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Changing the Default

Summary: Ianto and Jack trying to figure out where their relationship is going after Jack returns.

Characters: Captain Jack H, Ianto J, (slight mentions of the team and John H, but this is mostly about Jack and Ianto)

Pairing: Jack/Ianto implied

Rating: T

Spoiler: End of Days, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, reference to Doctor Who The Last of The Time Lords

Setting: Stuck in a hotel avoiding themselves and the time line.

Warnings: Mention of character death (Jack).

Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood or any of its characters or plot lines, nor do I receive money from stories.

A/N: Yes, I am guessing and making a creative decision that Jack was gone seven months. It's completely arbitrary. I don't know how or why but the stories are getting harder to write and edit. Another freaking rough one. Thanks as always to my muse, my friend and my talented beta, triquetralin.

Changing the Default

It was a nice hotel, as hotels go; pretty posh in fact. The lobby was opulent but quiet, the staff tending to speak in hushed tones as they moved smoothly and silently across the thick carpet. The Torchwood team were checking in. Without luggage and looking a bit bedraggled, none of them thought they'd get a room, here of all places, but Captain Jack Harkness put on his most charming smile and strode confidently to the front desk.

It had been a most unusual day, with Jack showing up after vanishing months ago, coupled with the chaotic and destructive mayhem that was John Hart – a dangerous Time Agent and former partner of Jack's – dropping in. The team was reeling, with no time to make sense of Jack's return – especially since he was acting as mysterious as he had been before he left – and having to stay alive long enough to foil Hart's plans.

Realizing that John and Jack knew each other deepened the mystery. Had the Time Agent followed Jack back to Cardiff? Had they arrived together, despite appearances? Was this where Jack had been for the past seven months, travelling with John? Too many questions and, as always with their captain, not enough answers. As fast as the team discovered events of Jack's past through Hart's indiscreet, yet intentional, dropping of hints, Jack was just as quickly trying to bury the intriguing pieces of information.

A bomb thrown into the rift in space and time that ran through Cardiff had reset time back to the night before and so here they all were, checking into a hotel to avoid crossing their own time lines for day. The prospect of hiding out, with nothing to do – and a captain with a butt-load of mysteries and secrets that he was unwilling to share – didn't seem to the team to be anyone's idea of fun.

Ianto Jones sat in a wing-back chair, feeling tired and grubby, adrenalin quickly draining out of him. He had one hand still clutched around the antique stopwatch hidden in his trouser pocket, his thumb nervously clicking the button on and off. John Hart was gone. He kept repeating that to himself in time with the clicking. John Hart was gone – out of their lives and gone.

But he couldn't convince himself of it. The sandy-haired Time Agent's last words to Jack hinted there was more to come. Already Ianto's shoulders ached with tension, expecting the arrogant man to stride up behind him and to hear the sound of a gun cocking at the back of his head.

Leaning his head back, he forced his breath out slowly, eyes half-hooded watching the rest of the Torchwood team. Despite his exhaustion, he was amused to see how everyone else was reacting to the rich surroundings. Gwen Cooper was pacing, her eyes on Jack at the front desk. She feigned a relaxed casualness by trying to start up conversations with the staff as they passed. They would stop politely but find ways to disengage, just as politely, and carry on with their work as if she had been no more bother than a chair out of place.

Every time she looked at Jack, her expressions shifted, animated with the questions bubbling just under the surface like a pot of thick soup, blinking when a new question burbled and popped into her head.

Doctor Owen Harper was slumped in another luxurious chair next to Ianto, half skewed on his right hip, trying to not get blood, from the gunshot wound in his left hip, on the rich fabric. His face was blank, staring, too tired to think and in too much pain for conversation. He looked awkward and out of place, eyes flitting back and forth, watching uniformed bellhops and security guards as if waiting for them to challenge him sitting there.

Toshiko Sato hovered next to Owen's chair. Every twitch from Owen made her pause but she said nothing, just fingered the medical bag slung over her shoulder, waiting to be of some help. She was the only one avoiding and ignoring everyone else, focused only on Owen. Her hand rested on the tall back of the chair, thumb stroking the leather subconsciously.

Captain Jack finally strode across the lobby towards them with a triumphant smile and a fistful of room card keys. His greatcoat was carelessly half-slouched off his shoulders, and Ianto could see patches of sweat on his collar, but his expression was cheerful, even if it didn't reach his eyes.

“Here you go, kids,” he said as he handed out the keys. “Torchwood is paying, so I suggest you take advantage of it.”

Ianto pushed himself out of the chair, determined to hold off collapsing until he reached his room. Jack's fingers brushed his as he took the key and he felt a jolt. It was the first time they had touched since Jack showed up out of the blue a day ago. Was it only a day? His own questions stewed, but he saw the dark circles under Jack's eyes, and he bit his lip.

Comparing room numbers as they headed into the lift, everyone quickly noticed that they were all on separate floors.

“We should stick together,” Gwen grumbled. “Owen's hurt ...”

“Don't use me as an excuse!” Owen snapped.

“It's all the hotel had,” Jack cut off the argument with a gesture. “Odd rooms, all over. Deal with it.”

Ianto found it curious how easily everyone quieted, slipping into old patterns, following Jack's orders with no further argument. Gwen had made a half-hearted attempt at staying in control when Jack had shown up yesterday, but Ianto could already see things shifting back into place.

The others exited the lift, one by one, with only Gwen shooting Jack and Ianto one last look before heading down the hallway.

When he and Jack got to the ninth floor, Ianto raised an eyebrow. “You did not put us in the same room, did you?”

Another small smile, holding even less energy than the previous one, slipped across Jack's lips before disappearing. “Two rooms with a connecting door. You have your side and I have mine,” he said. When Ianto looked to argue, Jack held up his hand. “You don't have to come over. I just thought it would be nice. We could talk. I really do want us to start over and do things ... right.”

Ianto sighed. “Jack, there's no right or wrong with us. We're both too different for that. Don't start trying to put us in some sort of box.” He stopped at room 714, staring down at the card key. As tired as he was, he was reluctant to go in, to a silent and empty room.

Jack took a few steps further to room 712 next door. Swiping his key in the lock, he glanced across. “Come over. We'll discuss boxes.”

“You're exhausted. I can see that.”

“Come anyway.” Jack pushed the door open and went in.

Ianto inserted the card into the lock and entered his room, leaning heavily on the door as it closed. The curtains were half open, letting in enough street light to give the room a silvery haze. It smelled fresh, of clean linen and washed carpet. He kicked off his shoes, then placed them neatly at the bottom of the closet just inside the door. Stripping off his socks as well, he dug his toes into the thick, cool carpet.

The lavatory was just to his left, across from the closet and beyond that, around the wall, was the rest of the room, one large bed with a generic but clean, new-looking duvet and two small bedside tables. A writing table and chair sat against the large window, and across from the bed was a dresser with a small TV sitting on it.

The bed looked inviting and he headed towards it.

A sharp click to his right startled him. He was still keyed up enough to be jumpy. He reached for his gun, tucked into his waistband, then saw the plain door on the right wall and he blushed, realizing it connected to Jack's room. Jack must have snicked the lock open. Sure enough, he could hear the captain moving in the room beyond, boots clunking, dropped on the floor. Ianto smiled. He could easily picture Jack, tossing clothes as he undressed, leaving things where they fell.

Words from the previous day flitted through Ianto's mind, Jack's voice so clear now.

“I came back for you,” Jack had said, eyes lingering on Ianto before skittering to the rest of his team. “All of you.”

The captain had disappeared without a word or a note. Ianto knew it was to find his “Doctor” and personally, secretly, he had hoped Jack would not return. The days before Jack left had been full of anguish and upheaval. Jack's leaving had been the fourth instance in a week where Ianto had lost him, thinking him gone forever. He felt cut and scarred, unable to understand each moment before another would leave him torn. Months later, he was finally getting used to the fact that maybe he was right, that he captain was gone for good, when Jack popped back, as sudden as a gunshot and just as traumatic, again.

Ianto wanted answers. He knew they all did, but the way to getting them was not by badgering Jack like Gwen would. It required listening to all the things that Jack never said.

He realized he was still standing by the door, hand clenched around his gun, ready to draw. He let his shoulders relax and pulled the weapon out, checked the safety and ejected the ammo clip before setting it down on the dresser beside the TV. Then, worried someone might see it, he tucked the gun and ammo into the top drawer.

He shrugged out of his suit jacket and hung it over a chair, slipped off his tie and started unbuttoning his shirt. He wanted a shower and clean clothes. He wanted food. He wanted sleep.

He wanted Jack.

His thoughts had floated there as an obvious conclusion, but the image of Jack in his mind came so abruptly that Ianto stopped, his fingers still on the last button. He wanted Jack. He couldn't deny it.

Earlier, Jack had asked him out on a date, something bizarre and out of place for them. He'd sounded so unsure. Ianto hadn't wanted to seem like he had been waiting for Jack to come back, but everything was skewed so weirdly. Hearing Jack's voice again had been as much a shock as seeing him and all of Ianto's needs and desires jumbled in his head.

Then, seeing Jack with Captain John Hart, knowing they had a history together, Ianto felt his tenuous grasp slipping. He was tired of caring and losing him, tired of Jack making decisions that tore them apart. And so, just as bizarrely, Ianto had said yes to that offer of a date.

Maybe slowing down and starting over, dating as a “normal” couple, might be a good thing.

He swore under his breath. No. Dating was Jack's idea. Not his. What was normal about their relationship? What could be normal? Every part of their relationship – who they were, their beginnings, the struggles they had been through – were as far from normal as anything could possibly be.

Ianto paced, his disordered thoughts making him dizzy. This probably wasn't what Jack had meant when he suggested talking, but it sure was what Ianto needed to talk about. The captain couldn't just keep making decisions about their lives and expecting Ianto to fall in line. Full of determination he went to the connecting door and knocked.

“Come in,” Jack's voice answered immediately. He had obviously been waiting.

Ianto entered.

Jack looked slightly more relaxed, shoes and socks off, braces hanging loose around his hips, stripped to his tee-shirt. It was a familiar sight and yet it filled Ianto with a sense of nostalgia. It had only been seven months but it felt longer.

“Hey,” he said, suddenly tongue-tied.

Jack's room was a mirror image of Ianto's, same creamy carpet, same luxurious bed. Ianto's eyes flickered over it and then away. He didn't want to think of how much he wanted to be in bed with Jack. That was the simple answer to everything and he knew simple was no longer the right answer for them. He had changed enough in the past months to accept that.

Ianto turned to the dresser. There was a bowl of fruit sitting by the TV. His stomach grumbled and he picked up an apple, feeling relief for the temporary distraction.

“May I?” he asked.


Jack sat down at the foot of the bed, watching Ianto. The young man could feel his eyes on him. He had a feeling Jack was trying to memorize him and his movements, drinking him in. It made his back itch.

Ianto took a bite out of the apple. Turning, he offered another one to Jack, hand outstretched. The captain flinched violently at the gesture, falling off the edge of the bed, landing on the floor with a thump. Ianto stood there stunned, frozen in place, the fruit dropping from his nerveless fingers.

“It's okay, just startled me is all.” Jack started to get up, laughing deprecatingly, but Ianto could see him trembling. He bent to pick up the apple, but his hands shook so hard he dropped it twice.

Ianto stepped closer and Jack retreated, fear in his eyes, his calves hitting the bed as he stepped back. Ianto slipped his hands into Jack's, holding them steady. “Shh.” he said, softly.

“I'm okay,” Jack said, but his gaze was over Ianto's shoulder, neck muscles tense. Ianto took another step in, his body fitting neatly as his arms slipped around Jack's waist, holding him gently.

The trembling grew worse, thighs and back twitching like a fly-bitten horse. Ianto had no idea what to say to make it better. He just held him, feeling the sweat prickle on Jack's scalp and his chest heaving as he struggled to breathe.

“I couldn't stop thinking about you,” Jack finally said, voice ragged. “I needed to keep thinking of you!”

The word “needed” made the hairs on the back of Ianto's neck rise.

“How long were you gone?” He hadn't even been aware he was thinking that question, but time was not the linear thing to Torchwood that it was to the rest of the world.

“A year,” Jack said.

Not long, Ianto thought.

“How many deaths?”

Jack's breath caught. “Hundreds. Too many to count.”

Too long.

Ianto had spent the months thinking on death and Jack. He had only just discovered that Jack couldn't stay dead.

An alien force had resurrected him thousands of years in the future and, looking for the Doctor to fix him, Jack had bounced through time using only his Vortex Manipulator, to find him. It hadn't been an easy journey, taxing the Manipulator which broke, stranding him in Victorian era Cardiff, forcing him to wait out the passing of a hundred and fifty years.

The last week that Ianto had seen Jack, the captain had been lost in time, stuck in 1941. The risks of getting him back were phenomenal, causing damage to the rift. In the ensuing chaos, Owen had shot and killed Jack in front of them all. The horror of that moment still chilled Ianto, but the captain's gasping resurrection shocked him even more.

The second death seemed more permanent, the life sucked out of him by a demon, Abaddon, devourer of souls and bringer of death. Jack had laid three days in the morgue before he finally resurrected. The team felt whole again, was ready to heal and move on when Jack disappeared. That was seven months ago in Ianto's time line, a year to Jack.

It had taken weeks of frustrating conversations with Gwen, who had known of Jack's inability to stay dead, to process all the mayhem that had occurred in the space of those few days.

When Jack returned, a day ago, they knew he had found his Doctor but was unfixed, doomed to live and relive forever.

Jack coming back was more than just him wanting to be with his team again. Something fundamental had changed in him; Ianto could feel it, a loosening of bindings. Jack had seen his Doctor and had let go. But holding Jack, Ianto could feel there was still disappointment and pain coursing through him. He waited patiently for the shaking to subside, finally feeling Jack's arms wrap around him.

Jack's face was buried in Ianto's neck, breathing deep, inhaling the scent of him. At first he was tense, expecting Ianto to start asking more, probing to find out what happened to him, but as the time passed, he relaxed. Remembrances of Ianto's sure eyes, his silent knowledgeable smile, never demanding, darted through his mind. It had all flooded back when he first saw the young man again, but now it was building solidly inside him, that wall of comfort that Ianto represented – strong and steady.

Ianto slowly relaxed his grip and kissed Jack, almost chastely, on the edge of his mouth, then led him to the side of the bed.

“You need to sleep,” Ianto said, drawing back the sheets.

Jack started to argue but his body disagreed. His limbs were heavy and his back ached, still bruised from when John Hart had pushed him off a building. He was not healing as fast or as completely as he had in the past. He needed peace, quiet, and rest, and he decided to give in.

His clothes were soiled, damp with sweat. Ianto took them all, raising an eyebrow until Jack completely stripped. Smirking, even though he had no energy for strenuous exercise, Jack enjoyed the feel of Ianto's gaze.

“I'll send our clothes down to be laundered.” Ianto said.

Lying down, tucked under the sheets, Jack watched Ianto gather the clothes into the laundry bag and make the call to have them picked up. The young man went into the next room and came back a few minutes later, dressed in a hotel bathrobe with the bag much fuller.

“Spoilsport,” Jack grinned.

He must have dozed off, thinking he was closing his eyes for just a moment, when he felt the bed shift. It was pitch dark but Ianto's body was a pale shadow climbing into the bed.

“Shh, sleep,” Ianto murmured and spooned against Jack's body.

Jack realized with a shock that it was the first time they were sleeping together. His own bed in the Hub was too narrow for two bodies. He slept so infrequently that he usually left Ianto in it alone on the rare occasions that Ianto stayed.

He felt Ianto's measured breathing against his neck, warm and comforting. There was no awkward wriggling or settling – Ianto's body fit against his as if it belonged there. He could feel the young man's nudity but he was too exhausted for any reaction. He sighed, letting his cares go with one deep breath and drifted off again.

A hiss of sheets and cool air on his shoulder woke Ianto. He opened his eyes. The room was still dark. Jack sat on the edge of the bed, his torso pale in the dimness, barely moving as he breathed quietly. Ianto tucked his hand under his cheek, not wanting to spoil the peace and quiet, but Jack must have known he was awake. He twisted slightly, looking over his shoulder.

“Sorry for waking you.”

“It's okay.”

Jack turned away again.



“Why did you ask me out on a date?”

Jack was silent for so long Ianto wasn't sure he was going to get an answer. He reached out his hand but stopped short, afraid to interrupt the captain's thoughts.

“It was the only way I could tell you that you mean something to me.” He gasped once, deep and ragged, his head bowed. “It's been over forty years since I loved someone. She also worked for Torchwood. She left and took our child with her.”

“Why me? Why now?”

“You're not her.” After a pause, he continued, “I realized that holding you at arm's length doesn't change the past and it won't stop ... my heart from breaking.”

After a moment, Jack asked his own question. “Why did you say yes?”

“You've never asked me anything about us, what I want.” Ianto surprised himself, the words coming out unbidden, but he knew they were the truth. “And I thought if I said yes, maybe you wouldn't leave again.”

Jack finally turned, eyes tight with emotion. He slid beneath the covers, his long body fitting against Ianto's. “I won't. I'm home now.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation is my religion
Our Captain who art in the Enterprise
Picard be thy name
Thy spaceship goes whoosh
Thy impulse be engaged in space as it is in orbit
Give us this day our daily adventure
and forgive us alien encounters
as we forgive those who fail to boldly go where none have gone before
And lead us not into the Neutral Zone
But deliver us from the Borg
For thine is the spaceship
The warp power and the glory of space
For ever and ever. Make it so.

getting braver
Well, I've started posting to ff.net!  I can't believe that in less than a year:

- I have completed over 50 stories (a couple of these were unbelievably difficult to finish and in the past I probably would have given up), so I'm freaking proud of finished stories!
- I have about 18 more works in progress
- I am brave enough to let someone edit my stories
- I am brave enough to actually WORK on my own stories, to fix them, to work at it until it feels done
- I am learning to read my stories objectively
- I have gone from just writing for me to sharing with one or two friends, to posting in friend-locked environments to somewhere more public like ff.net!!
- I have two stories that are specifically gift related and I feel confident to give them to the persons in question (one already done and one to be finished).
- I have written multi-chapter stories!
- I have written something over 12,000 words long!
- I have challenged myself with style and format (drabbles, etc)

Seriously I'm so freaking proud of myself.  My confidence has improved, my objectivity has improved.  I've always liked my stories, but I'm proud of them now.

I still need to work on dedication and sitting down and just DOING when I feel stuck or don't wanna.  I still need to be more organized with keeping track of drafts and finished stories.  I still need to work on vocabulary and reading other works more objectively.  I could probably very much benefit from taking a writing course or two...but now I actually FEEL like I can go to a class and not feel stupid.  I know I still need to write more original stuff, but I think I can get there too.

Anyway...just a post to say "Yaay Me!"

Music Meme
You can learn a lot about someone by the music they listen to. Hit shuffle on your iPod or mp3 player and write down the first twenty songs. No cheating or skipping songs that are shameful. That is the fun!

1.   Blue Gillespie - Tripout (Love this song! - bit of a cheat since I started with my iPod and THEN realized it's mostly Blue Gillespie, so the rest are from my iMac where most of my music is on)
2.   Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil (live)
3.   Entropia - Born of Horns (local band..so good)
4.   Warrel Dane - Patterns
5.   Doro Pesch - Love Me Forever (Motorhead cover with Lemmy)
6.   Waysted - Heaven Tonight (live in Winnipeg Canada)
7.   Black Country Communion - Black Country
8.   Saltatio Mortis - Rastlos (I think my iTunes LOVES me! Singing top of my lungs! ooops..it's after 11 pm! shhh)
9.  Jaded Heart - On The Rise
10. Within Temptation - Our Solemn Hour (epic!)
11. Doro Pesch (again!) - In Liebe Und Freundschaft
12. Helloween - I Want Out
13. Rob Halford - Jawbreaker
14. Sonata Arctica - Victoria's Secret (live)
15. Deep Purple - Gettin' Tighter
16. Moonstone Project - Pictures of My Lonely Days
17. Fatal Smile - Eve of War
18. KISS - Got Love For Sale
19. Jag Panzer - Children of the Sea (Dio cover)
20. (ROFLMAO...a Schritt A, Uebung 1 from my German lessons...I think I'll let it choose a bonus track)
21. Van Canto - Hero

That was great fun! Haven't listened to most of those in a long time!

The Garden
Something light and fluffy.  Thanks as always to my beta-extraordinaire triquetralin
(I couldn't figure out how to credit the photo, so I tried deleting it, but I couldn't figure out how to do that, so forgive me, I deleted and reposted.  Won't be adding pics again unless they're mine.  Sorry Lin, that deleted your comment).

Genre: Torchwood
Characters: Jack, Ianto, OC
Warnings: none
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood or any of its characters or plots.

The Garden

Ianto was cleaning out the fridge when Jack came up beside him, narrowly missing being hit by a reeking tinfoil mass.

“Oh, sorry Jack,” Ianto said as he peered around the fridge door at Jack's squawk of surprise. “You usually give better warning when you sneak up on me.”

“I resent that. I sneak amazingly well!”

“This time you did. What's up? I'm a little busy.”

“Not any more.” Jack leaned on the fridge door, closing it decisively. “Answer me a question.”

“Hey, I wasn't finished!” Ianto leaned back on his heels and sighed. “Okay, what?”

“Have you been outside today?”

Frowning, not sure why this was relevant when he had work to do, Ianto said, “No, why?”

“And you slept here last night, yeah?”

“Yes. Really Jack, what has this to do with ...”

“What about yesterday?”

“Well, I came in from outside when I arrived at six o'clock for work,” Ianto answered, a little sarcastically.

“Thought so.” Jack held out his hand.

“My hands are dirty.”

“Wash them, then and let's go.”

“Where? God, Jack, you have such a flair for drama and mystery.”

Winking with panache, Jack grinned. “I do, don't I?”

Laughing, despite his irritation, Ianto stood and quickly washed up at the sink. He was barely given time to finish drying his hands, or roll down his sleeves before Jack grasped one of his hands and tugged him out of the kitchenette. He headed for the stone block that rose up through the Hub to a perception-altered entrance. It was the Hub's “invisible” lift, and the most direct route to Roald Dahl Plass.

Well accustomed to the lift, Ianto stood, relaxed, enjoying the feel of Jack's hand in his, until the block jerked to a halt on the Plass.

“Outside,” Jack murmured in Ianto's ear. “Remember it?”

Ianto sucked in the sweet spring air. Twilight was just falling, but it was warm and fresh. “Vaguely.” He nuzzled Jack, secure in the fact that until they stepped off the stone block, neither of them would be noticed.

“Fancy an evening stroll, my dear?” Jack said in his drollest British accent, which wasn't very good.

“Yes, kind sir. Let's.”

The Plass was full of tourists and young lovers. Keeping hold of Ianto's hand, Jack stepped off the stone and headed in a purely arbitrary direction. Ianto still wasn't used to open displays of affection. He argued that it wasn't his thing, that he and Jack didn't need to define or justify their relationship, or that it just seemed too possessive to walk hand in hand, but the fingers curled around his were warm and caressing and the sensations coursing through him tonight couldn't be denied. For once he wasn't going to care.

They ended up on a small residential street. Only a few blocks long, it seemed steeped in age and mystery. Neither of them had noticed it before. The houses were old but well-kept, semi-detached, with small, neat front gardens. Each house had a different coloured door, creating a rainbow effect down the block.

“Oh look!” Ianto pointed with his hand still in Jack's grasp. The captain knew exactly where Ianto meant. Halfway down the block on the left one garden seemed to be bursting out of its stone wall confines. They could smell the flowers two houses away and as they drew closer, Ianto's eyes glistened.

“Wow,” he breathed. Leaning his hip against the low stone wall, Ianto sniffed deeply. “See that patch there, those are asters. There are peonies over in the corner. Oh, and look at the pansies! Gorgeous colours.” He noticed that Jack was looking at him. “What?”

“Asters, peonies and pansies, oh my!” Jack grinned. “You know flowers?”

“Yes, so?” Ianto let go of Jack's hand, feeling self-conscious and embarrassed.

“So, nothing!” Jack held up his hands in submission. “I'm impressed. Tell me more.” He leaned against Ianto's tall body, nodding to a bunch of tall stalks with dark purple flowers. “What are those?”

“Lupins.” Ianto grinned. “You can recognize the roses, I'm sure. Oh and lavender – I can smell it! Where is it?” His eyes scanned the riot of colour.

Jack was sniffing a fat, heavy, white rose that drooped over the dark stone wall when he felt Ianto stiffen beside him. He looked up and followed Ianto's gaze.

An elderly lady stood on the threshold of her bright red door, a tea-tray rattling in surprise as she spied the two men.

“Oh! You gave me a bit of a fright!” Despite being startled, her voice was sweet and lilting.

“We're sorry,” Ianto explained. “We were just admiring your beautiful garden.”

“Why thank you.” She shut her door and took a firmer grip of the tray. Her sharp, bright eyes caught the closeness of their stance and she smiled. “I take tea out here every evening, when it's nice.” She started walking towards a small iron table and chair set on the grass beside the lupins. On her tray was a large Brown Betty teapot and an old, worn-looking, mismatched teacup and saucer.

Jack boldly hopped over her gate and rushed to take the tray from her hands. “Allow me, miss.”

She laughed, not knowing that to Jack, she was young enough to be his granddaughter. “You are a charmer!”

“I try.” Jack winked and she tittered again.

“Come on, Jack. Let's not bother the nice lady,” Ianto said, indulgently.

“You're not bothering me.” She smiled up at Jack, taken by his dimpled chin and bright blue eyes. “In fact, let me fetch two more cups. Please join me.” She made for the door.

“Oh no, that would be imposing,” Ianto protested.

“Please. As lovely as the flowers are, it's a bit lonely sitting in the garden by myself.”

At that, Ianto couldn't resist. Jack was already peering at the tall blooms as though he lived there, brushing off petals and tucking dirt around the stalks. “Thank you, it would be a pleasure.” Unlike Jack, Ianto opened the gate properly and let himself in while the old lady spryly rushed off into the house.

She came back a few minutes later with another tray, this time with a plate piled high with scones, two more mismatched cups and saucers and jars of cream and jam. Ianto helped her with the tray this time, setting each item, rather than the whole tray, on the table. Jack held her seat and she was obviously thrilled at the attention.

“Now, I won't stand on formality. My name is Lily Parson but I insist you call me Lily.”

“Pleased to meet you, Lily. I'm Captain Jack Harkness and this is Ianto Jones.”

Ianto bowed slightly as he sat down on one of the iron chairs.

Lily couldn't have been less than eighty but she had the voice and bright eyes of a young girl. She laughed heartily at Jack's teasing and answered Ianto's questions about the garden with true pride.

“My father attributed my love of flowers to my name and was always overly proud at having thought of it. He would say 'My Lily could grow an ailanthus out of an anteater's ...'” she stopped, blushing slightly. “Well, he was a bit of a coarse man, so I won't finish that sentence.”

“I rightly imagine you could,” Ianto said, dreamily as he gazed at the swaying blossoms, then, realizing what he insinuated, blushed brighter than Lily had, while she and Jack roared with laughter.

“You two boys are a delight to an old lady's heart,” she said, wiping her eyes. “I miss my Peter. He would come some evenings and take tea.”

Ianto nodded sadly, although he wasn't sure if Peter was her husband or son. “Oh, has he been gone long?”

She looked at him, startled and then patted his hand. “Oh he's not dead, Ianto dear! Peter's my son and he is alive and well, living only a mile away. But his partner Michael gets allergies, hates bees and won't tolerate dirt.” She wrinkled her nose. “Oh, they visit properly, in the house, but won't sit in the garden any more. He's such a whinger!”

“Well, I am sorry to hear that!” Jack said with emotion. “Maybe poor Michael won't be long for this world and Peter can start taking tea in the garden again.”

Lily smiled. “One can hope!” Then she covered her mouth like a schoolgirl. “Oh dear! I shouldn't be so petty. He is a nice boy and loves my Peter so.”

“Jack has a bit of an odd sense of humour. Please forgive him.” Ianto thought of kicking Jack under the table but wasn't sure he would connect with the correct shin.

A gust of wind made the napkins flap wildly and Lily pulled her cardigan closer around her shoulders in the increasing twilight. The sun had finally set, muting the colours of the garden and all the scones had been eaten.

“We've had a lovely time, Lily, but I think we should take our leave.” Ianto stood and started transferring empty cups and plates to one of the trays.

“It has been nice. Thank you so much for staying. It's not often I have the company of two such handsome men.”

Jack helped her across the garden in the dim light, while Ianto followed with the trays and dishes stacked neatly. With tactful courtesy, he followed her through to the kitchen where he put the items on the counter before she escorted him back to the door.

“Thank you again for a lovely evening. Please drop by again soon.”

“It would be our pleasure.” Jack bowed over Lily's hand, giving it a gallant kiss. Ianto surprised them both by leaning in and placing a warm kiss on the old woman's soft cheek.

As they stepped through the gate, closing it carefully behind them, Ianto reached over and took Jack's hand in his.

“Bees are nice,” Jack said cryptically.

Ianto gave his hand a squeeze. “I knew I liked you for a reason.”

25 Words - 25 Sentences
Saw this on another blog and took most of the words, only changing a few that stumped the hell out of me.  All Torchwood (and mostly Jack/Ianto related).  Comments are always welcome - good, bad or indifferent as long as they're polite.

Torchwood Theme – 25 Words and 25 Sentences

1. Hidden:
Ianto understood, more than Gwen did, that to Jack, a secret was not the same as a lie.

2. Memory:
The fact that Ianto couldn't forget – the nuance of Jack's voice, the sparkle in his eyes when he flirted, the subtle taste of his skin – made Jack's disappearance hurt more.

3. Jealous:
“I don't do jealousy.” was the sweetest lie Jack had ever heard.

4. Mess:
Three people dead including his Cyberman girlfriend, a close-knit team in complete disorder, his boss with a fat lip and he himself on so many restrictions he couldn't take a piss without having to file a report first – Ianto never did anything by halves.

5. Clue:
Listening to Owen and Toshiko bicker about being sad and single, Ianto smirked, knowing they had no idea that Jack was seducing him at that very moment.

6. Droplet:
Not sure if it was a tear-drop or the rain, Jack kissed it away regardless.

7. Sober:
Jack walked up to the bar and, bold as brass, ordered “Water, straight up, hold the citrus!”

8. Gag:
“You could at least pretend to have a gag reflex when I ask you to say 'aah',” Owen grumbled, “and yes, I know that's physically impossible, but you're freaking me out.”

9. Happiness:
When he told Rhiannon “It's just him; it's only him,” what Ianto really meant was, “I'm happy.”

10. Strength:
Jack had no choice in living; he did, though, in loving.

11. Silence:
It was a new flat and it slowly filled with the presence of silence.

12. Thunder:
Jack never caught on to why Ianto seduced him on stormy nights.

13. Grave:
The gravestone said “Died: July 8, 2006” but he always visited it the day Lisa really died.

14. Alien:
“Of all the aliens we've encountered, Jack is still by far the most intriguing,” Ianto stated with absolute conviction.

15. Dying:
'Death by Torchwood' was one definition with many meanings.

16. Habit:
Ianto was addicted to coffee and to Jack – some days he just wasn't sure in which order.

17. Fists:
The moment Ianto's fist connected with Jack's face was the first time Ianto purposefully touched Jack.

18. Bruises:
Every night while the young man slept, Jack counted Ianto's bruises – a tally of service to Torchwood that Jack could never repay.

19. Sick:
What didn't kill Jack made him a pathetic, sniffling, sweaty, whining mess.

20. Dog:
It wasn't just that Jack talked to dogs on every one of their evening walks that perplexed Ianto, it was the fact that he avidly listened to them.

21. Keep:
For a thousand lifetimes and longer, Jack kept one thing – a promise.

22. Pillow:
It was warm, impossible to fluff up, made noises and moved on its own, but Ianto couldn't sleep until his cheek rested against Jack's chest.

23. Surprise:
“If you tell everyone everything at once,” Jack said with a wink, “there's nothing to bring out on the days when people really need a boost.”

24. Blood:
“I've got to stop buying such expensive ties,” Ianto muttered to himself as he dabbed at the blood spatter. “Or learn to duck better.”

25. Love:
Torchwood – five lonely, damaged people held together by sheer determination, bravado and fierce love.


Thirty Days of Torchwood - day none
Okay I've decided to re-do the Thirty Days, after I've re-watched the show.  I've realized it's been awhile since I've watched it all in one go, full episodes at a time, all in order.  So I started tonight, watching "Everything Changes" and "Day One" so far.

The good thing is, I've made notes that may help my writing and if I can get a video program working I'll try to get some screen caps of things like the Torchwood Hub from when Gwen first comes in, etc.  I think I've been describing some things wrong, but I also know they changed the Hub a little from Series 1 to 2.  Funny thing is it's not always clear just where some corners are.  For example in "Day One" when Gwen mentions her boyfriend doing a similar type of route tracking that Jack is doing...that corner of the Hub...I'm not sure I could figure out where it is.  There are two console video games (with signs up on them for High Scores) behind Owen.  Is this off Jack's office?

The hard part is trying to concentrate on things like "what's in the Hub?" when I'm getting caught up in the story again.  It's like when I'm reading, and trying to analyze sentence structure and I realize I've barreled through two chapters because the story's good (and this is when I've read the book many many times already!).

So, better analysis of TW coming another time.  I'm already re-evaluating my opinion of Toshiko based on the first two episodes.  So that's good.

why I will never use "Yan"
This is my rant. It is mine and I call it My Rant.  I own it completely.  Okay.

Short answer why I will never have anyone calling Ianto "Yan" or god forbid, "Yannie" in my fics:  It is not his name.

Long answer: IT. IS. NOT. HIS. NAME.  Need more?? okay.

His name is Ianto Jones.  Ianto.  THREE syllables.  "What??!" you say, "Three?"  Yes, three.  I an to

The letter "I" in a number of languages is pronounced "ee".  That is why we have the name "Ian".  You see that and say "ee-an".  The name "Iain" is also pronounced "ee-an" but I digress.

So, it's not pronounced: "yan tow".  It's pronounced "ee an to".  Where the difficulty arises is which syllable the accent is on.  In Welsh, it should be ee AN to, and if so, then the "ee" probably can be diminished into a sloppy "yuh" sound.

But it's "ee" in:  Iago, Ivan, Ivor, Ifan, Ieuan (try that one on for size! also a form of John).  All "ee".

Back to Ianto.  His name is Ianto - ee AN tow (or toe).  It is a diminutive of Ian or Ifan, which is the Welsh for John.  Lovely name John.  I love that the diminutive of John is Johnny.  A lot of people think a diminutive has to be shorter.  Nope.  You add something to a name, making it bigger, and actually denoting that it's smaller.  In names it's used for affectionate purposes.

To sum up, Ian means John...a very formal sounding name.  Ianto means Johnny, something you'd say with a smile.  If you think of Ianto Jones and think "Johnny Jones" wouldn't you smile at the diminutive?  I would and often do, I'm weird that way.

Why I argue this?  Captain Jack knows how to pronounce Welsh names.  At one point there's a guy on the slab and his identification says "Meredith".  Americans would pronounce this "MER i dith' ( or probably "MER uh duth" uuughh).  Jack pronounces it "me RE dith".  I actually squeed when I heard that! (but I digress).  "Splott" not withstanding, he pronounces place names well and correctly (and Ianto is joking by saying "sploe". Even I got that first time).

I've been told that it IS canon that Jack says "Yan".  I don't know.  I admit I haven't noticed it.  I am awaiting confirmation and if that doesn't come, I WILL watch every episode again.  (I did when I was looking for beans!).  I am HOPING it's someone not hearing correctly and he is saying a fast form of "Ian".

Another argument against "Yan".  Jack and Ianto do not use diminutives - no "sweetie", "hon", "darling".  Why would he chop Ianto's name down?  And to be honest, I've watched ALL the affectionate moments and I swear I've never heard "Yan".  If he was going to say it anywhere it would be there.  Even in moments of stress and hurry when he might chop a name down for speed, I still hear Jack say, "Ianto".

Last argument, I don't think he even calls Toshiko "Tosh".  Everyone else does, but he calls her "Toshiko".

So, this is a NO "YAN" ZONE!  It's MY rant and I'm sticking to it.

Why is this so personal to me?  A few reasons:  I'm Cathy (or Catherine) with a "C".  I've always had to say that "Cathy with a C".  It's my name.  I'm also "Kefirah", my Hebrew name.  I have to tell people how to pronounce that too: "keh FEE rah".  It means "young lioness".  But because of the weirdness of Hebrew writing and names, I was told the same letters are in the word "apostate".  I was told by a Jewish friend that she can't NOT think of my name as 'apostate' even though she KNOWS it's "young lioness" and is aware of the difference.  That's just MEAN.  She KNOWS Hebrew and is purposefully choosing not to think of me as Kefirah but "Kafor" or however "apostate" is pronounced in Hebrew (she told me once, but I forgot).  How dare someone do that to a person's name.

I also have a friend "Lila".  She is Spanish.  She pronounces her name "leelah".  Another woman I knew used to always say, (to Lila's face).  "Your name is supposed to be pronounced "Lie lah".  Um...NO!  It's supposed to be pronounced how it's pronounced!!

If I tell you my name is Kefirah and it's pronounced "raxacoricofallapatorius" then that's how it's pronounced!!!!!  Not everything that is spelled one way is pronounced the same way.  It's life!  It's language! Get over it!

Names mean something and names are pronounced the way they are pronounced for a reason!

Rant over!