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
Once Ianto returned to his office, he forced himself to push all thoughts of Jack Harkness as far from the front of his mind as he could. He had chosen the quiet and safe path of life and Ianto did not regret it. The Welshman wanted to tell Lucinda the truth, but getting her to believe it would be a battle in itself.
Ianto put a few hours in at the cafe trying to keep himself busy so he did not have to deal with the impending fallout of the days revelation. When it came time to close for the day, Ianto sent Ethan home and finished cleaning up himself. He knew he had an empty and quiet home to go to.
The house was too quiet when Ianto returned after the long day and he was too wired to sleep. He needed something to keep his mind occupied and stop himself from trying to second guess his decision. He chose to work on the nursery, which the couple had decided to make a prince and princess theme. Ianto thought it would be easier to paint first and then put the furniture together. To help with the dull task of painting Ianto put on his favourite Welsh metal band as loud as he could before the neighbours would complain.
Lucinda was still in a bit of a daze when she arrived home. Her mind was all over the place as she tried to come to terms with the fact that her parents would always see her as a small child incapable of taking care of herself. One thing was for certain, she was not going to tell Ianto that her parents thought they were unfit to raise children.
She was relieved to see the lights on as she approached the house. It meant that Ianto had chosen her over his ex. At least that's what Lucinda hoped, but she started to think otherwise when no one answered the door even after she rang the bell several times. She regretted leaving the cafe without her purse. Irrationally, she started to imagine the two men in their bed and she had to remind herself that was not the kind of man Ianto was. But then she didn’t think he was the kind to have a male ex, her subconscious taunted her.
Lucinda went to the attached garage and punched in the code to open the garage door, knowing she could get into the house that way. It immediately became clear why Ianto did not hear the bell as music so loud that she wondered if he would hear the house coming down around him assailed her ear drums. Lucinda followed the music to its source and what she saw brought a smile to her face.
This was the man her parents refused to see, the one who came home after a day from hell and chose to work on his children's nursery. Lucinda watched with pride for several minutes before turning off the music. "Hey, I wanted…needed to come home. Going to my parents was a mistake."
Ianto was shocked that Lucinda had returned home so soon. He had expected her to be gone for at least a couple days and almost excepted that she would come back brainwashed against him. "What happened?" He gasped seeing the bruise on his wife's cheek.
"My mother," Lucinda quickly covered the distance between them and threw her arms around Ianto's neck, burrowing her face into his shirt and letting the tears fall. The salty liquid quickly soaked the cotton material.
"What happened, Luce?" Ianto did what he could to comfort his wife. "Did she hit you?"
"What the fuck is wrong with her?" Ianto asked through gritted teeth.
Lucinda sighed and shook her head, still trying to comprehend what happened at her parent's hose. Did they really see her as some naive little girl they thought they could still control? "They live in ancient times. They think a woman's place is in the home and they think I'm too young to be married. They think I should be on the same timetable as they were. Married at thirty-one and pregnant by thirty-three, not both by twenty-four."
"And things always have to go their way too." Ianto added, knowing that it took a long time for Lucinda to convince them to let her get married and he was sure there had to be an ultimatum thrown in by his wife to her parents, to let her get married or to run the risk of never seeing their only child again.
"I punched my father too. Didn't they know how today was the wrong day to get on my bad side? He had the nerve to say my hormones were making me irrational!"
"That's high on the list of things you never say to a pregnant woman." Ianto laughed. He wanted to applaud Lucinda for doing something he could only dream of. "A lot happened today and I'm sorry for any stress I caused you. I really had no idea about Ava until today and I really never expected to ever see Jack again."
"I believe you," Lucinda replied softly. And she did believe Ianto, but it did not change that she was still angry. "I saw the look on your face when you found out about the girl. There was no way you knew. I'm still mad and there’s a lot we need to talk about, but no one said marriage was easy. When you are ready to talk, I'm ready to listen." She was not going to deny that she was scared of the truth and more than a little worried that there was a chance the wild stories were true. If they were it would alter her whole perception of the world.
"I'm ready. I'll tell you whatever you want to know, but first how about some dinner and I take care of this?" He motioned to the mark on her face. "I know a remedy to help with it." Ianto offered his hand as a peace offering of sorts.
Lucinda took her husband's hand and gave it a tight squeeze. It was accompanied by a small smile, knowing she had made the right choice by coming home. As she looked around the nursery, it dawned on Lucinda that the babies would be here before she knew it. It was a mix of elation and fear.
"I should have the painting done before the furniture comes next week," Ianto said as they walked to the kitchen. He was already planning how to explain Torchwood to her without coming off as total loon.
"Can you get my laptop while I whip up something for you cheek?"
Lucinda nodded and stopped in the office to get the computer. When she entered the kitchen, Lucinda put the lap top on the table.
"Here put this on your cheek." Ianto handed the wet dish towel to his wife. "It's just apple cider vinegar and water," he responded to the questioning look given to him.
Ianto guided Lucinda to the kitchen table and she sat down whilst he began to prepare dinner; grilled garlic steak tacos. As he worked, Ianto began to talk. “After finishing Uni I moved to London and got a job working for an organisation called Torchwood. Queen Victoria founded Torchwood back in 1879 as a way of protecting the earth and its peoples from extra-terrestrial threats. Torchwood One where I worked in Canary Wharf was the headquarters, until it was destroyed in 2006.” Ianto paused, putting down his knife. He moved into the centre of the room, leaning over to open the laptop that lay on the table in front of his wife. He brought up a web page with an article about the terrorist attacks in Canary Wharf.
Lucinda gasped as she read the headline: ‘800 DEAD’, and in smaller print just below: ‘Only 27 survivors’. She turned to look up at her partner with wide eyes, “You were there?”
Ianto nodded and swallowed hard. “That’s where I got all the scars on my back. It wasn’t a terrorist attack. We were caught up in battle between two alien races, the Cybermen and the Daleks." Ianto clenched his fists, and Lucinda could see how much it pained him to continue. "The Daleks are killing machines. They look kind of like giant pepper pots with plungers for arms. He laughed mirthlessly. The Cybermen are what they called ‘humans upgraded’. Human brains stripped of their emotions, transplanted into metal bodies."
Lucinda reached out to touch Ianto’s arm, feeling his tension. His story was unbelievable, but one look at his face told her he was telling the truth.
“Towards the end of the battle, the Cybermen were getting desperate for more troops. They started converting whole bodies. Merging people and cybernetics. Stripping them of their humanity, making them into monsters.” Tears rolled unchecked down Ianto’s face as he relived the horror of that fateful day. “I still have nightmares. The screams, the smoke, the smell of burning flesh. I had to climb over bodies of the dead and dying to get to my girlfriend Lisa and pull her from the conversion unit. She was in so much pain, but I managed to drag her out.”
Ianto sank down onto the chair next to Lucinda and buried his face in his hands.
Lucinda reached out and ran her hand through her husband’s hair “I’m so sorry.”
Ianto raised his head and offered her a weak smile. He took her hand and squeezed it gently, before taking a deep shuddering breath which he let out slowly.
“Torchwood Two was in Scotland. Glasgow. A one man operation run by a very odd bloke with a penchant for kilts and wet sheep. I only met Archie twice and that was more than enough. He makes the freaks on the Santa Monica Pier look normal. Torchwood Four was located near Stonehenge. It disappeared during the Spring Equinox in 1956. No one could explain where they went or what happened to them.”
Ianto looked up into Lucinda’s eyes. “Torchwood Three was Cardiff.” He swallowed, anticipating Lucinda’s disapproval, “Jack runs Torchwood Three. After Canary Wharf I had nowhere else to go. I went back to Cardiff and begged Jack to give me a job.” Ianto considered telling Lucinda about Lisa, but thought she already had a lot to take in. He would tell her, but not now. “Three was much smaller than One. There were only five of us. We were a very close-knit group. I think it’s just Jack and Gwen looking after things now.” Another tear escaped Ianto’s eye and rolled down his cheek. Lucinda gently wiped it away with her thumb.
“What happened to the others?” she asked gently, knowing that their son's name came from one of Ianto's friends.
“Owen and Toshiko. They died, about six months before I left. They saved Cardiff. I don’t know if you saw it on the news? All those explosions that knocked out the city’s infrastructure, including the hospital and the nuclear power plant?”
Lucinda thought for a moment, then nodded slowly as she remembered, “My God, Ianto!” she breathed.
Ianto fell silent, lost in his memories.
Lucinda squeezed his knee. "Tell me more about Jack. After what happened in London why did you stay with Torchwood? I would have run as far as I could."
“I needed Torchwood to help Lisa. I couldn't see it at the time, but she was already gone and things ended very badly.” Ianto wiped his tears away and was grateful when Lucinda didn’t ask him to elaborate.
“I don't know why I stayed after Lisa died. I guess I felt like I had no place else to go. Jack was originally supposed to be the means to an end so I could get help for Lisa, but something...I guess something changed along the way." Ianto's voice faltered slightly, as he tried not to dwell on what he had given up. “After Owen and Tosh died, Jack fell apart. He blamed himself. I tried to help but he wouldn’t let me. I stayed for as long as I could, but it hurt too much. I needed a break. I had to help myself before I could help him and Gwen. I was only going to travel for a few months, but then I met you. I decided this is the life I wanted, not the death and destruction that goes along with Torchwood and Jack. I honestly didn’t know about Ava when I left.”
"What are you going to do about Ava?" Lucinda was scared to hear the answer. There was still the lingering irrational fear that he was going walk out on her. "There is no denying that she looks like you. Did Jack say where she came from?"
Ianto knew this might be the only time his wife would believe the truth. "Not all aliens look different from us. Some of them are really just humans from the future who lived on an Earth colony on another planet and by circumstances they ended up in this time and place. That's what Jack is and somewhere in the next three thousand years some men develop the ability to get pregnant without having a woman involved." Ianto drew a shaky breath as he explained. "Biologically Ava is mine and Jack's together."
"But?" Lucinda knew there was an unspoken but. Again it was the serious expression on Ianto's face that said he wasn't lying.
"That's it. It wouldn't be fair to any of us for me to get involved in her life. I know that makes me sound like a big jerk, especially with the twins coming. I thought a lot about this today. Perhaps, if we lived closer it would be different. It's an eleven hour flight from here to there. Jack's been doing a great job with Ava and I don't want to disturb her life. Now isn't the right time." Ianto did not have to like his choice, he just had to live with it.
"It's up to you. I'll support you whatever you choose," Lucinda spoke from her heart. "If and when you want to be in Ava's life, I'll be here for both of you." Her emerald eyes locked onto Ianto's crystal blue ones.
Ianto smiled gratefully but wearily. The insanity of the day had taken its toll. "Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me. How did I ever get so lucky to find you?"
"By choosing not to run after I knocked you out with that frisbee. The rest is history as they say and this is the start of a long history together." Lucinda leaned forward and rested her forehead against Ianto's
"I love you," Ianto whispered, knowing that life was only about to get better. Their problems were not gone, but a new solid and unshakable foundation had been built for their relationship. From here it could only get stronger. The immortality talk would have to wait.
A tender kiss became the cement to hold the foundation together and the lives growing inside Lucinda were the bond that would hold the couple together forever.
After that evening life was at should be. A young couple, happy and awaiting the birth of their babies. It was easier for Ianto to not talk about his old life, as much as Lucinda tried to understand what life was like being a Torchwood agent, she still had a hard time wrapping her head around the strangeness that was common place for Torchwood. Some nights Ianto was kept up by his decision not to be a part of Ava's life, but he knew it was best for all involved. Most importantly, Ianto was truly happy and eagerly awaited the birth of his children.
This was the kind of life Ianto had longed for his whole life, one he never had growing up and the kind of life he looked forward to giving his own offspring.
Then one evening, two months before Lucinda's due date, she clutched the counter and said the words that made Ianto go extremely pale, "Shit! My water broke!" It was too soon for this.
To be continued... Chapter 10
Previously on The Road Not Taken
Prologue :: Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6 :: Chapter 7 :: Chapter 8