Summary: Ianto had one last secret from his life in London and it's about to be blown wide open
Characters/Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Martha, Francine Jones, Female OC
Word Count: ~3.8K
Beta: None. Flew solo on this one
Notes: Next one shot belong the Long Days and Nights of Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones series. The series is not posted in chronological order click here for the master list and timeline of the series. Also, this is a fill for longliveianto bingo 'Secrets and Lies' prompt.
One Last Secret
It was their last day in London after three days of what Jack called living hell. Ianto called it what it was; a UNIT conference on planetary and temporal defence. Originally, Jack had been the only one summoned to the conference but he came up every excuse possible except for the truth to get Ianto to attend the conference. The truth being that Jack did not want to be away from Ianto for three whole days.
The couple sat in the lobby of the hotel having a pre-dinner drink and making bedroom eyes at each other.
Ianto tutted as he looked at his watch. "Forty five minutes to dinner." There was something else on his mind. Something more pressing and interesting than food.
"Can we just skip dinner and spend the evening in bed? It's my birthday tomorrow. It can be an early gift." Ianto pleaded with Jack. He had pent up energy from the last few days and needed it expelled before he exploded. He slowly undid his tie and hungrily licked his lips.
"We cannot cancel on Martha and her parents. You will be properly spoiled tomorrow." Jack was very tempted to cancel, but knew he couldn't. He got up from his chair and pulled Ianto up by his tie. "But I won't object to having you as an appetiser." Their lips a hair's breadth apart and Jack was the one to close the distance in a long languid kiss.
"Upstairs now," Ianto felt all his blood rush south.
Jack did not need to be told twice and opted not to use the lift to their third floor room. It would be quicker and there would not be the temptation to get frisky in the lift and thereby kicked out of the hotel.
As soon as the door shut, the couple pounced upon each other worse than animals in heat. There was no way they were going to make it to dinner on time.
Francine Jones looked sternly at her daughter, "Didn't you say Jack was staying at this hotel?" She looked at her watch, noting that he was running almost twenty minutes late. "I'm sorry for the wait, Helen." She turned to her friend that had come instead of her working husband.
"It's alright. Lloyd is working late too so I'm in no rush to get home. Hopefully your friends will be here soon." Helen said in a warm matter. "I hope you don't mind me crashing your dinner."
Martha had a good idea what Jack and Ianto were up to since they went back to the hotel after the conference ended several hours ago. Her mother and friend did not need those details. "The more the merrier. Dad got stuck working late too?" she asked her mother.
"Yes, someone asked him to pick up a last minute shift." Francine nodded. "So I asked Helen to come along."
"So how did you two meet?" Martha tried to make small talk to pass the time.
"At a support group." Helen answered, a sadness clouding her eyes.
"I went to a couple sessions with your aunt after Addy died. Helen lost her daughter that day too." Francine explained. It was still a sensitive topic and the look on Helen's face said how much she missed her daughter.
Martha nodded. "I'm sorry." She knew more of what happened at Canary Wharf from her time with the Doctor. The public was given a very different story from the truth and it was hard having that knowledge and not being able to share.
"Thank you," Helen said stiffly. Every day was a struggle and some days were worse than others. "They were all so young. The day of the attack was my daughter and son-in-law's first day back after their honeymoon."
Martha gasped slightly. "I'm so sorry for your losses."
"My son-in-law survived. We haven't seen or heard from him since the funeral. He just took off. Not sure if he is dead or alive. He was just devastated." Helen started to get a little emotional and shook her head in an attempt to regain her composure. "I'm sorry. It's just so hard some days."
"There is no need to apologise," Martha tried to reassure Helen. "If you are interested in finding your son-in-law, the two men coming should be able to find him." She figured if anyone kept track of Canary Wharf survivors it would be Torchwood.
"Really?" Helen's eyes lit up at the idea. "That would be great. I've tried for years and couldn't find anything. How do you think your friends will have more luck?" She really tried everything and failed.
Martha looked to her mother for a second, not knowing what explanation to give. "If anyone kept records on the survivors they would be the ones to have them."
"I've been so worried about him. I hope he is okay. Look at me. I've gotten myself into a right state." Helen blotted away the tears that she just realised had fallen. "Excuse me. I've got to freshen up." She stood up and Francine did as well.
"Wait, Helen, I'm going to join you." Francine wanted to make sure her friend was okay. She usually avoided bringing up Helen's only child. It was a pain that a parent never could recover from and the one connection to her daughter was missing with Helen always imagining the worse for the young man.
Martha sighed when the two woman where out of sight and took her mobile from her purse, getting ready to call Jack and see what was keeping him and Ianto when she heard the immortal's unmistakable boisterous laugh.
"It's about time you two. Couldn't you have waited a bit?" she teased the men who could not tear their eyes from each other. Martha still managed to give each man a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Birthday boy has been feeling randy all afternoon," Jack slid an arm around Ianto's waist, stopping for a quick buttock pinch.
"I didn't hear you complaining. We are sorry for being late. I hope your parents aren't too upset." Ianto said sincerely, straightening his tie a bit.
"It's your birthday?" Martha asked. "My dad couldn't make it, so my mom brought a friend."
"Tomorrow, actually. Just starting the celebration a little early," Ianto winked at Jack and removed Jack's hand from his waist and placed it into his own hand.
"The first of thousands of birthdays to come," Jack lowered his voice do no one overheard.
Martha eyed the men carefully, waiting to see if it was some kind of joke. When there was no indication that it was, she motioned for the men to sit at the table. "How is that possible?"
"Blood transfusion." Jack explained.
"Weevil took a big bite out of my neck." Ianto continued.
"Did you know that would happen?" Martha was intrigued.
"No. Our bloods types are compatible. Was only trying to keep Ianto alive." Jack said with a grim expression.
"It didn't work...at least not in the way he had expected. I think I almost gave Owen a heart attack when I woke up." Ianto smirked. "Now I'm stuck with him forever...literally."
"Is that a complaint I hear? Hey, I'm easy to live with. You are the difficult one."
"You could always move out."
"Not a chance. Like you said you are stuck with me and I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Neither would I."
"Okay, I'm going to stop the two of you right there." Martha watched as both men had their hands slowly moving up the other's leg, enjoying their playful banter. "You both seem really happy."
"We are," both answered at the same time, the deep bond they shared obvious to anyone watching them.
"Does this mean we are going to have a wedding soon?" Martha teased and laughed when she saw both men's horrified reactions. "Not ready for that step yet?"
"No," Ianto croaked. "We only moved in together two months ago. Definitely not ready for that. Happy just the way we are." It was a good thing Jack nodded in agreement and laced their fingers together.
"How about a change of topic." Martha relaxed when they did not seem upset. "By chance do you keep track of the Canary Wharf survivors?"
Ianto choked and cleared his throat. His face going slightly paler than normal.
"Talk about a topic change." Jack commented. "No we don't. Unless you count Ianto. But my reason for tracking him are far from innocent." he turned to Ianto.
"You were there?" That news shocked Martha.
"I really don't like talking about it." Ianto's eyes glazed over and he looked away. It was not so much what happened that day that haunted him, but the after.
The voice made Ianto's back stiffen and his throat turn dry as a desert. He was glad Jack stood between him and the woman. "Helen?" Ianto barely managed to get the name out.
Jack looked between his lover and the woman who obviously knew him. "You know each other?" Then he noticed Ianto looked decidedly like he was about to be sick. "You okay?" his worry for the younger man obvious.
"Ianto is my son-in-law." Helen nudged Jack out of the way in order to hug Ianto. "Where have you been? Lloyd and I've been so worried about you. Why did you just leave after the funeral? You never picked up the rings or pictures from the wedding."
Ianto felt the look Jack was giving him. His face did not show it, but Ianto knew there was hurt and betrayal behind the straight face.
"I don't know. I just ran and continued to run." Ianto kept the lies coming. There was no way he was going to break Helen's heart all over again with the truth. Only the members of Torchwood Three knew the savage truth. "I've been living in Cardiff," he squeaked out as the tight hug was robbing him of his breath.
"You must be Lisa's mum," Jack held out his hand. She'd better be Lisa's mother or Ianto would have much more explaining to do than he already did. Jack thought they had worked past all their secrets, but Ianto had kept a whopper of one. He had hoped the son-in-law thing was just the way she thought, but the word wedding killed all that.
"Yes and you are?" Helen let go of Ianto who looked like he was ready to cry or run or maybe both. He was deathly pale and shaking like a leaf.
"Captain Jack Harkness." Jack held out his hand to shake. He turned an icy glare to Ianto, who looked like he might have a nervous breakdown any second, but Jack was too angry to play the concerned boyfriend.
"Helen Hallett," she tentatively shook Jack's hand. "Nice to meet you."
"Are you okay, Ianto?" Martha asked as she watched the Welshman flop into his chair and rub the bridge of his nose.
"Headache." Ianto said softly. "Been bothering me all day," he lied.
This was the one secret he thought would keep long buried after everything that happened with Lisa at the hub. At the time he did not think they would care if she was his girlfriend or wife, all they saw was the thing that tried to kill them. After a while, it was easier not to bring her up anymore. No one wanted to be reminded of that day and in the end Lisa did not even...it was just easier for everyone to think she was his girlfriend.
"The pleasure is all mine," Jack turned on the charm and kissed Helen's hand. So what if he was flirting with his lover's ex-mother-in-law? Martha and Francine would see it as his normal charm, but his vindictive side wanted to see Ianto squirm a little. When Ianto's mouth slightly dropped, Jack started to behave. Moreover, he believed Helen was blushing a little and Martha was the only one who knew he and Ianto were together. He was hurt that after all this time Ianto never confided this important detail to him and when Jack was hurt, he got vindictive.
"Oh, my. Aren't you the charmer?" Helen smiled at the handsome man, flattered by his flirting. "How do you two know each other?"
"I'm his boss and we are flatmates too." Jack continued the act with Ianto being the only one to know the true intent behind his words and maybe Martha had an inkling.
Ianto looked to Martha for assistance, hoping she could get Jack to stop twisting the knife into his gut. For Jack to make it clear he was the boss and adding the flatmates line, the nervous man knew their blow out later was going to be big. Sweat trickled down Ianto's brow as Jack's words lashed like a burning whip on his skin.
Martha sat back and watched the scene unfold and assumed Jack thought better of letting Helen and her mother know he and Ianto were a couple.
"Martha, dear," Francine turned to her daughter. "Why don't we give Helen and Ianto some privacy?" Her gaze extended to Jack as well. She knew this had been the moment Helen had been looking forward for years and who knew it was so close all this time.
"All right," Jack stood up, his face indifferent. "I plan on heading back to Cardiff early in the morning. Let me know by then if you are coming with me or going back on your own."
Ianto tilted his head to look at Jack, letting him see the pain his words caused. Sure, he had kept a huge secret, but this was one time Ianto really needed the support of the man he loved. "I'll let you know." His tone was even, with a slight hint of pain and disappointment.
"It was great meeting you." Jack continued to flirt slightly. "Perhaps we shall meet again some day?" He kept up the act and kissed Helen hand before flouncing off as he always did so well.
"He is certainly rather interesting character." Helen was still a bit flustered by the attention.
"That's Jack for you." Ianto said dryly as he rubbed his head. Now he really had a headache that felt like a stake being driven through his skull.
"Lloyd and I have been so worried about you. We thought the worst happened to you and we had no way of finding you. We tried looking." Helen hovered and fussed, but sensing the annoyance from Ianto.
"Sorry." Was the only word Ianto could offer. Having access to Torchwod's mainframe, made it easy to give the appearance he had vanished. Ianto had done that when he started at Three because he did not want anyone to interrupt his plans to save Lisa.
"You look well. What have you been up to?"
"Thanks," Ianto allowed a slight smile. "Work mostly. The job keeps me very busy. How about you and Lloyd?" He wanted to leave to explain everything to Jack, but Ianto knew he could not leave Helen. She was owed an explanation, but he did not know what exactly to tell her.
"We've been doing well. Some days are harder than others." Helen said softly. "You shouldn't be working so hard. It isn't good for you," she reached across the table and squeezed Ianto's arm.
"It comes with the job. I don't mind it." Ianto spoke honestly.
"And sharing a flat with your boss? Isn't that a little odd?" Helen had no issue sticking her nose into her son-in-law's business.
Ianto inwardly groaned that Jack said they lived together, knowing Helen would hit the roof if she knew the said flat he and Jack shared only had one bed. "Not really," he replied.
"I still miss Lisa so much some days."
"I do too," Ianto said softly, reaching for Helen's hand. "I'll never stop loving her." It was the truth and there would always be a place for Lisa in his heart. Just because he was with Jack now, it did not mean Ianto had to forget about Lisa.
"You shouldn't be a stranger anymore. Call once in awhile and let Lloyd and I know you are okay. You are still family and we've missed you." Helen sadly looked over at Ianto. She was happy to hear that Ianto still loved her daughter.
"I will. I promise, but some times the job gets so busy." Ianto froze when he saw the stern glare from his mother-in-law.
"I don't want to hear that excuse. I can talk to that boss of your and make sure he doesn't work you so hard. Is that why you were late, Jack had you working?" Helen had always enjoyed fussing over Ianto when she learned of his difficult upbringing.
Ianto turned a deep shade of scarlet and his voice cracked slightly, "Not exactly."
"Are you happy, Ianto?" Helen asked, rubbing the man's arm. "Lisa would want that for you. To be happy."
Ianto nodded and smiled. "I'm happy. Things are going really well for me. For a while after losing Lisa I didn't think I could go on, but I had help with those dark days." The person he betrayed to most to help Lisa was the one who picked him up and carried him through the days he did not want to live and that same person was now going to be by his side until the end of time.
"Good. I'm glad for that." Helen said genuinely happy for Ianto.
The two continued to talk for several hours, talking about everything and nothing. Ianto was relieved that Helen did not seem upset that he was involved with someone; of course, he neglected to mention it was the flirty man who left the table earlier.
After saying his goodbye to Helen and making a promise to keep in touch, Ianto dreaded heading back to his and Jack’s room. He was too tired for the fight that was bound to occur behind closed doors. Ianto wanted to be mad at Jack for his obvious flirting with Helen, but he felt he had no right because of the secret he had kept.
Ianto let out a small sigh of relief when Jack looked sound asleep on the bed and quickly grabbed a change of clothes before heading to the en-suite to change. After washing up for bed, Ianto returned to the bedroom several minutes later and carefully crawled into bed as to not disturb the sleeping man.
“No kiss goodnight?”
"I'm too tired for a fight to tonight. Can we pick this up in the morning, Jack?" Ianto turned away from Jack, taking some of the covers with him and hiding the hint of tears in his eyes. Talking to Helen stirred up some long buried emotions and a he did not want to be yelled at.
"I don't want to fight, Ianto. I just wonder why you never told me something so important," Jack's voice showed no hint of the anger her had earlier.
"You were flirting with Helen. Do you have any idea how many different kinds of wrong that is?" Ianto wanted to avoid this conversation until he was less grumpy.
"I was hurt by being blindsided by the news." Jack said honestly. He knew better than to ask why any hints of his marriage did not show up in Ianto's personnel file. "Then I thought long about why you never said anything and I realised it didn't change why you tried to help Lisa or how you felt about her and it definitely doesn't change how I feel about you." Jack slid his arm around over Ianto and tried to pull him closer despite Ianto's resistance.
"Ten days," Ianto said barely above a whisper after several long moments of silence.
"What?" Jack asked as he moved so Ianto was between him and the mattress using his hands to prop him several inches above his partner.
"That's how long we were married before the attack on Canary Wharf. That day was our first day back after our honeymoon. I didn't say she was my wife because some else went wrong in the conversion and Lisa lost her last seven months of memories before the attack. She didn't remember getting engaged or married so what was the point of saying anything?" Ianto barely choked back a sob that caught at the back of his throat.
"Because it is important to you. I know everything was far from okay for a while after that night in the hub, but you could have said something any time once things got serious between us." Jack said soothingly as he lowered his head and gently kissed Ianto's tears away.
“It was easier to forget like Lisa did.” Ianto reached up and hooked his arms behind Jack’s neck. This was not the way he expected this conversation to go, but was glad Jack chose to go the understanding boyfriend route.
“Come here,” Jack rolled over, pulling Ianto into his arms. “Most important for you to remember is that I love you and nothing and I repeat nothing will ever change that. I’m in this with you until the end of time or until we can’t stand each other anymore, but I’d prefer the first one.”
“Ask me again in a thousand years how I feel about you,” Ianto said with a wry smirk. “I still miss her and there is a part of me that will always love Lisa. Some times I do wonder what would have happened if we came back one day later. Lisa would never have died. Would we still be together? Then I would not have met you and have this life with you. I wouldn’t change us for anything. Yeah, I just think too much.” Ianto flushed several deep shades of red.
Jack laughed and nodded in agreement, “You do, but it’s who you are.” He placed a playful kiss on Ianto’s lips. “Tell me about your life with Lisa. What was she like before?” This was a conversation that was long overdue and Ianto’s words from that night haunted him ‘I clear up your shit. No questions asked and that's the way you like it. When did you last ask me anything about my life?’ Even after everything, no one bothered to ask him about the Lisa she was before that horrific day in London.
At first Ianto was hesitant but after a reassuring nod from Jack, he began, “We met at university. I was moving into a new residence hall…”
And they talked for several hours, Jack interrupting to ask questions and add his own anecdotes. He also told Ianto about Lucia and their daughter, whom he lost contact with over the last several years. The morning light was starting to peek through when both were sufficiently exhausted and sleep was quickly dragging them to their depths.
“Happy birthday,” Jack whispered as he put his hand over Ianto’s heart and let himself succumb to the dream world with Ianto following almost simultaneously.