telling his stories again.

"How did you get to the dungeons?" Giacomo asked quietly, the wonder in his voice evident.

"I had to climb through the air conditioning - but it kept getting narrower until eventually I nearly got myself stuck. Luckily, this Grock I met in a bar once taught me this neat way of writhing in just the right way, and I managed to get myself free and back up a bit. Then I had to climb out of the air con and into the corridors - but I accidentally found myself in the guards' break room!"

"Oh no!" gasped Giacomo.

"I had to take them all down - bam, bam, bam - all down. I knocked them on the heads with a broken table leg after a bit of a kerfuffle and managed to nick one of their passes and another one of their uniforms."

Ianto lay still, listening and trying not to laugh.

"What then? Did you find them?"

"Of course I found them! But remember, Jack: it's the getting in that's easy. Getting out is much, much harder."

"How did you get out?"

"They let me out, eventually."

"How?" urged Giacomo.

"Well ... the Moxx of Balhoon had a daughter ... or was it a son? ... difficult to tell with Balhoonians ... anyway, the Moxx of Balhoon had a non-gender specific child who was currently looking for a husband slash wife slash non-gender specific partner."

"So you married them and then ran away?"

"Erm ... didn't quite get to the marriage bit."

"Huh?"

"Well ... sometimes, grown-ups who like each other-"

Ianto sat bolt upright. "He'll finish that story when you're older!" he interrupted quickly.

"What? Why not now?" pouted Giacomo.

"It's breakfast time now." Ianto tried. "And ... is Rhys back yet? Giacomo: go and check to see if Rhys has come back yet, would you?"

Giacomo grumbled and tumbled out of bed, going to check.

"Morning." grinned Jack.

"Morning." smiled Ianto, being pulled back down into Jack's arms and a quick, chaste kiss. They cuddled a little. "Please be careful what stories you tell him - I mean, I realise how censored that version of the Moxx of Balhoon Escapade was ... but ... at least let him be innocent of some things."

Jack shrugged. "Sex is natural."

"Doesn't mean he needs to know about it yet. Let him get sexually aware when he's ready to be sexually aware. I'd say about ... thirty years time?"

Jack laughed. "I bet you by the time he's fourteen-"

"Rhys isn't back yet." grumbled Giacomo trudging back into the room as Ianto gave the Captain a meaningful look. "Can we have breakfast now?"

Jack's stomach rumbled in agreement, and the three of them managed to drag themselves from the warm sanctuary of the bed and into the kitchen.

"Only cereal, m'fraid." sighed Ianto. "I'll see about getting a new oven later. What time is it?" he asked rhetorically, checking his watch. "Right - we've got an hour before we need to be back in at work. That means Rhys has an hour to find his way back home."

"What if he's not back?" asked Jack.

"Well ... I can't leave Little Jack on his own." Ianto bit his lip. "Rhys will be back. He's dependable, and he knows what time I go to work."

"Well, if he doesn't get back in time ... maybe ... I wouldn't mind ... keeping an eye on 'Little Jack' until he ... y'know ... gets back ....?"

"Yeah!" agreed Giacomo, enthusiastically.

"I don't see why not." Ianto agreed, wondering why he was feeling a little hesitant. "Why not take him to the office with you?" he added with a slightly sly smile. "Giacomo - how about going to work with Jack and making sure he keeps himself busy. He has lots of letters to send - you could lick all the envelopes!"

"Not quite what I had in min-"

"YEAH!" exclaimed Giacomo, shovelling cereal into his mouth. "I wunna go! Cun I wur mah soot?" he asked, his words clogged up with Shreddies.

"Sure." grinned Ianto. "All proper office boys need a suit."

Jack shrugged, letting them arrange his day for him, though still not entirely sure if taking a child to work was a good idea ...




~*~*~*~





The Doctor, Jack and Ianto stood by the gaping hole in the boards and scaffolding, shivering in the cold as the wind swept through it. They were careful not to get too close to the edge - this part of the building was still very weak and had been evacuated in case any more of it decided to crumble. The storm the night before hadn't helped, tearing down parts of the scaffolding, beating in the protective boards and leaving the internal corridors exposed to the elements.

Giacomo had been persuaded to loiter behind at a safe distance while Ianto inspected the damage with an outside builder. The Doctor was attacking things with his sonic screwdriver, buzzing it over the wall and listening to the reverberations with a stethoscope. Jack, on the other hand, was 'supervising', and currently Ianto was trying to persuade him to kindly butt out and go and make sure Little Jack was where they'd left him.

"So ... I'd say ... probably ...." assessed the builder, having had a long conversation with an architect. ".... we're looking at around a hundred and twenty thousand."

Ianto raised an eyebrow. "A hundred and twenty thousand? For temporary walls and insulation? I'm not an idiot, gentlemen. I have shopped around."

The builder and architect glanced at each other again, glanced over at the buzzing Doctor and glanced back as Ianto folded his arms expectantly.

"Erm ... one moment, Mr. Jones."

Ianto sighed, turning back down the corridor and making his way back to Jack and Giacomo as the outsiders reassessed their original projection and the Doctor continued buzzing.

"Okay? Not cold?" Ianto asked, smiling down at Little Jack in his Little Suit holding a clipboard and pencil to scribble down some pretty much indiscernible notes.

The Doctor finished examining whatever it was he'd been examining and came to stand with them. "I'd say this place isn't that structurally safe." he informed them.

Ianto raised an eyebrow, glancing over at the gaping holes where part of the building had crumbled down, but decided not to say anything.

Jack cleared his throat. "Will it be cheaper to improve and renovate, or move?"

The Doctor ran his hand through his hair. "Difficult to say. I mean ... you'd probably be better off knocking the whole place down and starting again than waiting for the rest of the place to crumble."

Jack and Ianto sighed in unison, Ianto ignoring Giacomo hiding behind his leg from the Doctor. "We're going to the senate tomorrow. We're going to demand funding."

"Mmm." agreed the Doctor. "Good luck with that."


"Maybe ...." the architect interrupted. "... have you thought ... maybe just ... move off planet?"

"The Rift opens here." Jack pointed out.

"Yeahh ... well, have them transported. Find a planet with cheaper land and labour costs and rebuild." shrugged the architect.

Jack frowned. "Just ... abandon everything and start afresh?"

Ianto huffed. "That sounds familiar ...."

The Doctor raised an eyebrow at his bitter tone, but Jack either didn't notice or was too busy thinking. "What if we sell off some of the land?" he asked, turning to Ianto.

"I'd have to have it valued, but land isn't usually worth much."

"Could we send people to work in the towns to bring outside money in?"

"Logistical nightmare, but we could chance it if the jobs offered we well-paid enough. Given the fact that most people here are at least a hundred years behind in education and qualifications, however, I doubt it would be worth it for the little they'd bring in. Also, the only way that could e really profitable is if we taxed them, and I'm not so sure they'll go for that."

Jack nodded, and Ianto sighed. The Captain bit his lip. "You ... you said you had a backup plan in case the senate refused?"

"It's a gamble, but it might work." nodded Ianto. "I figured we could go into design sales. Some of the stuff we have in the market is ... exquisite. A collision of different times as well as different cultures and different ways of working. We could sell those designs to companies, earn commission per unit sold. Again, it would involved taxing the workers, but if they earn enough profit-wise they'll be more likely to go for it."

"If we're not paying them to work, and the outsiders are," observed Jack. "that will also free up a little cash to spend on building maintenance. So why tax?"

The Doctor, the architect, the builder and Little Jack watched the exchange carefully as the two men thought together.

"They need to contribute to the community somehow - especially high-earners."

"But the loosened cash will be enough to keep us on our feet. Why take more than we need?"

"Emergencies."

"Such as?"

"Half the building falling down?"

Jack was silent a moment, and the wind howled through the corridor, ruffling his hair. Ianto felt Giacomo snake arms around his waist and shiver a little. "Cold now?"

"Mmmf." he replied.

"We'll go up to your office, Captain."

Jack nodded, turning on his heel to lead the way and beckoning the architect and builder after him. The Doctor fell into step by Giacomo and Ianto, walking with a bounce, hands stuffed in his pockets. Ianto still wasn't entirely sure he was comfortable with the Doctor hanging around, but he seemed to spend more time wandering around the grounds and chatting with random people than bothering Jack and Ianto.

As a last moment though, the Captain redirected his steps away from his office to small conference room on the floor below. It contained a circular table and was surrounded by chairs on wheels, one of which quickly found itself inhabited by an over-excited six-year-old boy spinning around too fast.

"You're gonna make yourself sick." Ianto sighed, stopping him and putting his clipboard and pencil down on the desk. "Just ... carry on with your notes ... ?" he suggested.

"I'm bored."

"Then draw some pictures." shrugged Ianto. "Or do you want me to take you home?"

"I'll draw." decided Giacomo, picking up the pencil.

"Good lad."

They sat around the table for nearly two hours discussing possible ways of saving the School, but Ianto's Backup Plan was the only one that sounded anything close to stable. The other ideas would have to expand from it.

Little Jack had fallen asleep in his spinny chair, the pencil still in his hand and balanced with the point on the paper where he'd fallen asleep mid-masterpiece. The Doctor appeared to have joined him, his feet propped on the table and his head lolled back on his shoulders, fingers interlinked over his abdomen. The Captain had forced his attention span to lengthen, alert and ready to suggest or poke holes.

By the end of it, however, the architect, the builder, the Captain and Ianto all had their heads in their hands, their brains buzzing with complicated thoughts and ideas as caffeine withdrawal began setting in.

"I need coffee." Ianto eventually said, getting to his feet.

"We need to go. Need to get home." sighed the builder and the architect.

The Doctor snored loudly, waking himself up and jumping, re-orientating himself when he grasped his surroundings. Ianto gently lifted Giacomo up into his arms, trying not to disturb him, and began to carry him upstairs.

He carefully lay him down on Jack's couch, tucking cushions around him, then climbed back up the spiral stairs to set to work on coffee. He heard Jack enter the office, and raised a finger to his lips as he entered the kitchen.

"Shhh. Little Jack's sleeping." he explained, handing over a steaming hot mug.

"'Little Jack'." the Captain repeated. "He ... he is ... isn't he?"

Ianto smiled a little. "Tell me about it. Usually I ... only refer to him as 'Little Jack' in my head, though. But ... with the two of you in the same conversation, it can get confusing when I think to call him 'Jack'."

"Mmmm. Where did you leave him?"

"On the couch."

Jack nodded and carried his coffee down the stairs as Ianto began to clean the filter. Confident it was residue-free, Ianto picked up his own mug of coffee goodness and crept down the spiral staircase to the living room.

The Captain was sat on the opposite end of the couch to where Giacomo lay, staring into space and not even registering that he was no longer alone.

"Jack? Jack?"

"Hmm?" he inquired distractedly as Ianto sat beside him, putting an arm around his shoulders.

"Stressed about ... everything?"

"Pretty much." Jack laughed weakly, tilting his head to the side so that his temple touched Ianto's. "Listen ... I've been thinking ...."

"Go on ...."

"What if the worst should happen? What if they shut us down?"

"They won't. I mean ... they can't. Where would we go?"

"Children with biological parents would stay with them, but orphans would go to orphanages. They'll split the rest of us up into pairs and put us in council houses and dingy flats to work factory jobs."

"That's a very ... dire outlook."

"It's what they did to the Refuge in Cairo. The whole place ... disbanded."

"There ... there are other Schools?"

"There were five. This is the only one left. I thought we were big enough and productive enough to stay afloat ...."

"Hey! We're not under yet!"

"But we're going under, Ianto. The Senate can't be bothered pumping money into places that aren't paying out. They're not allowed to tax us, and we're not generating income to be spent in the outside world. We're an expense, not an investment."

"What about my idea? Selling to businesses to mass-produ-"

"The Senate might not approve the contracts."

"If we generate enough profit to pay for taxation-"

"On a place the size of this? With this many people? We'd have to invent the new MacDonald's to generate enough to make this Senate to take notice."

"Unless ... we just ... re-invent the wheel ...." Ianto thought out loud. "I ... Jack ... I ... I have another idea. What do you think the market would be like for spy movies?"

Jack blinked. "Spy movies?"

"Yeah ... there's this spy called James Bond, and he ... we could get the Doctor to get us the DVDs! We could remake the films and get rich off them! We could even reintroduce action figures!"

Jack laughed. "You're optimistic, I'll give you that. So ... where are you going to find the money to back this wonderful little venture?"

Ianto sagged. "Oh ... yeah ...." He sighed, then perked up as another idea hit him. "Children's books! Peter Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh - Thomas the Tank Engine! I could rewrite children's books from my time and get them published."

"Peter ... Rabbit?" Jack raised an eyebrow. "A story about a rabbit? You seriously think that's what the kids today want?"

"Worth a try." shrugged Ianto, reaching over to Giacomo and pushing stray hair out of his sleeping eyes.

"I suppose. But ... don't be heartbroken when it gets continually rejected. Sometimes a book can only take off because of the original author's flair, and if you're not the original author ... sometimes stuff gets lost."

"You're being pessimistic."

"I'm being realistic."

"Makes a change." smiled Ianto, kissing his cheek. "I'm clutching at straws." he admitted. "Jack ... so ... if they do shut us down - which they won't, but if they do - what will happen, really?"

"Like I said: kids with biological family stay with them. Orphans herded off to orphanages. The adults are all paired off and sent to government owned housing to work as factory drones."

"How do they decide the pairs?"

Jack shrugged, then turned to him. "I don't know. I know that in Cairo some of it was random."

"So I could end up with a total stranger? What about Giacomo? Will he stay with you, or will he go to an orphanage?"

Jack took a deep breath. "He ... he'll stay with me."

Ianto nodded. "Good."

"I'll take care of him."

"I know you will."

Ianto closed his eyes, breathing in Jack's scent. What if ... no. It wouldn't happen.

"What about you?" Jack asked quietly.

"Hmmm?"

"Who will look after you?"

Ianto stared at his hands. "It's not going to happen."

"But if it does ...."

"Jack: it won't."

Jack turned on the sofa to face him, pulling him close and kissing his mouth. "I want you around." he murmured. "I need you around for a long time yet."

"Jack ...."

"Listen to me. We can take precautions now. We can make sure they won't split us up."

"Nothing like that is going to ha-"

"If we get married, they'll keep us together."

Ianto stared at him.

"Ianto?"

Ianto stared at him still.

"Ianto?"

"You're out of your tree!" he exclaimed, getting up. "Get mar- you're ... this ... nothing's going to happen! And ... we've only known each other a few months and ... and ... and ... what about Rhys?" Ianto began arranging the ornaments on the sideboard hurriedly as he spoke.

"Rhys will be fine. And ... we've known each other six billion years, Ianto."

"No! No we have not! We've known each other a few months, and that's all. This ... maybe ... this would be different if ... if you were ...."

Jack walked up behind him, snaking arms around his waist and turning him around, away from the ornaments and trophies he was trying to re-organise. "If I were ....?" he prompted.

"If you were ... My Jack." Ianto finished sullenly.

Jack stepped back as if he'd been burned, the shock giving way to a sigh of exasperation. "For God's sake, Ianto!" he practically growled, turning away and walking towards the stairs.

"What?" Ianto snapped.

Jack hesitated and turned. "When will you get it into your head that I am Your Jack now! He is That Jack! He's is the Jack That Used To Be. I am here. I am now. He is gone, and I am right in front of you - but until you realise that, and get it into your head ...."

He trailed off, and Ianto blinked.

"I ... I didn't mean to ... I never meant it like that, it's just ... it's how I kept you separate. I suppose ... old habits die hard ...."

Jack squared his shoulders. "So? What is it then? Am I 'Your Jack' now, or do I not even compare?"

"Don't talk like that."

There was a long pause, and the Captain looked hurt, angered, lost and confused all at once. Ianto could sense the insecurity that had spouted forth this argument bubbling beneath the surface of Jack's skin, and as he waited for his response he felt guilt gnawing at him, as if it was all his fault.

"Marry Rhys if you're so worried about him." Jack eventually snapped.

"Stop it."

"What?"

"You're ... maybe you need some time to ... mull things over."

"You need to mull things over."

"Jack ...."

"Which Jack are you talking to. Your Jack, or me?"

"You ... you are My Jack." Ianto replied quietly. "I promise. You're My Jack." He rubbed his eyes, sighing with exasperation.

"What about me?" asked a little voice, from the couch, and Ianto turned sharply to see Giacomo tear-stained and almost forgotten on the couch.

Ianto rushed over to him, sitting beside him and cuddling him close and tight. "Shhhh. It's okay. I'm not going to leave you. I love you. I love you very, very much."

"But ... you said ... you said that if things went bad I'd go ... go with him!" he sniffed.

Ianto opened and closed his mouth a few times. "Giacomo ... I ...."

"You promised! You promised you wouldn't leave! You're supposed to be my Dad!"

"Giacomo," Jack interrupted firmly, and the little lad glanced up at him almost fearfully. "Chances are, nothing bad is going to happen. You'll be with ... him."

"See?" Ianto tried weakly. "See? It's okay."

"Promise?"

Ianto winced. What if Jack was right? "I ... I ... I can't."

Jack blinked. "Ianto ..." He leant in close to his ear. "Be constant."

Ianto swallowed. "I ... I'll look after you. I promise." he murmured, his gut wrenching as he pondered just how much Giacomo had heard.




~*~*~*~





"He's asleep."

Jack glanced up from his desk. "Is he gonna be alright?"

"Yeah. I hope so."

The Captain moved some papers aside. "Are you two going to stay here tonight?" he asked.

"I ... hadn't thought about it. Why would ... both of us stay here?"

"It was ... nice, wasn't it? Us three?"

"Yeah - but it was a rare and occasional thing. You stayed over and ... there was a storm."

"Yeah ... I suppose ... I just ... want to ... be close to him. To all of them." He put his head in his hands. "What have I done, Ianto? Why did I ..."

"... distance yourself?"

"No point me even asking myself, is there? ... it hurts when they die. It hurts when you all die."

"Jack ..." Ianto perched on the edge of the desk beside him, ignoring the deja vu that gnawed at his mind. "... I can't ... make decisions for you but ... Just ... spend more time with them all? Take them all out for pizza - let them know each other?"

"And let them feel the pain when we're torn apart again?"

"Why would you be torn apart again?"

"Because that's what's going to happen!" growled Jack. "We'll be denied funding, our contract proposals will be turned down - they probably won't even let us sell the land! They'll shut us down, fragment us and use us for cheap labour!"

"You won't let them."

"There's nothing I can do! We can ... warn the people ... and ... if they pick who they want to be paired off with now ...."

"Jack ... stop it ...."

"Ianto - I know you don't want to hear it ...."

"No. It's not that."

"Are you sure?"

Ianto bit his lip and glanced away. "Why would ... I mean ...."

"That's the way it is. That's the way it's going. We've got a few months left."

"We have time."

"To prepare."

"To prevent!"

"You're on a one man battle, then. If we get refused tomorrow, then I'm done." Jack snapped, standing up and capping his pen, throwing it down on the desk.

Ianto watched his retreating back from where he was sat on the desk. Silently he picked up the pen from where Jack had thrown it and put it neatly back in its pen pot. He stood and straightened the paperwork that had been left out, tucked the chair back under and leant on the back of it, hanging his head and sighing heavily.

He supposed he had to concede that Jack knew more about this time than he did, and that he would have a much better knowledge of the sort of politics that went on. Jack never, ever gave up easily. Ever.

Running his hands through his hair, Ianto thought of his promise to Little Jack, and felt more than a little manipulated by the Captain having made it. How could he ensure he was there for Giacomo should the worst happen unless he agreed to marry Jack? Ianto meant what he had said: things would have been different if Past Jack had proposed the same arrangement. He didn't like being manipulated like this. He didn't like it at all.

But the thought of having Jack to himself ... to keep for his own, to call his own and to say he belonged to?

And he loved Jack. He loved the Captain, and had made the mistake of telling him once - by accident, but it had still slipped out. He hadn't dared mention his own feelings since then, but now that Jack was whole he supposed they would have to talk about love eventually.

But, in reality, they had only known each other a few months ....

"The offer still stands." Jack's voice said from the doorway.

Ianto jumped, not having heard him return. "Oh! ... you made me ... ahem ... well ... I ... that's nice."

The Captain stepped forward, and held his arm out. "Hold me?" he begged with whisper.

Ianto pulled him close, kissing his hair and frowning in thought, running hands over his back. He seemed so strong sometimes, and so vulnerable at others. Ianto wanted to cuddle him sometimes, and fuck him senseless others. As the thought crossed his mind, Jack seemed to sense it, turning his head to touch lips to Ianto's neck and make him sigh softly. The button on his jacket was opened and hands slipped inside to run over heated silk beneath, and Ianto felt his breathing deepen as his head tipped back and Jack began to lower himself down to his knees.

"No ... Jack ... not now ...." Ianto managed, and Jack hesitated, looking up at him, fingers clasped to his belt buckle. Resignedly he got to his feet.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing." insisted Ianto, turning away from him and rearranging papers on the desk again. "Only ... if we're getting married, we're going to have to get used to not having sex every moment of the day - especially if Giacomo is living with us."

Jack rounded the desk to face him, his expression serious. "You mean it?"

"I mean it. But I want to be absolutely clear: I ... have strong feelings for you, but this is a marriage of convenience. If it wasn't for Giacomo ...." he trailed off.

Jack nodded, resignedly clasping his hands. "But you're not going to leave me, right?"

Ianto looked up at him, eyes slightly narrowed, but soft in expression. "No, Jack. I'm not going to leave you."

"Promise?"

"I ... I promise." Ianto blinked. How many times had he had this conversation with Little Jack?

The Captain grinned, cupping the back of Ianto's head and pulling him in for a kiss. They broke apart, and Jack was still grinning. "I'll go and start ... getting stuff organised and stuff. Simple. Convenient."

Ianto raised an eyebrow. "A registrar, Rhys, Till, Giacomo and three people you want to invite."

Jack nodded his agreement sullenly. "Ianto ...."

"Hm?"

"I ... um ... I ... I ...."

Ianto raised his eyebrow again. "What? What have you done?"

"Nothing! I just ... I just ...." Jack squared his shoulders and stood tall, raising his chin. "I love you, is all."

Ianto felt his mouth drop open, watching as Jack turned on his heel and left the office, semi-organised papers in his hand and an empty space where Jack had been to stare at.

He finally came back to earth and checked his watch, ignoring the butterflies that were still fluttering around his stomach, knowing he was probably smiling his silly little smile that always touched his features when he was told he was loved. He really should take Giacomo home, now.

Putting the paperwork down, he hurried down the stairs and into Jack's bedroom where he had finally managed to get Little Jack to calm down after he had overheard part of the conversation earlier. He was still sleeping, almost drowned in the soft, fluffy covers and pillows all around him.

"Jack?" Ianto whispered. "Giacomo?" He nudged him gently, and little blue eyes groggily opened. "C'mon, Little Man, time to go home."

"Where's the Captain?"

"He's running an errand."

"Oh. Daddy?"

"Mm?"

"How come ... if the house gets pulled down ... how come I won't stay with you? Why do I have to go with the Captain?"

Ianto bit his lip, glancing away. "You will be with me, sweetheart. I promised, didn't I?"

"But before ... before you said ... what's birological?"

"Birological?"

"Birological parents?"

"Oh ... biological ...."

Shit, thought Ianto.

"Erm ... it means ... Giacomo you ... you know that ... erm ... babies? Right? To make a baby you need parents?"

Giacomo frowned and nodded. "Like you and Rhys?"

"Erm ... not quite. But ... the parents that get the baby are ... are the biological parents. The ... the real parents."

Gaicomo was frowning as he processed what he'd heard with what Ianto was now telling him. "And the children will go with their birological parents?"

"Erm ... shall we go home now?"

"But ... you said I would go with the Captain! Did he make me? Is he my birological?"

Ianto flexed his fingers, stressed, staring at his nails. "I ... we ...." Ianto struggled to find words, shocked at how much the six-year-old could piece together, wondering at exactly how far intelligence had developed in children over the last six billion years.

"Did he not want me?"

Ianto felt his stomach drop. "Don't ... no! He ... loves you very, very much. That's why he spends time with us. That's why he ... let me take care of you. You like me taking care of you?"

"He's my real Daddy? He's a real parent that made me?"

"Me and Rhys are just as real a parent as he is!" scowled Ianto. "We might not be blood related, but we love you like our own, and don't you dare think any different!"

"But why doesn't he love me?" wailed Giacomo as Ianto bundled him into his arms.

"He does love you. We all love you, very much."

"He doesn't want me."

"Stop being silly." Ianto told him firmly. "I've told you he loves you. We all love you." He leant down and kissed his little head. "Now come on - Rhys will be wondering where we are."

"I want to be with my Daddy, though!" Giacomo whimpered, a fresh wave of tears spilling out.

"I thought ... I thought you wanted me to be your Daddy?"

Giacomo sniffed, hiccoughed and nodded, and Ianto felt a strange sense of relief.

"Tell you what - I was going to save my news for later, but I think I'll tell you now."

Little Jack snuffled and another tear ran down his cheek. "What is it?"

"Me and the Captain are going to get married! Isn't that wonderful, Jack?"

Giacomo stared at him, blinking slowly.

"Well?"

"You're getting married? You're leaving?"

"No, no, no, no, no! You're going to come with us. With me and the Captain."

Giacomo thought about it, his brow crinkling slightly. "You want me to still be yours? And I'll get to be with my real daddy?"

"Yeah."

"So ... if you get married ... does that make you birological too?"

"Not ... quite ...."

"Ianto! I got ... oh ... hello. He's awake!" Jack grinned, making his entrance then pausing when he saw the tear-stained face and the sombre expressions. "What's up?"

Little Jack burst into tears again, hiding his head on Ianto's arm.

"He ... put two and two together, Jack."

The Captain raised an eyebrow.

"He knows you're his father."

Jack looked like he'd just been slapped across the face. "He ... he ... how?"

"He overheard us before, remember?"

"We never actually said ...."

Little Jack sat up. "You said 'birological'!" he scowled, then returned to crying.

"He ... he thinks you don't want him ...."

Jack sat on the bed, slowly. "Giacomo?" he asked, gentling his tone. "Giacomo, come here."

Giacomo raised his head.

"Look at me ... that's it. I. Love. You. Very, very, very much. And I always, always, always want you to be safe. And I'll never, ever let you be alone."

"I told him ... about us ...." interrupted Ianto. "We're getting married." Ianto told Giacomo again.

"See." smiled Jack. "I want you both. But especially you. You want to come and live with us when we're married?"

Giacomo looked between them both, and Jack reached out to touch and clasp Ianto's hand. Giacomo nodded, his face still wet. Then he reached his arms out to the Captain, and the Captain hugged him close and tight, breathing in his son's scent for the first time since he was a baby. "I missed you so much ...." he whispered, quiet enough that Ianto wouldn't hear. "Never let you go again ...."

Ianto quietly slipped out of the room and settled on the sofa.

Sometimes he just knew when Jack - whether Big or Little - needed to be left alone.














Hope you enjoyed!







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