colebaltblue: (Ianto)
[personal profile] colebaltblue
Title: The Shooting Party, or Gosford Park
Author: [ profile] colebaltblue
Prompt: Gosford Park
Character/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Gosford Park Characters
Rating: PG-13, language and implied sexual situations
Warnings: none
Spoilers: Gosford Park, General Torchwood Spoilers, references for To The Last Man
Word Count: 8,858
Disclaimer: The rights to the characters and stories used in this work is derived from are owned by people who are not me.
Summary: A slight mishap leaves Jack and Ianto stranded in 1930s England with an invitation to join Jack’s friend Ivor Novello at what should be an insanely boring and ridiculous waste of time hanging out with vapid rich people and their staff at a sweet pad in the country.
Beta: [ profile] janiemc offered encouragement, criticism, corrections, suggestions, and unending patience with my tardiness and incessant emails. Many thanks. T for being a love and only rolling her eyes sometimes - also for catching a few last errors. G for reading it and telling me that I don’t suck.
Author's Notes: Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is my first Torchwood story.

The Shooting Party, or Gosford Park

Ianto pulled the tin towards him and rummaged around a bit before carefully selecting a photo and pulling it out.

"This one," he said, handing it to Jack. Jack took the photo, leaned back in his chair, and smiled across his desk at Ianto. He tapped it against his finger.

"Do you know who this is?"

Ianto raised an eyebrow and then his scotch glass to his lips in reply. The two were enjoying a quiet moment in Jack’s office, late at night after everyone else had left. The Hub was dark and Jack’s office bathed in the warm light from the lamps. They were both relaxed and sipping their drinks. Jack was feeling nostalgic and had allowed Ianto to pick photos and trinkets from his keepsake tin and ask questions about them. It was a pastime they very rarely engaged in, but Ianto liked hearing the stories just as much Jack liked telling them. And later, a nostalgic Jack always made for an interesting few hours in bed for Ianto.

"Ah, I see," Jack said with a grin. "Ivor."

"Was he as handsome in real life as he appeared in the pictures?"

"More," Jack answered with a grin that meant only one thing.

"You didn’t!" Ianto said with only a hint surprise.

"Ianto, it’s like you hardly know me at all."

"What was it like, back then?"

"Sex is sex, Ianto." Jack answered, deliberately misunderstanding the question.

"I didn’t think it wasn’t, sir."

Jack sighed and studied the picture of Ivor Novello he held in his hand. He set it down and pressed his lips together before answering.

"At that point, I had to ceased to even care, Ianto. One death was just like any other, whether I was killed for my sexual proclivities or for anything else it didn’t really matter. Looking back, I realize now how unfair it was to my partners when we were caught. I had nothing to lose, they often had everything."

Ianto considered Jack as he held his scotch glass carefully in his lap. Jack often liked to pretend that he was a heartless bastard, and while he could be a bit dense at times when he was determined to get his way, he was hardly heartless.

"He had a beautiful way of talking," Jack said finally, with a wink in Ianto’s direction.

"Yes, you have expressed your fondness for the Welsh tongue on more than one occasion. Quite vocally last night was the most recent occurrence, was it not?"

Jack laughed, and the somber mood was broken.

"Ivor was one of the lucky ones, he attractive, charismatic, nice, and so effortless that people just looked past the parts of him that they didn’t like."

"Like you?"

"Now you’re just being a suck-up, Ianto."

Ianto smirked.

"Here," Jack said, sitting forward suddenly and flipping open his wrist strap. "I got him to sing for me once and I recorded it. Never before seen footage of the late, great Ivor. I could make a fortune off of this."

Jack pushed some buttons on his strap and a three-dimensional image of Ivor Novello sitting at a piano in just underwear and a shy smile appeared.

Ianto smirked and suddenly the room went dark and it felt like a freight train hit him.

"Damnit," Jack said from somewhere next to him.

"Jack?" Ianto asked, sitting up slowly and clutching his pounding head.

"Ianto?" Jack replied, sounding almost surprised. Ianto felt Jack’s hand touch his shoulder before pulling him against his body.

"Jack why is it dark?"

"It’s not dark, Ianto, just give it a minute, you’ve got temporary blindness from the shock of travel."


"Damnit. Hang on, Ianto." Jack moved away from him and he felt a moment of panic before he realized that it was gradually getting lighter and he could make out fuzzy areas of brightness and dark. He put his hands down beside him and realized he was sitting on a bed that dipped as Jack rose off of it. He caught the blurry movement of what must be Jack moving by him and approaching one of the areas of light. By the time Jack stopped moving he could tell he was standing in front of a window.

"Jack?" he asked, standing up carefully. "Where are we?"

Jack heaved a sigh and turned to face Ianto. "London, it looks like." Jack moved to a dresser standing up against the wall opposite the windows and pulled a drawer open and rummaged through it.

"Yep, definitely London," he said.

Ianto turned slowly taking in the room, furniture, and the sights outside. Aside from a little residual blurriness, his eyesight was normal and the headache was rapidly fading.

"I would say that a more accurate description might be London, between the wars," Ianto said, carefully not looking at Jack and instead letting his eyes focus on the bed he just rose from.

"1933 to be exact," Jack said with a sigh as he closed the dresser drawer and moved to stand in front of Ianto. "How are you feeling, Ianto? Headache almost gone? Any nausea?"

Ianto shook his head slowly in response. "How do you know the date?" he asked Jack. He hadn’t spotted any form of calendar in the room.

Jack made a vague gesture and hummed before moving to the window to look back out.

"Jack," Ianto said sharply and Jack turned around to face him.

"We’re in my apartment that I lived in in London between the wars. I know the year because. Well, it’s my apartment and my things."

"And how did we end up in your apartment in London, sir?"

"I’m not sure, Ianto. We time traveled using my strap, but I have it on good authority that it no longer has that capability."

"I see." Ianto turned to take in the room again. There was a sink with a straight razor and a pot of shaving cream against a wall, a door to what was probably a closet and another that surely led to a hallway. No restroom, so most likely Jack was a boarder in a shared flat. A jacket was hung on the back of the door, an what looked like most of a suit over the back of a chair pulled just away from a desk. A much smaller version of the coral that was in Jack’s office was on the desk and Ianto raised an eyebrow at that. Not coral, then, but then he has always doubted it was. Various detritus of every day life lay scattered across a dresser and the bed they had both gotten up from was unmade. It was cluttered and more homey than Jack’s bunker under the Hub, but still had the feeling of being a temporary resting place for someone just passing through.

"Any idea of how to get back?" Ianto asked, finally, stepping up beside Jack at the window.

"No," Jack replied with a sigh as he leaned against the window at looked at Ianto. "I’m sorry," he started.

Ianto cut him off with a look.

"Well, I always wanted to spend some time in the West End. It’s the heyday of the musical, isn’t it?"

Jack smiled softly at Ianto.

"You’re taking this well," he said.

"Don’t feel sorry for me, sir. We’ll make the best of it and figure how to get back. We’re Torchwood, our colleagues are Torchwood, if anyone can figure it out, it’s Torchwood. In the meantime, we should see about getting me some clothes and figuring out where you are so we don’t run into you and mess things up for me as I try to sneak into your secret base with a cyberman."

Jack chuckled at Ianto before pushing off and moving towards the door. He nodded at the suit on the chair as he passed.

"That’ll do for now," he said, "we’ll head out and get some clothes for you. I have enough here for myself. As for me, I believe I am currently somewhere in Europe trying to ensure that World War II is not worse than history remembered it so I don’t think we need to worry about that for a bit longer yet."

Jack tossed Ianto a clean shirt and said he’d be back as he slipped out the door.

Ianto took the shirt and the suit and carefully slipped in. It wasn’t a great fit, but it would do for now. At least they were lucky enough to land in a time where there was fine tailoring readily available, he thought to himself. Unable to just do nothing, he set about making the bed and tidying the room. Jack returned a few minutes later with a tray of tea and sandwiches and a smile.

"I let my landlady know that I had returned home unexpectedly last night and a friend would be staying with me for the a bit," he explained. "She sent up food for us."

Ianto nodded and took the tea and set it down. "Your friend, staying with you, will that cause problems?"

"We’re in the West End, Ianto, I think the only way I could shock her is if I brought home a woman." Jack replied with a wink.

"It’s a good look on you," Jack said, nodding at Ianto’s suit.

Ianto rolled his eyes. "I could be wearing anything, sir, and you’d think it was a good look."

Jack smirked.

"Oh, by the way," he said as he sipped the tea Ianto handed him, "I called up my good friend Ivor. We have an invitation to join him at a country estate for a shooting party this weekend."

Ianto took a sip of his tea and eyed a sandwich.

"Could be fun," he finally replied, knowing Jack was hoping for something a little bit more along the lines of surprised and shocked from him.

Jack sighed, but didn’t say anything. Ianto stayed silent, knowing that he could easily out-wait the rather impatient man.

"Oh fine," he said, poking Ianto in the shoulder with a pout. "He’ll pick us up in a bit, we’re going as his friends, an American movie producer and you’ll be my valet."

"Aren’t I always, sir?" Ianto asked.

"A wet blanket is more like it," Jack muttered before he brightened up, "clothes for you first!"

A few hours later found them back in Jack’s room. They had managed to get Ianto a few new shirts and a plain suit that would work well for him in his new role as a valet. Jack had taken much pleasure in selecting a hat for him and had finally settled on a bowler, although Ianto had complained that it was out of place and time. He let Jack win that battle though in order to ensure that he could select the rest of his clothes and identity himself. They had met Jack’s understanding landlady on the stairs who had given Ianto an appraising look and Jack and admonishing glare.

They had enough time to repack the recent purchases and Jack’s clothes before heading downstairs to meet Ivor. He had emerged from the car and given Jack a firm and friendly handshake before he turned his charm on Ianto.

"Ivor Novello," he said with an easy smile and cultured voice.

"Ianto Jones," Ianto replied, allowing his Welsh accent to thicken a bit, making him sound a bit more lower class as he would if he were Jack’s valet.

"Oh a fellow Welshman! Jack didn’t tell me you were Welsh!"

"An oversight, I’m sure," Ianto replied with a smirk. Ivor laughed.

"He is delightful, Jack. You really must tell me where you find them, sometime."

"And allow you to attempt to charm them away from me? Never!"

"Shall we?" Ianto asked, gesturing to the car. Ivor pointed to the boot and Ianto loaded their cases and bags in next to his before settling in the back seat behind Jack, who had managed to get the keys away from Ivor.

"I’ve rung ahead, Jack, and told Sir William that you and your valet would be joining us. I told him Ianto was an actor and you were a film producer doing research. Seeing as no one knows quite what you do anyway I didn’t think you’d mind being Hollywood for a bit. You don’t mind, do you?"

"Not at all, Ivor, you always managed to come up with the best stories."

"Hardly, Harkness! I remember some of those tales you would tell me. Do you remember the one you told me about the man in the train station who-"

Ianto rolled his eyes and tuned them out. He could see Jack relaxing in front of him, easing into the role he’d be playing. Ianto decided to spend the rest of the drive half-listening to the two friends in the front catching up as he thought carefully through what he would need to do as Jack’s valet for the weekend. He began making lists in his head as they left the city behind and headed out into the countryside.

Ianto parked the car after Jack and Ivor got out at the front of the house and he drove it around back. Someone stepped out into the pouring rain to help him bring in the bags from the boot and he directed the person as to whose luggage was whose before stepping into the warm chaos of the downstairs servants entrance and shaking the water off his coat.

"You arrived with Harkness and Novello?" came the question from the severe looking woman holding a clipboard.

"Yes ma’am," he replied softly, allow his Welsh accent to fall thickly from his mouth and giving her a tip of his head.

"We do things the old way here, and for the duration of his stay, you will be known as Mr. Harkness. We will assign you one of our staff to assist upstairs with Mr. Novello. I assume you will let us know if there are any special requirements seeing as your presence here is so last minute?"

Ianto smothered a smile at the tone of annoyance in her voice. "Yes ma’am," he replied.

"Good," she said, relaxing just a fraction. He appeared to be passing his tests. "You’ll be rooming with Lord Stockbridge’s man, Mr. Parks. I’ll get someone to show you the way." She turned to greet the next arrival at the door and Ianto moved off down the hallway, clutching his bag.

Eventually he had someone point him in the direction of his room where he set his things down on one of the plain twin beds before hurrying back down to see to Jack and Ivor’s things. After a few minutes searching he learned that they had already been delivered to the rooms and that he was to go up and see to their unpacking. Only getting turned around once, he found Jack’s room with the cases sitting on the floor.

He set about unpacking them, hanging the clothing in the wardrobe, and laying out the toiletries on the vanity. Ianto started at the tap on the door and turned to see Ivor’s head peeking around it, scanning the room quickly.

"Oh! Ianto," he said, sounding surprised. "I was looking for Jack, Mr. Harkness."

Ianto shook his head with a slight frown.

"He’s wandered off again. Most likely flirting and getting into all sorts of trouble," Ivor said, slightly nervously as he looked around the room again.

"He is good at that," Ianto said, neutrally. Ivor’s eyes locked on him, appraising. Ianto answered with a slight smirk of his lips.

"Jack always did manage to find the best ones," he said, mostly to himself, as he slipped back out of the room.

Ianto sighed as he left, feeling tension creep up his back. Not that he was unused to finding himself in strange situations and having to adapt to the best of his abilities, but he was quite a bit out of his element and could use some reassurance from Jack who probably was lost flirting and making his presence known to everyone in the house.

Ianto had just finished setting out the last of Jack’s personal affects when the door opened again and Jack himself slipped into the room.

"Ianto," he said with a bright smile, coming over and kissing him softly on the mouth. "You settling in?"

"Trying my best, sir."

Jack chuckled and grabbed playfully at Ianto’s hips. "Oh, this is going to be fun with you ‘sir-ing’ me all the time."

Ianto stepped back with a look of admonishment on his face. "Jack," he said softly in warning.

"I know, I know," Jack replied moving away and looking about his room. "For what it is worth, Ianto, I am sorry. If we are stuck here, I’ll take care of you, you know that right?"

"I didn’t doubt it Jack," Ianto said calmly, "I’m simply more concerned right now as to what exactly we’re doing here. Shooting party? Really?"

"The ability of the rich to amuse themselves really has never ceased to amaze me, Ianto. I remember this one time I was invited to a party on a private planet in the-"

"I’m sure it was fascinating, sir," Ianto interrupted quickly.

"I’m glad to see you at least haven’t lost your sense of humor," Jack said with a smile. "I expect we’ll have dinner and then I’m sure Ivor will entertain us this evening. Just stay out of the way and be back here around 10pm when we retire for the evening. We can talk then."

Ianto nodded, and then looked around lost for just a moment.

"Take my things downstairs, shine my shoes, press my shirt, that sort of thing. Then, come back up and help me dress for dinner."

"Yes, sir," Ianto said with a small measure of relief, before nodding and stepping out into the hallway.

He found a young ladies’ maid hovering in the hallway looking a bit lost like himself and quickly said hello. Someone took pity on them and he managed to find himself standing with one of the other staff shining Jack’s shoes.

"So what’s he like?" the man asked.

"Mr. Harkness?" Ianto asked, puzzled.

"No," he replied with exasperation, "Mr. Novello."

"Oh!" Ianto concentrated on the shoes a moment. "I hardly know, I just met him this morning."

"I see," the man seemed to be a bit disappointed. "And Mr. Harkness is a good friend of his?" he continued. "He seems quite... dashing?"

Ianto suppressed a smirk at the question. "He is dashing, you do have to give him that."

The man looked up, slightly startled and Ianto tipped a wink at him and moved off.

Dressing Jack for dinner was both amusing and frustrating. Ianto had at first attempted to stand back and allow Jack to dress himself, but Jack being in a playful mood meant that he eventually gave in to the demands for assistance only to find that when Jack’s hands were unoccupied with putting his clothes on, they were more likely to be occupied with attempting to take Ianto’s off. He eventually gave up with amused exasperation and stepped back with a comment that if Jack couldn’t behave, Ianto would find somewhere else he needed to be.

Dinner was an amusingly formal affair and conversation stilted. He settled into his place without complaint, but was surprised to realize exactly how the seating was arranged. For as much as the downstairs staff loved to gossip and find their employers ridiculous, they still clung as tightly to the formalities of society as those with the wealth and titles did upstairs. The more that their world collapsed around them, the tighter they clung.

He asked how long everyone had been in service and caught the glances exchanged. It was obviously not a typical dinner conversation topic, but he found the answers informative and interesting. After dinner he headed back to his room, but his roommate Mr. Parks was there on his bed reading and after a few minutes, with nothing in particular to amuse himself with - he would have to ask Jack to liberate a book for him - he found sitting there to be too awkward and left.

With things quieting down he wondered if Jack would be back at his room early and wandered by, but he was still off with the others, probably being charming and making everyone fall in love with him. He could hear singing downstairs and smiled as he caught Jack’s tenor joining in with what only could be Ivor Novello’s own voice. Distracted, he was surprised by Lady Sylvia in the hallway and flustered when he realized she was propositioning him. With only a bit of stumbling and blushing, he managed to extricate himself from the situation, but he knew her request to bring warm milk later left the invitation open. Jack would find the situation amusing and worthy of a few suggestions, Ianto thought with a grin.

A clock chimed 10 somewhere as Ianto tapped softly at Jack’s door and let himself in. The room was lit and Jack, lounging in his pyjamas and a dressing gown, was on his bed fiddling with his strap. Ianto moved forward and picked up the clothes Jack had carelessly discarded and folded them neatly on the chair. The shoes and shirt he set aside to be shined and washed later. Jack smiled at him and rolled his eyes before gesturing Ianto over to the bed and patting the space beside him. Ianto set himself carefully on the edge.

"Take off your shoes and jacket and stay awhile," Jack said softly as he pushed buttons on his wrist strap. Ianto briefly debated with himself the likelihood of getting caught in Jack’s room at this late hour. He was fairly certain his exchange with Lady Sylvia had been observed by someone from downstairs standing off in the shadows, but he wasn’t sure. Perhaps they would just assume he was with her if they even wondered at all. He slipped his shoes and jacket off and settled in against Jack’s warm body.

Jack wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him in closer. "How are you doing?" Jack asked.

"As well as can be expected, I suppose," Ianto replied, leaning in to take a closer look at the wrist strap. "Do you actually know what all those circuits do?"

"Shut up."

"I’m just asking, because you seem pretty determined to poke at them and if it is anything like what resulted when you did that to my DVD player-"

Ianto found himself suddenly grabbed and rolled under Jack who was grinning down at him playfully. "Shut up, Ianto," Jack said before leaning down to kiss him.

"All I’m saying is that I’d rather not end up in-"

Jack kissed him again. "You..."

Ianto laughed softly and ran his hands down Jack’s back before sliding them under his shirt and back up. Jack nuzzled his neck and nibbled softly, rocking his hips gently against Ianto’s.

"So," Jack said, conversationally, as he propped himself up on his elbows to unbutton Ianto’s shirt.

"So?" Ianto asked, looking down at Jack’s hands before rolling his eyes in mock resignation. It was a familiar routine.

"What’s all the juicy gossip from downstairs? Who is sleeping with whom? You know, all the usual!"

"Like they’re going to tell the Welshman who clearly doesn’t belong that, Jack," Ianto replied as Jack finished with his shirt and pushed his undershirt up to kiss his stomach. He huffed a soft breath as he felt Jack nuzzle before biting softly.

"No?" Jack asked, looking up, eyes sparkling with mischief. "But you do have eyes, don’t you? Or do you suddenly not know everything any more."

Ianto sat up, using Jack’s surprise against him and rolled him using his legs. Jack caught on and scrambled up the bed, letting Ianto settle in, straddling his hips.

"I think, seeing as we are a bit out of my element here as I am not a time-traveller with experience of this sort of thing, I should be given the benefit of the doubt while we are currently on location."

Jack laughed and rocked his hips up against Ianto, who started down at him with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.

"Did you need something, sir?"

"Ianto..." Jack breathed, grabbing at his hips.

"One of the girls from the kitchen seems popular," Ianto replied, adopting an air of thinking seriously as he watched Jack bite his lip and concentrate on rocking against Ianto.

"What?" Jack asked, distracted.

"Oh, and Lady Sylvia tried to jump me."

"She has good taste," Jack said, grabbing Ianto’s shirt and pulling him down roughly to kiss him.

Ianto laughed softly into the kiss, knowing that Jack enjoyed the teasing. He grabbed Jack’s hands from where they were gripping his hips and lacing their fingers together, brought them over Jack’s head.

"Here," he sighed into Jack’s mouth. "Like this."

Jack nodded, eyes closing and back arching. Ianto left Jack’s hands above his head and trailed his fingers down his arms and swept his palms over his chest. Jack breathed deep and whispered a soft plea for more. Ianto smiled and he bent to kiss his neck, breathing in his scent.

Ianto almost missed the soft tap at Jack’s door. Almost. He looked up just in time to-

"Oh!" came the soft exclamation from the startled Ivor Novello standing at the door. At Ianto’s glare, he let himself in quickly and shut the door behind him, leaning against it.

"I’m so sorry."

Jack looked at him, then sheepishly up at Ianto.

"I didn’t realize I was interrupting." Ivor seemed to be scrambling for words and was staring at his feet, carefully avoiding the tableau on the bed.

Jack rested his hand on Ianto’s hip, holding him in place as he tried to slide off.

"It’s alright, did you need something, Ivor?"

He shook his head, then looked up through his eyebrows, looking distinctly embarrassed, gaze flitting between Ianto and Jack.

"I’m sorry, Jack," he said and turned to let himself out the door. "Ianto," he added as almost an afterthought.

Ianto stared at the door after he slipped back out. "Fuck," he said, softly.

Jack sighed. He prodded Ianto questioningly in the hip with a hopeful look on his face.

Ianto looked down and bit his lip at Jack, but shook his head with regret after a moment.

"Damnit," Jack groaned.

Ianto rolled off of him and sat on the bed.

"I’m gonna kill him."

"Not his fault, Jack."

"Still gonna kill him."

Ianto shook his head and stood up, buttoning his shirt and slipping on his shoes.

"Hey," Jack said softly, catching Ianto’s attention. He was laying back on the bed, propped up on his arm. "I’ll figure out a way out of here."

Ianto nodded and reached out, running his hand down Jack’s arm and fingering his wrist strap. "You do that," he said, tapping the strap gently before standing up and letting himself out of Jack’s room.

Ianto met the rest of the hunting party on the drive where some of the staff were loading up the trucks. He settled his hat on his head and pulled his coat tighter around him. The morning was chilly and damp. Jack came up to him, handed him his two guns, and greeted with him a smile and soft good morning.

"Sir," Ianto replied, nodding.

He followed the party out to the site, trailing behind Jack, who chatted easily with a nervous and anxious Commander Meredith. Based on what he had heard whispered downstairs, it was concerning money, not having it, and needing it from Sir William. As best as Ianto could tell, everyone here had some sort of tie to Sir William that was about money and needing it except Jack and Ivor. He still wasn’t sure what they were doing there other than providing amusement to everyone else.

Other than a few scathing glances about his presence - which was not so much unwelcome as just simply not done - Ianto was largely ignored. He watched the shooting party empty the estate of anything that flew and barely refrained from rolling his eyes. The amusements of the rich, indeed. Jack managed to catch his glance from time to time with a smirk, but refrained from any obvious flirting as Ianto helped with his guns.

It was all rather uneventful until Sir William got winged with a low shot. Ianto wasn’t surprised at all given the way that the people shooting would so casually swing the guns around. Only Jack looked like he had any finesse at all. Even Commander Meredith, who presumably had training, looked ridiculous. Although Ianto, privately, was more amused comparing the size of his gun to, well, his actual size.

"Did you see anything?" Jack asked softly as Ianto helped gather up the birds collected by the dogs.

"Other than a disgraceful lack of any gun skills whatsoever, no sir, I didn’t see anything."

"Think they could benefit from target practice?"

Ianto smirked at Jack’s grin and wink. "With you? Some of them would probably certainly enjoy it quite a bit, but what they lacked in precision, they did make up in quantity of shot in the sky. They were bound to hit something, even Sir William’s ear at some point."

Jack chuckled, drawing a few disdainful glances, half of which were directed at Ianto. "Don’t change, Ianto, don’t ever change."

"I’ll do my best, sir," Ianto replied as he headed off to the truck that would take everything back to the house while the shooting party enjoyed lunch out of doors.

Ianto was accosted as soon as he walked in the door.

"So, what happened?" he was asked almost immediately. "Do you think it was deliberate? Was there a lot of blood? Did you see who did it?" Ianto caught of a glance of Mrs. Wilson standing off to the side of the group, a stern and disapproving look on her face.

"I didn’t really see anything," he said carefully, catching Mrs. Wilson’s eye. She tightened her lips and gave a single nod. Those crowded around Ianto rolled they eyes and huffed out their frustration. "If you’ll excuse me," he said softly and left.

Ianto made sure he was in Jack’s room when he returned from his afternoon out. He helped Jack out of his clothes and into the ones that he had laid out for dinner.

"I had forgotten how erotic this could be," Jack said as Ianto helped him into his clothes.

"Fastening your cuff links?"

"Just this, it’s intimate, and men used to have these manservants to help them dress and care for their clothes. It was a close relationship, very homoerotic, but not always sexual."

"Do you miss it?"

"Do you miss the 90s?"

"What?" Ianto asked, puzzled as he fastened Jack’s cuff links.

Jack tipped his head up and Ianto reached up to help him with his collar and tie. "I don’t. Not really. It’s just something I experienced, but times change and so do people. I miss my parents and brother and where I grew up a lot more. That’s what was taken from me, not this. This was just another experience in my life."

"I didn’t know you had a brother," Ianto said softly as he carefully tied Jack’s tie. Biting his lip as he concentrated, not used to having to do it on someone else.

"Everyone has family, Ianto. Even time-traveling ex-time agents from the 51st century." Jack said ruefully.

Ianto huffed an chagrined breath. "I didn’t mean it like that, Jack."

"I know you didn’t," Jack said, grabbing his wrists and bringing his hands to his chest. He waited until Ianto met his eye.

"I wouldn’t change it though. I left home a long time before I met the Doctor, a long time before I even became the man I was when I met the Doctor. I have been here so much longer than I was ever in my own time. I may miss them, Ianto, but they were taken from me a long time ago."

Ianto leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Jack’s lips. "What was it like?"



"Cardiff is home, now. But I used to call a dry sandy colony moon home. It won’t exist for another few millenia though."

A soft knock sounded against Jack’s door. They shared a rueful glance and Ianto pressed one more kiss to Jack’s lips before he stepped away and headed over to open the door.

"Ready to sing for your supper, Ivor?" Jack said as he grinned at the man leaning against the door jamb. Ianto suppressed a smile at the roll of Ivor’s eyes.

Jack shook off his previous mood and slipped out the door with a wink and a nod to Ianto, back to the dashing American captain personality he wore so much that Ianto wasn’t sure he hadn’t become him, the boy from the dry sandy moon the true foreigner.

Ianto leaned against the doorjamb in the billiards room and listened to Ivor Novello sing and play the piano. Except for the cheer in that room, the house was mostly quiet and still as the staff took a moment to enjoy the music and a break from their work. He could see his roommate Mr. Parks whisper and smile at Mary and Ianto smothered his own smile at the flirting. Mr. Parks slipped out and past him with a nod. Ianto returned it and went back to watching those crowded around the doorway in the darkened room.

He started slightly as he felt a hand on his hip, but Jack’s scent quickly surrounded him and he leaned back slightly and was rewarded with a soft squeeze.

"He really is talented," Jack breathed against Ianto’s ear.

"So are you. I’ll have to get my own private concert from you sometime," Ianto returned in a whisper. He kept an eye on those across the room from him, aware his position with Jack was entirely too compromising. He nudged Jack pack with a gentle elbow.

"Was there something you needed, sir?" He asked in a soft voice. A look of disappointment flitted across Jack’s face before he grabbed Ianto’s hand and tugged him down the hallway a bit.

"Just a moment with you," he replied as he pulled Ianto close and swayed slightly to the music.

Ianto relaxed slightly, but kept an eye. They may not be spotted right away, but that didn’t mean if they were that what they were doing wouldn’t be obvious.

"By the way, what was all the gossip about earlier?"

"Sir William sleeping with one of the maids. She slipped up and revealed their affair in front of his wife."

Ianto stopped swaying and leaned back to look at Jack. "Really?"

"Yes, why? It happens-"

"No, it’s not that," Ianto interrupted. "It’s just I’m pretty sure I caught him fucking one of the kitchen girls downstairs last night."

Jack chuckled and pulled Ianto in close. Ianto shook his head.

"Poor Mrs. Nesbitt. though," Jack continued.

Ianto made a questioning noise in the back of his throat.

"Ivor was nice to her and she is sitting at the piano while he plays and sings, probably the highlight of her life. Her husband probably married her for her money and then realized there was a lot less than he initially thought."

"How unfortunate for her," Ianto said sympathetically.

"That’s putting it mildly."

Ianto caught movement out of the side of his eye the same moment Jack stiffed and stepped away.

"I’m expecting a call from California and we may need to return right away," Jack said loud enough for his voice to carry.

Ianto spotted Mr. Parks walking towards them with narrowed eyes, not entirely fooled by Jack’s words. He bit back a sigh and looked down as Parks strode past and slipped back into the room, carrying some hot water bottles, presumably for Mary and himself. Hopefully Jack and Ianto could just leave soon. He caught Jack’s eye, lips tightening. Jack’s expression expressed his contrition, but didn’t look guilty.

Ianto started at a shrill scream broke the moment. Both he and Jack froze, heads snapping almost in unison in the direction it came from, the library if he wasn’t mistaken. He started to step away down the hallway towards the growing commotion only to have his elbow snagged back by Jack.

"Great instincts, but I don’t think they’d appreciate the American’s Welsh servant barging in there," Jack said shaking his head. Ianto nodded and stepped back and Jack headed off and he set off downstairs.

"Dead," was the first whispered clue he got, then "Sir William," and "stabbed," and then he got cornered a footman and got the whole story. He didn’t have a chance to talk to Jack before the inspector showed up. Watching the man’s pompous idiocy was almost physically painful. He could tell that if the killer wasn’t one of the downstairs staff, then he would be willing to bet from the housekeeper’s averted eyes or Mr. Parks’ carefully blank face that one of them knew who it was.

He finally caught Jack alone in his room well into the early hours of the morning.

"We’re leaving as soon as they let us go. I figure we can head up to Cardiff, see if I can’t take advantage of some equipment and the rift to get us back," Jack said almost as soon as he shut the door behind himself. He nodded.

"I doubt they’ll ever find the murderer with that inspector on the job," he added, pulling clothes out of his wardrobe and throwing them towards his case. Ianto stepped up and started folding them, placing them carefully inside.

"I think Mrs. Wilson or Mr. Parks may know more than they are letting on," he said softly as he caught the shirt Jack had tossed in his direction. Jack stopped and turned towards him with a thoughtful look.

"Mr. Parks was out and about, but so were half a dozen other people. Why Mrs. Wilson though?"

Ianto shrugged and looked down at Jack’s packing, "Just a feeling, she hasn’t said or done anything specific, but she also didn’t look all that surprised at the news."

"Well, if he was having an affair with that maid, and you caught him with the kitchen girl, maybe Mrs. Wilson is a scorned lover?"

Ianto thought about it as he folded the last of Jack’s clothes and placed them in the case, "No," he said finally, shaking his head. "I don’t think so. She may be a past lover, but I don’t think she’s was a current one, and certainly not scorned. I actually got the feeling she was protecting someone."

"Who?" Jack asked, sitting down the bed, looking thoughtful.

Ianto shrugged. "I have no idea. Maybe the killer?"

Jack sighed. "Well, it’s hardly our mystery to solve."

"Jack, someone was murdered..."

"Unless we had something to do with it directly, we can’t really do anything about it, Ianto. This isn’t Torchwood business and we can’t risk altering timelines. We just simply can’t interfere."

"What if we were meant to?" Ianto asked thoughtfully, not really arguing Jack’s point.

Jack shrugged again. "Well, then I suppose we will. There are fixed points in time, things, events, moments that can’t be changed. Time resists interference in them. Or forces it. Everything else is mutable."

"Are you saying Sir William’s death is a fixed point in time?" Ianto asked, leaning against the dresser, pausing in his gathering of Jack’s toiletries.

"No, what I’m saying is that if it is, nothing we do will change events the way they are meant to be played out."

"And if it isn’t?" he asked, gesturing in front of him.

"Well, then, the same is also true, in a way. We may cause ripples, like if we threw a pebble into a pond. But, Sir William is a very tiny pebble and the universe a very large ocean. We might affect immediate events around us, but we’ll hardly make a difference in the grand scheme of things."

"So what you are saying is that if Sir William’s death is meant to be solved, it will, if not, then it won’t - no matter what we do."


"Then why bother?"

Jack looked up startled. "Why bother with what?"

"Time travel?"

"Ever been to Barcelona, Ianto?" Jack asked, carefully watching him. "The city, not the planet," he added with a smirk and and wink.

Ianto rolled his eyes at the ‘indulge me’ gesture Jack made.

"No, but I wouldn’t say no to a trip there."


"Why not? To see it, I suppose."


"So," Ianto said softly, thoughtfully, "all of time and space, for no other reason than just because?"

Jack frowned, understanding that wasn’t really what Ianto was asking him, but unsure how to answer. Unsure how they even got on the topic in the first place. Ordinarily he’d be upset at the way they were talking around the topic. But he knew it wasn’t because Ianto was afraid of the answers, but rather he was afraid of Jack not answering at all.

"And sometimes, you still just don’t get to Barcelona because what’s in dreary old Cardiff is more than enough to keep you there."

Ianto smiled and looked at his shoes. Jack stared at him until he lifted his eyes, letting the corner of his mouth quirk at the soft blush on Ianto’s cheeks.

"Ever try 1930s sex, Ianto? I hear that often things are more fun when they are illegal."

Ianto laughed softly, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like, "It’s always sex with you people," before he walked up to Jack.

Jack put his hands on Ianto’s hips and smiled up at him, relieved the tension was broken and they were back on more familiar ground. He let out a surprised chuckle as Ianto pushed him back on the bed and crawled on top of him, straddling his hips.

"So tell me, Jack, how did people have sex when it was illegal?" Ianto asked playfully.

"Get down here and I’ll show you," he responded, grabbing the front of Ianto’s shirt and yanking him down to meet his lips.

Ianto loaded the last of their bags onto Ivor’s car and strapped them down with the help of a footman. He nodded his thanks and moved to get in the car.

"I wonder where Elsie will go," he said aloud as he climbed in. "She is smart, resilient, and practical."

"Elsie?" Jack said. "Elsie! Damnit, now I know why we’re here, Ianto," Jack exclaimed, slapping his hand on the steering wheel. Ivor looked between them, confusion written all over his face. Ianto shrugged at him with a long-suffering expression. He smirked in response.

"Hey, where are you headed?" Jack called to Elsie, rolling down the window. "Do you need a ride?"

"Jack, that sounds smarmy, even for you..." Ianto muttered. He watched as Elsie considered her options and then headed over.

"What are you offering?" she asked, flirtatiously.

"A job." Jack stated with a wink.

"I won’t take my clothes off," she said, warningly.

"No one will expect you to," Jack replied. "It isn’t a job in the pictures, but with something bigger. Better. You can sleep with your boss and no one will care. But you will be expected to follow orders, handle general support duties, clean up, the like."

"Right." Elsie said, starting to move off.

Ianto leaned forward. "Elsie," he called. She turned back and looked at them.

"Elsie. It’s a good job," Jack continued, trying again after Ianto caught her attention again. "I’m afraid I can’t tell you too much about it, but you’ll be treated well by your employers, paid for the work you do, and as long as you do well at the job, then no one asks any questions about your life and you’ll have the respect of the rest of the staff."

Ivor turned and looked at Ianto with confusion all over his face. Ianto smiled and shrugged.

"He’s not lying," Ianto said.

"All right," Elsie said, and climbed in the car next to Ianto with a nod and a look of determination.

"Ivor, you won’t mind if we just take ourselves to the train station do you?" Jack said. "I’ve got to get these two to Cardiff. It’s been great seeing you."

Ianto hoped he would have a moment with Jack before they got to Cardiff so he could explain exactly what was going on. But he knew that for Jack, half the fun was the mystery to the rest of them and so that they would have to willingly or not indulge him for at least a little while longer. He settled in for the ride to the train station.

Jack had said his goodbyes to Ivor at the train station and bought tickets for the three of them to Cardiff. He also made sure they each had something to eat and a cup of tea as the settled into their journey. Ianto was fascinated by the steam train, the sights, smells, and noises of the engine and cars. Jack had just laughed at him, but had murmured softly in his ear about there being something special about a steam locomotive. Ianto had indulged him for just a moment until he caught Elsie’s look and pushed Jack away, ensuring there was distance between the two of them for the rest of the journey.

When they arrived in Cardiff, Jack settled Ianto and Elsie in a cafe and dissappeared. Ianto presumed it was to contact Torchwood and to fulfill his promise of a job for Elsie, but he also hoped that it might have something to do with getting the two of them back home. Jack hadn’t been acting like they were going to stay much longer and Ianto knew that being seen associating with Jack put him at risk of becoming noticed by Torchwood decades before he was noticed by Torchwood recruiters in London.

Ianto and Elsie were silent at first as they picked at their tea and sandwiches.

"You work for him, then, do you?" she asked, finally breaking the silence.

Ianto nodded.

"It’s a good job?" she asked. Ianto knew she must be feeling terrified. Her lover was murdered, she would be suspected by anyone other than that idiot of an Inspector they had on the case, she was out a job, and probably didn’t have family or support if she couldn’t find employment elsewhere.

"Yeah," he said softly. "Jack is..." he paused, unsure of how to describe him. He wasn’t even sure what Jack was like in the 1930s, but knew he was probably different than the man he knew now.

"Well," he said starting over, "I doubt you’ll see much of Jack anyway. He tends to do things on his own. But if he offered you the job it’s because he thinks you’d be good at it. And he’s rarely wrong in the end."

She nodded. "What do you do for him then?"

Ianto bit his lip. "A little bit of everything, I suppose."

"Not just shine his shoes and mend his trousers."

"No, not just that," Ianto replied with a half smile.

They fell back into silence, but were rescued not long after as Jack burst into the cafe with someone Ianto recognized from an old Torchwood staff photo he found in the archives.

"Well then, Elsie, this is George. He’ll get you settled."

Ianto said goodbye to Elsie and wished her luck.

Jack handed Ianto a rough coat and hat he was carrying. "Here, we’re going to head down to the docks."

"The docks?" Ianto asked.

"Yeah, coal docks at this point in history. They managed to clean them up a bit by the time you were born. The rift has always been strongest there though. I’m pretty sure I can use it to get us home."

"And you’ve figure this all out now? Because of Elsie?"

"In a way," Jack said with a smile. "Remember our discussion about time and fixed points?"

Ianto nodded.

"Well, when you said her name as we were leaving I suddenly remembered running into her one time when I was back in Cardiff after a mission. She worked for Torchwood. I didn’t remember her because I only met her once."

"What does that have to do with us being here?"

"Everything, Ianto. I brought her to Torchwood, got her the job, ran into her sometime next year all because you and I ended up at Gosford Park for a hunting party with Ivor Novello."


Jack grinned. "See, Ianto. It’s fun."

"And now we get to go home because we’ve done what we needed to do?"

"In a way. Remember I told you time has a funny way of making sure that things that are supposed to occur do occur. Elsie’s coming here is a fixed point in my history because I already ran into her shortly after she started at Torchwood. I didn’t remember it until, but I thought it was odd at the time.

"Imagine this, I’m walking into Torchwood after being gone for years and here is this English girl greeting me like we know each other. ‘Where’s your Welsh boy?’ she asks. ‘He didn’t look like the type you’d leave behind.’ And I had no idea what she was talking about. I shrugged it off and said-"

"Jack," Ianto interrupted as they made their way down to the docks. "You think you can get us home now?"

"Hey," Jack said softly, stopping and turning to Ianto. "It’s been fun, right, not all bad? No one tried to kill us. I count that as a good day in my book."

Ianto’s gaze softened as he looked at Jack. "It’s been great, Jack. And I’m glad I was here with you, but let’s go home."

"Yeah," Jack said, a faraway look in his eyes for just a moment. "Home."

He grinned and fiddled with his wrist strap.

"I thought you said it was broken?"

"It is, but we’re covered in Rift energy from our previous trip and this wrist strap here now looks like a piece of 21st century technology. If I’m correct, we’ll have a Rift spike in less than a minute and our energy will act like a magnet. We don’t belong, so it will want to put us back. Hopefully right where the wrist strap tells it to. It’s time travel capacity may be fried thanks to the Doctor, but it isn’t completely broken"

Ianto nodded as Jack fiddled with it again. "In theory," he muttered.

Jack laughed. "Yep, in theory." He reached down and grabbed Ianto’s hand. "Hang on, Ianto!" he shouted as Ianto felt an electric build up in the air.

It felt as if something grabbed him from the stomach and yanked. Hard. Then an enormous pressure. Then nothing. Then loud white noise and suddenly he was stumbling into Jack’s arms.

"I think I’m gonna-" he croaked right before he doubled over and heaved up all his sandwiches and tea.

"Common side effect of time travel. The food actually helps believe it or not," Jack said, rubbing his back.

Ianto was already feeling better as he spat on the ground. He stood up slowly, head swimming just a bit but the nausea fading completely. Jack was grinning.

"We’re home!"

Ianto smiled.

"Not bad either! Just about three hours after we left!"

Ianto nodded slowly, headache fading rapidly.

"You’ll probably be tired," Jack said, slipping an arm around Ianto’s waist. Ianto stumbled against him when he tried to take a step. "And a bit shaky on your feet."

They slowly made their way to the invisible lift and then down into the The Hub. The lights were low and it didn’t look like anyone had even noticed they were gone. Jack led him down to his bunker under his office and they stripped off and settled into the narrow bed together.

"What happened to Elsie?" Ianto asked softly once they were shifted around and settled comfortably against each other.

"I don’t remember," Jack said softly. "I hardly remember her at all. I wasn’t around Cardiff much those days. The war wasn’t easy and I knew that the next one was just around the corner. I wasn’t even trying to survive at that point. Just exist, I suppose."

Ianto found Jack’s hand and squeezed it gently. "I’ll look in the archives for you tomorrow. Maybe I can find her file."

"Yeah," Jack said. He shifted, pulling Ianto under him as he rolled on top. "Hey," he said, looking down with a smile.

"Hey," Ianto replied with a grin. Jack leaned down and nuzzled at his neck.

"I’m glad you were there with me, Ianto," he said, lips moving against Ianto’s skin.

"I’m glad we’re home," Ianto replied, bringing his hands up and skimming them along Jack’s sides.

They settled into each other with soft sighs.

The End
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