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
For a pregnant woman, Lucinda moved quickly and Ianto caught up with her just outside the cafe. "Wait, I can explain. It's not what it looks like." His head was spinning so fast that Ianto thought he might pass out. The confused man felt like such a fool for being pulled into Jack's web so easily. The spirit might be strong, but the flesh was weak and, Ianto was afraid, where Jack was concerned his spirit might be just as weak.
"Not what it looks like?" Lucinda fumed. "Did I or did I not just walk in on you kissing your ex?" That was an image that she would never get out of her head.
"Maybe it is what it looked like, but Jack kissed me." Ianto knew that was about the weakest argument he could give. He was not going to get away with it that easily, and if he was ever going to earn Lucinda’s forgiveness he would need to do a lot of groveling.
"You never tried to stop him. I saw how you were looking at each other when I walked in. Neither of you noticed I had come in and don't you dare say you weren't expecting it. Your faces were less than an inch apart for almost a minute, just begging each other to initiate the kiss. This day is rolling into one big horrific nightmare and I don't know when it's going to stop." Lucinda rebuffed all attempts made by Ianto to reach out.
"Then let me explain everything. I'll tell you everything about me. No hiding anything anymore. I'll give you full disclosure into my past." The only problem Ianto knew he would have was Lucinda believing the truth. Blasted Torchwood and its knack for destroying its agents.
"As your wife I should already have that. I'm not sure what the truth is anymore or if you are capable of telling it. Has any of this been real? Or were you so desperate to get away from whatever you were hiding from that you took the first thing that came along?" Lucinda was clearly upset and Ianto doubted anything he would say at this point would be believed.
"That's not fair. I stayed here because of you. Because I want to be with you."
"You wanted a normal boring life." She tried to blink the stinging tears away as a million 'I told you so's echoed in her head.
"Normal and quiet is a good thing. I didn't want to keeping living a life where I was scared that I wouldn't live to see another day." Ianto knew he was fighting a losing battle, but he did not want to give up.
"If your life was so dangerous then why would you and your ex think that having a child together would be a smart idea?" That was the one question that weighed heaviest on the pregnant woman's mind. Lucinda did not buy that Ianto did not know about Ava before he left.
"Jack and I never discussed having kids. I didn't know he was pregnant when I left." Ianto simply told the ridiculous truth in its complete, insane glory.
"I'm going to stop you right there, Ianto. Jack pregnant? Do I have idiot stamped on my forehead?" Lucinda felt like the world's biggest fool for being taken in by a charming and handsome man. "You know what? I'm going to stay with my parents for a few days. That should give you enough time to figure out a way to grow a pair and tell the truth."
"That's just great. Give your parents more reasons to hate me." Ianto winced imagining what his in-laws would say about him, but that shouldn't matter now. "I'll get the proof that what I'm saying is the truth."
"My parents don't hate you. Stop bringing that up." Lucinda took several deep breaths and doubled over as a sharp pain shot through her abdomen. "Ow." tears pricked at the corners of her eyes.
"What's wrong, Luce?" Ianto tried to get his wife to stand up straight and figure out where the pain was coming from. "Say something, please," he begged as Lucinda fingers dug into his arms, leaving marks behind. Panic flooded every part of Ianto and he prayed that everything would be fine.
It was a full minute before the pain vanished as quickly as it came. "I'm okay," Lucinda assured him as she leaned on Ianto until her breathing returned to normal. "Just a little pain. Everything is fine now."
Ianto was not convinced, knowing pain that serious was not normal any time. "We should call Dr. Schwartz, just in case."
Lucinda vehemently shook her head, "She said there could be pain from everything stretching to make room for Harper and Gia. Stop worrying." His concern was touching and adorable, but it did not lessen the anger she had. She offered a small smile and a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll be fine as long as these two calm down." Lucinda knew that meant she had to calm down as well, but she needed time by herself to make that happen.
"What can I do to help?" Ianto offered, resting a hand over the swell of Lucinda's belly. He had to smile at the movement under his hand that seemed to follow wherever it moved. Ianto took this as a good sign, that even though Lucinda was mad at him that she did not push him away from the moment he was having with his children.
"Nothing," she answered truthfully. "I need time to sort everything out. I'll come home
when I'm ready." It was not a matter of if Lucinda would come back, but a matter of when she would.
"Whatever you need, Luce. I'm not going anywhere. Take your time and don't forget I love you. " Ianto knew not to push his luck as his wife had every reason to leave him permanently with everything that came to light today.
"I love you too." Lucinda could only offer half a smile before she walked away and pulled her mobile from her pocket to call the one person a girl always turned to in a time of need; her mother.
A stoic Ianto walked back to the cafe, hoping Jack had left by the time he returned. He really did not want to deal with him or Gwen. And how could he forget Ava, his daughter? A child he had yet to be introduced to. A child he did not know existed until today. Should he be part of the child's life or not disrupt and upheave everything Ava knew. Ianto knew Jack had the financial means to raise a child. And from what little he had seen of the pair’s interaction he seemed to be making a wonderful job of being a parent. But did Jack tell Ava anything about him? Would she even want to know him? How would Lucinda feel about getting to know her step-daughter?
Gwen nudged Jack when she saw Ianto return, looking worse than when he left. "What happened in his office?" Jack had not said a word since he returned to the table after watching Lucinda run out with Ianto not too far behind.
"Nothing." Jack clearly did not want to tell Gwen about the kiss and the obvious spark there was still between them. "Love isn't always enough," he echoed Ianto’s words, sighing melancholically. Jack knew Ianto had made his choice when his first instinct was to run after his wife.
"Oh, Jack." Gwen laid a comforting arm on him. "If he's still in love with you then fight for him. Jack, I know how long you've waited for this moment. Go take what you need."
"I can't." Jack sighed and leaned back in his chair and watched as Ianto looked at him from behind the counter. On the surface there was anger, but just below the surface there was that tension and longing for something that could never be. "Ianto would never leave his wife and I won't ask him to." He knew if he did, eventually both men would end up hating themselves and then each other. Maybe one day they would eventually find their way back together. They both had an eternity to wait and see if they would be drawn back together.
For now there was only one thing left to do; say goodbye and hope it was only temporary. "I'll be right back." He kissed the top of Ava's head. The little girl was oblivious that the man watching them was her other father. The one she knew only through stories.
"Okay Daddy. More milk please." Ava batted her eyes, knowing it would work and frowning when it didn’t.
"I think you've had enough. I’ve just got talk to the nice man over there and then we’ll go back to the hotel. It's coming up on someone's nap time." Jack loved playing the doting father.
"No nap," Ava challenged her father. "No tired."
"Yes, you will have a nap." Jack left no room for argument, but tickled Ava's belly, causing the girl to giggle loudly. He then left to approach Ianto, uncertainty etched on his face.
"What is it Jack?" Ianto tried desperately not to smile, knowing that if he gave in and lost the anger that he felt over the temptation of the kiss he would never get through this conversation.
"I came to say goodbye. We're going home tomorrow and it wouldn't be right to leave without saying goodbye." Jack's hand hovered just above Ianto's. At the last second he opted not to make contact, instead resting his hand on the counter next to Ianto's.
Jack felt his stomach twist into knots as he looked into Ianto’s intense stare. "I spent a lot of time wondering what I would say to you when I finally found you. Things didn’t go quite as I expected but all that matters is your happiness. I know Torchwood took a lot from you and you deserve to have the kind of life you want. You are too good of a person to abandon a pregnant wife. I would never dream of asking you to choose between us. I know you need some time to work through everything that happened today, but I want you to know if and when you want to be a part of Ava's life I'm not going to keep you from her. Also, if you want me in your life again you can call anytime. I really miss having you as a friend."
Ianto's jaw dropped as Jack spoke and he realised how much Jack had grown and changed since he left. "Me too." He allowed a small sincere smile to spread across his face. He was not sure when he would be ready to know his daughter, but knew today was not the day for introductions. Everyone was too emotional and some dust needed to settle first.
"Good bye, Jones Ianto Jones." Jack offered his hand for a shake.
Ianto shook his head and came around the counter and embraced Jack instead. "Goodbye, Jack. Thank you for everything." The hug lasted longer than it should have both men drawing comfort from the other’s closeness and knowing this was the last time they would see each other for a long time. Ianto finally broke the connection and retreated to his office as fast as he could. He did not want Jack to see the tears in his eyes nor did he think he was strong enough to watch Jack and Ava walk out of his life. Ianto had done what needed to be done and he could not let himself second guess his choice. Lucinda and the twins were his choice and there was no turning back now.
To be continued... Chapter 8
Previously on The Road Not Taken
Prologue :: Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6