Ianto Jones sat in his partially unpacked flat and looked around at the piles of boxes and sighed. Only 30 or so more to go, he thought resignedly.
He had arrived in Cardiff late the previous night after an emotional journey back from London, his home for the past six years. As the journey had worn on, the traumatic memories of the day his world fell apart that had been flooding his head were gradually overshadowed by other equally unpleasant childhood memories. Cardiff contained just as many bad memories as London now did.
By the time he arrived at his new flat he was so mentally exhausted that all he wanted to do was settle down for the night and sleep. Every time he managed to fall asleep though the nightmares came, causing him to have such a restless night that he felt totally drained the next morning.
When he finally gave up trying to sleep and dragged himself out of bed he decided he would spend the day unpacking. He tried to soothe himself by getting his flat organised, by trying to make some order from the chaos. His sister Rhiannon had helped him out before he arrived by arranging a flat for him so he would have somewhere to go to when he arrived. The flat was not too far from her home, and was within walking distance of Ianto’s new work place. She had a fairly good idea of what sort of place her younger brother would like, and the short-term lease she had arranged meant he would be able to move relatively quickly should she have got it wrong. All he really had to do when he arrived was set up the flat and buy himself a new car, having sold the old one he used to share with Lisa before he left London. There were too many memories surrounding that car, and really it was always Lisa’s car, not his.
Ianto sighed again. Lisa. Six months ago he had been happily engaged to his girlfriend Lisa Hallett and they were busy making wedding plans. They both worked in rewarding jobs for Torchwood London, with hard-earned promotions on the horizon. But all that abruptly changed on that one terrible day and now here he was, back in his hometown of Cardiff, all alone, and given command of Torchwood Cardiff, otherwise known as Torchwood 3, in some feeble attempt at compensation for what he had been through. Images of people screaming and buildings burning flashed through Ianto’s mind once again. As if being bundled off to Cardiff could possibly make up for losing Lisa, he thought angrily to himself.
Shaking his head in an attempt to get his thoughts back on track, he stood up and went into the spare bedroom. There were even more boxes in there waiting to be unpacked. These boxes in particular, he knew, contained many of Lisa’s belongings that he had decided to keep. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to open them just yet.
He decided he would get out of the flat for a bit instead. It had been many years since he was last in Cardiff on any regular basis, so he thought it would be a good idea to reacquaint himself with the area before he started his new job. He wandered aimlessly for a while, making mental notes on what was around and where it all was. Before he knew it, the afternoon had turned into night and he found himself walking through an empty park.
In the distance, he saw a familiar looking man chasing after someone. As the two got closer, Ianto saw that the ‘someone’ was actually a ‘something’, a creature he recognised to be a Weevil. The man chasing it managed to catch up with the Weevil easily enough, but during the subsequent struggle the Weevil appeared to be getting on top of him. The man tried to spray it with something, but that didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the Weevil and it easily evaded his grasp, pushing him into a tree. After a bit more struggling the Weevil pushed the man to the ground and went for his throat. Neither of them noticed Ianto standing there.
Trying not to panic Ianto looked around him and found a sturdy looking branch on the ground. He picked it up and whacked the Weevil firmly across the back of its head a few times, distracting it just enough for the other man to be able to get back to his feet and finish subduing it.
Ianto leant against a nearby tree silently watching as the man regained his breath. The man watched him back, looking him up and down appreciatively. Ianto knew all the Torchwood 3 staff files inside out and he knew exactly who stood before him.
“Captain Jack Harkness,” the man stated with an obvious question and a slight leer in his voice. He held a hand out to Ianto.
“Jones,” Ianto replied, and when there was no recognition from Jack he continued with “Ianto Jones.” He accepted Jack’s outstretched hand and watched him carefully for a reaction.
The smile fell off Jack’s face as he realised he had just been bailed out by his new boss. Ianto registered the change in Jack’s mood, but tactfully didn’t comment. He knew of the terms of Jack’s contract with Torchwood, and he was astute enough to recognise that a new director at Torchwood Cardiff would not necessarily be welcome news for Jack.
“Lucky escape,” Ianto offered.
“I had it under control!” Jack retorted, not prepared to give an inch.
Ianto smiled at him knowingly, giving him a look that quite clearly said ‘you think so’. Jack stared back impassively. Ianto saw that the wound on Jack’s neck had stopped bleeding already. He was going to say something else but a moan from the Weevil diverted both men’s attention back to why they were actually there. Jack turned around and slung the Weevil over his shoulder, ready to bundle it into a waiting vehicle.
“I’ll take it from here, shall I?” Jack asked. “Thanks for the assistance.”
Ianto would have liked to speak with him a bit longer, but he merely nodded and let him go. He couldn’t however resist a parting shot as Jack walked away.
“By the way, love the coat!”
The next morning Ianto woke early, having had a far better sleep than the previous night. Not wanting to deal with yet more boxes he wandered into the kitchen and set the coffee machine going. He glanced thoughtfully at the clock and on a whim he grabbed a thermos. When the coffee was ready he filled the thermos and headed out. He went down to the bay and stood near the entrance of the Tourist Information Office that was Torchwood 3’s public face. He didn’t have long to wait.
“Morning!” he said brightly as Jack exited the building. “Coffee?” he asked, holding out a freshly poured mug. The extensive files Ianto had been given in London documented that Jack would usually leave the building around this time of day to go for breakfast. Ianto decided to save him the bother of getting at least the coffee.
Jack looked at it mistrustfully but then decided he should at least try his boss’ coffee. He figured he should at least pretend to like it, but to his surprise he found he really didn’t need to pretend. It really was good coffee.
“Wow!” he said in genuine appreciation.
“Listen, I thought we could have breakfast together. You know, let me tell you about myself before I start work officially,” Ianto said.
Jack sighed. “Ianto Jones, born August 19th 1983. Able student but not exceptional, one minor conviction for shoplifting in your teens. A number of temporary jobs, mainly a drifter, until five years ago when you joined the Torchwood Institute in London. A Junior Researcher until you moved into Archiving, eventually becoming department manager. Girlfriend, Lisa Hallett…”
“Deceased,” Ianto interjected. He laughed sourly to himself – it seemed like all Torchwood branches were the same. They kept exhaustive files on the activities of their staff and all the alien life forms it encountered, but when it came to supposedly unimportant personal matters like say your fiancée being brutally massacred, apparently that didn’t even rate a mention.
“Sorry,” Jack paused and then went to resume his monologue when Ianto interrupted once more.
“OK, OK, I get it. You checked me out. You can judge for yourself if I have the right qualifications for the job, or not, but that’s not why I’m here.”
Jack had started to walk off, but spun around and spoke angrily. “We should have nothing to do with Torchwood London. If I could have my way we would have severed all links.” He started to walk off again.
“Yet when it burned, two members of your team scavenged the ruins.” Ianto moved in front to stop him moving by placing a hand on Jack’s chest.
Jack took hold of Ianto’s hand with his finger and thumb and removed it carefully, but emphatically. “Didn’t want the equipment getting into the wrong hands.”
“Oh, and you’re the right hands, are you?” Ianto scoffed.
Jack glared at him. “I lost someone very special at Canary Wharf. A death that never would have happened if it hadn’t been for Torchwood London and their eternal messing about with things that don’t concern them. Torchwood Cardiff has its own job to do, its own place in the world and we don’t need anyone from London telling us what to do.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some place to be.” Jack continued walking away.
Ianto let out a breath. “Same time tomorrow then!” The next day was when he officially started at Torchwood 3. Jack half turned around just in time to see Ianto give him a wicked grin.
“I really like that coat!”
Ianto made his way home. He was disappointed about how things had gone between himself and Jack. It seemed he would have to work hard to gain Jack’s trust and respect. Although that went both ways really – just how trustworthy Jack actually would turn out to be remained to be seen. Ianto knew how long Jack had been with Torchwood, and he also knew that it wasn’t strictly voluntary.
Torchwood had a motto, one of many actually, that if anything was alien it was theirs. And once it had been found out that Jack was not born on Earth, he was classified as an alien. Little matter that he was from a human colony, he was born off world and therefore Torchwood had claimed him as its own. After Torchwood had run various tests on him, they set him to work.
Ianto had spent a fair amount of time reading up on Captain Jack Harkness. Emily Holroyd and Alice Guppy had left detailed reports of their tests on Jack. Ianto grimaced at the word ‘tests’, it was blatant torture what had been done to Jack and as disgusted as Ianto was by it, he had no trouble believing that that type of behaviour would have been sanctioned by Torchwood.
Jack may no longer be tortured by Torchwood, but he was still trapped by them. Once Guppy and Holroyd had got bored with seeing how many ways they could kill Jack they offered him a contract. The contract bound him to working for Torchwood for the rest of his lives, doing whatever the current director of Torchwood 3 wanted him to in exchange for no longer using him as a test subject. Ianto could never work out from the files why Jack would have agreed to this. He couldn’t see how a man like Jack Harkness would even let himself get into a situation like that. Surely he could get himself off the planet if he wanted to. Ianto thought there must be a really good reason for Jack to want to hang around. Ianto wanted to know what it was.