The day of the Battle of Canary Wharf, Torchwood London
As Ianto exited the lift on that ill-fated morning, he noticed a young girl sitting in the waiting area. At the time, he had thought it strange that someone so young would be sitting unattended in the Torchwood building. He wondered briefly about the strange looking clothing she was wearing – he really did think it looked like a nightdress at first glance – but then he arrived at the Archives, started his work for the day and forgot all about her.
The girl, known to some as the Tarot card girl and, in a life long gone, known to yet others as Faith, turned her head to follow his progress. She had told Jack she needed to go to London because Torchwood were messing with things they shouldn’t touch and she needed to be there to protect someone.
That someone she had to protect was Ianto Jones.
A man had been shown to her many times while reading her cards; a man that would hold the key to a number of things. Most important of these was that he was likely to be the one for her Captain, the one that would be able to free him from his enslavement to Torchwood.
Faith abhorred the pain and suffering she knew the Captain would go through during the years, but even though she could see the future, she did not have the power to change it. The very sight of Bilis Manger was almost more than she could bear, but making the appearance of working with him was the only way of being close enough to ensure the unknown man and the Captain would eventually meet.
Then on August 19th, 1983, many things fell into place. The cards told her of the birth of a boy in Newport and, as soon as she saw him, she knew that he was the one she was waiting for. She read that this boy would also suffer throughout his lifetime, but that there was someone waiting for him who could help take away that pain.
She watched in the background as the boy grew up. Watching as he suffered at the hands of his father, watching as his mother grew weaker and sicker, watching as his family self-destructed following the disappearance of his brother and watching as his fragile ties to his sister disappeared when his teenage years saw him grow more and more troubled. Always watching, but never able to change his destiny.
As with Jack, she may not have been able to change Ianto’s destiny, but she could influence how he got there. After a minor shoplifting conviction, she was able to bring him to the attention of someone within UNIT who in turn would bring him under Torchwood London’s radar. Her plan worked better than she anticipated and Ianto was soon not only working for Torchwood but had also fallen head over heels for Lisa Hallett, one of only a handful of people who had ever broken through his shell.
Concerned that Ianto’s path towards the Captain might be threatened, Faith read Lisa’s cards and found out about her fate at the hands of the Cybermen. Even though this would mean yet more suffering for Ianto, all that remained now was to wait for the day of the attack.
Faith arranged it so that when the Cybermen first appeared, Ianto would be working in the Dangerous Artefacts Zone, otherwise known as the DAZ. When the Daleks appeared, she sealed the doors and locked him in. She knew the special construction of the zone would prevent him being detected by either set of invaders.
Faith made sure the DAZ was unlocked just before the Cybermen and Daleks were sucked into the Void. Ianto would need time to find Lisa before the UNIT soldiers came in and took control.
After he found Lisa, Bilis Manger stepped in. Bilis transferred the care of Lisa over to the Captain, under the guise of a faked test subject programme. He had the committee offer Ianto the job in Cardiff and then he too waited for it to be time.
The man had his fixation on the number one and it was easy enough to nudge him along. One man guided by eleven committee members to live under the influence of the Rift for one hundred and eleven years. Even now, Faith couldn’t believe that a man so powerful could believe in something so irrational.
For a while though, it didn’t look like Ianto would take the job in Cardiff so Faith had to step in once more and influence Rhiannon Davies to contact him. This contact, during a time when the siblings had been tentatively re-establishing their relationship, turned out to be just enough to change Ianto’s mind.
Ianto moved to Cardiff and slowly and surely fell for the Captain, and the Captain for him, even though neither of them realised it. With everything now set in place, Faith had not needed to watch over Ianto any more, at least until the day he nearly died.
Faith appeared to Ianto for a second time when he lay unconscious in the Hub after the tracking device had been set off. She talked to him, reminded him why he needed to wake up and reminded him what needed to do. Finally, she removed the tracking device from his bloodstream so that he was no longer forcibly bound to Jack.
Removing the tracking device could possibly have resulted in Jack leaving, but it was the way it had to be. Both Jack and Ianto had to be free to make their own choices. They had to choose to stay together voluntarily and not be bound by Bilis Manger’s schemes and plans. It was up to them what would happen next.
As Faith finished her explanation to the team, she saw them looking at her with varying degrees of shock. Shock at both her story and at the thought of Jack never being able to die.
“You’re immortal?” Gwen asked in astonishment. She remembered that Bilis had mentioned Jack had been around for one hundred and eleven years, but with everything that had happened she hadn’t really had the chance to think about it.
Jack looked at Owen, Tosh and Gwen, the ones who hadn’t known about his immortality. What was there to say that would make any sense? He raised his hand, unwrapped the bandage Ianto had placed there earlier and showed them the palm of his hand. They gasped in shock as they saw his hand had healed without even the faintest trace of a scar.
He opened his mouth to speak when he was interrupted by Faith preparing to leave.
“Captain, it is time for me to go.”
They looked at each other fondly for a moment. Now that Jack knew she hadn’t betrayed him after all, he felt a lot happier. They hugged briefly then Faith turned around and walked away without another word.
A few hours later, the Hub had been tidied up and all the easy-to-fix equipment had been repaired. The coffee machine, however, seemed to be doomed. No amount of TLC or threats from Ianto could make it work again.
With nothing else to do, the team stood around looking awkwardly at each other. Tosh, Owen, Suzie and Gwen were all unsure of what they should do next. Getting the Hub back into order had given them a temporary respite from thinking about what would happen next, and from having to speak to Jack or Ianto.
Now that Bilis and the committee had gone and Abaddon had been destroyed, they were starting to feel more than a little awkward about how easily they had been manipulated. They all considered themselves to be strong willed and in control of themselves, and it scared them how easily they had turned on both Ianto and Jack. Gwen flushed with shame as she remembered slapping Ianto without even giving himself a chance to defend himself against Bilis’s accusations. Suzie felt as equally guilty about having believed Jack to be the one responsible for saving her father.
Gwen had made a long phone call to Rhys and they were all relieved to hear he was well and had no memory of anything unusual happening.
Ianto and Jack had studiously avoided direct contact with each other while the clean up was happening, but both of them would occasionally stop and watch the other longingly when they thought the other wasn’t looking.
Eventually though, they knew they would have to talk. They stopped what they were doing at the exact same time and looked towards each other. They seemed to come to a silent agreement and both made their way to Ianto’s office.
They stood in the office, facing each other silently, neither willing to break the silence. They both faced the same problem – being torn between knowing they had to talk like adults about what had happened and wanting to rip each other’s clothing off and having their way with each other right there and then.
Jack finally took a half step towards Ianto but stopped when Ianto shook his head. With a half-smile at Jack, Ianto walked over to the door.
“Guys,” he called out to the team. “The coffee machine’s broken. Can you all go out and grab us some coffee?”
They all agreed hurriedly, all of them eager to get away from the Hub. They knew they had to talk to each other and work out how to move on from the past couple of months. They were more than happy to let Ianto and Jack go first.
Ianto smiled to himself as they almost tripped over themselves in their hurry to get out of there. “Should take a couple of hours,” he called out again.
Ianto struggled to keep a straight face as they turned as one to look at him incredulously.
“A couple of hours to get coffee?” Owen asked in disbelief.
“Yep,” Ianto replied, allowing himself the faintest of grins.
The sudden answering grins from Suzie and Tosh let him know that they at least understood. Tosh herded Owen and Gwen out the door, Suzie close behind. Ianto sighed in relief, knowing that she would keep them away long enough for him and Jack to have some time alone.
Turning back to Jack, Ianto barely had time to breath before Jack had pushed him against the desk. Ianto balanced himself on the edge of the desk as Jack pushed between Ianto’s legs to press his body as close to Ianto as he could. As they looked at each other, their breathing quickened and Ianto could feel himself harden instantly.
He looked up at Jack. Jack was looking at him intensely but Ianto could tell there was more on his mind than sex. Ianto groaned and let his head fall back as Jack started to rub against his crotch. Jack leant down and kissed him, his tongue entering Ianto’s mouth decisively. Just as Ianto began to respond though, Jack pulled away and looked down at him again.
Ianto could see the affection, and the lust in Jack’s gaze, but there was something else there as well. Jack stepped back and began pace around the office distractedly.
Ianto wanted to groan in disappointment as Jack moved away, but the look on Jack’s face stopped him from saying anything. As Jack continued to pace without saying anything, Ianto stood up and walked over to the Secure Archives. He unlocked the door and pulled out a container. Jack finally stopped pacing when he saw it was his container. He watched Ianto uneasily as he pulled a package out of it.
Ianto looked inside the package pensively before holding it out to Jack. Jack looked at him questioningly before taking it from him and looking at the addresses on the package. When Jack saw what was in the package he looked at the container in confusion before looking back to Ianto.
“You sent my Vortex Manipulator off to UNIT? To this Major Tomich?” Jack struggled to keep the anger out of his voice as he recalled his one conversation with the Major. Jack looked at Ianto possessively and wondered once again what the relationship between Ianto and Major Tomich exactly was.
“Ivan’s a friend of mine. He poses no danger to you.”
“But it was you who told him I couldn’t die?”
“As I said, he poses no danger to you. He… he was the one who… he protected me. He was the one who found me when I first moved to London. He made sure that no harm came to me; even once Torchwood had done all their psychic evaluations. He… looked after me.”
Jack looked at him sharply, reading other meanings into Ianto’s hesitant words. “Were you and he lovers?”
Ianto looked away at that but shook his head. “No. I was barely seventeen when he found me, he was married with kids.”
“Yes, was. They separated not long after I moved out.”
“Because of you?”
Ianto still refused to look him. “Yes,” he replied almost too quietly for Jack to hear.
Jack continued looking at him for a few more minutes before sighing in resignation. This was getting them nowhere. With Jack’s past being what it was, he couldn’t begrudge Ianto a bit of his own history.
“So why did you send it away?” Jack asked calmly.
“He had access to resources I don’t. I wanted to get it fixed for you.”
“UNIT? Able to fix a Vortex Manipulator? Are you serious?” Jack shook his head in disbelief but stopped when he saw the hurt expression on Ianto’s face. He sighed and walked over to Ianto. “I’m sorry,” he said and placed a kiss on Ianto’s forehead. “I really am grateful.”
Ianto nodded, remaining tight-lipped. He pulled a letter out of the container and handed it to Jack. Jack took the letter without a word and read it quickly. It was the letter that had been sent back with the Vortex Manipulator. It explained that most of the parts could not be repaired, but wherever possible they had replaced the moving parts with the closest equivalents they could find. Not knowing how the device actually worked had severely hampered their efforts. The letter finished with a request from the technician to be allowed to speak to whoever owned the device to get more information.
Jack turned around and stood in the doorway to look out over the Hub. He stood there, not knowing what to think.
He heard Ianto moving behind him. Opening what sounded to be a filing cabinet and pulling something out. He turned back to Ianto and looked at him queryingly. Ianto was looking through the contract Jack had signed with Torchwood all those years ago. When Ianto reached a page towards the end, he nodded in relief.
“This contract is between you and the committee, not Torchwood. Congratulations Jack. You’re a free man.”
Jack walked over to him and took the contract from him. He flipped through its pages until he came to the last page, the page with his and Emily Holroyd’s signatures. With an angry roar Jack gripped the contract in two hands and ripped it to shreds. The two men looked at each other with uncertain grins on their faces.
“Congratulations,” Ianto said again. He held out his hand to Jack, wanting to shake his hand, former boss to employee.
Jack took one look at Ianto’s hand and knew that a handshake was not enough. He took hold of Ianto’s arm and pulled him in close for a hug. Ianto tensed up for a moment but then relaxed into the embrace. They wrapped their arms around each other and held on as tight as they could. Ianto closed his eyes and buried his face in Jack’s right shoulder, relaxing into the smell of Jack and the feel of his arms around him.
They pulled apart slightly and Jack brought his hands up to either side of Ianto’s face, raising his head up to face him. They looked into each other’s eyes, reading the apologies and regrets. Neither of them needed words to know how the other felt. Jack pressed his lips to Ianto’s and they kissed fervently.
All too soon though, Jack pulled away. He glanced down into the Hub as if someone was watching them.
“Jack?” Ianto asked, still slightly breathless from the intensity of their kiss.
As he stood there, it finally started to sink in that he truly was a free man. He could stay with Torchwood or he could go. He could stay in Cardiff or he could move away. He could stay with Ianto or he could leave him. Never again would someone be in the position where they could tell him what to wear or where to be or who he had to sleep with. He was responsible for himself again.
Jack’s thoughts paused and he looked over at Ianto.
Would Ianto go with him if he chose to leave?
Jack turned towards the hatchway. He needed to sit down and relax somewhere familiar.
“Ianto,” he began tentatively. “Do you mind if I have a few minutes alone?”
Ianto smiled back and shook his head. “Not at all.”
Jack nodded and climbed down the ladder, he considered closing the hatchway then decided against it.
Alone in the bunker, Jack looked first towards the bed then the table but neither seemed a good choice. In fact, as he continued to look around him, there wasn’t really anywhere in the bunker that truly was his. All the furnishings were from Torchwood, he hadn’t had a say in anything that was there except the few personal belongings he had been able to gather.
He hated everything else in there.
Jack took a step towards the bed. He remembered all the other Directors that had slept there and suddenly the bed seemed too… too dirty. With a growl, he picked up one of the pillows and ripped the pillowcase off, tearing it slightly in the process. For so many years he had only been allowed one thin pillow. It wasn’t until Ianto had started sleeping in the bunker regularly that Jack came back from a mission one night to find two new, comfortable pillows.
Jack threw both pillows on the floor and then started pulling off the blankets and sheets. Once the mattress had been uncovered he dragged it onto the floor as well. The mattress didn’t fall exactly how Jack wanted it to and he kicked at it in frustration. He grabbed a knife and started hacking into the mattress. Material flew everywhere but he didn’t stop until he cut his hand trying to pull out one of the springs.
By now he was so angry and determined to get rid of everything he didn’t want, that he didn’t notice his animalistic screams and yells as he moved on everything else in the bunker. All he knew was that he had to destroy. He had to clean out every trace of what had been forced on him for the past hundred years. He worked his way through the bunker, ripping, shredding, smashing, breaking.
When he got to the bathroom, he smashed absolutely anything he could get his hands on, not even sparing anything belonging to Ianto. After he finished the room smelt of a weird combination of their aftershaves and deodorant.
Jack had left his wardrobe for last. He yanked all his clothing out of there, some of them tearing as he ripped them off their coat hangers. Other items got stuck and he had to pull on them twice, rattling the entire wardrobe. After his clothes ended up strewn on the floor around Jack he took out the remaining coat hangers and threw some in all directions with as much force as he could, others he bent out of shape before dropping them on the floor. He picked up some of the older clothes, the ones he had been forced by previous directors to wear, and ripped them up as much as he could.
When he was done with them, he moved on to the end of the wardrobe, where a couple of Ianto’s spare suits and shirts were hanging neatly. The sight of Ianto’s clothes suddenly faded away and instead he saw the clothes previous directors had hung there when they were using the bunker as their private room.
He saw the dark brown trousers and checked jacket that Director Lipson had always worn. Jack gave a feral growl as he remembered all the nights the man had made him sleep on the cold concrete floor, never allowing him a blanket or a pillow.
The clothes in front of Jack changed into a long, green dress. Director Kalil. The heartless bitch, her favourite method of relaxation had been to starve him while eating a four-course meal in front of him whenever she had a bad day. Something she would have quite a lot of.
The dress morphed into something else and then morphed again. Jack closed his eyes to shut out the memories they invoked.
As the memories faded, Jack opened his eyes and looked around the bunker. The suits hanging in the wardrobe were the last signs of neatness left, everything else around him reflected the rage that still gripped him. His face twisted with hate, he lurched forward ready to rip the Director’s clothing into shreds. They were the one last thing that stood between him and…
Jack paused with his hand outstretched. They were the last thing between him and… what? He looked around again, this time with a lost look on his face. He turned back to the wardrobe; only Ianto’s suits were hanging in front of him now. No ghosts of past directors; just the neat, ordered suits of the only person who saw Jack for the man he was. Not as a freak or slave or Torchwood pet. Not as a hero or the one who couldn’t die – he saw the changes in Tosh, Gwen and Owen’s expressions as they found out the truth, and knew that would never happen with Ianto. Jack felt tears welling in his eyes. Ianto saw him as a plain, ordinary man who happened to have gone through some rather unusual and tough times. He hadn’t treated Jack any differently as he found out things about him.
All the feelings of rage and anger left him instantly and he sunk to the floor. His arms wrapped around what he could reach of Ianto’s suits and great howling sobs erupted from inside him.
Ianto was sitting at his desk when he heard Jack’s first scream. He jumped off the chair to look down the hatch. He understood straightaway what Jack was doing and backed away. Ianto knew this was something Jack would have to work out of his system on his own. Jack had decades of enslavement to work out of his system, and Ianto knew it would be best for Jack to take it out on inanimate objects rather than on him or anyone else in the team.
Ianto stayed close by and as soon as Jack’s rage had turned to sobs, he bolted down the ladder to offer what comfort he could. He knelt beside Jack and cradled him to his chest. He rocked Jack gently back and forth and waited out the crying.
Jack clung to him desperately, the force of his sobbing leaving him shuddering against Ianto. Jack’s tears slowly soaked through Ianto’s shirt but neither of them moved. After Jack’s sobs died away, neither of them was in any hurry to move away from each other.
When Jack regained his composure, Ianto took one look at his reddened eyes and suggested he have a shower and clean up before the others got back. Jack nodded and shakily got to his feet. Ianto stood up next to him and they hugged briefly before Jack went off to the bathroom.
Jack smiled ruefully as he saw the mess in the bathroom. Nothing had been spared and the small room looked like a train wreck. He walked over to the shower and yelped in pain as he trod on the shattered glass of Ianto’s bottle of aftershave. He looked down at his foot and started laughing at the irony of it all. Jack pulled the fragment of glass out of his foot; he wasn’t worried about the cut. Being such a minor injury, he knew it would heal quickly.
Getting out the shower, Jack found some clothes that seemed to have escaped his rage fairly lightly and would look respectable enough. His foot hadn’t quite healed by the time he put his socks on, but it was nearly there.
Jack stood at the bottom of the ladder for a minutes just listening. He could hear Owen complaining about something and realised his time alone with Ianto was up. Regretfully he began to climb up the ladder.
When he got up Ianto’s office, however, the regrets faded away. For the first time ever, he was going to face a Torchwood team as a free man. He looked at his Vortex Manipulator sitting on Ianto’s desk where he had left it. Picking it up, he examined it closely, almost too afraid to put it on. He put on his coat, moved over to the doorway and looked down at everyone. Holding up his left arm, he finally fastened the Manipulator around his wrist. It felt strange having it on after so long, but oh so right. Jack stood up straight, feeling the tallest he ever had.
Noticing him standing there, the three women smiled up at him, a new look of respect on their faces. Owen turned his body side on to Jack and lifted his head to look at him with an unreadable expression. The smile on Ianto’s face was simply full of pure affection, admiration and caring.
Although he knew it was somewhat of a fanciful notion, Jack imagined he felt the last of the cut on his foot fading away to nothing. He felt reformed, revitalised and ready to take on the world.
For the first time in 111 years, Jack, the real Captain Jack Harkness, was back.