Prompt: "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa (past), Rhiannon/Johnny (mentioned), Rhys/Gwen (mentioned), OMC/Anwen Williams (mentioned)
Warning(s): Language, character death
Spoilers: For Doctor Who S1, for all series of Torchwood as applies to Jack's background
Disclaimer: Torchwood is owned by the BBC and Russell T. Davies. "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is owned by 20th Century Fox and was written by Philip Dunn, and a novel by R.A. Dick (Josephine Leslie).
Author's Note: This was written for Reel Torchwood Round Four, and is the first of two stories I've written for this challenge. I've wanted to write this for a while, since I adore this movie and especially the performance given by the wonderful Rex Harrison.
The PDF is here.
Summary: After losing his wife, Ianto Jones and his son move to the village of Aberaeron and into the isolated Spitfire Cottage. Soon he's dealing with clinging relatives...and the ghost of Captain Jack Harkness, the original builder of the cottage. Little does Ianto know just how much of an impact the dead World War Two hero will have on his life.
After about a week, Gareth stopped mentioning Jack at all.
Ianto stopped as well, but more for his son than for himself. He, himself, wanted to talk to someone – anyone – about what had happened, and found that person in Sarah Jane Smith, who actually made the trip up to Spitfire Cottage even though she hadn’t needed to. They’d talked over coffee while Gareth was at school, and he’d found a very sympathetic ear in his publisher.
They became friends, but Ianto never wrote another novel.
With a little distance, Ianto could understand why Jack had done what he did. He was a little confused by the ghost’s mention of the light, because Jack had been so certain that it didn’t exist, but Ianto was glad it did.
He wondered if Jack had met Lisa on the other side. He hoped so.
The years passed, and Ianto and Gareth continued to live in Spitfire Cottage. It had gotten around Aberaeron that the ghost that had haunted the place had moved on. Most were glad, as Ianto had not come to be, but others were a bit disappointed, in that they’d become enamoured of the haunted cottage on the cliff and now that Jack was gone, it had simply become yet another house in the area. Ianto did his best to ignore them; after all, they only saw a ghost. Ianto had seen the man.
Gareth seemed to lose his love of the cottage, and left for university as soon as he could. He moved to Cardiff, getting back in touch with his cousins – Rhiannon’s children – and Ianto’s sister had the nerve to gloat over it. Ianto had slammed the phone down on her, breaking the hand set in the process. Gareth had later called back to apologize, but Ianto couldn’t fault him…if he wanted to reacquaint himself with his relatives, then Ianto wasn’t going to stop him. It wasn’t his fault that his aunt wanted to grasp any sort of perceived victory she could.
He wasn’t the only one to miss Gareth; Anwen Williams had as well, and ended up following Gareth to Cardiff University, despite her parents’ best efforts to convince her to stay. Ianto wasn’t at all surprised to know that they’d moved in together. He’d seen the signs, when his son had decided that Anwen was perfectly fine being a girl, and he’d wondered if something would blossom between them.
Ianto was a very proud father indeed, when Gareth and Anwen were married in the small church in Aberaeron, after their graduations from university. He was equally glad when they moved back, Gareth to work on the various conservation projects in the area, and Anwen as a second-generation police constable. It had been Ianto’s turn to gloat – a little, since he was gentleman – that his son had come home to stay, even if he and Anwen had purchased a house in the village. It was close enough.
Ianto, of course, stayed in the cottage. It was home for him, and there was a very small part of him that hoped Jack would come back some day. The place was quiet with just him there, and when Gareth and Anwen had shown up with a dog as a birthday present, Ianto laughed and accepted.
Life went on, the seasons turning into years. Gareth and Anwen had their first son, Evan, on Ianto’s forty-sixth birthday; and then a daughter three years later. Ianto doted on both of his grandchildren, and while he hated admitting that he had a favourite Evan was more like him, while Caryn was boisterous and took after her mother. Evan would spend hours with his granddad, and it was Evan who had been with Ianto when he’d had his first heart attack, at age fifty-eight.
Ianto spent almost two weeks in hospital, and Gareth tried very hard to get him to move closer to town. Ianto would have none of it, preferring to go back to Spitfire Cottage where he was the happiest. Gareth hadn’t liked it, and he made certain people were always checking up on him until Ianto had had enough of the mothering. The doctors had given him a fairly clean bill of health, and he was quite capable of living on his own. He did concede to his son’s worrying by agreeing to have a housekeeper come in and help with the place.
Evan officially moved into Spitfire Cottage when he turned sixteen. That was the moment that Ianto had his will changed to leave the home to his grandson, recognizing the younger man’s true love for the place. Gareth didn’t mind; in fact, he’d planned on selling it, but he confided with Ianto that it would be in much better hands with Evan than with a stranger.
Ianto had hesitated about telling Evan about Jack, mainly out of respect for Gareth’s feelings, but after his grandson had moved in he shared the short time that Jack had been there, telling him stories and giving him a copy of the book they’d written together. To Ianto’s surprise it had been a relative best seller, and after Sarah Jane had passed on her son Luke had taken over the publishing business, and had become a friend as well. He, like his mother, had never pressured him into writing a sequel.
The day when Evan had called Jack ‘Uncle’ was the day Ianto realized that Gareth hadn’t completely forgotten about his ghostly adopted uncle. Ianto couldn’t describe how happy he’d been at that knowledge, because Jack had really loved them both, if he’d willingly let them go on with their own lives.
And then, one morning, just shy of his sixty-fifth birthday, Ianto awoke to a strange, yet familiar, feeling.
He sat carefully up in bed, his bones aching a bit as he moved, and looked around. “Jack?” he murmured, not seeing any sign of his old lover except for the portrait that was back in its place over the mantle. He may have started out not liking it there, but after Jack had left it was like a calming presence to him, and he’d moved it from where he’d kept it on the opposite wall.
Shaking his head, laughing at himself for imagining things, Ianto got out of his bed, his morning ablutions taking a bit longer than they had when he’d been younger. He dressed and headed slowly down to the kitchen, where he began his morning ritual of coffee making. Per doctor’s orders he could no longer drink caffeine, but he’d found a decaf that tasted just as good. He couldn’t hear anything from upstairs; Evan obviously wasn’t awake yet, but then it was early; Ianto had been getting less and less sleep the older he became, and it would be hours yet before his grandson would be up and about.
Carefully balancing his coffee cup, Ianto decided to go back up to his room until Evan was awake. He played around with eating, but wasn’t very hungry that morning. He’d sit in his chair by the fireplace, and perhaps read a bit…
Getting settled, Ianto picked up the ereader that Gareth had gotten him for his birthday a couple of years ago. He still loved the feel of real books, but he could certainly see where the small device was so handy.
He reached across to the coffee that he’d set on the table beside the chair, and a sharp pain rippled down his left arm.
Ianto recognized the signs, of course; it was another heart attack. He leaned back in the chair, letting the ereader slip into his lap, breathing through the sudden weight in his chest. He had to get Evan’s attention, let him know what was happening…
That beloved voice breached the drumming in Ianto’s ears, and he looked up to see Jack standing in front of the chair, smiling down on him. Ianto wanted to say something, but the discomfort in his chest was rising into his neck, and he found he couldn’t speak.
“I know,” Jack said quietly. “Here, take my hand. It’s time for you to come home with me.”
Reaching up was easier than it should have been, but the moment Ianto’s hand touched Jack’s, the pain was gone, and Jack was pulling him upward and into an embrace, hugging him fiercely. “Oh, I’ve missed you,” his lover murmured into Ianto’s neck. “It’s been so long.”
“I’ve missed you, too,” Ianto answered, a bubble of laughter rising from his chest instead of agony. “But if you ever leave me again, Jack Harkness, I’m going to hunt you down and punch your lights out.”
“You’ll never have to worry about that ever again,” Jack promised, pulling back a little. He pressed his lips – his oh-so-warm lips – against Ianto’s kissing him hungrily.
Ianto returned the kiss just as hungrily, needing the contact to prove to him that Jack was really there. He opened his mouth to Jack’s probing tongue, letting his own sweep into Jack’s mouth, tasting him as he had all those years ago.
They finally broke apart, and Ianto stepped back a little. “How can I be touching you like this?” he asked. “Shouldn’t you be expending too much energy?”
“I don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Jack assured him. He nodded his head toward the chair Ianto had been sitting in. “Look.”
Ianto turned, and saw himself in the chair, the ereader in his lap, his head leaning against the chair’s high back.
Then he turned back. “I’m dead then.”
“I’m afraid so,” Jack confirmed.
“I’m not.” Ianto kissed him again, revelling in the knowledge that he could now be with Jack for all eternity.
This kiss didn’t last long, as Jack pulled away. “Let’s go home, Ianto.”
Ianto nodded, happier than he’d been in so very long. Entwining his fingers around Jack’s, he let the captain lead him toward a white light he was just now noticing. “I thought you said there wasn’t a light,” Ianto teased.
“I was wrong,” Jack confessed. “It only appeared in my most unselfish moment…when I gave up you and Gareth. It was wrong for me to stay then, I had to let you go to live your own lives.”
“But now we’re together,” Ianto grinned.
A sudden gasp drew Ianto’s attention back to the room. Evan had found his body, and was desperately trying to resuscitate him.
“Did you get a boy toy while I was gone?” Jack teased lightly, although there was a very slight undertone of jealousy to the question.
“Idiot,” Ianto answered playfully. “That’s Gareth’s oldest, Evan. He’s a good kid, and he’ll be happy here like I was. I do wish I could say goodbye…”
“Why don’t you?” Jack encouraged.
Ianto turned back to Evan, who had obviously given up on trying to bring his granddad back, and was using his mobile to dial for an ambulance, tears running down his face. “Are you sure?” he asked.
“Go for it.”
He called Evan’s name, but the young man didn’t hear him…at first. It was obvious when he did; he glanced down at the body he’d taken from the chair, and then up and around, his eyes going wide as he must have seen Ianto standing there. “Granddad?” he gasped.
“It’s going to be fine,” Ianto reassured him. “It’s my time.”
Evan’s eyes flickered to Ianto’s side, and he grinned. “And you’re with Uncle Jack.”
“I am.” Ianto was so glad that Evan could see the both of them. “Take care, and we’ll see each other again someday.”
“I love you, granddad and Uncle Jack.”
“I love you too, Evan.”
“Me too, kiddo,” Jack returned, winking. “Have a good life.” He tugged on Ianto’s hand. “C’mon, we have people waiting for us.”
Ianto grinned. “I can imagine. Oh, did you meet Lisa? How does she feel about this?”
Jack rolled his eyes. “She threatened to find a way to castrate me if I ever hurt you.”
Ianto laughed freely. “That’s my Lisa.”
“Let’s go; she’s expecting us for dinner. Oh, and you have to meet her new boyfriend; a guy named Mickey…”
Ianto walked beside Jack, and into the light…and to whatever awaited them beyond.
He couldn’t wait to face it, with Jack at his side.