sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 11:50 am
Entry tags:

Won't You Come Home To Me; Torchwood, PG

Title: Won't You Come Home To Me
Rating: PG
Summary: Jack doubles back on himself, and Ianto is left to arrange matters.
Notes: Having been linked by [livejournal.com profile] martyfan to a list of fics where Jack crosses his own timeline, I noticed that most if not all of them were terribly bittersweet. So I decided to write a funny one, and this is it. I originally said I wasn't going to post the letters between Jack and Ianto during this fic, but then I changed my mind. You should read this first, though, so you understand All That I Ain't Got.
Warnings: None.

Originally posted 6.22.08

Also available at AO3.

***

"Aw, crap."

Ianto looked up from his work at Gwen's computer, collating police reports for the week, and tilted his head. "Jack?"

"What day is it?" Jack asked, rubbing his forehead.

"Monday."

"Date?"

"Twenty-third."

"Of?"

Ianto raised an eyebrow. "June. Would you like the year?"

Then Jack got a horrible look on his face, something like fear and misery mixed up together, and said in a very small voice, "Yes, please."

Ianto switched off Gwen's screen and leaned back. "I see. It's two thousand and eight. Are you in your future or your past?"

"Both, but that's -- pretty irrelevant," Jack sighed. "Let's put it this way. In about three months you and I will laugh about this. Probably. Unless the universe falls apart in the next -- "

"Twenty minutes," Ianto said smoothly.

"I'm on a coffee run?" Jack asked, a note of hope creeping into his voice.

"With Gwen; I thought you'd forgotten your wallet. Anyway, it'll be at least that long before you get back here and my coffee will be cold."

"Hey, I always buy your coffee when we're leaving."

"If you say so," Ianto said, standing and putting his hands on his hips. "I suppose we should be grateful it's only three months?"

"I don't know that I'd call it gratitude," Jack said darkly. "They weren't all that great the first time around."

"Well, we can't have you crossing your own timeline, that's asking for untidiness," Ianto said briskly. "Should I even ask what happened?"

"Can't tell you," Jack said, a mournful note in his voice. It made him sound about six years old. "Paradox."

"Of course. I hope whatever you did was worth it." Ianto moved closer, not quite within touching distance. "You look tired."

"Like I said. Rough three months. Maybe this is the universe's way of telling me I need a vacation," Jack added, thoughtfully.

"It's the only way you're likely to take one. Anywhere in particular?" Ianto inquired. Jack frowned at him.

"Seriously? You think just shipping me off somewhere for three months is a good idea?"

Ianto shrugged. "It hardly matters to our current situation one way or another, as long as you manage not to bump into yourself on the way to the airport, but eventually, yes."

"You can't tell the other me. Your me. Because I don't remember that."

Ianto smiled, just slightly. "And you're not my you?"

Jack took a moment to parse. "No, I didn't mean -- "

"Jack." This time Ianto did step close enough to touch; he straightened Jack's coat, pressed a hand over his heart. "That was a joke."

"Oh. Hey, don't mess with me here, I'm three months time-lagged." Jack said, annoyed. "And you're pretty secure about the whole ownership thing."

Ianto tried not to smile this time. "Tell me I'm wrong?"

"Won't. I know your tricks, Ianto Jones."

"And here I was prepared to build an empire based on rugby winnings for the next three months, once I weasled the scores out of you."

"You know I don't pay attention to rugby."

"Yes, it's one of your most persistent flaws. Now, we have..." Ianto checked his watch. "Fifteen minutes, ten to be on the safe side. Arrangements might take a few days. Here." He pulled out his wallet and offered Jack his credit card and a handful of bills. "Get yourself a room. I'll track online and find out where you've booked. I'll see you tonight, we'll figure out what to do."

"And I'm not going to think you're cheating on me? Monday is movie night."

Ianto blinked. "It is?"

"Crap!"

"Just -- go," Ianto said, giving him a shove towards the door. "And no ordering room service, unless you're giving me a pay rise in the next three months."

Jack didn't bend with the push; instead he leaned against it and kissed Ianto, grinning. "Have I ever told you that you're perfect?"

"You'd know better than I would whether you have or not. Also, that's a scurrilous lie. Go."

Jack went.

And then came back, in a manner of speaking, just as Ianto had finished doctoring the CCTV footage.

"Coffee for Ianto," he announced proudly, placing it on the desk next to Ianto's elbow. "Still warm."

"Mm," Ianto replied, sipping it. "With a healthy portion of 'luke'."

"There was a new barista."

"Good-looking?"

"Incredibly."

"I don't think so," Gwen called, raiding Ianto's desk for a chocolate biscuit. "I thought she was a bit plain. Nothing on us, Ianto."

"You know you're always first in my heart," Jack called across to her.

"Yes, thank you," Ianto said.

"First-equal," Jack quickly amended, wandering over to his own desk and shuffling some papers, apparently looking for something. "New Barista is a distant second. Anything interesting happen while we were gone?"

"Yes, your time-traveling future self appeared in the Hub and I had to send him off," Ianto said serenely.

"Not funny," Jack replied, climbing the stairs to the conference room.

"Not for another three months, anyway."

"Still not funny!" Jack yelled from above.

"Hasn't been three months yet!" Ianto yelled back, and was rewarded with a paper airplane that floated gently down from the balcony to land in front of him. He unfolded it, perplexed.

It was the printout schedule for a local cinema, with next Monday's offering (some kind of spy film -- never let it be said Jack had poor taste) circled. An arrow pointing to it led back to a note in the margin: MOVIE NIGHT.

Ianto tried very hard not to laugh.

***

Around four o'clock he checked his bank account online and found two pending charges: one from the Waterstone's near Ianto's flat, for fifteen-odd pounds, and one from a middle-range hotel in downtown.

"Early night?" Jack asked, passing the coat-tree as Ianto took his jacket down.

"I thought so. You don't mind?"

"Nah, there's -- " Jack jerked his thumb at his desk, which looked like a cyclone had hit it.

"Mm. Yes, it's good to shift the piles around once in a while. Like tectonic plates," Ianto replied. "Gwen, coming?"

"Just finishing," Gwen said, emerging from the archive stairwell. "Goodnight," she said to Jack, kissed him on the cheek, and followed Ianto out of the Hub.

He left her at her apartment building, gave Rhys a wave, and stopped on the way to the hotel to pick up dinner from the Indian take-away place Jack liked.

"Excuse me," he said to the receptionist, who smiled at him. "I'm looking for a man, tall, brown hair, probably sexually harassed you -- checked in with a credit card belonging to Ianto Jones?"

She gave him the Hotelier's Once Over -- Ianto gazed back, comfortable that he was a little too well-dressed to be a rentboy and not quite well-dressed enough to be any other kind of trouble.

"Room 308," she said, finally.

"Thank you."

"I'd call it flirtation," she added casually.

"He's taken," Ianto said firmly, and made for the lift.

Jack was only half-dressed when he opened the door, braces swinging easily on his hips, shirts and coat discarded over a chair. Ianto offered him the take-away bag and he fell on it ravenously.

"I didn't think I should really be flashing your card all over," he said around a mouthful of kebab.

"Probably wise. By the way," Ianto held up the cinema flyer. "This was cute."

"Thank you," Jack looked pleased. "Nice to see I didn't mis-time that too badly. You know you get used to not saying anything, I mean anything, when you're doing the whole time-hopping thing, but I'm a couple thousand years out of practice. Oh god, bhajis," he said, and shoved one whole into his mouth. Ianto pulled off his tie, threw his coat over Jack's on the chair, and helped himself to the rest of Jack's momentarily-unguarded kebab.

"So I have a plan," Jack continued, pawing through the rest of the food. "One word: threesome."

"No," Ianto replied.

"That's not what you said the last time I asked."

"The last time you asked you weren't talking about two of you as active participants. Also, the last time you asked I said maybe, and also probably not."

"But I've worked it out, if we give the last me retcon before we -- "

"Jack, I am not engaging in sordid sex with two of you while one of you is passing out from retcon and I can't believe you just made me say that."

Jack looked sulky. "Considering one of me wouldn't remember, it would really be all about you."

"Yes, and two Jack Harknesses wouldn't be at all overwhelming. The only plan you are permitted to have is whether you'd prefer cryogenics for three months or an extended holiday somewhere very far from here."

This time, Jack looked honestly miserable; he stared down at the container of food in his hands, shoulders hunching slightly. Ianto hesitantly touched his shoulder and, when he didn't pull away, leaned his forehead against Jack's temple.

"You've done longer," he said gently. "It's only three months, Jack."

"Three months without you or Gwen." Jack set the food aside. "I can't do cryo again. But I don't know what to do with myself if I don't have Torchwood."

"There's always Glasgow and Torchwood Two. We could explain -- "

"Three months with that nut? I thought you liked me."

"Moderately," Ianto assured him. "Holiday, then."

"Some holiday," Jack muttered.

"I'll set you up with a false name and credit card. We'll get you an email address and a computer, you can write."

He felt Jack tense up for a moment; he let him work through whatever it was, then leaned back and studied him. "What?"

"We have to do that," Jack said, frowning.

"How do you mean?"

"Oh, I -- " Jack bit his lip. "You spent a lot more time on the computer than you used to, these past three months."

"Ah." Ianto grinned. "Jealous?"

"Just...interested," Jack replied.

"In whomever I was writing to."

"Hey, Torchwood, remember? I like to keep an eye on things."

"Mm-hm."

"There's kind of a charm in it, though, letter-writing," Jack said thoughtfully. "I used to like writing from the front. Something nice about words on paper."

"In pixel."

"I'll print them out."

"And they say romance is dead. The point is, there must be someplace you'd like to see, Jack." He felt his lips quirk. "I'm sure I could find a nice nudist colony -- "

"That's unkind," Jack complained.

"Somewhere in America, maybe."

"Can we figure it out tomorrow?" Jack said plaintively.

"The longer you're here, the more time I spend away from the Hub -- "

"I'm not asking you to come with me, Ianto. I'm asking you to give me a goddamn day."

Ianto nodded. "All right. I'll need time to get you a new identity anyway."

"And tonight?"

"And tonight, as far as you or Gwen know, I'm having an early evening in."

Jack's smile was almost genuinely happy. "Good. Three months is a long time, I want a proper goodbye."

***

The security guard at the airport would have been more annoyed with the long-goodbye if it had been holding up passenger foot-traffic, but Cardiff International was pretty empty at two in the morning, and both men looked so utterly unhappy that she couldn't help indulge them.

The dark-haired one, too old to be a son and just slightly too young for propriety, let his arms drop from their snug hold around the other man's neck.

"Be good," he told the man in the long wool coat.

"Am I ever anything else?"

"Jack -- "

"All right, I'll behave," the one called Jack said. "Look after everyone."

"I always do."

Jack turned to her, gave her a dazzling white-toothed smile, and offered his passport -- British, despite the American accent. She studied it (John Harker, good solid name), marked his ticket, and waved him through. The other man stood watching until he was out of sight, then sighed slightly.

"Long trip?" she asked, sympathetically.

"Sort of," he replied. "It'll seem longer to him, I imagine."

"Well, these things always go faster than we think they will," she said.

"Time's funny that way," the man agreed, and gave her a smile. He started slightly as his phone rang, and as he wandered off she could hear him say, "Jack. Yes. Of course. No, not far at all."

Sweet, that the lad's Jack was calling him from inside security.

***

"Ianto. IANTO!"

Ianto tapped his earpiece, trying to hear Gwen clearly above the static. "I'm in the archives. Can you hear me?"

"Ianto?"

"Buggering -- one minute, Gwen," he shouted down the wire, and ran up the stairs in haste. The sight that greeted him was almost comical; Gwen looked panicked, but also furious, and Nina and Eric were both staring at a small lump of charred metal between them.

"I didn't know!" Eric wailed, when he saw Ianto's look.

"He just chucked it at him!" Gwen shouted. "We don't throw alien artefacts!"

"He asked me to!" Eric protested.

"You are so -- literal! Ianto, Jack's vanished," Gwen said, looking annoyed. "And on his way out he vaporized the whatever-it-was."

Ianto checked his watch.

"Ianto, what are you -- "

"Three...two...one," he said, and the alarm on the rolldoor went off as Jack strode in, hands in his pockets.

"Hiya," he said, smiling at them. "Something wrong?"

"Slight vaporization of an alien artefact," Ianto said placidly. "Nothing to fret about."

"Nothing, huh? So glad to hear it," Jack drawled.

"How did you..." Gwen looked back and forth between the two men.

"Yeah..." Ianto reached around to his desk and plucked a sheaf of paper off it. "Report's all there. Temporal displacement."

"I didn't really want to keep you in suspense longer than necessary," Jack said, looking unusually pleased with himself. He winked at Ianto. "Besides, it's movie night."

END

"Please come to Boston?"
She said "No -- boy, won't you come home to me?"

-- Please Come To Boston

Sequel: All That I Ain't Got

[identity profile] muppetthecow.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Lovely :-) So many of these "jack crosses own timeline" fics are heavy going, but this was just what I needed on a sunday afternoon.

"The dark-haired one, too old to be a son and just slightly too young for propriety" - nice to see an outside perspective of Jack and Ianto too.
ext_7384: (Jack and Jones by skittlesnfrank)

[identity profile] elisi.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
This is utterly, utterly DELIGHTFUL! (And I want to see the letters! Go on go on go on go on go on go on...)

(I have a tiny little Jack-crosses-his-own-timeline bunny myself, but I'm not sure I'd ever dare post it. Not so much bittersweet as hopelessly schmoopy...)
Edited 2008-06-22 15:18 (UTC)

[identity profile] kensieg.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:58 pm (UTC)(link)
You say schmoopy like it's a bad thing!

(no subject)

[identity profile] elisi.livejournal.com - 2008-06-22 16:01 (UTC) - Expand
dani_the_girl: (gwen big ben)

[personal profile] dani_the_girl 2008-06-22 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Awww, that's really sweet. And I think we should get to see some of those emails :)

[identity profile] ekaterinn.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, lovely! Just what I needed after a bad night full of anxiety dreams. Ianto is so very good in this, both sweet to an unusually vulnerable Jack and extremely competent. (I do agree with the other poster that I would love to see some of the emails.)

[identity profile] ruisseau.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I vote that someday you post the epistolary. I think they would have been brilliantly full of innuendo. :)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Actually, they're sort of...mild, really. Full of longing and confusion, mostly. Jack's used to writing letters to home in a much more genteel age, sexually speaking. :)

[identity profile] foreverrhapsody.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Oo, I like it. Well done fics that mess with timelines, even a small time like this one, are always welcome in my world. But one thing that caught my eye...
"He's taken," Ianto said firmly, and made for the elevator. Did you mean lift?

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, yes I do :D *changes* Thank you!

[identity profile] wondersheep.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Awwwwww.

*deep breath*

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

[identity profile] kaimu.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh this is so sweet! It's nice to have a non-angsty Jack visits Ianto in the past fic! I now want to read Jack's 3-month long vacation adventures. How did he manage to stay out of trouble?

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 04:10 pm (UTC)(link)
How did he manage to stay out of trouble?

He didn't, of course. :D

[identity profile] demotu.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 03:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Adorable - and, dare I say, a little bittersweet? :P But not at the end, which is the real point. I love Ianto's comfortable possessiveness of Jack, and Jack throwing the paper airplane at Ianto, in particular. Oh, and Gwen being annoyed about the throwing of the artifact. Very nice!

[identity profile] piss-and-ink.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
This is adorable. I love how Ianto seems pretty unfazed by this. But that's because he's Ianto.

[identity profile] roguewords.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 04:10 pm (UTC)(link)
that's cute! and yay for non-angsty-ness.


*brain isn't properly working yet*

[identity profile] elucreh.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 04:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the security guard was the nicest touch. *G*

[identity profile] marginaliana.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 04:25 pm (UTC)(link)
D'awwwwwwwww! Oh, boys. "I'm sure I could find a nice nudist colony -- " - hahahaha! This is just what I needed today, thank you. A nice bit of warm and fuzzy.

[identity profile] merucha.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 04:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I was going to put an epistolary section in, even had a few letters written, but it would have gone all epic on me and I haven't the time for that kind of crap. Just...use your imagination. Yes! That's it!

Sam, Sam, Sammy... you are missing the point here. YOU write; we lie postrate at your feet admiring :-) So...letters, please?

[identity profile] bobthemole.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 05:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Agreed. Go epic!

(no subject)

[identity profile] jo02.livejournal.com - 2008-06-23 06:56 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] kit-maxel.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 05:11 pm (UTC)(link)
John Harker... heeh. ;p

Very cute/funny.

[identity profile] joesther.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 05:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh god, I can't stop laughing! So cute and funny and I have to say, you people who understand the timey-wimey timelines astound me. I just kinda sit there and try to make it make sense, when, of course, it doesn't. But this fic? Between the harassing/flirting with the hotel receptionist, Jack's overall Jackness (I think we need to coin that as a real word) and Ianto's ability to deal with *anything* - this fic rocked. Love it.

[identity profile] martyfan.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 05:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I am so glad I inspired you to write this. Brilliant. :) I'd also like to second (third? fourth?) the requests for what Jack did during those three months. Although I can pretty much imagine what he'd be likely to get up to, in any case.

[identity profile] minotaurs.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 05:37 pm (UTC)(link)
You do the *best* Ianto voice.

[identity profile] definehome.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 08:07 pm (UTC)(link)
That's very cute.. I loved how Ianto casually tells Jack the absolute truth, without him even really noticing.

(Anonymous) 2008-06-22 08:13 pm (UTC)(link)
heheheh! the boss disappears, the boss walks through the door... just another day in Torchwood! love it! :)
thalia: Jack Harkness looking pensive with Ianto Jones in the background (tw - jack w/ianto)

[personal profile] thalia 2008-06-22 08:42 pm (UTC)(link)
That was fabulous! Poor Jack... but at least Ianto's watching out for him. I love the "movie night" bit.
ext_2496: (Default)

[identity profile] aelfgyfu-mead.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
"Yes, your time-traveling future self appeared in the Hub and I had to send him off," Ianto said serenely.
Ah, yes, the perfect way to weasel out of awkward situations: tell the truth when no one will believe you.

"We don't throw alien artefacts!"
And Gwen would know!

Thanks for a lovely fic with just a little angst and a good bit of humor. Jack's incorrigible, isn't he? Good thing he has Ianto to straighten everything out for him!

(Anonymous) 2008-06-22 09:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Made me smile - and the first EVER fic I have immediately re-read.
[Despite the lack of account, I am an avid reader.]

Thank you for cheering me up =]

[identity profile] charlie-jae.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 09:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I had to re-read that one twice before actually getting it. Ah but how nice the outcome was, only three months? LoL.

Nice one.

[identity profile] strangecreature.livejournal.com 2008-06-22 10:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Spot-on voices, utterly clever plot, and I always love getting to see the characters from a bystander's point of view. Also much love for Ianto's usual scary competence here. :-) Thanks for sharing this with us!

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