Genre: Post CoE/Fix-it/AU/Crack-fic
Warnings: Contains spoilers (by implication) for CoE. Possibly triggering mentions of miscarriage.
Notes: Written for the Never Will I Write meme, where Jack/Ianto domestic fluff was suggested by
Speedy and superlative Beta provided by mad_jaks and samstjames. Remaining glitches are my own.
Summary: Everything a RTD-loathing, CoE-reviling, Gwen-bashing, coffee-bagging, Mpregging, curtain-buying, Janto shipper could possibly want. Or is it?
It was a lovely wedding, even if Gwen did say so herself.
Jack and Ianto looked ever so dashing in their matching tuxedos, though Jack had joked up until the last minute about showing up in his normal kit, including the coat, putting Ianto in a vintage 40’s bridal gown to match. Alice was clearly moved by the sight of her father finding love again after so many lonely years, and Stephen in his miniature morning coat made a stalwart attendant for his “uncle” Jack.
Mickey and Martha had stopped by for cake and champagne, but left before the dancing started, which Martha assured Gwen was a lucky thing, giving Mickey a glance that Gwen thought was a bit too knowing for a married woman.
A pity that Tosh and Owen couldn’t see the couple walk down the aisle, but to Gwen they were there in spirit when she and Jack raised a private toast to those who’d given their lives for Torchwood.
“Thank you, Gwen,” Jack had said seriously, before kissing her cheek in acknowledgment of what they both knew;if she hadn’t put her job and their friendship on the line to force his hand, Jack would still be trying to avoid responsibility and commitment.
This time he’d been caught by his own words. The recording devices in the chamber had preserved Jack’s voice promising anything and everything if the 456 wouldn’t kill Ianto.
A man of honour couldn’t walk away from words like that, she'd told Jack. If he’d said those things with a full understanding of the consequences, knowing that getting Ianto back might mean scores of deaths, as in fact it had, then he certainly needed to live up to his obligations and make Ianto Jones an honest man.
“There’s nothing for it, Jack; you’ll have to marry him.”
Nor could it be a sham of a marriage where Ianto stayed home and hung curtains whilst Jack philandered his way around whatever convenient battlefield happened to be awash with blood that week. If Jack went on assignment, Ianto would go with him. Jack Harkness was to be a one man man, till death did them part.
After convincing Jack, she’d set her sights on Ianto to make sure he would no long settle for anything less than what Jack owed him. Ianto had been reticent to push too hard, but Gwen had reminded him of the hurts Jack was capable of inflicting if he wasn’t held in check. She'd actually mimicked her own mother, talking about free milk and cows, until he'd got the message. Her experience in hostage negotiation had come in handy in drawing up the legal document that would protect Ianto from Jack’s natural inclinations both financially and emotionally.
The piece de resistance became part of the actual ceremony; Jack’s relinquishing of his wrist strap, in exchange for the ring that Ianto placed on his finger.
Gwen had taken possession of the leather strap, and was now stroking it absently, carefully avoiding the buttons that she still didn’t quite understand, as she watched the happy couple dance, so oblivious to the world they didn’t notice the late-arriving guest in the brown suit who’d taken a seat next to her.
“They look happy,” the newcomer commented.
“Very, very happy,” she replied turning to face him.
“Gwen Cooper. Nice to finally meet you in person.”
“Doctor. It’s an honour.”
He looked at her closely, with a puzzled smile, as if seeing someone else.
“What is it?” she asked, self-conscious, but also confident that she'd done the right thing.
“The resemblance. Uncanny.”
She still wasn’t sure what that was about, but there’d be plenty of time to find out.
“And you look so young, but Jack says you’re…. Are you really….hundreds of years old?”
Like Jack she supposed. Although not really. According to Jack, if the Doctor were killed, he’d come back looking different. It was called regeneration, although as far as Gwen was concerned it was more like re-incarnation.
“Should I go say hello, then?” the Doctor asked.
“Best not to disturb them I think. As you said, they look so happy together.”
“Yeah. Nice to see Jack like that. Never thought it would happen, myself. Oh…by the way…terribly rude of me.” He shook his head, presumably at his own lack of manners. “I was very sorry to hear about your husband.”
Gwen gripped the leather strap a little tighter in her hand and tried to keep her voice neutral. She felt the tension building up in her chest and shoulders and forced herself to release it with a sigh. It was a technique she’d learned to fend off the tears. Ianto had taught it to her, having had plenty of practice in controlling his own emotions.
“Thank you. Rhys was a good man.”
“I’m so, so sorry that I wasn’t here when they came.”
“What could you have done? It was our burden. Jack's and Torchwood's.” She quickly changed the topic, not wanting to sully this occasion with her own grief. “Did you know that Jack’s doing a purification regime to flush the oestrogen out of his system? He and Ianto want to try for children.”
Her own child was gone, of course. Once she’d heard the news of Rhys’ death, Gwen’s body had betrayed her.
“Maybe it wasn’t the right time,” Jack had said, his voice breaking. This, the same Jack who’d been elated to hear about her pregnancy and offered himself and Ianto as a baby-sitters anytime she and Rhys needed a night off. Now everything had changed, exactly as he’d always told her it would, and the idea that her baby was better off dead was the best comfort he could offer..
Later on, Gwen had done a thorough analysis of the events and realised that Rhys had died within seconds of Ianto’s resurrection. Jack had made his bargain and they all had to pay the price. It was up to Gwen to make sure Jack and Ianto paid their share.
“I can’t make it up to you,” the Doctor said, bringing her back to the present. “No one can, but I’m sure Torchwood can spare you for a few days.”
They could indeed. Lois and Agent Johnson had already proved quite capable of handling whatever new horrors the Rift decided to cough up and Ianto was working a new version of the Rift Manipulator from some schematics he'd found in Tosh’s stored belongings. She’d filled out a request for vacation time and then signed the authorisation herself, before placing a call to Martha.
Martha had been reluctant, but she’d also been guilt-stricken about being on her honeymoon when the 456 made their appearance. Gwen had reassured her that no one could possibly hold her responsible for what had happened. Amazing what a little absolution could accomplish. After that, it was easy to convince Martha that Gwen only wanted to ask Jack’s Doctor to make an appearance at the wedding. Martha had muttered something about the Doctor not being good at weddings, but had given Gwen the number anyway.
“Can you teach me exactly how this thing works?” she asked, holding Jack’s strap up.
“I could, but why bother? Piece of rubbish that thing is. You’re about to go traveling in the TARDIS. Best ride in the galaxy.”
“Then let’s go.”
“You're sure you don’t want to go say goodbye?”
She watched Jack and Ianto on the floor, lazily moving in each other’s arms, hardly the pretence of actual dance anymore. Jack had given up everything, at least as much as he was capable of, and Ianto’s most desperate wishes had come true. She wanted them to enjoy their moment of happiness unfettered by interruptions.
“We’ll call in the morning.”
“Where are they going to live?I mean, the Hub’s gone, isn’t it?”
“Blown to bits,” she enunciated, thinking of the good times there, and pushing those feelings back, along with all the other memories she could no longer bear. “They’ve got a house now. It’s very nice. The sort of place you could raise a family.”
The same house she and Rhys had been planning to buy.
“All right then, Gwen Cooper. Off we go.”
The next morning she woke up among the stars and ate breakfast while listening to the Doctor’s many, many stories, trying to decide the first time or place she wanted to go. He kept mentioning Barcelona. Gwen thought it sounded nice, but she wanted to avoid bullfights.
All the while her eye was on the clock that the Doctor assured her would always tell the time in Cardiff.
Nine-thirty am, she decided was perfect. She dialed Jack’s number on her mobile and made sure the video circuit on the TARDIS console was open with her and the Doctor posed directly in front of the monitor.
“Hello?” Jack’s voice was sleepy and sensual, devoid of the tension she usually heard on the occasions when she’d had cause to wake him. She could imagine the scene of domestic bliss, with Ianto laying nearby, no doubt exhausted from the wedding night.
“Jack, turn on your computer and make sure you’re decent. There’s someone who wants to say hello.”
She waited impatiently, until the console monitor lit up with the picture, much as she’d envisioned it, right down to the sight of Ianto with a blanket hastily draped over his pelvis. They looked so sweet, in a completely randy way. Ready for their perfect life together.
Gwen watched as Jack looked at the screen, took in the picture and realised where she was and who she was with. The anguished, palpable longing on his face as the word “Doctor” formed on his lips was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. Almost as gratifying was the corresponding pain in Ianto’s eyes when he saw Jack’s reaction.
The Doctor was offering congratulations, even babbling a bit about happy endings, but Gwen knew the truth. They were trapped and she was free to fly.
Impulsively, she kissed the Doctor on the cheek, making sure that was the last image Jack and Ianto saw before she broke the visual connection and whispered her final message into the mobile.