Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Illya Kuryakin/Napoleon Solo; Tosh/Diane, Martha/Tom, other canon pairings
Warning: Language, violence
Spoilers: Up through Season Two, "Something Borrowed", although this is an alternate take on the entire series. None really for "Man from U.N.C.L.E." although I have kept Illya's and Napoleon's retirement professions from "The Fifteen Years Later Affair."
Disclaimer: I don't own "Torchwood" or "Man from U.N.C.L.E.", just kinda playing a bit with them.
Author's Note: This is a prequel to my Torchwood Big Bang story, Torchwood Blues (LJ) (DW). In that story, Jack and Ianto have had a CP for over a year, and this is about the events leading up to that Civil Partnership. Since this is an Alternate Reality, certain things are different; for one thing, Gwen didn't break the Retcon in "Everything Changes" so she isn't a member of Torchwood; Owen wasn't killed in "Reset"; and Diane Holmes didn't leave in "Out of Time" and is, in fact, in Torchwood. As is Tish Jones, Martha's sister. This is also a crossover with "Man from U.N.C.L.E.".
A/N2: I haven't updated this since March, and I'm sincerely disgusted with myself over it. I'm hoping to fit working on this into my already busy schedule. Those silly dragon muses have really monopolized my time.
Summary: Between alien interference, overprotective uncles, well-meaning teammates, and a disastrous stag do, how do Jack and Ianto cope with events leading up to their Civil Partnership?
The Playing Happy Families Affair
After the day he’d had, all Ianto wanted to do was go back to the flat, curl himself around Jack, and forget that the world even existed.
Too bad he still had the family dinner to get through.
They’d rented a private room at the St. David’s, in order to fit everyone in. Ianto was nervous as he and Jack entered the hotel, and it was all he could do not to pray for the night to go well. He just wanted to gain the Joneses’ approval. They were important to Jack, and it would mean much more if they’d accept him.
Now he understood why Jack had been so nervous about meeting Ianto’s uncles.
They hadn’t even made it past the reception desk when someone was calling Jack’s name. Together they turned, and Ianto couldn’t help but see Martha in the older woman who was approaching. She had a bright smile on her face as she embraced Jack.
Jack returned the hug enthusiastically. “It’s great to see you,” he exclaimed. He pulled back just enough to look at her, but not enough to let her go. “Where’s everyone else? And why are they leaving the most gorgeous woman in Cardiff on her own?”
The woman – Francine Jones, obviously – rolled her eyes, apparently used to Jack’s ways. “Clive found the bar, Tom found Martha, and Tish is off making sure everything is perfect.” Her eyes found Ianto, and she smiled. “I take it this is Ianto?” She was angling for an official introduction, and Jack obliged.
Ianto took her offered hand, hoping that his palms weren’t sweating with the horrendous case of nerves that had landed on him like a rabid Weevil. “I’m glad to finally meet you,” he said sincerely. “I’ve wanted to thank you, for being there when Jack needed you.”
Francine’s eyes turned sad, but it didn’t last long when Jack wrapped an arm around her waist. “Jack is a good man,” she answered. Her eyes once again changed, this time becoming calculating. “I really would like to get to know you better, Ianto.”
Jack laughed. “Don’t scare him off, Francine,” he joked. “I kinda like having him around.”
“Then it’s a good thing I like being around,” Ianto answered, shaking off his nerves as best he could. As long as Jack was there, it was going to be all right.
Ianto realized very early on in the evening that things could go very strange, very quickly.
It began with Rhiannon and her family.
They were the only ones in the room who didn’t know that Jack and Ianto were with Torchwood. They also didn’t know about the Uncles being former spies, or about Jack’s immortality. And Ianto didn’t dare get into the Year That Never Was, to explain the Joneses and how they came to unofficially adopt Jack into their family.
Everyone else, however, did.
Ianto had made a point of telling everyone invited that his sister and her family were ignorant of many of the possible topics of conversation that would have normally flowed freely in the room. It was somewhat noticeable when people would go quiet when any of them would approach, making for an uncomfortable time.
Rhiannon wasn’t stupid.
In fact, she’d inherited their mother’s discerning nature, even if she didn’t have a lot of opportunity to use it outside of telling when either child – or Johnny – was up to something they shouldn’t be.
So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Rhiannon interrupted Ianto’s chat with Martha and Napoleon, grabbed him by the arm, and practically hauled him out of the room.
“All right,” she said, once they were in the relative privacy of the hallway. She let go of Ianto, and planted her hands on her hips belligerently. “I get it, you have posh friends, and all that, but there’s no reason for them to be rude!”
Ianto knew he was gaping like a fish. Of everything that might have happened, this hadn’t even been in his top twenty. “Rhiannon,” he managed to get his startlement under control, “they aren’t being rude – “
She rolled her eyes at him. “Not being rude? We’re practically being ignored, even by our own family! And those that aren’t, go quiet when I try to join any conversation, or quickly change the subject. Okay, we might not be as educated or rich as everyone else but that doesn’t give them the right to freeze us out!”
He should have seen this happening. Ianto belatedly realized he’d let his nerves get the better of him so badly that he’d completely failed to take into consideration that a roomful of people who should have known how to keep secrets would be so bloody blatant about having them.
Maybe it was time to be honest with her. Their father had been so adamant about neither of his children knowing about their uncles’ profession – despite Ianto finding out at a fairly young age – and that lesson had carried over into pretty much everything…not that Torchwood was something that Ianto felt comfortable discussing with his sister.
He sighed, gathering his thoughts…
“Is everything okay out here?”
They both turned. Uncle Napoleon had his head sticking out the door, looking at both of them appraisingly. Ianto motioned him over, and Napoleon joined them. “I think it’s time we told Rhiannon,” Ianto said.
Napoleon raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure about that?”
“I’m here, you know,” Rhiannon snapped in what Ianto thought of as her ‘mother’ voice. ”And tell me what, exactly?”
Ianto touched her arm gently, hoping to calm her a bit, then turned back to his uncle. “Yes, because you’d think a group of disparate people with a great deal of worldly experience could talk about other things besides what they aren’t supposed to, instead of falling into awkward silences every time Rhiannon shows up.”
His uncle snorted. “Yeah, you’d think.” He hooked his arm around Rhiannon’s waist. “Why don’t you get back in there with your guests, and I’ll take care of the explanations?”
Ianto felt horribly relieved. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Napoleon answered. “Why don’t you ask Martha to join us? She can handle Jack’s part of the story.”
That made sense; Martha could be discreet, and would know just how much to tell. “All right. I’ll send her and Johnny out.”
He didn’t miss his uncle’s stifled sigh, and Ianto knew it was because of Johnny. He couldn’t blame him; Johnny Davies had all the discretion of an inveterate gossip in a room full of working telephones and a phone book. Hell, his brother-in-law still called him ‘gay-boy’ even though it had been months since he’d introduced them to Jack. He didn’t want to go into how many ‘taking it up the arse’ jokes he’d had to suffer through, either. It was a good thing that Johnny was actually afraid of the Uncles, or he’d have been killed in several interesting ways for saying that sort of thing around them. Ianto put up with it to keep the peace.
Ianto gave Napoleon a look, and his uncle nodded slightly. There wasn’t anything they could do, since if they told Rhiannon they’d have to tell Johnny as well. And while Ianto wanted to keep his only sister out of his very dangerous life, she’d only keep banging away until he finally just avoided talking to her at all. That was something he really didn’t want to do.
Damn their Russian stubbornness.
“Send them up to our room,” Napoleon directed. “We won’t be overheard or interrupted there.”
Which was spy-speak for ‘we swept the room for surveillance devices’ and ‘we set up our own in the hallway just in case’.
Uncle Napoleon steered a still pissed off Rhiannon away, leaving Ianto to heave a sigh of relief. Now he just had to get through the rest of the evening without anything from happening…
Famous last words, of course.
It wasn’t until he’d spoken to Martha and got Johnny to go with her that he realized that Francine and Uncle Illya were chatting away quite happily in the corner.
For some reason, this scared him more than a roomful of Daleks.
They seemed to be getting along. This should have been a good thing, but Ianto knew his uncle too well, and from what Jack had said of Francine, he thought that for two such strong-willed individuals to be so cozy with each other that it had to be one of the signs of the Armageddon.
All he really needed was Bilis Manger and Abaddon to show up. That would make his life complete.
“What do you think they’re talking about?” he asked Jack, taking a very large sip of his drink.
Jack’s eyes followed where Ianto indicated. He shrugged. “Probably either about various ways to take down maniacal dictators, or sharing embarrassing baby stories.”
Perhaps it said something about Ianto’s experiences that it worried him more that they might actually be discussing any number of Ianto’s youthful indiscretions than taking down evil masterminds.
Then he turned to Jack. “Wait…Francine knows stories about you as a kid?”
Jack shrugged, blushing faintly. “Well, it got boring in between being killed.”
“And it doesn’t bother you that she might be sharing those with my uncle?”
“I kept them clean!”
Ianto really didn’t know what to say to that, so he took another hefty drink. Then he decided that getting drunk would be a really bad idea, especially after last night…
A sharp tugging on his jacket made Ianto look down. Mica was standing there, looking somewhat put out. It would have been adorable on any other six-year-old, but on Mica Davies – who had a full measure of her grandmother’s Russian blood – it was downright scary. She was almost like a pint-sized, female Illya Kuryakin. “What is it, sweetheart?”
“When are we gonna eat, Uncle Ianto?” she asked petulantly. “Mam didn’t make tea because she knew we were gonna have a big dinner.”
Ianto wasn’t hungry; his butterflies had completely filled whatever emptiness there had been in his stomach. But he could tell everyone else being ready to eat. “As soon as your Mam and Tad get back from talking with Uncle Napoleon,” he answered. “It won’t be much longer.”
Mica thought about that, then nodded. “Can I sit with you and Uncle Jack?”
He glanced at Jack; his lover had the sappiest look on his face, so Ianto figured that Jack didn’t mind being called ‘uncle’. He wondered if Rhiannon had prompted Mica to say it. “If it’s fine with your parents, it’s fine with us.”
The little girl smiled, losing the Kuryakin-ness from her features. Now she more closely resembled her own Tad. She hugged him. “Thank you, Uncle Ianto.” She then moved to Jack, hugging him too. Ianto felt far too happy for his own good over it. “Thank you, Uncle Jack.” She then released him, and practically skipped away.
“I think,” Jack said, bemused, “that was quite the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Even cuter than the large fluffy alien snake-thing we ran across not that long ago?” Ianto asked.
“Much cuter. At least Mica isn’t addicted to your coffee. I still remember the time it ate all the coffee beans.”
Ianto snorted. Jack may have a point…
Just when Ianto was starting to feel a bit relaxed.
He turned to face a smiling Francine. “Are you enjoying yourself?” Ianto asked politely.
“I am,” she answered. “Your Uncle Illya is quite a storyteller.”
That was what Ianto was afraid of.
She slipped her arm through Ianto’s. “Why don’t we have a little talk before dinner? I really would like to get to know you better, since you’re about to become a member of the family…”
Ianto had faced a lot of dangerous things in Torchwood; hell, he’d survived Canary Wharf. But the prospect of being alone with Francine Jones was as close to freaking him out as nothing else had.
He hadn’t been this terrified when he’d met Lisa’s parents.
Ianto turned to Jack, wanting him to come up with something that would keep him from being given what would most likely be “The Talk” but it appeared that Jack had his own problems, in the form of his Uncle Illya.
They were being double-teamed.
It was so unfair.
Deciding that biting the bullet would be the best thing, Ianto smiled down at her. “I’d be delighted,” he answered, trying to sound sincere.
Francine returned the smile, maneuvering him toward a quiet corner. “Illya has told me a few things about you – “
She was on a first-name basis with his uncle?
Ianto was doomed.
“– and I must say, he backs up things that Martha’s told me,” she went on. “It’s also obvious that you make Jack very happy.”
“That’s all I really want to do,” Ianto said, hoping she realized that he meant it. Jack’s happiness did mean more to him than anything, and he fully intended on doing his best to make that happen, for as long as he could.
“Jack’s been through so much, he deserves as much happiness as he can get,” Francine replied. “I just want to make sure that you’re really the one to give it to him.”
“Jack seems to think I am,” he commented, trying to keep it light but he had a feeling he didn’t succeed very well. It was just that he hated people doubting him, and doubting his feelings for Jack.
Francine must have picked up on his defensiveness, because she suddenly looked as if she was a lioness about to pounce on a prospective meal. “Jack does love you; anyone can see that. But sometimes love isn’t enough – “
“Francine,” Ianto interrupted. He wasn’t about to let himself be browbeaten into anything, and his stubbornness arose to the fore. “I understand that you care a great deal for Jack. Knowing what I do about that Year, I can certainly accept that you have a somewhat proprietary feeling toward him. But please know this: Jack’s happiness is all that’s important to me. I would do anything to keep him from being hurt, physically or emotionally…or by me, or something I do. I know that someday I’m going to leave him, but it will never be by choice. In fact I’ll do anything in my power to keep that from happening. But I also won’t let anyone stand in the way of my happiness as well, and right now that’s being with Jack, for as long as I have. So please, just accept that I won’t let anyone – even you – stop me from committing him, because that’s what he wants…and that’s what I want. What you want doesn’t go into it.”
And suddenly, Ianto wasn’t so nervous anymore.
Francine was looking at him, an unreadable expression on her face. Ianto wasn’t about to let it bother him; he’d said his peace, to the woman who’d adopted Jack into their family. He’d meant every word, and if she didn’t accept it…well, he didn’t want to think that.
Then Francine smiled, and she hugged him.
“Welcome to the family, Ianto,” she greeted. “You’ll fit in just fine.”
Ianto hugged her back, realizing that this had been some sort of test.
And he believed a certain uncle was to blame.
Just wait until he had words with Uncle Illya…