Chapters 1-10  ~  Chapters 11-20 ~ Chapter 21 ~ Chapter 22 ~ Chapter 23 ~ Chapter 24 ~ Chapter 25 ~ Chapter 26 ~ Chapter 27

Metal Tears for the Tin Man (Part 3)

By Angyl and Rina

October 2009-February 2010

Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to Russell T. Davies and BBC Wales. Jack, however, is willing to share himself with everyone so we took him up on the offer!

Chapter 21

Martha pushed the button and, when there was no answer, did it again, calling, "Mrs. Leeds?"

A scream answered her, high-pitched and terrified, one that was repeated and followed by the sound of breaking glass. Martha and Jacob leapt back from the entry, Jake moving into the space the second it was vacated, booting in the cheery, red-painted door and allowing Alpha team access.

"If itís the boy, try to take him out with a tazer," Ianto ordered as they followed the sounds of a struggle back into the kitchen where, it seemed, Roger Leeds was trying to have his mother for lunch. Ross was the closest to them, and he leapt forward, jamming the prongs of his tazer into Rogerís exposed neck and triggering it.

The half-mutated boy screeched and twitched before dropping to the floor, Jake and Ianto instantly grabbing his wrists and ankles while Tom dug in his field pack for a sedative to keep him out.

Martha and Jacob were at Mrs. Leedís side, checking her over and comforting the obviously hysterical woman.

Jake cursed, thanking Iantoís foresight for ordering them into armor as the Leeds boy bit down on his arm, razor sharp teeth biting through the cloth of his uniform but leaving him otherwise undamaged thanks to the polymer sheath that coated his skin. "Damn, the kidís got one heck of a set of chompers on Ďim," he grunted as the effects of the tazer began to wear off almost immediately and he struggled to keep his side pinned.

"Dr. Jones, you may want to check the mum for avulsion injuries," he called out, using the medical term for human bites so as not to upset the hysterical woman further. "Hurry up with that blasted needle, will you, Tommy?" he grunted again. "Heís buggering strong for a Ďroid-hopped wrestler, never mind a fourteen-year-old lad!"

Ross quickly dropped to his knees and added his own weight to helping Ianto and Jake keep the kid pinned, and damned if Jake hadnít been correct. "This isnít natural, even beyond the whole eating your mum thing," he muttered so that only Ianto, Jake and Tom could hear.

"Gee, what gave you that clue, Ross?" Tom grunted as he finally jammed a needle into the boyís throat and injected him full of sedatives, breathing a sigh of relief as the thrashing slowly grew weaker, then stopped altogether. He kept two fingers on Rogerís pulse the whole time, checking his vitals and nodding to himself as they remained steady.

"What have they done to him?" the teary-faced Mrs. Leeds asked, what looked to be a normally quietly pretty countenance undone by fear and crying.

"Dr. Milligan has just given Roger a sedative, maíam," Martha said firmly and gently. "This way he wonít hurt himself."

"What happened to him?!"

"Thatís what weíre here to find out," Ianto said as he slowly released his hold on the teenís legs. "Would it be all right if we talked while Dr. Jones looks you over? Drs. Milligan and Reese will be looking after Roger; we wonít let anything happen to him," he added gently as he spoke to the distraught woman.

"Allóall right," she nodded.

"Why donít you just sit here," Martha offered, patting a kitchen chair. "That way you can watch your son as well."

Carolyn Leeds did as she was directed, and Ianto stayed quiet, letting Martha calm her as she began to check for any bites or scratches on her skin.

"Mrs. Leeds," he began once the woman had regained some color, "does Roger have any pets?"

"Heís quite interested in reptiles," the older woman replied slowly, not quite paying attention to the question as she watched her son worriedly.

"Does he have any as pets?"

"They come and go; poor things are so sensitive to the cold. He keeps the cages in his room."

"Would you mind if we took a look around Rogerís room? It might help us find out whatís happened to him."

"Ióof course."

"Thank you, Mrs. Leeds," Ianto said, giving her a warm smile. "Weíll do our best to track it down and get your Roger back to you."

This started a fresh spate of tears, and Ianto, Jake and Ross all quickly ducked out of the kitchen, climbing the narrow stairway and pushing open doors until they found the teenagerís room.

"Mrs. Leeds says Roger got an egg from his science teacher, part of a project," Martha reported from downstairs after a few moments.

"Damn," Ross cursed. "You think we ought to let the boss know so he can send out someone to check the teacher?"

"I donít think weíd better; I know weíd better," Jake said slowly as he turned around a couple of empty terrariums to reveal that the glass had been broken into, not out of. The third empty terrarium had the opposite problem. Glass had exploded everywhere, and there were droplets of blood on the desk as well as the regurgitated remains of what looked like it had possibly been an iguana. The most damning evidence of all was a gaping hole gnawed through the outside wall of the house. "I have blood and the corpse of an iguana," Jake called out quietly to his team mates. "And a hole in the wall. It looks like patient zero has made a jail break after making a snack of the other inmates."

"Ianto, I need the remains and the blood samples. Donít touch anything!" Martha demanded from downstairs. "Tom, can you?"

"Best that Jacob and I stay with Roger, just in case," Tom countered. "Jake, maybe you could come down and make Mrs. Leeds a cuppa so that Martha can do her job?"

Jake looked at Ianto for confirmation and, once he got the nod, reholstered his weapon while heading out the door and downstairs so that Martha could come up and take her samples.

"Right then," Ianto murmured, taking in the scene and getting Rogerís school and teacherís names before radioing in to explain the situation. "Donna, put me through to Harkness, will you?" he asked, waiting for her to do so before continuing.

"We have Roger Leeds in custody and contained; the med team has looked after his motherówho he was trying to eat, by the way. Weíre still not certain of the cause of his mutation, but it seems to track back to an egg he got from his science teacher, a Ms. Jackie Witham. Whatever bit him seems to have chewed a hole in the house and escaped, so once transpo for Roger arrives, weíre going after it, but weíre going to need other personnel to check on the teacher and see if any other eggs were given out and where she got them. Could be an innocent mistake, could be more."

"Well shit," Jack cursed in his office. "Bravo is in Cardiff this month, and Charlie is on their way to ScotlandóNessie is acting up again. Looks like Iíll have to send Delta out. Delta team better steer clear of the cafeteria food, or thereíll be hell to pay," he grimaced. "Fine, just be careful okay? I donít want to fend off John when he decides he wants to see what you turn into. Harkness out."

"He was joking, right?" Ross asked, a little too hesitantly for it to come off as a joke. "Doc wouldnít actually want to let the transformation complete?"

"This is Doctor John Smith weíre talking about, yeah?" Martha asked, having come in at the tail end of the conversation. "Damn straight heíd want to! Heís got an unhealthy fascination with xenobiology."

"He was kidding, Ross," Ianto chuckled, shaking his head. "And donít terrorize him, Martha, or Iíll keep Tom late."

"Try it and Iíll be the only Jones left in Torchwood when Iím done with you," Martha growled. "I have plans for my fiancť that donít involve him staying late tonight."

"Depends how long it takes up to track down whatever the hell it was that bit Roger," Ianto countered. "We canít have it running around loose terrorizing the neighborhood."

"Thatís different. Thatís work, not Jonesí Justice," Martha growled.

Ianto smirked at her. "Then donít terrorize Ross, Dr. Jones; thatís our job." He glanced out the window and saw an ambulance with a discreet Torchwood emblem worked into the caduceus and nodded to himself. "Looks like your transpoís here; anything we can scan to try and get a read on where this bugger went?"

Ross looked up from where heíd been diligently studying the cage that had been exploded outward. "Looks like there are some scales here, a bit of blood too. That should be enough."

"Excellent. Get it in your PDA, then transfer it to ours."

"On it," Ross muttered as he returned to what he was doing.

"Martha," Tomís voice cut through the com channel. "The paramedics have just come in, and we need to get Roger loaded. Perhaps you and Jacob can take Mrs. Leeds to the hospital in your vehicle," he suggested as tactfully as he could. The Ďparamedicsí were big, burly and properly trained in immobilizing and subduing a variety of different aliens or aliens Ďwearingí humans. They, too, wore Torchwood armor patches, carried modified tazers and were trained to do whatever necessary to keep the Ďpatientí contained and sedated in the back of the reinforced ambulance. Which meant that sending Rogerís mum in the ambulance with him, especially after almost being afternoon tea, would be a very bad idea.

"But I want to go with Roger!" Carolyn Leeds demanded; her strident voice was clearly heard in her sonís upstairs bedroom without the benefit of the com patches.

"Damn, thatís my cue. Send me the readings too, Jenkins, and see if you canít bag a sample for me to take to the hospital. Iíll send Jacob up to fetch it," Martha instructed as she all but bolted back downstairs to deal with the distraught woman.

"Donít relish Martha or Jacob that trip and explanation," Ross commented as he fiddled with his PDA. "Can you pass me a couple of petrie dishes and some sterile swabs, Ianto? I think I have enough for bio samples for Martha as well as what I needed for us."

Fifteen minutes later both the Leedses and the medical teams drove off, and the house was secured. Alpha team was hot on the trail of their escaped alien, following the scant blood trace through the neighborhood until...

"Oh, fuck me," Jake muttered, staring at the torn storm runoff grate.

"Sorry, not my type," Tom murmured as he knelt, examining a trace of blood on the metal and running his medical scanner over it. "Same source, our little friend has gone to ground here."

"Ross, get a download of the system in this area; Jake, bring the SUV and block this entranceójust leave room for us to get out. Tom, weíll check inside and see if thereís any clue as to which way itís gone."

The men nodded, all business as they went about their tasks, Tom and Ianto having ascertained a general direction to head in by the time Jake had the SUV situated and Ross had found and downloaded the plans to all their PDAs.

"Right then, heads up. Catch it alive if we can, as that might be the easiest way to cure poor Roger," Ianto said as they jogged off, the light from their torches gleaming against the damp walls, the splashing of their footsteps echoing around them.

"Thatís if it doesnít catch us first," Ross muttered. "Did you see the scoring on that grate? Itís got to be growing at an exponential rate."

"Whoís afraid of the crocodile in the sewers then?" Jake chuckled wickedly.

"Alien crocodiles whose bite causes humans to undergo a metamorphosis into the bloody crocman," Tom interjected grimly. "Thatís one hell of a survival mechanism, if you ask me. Makes you wonder how it got here and if there are any more. Iím actually kind of grateful that Delta got to go talk to the teacher."

"If sheís still human," Ianto commented idly, most of his attention on their surroundings and the faint trace of blood on the tunnel wall that their PDAs were tracking. "Branching up ahead, trace goes to the left."

"Of course down the more disgusting of the choices," Tom sighed.

"What, did you expect a walk through the High Park Rose Garden? Weíre in a bloody sewer; of course we get to slog through all the nasty, disgusting stuff that flows into the storm drains of London," Jake groused. "I almost think Iíd rather slog through a waste treatment plant!"

Tom merely rolled his eyes and looked at Ianto. "Do you ever feel like the parents of the children from hell?" he asked his team lead conversationally. "Itís enough to turn a man off the thought of procreating entirelyóespecially when one factors in the genes from oneís future mother-in law."

"Do you plan on telling Martha that?" Ianto asked, sounding amused even as he scanned the area ahead of them.

"Would I really be allowed into Torchwood let alone on a field ops team if I was suicidal?" Tom countered with a small chuckle which was abruptly cut off as his foot collided with something soft and squelchy. Shining his torch downwards, he fought the instinctive urge to gag at what he found.

"Looks like our killer croc has moved from storm grates to live prey," he commented distantly as he crouched down to get a better look at the bloody mass of flesh and bone. "Dog, Iíd say, and not the kind you can punt over a fence for fun. This one looks to be at least forty kilos so Iíd say one of the bigger breedsóGerman Sheppard, Dalmatian, that sort."

"How the hell did it get down here?" Ianto muttered, looking around them.

"Trail gets fainter up here," Jake said quietly, pausing at another branch in the sewer.

"Damn thing may be hunting," Ross suggested. "Whoís to say it didnít lie in wait by an open grate and snap?"

"If itís big enough to take this down, itís too big to hunt through a sewer grate," Ianto said, shaking his head.

"Could have wandered down here in search of food if it was a stray," Tom added as he stood, wiping his hands on his fatigue pants as he did. "Either way, itís getting bigger, meaner and hungrier. Weíd best take it down before it starts hunting us."

"People go to Africa to go on safari," Jake muttered, "we get to slog through the storm sewers."

"And you love every minute of it," Ianto countered, chuckling wryly.

The team followed the trail down another pipe, this one a narrower dimension that had them crouching slightly to walk. "Movement up ahead," Ross reported as he studied the scanner strapped to his forearm. "Too big to be rats."

Ianto looked around the pipe, his eyes narrowed as he assessed the situation. Their movements would be hampered in here, but so would the alienís, and if necessary, they could pull back to the main branch and keep it pinned down at this position.

"Move out," he ordered, and the four men trotted forward in loose formation, their automatics held at the ready.

"There you go, getting all butch again, Jones," Jake whispered, more to relieve the tension than anything else. "Too bad it doesnít work on me anymore." Ross groaned quietly while Tom began to chuckle, only to have it turn into a quiet curse as a thought that had been percolating away in the back of his mind came to fruition.

"Shit, Ross, do you remember if those blood samples revealed what sex our killer croc is?"

Ross dropped his eyes from scanning their murky surroundings to his PDA, quickly scrolling through the data display until it got to the words that left a cold pit in his stomach. "High levels of estrogen. And testosterone. Son of a bitchóitís asexual!"

"In other words if we donít find it and stop it, weíre going to be up to our asses in killer alien crocs," Ianto murmured as they rounded the corner and saw a large bulk up aheadóone that whipped around at the slight splashing of their approach and lumbered toward them, moving faster than something of its size should be able to.

The team immediately started laying in a suppressing fire though most of the bullets bounced off the dull grey scales of the beast.

"Fall back to the corner; try to keep it contained," Ianto ordered before relaying an update to the base.

"Not good," Jake panted, as he watched the thing keep coming, "Itís like itís got armor plating!"

"Jones, you copy?" Jackís voice came through the com patches, his tone indicating he was in full commander mode. "I want you all topside now! That thing is a nocturnal predator. Delta team found out the hard way with our school marm. Crack your halogens, and haul ass outta there. If youíve pissed it off, like Iím sure you have, itíll probably follow you, but I donít want you where it has the advantage."

"Copy," Ianto responded, waving the others back, the team moving in a rolling pattern, so that three of them were always covering the rapidly approaching alien, the increased intensity of their lights not seeming to do much to deter it.

"Suggestions for stopping it before it gets topside and loose?" he asked, aiming toward the tooth-lined maw.

"Blow it up?" Ross asked, backing past them and taking his position as Tom began to move.

"Got some incendiaries, a couple of frags, a percussion and some flash bangsónot that those will probably work," Jake offered immediately. "So pick your poison. I even have timers, but Iíll need cover in order to set Ďem right so we donít get caught in explosions."

"Do I even want to know why youíre walking around with fragmentation devices on you?" Tom groaned. "I am not picking shrapnel out of anyoneís arse this missionóonce was enough. Got it?"

"Letís just hope we can say the same for teeth," Ianto said. "Hit it with a percussion, then a frag when we get to the next bend," he added as Tom rolled back, leaving him and Jake closest to the croc.

"Roger that," Jake muttered as he ran his fingers down the bandolier he wore across his chest, finding the percussion grenade by touch alone. "You realize this might just piss it off more than it already is at the moment, yeah?" he asked his team lead, not really expecting an answer. "Hit the muffle on your head gear, lads; Iím making sure this sucker is loud!" Jake warned as he twirled the dial and hit the timer.

"Fifteen seconds," he warned and then began to softly count down. When it reached ten, he tossed it and signaled a rapid fallback action. "Haul arse you lot!"

The detonation sounded just as the team cleared the juncture of the pipes, echoing loudly even through their dampened hearing. All was quiet for a second before a loud flailing and splashing sounded, disorganized at first but then with more purpose.

"Hit it with the frag," Ianto ordered as Ross confirmed that the alien was still alive. "Then fall back to the SUV, more cover there."

"Tazers worked on Roger and his teacher," Tom reminded them. "If all else fails, we can hit it with the AED."

"And just who is going to slap the paddles on it?" Ross asked archly as they backtracked toward their vehicle, slipping through the narrow spaces on either side of it and taking up positions, opening fire again when the croc came into view.

"Whereís a fucking souped up cattle prod when you need one?" Jake grumbled as he hit the detonator, causing the fragmentation grenade to explode and send metal shards rocketing around the enclosed space of the tunnel. The Ďcrocí bellowed in pain and went down but didnít stop thrashing or trying to get up.

"Fuck, figures it would be a persistent bugger. What now, oh fearless leader?" Ross asked in frustrated worry. "We canít let that thing loose. Schoolís about to get out, and all those lovely school children will be fucking canapťs to this thing."

The croc gained its feet and surged forward, slamming forward into the SUV, making it rock on its wheels even as the team emptied clip after clip into it while the rows of sharp teeth mangled the bonnet and engine of their vehicle.

"Fall back," Ianto ordered, his tone grim. "Load phosphorus rounds, and when I give the count, aim for the gas tank; weíre going to roast the fucker."

"You can explain to Harkness and Rose why weíve demoíd another SUV," Ross muttered even as he followed orders, knowing that it was the only way to be sure.

"Hey, do you think alien crocs taste like gators? Would that make them space chicken, you think?" Jake chortled, trying to alleviate the tension with a bit of humor.

"Donít you dare volunteer to find out," Tom warned direly.

"Donít think Harper would like it if you suddenly developed a taste for his raw liver," Ianto nodded, glancing at each of the others to assure himself they were locked and loaded. The SUV shuddered as the croc closed its jaws around the bonnet again, shaking the entire vehicle as it did so.

"All right, letís take it down. Three, two..." When he reached one, all four men fired, their bullets tearing into the gas tank, igniting the liquid within and causing the whole SUV to go up in a ball of flames.

"Didnít Rose say the next one would come out of our pay?" Ross sighed, looking at the conflagration, his nose wrinkling as the smell of roasting meat reached them.

"Rose isnít the one that scares me," Tom muttered. "Women get pissed, yell at you, make you buy them things and then tote it out whenever it suits them, but thatís about it. Harkness, on the other hand, now his reaction scares the piss out of me. The man is diabolical!"

"No kidding," Jake agreed. "Did you hear about his improvements to his Ďtraining exerciseí? The ones that Charlie team got to be the first to enjoy? They came back looking like walking wounded, and he didnít have a scratch on him and was offering to take them out for a pint!"

"That camper van," Ross groaned. "Heís going to get us one, isnít he?"

"If he does, we take it," Ianto said. "We kept it from getting loose. We did our jobs; thatís what you have to remember." After he spoke, he keyed his com patch and spoke to Harkness. "Targetís down; weíll need cleanup here."

"So how much will I have to sweet talk the president when word of this gets out?" Jack asked dryly over the com even as he buzzed Donna and passed on instructions to get a cleanup crew out to Alphaís coordinates. "Do you need to stick around to secure the site, or can you head back to base?"

"Clean upís minor," Ianto reported before sighing. "We need transpo though; the croc ate ours."

"This had better be the Torchwood idea of a Ďmy dog ate my homeworkí excuse as opposed to what really happened," Jack replied, sounding anything but amused for once. "If you scratched the paint job or dented a bumper, then give it to me straight."

"The alien was chewing on the engine, and we blew the SUV up to stop it from getting loose," was the flat-voiced answer. "Blew up as in total loss."

"I see," Jack said tonelessly, hiding his groan by sheer force of will. Oh yeah, he was going to have to grovel to an entirely different Jones in order to explain this one awayóHarriet Jones. "I expect a full report on my desk by the end of your shift today. I have no doubt Iíll have some explaining to do in the very near future. Good thing I can survive a nuclear blast and incineration. I have a feeling Iíll be on the receiving end of both sometime in the next twenty-four hours. Harkness out."

"Ummóis it just me or did anyone else expect a little more of a... reaction?" Ross asked hesitantly.

"Give it time," Ianto sighed. "It was my order, and Iíll stand behind it."

"And weíll stand behind you," Jake promised. "It was a good call."

"Better than letting that thing out," Tom nodded.

"Which Harkness knows, he just has to deal with the bureaucratic bullshit that weíre protected from," Ross pointed out. "You should hear Lisa come in after a bad day in accountingósheís livid at times. Sheís told her manager point blank that sheís not to work on our expense sheets because sheís sleeping with me and sheíd rather not be forced to kill her significant other because of the headaches his team might cause her.

"I actually donít envy Harkness this at all. I mean, think about who he has to smooth this over with. President Jones! Thatís enough to make any man shrivel up, even someone with his libido!"

"Ewwww! Ross, did you have to? Iíve slept with the man, and I know what he looks like naked. Picturing that gorgeous slab of beefcake with her is enough to scar me for life!"

"Sheís not so bad," Ianto murmured, turning his gaze to the small crowd of people who were slowly making their way over to them, staring wide-eyed at the burning SUV and partially collapsed storm sewer.

"All right, let me go smooth things over with the locals. Keep an eye on the entrance in case our croc can survive incineration, will you?"

Chapter 22

Two hours later they were back at the base, and three hours after that, Ianto sent his full and complete report, including the medical teamís debriefing, off to Harknessí e-mail, then sat back in his chair and rubbed his stiff neck. "I hate fucking reports," he muttered under his breath.

"Not as much as I hate reading them," Jack intoned softly, right next to Jonesí ear, chuckling when the younger man started. It wasnít every day you could sneak up on a member of the Wild Boys, and Jack savored the victory. "The rest of your team clocked out over an hour ago, Mr. Jones. Is that hard ass boss of yours working you too hard again?"

"He wanted the full report before the end of shift." Ianto glanced toward the time read-out on his computer and shrugged. "Suppose itís a little late, but hopefully it covers what heís looking for."

"Iím sure it does. In fact, I have no doubt he will be reading it as soon as he gets home tonight and preparing his ass for a chewing over his breakfast meeting with the president. Lovely ladyóhas a set bigger than mine, and thatís saying something. So, I have this bottle of whisky in my office and these fancy assed glasses that Donna insisted I need which need a christening. Can I interest you in a drink? Considering the day youíve had and the report that the hard ass made you write, itís the least I can offer," Jack asked casually, hoping like hell he wasnít making a total fool of himself as he did so.

Ianto chuckled softly as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "A drink sounds damn good about now, so sure, Iíll take you up on it." He stood, rubbing the small of his back, and glanced over at Jack. "Any word on the Leeds boy?"

"Under twenty-four hour supervision in a sealed facility. John headed over there as soon as Martha called in that he was secure. Mrs. Leeds has been treated, sedated and is being kept for observation. The poor kid was an accident, if you can believe it. He was actually supposed to have returned the egg to the teacher a week ago before it hatched. Unfortunately the kid got sick and had to be quarantined. The teacher was going nuts because sheíd been using the biology class as a quick and dirty way of getting her brood incubated fast in order to get them off this rockóshe and her mate apparently crash-landed here in that meteor storm last month. He died; she didnít, so she wanted her brood to survive. That species has some limited shape-shifting ability, so we saw human female when she was in fact human-reptilian hybrid female, and she used it to her advantage, pretending to be a substitute science teacher at a nearby schoolóRogerís school.

"Unfortunately Mrs. ĎGator couldnít foresee Roger Leeds kissing Suzy Mitchell behind the bleachers and catching mono. Nor could she predict that our atmosphere would have an adverse effect on the newly hatched young, mutating it into an alien version of an urban legend. She certainly didnít count on Torchwood interfering. We have the rest of her eggs in cryo, and Iíve been in touch with a third-party intermediary who will see that she and her eggs get escorted off our planet as soon as he can get here. Sheís in custody for now, andóprovided she cooperates in helping to reverse young Rogerís Ďalien acneíósheíll get to keep her hatchlings."

"Can she do anything to help him?" Ianto asked curiously as they walked up to Jackís office. "Does she control the transformation?"

"Nope, but she does understand her speciesí physiology better than we do, and weíve provided her one helluva carrot to cooperate. Thereís nothing more impressive than a motherís need to protect her young," Jack responded as he let them into his office and headed to the credenza to grab a couple of the tumblers and the cut crystal decanter, carrying it over to the small sitting area by the wall of windows that looked down on the pit. "I donít mind using that instinct to our advantage if it helps to save the kid. After all, heís got a mother too, and sheís terrified of losing her little boy as much as the lizard queen is of losing her eggs."

"I canít blame her for that," Ianto commented as he sat and took the glass Jack offered, swirling the amber liquid around it as he thought. "Though keeping her brood closer to her rather than giving them to hormonal teenagers who might or might not look after them doesnít seem very rational."

"Who knows how her species does things," Jack pointed out as he leaned against the window next to Jonesí seat. "Could be that they have others incubate their youngówouldnít be the first time Iíve heard of that. Chances are she was simply acting on instinct. However, at this point I donít really give a damn why she did what she did, just so long as she fixes it."

Ianto nodded as he took a drink and sighed at the smoky flavor. "Point. Plans to retcon them both once heís better?"

"Hell yes. Last thing we need is to have that kid remembering how he almost ate his mother and having the mother remember her son was a teenaged crocodile man. No, itís better for all concerned if the Leeds forget this entire experience. Roger will have had a bad case of mono, and Mrs. Leeds will just be so exhausted that sheíll have lost a chunk of time."

"All neat and clean and tied up with a bowóexcept for you having to grovel to the president about our destroyed SUV." Ianto took another sip of his drink, his expression turning solemn.

"Good thing she thinks Iím a handsome devil." Jack grinned down at the younger man. "Iíll probably get a slap on the wrist and a stern dressing down, but other than that I should come out unscathed except for maybe having her extract a promise or three to act as official escort at some or other snore-inducing diplomatic event that requires me to put on a black tie," Jack shuddered.

Ianto snorted at that and shook his head. "Well, let me know if you want me to have Tom take a look at your ass when youíre done; heís a fair hand at making sure theyíre still attached."

"With all due respect to the eminently efficient Doctor Milligan, I think Iíd rather not expose my ass to any further members of the Wild Boys. Two has been quite sufficient, thanks all the same," Jack replied dryly as he leaned forward to refill their drinks.

"Understandable, heíd probably choose to keep it that way as well, and I know Ross would." Ianto chuckled at that. "Sometimes I wonder if heís sublimating."

"Nah, that boy is as straight as they come," Jack chuckled. "Trust me on this one, if he were sublimating, I could make him want me in a heartbeat. But heís 100% heterosexual male, and Lisa is a lucky young woman."

"Iím not arguing that in the least; Jake and I have a wager going that the two of them will make it to the altar before Tom and Marthaóof course at this rate, Jake and Owen could beat them both." Ianto leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs, one ankle resting on the other knee.

"God, Iíd almost be afraid of thatóI mean, would you be the best man or the maid of honor at that wedding?" Jack teased, laughing in amusement as he remembered a certain blonde-haired, stacked and ultra feminine version of the man sitting so comfortably in his office.

"My legs look like shite in a skirt, so that leaves out the maid of honor," Ianto pointed out. "Whoever goes first, the rest of us will put on morning coats and act properly sober at the weddingóthe bachelorís do, however, is another matter."

"Gonna get him a girl to remind him of what heís not missing?" Jack sniggered.

"Oh, thatíll go over well," Ianto chuckled before taking another drink. "A drag queen perhaps..."

"And here I thought it was Jake that wore the tiaraÖ"

"Somehow I donít think it comes with a sparkly skirt."

"No, but I know someone with a sequined kilt that I can probably borrow for him. Does that count?"

"For our Jake? Sequined codpiece is more like it," Ianto snickered.

Jack guffawed. "Union Jack in SwarovskiÖ oh, no, wait, the Torchwood symbol!"

Ianto sprawled back in the chair, laughing uproariously. "And paste on ones on his tattoo."

"Donít forget the pasties; heís going to need them too," Jack grinned, thoroughly enjoying Jonesí reaction along with what Jack thought was a slippery slide towards intoxication. It was a side of the younger man he hadnít seen and was thoroughly enjoying himself, but it did make Jack wonder when was the last time Jones ate if a couple of glasses of whiskyóalbeit old and potent whiskyógot him that loose that fast.

"Christ, heíd kill usóhell, Harper would kill us, and you know those doctors, devious sods." Ianto looked down at his glass, doing a somewhat bleary doubletake at it. "Shite, I really should have eaten something today," he muttered just as the cell phone at his hip rang.

Holding up his glass to Jack in order to get quiet, he scrabbled for the phone with his free hand. "Hullo? Linda? Shit! Linda, right. Fuck, Iím sorry, work ran late andóright, right, I should have called I know, Iím sorry. How about I make it up to you Friday? Eight for dinner? See you then."

"I take it I ruined your plans for the evening?" Jack asked quietly, an uncharacteristic brand of jealousy burning low in his gut. "Sorry about that." But he wasnít, Jack thought broodingly, and part of him was already plotting ways to keep Jones late again on Fridayónot that heíd follow through with themójust to keep Jones with him and away from this Linda person. "At least let me get some order in; after all it my fault you havenít eaten all day."

"Not your fault that a mutant croc decided to farm her babies out, is it?" Ianto asked, quirking a grin. "Not too important to me since I forgot about it either, I suppose, but yeah, food would be good just so I donít total my car on the way home."

"Well, I think I can arrange to have a certain hard assed boss give you a ride home. After all it wouldnít do to have you total two cars in one day, and besides, itís his duty to take care of his people, as well as his privilege. So, how do you feel about Hunan?"

"Spicier the better," Ianto responded promptly before frowning. "Though I thought you had reports to readómine in particular."

"I donít think a late night will kill me," Jack replied dryly, "at least not permanently. Spicy it is, then."

Walking over to his desk, Jack picked up the phone and dialed the number of his favorite little hole in the wall Asian restaurant, greeting the person on the other end in Mandarin and rattling off a quick, and spicy, menu for two. After a few more pleasantries Jack hung up the phone with a satisfied grin. "There, should be here in about half an hour. Think you can hold out until then?"

"Iíll try to manage," Ianto answered before straightening up and glowering at Jack. "And stop joking about it."

"Joking about what?" Jack grinned. "Reading the reports or dying? Iíve already died twice this week just from helping Doc with a couple of things, and those nightmares that the president sends my way for light reading could dent an armored vehicle if dropped on it."

Every muscle in Iantoís body tightened, and he set his drink on the floor before standing. "You what?" he asked, taking the small number of steps necessary to bring him into Jackís personal space. "What the fuck are you on about, Harkness?"

"What? He had a couple of things that needed a trial run, and I volunteered," Jack said, shrugging his shoulders. "This way no innocent field operatives get hurt in the line of duty, and I get to take care of my people; no harm, no foul."

"And what odds do you want to lay that these fucking things were stages before where they would have gone near any of the ops?" Ianto growled. "Doc is a genius, but heís a fucking kid in a candy store with his shit; you especially should know that by now!

"Jesus, fuckwit!" he ranted, spinning away and beginning to pace. "What, when he gets his damn vortex manipulator together, are you going to jump into it to try it out as well?"

"Well, yeah," Jack asked, looking at Jones oddly, "of course I am. Like Iíd let anyone else take a chance like that."

"And what if you donít come back? What if you canít come back?" Ianto demanded.

"Not like anyoneís life would be unduly interrupted." With a shrug of his shoulders Jack picked up the decanter and poured himself another drink. "Donít get me wrong, Iíve made a home and a life for myself here, and I definitely donít want to leave certain people behind, but Iím not going to risk the lives of the people I love when I know I can survive when they wouldnít."

Iantoís jaw dropped, and he stared at the taller man while his complexion turned ruddier. His mouth worked as if he were trying to find the words he wanted to say before he finally blurted out, "You are such a fucking asshole fuckwit! Christ, what are we supposed to do with fucking Captain Jack suicide-wish Harkness? Do I have to tie you up and sit on you to keep you in one piece?"

"Last time I checked I didnít have a suicide wish, at least not anymore," Jack replied slowly, staring at Jones curiously. "This is my home, Jones, my family, and Iím going to protect it and my loved ones however I can. However, Iím more than happy to let someone tie me up and have their way with me if they want toóand I trust them enough to let them."

"Throwing yourself through a time vortex is not protecting anyone!" Ianto growled, poking Jack in the chest with one finger. "And neither is playing fast and loose with Docís toys. I swear, Harkness, if I hear once more that youíve let him kill you, Iíll deal with it! Do. You. Understand?"

Jackís eyebrow quirked up at the younger manís rant, but he managed to keep a perfectly straight face. "Yes, dear," he repeated solemnly. "I promise you wonít hear of it once more."

"If it happens, Harkness," Ianto snapped, stepping closer until he was nose to nose with Jack, then spinning away. "Christ, you make me crazy!"

"A feeling I know only too well," Jackís reply was raw and hungry despite his attempt to keep things on an even keel. The months of wanting and not having played havoc on his senses, watching and always yearning for what heíd had only the most tantalizing taste of, making him crave, no, need so much more.

Jack started forward, intent on spinning the younger man around, pressing him against the glass of his office window and feasting after the months of famine, and so it took long seconds to realize that the jangling he heard was not his frayed nerves scraping along his libido but was, in fact, his phone ringing. "Fuck!" Walking over to the desk, Jack snatched up the phone and growled, "Harknessóthis had better be good!" A few seconds later he was slamming the phone down, hands still shaking with pent up emotion, the cold realization of just how desperate his need for the younger man was becoming far too clear in his mind.

"Foodís here, Iíll be right back," Jack declared, thanking whatever fate was smiling on him for the distraction and a reason to flee his office before he could do or say anything else that might make Jones run far and fast in the opposite direction. As he took his sweet time getting to the lobby, Jack came to the decision that Jonesí report would wait until morning. After he saw Jones safely home, he was going out and getting shit faced and finding someone, anyone, who would take the edge off before he did something that Jack knew heíd regret.

"Whaó" Ianto was speaking to an empty door, and he took a deep breath, blowing it out and wondering where the hell all that had come from. "Christ," he muttered, rubbing his forehead and shaking his head. Harkness died, and he came back; it was simple reallyóbut it also wasnít; it didnít matter if he came back; he shouldnít have to die, not for stupid reasons.

Muttering to himself, he paced around the room, slowly calming until he was sure he had his temper under control again. He glanced at his drink, then poured himself some water from the pitcher on Harknessí desk, guzzling it down, grimacing slightly at the lukewarm temperature but knowing it was better than alcohol at the moment.

Christ, he needed to get laid.

It took the entire trip down to pay for and collect the food as well as the ride up for Jackís hands to stop shaking and for him to beat the want back into submission, at least for a little while, but heíd been pushed too far tonight, and he knew heíd be out on the prowl the moment he dropped Jones off. Jack needed hot, dirty and animalistic; he needed to fuck someone, or even a few someones, stupid tonight, and that was exactly what he was going to do. Too much abstinence was making him a danger to Jones and menace to his staff. Jack knew if he didnít blow off some steam then heíd slip up sooner rather than later, and the stakes in this particular game were far too high for him to take that chance. Taking a deep breath and putting on the most urbanely bland mask that he could muster, Jack stepped into the room, bags in hand. "Chow time! Smells great, hope youíre hungry."

"Harkness," Ianto said when Jack walked back into his office, looking as if he was on the edge. "Look, Iíll apologize for the way I came off but not for what I said. You come back from the dead, fine, but putting yourself into situations where youíre going to get killed for no good reason? Iím not going to stop coming up against you on that one."

"Got it, no putting myself in stupid situations, and be prepared to have you riding my ass when I do something stupid," Jack agreed with an easy smile that didnít quite burn away the need in his eyes as he raked them over Jonesí face. "Got you Firecracker Beef and spicy noodles, had them amp up the chilies a bit since you like it hot and spicy."

"Fine, whatever," Ianto sighed, knowing he hadnít gotten through to Jack at all. Harkness was going to do what he wanted when he wanted, and that was all there was to it.

"Iíll take it under advisement, and I will be cautious and prudent in my decisions," Jack relented as he sat across from Jones and opened his ginger beef, only to toy with it, distracted and appetite long gone with the turn of events. "I have no doubt that you meant everything you said, Jones, and I apologize for not only my idle comment but the fact that I caused you any aggravation; that wasnít my intent."

"Christ, Harkness, you aggravate me, and I aggravate you; itís what we do." Ianto rubbed at his forehead where a headache loomed. "Look, Iím going to catch a taxi home and get some rest. If the president chews you a new one, tell her to take the cost out of my retirement account or to sue the thingís mother."

Jackís laugh was short and sharp, and he looked anywhere but at the younger man. "Aggravation is the last thing you make me feel for you, Jones," he said, tossing his wasted dinner into the garbage as he stood. "And I told you Iíd take you home. Please donít argue with me. Just accept graciously, and let me do it. As for the president, Iíll handle her, and it wonít come out of anything but the public coffers. Torchwood protects Great Britain, and the world, from alien invasion. She can suck it up and accept that freedom has a monetary price from time to time."

"Right. So, since it seems the meal was a waste, I suppose weíre off then."

"Thank you," Jack replied sincerely as he scooped up his jacket and fished out his keys. "You know, youíre not the only den mother on in Torchwood," he reminded the younger man quietly. "Although I prefer to think of myself as just being prudentóyou lot tend to get yourselves into trouble more often than not. However, itís one of the reasons why I have to be that hard ass from time to time. Because I never want to lose another person under my command again."

"I donít argue that; I simply wish that youíd remember that it goes for more than my team for me. Someone has to look out for you, Harkness."

"You volunteering for the job?" Jack snorted, torn between the pit of warmth that bloomed in his stomach at the idea that Jones did care for him and the cold fact that every time heíd tried to get closer to the younger man, heíd ended up scaring him off just a little more.

Ianto glanced over at him, his eyes widened incredulously. "Just what the fuck do you think that in there was about? Iíve had the job since Cardiff, and apparently Iím doing a shite job at it because, silly me, I figured you wouldnít go out and actively do insane things."

Jack fought the urge to beat his head against one of the lift walls or to tell Jones that he was the primary reason Jack was doing increasingly insane things because he knew how well that would go overóbrick shithouse came to mind. "Itís not like I do this every week or even every other week, Jones. This week was the exception, not the rule, and Iíve promised to be a little more circumspect in what I agree to help John with, so you donít need to worry about me. Iíll be fine, Jones; I always am."

"Not going to stop worrying," Ianto shrugged, "but Iíll take what you said under advisement."

"Hoist with my own petard," Jack chuckled, doffing his imaginary cap at the younger man. "Well played, Mr. Jones."

"Iím learning, Captain Harkness," Ianto replied with an arch look. "I may not get it right every time, but Iím learning."

"God help me when you finally do get it right on a consistent basis. Iíll be as whipped as John is," Jack muttered without thinking.

Ianto had to chuckle at that. "And then Iíll sleep easier."

Jack just shook his head and unlocked his SUV, waiting for the younger man to get in. "Well, that makes one of us."

"Your faith in me is amazing," Ianto commented as he climbed into the passenger seat and buckled the belt.

"I have complete faith in you; itís me that Iím worried about," Jack admitted on a sigh as he pulled the SUV into the night traffic around Canary Wharf. "You make me yearn for things, Jones, things that I have no right to even dream of, let alone want. I havenít had such a hard time disconnecting my brain from all the rest in a very long time."

"What happened in Cardiff..." Ianto began carefully, realizing that it had been a similar situation to the one they had just been in and that a part of him wished that they had ended up with the same consequences. "Weíre a bit mental, you and I, arenít we?" He chuckled softly as he spoke.

"Just a bit," Jack agreed softly as he drove with quick efficiency and sped them through the city traffic to the condo block that Jones called home. The two men fell into companionable silence as one city block melted into another, and soon Jack was pulling up in front of Jonesí condo block door. "For the record, I havenít changed my mind about anything. Good night, Jones. Enjoy your date on Friday."

"Good night, Harkness," Ianto said, climbing out of the SUV, then leaning back in the still open door. "Take care of yourself; Iíll see you in the morning."

"I always take care of myself," Jack replied with a small wave, "never worry about that. Sleep well." Jack watched Jones until heíd walked into the condo then turned the SUV towards downtown London rather than back towards Canary Wharf or the loft he now called home. He needed to get this need under control before he did something stupid, so he was going to lose himself in a body or ten and hope to God he exhausted the almost insatiable craving for Jones, at least for a little while.

Chapter 23

Jack stumbled back into his apartment having now been awake for almost thirty hours, exhausted to the point of collapse. Heíd come home long enough to shower and throw on a suit and tie for his meeting with the president but had still managed to have a cup of coffee waiting on Jonesí desk for the younger manís arrival to work even as Jack left for his meeting with President Jones. Heíd smiled, nodded and made all the right motions, said all the right words, let himself be read the riot act about fiscal responsibility and the wise use of tax payersí dollars, and then heíd asked the driver to take him home rather than back to the office.

Jack definitely wasnít as young as he used to be if an all night sex marathon had left him feeling rode hard and put away wet. All he wanted to do was crawl into bed, sleep for a week, and maybe forget for a while the far too gorgeous pain in his ass that was currently driving him mad. With that thought in mind Jack began to strip down as he made a beeline for the bedroomótie over a coffee table, suit jacket over the back of a club chair, shirt hung haphazardly on the bedroom doorknob and his trousers he simply stepped out of just before collapsing face first onto the mattress, sound asleep almost immediately after his head had hit the pillow.

"So? Howíd it go last night?" Ross asked as he arrived at Alphaís cluster of desks where Ianto was sitting, going through e-mail. "Linda any good?"

"For a man whoís now getting laid regularly, you have an unhealthy interest in my sex life," Ianto chuckled before taking a sip of his coffee and glancing up toward Jackís office. "But to answer your question, it didnít; ended up here late finishing my reports and forgot about meeting her until she called."

"Now thatís taking dedication to work too far," Ross said, shaking his head, then ducking and swinging backward when Tom came up behind him and ruffled his short, dark hair. "Oi, do you mind?"

"Nope, not at all, and what is going too far?" the doctor asked. "Lisa dating you?"

"Bastard!" Ross growled. "No, not me and Lisa; I meant Ianto missing out on his date because he was putting together reports for the boss."

"Speaking of the boss, where is he?" Tom asked, glancing toward the glass-walled office. "Heís usually up there when we get in, surveying his kingdom."

"Had a meeting with the president about our croc-bait SUV," Ianto explained. "Not sure what else we were supposed to do in any of the cases where we lost them, but..." He chuckled when Jake walked up, grinning, his eyes focused on something faraway.

"Dr. Harper send you off with a good morning shag, did he?"

"Mmmm," was all Jake said as he dropped down into his own chair and twirled it around, a dreamy smile plastered on his face.

"Christ, itís as bad as when the boss was shagging him," Tom laughed.

"Worse," Ross pointed out, "heís in love, so he walks around with that dopy expression on his face all the time."

Ianto chuckled at that. "You mean you can tell a difference?"

"Oi! None of that," Jake growled.

Ross sniggered at Jakeís lame attempt at a growl. "I think we may be hearing wedding bells for our little Jakey-poo sooner rather than later. Bets on when weíll be throwing him a hen night? Weíll have to get him another tiara to wear."

"I swear to God, Jenkins, Iím going to kick your arse but good!" Jake began to rise out of his chair to do just that only to be interrupted as Donna bustled into the pit and made straight for him.

"Oi you lotójust because Jackís left early doesnít mean you can act up!" she tutted as she turned to Jake. "I need Jackís keys, Simmonds; I have to drop off the minutes of his meeting with the president for his review and sign off, and I donít want to wake him up, considering what he looked like when he stumbled in here this morning," she demanded, holding out her hand imperiously to the younger man and then snapping her fingers when he didnít move fast enough. "Some of us have work to do, even with the boss being gone, so a little more speed if you please!"

"Whatís wrong with him?" Ianto asked, snapping instantly alert and half-rising from his chair.

"Despite all the flack I get from you lot I am a lady, and there are certain things a lady doesnít discuss. This would be one of them," Donna sniffed. "What Captain Harkness does after hours is no longer any of your concern, especially now that Jake isnít shagging him, not that it stopped you gossiping gerties before. Now if you donít mind, keys, Mr. Simmonds, I have a million and one things to take care of. I have to reschedule all of Jackís meetings and shift the ones I canít onto Rose or Doc, deal with their schedules, and I have an in-tray of correspondence I havenít even had chance to look at yet despite it being half nine!"

"Anything I can do to help?" Ianto asked, "Iím not Harkness, but I did handle some of those things before he showed up."

"You want to be helpful, take this over to his nibs and try not to wake him up. He looked like something the cat dragged in. First time Iíve ever seen him like thatóeven when he was shagging Jake senseless," Donna muttered as she thrust the keys and a sealed envelope towards Ianto.

"Iíve got to make sure Rose gets briefed on Charlie Teamís status updates before she conferences with the joint chiefs, and then she has a press conference to deal your little croc hunt and Deltaís black ops in a bloody school. Cor, I almost forgot I also need to get Doc off to the hospital because Martha needs a hand with that poor lamb Roger Leeds. Tom, if youíve time, perhaps you can make sure Doc gets over there and maybe check on the mum too?" the redhead asked, looking more frazzled by the second.

"Iíll go start herding him now," Tom stood and shot a grin at Ross. "Want to help, Ross?"

"Fuck no! Evil twat!" Ross snarled as he quickly ducked around his desk, using the stacked monitors as a flimsy shield.

"Iíll go along with you, Tommy," Jake offered, laughing at Rossís reaction. "Paranoid much Rossi-kins?"

"Off to play snog a doctor with O-wen?" Ross cooed in retort, batting his eyes at Jake as he did so even as he neatly side stepped the punch Jake threw at him. Backing into Ianto, Ross grimaced as he realized that Ianto was frowning at the files and keys in hand.

"Go on now, off with the lot of you," Donna said, making shooing motions with her hands before turning and leaving in a whirlwind of activity, her mobile phone already out as she made it clear just why Rose, John and Jack cut her so much slack in the quieter moments as she spun like a dervish to get things done in nearly impossible time.

"Ross, you should probably work on those security protocols," Ianto murmured. "When we get back, we can debrief on the Leeds situation."

"Right," Ross nodded, stepping back to his desk, "on it."

"Careful if you wake Jack," Jake cautioned Ianto. "He can be a right bear if he needs his sleep."

"Iíll keep that in mind," Ianto promised as Tom chuckled.

"Maybe you should slap on your patch just in case."

Ianto looked around the group, the skin around his eyes tightening. "I believe you lot all have assignments; now get to them." Saying that, he pocketed Jakeís keys and strode out of the pit toward the motor pool.

"Whatís eating his ass this morning?" Tom asked, shaking his head.

"Didnít make his date with Linda last night," Ross informed the other two quietly.

"Never thought Iíd see the day that Ianto was the one not getting laid," Jake added before clapping Tom on the back. "Címon, off to collect Doc, then get him to hospital."

"Donít want to say that too loudly, my son, as Iantoís looking rather cranky about the whole thing," Tom warned quietly as they headed over to R&D in order to collect Doc.

Jack was caught in the midst of a memory cum nightmare as he found himself reliving the events that had transpired in Cardiff just months prior, this time with a much different outcome. Instead of the alien coming taking pot shots at him, it went straight for Jones, and with Jones having slapped his armor on Jack, the younger man was exposed, vulnerableódead. Jack whimpered and tossed his head, restless despite having exhausted himself from the all-night sex marathon heíd found himself involved inóthank god for retcon ensuring that no one remembered that heíd been at the sex party at all or that the name heíd cried out over and over again was ĎJonesíóand then a completely different kind of reaming from the president.

"Harkness?" The word was called from the entryway, then repeated from further inside the condo. "Iíve got your files, Iíll just leave themó" A moan from the master bedroom had Ianto pausing and almost dropping the report on the table and leaving except it sounded pained, helpless, not sensual. Senses on the alert, he made his way back to the master bedroom and peered inside, frowning when he saw Jack in bed; it seemed his sleep was anything but restful.

"Harkness?" he said as he walked over to the bed to check on the other man, the tone of his voice lower than it had been.

The dreams continued to spin out, each one more gruesome, events of past and present merging with only one person remaining consistent, one person dying over and over again. "Jones, no, Jones," Jack muttered, tossing restlessly, drawing closer and closer to consciousness as he fought against the nightmarish imagery of his brain. Thenóa voice, as necessary to him as oxygen, as soothing as rain, and a touch, so gentle despite the roughened fingers and callused palms.

"Jones," Jack murmured again, hand coming out to snag and roll the younger man down beside, under him as he held on tight, wrapping himself limpet-like around the younger man and finally, finally falling into a peaceful slumber.

Ianto almost squawked as he was dragged down beside the older man, but it was plain that Harkness was asleep and equally plain that Jack had calmed the moment he had an arm around him. He lay where he was for a long moment, debating options, then the warmth of Jackís body against his and the weight of the arm around his waist began to seep into his consciousness.

"No, just no," he muttered to himself as he felt his cock twitch. "Not going there right now." Feeling Jack relax against him, Ianto then began to attempt a long, slow extraction of himself from the tangle of limbs, feeling vaguely guilty as he did so.

Jackís arms tightened automatically as he felt the younger man try to wriggle away. "No. Stay," he ordered, still asleep but not willing to let the comforting dream go and plunge him back into his nightmares once again.

"For how long?" Ianto asked, not sure if Jack was awake or asleep but thinking it was the latter.

"Forever," came the immediate reply. "Want you forever, Jones, my Jones, my incredible JonesÖ" Jack sighed, snuggling himself more comfortably against the younger man, wrapping him securely in Jackís arms as he did so.

"We canít have forever," Ianto murmured so quietly that only he could hear the words, though he didnít move and even relaxed back against Jack to lull him into a deeper sleep.

Jack merely snuffled and sighed contentedly, breathing in the younger manís clean scent, the smell of Jones invading his dreams and making him feel safe for the first time since Ianto had died.

Jack wasnít sure what woke him first, if it was the fact that he felt well rested for the first time in recent memory or the fact that there was someone else in bed with him and he didnít know how that person had got there or when because he hadnít woken up at all. Which meant it could only be one person. "So, when did I grab you, and how long have you been here, Jones?" Jack asked softly, voice still heavy with sleep as he refused to move or open his eyes until absolutely necessary.

"About an hour," Ianto murmured, keeping his voice low. "Sounded like you were having a hell of a dream, so I thought it was best to ride it out with you."

"Just your average night in the life of Jack Harkness then," Jack replied, still not willing to give up the comfort of the younger manís presence in his arms and in his bed. He knew that sooner or laterósooner rather than lateróheíd have to let Jones go back to his life but for now... "What brings you over in the first place? Itís obviously not urgent if you left me to sleep and acted as my security blanket."

"Donna sent me over with the minutes from your meeting this morning; apparently it was critical that you got them, and my volunteering to take over some of what you had on your plate today encompassed playing delivery boy," Ianto chuckled. "Good evening, I take it?"

"Necessary evening," Jack replied with a slight grimace. "Transitory fun at best, lots of regret afterwards. Nothing I care to repeat anytime soon."

The noise Ianto made in response was neutral. "If it was fun and no one got hurt, thereís nothing to regret, is there?"

"Thereís always something to regret," Jack sighed, finally allowing himself to open his eyes and look at the young man he wanted desperately to be his lover. "I regret it wasnít you," he whispered, shifting as he did so in order to place a tender kiss on Jonesís lips. "I should have been strong enough to wait for you. Iím sorry, Jones."

Not giving the younger man time to respond and, admittedly, retreating before he could make a bigger fool of himself, Jack rolled out of bed and ducked into the bathroom, softly beating his head against the closed door and calling himself every kind of fool imaginable for pressuring Jones yet again. "God, could you be any more of a fool if you tried, Jack?" he asked himself quietly. "I know exactly who you are, Jones," he continued, fingers trailing down the wood grain. "It only makes me need you more; arrogant little prick."

In the bedroom, Ianto let the hand that had been half-raised to grab Jack and haul him in for another kiss fall to the brown and gold pinstriped bedding with a low groan. "Youíre sorry?" he muttered to himself. "Christ, now whoís the fuckwit?"

Realizing that he was still lying in Harknessí bed, Ianto levered himself up, rubbing the back of his neck as he tried to get himself back into a proper frame of mindónot that he was really sure what that should be at this point.

It took an ice cold shower and a stern self-lecture to get Jack to the point where he was willing to stick his head out to see if Jones had fled as soon as heíd disappeared into the washroom. The bedroom was empty, and Jack had to fight the wave of disappointment that flooded him.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid. Of course heís gone, you fuckwit," he cursed himself softly as he dressed in a pair of well broken-in jeans and a t-shirt that had shrunk half a size when heíd had it laundered but that heíd never bothered getting rid of. Toweling off his hair, he made a beeline for the kitchen in order to put on a pot of coffee and grab something to eat. He had those minutes to go through, after all, not to mention the small mountain of paperwork that was probably waiting for him back at the office. God, he hated paperwork!

"Glad to see you didnít drown," Ianto commented from where he sat in the living room, leafing through the minutes he had brought over, doing a double-take when he saw what Jack was wearing, his throat working as he swallowed convulsively at the mouth-watering sight.

Jackís head shot up at the sound of Jonesís voice, and he had to brace himself against the granite countertops to stop himself from sinking to his knees at the heat in the younger manís eyes as they raked over him. Thank fuck, he still wants me, Jack thought inanely as he tried to pull together a coherent stream of thought.

"I, er, Iíve been advised that I should think before I act in my more irrational moments. The man who gave me the advice, rather passionately I might add, struck me as a very intelligent person and one Iíd do well to listen to. Therefore Iím trying to turn over a new leaf so no, no drowning in the shower," Jack managed to get out despite his throat being Sahara dry. "Coffee?" he asked as the machine beeped, indicating the brew cycle was complete.

Clearing his throat, Ianto stood, still holding the folder heíd been reading, and nodded. "That sounds good."

Jack busied himself with preparing two cups of coffee as well as pulling a protein bar out of the cupboard despite knowing it would only stick in his throat if he tried to eat it right now. Setting a cup on the opposite side of the breakfast bar to him, Jack was pleased to see that his hands were trembling only minutely and that unless Jones was hyper aware of him, he wouldnít be able to pick up on it.

"Well, Alpha team is off the hook, but Iíve been advised that Field Ops has to be more fiscally responsible from now on as we are in an economic downturn and must set an example blah blah blah," Jack informed the younger man as he took a sip of his own coffee, the protein bar left untouched to the side for the moment. "Itíll take a few days for a replacement to be available, so your team has time to catch up on their paperwork."

"Something we all live for," Ianto said dryly before taking a sip of his coffee. "And out of curiosity, what are we supposed to do? Not chase after something because it might wreck our transpo?"

"Iíll see what I can come up with," Jack chuckled. "I really was going to give you a camper van, you know. I even had it on order and everything. It would have been a loaner, but I was going to damned well do it. It was painted with the Union Jack and had the most gaudy pair of dice Iíd ever seen hanging off the mirror." Jack shook his head, sighed heavily and then gave the younger man a piercing look. "You break my SUV, Jones, and there really will be hell to pay. Got it?" he ordered, reaching for his spare keys that were in the basket in the centre of the island and tossing them at Jones.

Ianto quirked a grin before sketching a salute in the other manís direction. "Got it, Boss. Weíll bring it back in pristine condition; weíll even wash and wax it for you if you want."

"Do I get to watch you do it?" Jack asked before his brain caught up with his mouth.

"Sure," Ianto chuckled. "You could even sell tickets; it might off-set our debts."

"Martha might kill me if I pimped out her fiancť," Jack replied dryly. "Not to mention Lisaóthat girl has a hidden mean streak; donít let her sweet demeanor fool you. Sheís already made it clear that Ross is off limits to everyone in admin." And then there was the fact that Jack would be less than thrilled to watch all those women throw themselves at Jones, what with him being the last available Wild Boy left.

"You mean you wonít protect us from their clutches?"

"You might need them to protect you from me," Jack muttered, looking anywhere but at the younger man.

"I can take care of myself," Ianto countered, "or not as the case may be."

Jack sucked in a sharp breath and closed his eyes, trying to maintain some semblance of control. "In that case, Iíll get Donna to send out an email letting Torchwood know about the Ďcharityí carwash that the Wild Boys are putting on. I have no doubt every single person on staff will be lining up for a ticket. It should be a good show."

"Maybe we could get the president to buy some as well so she can have something to think of other than the budget," Ianto suggested.

"You want her ogling you too?" Jack growled and then reined it back in hard and fast. "I can call her today and suggest it. Iíll have Donna check on the build of your new SUV so I can give her an approximate date. Iím sure sheíll clear her calendar."

"Harkness," Ianto said gently, "it was a joke. Iím sure sheís kept busy ogling you."

"Wouldnít know, couldnít care less," Jack groaned, realizing heíd made an ass of himself yet again. "I guess I owe you another apology. Iím not normally thisÖ erratic," he finished lamely.

Ianto took another drink from his mug before offering a rueful smile. "I donít suppose Iím making it very easy either."

"Wouldnít want you any other way, Jones," Jack admitted with an answering smile. "You keep me on my toes, no question about that."

"All in the job description," Ianto grinned before cocking his head to the side as he listened to something. "Shit, the boys are calling, wondering where I am, better get going."

"Blame it on me wanting an update on the doomsday protocols," Jack suggested. "Itís a believable cover. Just email me the information, and Iíll be updated, but they wonít know differently. Thanks for bringing the report and again, my apologies for hauling you into bed with me. Iíll try and keep my hands to myself from now on."

"Remember, Harkness," Ianto said as he stood, "I could have gotten up any time I wanted." He smirked slightly before turning and heading for the door. "Iíll let myself out; try to relax today."

Jack waited until the door closed behind Jonesís retreating figure and let out a heartfelt groan. "That man is going to drive me crazy before this is over," he muttered.

Chapter 24

Jack paced his office restlessly. It had been weeks since heíd started his subtle courtship of Jones, barring a few bumps where heíd almost given the game away, and he was tired of being coy about it. He was tired of finding excuses and obfuscations in order to spend time with the younger man.

"So, wanna tell me whatís chewing your arse, beefcake?" Donna asked as she walked into Jackís office unannounced, a stack of correspondence in her hand. "Youíve been pacing around here like a caged tiger for the past hour. People down in the pit have been noticing and are getting Ďconcernedí. The last time you did this, that directive of yours came down from on high, not that it wasnít needed, but youíre making the natives nervous."

Jack groaned and all but threw himself into his desk chair. "Shut the door, and I swear, Red, if you breathe a word of this to anyoneÖ"

"Have I ever spilled when it was that important?" Donna asked huffily as she shut and locked the door and then came to sit across from Jack. "Now then, tell Donna all."

"Jones," Jack muttered tersely. "Heís driving me batshit."

"Not jumping through the hoops you want him to with all those anonymous gifts you keep giving him?" she asked sagely, chuckling at Jackís gobsmacked expression. "Not much goes on in the executive offices that I donít know about, Jack Harkness. Iím bloody brilliant at what I do."

"And pretty damned scary. You sure you donít want a field assignment? At the rate Anders keeps pissing me off, Charlie Team will need a new lead soon."

"Oh hell no, Iíll take office intrigue over being shot at any day of the week!" Donna exclaimed with a laugh. "Seriously though, Jack, ask the bugger out. Like on a date. You know, where you wear something snazzy, pick him up on time, open the doors, buy him dinner, taking him dancing and then kiss him good night and donít stay the night either. A real date."

"I, umh, every time I tried with Ianto, my other Ianto, it always ended badlyóusually due to the Rift acting up or some alien catastrophe," Jack admitted, cheeks coloring slightly.

"Bloody hell, youíre scared!" Donna exclaimed and then quickly amended her statement at Jackís glare. "I mean nervous! Youíre nervous.

"Jack, look around youóthis is London, not Cardiff, and more importantly," Donna stood up and walked over to the window in order to look down into the pit where the Wild Boys were playing catch up on their paperwork, "that man down there isnít your other Ianto," she informed her boss tartly, tapping the glass. "That man down there is the team lead of Alpha Team and a bloody fine field operative. I dare say he can handle anything he comes up againstóeven you."

Jack came to stand behind Donna, looking down over her shoulder at the Ianto in question. "Yeah, he can pretty much kick my ass sideways, I think," Jack admitted wryly. "Iím being an idiot, arenít I?"

"Yes. But youíre allowed. Go on, ask the man out to dinner. Iíll even make the arrangements if you like. Nothing too flash or posh but still nice," she mused, scooting around him as her mind whirled. "Someplace low key, dark corners where you can chat and disappear into the shadows to steal a snog or twoóbut only that, mind! Iantoís a bit of an old soul, so you can get away with a bit of romance. Maybe close to a jazz club so you can take him dancing afterwardsóoh, Iíve got it! The Tamarind for dinner followed by the Vortex. Oh, youíll be well on your way to winning the heart of your fair Jones! Now go on then, ask him out. Call him up here to do it, or better yet email him and ask him to meet you at that coffee house you get his morning coffee from. That way youíll be away from prying eyes, and youíll be owning up to what he already knowsóthat youíre the one bringing him coffee every morning."

"Red, you are truly a terrifying goddess of a woman. Iíd never survive you. Rupesh is a braver man than Iíll ever be!" Jack chuckled. "And, Donna? Thanks."

Donna walked over to Jack as he continued to look down over his little domain and bussed a kiss on his cheek. "Youíre welcome. You can make it up to me by planning my hen party once Ru finally works up the courage to ask me."

"Consider it done!" Jack laughed, hugging the voluptuous redhead hard.

Barely subdued rock music played through the earbuds Ianto wore as he tried to ignore his teammates except when he tossed the hacky sack they were winging around back in their direction when it landed on his desk. A new set of directives had come down from the holy triumvirate, and he was busy trying to get the gist of them so he could pass them on to the others though theyíd have to read them in entirety on their own.

Something tapped his shoulder, and he reached over, expecting to feel the nubby fabric of the hacky sack but colliding instead with flesh. Looking up sharply, he blinked at seeing Jack standing there, looking very... focused.

"Something I can do for you, Harkness?" he asked after pulling his earbuds from his ears and well aware that Jake, Ross and Tom were all looking intently in their direction, waiting to see if it was something that involved Alpha team.

Now that he was confronted with the younger man, and in front of Alpha team no less, Jack was forced to admit he was nervousóbutterflies in stomach, sweaty palms kind of nervous. But Donna was right; how was he to ever prove to Jones that he was interested in this man, not a ghost from his past if he didnít do something, well, drastic?

"Walk with me, Jones," he murmured, jerking his head towards the door. The less he said in front of the other three, the betteróthat way Jones wouldnít have to lie too much, and he wouldnít give his interest away.

Looking over at the empty grouping of desks on the other side of the Ďpití, Jack was inordinately glad that Charlie team was in Cardiff this month. No sense setting Jones up for more than he already got from them.

"Sure, Boss," Ianto said easily though he was instantly alert, wondering what was going on. He knew that the others were watching then but didnít look toward them as he stoodóheíd tell them what Harkness wanted when he returned.

Jack heaved a put-upon sigh. "You know I hate being called that, right?" he asked and then shook his head. "Never mind, of course you do! Ah well, Iíve been called worse." Not saying anything else, Jack led Jones through the building and out to a rarely used courtyardóone with no security feed thanks to a quick call before heading down to the pit.

Once the door shut behind them, Jackís nerves returned full force. He laughed softly at the cosmic jokeóhe was the Ďface of Boeí, the youngest human to ever be accepted at the Time Agency, and one of the brashest. Heíd spent most of his formative years running con after con so smoothly that he hardly ever got caught. Jack had been the kind of bad man that mothers warned their daughters, and sons, about only to have the daughters and sons ignore their advice entirely and run straight into his open arms. Hell, heíd never been nervous about anything; it just wasnít in his makeupóbut here he was sweating bullets over asking a guy out on a date!

"Jones," he began and then paused, sighed, and scrubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Shit, whoíd have thought this would be so hard? Okay, this isnít work related; this is... this is me, asking you out on a date. Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"

Iantoís eyebrows rose minutely as he studied the other man. Jack looked almost nervous, something that surprised him. So, it had finally come to this, two months of his coffee being delivered to his desk each morning, his favorite bottles of wine showing up at his door at odd intervals and numerous other tokens appearing when he wasnít around. Heíd known that Harkness was behind it, that this was another way of reminding him that he was still there, to prove that it was Ianto he saw, not the other him, the one Jack had lost.

It was out in the open, and now it was his move, and he had to admit, he had known for weeks what the answer would be when it came down to this. "All right, where are we going?"

"Not too dressy, but not jeans and t-shirt," Jack replied, letting out the breath he hadnít known heíd been holding. "Iíll pick you up at six? And I promise not to keep you out all hours of the night; Iíve heard that boss of yours can be a real hard ass about some things," he grinned wryly.

"That still doesnít tell me where weíre going," Ianto pointed out with a small smile. "And fine, be mysterious about it; Iíll find out eventually." He turned to go but looked back over his shoulder. "And that boss of mine, his ass might be hard, but itís also not bad to ogle."

Jack gaped at the other manís retreating back and then burst into laughter. "Prick!" he called out after Jones just as the door was beginning to shut. "I knew you were looking!"

"So, what did the boss want?" Ross asked curiously when Ianto rejoined the rest of his team.

"Just wanted to discuss all of us getting together to go over our project," he reported straight-faced, not quite ready to reveal the eveningís plans to his mates.

Jake eyed him at that before slowly nodding. "Uh huh."

"Yeah, uh huh. Meetingís day after tomorrow; heís buying supper, so have your updates together and ready to present."

"Are we meeting at his place" Tom asked, trying to change the topic a bit. "Iíd love to know how he managed to swing a swank location with a view in next to no time at all. Martha and I have been looking for a condo overlooking Canary Wharf for a while now."

Jake chuckled at that. "Oh please, itís Jack bloody Harkness; he can charm a viper into giving up its teeth."

"True that," Tom conceded with a grin. "Damned good thing heís on our side, or weíd all be screwed."

"Some of us already have been," Ross snickered, looking at Jake, who merely grinned a Cheshire grin as he happily flipped the other agent off.

Jack checked his appearance in the mirror one final time before he was to head out to pick Jones up. Heíd opted to leave off the tie, but the navy blue suit with its crisp navy and white pinstriped shirt still had him feeling a little unbalanced. Invariably suits always reminded him of Iantoís love of the look, but heíd also seen how appreciative Jones had been of this particular look when heíd given Jones and Anders that dressing down after their after-hours brawl.

"Ianto, if you could only see me now," he murmured with a fond smile as he fingered the fob of the stopwatch he had tucked into a trouser pocket. "Wearing suits and getting sweaty palms at the thought of going out on a date. Youíd never let me live it down, would you?" he chuckled as he made sure that he had his wallet in his inside breast pocket before letting himself out of his condo. "Or maybe youíd be proud of me for finally getting some style and doing the responsible thing for once."

The directions to both the Indian restaurant, Tamarind, and the Vortex jazz club were already programmed into his nav system, so all he had to do was pick up his date. It was a damned good thing that Jack could find his way to Jonesí place in his sleep, considering how distracted he was, but in short order he was knocking on the younger manís door, heart racing in anticipation.

Inside the condo, Ianto took a deep breath, slowly letting it out as he smoothed his black-and-white striped shirt into his black linen pants and settled his charcoal grey jacket more comfortably. He still had reservations about this, but he was going to give it a go. He knew he enjoyed Harknessí company, and there was sure as hell an explosion of attraction. If it was anyone else, things would have already progressed farther along than they hadówhich was Harkness leaving Ďanonymous giftsí and some mild flirting.

All right, a date then and see where it went. Ianto opened the door and smiled easily. "Evening, Harkness," he said, giving the other man an obvious once over and just as obviously liking what he saw. "Right on time, Iím impressed." Stepping back, he held the door open, inviting the other man inside.

Jackís eyes raked over the other man appreciatively. Damn. "Thatís the plan," Jack replied with a grin as he moved past the younger man into the condoís living area. "I hope I can keep up the trend for the rest of the evening. Youíre gorgeous, and I desperately want to kiss you, but Iím going to do something I rarely get a chance toóIím going to be a gentleman."

"Well then, do we have time for me to offer you a drink, or do we have to dash to this mysterious restaurant?"

Jack grinned at the question. "We have time for a drink. The reservation isnít for another hour. I was planning on a drink in the lounge there, but this is a much better idea."

"Have a seat," Ianto offered, walking over to the wet bar and taking out two glasses. "Itís McPhails, yes?" he asked, looking over at Jack.

Jack raised an eyebrow. "Well, now itís my turn to be impressed. How did you know that?" he asked, nodding his confirmation.

Ianto only smiled. "Investigative techniques; you have to have them to be a field operative." He poured two fingers worth into a tumbler, then added some to his glass as well, carrying them both over to the seating arrangement where Jack was waiting.

"Oh, the comebacks Iím biting my tongue to stop saying," Jack admitted with a wry smile. "You make things far too easy, Jones; you need to stop." Taking a sip of the forty-year-old whisky, Jack closed his eyes and moaned quietly in appreciation. "This would be one of the absolute indulgences I give myself," he admitted, opening his eyes to find Jones watching him. "The Scots can work magic with grain and peat; genetic memory is a wonderful thing."

"Thank goodness for them and the French for their wine," Ianto chuckled as he sat down across from Jack. "They do make hard days easier and good days more celebratory."

"Why, Mr. Jones, a connoisseur of wine, whisky, and celebrations; youíre a man of many talents," Jack saluted the younger man with his glass. "And you have a very discerning palate. Good taste all around really."

"I know what I like," Ianto allowed, letting Jack make of that what he would. "Hereís to an interesting evening." He raised his glass to the other man and drank, the mellow whisky sliding down his throat to take up residence in his stomach like a small ember.

"And many more to come," Jack amended, taking a sip from his glass. "As for knowing what you likeóthat kind of confidence is very attractive. No wonder the admin pool has a running bet as to what sort of person it will take to make Ianto Jones settle down; they have odds on favorites for both sexes right now."

"Do they?" Ianto asked before chuckling. "I wonder how much was lost when Jake cozied up with Owenóand what book they have on you."

"The pool might have lost, but I won," Jack snickered. "Or should I say a whole bunch of children wonóa local charity received a rather huge anonymous donation," Jack admitted. "Of course, Iím waiting to see if the charity is going to be endowed with some more winnings if and when yours comes due."

"I believe thatís called stacking the deck," Ianto chuckled, "at least where Jake was concerned."

"I prefer to think of it as creative fundraising."

"Perhaps youíre in the wrong departmentóTorchwood doesnít have a marketing group..."

"What, and have Field Ops miss out on all my creative training exercises?" Jack asked, pretending to be offended. "If I didnít know better, Iíd say you didnít like my little games, Jones. I think Iím wounded."

"If you have to think about it, then you probably arenítóand are you saying you couldnít do both jobs at once?"

"It wouldnít be the first shell game or con Iíve run, thatís for sure," Jack laughed. "But Iím trying to stay honest. Besides dividing my time between Johnís experiments and you kids is more than enough to keep me busy pretty much 24/7."

"Are you saying we wear you out?" Ianto asked, sounding amused.

"Not yet, but I have high hopes that that may be in my future," Jack replied with a lascivious grin. Tossing back the rest of his drink, he put the glass down onto a coaster and stood. "And speaking of future events, I believe we have table reservations, Mr. Jones." Crooking his arm gallantly, Jack shot Jones a daring grin. "If my handsome date is ready to go?"

"Fuckwit," Ianto laughed to himself even as he tossed back his drink and stood, hooking his arm through Jackís. "Is this where we put on frocks and skip to school?" he asked, grinning.

"Will you let me carry your books and hold hands between classes?" Jack rebutted playfully as Jones let them out of the condo and then locked up behind them. "We can even sit together in the canteen, and Iíll carry your lunch tray."

"Only if you wear a pink ribbon in your hair," Ianto said blithely. "And are we walking, taking a taxi, or driving?"

Jack guffawed at the pink ribbon comment. "Jones, if Iíd been able to find any of my personal effects to bring with me, then I could have shown you how stunning I look in sequins, a red wig, make up, false boobs and some serious stilettos! I did a stint as a drag performer. It was a riot. As for our method of transportÖ" Jack came to a halt beside his SUV and, with a gallant bow, opened the door for Jones to get in.

Dark brows winged upward even as Ianto climbed into the vehicle though he waited to comment until Jack was in as well. "If you wear drag around me, Iím taking pictures," he said, shaking his head.

"Is that supposed to be a threat?" Jack chuckled as he got into the right hand side of the car. "Man or woman Iíve got great gams, and I donít mind showing them off," he said, flashing a Hollywood smile. Easing the SUV out into the traffic, Jack turned on the radio, and 1940s torch songs filled the enclosed space. "Oddly enough, a lot of the music in this universe is the same as my original one, the artists too. Some references are different; a lot of countries are different in terms of political structure etcetera; but music remains the same. No one could croon a tune like Billie Holliday or Ella Fitzgerald. Absolutely amazing women, the both of them!"

"And let me guess, you knew them both intimately," Ianto chuckled.

"No, I didnít, as hard as it is to believe. They were both happily married and very much in love with their husbands. Nah, I was just a soldier boy who had the pleasure of seeing them play live when they did USO tours."

Flicking on the GPS for mere seconds just to confirm what he already knew, Jack took the next left and then merged onto one of the larger thoroughfares that would take them into the heart of downtown London and the more fashionable places to see and be seen.

Ianto twisted sideways, leaning against the passenger door and studying Jack for a moment. "Somehow, Harkness, I doubt you were ever just Ďa soldier boyí."

"Sometimes it was easier to blend into the crowd instead of standing out in it," Jack said with a shrug. "Times, and people, were different. Iíve become the most successful chameleon in history; I can adapt to pretty much anything that you throw at me."

Turning off the highway onto Northumberland, Jack was soon guiding the SUV onto Pall Mall and then Piccadilly where he couldnít help but comment. "You know, itís weird knowing that Buckingham Palace is nothing more than a museum here. Kinda creepy, really."

"Other than our lack of your friend Shakespeare and a monarch, have you found many other differences?" Ianto asked curiously.

"You mean apart from it being three years later than it is where I come from? Truthfully, Iíve tried not to seek out the differences. This is my home now, and it is what it isóthat whole adaption thing again. I canít keep comparing because itís a futile exercise. Iíve noticed it, obviously, about people I knew or know, but even those differences are slight for the most part. Sort of like you turning right when you were meant to turn left, and so it changed the way you made a decision, if that makes sense."

"It does," Ianto nodded. "Iím sure it would be the same if it happened to me. When Rose, Mickey and Jackie went back, some of us offered to go and help; there werenít enough translocators though."

"Iím kind of glad you didnít. Two Iantos in the same place would have been both heaven and hell combined," Jack replied humorously. "Besides, things happen for a reason, and this," Jack waved his hand encompassingly, "would have been a great deal different had I known about you beforehand. We would have been different, and I donít want to change a thing. I mean that."

Ianto mused over the statement before smiling slightly. "What you must have lived, Harkness. Iím sure you know there are wagers going on about it."

"Iíve seen civilizations be born, thrive, reach their apex and then crumble. Iíve watched empires who thought theyíd exist forever fade into obscurity. Men and women who thought they were gods be brought down by their subjects because of their capriciousness," Jack replied softly. "I can also tell you what dinosaur meat tastes like, if youíre interested.

"So these wagers? They about how old I am? Canít tell you that, because I donít really know. I did this backwards and forwards thing through time, and thereís this little problem of me having my memory wiped a few times. I can tell you that Iíve been to the end of the universe and the beginning and everything in between. I can tell you I was born on the Boshane Peninsula in the 51st century and that we were at war. My father died, and my younger brother got taken by an enemy I canít remember, but I know that my mother and I barely escaped with our lives. I remember the sound of my best friendís screams as he was tortured right in front of me by that same enemy, and I could tell you how it was entirely my fault because Iíd convinced him that joining up would be a glorious adventure.

"I could regale you with the story of being hours from execution but being so irresistible that the jailorsófraternal twinsósprung me, and then the three of us did things that even I didnít think was possible at the time. I could teach you how to run a shell game on Avalon and how to be a Ďworking boyí in the Argolian Cluster, or I could simply say Iíve lived a very long time," Jack finished with a shrug as he turned onto a small side street and into a parking lot. "I have to caveat the restaurant in advance. I had Donna... give me suggestions on where to take a date," Jack stumbled as he realized that Jones might not want the vivacious redhead knowing that he was seeing Ďthe bossí.

"Donna?" Ianto asked, his eyebrows arching upward even as he silently digested Jackís stories. "Iím wondering if I should start worrying now."

"Well, considering sheís dating a doctor, I figured sheíd know the Ďswankí places to go, and itís not like I could even think of asking Jake; heíd be all over me like fleas on a dog trying to get bloodóI mean more information."

Ianto shuddered at the thought. "Understatement. Harper must not be keeping him busy enough if he still has time to ask after you and IóIím going to have to take the lads to the training grounds."

"Feel free to take them as many times as you feel the need to. Or you could volunteer them to help Doc in the lab the next time any of them get curious," Jack suggested with an evil smirk before turning off the engine, getting out of the car and rounding it quickly. Opening the door for the younger man with a slight bow, Jack crooked his arm again, his smile becoming more mischievous. "So, Mr. Jones, ready to paint the town red?" he asked as the younger man slid his arm through Jackís with a roll of his eyes. "After we eat, of course. I hope you like Indian food."

"Love it," Ianto answered blithely, "the hotter the better. And donít go suggesting I loan the lads to Doc; I need them field-ready, not stuck in the infirmary, thanks. Word going around is that heís working on some particle destabilizer, and Iíd never hear the end of it if one of them lost an important body part."

"Iím sure John would find a way to grow it backóeventually," Jack chortled as he slowed to a saunter and then turned them into an elegant looking portico. "And here we are," he murmured, letting go of Jonesí arm so that he could hold the door open for the younger man. "After you, Mr. Jones."

"Why thank you, Captain Harkness," Ianto replied dryly as they walked inside, the warm-toned, spice-scented interior surrounding them as the hostess smiled and led them toward a table in a secluded corner in the back.

"Never let it be said I donít know how to treat my date right," Jack chuckled as he slid into the seat opposite Jones. Ordering two Kingfisher beers, Jack leaned back in his seat and smiled. "So, you asked all the questions on the way here; that means itís my turn. Tell me about the incorrigible Ianto Jonesóyour family, your life, university, your first love, anything. I want to know everything there is to know about you."

"Oh, thatís nothing like a little pressure," Ianto chuckled. "All right, my mum would say I was incorrigible from birth; I was three weeks late and decided to make my presence known while she was in church. Didnít sleep through the night until I was over a year old and was walking at nine months.

"Rhia tried to give me away when I cut the hair off all her dolls," he paused and grinned at that. "Luckily Mum found her before she got me across the road."

Jack smiled at the mental image of a mischievous little Jones. "You sound like you were a handful. What about your younger sister? What is she studying? Have you and the Wild Boys terrorized any of her boyfriends yet? Are your parents still alive? And most importantly, am I going to have to go through a family vetting when I finally convince you to take a chance on me?"

"Claire wants to be a physicist," Ianto answered after swallowing another mouthful of beer. "Sheís in the US working on her doctorateóor so she says," he chuckled. "I think itís to get away from her one real and three surrogate brothers.

"Mumís a housewife, and Dadís a banker looking forward to retirement in the next few yearsóhe is; Iím not so sure that she wants him around the house all the time.

"As for the vetting, are you saying that would scare you?"

Jack took a swallow of his own beer. "Never been good at meeting the parents," he admitted. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to act the earnest young suitor when youíre as old as I am? I can do it, but I tend to slip up when talking about things like politics and the like," Jack finished with a shrug. "Letís face it, Iíve lived and forgotten more Ďhistoryí than most people ever know. It betrays my age at times."

Picking up a menu, he looked over the choices and smiled. "Well, I could be the Ďmaní and order, but Iíd rather you order, if you donít mind?" Jack asked, looking over at Jones thoughtfully. "After all, I trust your judgment."

"After the earnest young suitor comment, Iím not sure that you should," Ianto commented dryly. "If it ever comes about, be yourself, Harkness; theyíll like you more for it than playing a part."

The waitress returned and, after cocking an eyebrow at Jack, who merely nodded, Ianto ordered for them both, a mixture of spicy and cool dishes that would complement each other well.

Jack laughed self deprecatingly. "I hate to burst your bubble, Jones, but youíre not the first person Iíve Ďcourtedí," and you wonít be the last, Jack thought before quickly stamping down that train of thought. "I think I know the courtship rituals of every era of this planet, starting from being able to bring down the biggest dinosaur onwards," he teased.

"As for being myselfóI know Torchwood is mainstream here, but are you telling me that your parents and sisters will be happy with you dating a man older than dirt and who will stay young while you grow old? They may have a little issue with that, donít you think?"

"Youíre the one who brought it up," Ianto shrugged lazily. "And as for the family, I have no idea what they would think, nor am I going to worry about it.

"Guess Iíd better start boning up on my recent events and small talk," Jack grinned. "Because sooner or later youíre going to realize what a catch I am, Jones. So, physics I can discuss, quantum and otherwise. Bankingówell, you live as long as I have, you learn a few tricks, so that I can handle. As for being a housewifeóbeen there, done that too. Iím a man of many talents," Jack laughed.

"Now that just leaves Rhia, her husband and their kids to win over. Kids are easy; Iíve been a father and a grandfather; I can do kids. So tell me about your older sisteróI can promise not to shave her dollsí heads, but I doubt she has any anymore."

"You mean you havenít put it together from my file?" Ianto asked, sounding amused. "Sheís on the County Council for Cardiff, Liberal Democrat, so your politics should go along well."

"Ah, a woman I can talk shop withónow all I have to do is sit back and wait for you to invite me to meet the family," Jack grinned, his natural confidence finally emerging once more. How could he possibly have been nervous about going on a date with Jones? It was as natural as breathing.

"Címon, admit itóyouíre dying to, if for no other reason than to see how I handle it and how your family handles me."

"It might be amusing," Ianto allowed in between sips of his beer.

"Itíll be more than amusingÖ Iíll fit right in, and you know it," Jack grinned as the waitress brought the first course of their dinner. "Or are you afraid theyíll all decide Iím a great catch and tell you that you should keep me?"

"Eat your meal, Harkness," Ianto snorted. "No oneís going to Cardiff any time soon."

Weíll see, Jones, weíll see," Jack chuckled softly.

Chapter 25

The club was called the Vortex, and it was everything a jazz club should beósmoky, dark, and full of bluesy, slow music that made people want to pull their significant others close and either canoodle or slow dance the night away. "So, ready for part two of the date, Mr. Jones?" Jack asked as he held the SUV door open for the younger man.

"To quote the lads, Iím always ready," Ianto said wryly. "And Iím going to take that bloody remote away from you so that I can open my own door," he added in a laughing threat.

Jack couldnít resist the temptation. Holding up the remote playfully, he proceeded to stuff it into his back pocket and then waggled his eyebrows teasingly. "By all means, come and get it," he offered with a lascivious grin. "And please feel free to grope while you do so. Nothing like a good grope on a hot date."

"Weíll just see about that; no point in doing it if youíre expecting it, is there?" Ianto asked, managing to get to the door first and hold it open for Jack. "After you, Harkness."

Jack quirked an eyebrow at the door and chuckled softly. "Point to Jones," he murmured as he walked by the younger man. "But the nightís still young, and even if I donít get groped, chances are pretty good that you will."

"Hrmm, intriguing thought," Ianto murmured, one corner of his mouth lifting in a smirk as he reached out and pinched Jackís ass, unable to resist the challenge.

"Mmmm, do that again and I canít be held accountable for my actions," Jack threatened playfully as he scanned the darkened room looking for a table. Finding one in the back corner of the room, he slid his arm around Jonesís waist to guide the younger man towards his goal as well as to keep him close. "You smell good enough to eat, by the way," he whispered in Jonesís ear. "And I didnít get any dessert at the restaurantÖ"

Ianto chuckled though he rested his arm around Jackís waist as well as they moved back toward the table Jack had spotted. "Tell me honestly; just how many lines do you have at your disposal?"

"Iíve lived through the beginning of this world right up to its end and beyond," Jack murmured in Jonesí ear. "Iíve forgotten more lines than have been created to date. But in your case, theyíre all true." And with that Jack gave in to temptation and licked a long stripe from the base of Jonesís neck to the bottom of his earóand then he nibbled on the lobe for good measure. "Delicious."

"This is proper date behavior?" Ianto asked as they sat at the small table, sounding amused.

"Well, it depends on what part of the universe youíre in and what century," Jack pointed out with a grin but nonetheless backed off a bit with just the barest hint of an internal sigh. "Does this mean I canít ask you to dance later?"

"Well, I did just grope your ass; I suppose I owe you a dance for that."

Jack smiled wickedly at the younger man but wisely kept his mouth shut about how his only complaint was that the grope didnít last longer. Discretion was, after all, the better part of valor. "So, I have to ask, I saw the guitar in your condo that night after the fight that Iím pretending didnít happen. Do you play?"

"Play at it," Ianto admitted. "So itís more for myself than anything."

"Would you play for me?" Jack asked, watching the younger man intently.

"Not tonight," Ianto parried easily, "but who can say what the future will bring."

"I can wait. Iím a patient manómost of the time," the older man grinned at his date. "Especially if itís worth the wait."

"So, just where did you hear about this place?" Ianto asked curiously.

Jack momentarily avoided the question by flagging down a waitress and ordering a drink for both of them, his mind racing to come up with a plausible answer. In the end he simply looked chagrined and muttered, "It was recommended by a certain redheaded menace."

"Donna suggested it too?" Ianto asked, his jaw twitching as he tried in vain to keep his laughter under control.

Jack groaned and tried to find something other than Jones to look at.

"Actually, itís refreshing that you asked her," he commented, his low voice nearly lost under the music that was playing. "It makes you a little less larger-than-life."

"Well, if youíd come up to my office this morning and seen me pacing and muttering and trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with you, chances are youíd have gotten the same impression. You confound me, Jones. No one has done that in a very long time."

"You donít sound as if you know if youíre amused or annoyed at that."

"Because Iím not sure of what I am either," Jack retorted. "Iíve never been this confused by anyoneóman, woman, sentient stone, living tree or anything. Not even in my recent past," he admitted.

Iantoís lips curved upward at that comment, but it wasnít the familiar smirk that drove Jack insane. "Iím glad to hear it; letís dance, Harkness. No point in wasting the music, is there?" He stood at that and offered the other man his hand, glancing at the cocktail waitress as she arrived carrying their drinks. "We can enjoy those when we come back."

Who was Jack to argue if Jones wanted to dance, he thought to himself with a smirk. Anything he could do to get the younger man in his arms was all right with him. Just as they hit the dance floor a slow song began to play, the womanís voice smoky with just the right touch of rasp as she sang about casting a spell on an unsuspecting man, something Jack found oddly apropos. "Seeing as how you asked me, you can lead," he grinned as he let himself be led to the center of the dance area.

"Thanks so much for the permission," Ianto snorted, turning so that they fit into each otherís arms and began to sway to the music. He had to wonder how often Harkness had danced with the other him as it seemed easy, effortless.

Jackís hand slid into the small of Jonesís back with artless familiarity, and the other grasped the younger manís lightly as Jack pressed their cheeks together. He almost moaned as their bodies slotted together like puzzle pieces coming into alignment.

The subtle cologne that Jones wore tickled his nose, the light citrus scent so inviting that he took a deep breath and rubbed their cheeks lightly together. The music flowed over them, the song one he knewóand had always loved to slow dance to, Jack thought with an inane grin.

Without even consciously being aware of it, Jack began to sing softly along with the chanteuse on stage.

"You know I canít stand it
Youíre runniní around
You know better daddy
I canít stand it cause you put me down

I put a spell on you
Because youíre mine
Youíre mine"

"Cabaret singer in another life?" Ianto asked, though the normal smart-assed tone he used in dealing with Jack had fled only to be replaced by something rougher.

Jack started and then laughed softly as he realized what heíd done. "Hey, I made a great Mata Hari in the day. Had quite the following too."

"Why does this not surprise me?" Ianto murmured as they swayed to the music. He hadnít moved away from Jack, and each step they took slid their bodies against each other and rubbed their cheeks together. "Jack Harkness, homme fatal."

"Not anymore," Jack replied quietly. "Iíve met my match. Now Iím just waiting for him to realize it too."

"Harkness..." Ianto began before smiling and shaking his head shallowly. "Letís just dance, hmm?"

"I can do that," Jack grinned. "And what can I say? Iím constantly pushing the boundaries. Feel free to smack me into lineócanít promise I wonít enjoy it though."

"Somehow I gathered that would be the fact," Ianto snorted before laughing as well. "If you didnít, I might think you had been replaced with an imposter."

"Hey, Iíll try almost anything at least once. I leave the poodles to my ex-partner in the Time Agency, and tentacle sex still grosses me outóthose suction cups," Jack shuddered and then grinned. "But other than thatÖ almost anything."

"Kinky bastard, but then I know that from watching Jake come in when you were together."

"And I bet you secretly wanted to know just what we got up to, didnít you?" Jack purred, nipping at Jonesís ear playfully, "either that or you wanted to be in one of our placesówhich one, I wonder? Jake or me?"

"Fuckwit," Ianto snorted, "as if Iím daft enough to answer that."

"A man can dream," Jack chuckled. "Or fantasize," he amended, "which is a distinct possibility tonight."

"Well, you do have the distinct advantage of having seen the real thing."

"Only once. Barely a tease and nowhere near enough. But Iím being good, remember?"

"As good as you can be, anyway."

"Iím trying; that has to count for something, right?"

Ianto pulled back and smiled slightly. "Actually, it does and not in the way you think."

"Okay, you lost me there," Jack admitted after staring at Jones for a few seconds. "Gonna fill me in?"

"Nope," Ianto grinned. "Live with it."

"Well fuck," Jack pouted. "I hate being kept in the dark. At least say youíll tell me eventually?"

"Eventually, you have my word."

"Well, I guess I have no choice but to live with it," Jack grumbled. "Unless I get John to fix my wrist strap for me and then I can jump ahead and find out!"

"Word of advice, Harkness, donít go mucking about time or getting Doc all excited about it either; those protocols still arenít done, and Iíd rather not fly by the seat of our pants if something happened."

"Killjoy," Jack muttered, "but youíre right. Anyhow, Iím used to waiting; seems like all Iíve done for the last century or so is wait. Besides, youíre worth it."

"Mind me asking what you spent centuries waiting foróor are you going to hold my not answering your question against me?" Ianto asked.

"Who," Jack corrected. "Who I spent centuries waiting for was the other Johnóthe Doctor. After Bad Wolf, uh, the events on Satellite 5, which was a very nasty live action game station in the far distant future, I didnít know what had happened to me or why. All I knew was that I couldnít truly die any more. Iíd die, sometimes gruesomely, and come backóbut I had no clue why that was. So I figured the Doctor would be able to reverse it, somehow, find a way for me go grow old and dieóor to just die, or to at least tell me what the hell happened," Jack said with a shrug. "When I finally did catch up to him, the Doctor reacted like I was carrying the plague that would kill him. Did wonders for my ego, let me tell you...

"Apparently what I am is anathema to what he is, my oil to his water. I made his skin crawl yadda yadda. But he did explain eventually, and we worked it out. We haveóhadóa tenuous understanding of mutual respect and liking, but I fell under the Ďdonít contact me unless itís the end of the universeí type of friend. Canít blame him for that if I was so abhorrent to him, which I tried very hard not to take personally. Either way, I helped him save the universeóor universesóa few times after that.

"After my world fell apart, he somehow knew and showed up in a bar I was trying to drink myself to death in. He hauled me into the TARDIS, sobered me up, and then he sent me here. He may not have been able to fix me, but at least he gave me the next best thingóa new life. Thatís probably a bit more information than you were expecting, hunh?"

"Thank you," Ianto said in the quiet as the singer took a break and left the small stage. "For answering my question, I mean. I appreciate it, especially as I really didnít answer yours."

"You can always ask me anything you want to, Jones," Jack replied with an easy smile, keeping one hand wrapped around the younger manís waist as they made their way back to their table. "I canít guarantee Iíll answer, but you can definitely ask me. How else are you going to get to know me better?"

"A very good question," Ianto commented as they sat and picked up their drinks, and he leaned over, clinking their glasses together.

"To beginnings, relationships and a brave new universe of possibilities," Jack toasted Jones. "And to always having questions to ask. Anything else you want to know?"

Iantoís expression turned musing, then his lips curved into a small grin. "Just where is it that youíre getting that coffee?" he asked, turning the conversation from serious topics to lighter ones again.

"I must regretfully decline to answer that question as you donít have the proper security clearance to know the location of that particular national treasure," Jack laughed. "Tell you what, Iíll tell you on our one-year anniversary when I know that youíre hooked," he rejoined with a wicked smirk.

"Fuckwit," Ianto snorted, shaking his head though he chuckled in amusement.

"You had best have a good reason for not picking me up at the airport."

The words were all the warning Ianto had before a cushion flew through the air, hitting the doorframe where his head had been the moment before. Thanking Torchwood training and quick reflexes, he grinned sheepishly at the curvy blonde who was glowering at him, her blue eyes narrowed into slits.

"Sorry, it was work," he pleaded. "You know, saving the world and all that bother? Couldnít really break off a chase just because my little sister was coming into town."

"I waited at Heathrow for two hours," Claire huffed before finally relenting and launching herself across the room to hug him. "You owe me cab fare."

"And youíve been drinking my best Bordeaux," Ianto shot back with a wry chuckle as he spied the open bottle on the coffee table. "Iíd say that puts us about even."

"As if you wouldnít have opened it anyway," Claire laughed, pulling back to look Ianto over. "Well, no new scars that I can see, thatís for the good."

"Iíd have to agree with that," he nodded, closing and locking the door and pulling off his heavy leather jacket before sliding an arm around her shoulders as they walked back to the living room, pausing only to collect a glass for himself. Claire poured his wine and refilled her own glass while Ianto built a fire in the hearth to combat the damp November chill.

"So, just what were you saving the UK from this time?" Claire asked before taking a sip of her wine and tucking her feet up under herself.

"You know the answer to that question."

"Get the right clearance, and youíll tell me," she sighed. "Come this time next year, I will have it; your bosses promised me a job once I have my doctorate, and Iíll be finished by then."

"Not all of my bosses," Ianto murmured, causing Claire to looked at him, her eyebrows vanishing beneath her fringe as they rose.

"And what do you mean by that?"

"Field Ops has someone new in charge, an American."


"Heís known Rose and Doc for years. Heís... very good at the job, has a world of experience." Ianto paused, staring at the ruddy glow of the firelight. "I trust his decisions. We may butt heads from time to time, but Iíd follow wherever he leads."

"Oh really?"

"And what do you mean by that?" Ianto asked mildly, looking away from the fire to study his younger sister, who was watching him intently.

"Does this boss of yours have a name?" Claire asked in return.

"Does it matter?"

"Iím just curious; arenít I allowed that?"

Iantoís expression turned wry at that. "His name is Harkness, Jack Harkness."

"That introduction makes him sound a bit like James Bond."

"If you saw him, youíd say he has the look as well." Ianto paused, considered the remark, then corrected himself. "Or perhaps not; heís more the American screen idol type than the suave secret agent."

"Oh really?" Claireís amusement was clear from her tone. "When can I meet this stud of a man?"

"Heíd eat you up and spit you out without even trying, darling so donít even try."

Claire sipped her wine before smiling sweetly. "Want him to yourself then, do you?"

"What? No, thatís not it at all," Ianto argued before cursing and rubbing his free hand over the back of his neck. "Where are you getting that idea from?"

"From your attitude, brother dear; youíre fighting it, but youíre interested in him and as more than a shag, I wager."

"Had that already," Ianto muttered, scowling as Claireís eyes widened.

"You didnít!"

"It wasnít like that," he sighed. "And itísÖ complicated."

"Complicated how?"

"HeísÖ just coming out of a relationship; his partner was killed, and he believes it was his fault."

"Was it?"

Ianto shook his head and looked down at the ruby wine in his glass. "I believe his partner went into the situation knowing that might have been the outcome."

"And thatís why youíre leery of trying things with this boss of yours?" Claire asked.

"When you combine both of those aspects, yes." Claire remained quiet and Ianto watched as she mulled over his comment, each minute change of expression causing him to wonder just what she was thinking.

"Then you seem to have a problem, donít you?"

"And just what problem is that?"

"The fact that youíre arguing against something you obviously want," Claire chuckled. "And Ianto, youíve never been one to deny yourself what you want."

"ClaireÖ" Ianto growled, going silent before beginning to laugh helplessly. "Youíre right; I want him, and I like him; if that wasnít the case, that one time would have been enough to get it out of my systemóhis too, I suppose, when it comes down to it."


"And I suppose the move is mine now, so Iím going to have to make it."

Chapter 26

"Present for you," Donna sang out as she walked into Jackís office early Monday morning. "Reports, reports and more reports, and, if youíre lucky, some junk mail as well." She dropped the pile of papers on his desk, patted him on the head, and sashayed out, calling, "Have a fun read," over her shoulder, nearly running into someone as she left.

"Ianto! What are you doing here, hrmmm?" Donna asked, a knowing twinkle in her eyes that had the young man looking somewhat uncomfortable.

"Just dropping off some final reports before I head out."

"Aha..." she said knowingly. "Well, have a lovely holiday; donít do anything that Ru and I wouldnít."

"Doesnít count out much, does it?" he called, laughing when Donna merely waved. His smile died away, leaving a serious expression as he carried the neatly squared reports into Jackís office and set them on the table next to the pile Donna had just left.

"Alpha Team reports from Cardiff, chronological, summarized and detailed. Notable events are tagged, though youíve been notified of those already."

Jack looked up from his report and smiled at Jones. "Thanks, I have every faith that itís all in order. Have a great time wherever it is youíre off to this time, and try come back relaxed. I wonít say rested because who knows what youíll get up to," he laughed, blatantly running his eyes over the tight fatigues and tighter shirt in appreciation. "However, that being said, at least aim for relaxed. Iíll be here waiting." Jack knew the double meaning of his words was obvious, but it was also true. Jack would wait for Jones for however long it took. End of story.

"I plan on it," Ianto answered, a slight smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "And Iíd still suggest looking over the reports; you never know what might show up in them. Have a good week, Harkness; try not to get killed, will you?"

Jack dutifully moved the reports to the bottom of his pile and then, at Jonesí cocked eyebrow, moved them up closer to the top. When the eyebrow didnít descend, he laughed.

"You want to be the one to explain to Donna why all the team expense reports arenít signed off on for accounts payable to take care ofónamely the damages owed tax payers? Didnít think so," he chuckled. "And Iíll have a mundane week of paper pushing with the occasional bout of suicide when I blow my brains out from the sheer boredom of it all or having to deal with Anders while youíre gone. But donít worry, Iíll be as handsome as ever when you get back. Now, donít you have a plane to catch, drink or two to pour, and a good time to have?"

"Just making sure you have what you need, Harkness," Ianto said mildly. "And add a few more drinks to that agenda and youíll have it about right." He raised a hand in half a salute and turned, breaking into a jog the moment he was out of Jackís office.

"Sounds like what Iíll be having tonightóIíll just be doing it alone," Jack sighed as he picked up the report heíd been reading when Jones first walked in. "Good thing youíre worth the wait, Ianto Jones. In any universe."

Two hours later, Donna peered around the door, frowning when she saw him still sitting behind his desk. "Oi! What are you still doing here?" she demanded.

"Remember the stack of reports you put on my desk this morning, the one that was as high as my leg is long?" Jack replied quizzically. "What is it with you people? First you hand me a stack, then Jones does and actually looks annoyed with me when I donít move his to the top of the pile. Itís hard enough trying not to play favorites without the pressure from said favorite," Jack groaned. "At this rate I may be eating that bullet sooner than later. Best have Doc stand by, there might be a mess to clean up in, oh, another hour or so."

"Men!" Donna groaned, stomping over to Jackís desk, snatching the pile of reports from him and digging through him until she finally found what she was looking for. "Read this, will you, you idiot!" she ordered, pushing a folder into his hands. "I swear, Rose should just have sent you down there..."

"What the hell are you going on about, Red?" Jack grumbled but opened the report and began to read. Then stopped, closed it to make sure it was the report he thought it was and opened it again. "Well Iíll be... if this is one of Jenkinsí attempts at a practical joke Iíll use Docís particle destabilizer on his balls!" Jack promised darkly.

Donna leaned in and smacked Jack on the back of the head at that. "Who gave you the reports? Who hasnít seen you in a month? Who checked with Rose to clear your next weekís schedule so you could get your arse on the bloody plane and make like the gorgeous monkeys I know youíll be!"

Jack gaped at his assistant for a second, and then a huge smile spread over his face as the implications of her words sunk in. "He missed me? Whattaya know, the gorgeous son of a bitch actually missed me!" Jack crowed as he stood and rounded the desk to snatch Donna up, spinning her around as he planted a huge kiss on her cheek. "Tell Rose you need a raise and I need to take her dancingóonce she finishes puking every time you look at her cross eyed, that is. I gotta go pack! I have a plane to catch!"

"Look in your closet here," she said dryly though she was grinning widely. "And no mentioning making Rose hurl; she starts then I startóand no, I am not in the family way, thank you!"

Jack almost ripped open the door to the closet he never used only to see a suitcase sitting on the floor as pretty as you please. Picking it up, he eyed Donna in amusement. "Enjoy going through my underwear drawer, Red? Oh wait, I donít have one!" he teased, bussing her on the cheek as he headed for the door. "How long does it take to get to Heathrow from here? Crap, I need a ride because Iím not leaving a Torchwood vehicle unattended for a week... Wait, let me guess, car and driver waiting downstairs, course laid in and get my ass in gear?" he asked.

Donna only gave him a withering look and made a shooing motion with both hands. "And if you both donít come back with smiles on your faces, youíre fired!"

"Yes maíam!" Jack saluted smartly and then headed for the express elevator down.

Eight and a half hours later London time, Jack looked up from the directions in his Ďreportí at the isolated bungalow on a long strip of beach away from the main resort. The bright sunlight lit up the teakwood bungalow with its palm-covered roof which only helped to heighten the feel of being in a tropical paradise. However, it could have been a shack for all that Jack was cognizant of the gorgeous surroundings. His entire focus was on the man sprawled on the lounger in the sand near the bungalow, shirtless and gleaming like a bronzed god in his rolled up, white cotton trousers. Walking the last few steps to the edge of the lounger, Jack let his bag slip through almost nerveless fingers to land with a dull thud on the sand. "Finally read your reportóafter Donna had to beat me over the head for being an idiot and not reading it first," he joked after finding his voice at last

"Always knew she was smarter than you," Ianto murmured, setting a nearly empty bottle of lager down in the sand near a bucket of ice containing several more and just as many empties. He pushed to his feet and pulled Jack in for a slow, devouring kiss.

Jack groaned and melted into the kiss for a few moments, savoring the taste of beer and Jones. But soon it wasnít enough to just enjoy; wrapping his arms around Jonesí waist, Jack returned the kiss with fervor until the need for oxygen became more pressing than making sure to map every millimeter of the other manís mouth. "Fuck, I was beginning to wonder if youíd ever make a move," Jack gasped as he caught his breath. "And then you do this. Talk about going big instead of going home. I gotta say, I like your style, Jones."

"What, no ĎI was rightí?" Ianto chuckled before nipping at Jackís lower lip as his hands explored his back. "As for the place, this way we have privacy when we want it, and for when we donít, the resort is availableóplus I decided that a week might be enough time for the initial rounds."

"For now," Jack agreed, taking another step forward so that he was pressed from knee to chest against the younger man. "And yes, you were right and definitely worth waiting for," he murmured. "So, Iím thinking Iím a bit overdressed. Got any suggestions on what to wear?"

Ianto took a step to the side, brushing the length of their bodies together as he bent to grab Jackís suitcase. "Grab the beer, would you, and Iíll show you rather than tell you." The last was added with a sly smile before Ianto turned and walked up the steps to the building and, pulling the screen door open, ushered Jack into the wood-floored bungalow. Not giving him time to study the furnishings, Ianto herded Jack back to the master bedroom that overlooked the ocean below.

"Guess you really did miss me," Jack murmured as he felt the back of his legs hit something. A quick glance behind revealed a king-sized bed but not much else as he was suddenly falling backwards onto the luxurious mattress beneath him with Jones following him down and blanketing him before he had so much as a chance to let out more than a startled Ďoofí.

"Iíll take that as a yes," Jack finally managed to get out, his arms wrapping loosely around Jonesí waist, thumbs sliding underneath the waistband of the loose cotton trousers to brush back and forth over the dimple at the base of the younger manís spine. Staring up into startlingly blue eyes, Jack chuckled softly. "Looks like youíve got me at your mercy, boss. So whatíre you gonna do with me?"

"Never had my lunch, so I suppose Iíll have to eat you all up," Ianto purred, nipping Jackís chin before slithering backward, undoing the buttons on Jackís shirt and pushing the fabric back, his mouth following the path as the fabric moved aside.

"Like Iíd say no to that," Jack laughed, spreading his arms above his head in surrender. "Do your worst, Ianto Jones. I dare you!"

The younger man looked up at that, his blue eyes going dark with desire before he dove in again, licking, sucking, and biting at the exposed expanse of Jackís chest even as he pushed up to his knees to blindly work at his trousers, dragging them downward as much as possible given his current position.

Gasping at the sensual assault, Jack had to force himself not to reach down and grab hold of Jonesí head or caress him or touch him. "Fuck, you really are a wild boy, arenít you?" he managed to moan breathlessly and then strained his neck upwards to kiss Jones hungrily. "And weíve got seven incredible days of this. Howíd I get so lucky?"

"Five," Ianto growled against Jackís lips before moving down again, biting the ridge of Jackís hipbone as he dragged off his boots, pants and trousers, leaving the other man totally bare. "And youíre mine for all of them."

"Iím yours for as long as you want me," Jack replied seriously despite being slammed with ever increasing need. "Fuck, Jones, youíre killing me here!" he gasped and bucked as the sultry, ocean-drenched air settled over his now naked skin like a blanket. "So fucking dommyóshould have known from the way you bossed me around in Cardiff," he teased. "Seriously turned me on, I might add."

Ianto laughed, the sound rough with want. "Thought I seriously pissed you off," he breathed against Jackís hip before darting over and swallowing Jackís cock down, his throat muscles working around the flared head.

"I was sublimating," Jack gasped. "And sleeping with youróoh fuck me!--friend and teammate at the time. Christ! Jones!" Jack couldnít resist any longer. His hands came down to fist the younger manís hair, holding on for dear life as Jones all but consumed him. "Werenítóoh fuck oh fuck oh fuckókidding when you said you wereóshit!--hungry," Jack howled as he fought against the urge to come far too soon. Ianto rolled with each move he made, and the slurping sounds he made were obscenely loud in the near silence. Closing his hands around Jackís ass, Jones urged him to move in the only way available to him as Ianto ground his own hips against the mattress.

Beating his head against the mattress, Jack stuffed one fist in his mouth, biting down hard enough to taste blood, but to no avail. With a shattered cry he came so hard that his vision went white for a few seconds, and when it cleared, he was a shuddering, gasping wreck, Jones looking down at him, a smug smile curving his lips.

"Feeling a little less tense now, Harkness?"

"You are a complete and total bastard," Jack laughed breathlessly, tugging Jones up to kiss him wildly, scouring the younger manís mouth with his tongue and tasting a combination of himself and Jones. It made his rapidly softening cock jerk in rebellion. "And youíre abso-fucking-lutely fabulous too," Jack continued, bringing a leg up to rub Jonesí erection lightly. "But youíre still too tense. Guess you need to fuck me. Now."

Ianto pulled back just enough to look down at him, at the same time rocking his hips against Jackís leg, his leaking precome dampening the flesh. "Thought you werenít doing that right nowónot that Iím contemplating turning down the offer."

"Not to bring the past into the present but I used to; I just couldnít before now. I wasnít ready to trust someone that much again. Then this not-so-little prick started driving me insane, and I found out that I wasnít quite as ready to give up on life as I thought I was. Imagine my shock as said not-so-little prick got under my skin and wormed his way into places I thought were dead and buried," Jack chuckled. "I guess what Iím trying to say is that I trust you, Jones. And I want you to fuck me."

"You are a piece of work, Harkness," Ianto murmured before kissing him again, at the same time reaching for the slick he had left on the bedside table, spreading the gel on his fingers before straightening up on his knees, one hand splayed on Jackís stomach while the other moved between his thighs, a single digit slipping into his ass.

"Iíd rather be your piece of ass right now, if itís all the same to you," Jack groaned and brought his feet up to the edge of the bed and then let them fall to either side, splaying himself for Jonesí attention.

"And that definitely isnít work." A second finger slid in with the next stroke, the tight ring of muscle stretching around them as Ianto worked them deeper, smirking as he felt the soft bump of Jackís prostate and rubbed against it.

"I fucking well hope not considering this is supposed to be aóoh sweet holy fuck!--vacation!" Jack gasped and, impossibly, his limp dick twitched and began to slowly revive under Jonesí deft touch.

"Quite the recovery time for a man of your age," Ianto chuckled, leaning in to lick a stripe up Jackís lengthening flesh, twisting his fingers before pulling them back so that he could slick his cock, position himself, and press inside, his hands sliding up Jackís torso to frame his face as he dove in for another kiss.

Jackís mouth opened in a gasp just in time to be invaded by Jonesí tongue, and his hands fisted on the younger manís back as he was penetrated for the first time in this universe. It was like riding a bike, you never forgot, but it was also brand new and filled him with burning, shuddering sensation. "Jones," Jack murmured when his mouth was released while eyes that he didnít even know heíd shut opened to stare into the younger manís gorgeously expressive eyes. "You feel fucking amazing."

"Just donít tell me youíve flipped to being a complete bottom," Ianto panted, holding himself still until he regained control, then beginning to move, staring down at Jackís passion-drugged features even as he lowered his body to graze the other manís renewed erection, the move drawing a groan from him as Harkness tightened around him.

"Ha!" Jack managed to get out on a breath of air. "Just you wait until later; your ass is mine," Jack groaned, his left hand coming up to tangle in Jonesí hair in order to tug him down for another kiss. Their lips clung and parted; breath was shared; and Jackís legs came back up to wrap around the younger manís waist, pulling Jones in harder with each thrust, making them both gasp and buck even faster.

"Christ, Jack..." Ianto gasped, aiming a flurry of strokes at the other manís prostate, driving himself to the edge and over in the effort, his hands fisting in Harknessí hair as he came.

"Thatís it, babe," Jack whispered, kissing a path down the younger manís neck and across his throat. "I can feel you filling me. Jones... Ianto," Jack murmured, moving his head back up to recapture Jonesí mouth hungrily as he deliberately tightened down on Jonesí cock, feeling the younger man gasp and buck above him even as Ianto worked a hand between them and closed it around Jackís cock.

"Your turn," he growled against Jackís mouth before sucking on his tongue even as his fingers tightened around the thick flesh filling them, jerking Jack off as he continued to move in him.

"Fuck, too soon!" Jack gasped but nevertheless responded to Jonesí deft manipulations. The gun calluses on Jonesí fingers dragged and pulled on his still too sensitive flesh, and Jack knew he couldnít last much longer. And then the bastard prickís hips twisted just the right way, and Jackís prostate received a direct hit which had him gasping and arching and seeing stars as he fought for breath and consciousness.

Ianto rode out Jackís convulsions, groaning out his own pleasure as the contractions around him sent shocks of lingering pleasure zinging up his nerves. Jack lay still beneath him, gasping for breath, and Ianto leaned his weight on one forearm and dragged his fingers through the warm liquid splattered between them as he drew his hand upward, indolently licking them clean as he waited for Jack to recover.

"A bastard and a prick," Jack gasped as he watched Jones lap Jackís come off his fingers. "I will be returning the favor, and then weíll see if youíre still wearing that smug little grin," he threatened direly, his hand coming up to wrap around Jonesí wrist so that Jack could tug it down to his level and finish cleaning up his mess.

"You think that counts as a threat to me, Harkness?" Ianto laughed, his gaze locked on the other manís tongue sliding over his fingers. "And as for the first, never denied either, so that doesnít hurt."

Jack groaned. "A smart-mouthed bastard prick," he sighed. "Good thing I like you just the way you are. Címere and kiss me with that nasty mouth of yours," Jack ordered, wrapping his free hand around the back of Jonesí neck and tugging him down to the right angle and level. Jones moved willingly and proved just how nasty his mouth could be by exploring every inch of Jackís mouth with lips, teeth and tongue.

"So," he chuckled when they finally came up for air, "just how many reports did you get through before Donna had to point you toward the important one"

"I was reading those blasted essays from Hades for two hours," Jack groaned. "I was actually contemplating a bullet to the brain just to get out of it when she came in and smacked me upside the head and called me all sorts of names.

"So, how long did it take you to decide I really meant what I said about wanting to be with you and that I wasnít just trying to recreate my old relationship?" Jack countered. "Apart from my rather pathetic attempt at courting you, that is. Iím afraid Iím a little rusty on the techniques, not having had to use them in at least a century or so," he admitted with a wry grin.

"Christ, that word..." Ianto gave a full-body shudder, grinning at the reaction that got him. "And your so-called stealth-romancingónot quite that covert." He chuckled as he spoke and ran a hand over Jackís chest. "Fine, the truth. I knew it even before you asked me on that date though it wasnít until Cardiff that I realized I had it bad as well. I missed you, missed pissing and moaning at you and getting it right back, and hell, if we could both survive that, well, then, thatís more than half the married couples on the planet haveónot that Iím suggesting we get married!"

Jack chuckled at the younger manís reaction. "Yeah, a little too soon for that," he agreed. "Not that I have anything against marriage. Iíve done it a few, okay more than a few, times," he admitted wryly. "What can I say; Iíve lived a long and varied life."

Wrapping his arms around Jonesí waist, Jack rolled them over and blanketed the younger man with his body, their sweaty flesh sticking together almost immediately. "And, okay, not so covert but at least I can be completely open about it now. Iím not going to stop courting you, just because you realized you missed pissing and moaning at me. Get used to it, Jones; I like being able to court you or woo you or spoil you or just do nice things for youówhatever works best."

"Hello, male here, I donít need any wooing or courting." Ianto watched as Jackís expression started to morph into a pout. "Fine, fine, far be it for me to ruin your fun." He stroked a hand down Jackís back before catching Jackís mouth and kissing the pout away.

Jack chuckled inwardly. Pushover for a disappointed look, he had to remember that and hold it in reserve for special occasions. "Admit it," he said at last after Jones had finally let him up for air. "You like it, and you know it. You like the coffee in the morning and being the first to get to try out one of Docís new toysówell, after I make sure it doesnít blow up in anyoneís face, that is."

Ianto sighed at that but finally grinned. "You know my weaknessesóof course, as my boss, you should also know that this is going to end up with Anders in front of you complaining."

"And why would Anders be complaining?" Jack asked, suddenly all business. "No, let me guess, he thinks Iím playing favorites? Tough shit. When Alpha team isnít around, his team has first crack at trying them. Youíre Alpha team for a reasonóyouíre the best. And you established that long before I showed up." Jack caught himself before he said more and got well and truly pissed.

Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly and regrouped. "However, my personal feelings on insecure team leads aside, youíre right; I shouldnít let your kids have all the fun; itís not fair," Jack agreed far too quickly, not wanting to upset the delicate balance of the week before it had actually started.

"I guess that means no more trying out Docís new toys before any other ops team. But Iím still bringing you coffee, and Iím sure as hell not going to sleep with Anders just to make him feel special. Thatís one of the few things guaranteed to kill my libido dead. Iíd take a Slitheen over him any day of the week!"

"Pardon me? Did you just say that because weíre sleeping together, the team isnít going to get to play with Docís new stuff? We earned that right and not on our backs, Harkness!"

Jack groaned, wanting nothing more than to bang his head against a wall, and held up his hands in supplication. "Youíre right, you didóI never meant to infer otherwise. You can keep testing Docís new stuff, but you work it out with R&D. Iím staying completely out of this. And shooting myself for even opening my mouth."

Ianto listened to Jackís speech, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips, and by the end was laughing uproariously. "Damn, youíre easy to get going, Harkness," he snickered when he could breathe again.

"Hey, far be it from me if you want the rumor mill to start churning. There will not be, however, a repeat of the Field Ops fight club, got it? Because I donít want to have to suspend you, Jones, but I will if it happens; Iíd have no choice considering Iím the one who made up that damned rule," Jack grumbled.

"Has there even been a whisper of my breaking that rule? Now címon, Harkness, we both need showers." With that, Ianto rolled out of the bed, grinning down at Jack as he stretched.

"Have I said that? Besides, I wouldnít blame you if you did. Hell, I want to go a few rounds with Anders every damned time he enters my office," Jack admitted laughingly as he followed Jones up and out of bed, crowding the younger man until he could steal another kiss. "So, shower and then maybe you can give me the grand touróor we can find something else to amuse ourselves."

"Oh, I think things will... come up," Ianto smirked, sliding his arm around Jackís waist and leading him toward a set of French doors that opened out onto a small area that was enclosed by luxurious greenery. Letting go of Jack, he walked over to a set of knobs on the wall and turned them, sending a stream of cool water falling from the large showerhead far above them.

Jack wolf whistled in appreciation. "Now this is definitely my kind of place," he informed Jones as he moved under the spray. "Now tell me we can swim naked, and Iíll be in heaven."

"Private beach, of course we can," Ianto said as he stepped under the spray, letting it roll down over his up-turned face, opening his eyes as he looked over at Jack. "Pretty damn close to heaven."

"As close as Iíll ever get, anyway," Jack agreed easily as he grabbed a bottle of what seemed to be body wash and, pouring some into his hands, began to slowly lather up Jonesí chest and abs. "Well, other than this," he amended, eyes raking over the younger man in blatant appreciation.

"Of course what Iím thinking isnít really suited for heaven."

Jack raised an eyebrow speculatively. "Oh, now you canít just make that sort of a statement without some follow up, Jones. Details if you please," he requested as one hand came around the younger manís waist while the other soapy hand wrapped around his cock.

Ianto glanced down and chuckled, shaking the water from his eyes when he tilted his head up again. "At the moment, Iím thinking that the lads were right when they named you Ďsex-machineí," he laughed before groaning as Jackís agile fingers teased him. "And I was thinking that eventually we were going to have to fuck in hereóand that it would be hot if the beach wasnít quite private and people were listening inóIím a perv, I know," the last was added with a rueful chuckle.

"In my defense, that first time you saw Jake was the first time Iíd had sex in a while. I had some time to make up," Jack replied with a straight face. "Besides Jake gave as good as he got; I just donít bruise. And I like your pervy side, Mr. Jones. Itís quite refreshing!"

"You donít have to tell me about Jake; I know just how good he gives it." As he spoke, Ianto curved an arm around Jackís neck and pulled him in for a kiss. "And is that refreshing as compared to the pain-in-your-ass side?"

"I dunno, I rather like the pain you gave my ass," Jack rejoined as he began to stroke Jones slowly. "I actually meant that most 21st century humans of both sexes tend to be a little more, shall we say, repressed than I am. Oh, itís a century of vices, donít get me wrong, and oh what vices. But at the heart of it they still have more in common with their prudish past than their enlightened future. So yeah, I like your sides very much."

"And my front," Ianto murmured the words as he arched into Jackís grip, "and eventually Iím guessing youíre going to get to my back."

"Gonna get to every last inch of you," Jack promised as he began to nibble on the side of Jonesí neck before moving up to work his way back along the younger manís jaw to his mouth. "I plan on feasting to the point of gluttony."

"One of my favorite sins," was murmured against his lips before they were taken in a slow, sensual, claiming kiss even as Iantoís hands explored what they could reach of his back and sides.

Jack made an assenting sound as he focused on the way Jones felt in his arms and on his lips. When they finally came up for air, he smiled mischievously. "Think we can get through all the deadlys and most of the venals this week?"

"If we donít, Iím going to be very disappointed in us."

"Now we wouldnít want to disappoint you, would we?" Jack chuckled, maneuvering them until Jones was pressed up against the cold, wet tile of the only wall in the shower. "So are you a screamer, Ianto Jones? Because if weíre going to make the passersby blush and stammer, we need lots more noise."

One corner of Iantoís mouth curved upward as his hand slid down to cup and squeeze Jackís ass. "Why donít you see if you can find out? After all, whatís life without a little challenge?"

The gaze that Jack turned on Jones was predatory and hungry. "Oh, you really shouldnít have said that," he murmured as he bent to steal a devouring kiss. "Didnít they teach you about self-preservation at Torchwood school?" Dropping to his knees in a deceptively graceful motion, Jack wrapped his hands steel-like around Jonesí waist, pinning him to the wall even as he bent and practically inhaled the younger manís cock with an audible slurp. Oh yes, he would make Jones scream before they were done out here. And then Jack planned on doing it again. And again. And again.

"íCourse they did, didnít pay much attention in that class," Ianto murmured, his head falling back against the tiles as the cool spray fell over and around them. Jackís mouth was inferno hot around his cock, the wet suction surrounding him bringing him to full arousal in seconds. He moaned, his hands fisting in Jackís hair, and leaned fully against the wall, willing to let the other man do as he wanted this time, interested in seeing just where the trip would take them. Heíd scream, oh he knew that, but damn, it was going to be a hell of a ride.

Jack made a tsking sound around the object in his mouth and followed it up with a chuckle as Jones groaned quietly and then more loudly as he was subjected to the rippling of Jackís throat. Jack took one hand off Jonesí waist and groped around blindly, searching for a bottle of something that could be used as an improvised lube. He made a triumphant gurgle as his hand snagged a plastic bottle even as he continued to slide his mouth from the base of Jonesí cock to its tip and back down.

It was old hat to get his fingers slicked with one hand, and Jack was nothing if not thankful for his long centuries of Ďresearchí which now allowed him to pleasure Jones to madness. Reaching between Jonesí legs, spread wide for balance, Jack felt his way to his loverís hole and slid two fingers in easily, finger fucking Jones with lazy strokes while he continued to expertly use his mouth and throat on Jonesí cock.

"This is supposed to make me scream?" Ianto asked, his voice lazy and rough. "Kiddie ride at best so far."

Jack pulled off Jonesí cock with a slurping sound. "Just getting you relaxed enough, babe," he chuckled. "Donna wants us to come back with smiles on our faces, not limping and in pain."

"Excuses, excuses," Ianto smirked, knowing the expression was like a red flag to Harkness.

All of Jackís carefully thought out plans went out the window at the first hint of that oh so aggravating grin, and he was on his feet, fingers out of Jonesí ass, spinning the younger man around so that he was facing the wall before Jack even knew what he was doing. "Youíre just bound and determined to be a brat, arenít you?" Jack growled softly next to Jonesí ear as he crowded up against that delicious body. "Iím tempted to warm your ass for you, but I have better things to do with itóright now anyways."

Not bothering with any additional prep, Jack took himself in hand, lined up and pushed in with one steady motion. One hand came around to wrap around Jonesí cock while the other wormed its way between the cool shower tile and Jonesí heated skin in order to randomly pull and twist his nipples. Gliding his lips over a lean, well defined shoulder, Jack reached the juncture of neck and collarbone and clamped down with his teeth, wanting to leave his mark for the entire world to see that Jones was his. And Jack wasnít letting go until he was told to!

"Donít like the kiddie rides, hmmm?" Jack purred as he began to thrust, hard and fast, his fingers dancing over Jonesí chest and cock even as his mouth licked and sucked and nibbled its way across the back of the younger manís shoulders and neck. "Guess that means you can handle sudden surprises then."

The hand around Jonesí cock suddenly squeezed down, almost vise-like, and stopped moving. "Time to see just how much you can take, Jones," Jack murmured as he found the stroke and the angle he wanted and began to fuck the younger man for all they were both worth.

"Anything you can dish out, Harkness," Ianto gasped, clenching down on the other man and feeling the drag as Jack slammed into him again and again, pushing him against the tile, the strong hand around his cock the only thing keeping it from being ground against the wall.

"Youíve got brass ones, Iíll give you that," Jack chuckled dirtily, nipping on Jonesí earlobe as he did. "Letís test your endurance, shall we?" he murmured as he loosened his hand and started to stroke in counterpoint to his thrusts. "Since you can take it, that is."

Iantoís body quivered, and he writhed between Jackís body and the wall, his back pressing against Jackís chest as he gulped in deep breaths. "Have to say," he panted, "three times in a couple of hours? Not bad for an old man."

"Old in years, not in body," Jack replied immediately. "The body stays exactly as it was when Rose made me a fixed point," Jack said. "I was in my prime then, and Iíve had lots of time to expand my already extensive repertoire."

Coming to a stop, Jack precariously balanced on one foot and reached out with the other to snag the teak shower bench that stood in the opposite corner. It clattered across the wet tile as he pulled it towards them and then positioned it behind him. Hands leaving their respective targets of cock and chest, Jack braced Jonesí waist and then pulled the younger man down with him as he sat on the bench, forcing himself deeper into the lush ass that was clenching him so tightly. "Letís see how good you are at riding, shall we?"

It took a moment for Ianto to answer as his whole body spasmed at the abrupt change of position, and when he spoke, his voice was low and rough. "Just donít lose your balance, Harkness," he growled as he began to move, his thighs flexing over and around Jackís.

One of Jackís hands snaked around Jonesí waist to stroke his cock a few times, then delved between the younger manís wide spread legs to play with his balls, rolling and stroking them with the pads of his fingers. "Donít worry, I wonít dump you on your ass; I have much better uses for it," Jack grunted, more concerned about getting a splinter in his own ass than sending them toppling to the tiles. Leaning forward, Jack placed a line of kisses across the younger manís deliciously rippling shoulder blades and up to his neck. "I could spend hours just getting to know this gorgeous body of yoursóevery nook and cranny, every inch of skin and muscle. I think Iím going to have to do that before this week is over."

"Only after Ióoh fuckódo it to you," Ianto gasped, reaching back with one hand to grasp Jackís arm, feeling the muscles flex beneath his palm as Jack played with him. His head fell back, arching his body into a tight bow, and his hips jerked, dragging his body along Jackís as he groaned.

"Feel free," Jack gasped. "Jesus, you can do anything you want to me. Iím yours to enjoy," Jack replied, panting heavily. Jones was driving him insane, and if he wanted to hear that scream, he had to step up his game. "As for that groan, not bad, a little louder than the last, but nowhere near a scream. Címon, Jones, you can do better than that."

"Gottaógotta make me," Ianto got out between heaving breaths though he could feel the cry building at the base of his spine.

"You really do have self-preservation issues," Jack groaned and wrapped both hands around Jonesí waist so that the next time Jones raised himself up, he added his own strength to the downward thrust, forcing Jones to slam down on his cock harder and faster than heíd anticipated, garnering a startled cry from the younger manís throat, one that was repeated as Jack continued to manhandle him, dragging Jones up and pulling him back down. The sound was given again at a louder volume as Jackís cock bottomed out, and then Ianto was babbling out pleas as he reached for his own cock.

"Fuck, yeah," Jack growled as he realized what Jones was doing. "Thatís it, címon, stroke yourself, Ianto, let me see you come," he demanded as he continued to drive into his lover, feeling his balls tighten under the suggestion as well as the stimulation. "Want to do that too, want to sit in a chair and watch you play with yourself, watch you watch me while you jerk off," he murmured. "Want to lick you clean after youíre done, then return the show. Want you to fuck me on that pristine white beach out there, in the shallow water where anyone can see. Want everyone to know that Iím yours." Jack wasnít even aware of half of what he was saying; all he could focus on was Jonesí hand moving up and down on his cock while impaling himself on Jackís.

"Harknessóoh fuck yes there," the last was shouted out as Ianto dropped down on Jackís cock, his hand tightening on his own shaft as he convulsed around Jack, his cries still echoing in his ears.

"Beautiful," Jack murmured, letting go of Jonesí waist on one side so that he could trail his fingers through the mess on Iantoís stomach before bringing them up to his lips to lick them clean. "You taste even better this time," he groaned as he lapped them clean. Continuing to pump up into the younger man, Jack ran his fingers through Jonesí seed again, this time offering them to the younger man. "Taste us," he whispered in the younger manís ear.

Ianto could only groan as he opened his mouth and felt Jackís fingers slip inside so that he could suck on them, the saltiness of the other manís flesh combining with the muskiness of his own semen.

The feel of Iantoís tongue swirling around his fingers was the final straw, and Jack thrust upwards one last time, coming with an almost painful shout, his fingers digging into Jonesí waist hard enough to leave bruises.

"Happy now?" Ianto murmured once heíd thoroughly cleaned Jackís fingers while recovering himself.

"Happier than I ever thought Iíd ever be again," Jack replied honestly, his face pressed against Jonesí back as his arms snaked around the younger manís waist to hold him in a loose grip.

"Glad of it." Iantoís hands closed over Jackís arms and squeezed them lightly. "Hope we stay that way but somehow I think the fights are going to be as good as the make up sex."

"Nothing wrong with a good fight," Jack replied quickly. "As long as you donít let it fester. Besides, considering how much you like to argue with everything I do, I pretty much counted on lots of fights and make up sex in our future," he teased the younger man.

"Only when youíre wrong," Ianto shot back with a chuckle before carefully getting to his feet as he felt Jackís stomach muscles quiver from supporting them both.

"Excuse me?" Jack raised an eyebrow even as he levered himself up onto his own less than steady feet. "This level of perfection is never wrong, thank you very much!"

A snort answered that pronouncement, and Ianto poked him in the chest, making Jack wobble. "Careful, or youíre going to end up on your oh so perfect ass if you keep it up."

"This oh so perfect ass needs to clean up and lie down for a bit," Jack admitted. "Youíre one helluva work out, Jones. I could do with a nap. But only if you join me, that is."

A low snicker escaped Iantoís lips before he schooled his features and nodded. "A nap would be for the best. You want something to eat before we have that lie down? Supper wonít be delivered for hours."

"Between half a day of reading reports, Donna going all Taming of the Shrew on meóitís Shakespeare, Iíll explain later if you want," Jack quickly amended, "and the flight here with a fifty-something cougar trying to guess my religion and three rounds with you, Iíve had a full day," Jack argued in his defense. "As for something to eatóI just had my protein; what more do I need?"

"Two licks off a finger hardly qualifies as a meal," Ianto pointed out as he rinsed off under the spray again. "Of course, if standing is too much for you, I could always feed you some grapes in bed..."

"I suddenly feel a fainting spell coming on," Jack replied with a wicked grin. "But we could wander over to a restaurant or something and grab a bite. I wonder if they have Greek food," he added slyly. One of his little Ďcourtingí moves had been to get a Greek chef into the canteen at least once a month when Jones wasnít in Cardiff, just so the younger man could have his favorite food at work.

"We have a meal being delivered at eight," Ianto repeated, catching Jackís hand and tugging him from the shower after they were both rinsed clean. "Snack now, real food later and then perhaps a walk on the beach in the moonlight if you can move."

"Iím sated and sleepy, not decrepit and unable to move," Jack retorted without heat. "Besides, itís been a long time since Iíve been in a climate this hot; it makes me want to curl up with a cute guy and sleep the afternoon away. I always did like a good siesta."

"Then letís dry off and do just that," Ianto chuckled, picking up a towel and running it over Jackís chest, enjoying the feeling of the warm flesh beneath his hands.

"Youíre not going to let me forget that little slip, are you? I foresee many more geriatric references in my future from you."

"Not my fault youíre millennia old, is it?" Ianto gently turned Jack around and dried his back, squatting down to do his legs, his touch lingering over Jackís cock and balls as he reached around to dry them as well.

"Jesus, Ianto, are you trying to break them?" Jack groaned unthinkingly, and yet his cock made a valiant effort to try and revive itself. "Shit, if my tackle turns out to be a fixed point on its own, Iíll never live it down."

"Just drying you off, Harkness, donít go getting any funny ideas there," Ianto answered, giving Jackís cock a final pat before climbing to his feet. "I donít want to wear you out our first night together."

"Not gonna happen," Jack rejoined immediately, hauling Jones in for a fast kiss. "A lifetime wonít wear me out. Just make me a little sleepy every now and again."

"Then Iíll just remember that and make sure you get your rest," Ianto answered as they walked back inside, Ianto guiding Jack toward the bed and, once he was comfortable, vanishing for a moment, returning with a plate of cool green grapes that he set on the bedside table. Climbing into the bed, he settled himself behind Jack, the other manís head resting on his shoulder as he brought a grape up to Jackís lips. "And after you eat some, you can sleep."

"Youíre going to spoil me," Jack murmured before biting into the plump flesh and chewing. Catching the next grape in his teeth, he turned his head and tugged Jones down to share it with him, kissing him soundly after theyíd swallowed. "If youíre the standard sort of cabana boy for this place, Iím shocked that there isnít a wait list into the next century," Jack teased as he accepted another grape.

"Iím a one-off commodity," Ianto commented dryly. "And itís my right to spoil you, just as itís my right to take the piss out on you."

"Demanding sort, arenít you?" Jack laughed. "One might even say high maintenance. Good thing Iíve got lots of experience maintaining things."

"Rather hard to be high maintenance when what Iím doing is spoiling you," Ianto pointed out, feeding Jack another grape.

"When youíre not taking the piss out of me," Jack reiterated with a laugh. "I suppose I can live with that, seeing as how Iíve done pretty much the same thing for the past few months. God, if the kids find out, theyíre never going to let either of us live this down, you realize?"

Ianto cleared his throat before feeding the next grape to himself to keep from talking.

"What?" Jack asked, looking back up at Jones suspiciously and with dawning dread. "Tell me."

"They... already know."

"Know what?"

"About this week; I wasnít going into this without telling them first."

"Oh shit, Jake has the spare key to my condo so he can look after my plants for me when Iím out with one of the teams, and heís in London," Jack groaned. "You donít think theyíll do anything... rash?"

Ianto only looked at him at that, his eyebrows rising.

"I think Iím screwedóand not by you either," Jack sighed, reaching over to pluck a grape and offer it to Ianto. "Hopefully Alphaís team lead will protect me," he grinned.

"Well, I canít deny the lads their fun..." Ianto mused before nibbling the grape from between Jackís fingers. "But yes, I promise to protect you from my scary team."

"My big, bad ass hero," Jack chuckled. "And youíre the only one Iím willing to let screw me in any capacity, just so weíre clear on the subject."

"Fine with me, my idea of a relationship doesnít involve sharing," Ianto said easily.

"Been there, done that, have no desire to revisit," Jack replied, taking another grape and feeding it to Jones. "Iíve sowed my intergalactic oats, so to speak."

"Just donít tell me youíre going to go all missionary style and only on a Saturday night."

Jack began to choke on the grape heíd just started to eat and was forced to spit it out before he inhaled it into a lung. "Fuck, no!" he gasped, in between peals of laughter. "I may not want to sleep with everything that moves, but my libido hasnít been impacted in any way, shape or form! Good thing youíre just hitting your prime, Jones, otherwise I might have to take stock in Viagra, if they have such a thing here."

"Just making sure," the other man smirked before kissing Jack, offering him a final grape before setting the tray aside. "And now you can nap, Harkness. Did you change time zones yet, or are you thinking itís evening?"

"Feels like 10:30 to be perfectly honest," Jack admitted with a yawn. "And I havenít slept well for the past month or soódidnít like having you in Cardiff without me," he continued as he rolled over Jonesí leg to sprawl on the bed next to the younger man. "Iíve been burning the midnight oil most nights. Hell, Donnaís come in a few times the next day to find me still at my desk. The first few times she just scowled; the last few sheís lectured. She actually threatened to sic Rose on me if I did it again, so this trip was well timed indeed," Jack laughed as he pulled Jones down next to him. "Donít let me sleep too long; I donít want to waste a minute more than I have to sleeping."

"Promise," Ianto murmured, sprawling half over Jackís chest, an arm wrapped around his waist. "And when we wake up, Iíll introduce you to a little piece of tech that makes these jumps a whole lot easier."

"Thereís tech to help you get over jet lag? Why hasnít anyone told me of this?" Jack grumbled into Jonesí shoulder. "Let me guess, Doc? What am I saying; of course itís Docís tech. Heís part genius, part mad scientist with the brain of a Time Lord. Good thing Rose has him whipped or weíd have to have more than just one set of doomsday protocols in place," Jack trailed off, finally succumbing to long weeks of bone-jarring exhaustion.

Chapter 27

Jack watched in amusement from his seat on the power boat as Jones tried his hand at para-gliding. "If humans were meant to fly, youíd have grown wings!" he commented to the younger man over his headset. "Better be careful; you donít know whatís down there. For all you know you can still have a megaladon alive, and youíd make a lovely little morsel to snack on!"

"As opposed to your morsel?" Ianto laughed back, plainly enjoying the freedom of flight. In between trying to break the bed this week, theyíd gone surfing, wandered around the resort, and visited Hamilton.

"Are you complaining that I snack on you?" Jack replied, an eyebrow climbing well above his aviator glasses. "Such a consummate liar, I think I may be a little bit intimidated. Not to mention seriously turned on. Youíd be hell to run a con with."

"Fuckwit," Ianto laughed, shaking his head and looking around him. "Gorgeous as this is, itís more fun when youíre jumping out of a plane."

Jack shuddered at the thought. "For the sake of my tenuous grip on sanity donít, okay? I just found you, prick; I donít want to lose you until I absolutely have to if you donít mind."

"You donít like jumping out of planes?" Ianto asked, adjusting the small headset he wore. "Hell of a rush."

"I donít like you jumping out of planes," Jack corrected. "I come back if something goes wrong, Jones. You donít. I know I canít protect you or keep you from doing what you loveóyouíd resent me, and Iíd hate myself but... letís avoid trying kill me by giving me a heart attack if at all possible, okay?"

Ianto was silent a moment. "Do me a favor, Harkness? Stop the boat." When Jack did as heíd asked, he grinned, his teeth showing white in the sunlight. "And donít have a heart attack; I know what Iím doing."

The grin grew wider as he unclasped the straps holding him to the chute, knifing down into the water behind the boat, letting out a wild whoop as he fell. Surfacing, he shook his head to clear his vision and stroked toward the boat where Jack stood at the stern.

"Son of a... Ianto!" Jack was up and out of the seat, getting ready to dive in after the younger man when he broke surface and began to swim towards the boat. Staggering back, Jack landed on the pilot seat, staring at his trembling hands as he tried to calm his racing heart. "Never mind dying of old age, Iím going to kill him myself," Jack murmured faintly, his voice shaking.

Ianto stopped beside the boat, treading water as he grinned up at Jack. "I know, donít do that again," he said unrepentantly before ducking under the waves for a second, coming up with something in his hand that he tossed onto the boat, the object landing with a wet splat next to Jack.

Jack looked down at the wet fabric lying at his feet, not quite comprehending that what he was staring at was the blindingly hideous swim trunks that Jones had put on for their beach excursion. And then his lover clambered into the boat as naked as heíd been when theyíd woken up that morning, a supremely smug grin plastered on his face.

Growling incoherently, Jack picked up the offending fabric and tossed it over the side of the speed boat as he stalked towards Jones. Jones could cover up with a towel, or Jack could drop him off close to their cabana while he returned the boat but only after heíd wiped that smirk off the other manís face. Taking Jonesís face firmly between his hands, Jack kissed him with all the terror, relief and passion that roiled around inside him at that moment.

"If you ever do that to me again, Ianto Jones, I am going to be seriously pissed," he informed the younger man even as he spun them around and deliberately sent them into a controlled fall that had them landing on the boatís deck while he reclaimed Iantoís mouth, preventing him from responding.

The moment they hit the decking, Ianto wrapped his arms and legs around Jack, rubbing against his warm, oiled body. His tongue slid against Jackís, and he teased it before sucking on the limber length, his burgeoning erection sliding against the tight fabric of Jackís small trunks.

"Youíre such a danger junkie," Jack laughed quietly as he reached a hand back, hooking in the waistband of his trunks and tugging them down enough to leave him pressed skin to skin against Jones. "Iím not an unreasonable man. I can compromise. You donít tell me, and I wonít ask, okay? And youíd better not die on me either," he ordered the younger man in between raining kisses over Jonesí face and neck.

"That was it," Ianto promised, feeling the shallow tremors still racing through Jackís body. "A final hurrah if you like." He ran his hands up Jackís back, the muscles clenching and rolling beneath his palms. "Iíll get my thrills with you now."

"I just hope I can live up to your high expectations," Jack groaned as Jonesí hands moved over him, arousing and soothing him at the same time. "But thereís nothing I like more than a challenge so..." Jack bent to kiss Jones again, their tongues dueling as they exchanged breath even as he circled his hips lightly, teasing them both with the barely there friction.

Ianto sighed out a moan, his fingers digging into Jackís back and ass, starting to pull him closer before relaxing, letting the other man do what he wanted, a sort of pleasurable penance for the scare heíd given Harkness.

"God, youíre beautiful," Jack whispered as he brought up his fingers to trace Jonesí eyebrows, ghost over his cheekbones and finally come to rest on lips that were now swollen and moist from all the kissing theyíd done. "Falling in love with you was one of the smartest things Iíve done in a long time."

The dark eyebrows that had just been smoothed down furrowed together before arching upward as Ianto digested the low-voiced words Jack had spoken. "You love me?" he asked, his hands still stroking over Jackís skin.

"Yeah, I kind of do. Is that going to be a problem?"

"I invited you here, not a problem from my end," Ianto responded before sliding a hand up to clench in Jackís hair, kissing him tenderly, aware of the other manís momentary fragility.

Jack tangled his tongue with Iantoís, his trembling hands, though he would never admit that they were, still cupping his loverís face as he just lived the moment.

"Iím not used to saying that," Jack admitted after they finally broke apart again. "I learned not to a long time ago. Itís..." Resting his forehead against Iantoís, Jack let his eyes fall shut as he fought the near debilitating wave of grief that crashed through him. "Everyone I love dies eventually, and Iím left alone again. Thatís just the way it is. Iíve learned to minimize the damage, so to speak, to disengage or detach from strong emotions so that the pain isnít as great when the time inevitably comes to say goodbye.

"I learned that it was best to leave before my partner learned the truth and grew to resent me for it, for not growing old and for not dying. Most male partners didnít seem to mind; after all they got to parade around a handsome younger lover, but the women? No woman likes to grow old and frail and begin to fade away while her loveróor husbandóstays young and vibrant in the bloom of life," Jack continued quietly.

"Itís not that Iím not aging, because I am, but itís infinitesimal cellular decay compared to the normal aging process. Who knows, maybe eventually Iíll simple turn to dust, but thatís a very long way off. Listen to me ramble," Jack laughed suddenly, "still running and hiding behind words. What Iíve been trying to actually say is that as hard as saying I love you is for me, Iím going to try to say it more. Iím doing things right this time, as much as possible. I love youóJonesóIanto. Den mother cum pain in my ass prick. God, I love you."

"I wish I could say I wasnít going to leave you," Ianto murmured, brushing his thumb over the line of Jackís jaw. "But we both know better than that, especially with what we do. I will promise Iíll do my damndest to be here as long as I can.

"Weíve talked about it; you know what happened with the first team I was on. I suppose thatís why I crave the edgeólive while you can and all that. And itís why I mother the lads; I want us all to come home every night."

Ianto tightened the arm he had shifted to Jackís waist as he traced the cleft in his chin. "Youíre my edge now, Jack, all the edge I need."

"Ianto," Jack murmured, bending to kiss the younger man softly. "Thereís nothing wrong with living while you can and living life to the fullest. Weíre not so different in that respect. I feel the same need, to live every moment like itís the last because I know full well how short life is and how little time I have with the people I love." Jack fell silent, just lapping up the feeling of the younger man in his arms, Jonesí breath on his skin, the beating of his heart which was almost completely synchronized with Jackís own.

"I guess that really does make us mom and dad, hunh?" he chuckled softly, after a while. "Because Iím going to do my damnedest to make sure that everyone comes home as well. But you get to tell them about the birds and the bees."

"Thatís one thing they donít need help with," Ianto answered, his blue eyes alight with laughter. "But Iíll get them some pornos in case theyíre lacking in any aspect of their education."

"Youíre such a good mother, dear, offering to ply the kids with porn in order to round out their education. Iím a most fortunate man indeed," Jack teased, rolling them over so that Jones was now on top. "My ass was starting to burn," he continued mischievously. "Your turn."

"Yours heals faster," Ianto shot back though he didnít try to roll them back, merely crossing his arms against Jackís chest and grinning down at him. "And if you call me ĎMotherí in front of anyone else, Iím going to have a permanent headache, Ďdearí."

"How about muffin? Pooky? Sweetcheeks? The little woman? No?" Jack laughed, ducking when Jones made to smack him upside the head. "How about my love then?" Threading his fingers through Jonesís hair, Jack tugged on the ends to bring their heads closer together. "I never realized how quickly your hair grows; youíll have to get it cut when we get back. I do like the scruff though," he admitted, rubbing his cheek against the younger manís lightly. "My man is a manly man at that."

Ianto shook his head at that but didnít change position so that he rubbed their faces together more. "You are such a fuckwit," he laughed, pulling back to look down at Jack. "But youíre my fuckwit, so Iíll put up with it."

"Iíve been called many endearments in my long and varied life, but I have to say fuckwit is a new one for me," Jack chuckled. "But youíre right about me being yours. I have to ask though, what did Jake say when you told him? How disappointed was he that he wouldnít be able to play matchmaker with either of us?"

"Said weíd been the ones heíd been trying to set us up with all along," Ianto admitted wryly. "And he was far too smug about it, so I didnít bother to tell him that it wasnít his doing that was getting us here."

"Let him have his illusion. Besides Iíd rather not tell him that the first time we got together was when he was in hospital... romancing Harper," Jack murmured. "Speaking of romancing someone, I think I had started something when you climbed out of the water looking like some gorgeous young sea god in all his glory but got sidetracked with a confession or two."

Rolling them over again, Jack leered down Jones as he pushed himself up and off of him. "Now donít move, I have plans for you, Mr. Jones," he ordered as he quickly skimmed out of the dark blue trunks, tossing them onto the pilot chair before kneeling between Jonesís ankles. "Hmm, semi hard just wonít do for what I have in mind," Jack tsked. "Iíll have to do something about that."

Bending slightly, Jack licked a stripe up the underside of Jonesís cock before taking the head into his mouth and sucking lightly. It was only when Jones groaned in frustrated arousal and his hands had come up to bury themselves in Jackís hair in order to tug him downwards that Jack relaxed his jaw and throat and let himself swallow the younger man to the base of his cock.

"God, Jack," Ianto moaned, rocking upward into the ravenous heat of the older manís mouth. "Youíre too damn good at that." He twisted, his hips rising off the molded fiberglass beneath them, and Jack moved easily with him, continuing to keep his whole length surrounded by sucking warmth.

A soft chuckle was all the answer that Jack was willing to give for long moments. It was only when Jones was sufficiently hard that he finally let up and slid off the younger man with an obscene pop. "Iíve had lots of practice," he replied easily as he crawled up the length of Jonesís body, finally coming to a halt as he straddled the younger manís hips.

"Topping from the bottom is just so clichť I decided to do something different," Jack informed his lover easily as he leaned forward slightly, one hand braced on the floorboard of the boat while the other wrapped around Jonesís cock to hold it still. "I figured Iíd bottom from the top," he finished as he rocked backwards, relishing the burn as he sank steadily down until Jones was buried inside him to the hilt. "Fuck, yes!"

The slow drag of flesh only lubricated by the saliva Jack had left on him had Ianto gasping for breath, his hands moving to the other manís hips to steady him, both of them holding still, staying connected as deeply as possible. "You just have to do everything over the top," Ianto murmured, hitching his hips as much as possible, the slight change in angle scoring a hit on Jackís prostate.

"Except when I donít," Jack breathed out as his body adjusted to the sudden intrusion. And then his eyes shot open, and he gasped, falling forward onto his hands as Jones repeated the motion of his hips. "Oh yeah, baby, just like that," Jack moaned. He circled his hips before he began to rock back and forth on Iantoís cock, squeezing down each time he pulled up just to make it that much more interesting.

"Like it either way," Ianto murmured, one hand sliding down to circle Jackís cock, stroking it in time with their rhythm. "Perfect with you. So fucking perfect."

Jackís laugh was strangled and cut short by a gasp of pleasure. "Damn right I am," he agreed eventually. "Glad you know it too. Fuck, Ianto," he moaned, rocking his hips from side to side even as he raised and lowered himself on the hard cock filling his ass. "Youíre pretty damned perfect as well."

"IíllóGodóremind you of that sometime," Ianto gasped, bending his knees to get his feet flat on the boatís deck, then arching upward, driving into Jackís ass.

Jackís head fell back on his shoulders, and a long, breathy moan filled the air as he could feel his arousal spike. Jones was fisting him faster, and Jack brought up a hand to cover it, adding that extra pressure, that extra connection even as he squeezed his ass down on the younger manís cock. "So close, fuck, so good!" Jack groaned, using his free hand to pinch and pull at a nipple just to add that extra hit of lust.

"Let go, Jack," Ianto said quietly, his whole concentration locked on the other man and his reactions. Straining over him, silhouetted by the sun, Jack was beautiful; that was the only word that described him. "You go and Iíll come too."

Jack rode the younger man for a few more deliciously torturous strokes before he couldnít hold back any longer. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!" Jack shouted as his orgasm crashed over him with tsunami-like force, causing him to collapse forward onto Iantoís chest, the younger manís shout at his own climax echoing in his ears as the warm semen pulsed into his ass.

"Bloody gorgeous," Ianto murmured, his hands stroking over Jackís back and sides. "And all mine."

"Until your death us do part," Jack whispered almost inaudibly, laying a kiss over Jonesí heart. "And youíre all mine, so itís fair," he responded in a normal tone of voice, tilting his head up to reveal a shit-eating grin. "Guess all the Wild Boys are officially off the market. The girls in the admin pool will probably declare a state of mourning."

"Just the girls in the admin pool? Iíd say it would be national," Ianto laughed, rolling them over, barking Jackís knee on the boatís deck as he did so.

"Hey, watch the merchandise!" Jack groaned. "Itís not replaceableóoh yeah, right, it actually is," he chuckled. "But Iíd have to do that thing you donít like me to do in order to get it to heal instantly. Looks like Iíll have to live with a bruise. Wanna kiss it better for me?" Jack asked, waggling his eyebrows playfully.

Ianto rolled to his side and kissed the unblemished skin. "Better now?"

"Much. But I seem to have damaged my lips somehow. Maybe you should kiss them better too."

"Hrmm, they do look inflamed," Ianto observed, skimming a fingertip over the flesh in question. "Iíd best do what I can to soothe them." That said, he leaned in and grazed his lips over Jackís.

When Ianto pulled back, Jack smacked his lips playfully. "Youíre a miracle worker, Jones. Iíll have to make sure you kiss all my swollen parts better.

"I guess we should probably get the boat back before the resort sends out the Coast Guard to look for us," Jack sighed after long moments of just lying there, baking in the sun with Jones in his arms as the waves rocked them gently."

"How about I give you a rain check on other swollen areas," Ianto promised as he pulled back out of Jackís arms and stood, looking around at the empty ocean surrounding the boat. "And we need to drag that parachute in, or weíre going to end up going nowhere."

Jackís eyebrow shot up at this. "Whoís the one who decided to dump himself instead of keep going?" the older man asked dryly but nonetheless got to his feet, tugging his trunks on once heíd done so and chuckling wickedly as he remembered that Iantoís had gone overboard. "Well, if nothing else, you can wear the silks as a sarong to cover up your ass-ets."

"Too much fabric," Ianto said, shaking his head as he leaned over to grab the tow line and haul the fabric in. "Besides, thatís what towels are foróand you owe me a new swimsuit; I liked that one!"

"It was fucking ugly, babe," Jack replied immediately. "The rest of the resort, and my delicate sensibilities, will be eternally grateful that the hideously blinding affront to good taste now sleeps with the fishes."

"They distracted people from that bit of fabric you call a suit," Ianto snorted.

Jack looked down at what he was wearing then back up at Jones. "Whatís wrong with what Iím wearing?" he asked, confused. "The salesman at the shop in the hotel said they looked great on me!" Jack had had to go and buy the swim trunks the day heíd arrived as he hadnít actually owned a pair.

"Didnít hear me saying there was anything wrong with it, did you?" Ianto asked, looking amused. "I happen to enjoy it very muchóas does everyone around us."

"No," Jack admitted with relief. "And if by everyone else you mean that pod of dolphins over there, then yeah, Iím sure theyíre getting quite a kick out a land mammal wearing strange skin. Unless of course you mean the people ogling me at the beach, in which case I should point out there were an equal number ogling youóyou were just too busy checking me out yourself to realize it."

"I was actually making sure there werenít any bits hanging out anywhere," Ianto shot back before looking back over his shoulder. "And is there any reason that Iím the only one hauling this in?"

"Because Iím too busy drooling over your bulging biceps and perky ass?" Jack replied innocently as he reached back and snagged his aviator shades from where heíd tossed them onto the dashboard earlier. "Consider it recompense for scaring the crap out of me." Nonetheless Jack came to stand next to his lover and began to help him haul the sodden mass of parachute silk onto the boat.

"Hunh," he commented, watching the fabric billow and swirl in the tide as they worked to pull it in. "Kind of looks like the mama shadow dimension shrimp that Ianto and I hunted in the Irish Sea once. Gwen was busy being a baby shrimp wrangler and assaulting a man of the cloth. Ianto was like a kid in a candy store when he got to pilot the Sea Queenóit was the Torchwood speedboat," Jack grinned. "Anyhow, big mama alien lived in a sunken battleship that it had attacked when it came through the Rift. The thing created its own eco-system in the rusting hulk and began to breed in order to get stronger. We torched it," Jack punned. "Unfortunately in order to throw it on the barbie, we had to blow up the Sea Queen too, but damn what a rush!"

"You had a Torchwood speedboat?" Ianto asked, a gleam in his eye as he glanced over at Jack. "I think I need to put in a requisitionójust in case weíre invaded by alien shrimp."

Jackís grin was positively devilish. "Iím fairly certain that should you request it, the division head will take it under some serious advisementóespecially given his own love of sleek, high-powered, higher tech vehicles."

"Mmm, a man after my own heart," Ianto sighed, waggling his eyebrows at Jack as they pulled the rest of the parachute out of the water and piled it at the back of the boat, setting a cooler on top of it. That done, Ianto opened the cooler and reached inside, pulling out beers for both of them, handing one to Jack and downing half of his in one swallow.

Jackís swallow was not as a result of the beer for that was still clutched loosely in his hand, the icy perspirations barely registering. No, his swallow was dry and had everything to do with the way Jonesí throat was undulating as he sucked on the bottle, draining it. "Fucker," he cursed in amusement. "You really are trying to see if you can drive me nuts through sexual tension!

Ianto chuckled at that, though his eyebrows rose. "I wasnít, but now that you mentioned it... itís our last night here. What say we hold off until the evening, really celebrate our last night in paradise?"

"Do your worst, Ianto Jones," Jack purred, falling back onto one of the seats. "I dare you."

"You dare me?" Ianto asked, shaking his head as he chuckled. "This isnít a competition, Harkness; the whole point of it is us having a time of it and going back to work looking well-rested and well-fucked."

"And youíre telling me that wouldnít be the end result of a dare?" Jack asked in a patently disbelieving tone of voice. "Well, the well-fucked part of it, at least. As for well-rested? Thereís always the flight back to sleep."

"Would you prefer relaxed? My hard ass boss did order me to come back in that state," Ianto mused before draining the rest of his beer and walking up to the controls. "Ready to head back?"

"Your hard assed boss didnít want to think that you might find a better offer in the form of a cute little beach bunny or cabana boy and forget all about him," Jack admitted as he took a swallow of his own beer and leaned back, propping his feet up against the dashboard. "Well, Mr. Jones, the helm is yoursófull throttle, hard a port and take us home."

Ianto sketched a salute in Jackís direction and, not caring in the least that he was still totally naked, kicked the boatís engines into gear. "Aye aye, Captain, second star to the right and straight on till morning it is."





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