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: timelordshines and czarina_kitty
Artists: the_silver_sun- Art found here & iantojjackh- Art found here. Combined art post is here.
Word Count: ~24k
Ianto felt like he had been kicked in the gut after hearing the worst day of his life trivialised as a joke. "Just forget it." His voice filled with subdued anger. "You always think I'm joking. Believe what you want. I know what I went through. That so-called hoax you are referring to was very real and it was the worst day of my life. I was in the middle of where it all started. The building I worked in was destroyed that day. Eight hundred and twenty three people worked there and only twenty seven of us survived. You cannot begin to imagine the things I witnessed that day. I saw so many friends die that day. So it wasn't some big fucking hoax!” Ianto shouted. “That is how I got most of my scars." Ianto knew he had gone too far with his outburst and yet he had no desire to take his words back. Canary Wharf would always be a sensitive subject.
"I had no idea. I was only joking. You don't need to take it so seriously. I'm sorry, Ianto." Lucinda reached out for Ianto's arm, but he slipped out of her grasp.
"It's not a joke to me. You've had such a sheltered life. The perfect childhood. Never have you been touched by tragedy," Ianto paused before heading to the safe under the desk. He knew he was acting like a spoiled child but Ianto did not care at the moment. If the spoken word did not work, perhaps the written word would succeed.
"Hey!" Lucinda snapped. "I get it...you've had a rough day, but that's not an excuse to act like a jerk."
Ianto sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "You made a joke of the most terrible event I've ever gone through. How do you expect me to react?" Once the safe was open, Ianto pulled out three of the two dozen books he had stored there and handed them over to Lucinda.
"What are these?" she asked, looking at the leather bound books.
"My diaries. A record of my life."
"You keep your diaries locked in the safe...isn't that a bit overboard?"
Ianto's scowl grew. "Not when most of what is written is covered under the Official Secrets Act." There was the doubt in her voice that hurt like hot metal against the skin. It was the Torchwood curse, no one on the outside could ever understand it. "You wanted the truth and there it is in your hands."
"Why show me these now?"
"When I left home three years ago I had every intention of going back. I needed a break from all the craziness to give myself time to heal. Everyone had been looking to me to hold everything together. No one stopped to ask me how I was doing after we lost Owen and Tosh. I was practically a full time nanny to my boss making sure he made it through the day. I was getting ready to return to Wales when I met you and decided I wanted a normal life. If I went back I knew I would be living on borrowed time. I didn't want to die young like Owen and Tosh, but what happened to me today showed that I never really escaped." Ianto worked himself into such a state he was almost hyperventilating.
"What do you mean?" Lucinda felt guilty for causing Ianto the distress he was in. If he truly believed his stories then she was going to support him. "Come here." She put the books on the desk and enveloped Ianto into a tight, comforting embrace and rubbed his back.
"My boss...hh..he...he did something to me before I left. I don't know how to explain it."
"What did he do?" Lucinda thought she heard fear in her husband's voice.
Ianto did not have a chance to respond as his mobile started to ring. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and saw it was Martha calling him back, he had left a message for his friend, hoping she might have some insight into Jack's immortality. "It's Martha. I’ve got to take this. Can I have some privacy?"
"Are you going to be okay?" Lucinda asked, the worry etched on her face. She wondered what Ianto was going to say about what his old boss did to him.
"I'll be fine. I just really need to ask Martha some things, that's all. I'll be out in a few minutes," Ianto tried to reassure Lucinda. "You should read these. You might find them entertaining." He handed the diaries back. "I wrote them after all." Ianto acted as if nothing was wrong and even flashed one of his flirty smiles.
"I'll be out front then." Lucinda smiled and quickly pecked Ianto's lips and this time he responded. "We'll finish this later then?"
"I promise," Ianto assured and quickly answered his phone. "Martha. Thanks for calling back."
Lucinda put the journals on the counter as her eyes swept over the patrons of the cafe, noting the odd couple with the little girl were still enjoying their food and drink. She gave a brief smile in their direction. Before sitting behind the register, the pregnant woman made herself a cup of green tea to drink while she read the diaries.
It did not take long for Lucinda to become engrossed in her husband's words. It read like something out of an epic science fiction novel and she did not even see someone approach.
"Reading anything good?" The voice finally drew Lucinda back to reality.
"Something like that." Lucinda closed the diary and looked up. "Sorry is there anything else I can get you? More coffee? Another order of laverbread? Do you need something for your daughter?"
"Yes to all. I haven't had laverbread that good in a long time," Jack replied. The red-head did not look like someone who had just lost her husband. If he didn't know better it seemed like nothing had happened. The denial stage of grief, Jack surmised. It was a feeling Jack knew all too well.
"What does your daughter want?"
"Steamed milk with a hint of caramel," Jack answered as he reached out for one of the leather bound books. "Are they any good? What's the title? I've got a long flight home in a few days and I wanted something to read." The cover reminded Jack of the diaries Ianto wrote in.
"Excuse me!" Lucinda pulled the book away from the grabby stranger. "They belong to my husband. They're his diaries."
"I'm sorry. I had no idea. I'm sorry to hear about your husband," Jack offered his condolences.
Lucinda looked confused for a moment until she remembered that she was at Jack’s table when her father came to break the news about Ianto’s supposed death. “Thank you, but my husband is fine. It was all a misunderstanding.”
“That’s good news. I bet you are so relieved.”
“I am. Next month is our first anniversary and with the twins coming soon...I don't know how I would have done this myself," Lucinda said as she tried not to cry.
Ethan, a lanky man with a messy mop of blonde curly hair and the only other employee of the cafe came up behind her and whispered something to her. "I'm sorry, but we are out of prepared laverbread mixture. I can ask my husband to make a new batch if you don't mind waiting."
"No. Don't. It's okay. I don't want to be an imposition. You've both been through a lot today. It's just that's it’s been a long time since I've had laverbread this good. Brings back some fond memories. I might just have to make a special trip back here for it." Jack started to reminisce about days gone by. "What I wouldn't mind is meeting the talent responsible for such great food." Jack figured the man could use a compile t after a trying day.
"I'll see if he's off the phone." Lucinda offered a kind smile as she turned and headed to the office. She quietly opened the door and saw Ianto was still on the phone with Martha. She was the only non-family member from Ianto's past Lucinda knew. "Sorry sweetheart, but someone wants to meet you after you are done with your call." She winced, feeling a sharp pain in her stomach. "Ow," Lucinda cried when another pain hit a few seconds later and stumbled back a couple of steps.
"What is it?" Ianto asked as worry set in immediately, until a smile spread across his wife's face. "What's so funny?"
"Come here and give me your hand." Lucinda took a firm grip on Ianto wrist and placed it on her stomach. "Feel that?" She rubbed her hand gently over Ianto's, the love for her husband and children evident to anyone who looked.
"Wow!" Ianto's eyes went wide with amazement and a billion other warm emotions. "Is that?" He could not take his eyes of his wife as he started to tear up. It hit him that if it wasn't for his being immortal, he would have missed out on this amazing moment that there were no words for.
"I think so." Lucinda started to tear up when she saw Ianto do the same. "Don't you start that." She quickly wiped away the shed and unshed tears.
"Oh, shit," Ianto cursed when he realised he had Martha on the phone still. "Sorry, Martha. Everything is fine. We felt one of the twins kick. Yes, for the first time. Thank you. What's he doing in San Diego? I still know his number. I know Jack will be able to answer my question best, but...I guess I should finally talk to him. Thanks. I'll talk to you soon." Ianto hung up the phone. The joy of feeling one of his children move for the first time was counteracted by the realisation that he'd finally have to face Jack after all this time.
"Talk to whom?" Lucinda noticed the darker mood that invaded her husband. "Jack? He's your old boss?"
"Yup." Ianto fidgeted nervously. "I really don't want to talk to him." Which really meant Ianto was scared and had no idea how to explain why he left without saying goodbye or where he was going to.
"Left on bad terms?" Lucinda asked. This was the most Ianto had talked about the people he was closest to before he left Wales.
"Complicated terms," Ianto replied. Complicated did not begin to describe it. Ianto could never admit to his wife that there was be a part of him that would always love Jack and he wondered if he would have ever left Wales had either admitted the way they felt about each other.
The office was far enough from the counter that Jack could not hear the whole conversation but he heard bits and pieces and at first he could not see through the slightly ajar office door. Once Jack saw Lucinda stumble back, that is when he was stunned into utter shock for the first time in his life.
When the red-head had left to get her husband, it had never occurred to him that it might be Ianto. Jack watched as the couple felt their children move for the first time and he choked down the hurt and unexpected jealousy that this tender moment provoked. He was suddenly acutely aware of all the milestones in Ava’s short life that Ianto had already missed. The first time he felt her move, the first time he saw her on a scan, her birth, her first steps, her first words. So many momentous occasions that Ianto was going to go through with this stranger in a café on the other side of the world, but which Jack had to experience alone. His jealousy began to turn into anger when he realised the woman with the voice of a nightingale was in contact with Ianto and never saw fit to mention that to him. It then made sense why he or Gwen could never find the missing Welshman; UNIT had to have helped Ianto vanish. But why? Did Ianto really never want to talk to him? With the way he left it certainly made it seem like that, but Jack knew Ianto better than that. Sometimes better than Ianto knew himself. Ianto had forced himself to believe that he wanted nothing to do with him anymore. Well, Jack was about to take that choice away from him.
"I wouldn't exactly call it complicated. Confusing, yes. I was confused why you would just disappear in the middle of the night with no goodbye, with no warning." Jack tried to show no emotion, but the edge of his lips quivered. He wanted to take Ianto into his arms and kiss him all over knowing that he was alright and then smack the shit out of him for scaring him, making Jack think the worst had happened.
To be continued... Chapter 4
Previously on The Road Not Taken
Prologue :: Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2