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02 April 2017 @ 06:03 pm
Fic: The Sea After a Storm (107/?)  
Title: The Sea After a Storm, Chapter 107

Rating: R

Warnings: None really, discussion of past violence

Spoilers: Season Two thru Something Borrowed (2x09)

Pairings: Jack/Ianto

Disclaimer: Torchwood, Doctor Who and all their wonderfulness belong to the Mighty Beeb and He Who Must Not Be Named. No infringement, only worship intended! All ©'s to Phil Ford for situations borrowed from Something Borrowed, to Peter Hammond for the reference to Small Worlds, and to that bastard RTD for info gleaned from the Season That Never Happened.

Summary: In which Jack tells Ianto why he hates weddings...

Notes: Hi all - if this chapter sounds familiar, you may have read my Schmoop Bingo Faded Pictures that filled space B7: Memories. :) You can find all the previous chapters of The Sea After a Storm here. This is a sequel to Vizzini’s Rule and To The Pain. Thanks again and forever to my amazing beta and wonderful friend [personal profile] thraceadams  for all the help and support and beta work; any mistakes are mine!

The Sea After a Storm: Chapter One Hundred-Seven
Previously on The Sea After a Storm: The team cleaned up after the mess the Nostrovite made of Gwen's wedding...

After Ianto got dressed, they headed to the Hub and got to work. Ianto ran a few more diagnostics that Tosh had emailed him about whilst Jack compiled the information from the first set. Ianto made a note to remind Tosh that a day off meant a day off, even for her.

"She's as bad as you, sir," Ianto said as he stepped into Jack's office with the latest reports and a few days' worth of mail from the Tourist Office.

"Hmmm?" Jack hummed distractedly.

Ianto smiled. "Never mind. How's it looking on your end?" He nudged a pile of file folders away from the corner of Jack's desk and perched on the edge, setting the pile of mail near a small yellow metal box he'd never seen before.

"Good and bad. Good in that all the equipment is functioning perfectly. Bad since that means there's got to be another explanation why the female Nostrovite was untraceable. I wonder if... but then that would mean..." Jack reached for a pencil and began scribbling on one of the reports.

Recognising the preoccupied tone, Ianto looked around for something to amuse himself whilst Jack finished gnawing on whatever thought was distracting him. He reached for the first envelope in the stack of mail, but then the metal box caught his eye again. He idly flipped open the lid and saw an untidy pile of photographs inside. He picked up a handful and began to go through them. Most of the photographs were of Jack in different uniforms, clearly marking his slow passage through the 20th Century. Ianto gave one photo of Jack in a tuxedo with white tie a low whistle. When Jack looked up, Ianto turned the photo to show him.

"Looking good," he said softly.

Jack gave him a quick smile and set down his papers as he leant back in his chair.

"Who's this?" Ianto asked, handing him a different photo. This one showed Jack and a lovely young girl toasting with champagne flutes.

Jack sighed. "Estelle."

There was a long pause and then Ianto made the connection. "From the case with the fairies?" Ianto asked, surprised.

"That's right. You never got to meet her, did you? You would have loved her and she would've adored you." Jack set the photo down carefully. He pulled the box closer to him and reached inside for a particular photo. This one was wrapped in a folded piece of paper that was yellowed with age. "I had to leave Estelle because of who... of what I am. I didn't know any of that when I met Clara."

He handed the photo to Ianto without removing the paper. "I don't like stumbling across that one when I'm not prepared," he said by way of an explanation.

Ianto raised his eyebrows but slid the photo out of its cover without comment. It was Jack in formal wear again, sitting very stiffly in a chair with a woman just behind him. She had her hand on his shoulder as was the custom of the late 1800's and was wearing a wedding dress and veil. His eyes shot to Jack's.

"That is why I hate weddings."

"What happened to her? Clara?"

"Clara Friedrich. Her parents emigrated to the United States from Germany just before she was born. I had been stranded here for almost twenty years and I decided to visit New York. I was feeling sorry for myself and figured I'd take a break from searching for the Doctor and bum around America until I got bored. I was walking down the gangplank of the Britannic when I saw her." Jack's gaze never left Ianto, but his eyes were cloudy with the memories. "She was standing with her family, waiting for a batch of cousins who were on the same ship – that girl had more cousins..." He smiled sadly, lost in the memory for a moment and then cleared his throat.

Ianto put his hand on Jack's arm. "Jack, you don't have to..."

Jack gave him a tight smile, and covered his hand with his own. "I want to tell you. The wedding, dancing with you... it just brought up all these memories. That's why I pulled the box out this morning. For the first time in a long time I wanted to remember her and to tell you about her."

"Then I'm happy to listen," Ianto said softly.

"Well, after I saw her all my self-pitying plans went up in smoke. It took me four days to learn her name and another week to find a way to speak to her but I was already lost. I took a room near her family's house, got a job sweeping up at her father's store – he was a woodworker, amazing man. I found some excuse to see her every single day until she agreed to marry me," Jack said, tapping the photo with his index finger.

"We were happy," he added simply. "Then one day, I went with her brother and her father to meet yet another group of cousins at Ellis Island. Clara wasn't feeling well so she stayed behind. There was some kind of disagreement between two men standing near us, I don't have any idea what caused it, but suddenly they were yelling and throwing punches. A woman next to us got knocked down and Markus, Clara's brother – he always had a temper – he waded in and tried to stop the fight. I saw the gun before anyone else." Jack swallowed hard. "I managed to get Markus out of harm's way but I caught the bullet."

"Oh, Jack..."

"Right here," Jack said, tapping his heart. "I went down like a rock. The last thing I remember is Clara's father bending over me... and then it all went black."

Ianto winced. "How long?"

"I don't know. Long enough. I woke up in the coroner's wagon. Managed to sneak away, but the damage was done. Too many people had seen me die, there was no way to explain it away. I couldn't even explain it to myself. I just knew that I'd died for the second time and come back... again. There was nothing I could do even when... even when I found out a few weeks later, after my funeral – that was interesting to see – anyway, I heard that Clara was pregnant. I wired every cent I had in New York and England to one account and made sure my death certificate made it to the bank and that they contacted Clara as my next of kin. I stayed in the city until I knew she and the baby were both safe and healthy and then I left. Came back to Cardiff."

Jack paused and ran a hand through his hair. "She had a boy," he added, looking up at Ianto. "She called him Jakob."

"After his father." Ianto reached out to stroke Jack's cheek. "Do you know what happened to them?"

"Clara remarried a few years later. From everything I could find out she and Jakob had happy lives." A shadow fell over Jack's face. "They both died during the Spanish flu epidemic in the autumn of 1918. Most of Clara's family died within a week of each other. Just like that they were all gone."

There was a long moment of silence. Ianto picked up the wedding photograph again and folded the paper cover carefully around it.

"Before I left New York, I experimented with my condition," Jack said suddenly.

Ianto frowned at him. "You mean you killed yourself."

"Repeatedly. And in different ways. I didn't really care if I stayed dead at that point, but I always came back. I figured it was my new normal until I could find the Doctor to get some answers. After that I promised myself I'd never fall in love again. Personal entanglements weren't worth the pain. Even if I didn't meet with an unforeseen accident at some point in the relationship, I couldn't stay with anyone for very long since I wasn't aging. There have only been two people I've broken that promise for."

"Estelle," Ianto said.

Jack nodded.

"And Lucia Moretti."

"What? How do you know about Lucia?" Jack asked, clearly shocked.

Ianto chuckled. "It's all in the archives."

"Well... so you know about Alice too?"

Ianto nodded. "Not Torchwood's finest work, I must say."

"Hiding my daughter from me, you mean?" Jack laughed bitterly. "Yeah, I was never sure if they were really crap at their jobs or if they just didn't believe I was the danger that Lucia thought. She was a little crazy so they very well may have been placating her."

"But you loved her."

"Lucia? No, not really. She was... well, I'd say she was a mid-life crisis if I had any idea how long my life was going to be," Jack said with a glint of amusement in his eyes.

"But you said two people." Ianto frowned in confusion as he placed the photos back in the metal box and closed the lid on Jack's past.

"I did," Jack said.

"Then who –" Ianto's eyes snapped up to meet Jack's. His cheeks flushed and he couldn't think of one single word to say.

"Mmmhmm," Jack confirmed, making Ianto's heart start to race. Jack stood and moved to stand between Ianto's knees. He cupped Ianto's face in his hands and placed a soft kiss on his lips.

"Jack... I..." Ianto swallowed hard. "You know I love you too," he whispered.

"I know," Jack murmured between more kisses.

Suddenly they both snorted with laughter. Ianto leant his forehead against Jack's as they tried to catch their breath.

"Oh, God, did we really just quote Star Wars?" Jack asked.

"No, that was Empire Strikes Back," Ianto corrected.

"Does that make you Princess Leia?" Jack teased.

"Call me princess even once and I'll never make you coffee again."

"Oh! Straight to the jugular!" Jack pretended he'd been mortally wounded and, during his dramatic flailing, managed to knock the pile of mail off the edge of his desk. "Whoops," he added in his normal voice. "What's this?"

He picked up a small package from the floor and examined it more closely. "It's from Martha... oh, but it's addressed to you," he said, handing the box to Ianto who frowned.

"Can't imagine what it would be. I haven't spoken to her since she left. Have you?" Ianto leant across Jack's desk and snagged a pair of scissors to cut the box open.

Jack shook his head. "She was supposed to be there yesterday but Gwen told me she got a text after the ceremony sending her apologies. What is it?"

Ianto was staring into the box with a bemused look on his face. He pulled out a short note which he read aloud to Jack. "To aid in your dabbling. Here's to avant garde. Cheers! Love, Martha."

"Avant garde?" Jack asked in confusion.

Ianto pulled out a folded piece of red material with a mingled sense of amusement and dread. He hooked his finger in the thin, black leather band around the bottom of the beret and twirled it at Jack, making the small, unmistakable winged globe insignia on the edge spun round and round.

"I believe you requested this?" Ianto said archly.

Jack crowed with delight and grabbed the UNIT cap. He secured it on Ianto's head, ignoring the eyerolls from his lover. "I knew it would look great on you," he sighed, stepping back for a better view. "Now then... have you been a good little soldier?"

Ianto choked back a laugh. "Just don't expect me to call you Brigadier," he said dryly.


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thrace_adams: BSG Starbuck Cleavagethrace_adams on April 3rd, 2017 01:11 am (UTC)