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 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 practically had a heart attack when he heard Jack's voice, so cool and detached. It sounded like he didn’t care but Ianto knew him too well to believe that. Ianto knew he was the bad guy in this situation and fully deserved Jack’s anger. "Fuck," Ianto muttered under his breath, rolling his eyes into the back of his head.
Lucinda looked between the men figuring the other man had to be Jack, the ex-boss Ianto never wanted to talk about. It shocked her to hear that Ianto left his old job without telling anyone. "He's your old boss?" Jack tried not to think about how much that hurt. He raised an eyebrow, "Is that what you told your wife I was?" part of him, the vindictive part wanted Ianto to squirm.
"You were the boss." Ianto could not make eye contact with his ex, knowing Jack would always be a major weakness. "What else is there to say? What else was there? What were we exactly. Two people who just shagged constantly?" Ianto asked, biting his lip to stop it quivering. They had never put a label to the true nature of their relationship despite the unspoken words and actions of love.
"Why don't you tell me what there was?" Jack challenged.
"Not here. Not now." Ianto's voice trembled.
Part of Jack wanted to out the Welshman in petty revenge for the hurt Ianto had caused him, but he knew that would just push him further away, and now that Jack had found Ianto he couldn’t stand the thought of losing him again.
Even a blind man could see the tension between the two men and it was obviously rooted with deep hurt feelings. Lucinda raised both hands and put them on Ianto's chest, lightly pushing. "Please tell me you were joking about an ex-boyfriend." The few mentions of an ex-boyfriend were always mixed in with the wild stories about his past and Lucinda passed it off as Ianto's reluctance to be serious.
Ianto closed his eyes and shook his head, "It wasn't a joke." Even though you thought it was. "And before you ask, yes Jack and I were...I don't know what quite we were. Whatever we were it was sexual in nature."
"How long?" Lucinda did not know what to think.
"About two, two and a half years. I'm sorry I didn't do more to convince you." Ianto felt like everything was caving in, the two people he loved most meeting and both their eyes on him, both waiting for an explanation of everything. The crazy life was crashing into the normal one and nothing would ever be the same once the dust settled.
"You left because of the girl, didn't you? You didn't want her." Lucinda remembered the little girl saying she had two daddies when she was waiting on their table earlier. She didn't think much of it at the time but now she realised there was a good chance the girl could be Ianto's. "Do you even want our children?" It was a weak moment in which Lucinda was embarrassed to have let her hormones get the better of her and rule her tongue.
"What?" To say Ianto was confused was an understatement. He had no idea what girl his wife was talking about and was hurt that she would even ask a question like that. "Jack?" Ianto looked to him for some kind of answer.
"Ianto knew nothing about Ava before he disappeared. I didn't find out about her until a month after he left." Jack hoped Ianto would understand what he was hinting at. It was obvious the missus knew next to nothing about her husband's secret life.
"Who the hell is Ava?" Ianto let his temper slip as he looked between Jack and Lucinda for answers.
"Contraceptives in the rain don't work if you don't go outside." Jack winced as he watched Ianto's face pale as the realisation hit the young man. oops
Ianto swallowed hard as he looked at Jack properly for the first time in over three years. "How come you didn't say anything?" He made the logical assumption that Ava was a little girl who would probably turn three in a few months. Had he had any idea that Jack had been pregnant he would never have left Wales.
"I didn't know until after you left. Finding you proved impossible." Jack smiled.
"I traveled for almost a year and when I decided not to come back UNIT helped me stay hidden." It was almost as if a weight began to lift from Ianto's chest to reveal that little secret.
Hearing that Ianto had planned on coming back made Jack's heart skip a beat. "What changed?" As his eyes darted between the blushing Welshman and his not so blushing bride who looked like she might murder him or Ianto, the answer to his question was obvious. "You wanted a normal life. Something I couldn't give you." Jack could understand why Ianto wanted a normal life; he never had one and knew as long as Ianto stayed with Torchwood normal was not in the vocabulary. Jack wasn't beyond trying to give normalcy to the young man, but Ianto never even let him try. Jack's emotions got jumbled: understanding, hurt, relief, grief, anger and resentment. Each vied for dominance, but Jack could not make sense of his feelings which just gave way to frustration.
Ianto chewed his lip, carefully thinking of a good answer that would not upset either person who had a hold on his heart. "A normal life away from the death and craziness. If I stayed I would probably be dead by now." Ianto silently added that he did not want to put Jack through that, having to watch him die.
Lucinda knew there was an unspoken conversation under the one Ianto was having with his former flame. "Can we stop with all the death talk? There has been enough of it today." Her arm snaked possessively around Ianto as if to tell Jack to back off from her husband but something told her that Jack was not the kind of man to be deterred easily.
"Can you blame me after today?" Ianto said quietly as his gaze shifted toward Jack. "Speaking of which...There is something I need to ask you."
"What is it?" Jack asked.
"I think we need to go somewhere to talk. It has nothing to do with the state of human evolution in three thousand years," Ianto replied, knowing Lucinda would be confused by his last comment. He turned slowly, pulling out of his wife's embrace. "There are a few things I need to discuss with Jack."
Lucinda trusted Ianto...somewhat. Being married meant that you should trust your spouse, but there was something about this situation that seemed off, and then there was the way the men looked at each other. It was the look of longing and desire of two people connected to each other. "You already have a daughter? How could you not have known?" She was not going to let Ianto go without a fight.
"It's complicated. There are some things I need to clear up." This truth was another thing Ianto had to keep from Lucinda. She would never understand that men from Jack's time could get pregnant from another man.
"Are you gay?” Lucinda tried to wrap her head around all the new information she had learned about Ianto today. It was as if he was a different man than the one she married. Some friends had warned that getting engaged after six months of dating and then getting married six months later was too soon and not enough time to get to know someone before exchanging vows. There was a small part of Lucinda’s mind that sometimes wondered if they were right, but she always pushed those thoughts away, knowing that she had married an amazing man.
"No." Ianto's heart broke at the doubt he saw in his wife's eyes. He had been foolish to think he could escape the hold Torchwood had on him. Never in a million years did he think that Jack Harkness would ever walk into his coffee shop over six thousand miles from where they once had their life together.
"Then what is going on? What were you involved in that you ran so far away? I'm tired of these outlandish tales. You know secret government organisations are just a movie plot devices. Did you believe his stories?"
"Actually, we have nothing to do with the government. We are funded by the crown. I'm not sure what stories Ianto told you, but you shouldn't talk down to your husband like you are," Jack chastised Lucinda for her attitude, not caring if he was overstepping his boundaries.
"Is there such a thing as a humanoid blowfish?" It was the most recent story told and the freshest in Lucinda's mind.
"The blowfish, really?" lol Jack looked at Ianto in surprise. "Of all the things you mentioned that? Why not talk about me?"
Ianto rolled his eyes, making Jack smile. "It was the easiest. Trying to explain you..." A deep blush coloured Ianto's cheeks. "First, your ego doesn't need that boost and second, no one could understand or begin to explain you."
"You understood me...at least I thought you did," Jack let his vulnerability surface for a brief second before pushing it back down. "As for the blowfish, they have a preference for cocaine and fast sports cars. One shot him right here about four years ago." Jack put his hand over the spot where Ianto had been shot, leaving his hand to linger a few more seconds than it should have.
Lucinda's brow furrowed when she saw Jack's hand land exactly where Ianto's scar was. That kind of remembrance only comes with knowing the person intimately. There was no doubt left that the men had been lovers at one point. The questions that remained where: How did Ava come about? And what went so wrong that Ianto walked out on his old life without warning?
"That doesn't really matter now does it? Whether or not I understand you." Ianto said softly as he tried not to show how much the simple touch affected him. It baffled him how after all this time, Jack still got to him and Ianto found he had to remind himself that he was a happily married man, for the most part. "About that talk?" He was the picture of perfect non-emotion once Ianto got his emotions in check Ianto did not want either to see his inner turmoil, torn between two people whom he loved greatly. Never did Ianto think he would be in this situation, his old life clashing with his new life. Ianto knew he was in a no win situation. Anything he did or said would hurt both Jack and Lucinda. The only option available was to put on the face of the stoic butler he’d got used to in his early Torchwood Cardiff days. While in truth, underneath, he was a sea of raging emotions.
Jack knew the Welshman too well and knew exactly what he was trying to do and it broke his heart that Ianto just couldn't say what he wanted. He wondered if had Lucinda not been pregnant Ianto would be in his arms, but he remembered the look the couple gave each other when they thought no one was looking. It was one of two people very much in love with each other. Perhaps Jack did not know Ianto as well as he thought, or was there room in his heart for both of them?
To be continued... Chapter 5
Previously on The Road Not Taken
Prologue :: Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3