Characters/Pairings: Ianto, Jack, few OCs, Jack/Ianto (past) Ianto/OFC
Warnings/contains: not applicable
Summary: Post-Exit Wounds. Ianto needed a break from Torchwood to help himself heal before he could help others. He did not expect the break to become permanent. What happens when he is reminded that there is no escaping Torchwood? Will Ianto choose his old life or keep on the road he's been living? Written for tw_classic_bb.
Disclaimer: I don't make any money off of this, sadly. All things Torchwood belong to those who own them and the poem The Road Not Taken belongs to Robert Frost. OC's and the plot are mine.
Beta: timelordshinesand czarina_kitty
Artists: the_silver_sun- Art found here & iantojjackh- Art found here. Combined art post is here.
Word Count: ~24k
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
"Bore da, Nos da. Good morning, good night. What a name for a place," Jack's voice boomed as he and Gwen stood in front of the coffee shop/cafe. "How quaint to use Welsh. Isn't that right, Ava?" he ticked the stomach of the almost three-year-old girl, in his arms.
"Yes, Daddy," Ava giggled and squirmed in her father's arms.
"A touch of Wales. How charming." Gwen clearly was not amused by Jack's enthusiasm over visiting the Californian Cardiff as a side trip after the UNIT conference ended in San Diego. "The weather is a lot better." She allowed Jack the tiniest of smiles as they entered the cafe.
They placed their orders with the young red-head behind the counter and she told them to sit and their order would be brought to them.
"She's hot," Jack not so subtly whispered to Gwen, trying to make sure Ava could not hear. "I've never slept with a red-head before. I hear they are wild between the sheets. I could have her like this if I want." He deftly snapped his fingers.
“But you won’t.” Gwen gave Jack a pitying glance. He was still the same flirty captain he had always been but he never acted on his words anymore. “You’re still waiting for your prince to return.” It was clear as day that Jack was still madly in love with Ianto, even after he vanished without a trace three years ago. They had tried repeatedly to search for him, but always came up empty handed. Gwen suspected that he must have had help disappearing. Or feared that he was dead. She never voiced that fear to Jack. She didn’t think Jack would be able to handle that possibility.
A month after Ianto disappeared, Jack discovered he was pregnant. Despite previous declarations that he would never do that again, the fact that it was a life that he and Ianto had created together gave him something to live for and brought light to the darkness. Seven months later Ava was born and she became Jack’s whole world.
"I think my husband might have something to say about you trying to put the moves on me." The young red-head from behind counter now stood behind Jack with two cups of coffee in her hand and a ‘say one more thing and I'll smack you’ face.
Jack blushed and covered his face when he saw the woman was pregnant. For some reason it made Jack even more horny, "I guess...never mind." He stopped himself from suggesting a threesome with the hot pregnant chick and her husband, having a feeling the suggestion would not go over well and he might get hit.
"You are an odd thing." She placed the cups on the table and looked at the child who was sitting on the overly flirty man's lap. There was something hauntingly familiar about the girl.
"I've been told that and worse before. I'm sorry I didn’t mean to offend you." Jack was also new to apologising for his flirty behaviour.
"A married man should not make suggestions like that in front of his wife," the red-head tried to remain neutral, but her voice still showed her displeasure. Her green eyes pierced through Jack, like a teacher admonishing a naughty student.
"I'm not married." Jack made a face. "You thought we?" He grinned at Gwen.
"No...no. We aren't married. I have my own husband and daughter at home," Gwen explained, blushing slightly.
"It's just me and Ava," Jack said sadly. Making it clear he wished that was not the case.
"I have two daddies," Ava chimed in.
"Do you know what you are having?" Jack asked, making small talk to show he was not some creepy guy hitting on random strangers.
"A boy and a girl," she answered. "In about four months they will be here." The obvious excitement was contagious.
"I take it they are your first." Gwen smiled as she remembered her pregnancy.
"They will be. Is there anything else I can get you? Laverbread is the house specialty." the waitress asked.
"Do you put bits of chopped bacon in the laverbread?" Jack winked, not letting up on the flirting. Some things could not be helped.
"Yes, we do. It's my husband's recipe."
"Hmm. Excellent. I'll have an order then. My ex...well sort of ex, Ava's other father, he used to make them for us that way when we had lay ins, until he disappeared...erm left," Jack sighed with fond remembrance. "Your husband, he's Welsh then? We're from Wales."
The woman nodded. "Yes."
Jack's eyes glazed over. "Yummy sexy Welsh vowels."
"Oi!" Gwen slapped Jack's arm. "Down lover boy. Sorry Jack has a one track mind. Forgive him."
"It's okay." The woman laughed. "My husband has a voice to die for so I know what you mean."
"Lucinda! It's your dad. ” The young man behind the counter held up a cordless phone. “He sounds panicked."
"Excuse me. I'll put that order in for you," Lucinda apologised for the interruption and wondered what emergency her father had this time.
"What's up, Dad?" She said, trying not to sound too annoyed.
"Hey, Sweetie. Will you be at the cafe for a couple minutes?" John Harkins had no idea how he was going to break this news to his daughter. This was not the type of news a parent should ever have to give their child, especially their pregnant daughter.
"I'll be here for a while. Is everything okay?" Lucinda heard the hesitation in her father's voice.
"I'll be there in a few minutes. I love you, Luce. Don't go anywhere." John pleaded with his daughter.
"Love you too, Dad." The pregnant woman knew what ever news her father had was not good, but she had no idea how bad. Her mind was swirling with all the possibilities and she did everything to keep her mind busy for what seemed like an eternity.
"Enjoy." Lucinda placed the plate of laverbread in front of Jack. "Just yell if you need anything else," her voice wavered slightly and Lucinda's hand rubbed the small bump that was her stomach.
The pregnant woman's face fell and paled when her father walked in. Intuition kicked in and John did not need to say what happen. She knew her father was here to tell her that her husband was dead.
"No. It can't be. No! No! No!" Lucinda shook her head as tears fell freely and she sunk to the floor, expelling grief's lament from her lungs.
"Dad, how? Why him? Why now?" Lucinda looked for answers as to why two hours ago her husband kissed her goodbye, saying he'd be back in a few hours and now her father was here to tell her he was gone and never coming back.
"I'm not sure someone thinks he got too close to the rocks while he was surfing. I’m sorry." John helped his daughter up and led her to the office. His heart was in pieces knowing there were going to be two children that would never know their father and his daughter was now a widow, not even making it through her first year of marriage.
Jack and Gwen watched as John led Lucinda to the back of the cafe and quietly closed the door behind them.
The sobbing made Gwen's heart ache. "Poor little lamb," she whispered and tapped Jack's arm. "Let's go." Gwen tugged on Jack's arm.
"What? Why?" Jack replied, his mouth full. "Not done yet." He pointed to his plate and cup of coffee. "I haven't had it this good since Ianto." There was no way that Jack was not going to finish his laverbread.
"That woman just lost her husband." Gwen stared and shook her head at Jack's insensitivity.
"We aren't the only people here. Why should we leave?" Jack nursed his coffee as Ava squirmed in his lap, trying to get down. "Where do you think you are going?"
"Mine." Ava tried to reach for Jack's coffee, but he pulled her tiny hand away.
"No, mine," Jack retorted. "You're too young for coffee."
"But Daddyyyyyyyyyy," she whined and pouted, balling her hands.
"Okay just a little sip." Jack knew that was the Jones charm at work. He was enjoying himself too much to leave. The coffee had not been this good in three years and he was going to drink until he was ready to burst.
"She will be the boss of you one day, Jack," Gwen commented as Jack's face suddenly went blank and pale. "What's wrong?"
"I just had a bad feeling. What if I can't find Ianto because he isn't around to be found?" Jack shuddered at the thought. It was not an idea he had consciously thought about until witnessing Lucinda being told her husband was dead. Death is funny that way.
Jack knew the day would eventually come when Ianto would pass on from this world and now he found it very unsettling not knowing how or where his former lover was.
To be continued... Chapter 2
Previously on The Road Not Taken