Rating: Adult concepts- but not explicit this chapter.
Spoilers/Disclaimers : Torchwood, belongs to the BBC and RTD, I’m just borrowing the characters.
Summary: Torchwood characters in a story set in the glamorous world of international travel!
A/N: Well, here is the final chapter- I never expected this story to go on for so long, and I certainly didn’t expect it to go quite in the direction it did. It turned into more of a ‘coming out’ tale rather than the purely romantic M&B/ Harlequin that I was going for. The last chapter isn’t quite how I envisaged it either; my laptop malfunctioned the other week, and although I salvaged some work it’s not the same as when I started out. I hope that the ending isn’t too much of a saccharine disappointment!
I’d also like to thank all of you who have stuck with this despite the gaps between posting some of the chapters- you know who you are!
PS I have no Idea what's goign on- DW won't let me post in rich text, so goodness knows how this will look if I'm successful in posting!
Chapter List: http://wanda1969.dreamwidth.org/1863.
Around Six Months Later
The Christmas tree lights seemed to twinkle, or perhaps it was just the happy alcohol haze- Ianto wasn’t one for those flashing, sequenced, coloured fairy lights that were all the rage these days, so he’d insisted on simple, old fashioned white lights- no ‘flashing’ involved. In fact, he and Jack had told themselves that the only reason that they were buying a tree at all was for when Rhiannon, Johnny and the kids came up to visit. Not that the kids were taking any notice of the tree or its lights just now; they were resolutely fixated by the X-Box game that they were playing, completely oblivious to the Welshman who’d only popped his head in on his way to the back to the garden to see if they wanted to grab some food.
“It’s no good, Rhi,” he said, returning to the kitchen. “If they even noticed I was there, they hid it well…”
“In that case, they’ll all get what they’re given,” she replied forcefully and stalked outside and towards the now customary barbeque. Ianto had wondered about Johnny’s obsession with the things, before finally coming to the conclusion that his enthusiasm was entirely due to the opportunities it gave for avoiding girly chat in the house- not forgetting the numerous prospects of surreptitious cigarettes. Johnny was, indeed, hovering over the grill, a fag in one hand and a spatula in the other, almost comically careful to make sure that the hand holding the cigarette, and the subsequent ash, stayed as far away from the food as possible as he sheltered under the makeshift tarpaulin that Jack had had the foresight to erect over the small patio. As soon as spring kicked in Jack had plans to build (or more precisely, get built) a tiled, covered area to protect Johnny’s beloved barbeque- otherwise known as ‘The Incinerator’- from the all too frequent British rain.
Rhys was there too, and a small huddle of some of the Exiles’ member sheltered from the insistent drizzle, along with Owen and Jack. Ianto had taken Rhys up on his offer to join the Exiles to watch some of the televised rugby matches a few months back; he’d been welcomed and then was slightly surprised that a group of such ‘blokey’ blokes invited Jack to the next session, despite Ianto’s protestations that Jack knew nothing about the sport. When Ianto finally capitulated and dragged Jack down to the pub for the Wales vs. Ireland friendly it turned out that the older man had been paying more attention than he’d thought when he’d been watching the odd Saturday fixture. By the end of the match the two men found themselves being invited back the next weekend.
Even the infamous-and notorious- Banana boat was there. After Jack and Ianto had arranged his flight out of Ibiza after a package holiday company collapse, Banana Boat had the utmost respect for the captain and the flight attendant- even if they were ‘poofters’, as he’d once said in his own outspoken way, without any intention to insult.
Three other Exiles players had come along to the Christmas gathering: Huw had brought his wife, and their teenage son was currently happily occupied by the indoor video games with the other kids; Glyn had come with his girlfriend who was chattering away to Huw’s wife and Emma and Gwen in the kitchen, lapping up tales of international travel and admiring Emma’s latest creation, a beautifully tailored black, silk dress. The last of the trio was the unattached Peter, who had been rather too enthusiastic when the invitation to the party had been extended to him- just as soon as Ianto had mentioned that several of his crew mates- air hostesses- would be coming along. Still, Ianto noted, Pete was huddled next to the barbeque for warmth, far away from the supposedly alluring cabin crew. He was constantly amazed by the reactions of some people to his career; most were envious of opportunities to visit exotic lands and be paid for it, too- a few treated them almost as unapproachable celebrities. Pete was obviously in the latter camp- slightly in awe of the glamour of the stewardesses. Ianto made a mental note to make sure that he introduced Pete to Emma later- he was a nice guy and something told him that those two may well be a match.
He paused to look around the garden. His Mam, Bethan, was there, now deep in conversation with Rhiannon. Beth’s friend Ffion had suggested the two women spent the Festive season away, but she’d steadfastly refused even if her eyes had betrayed a twinkle of excitement at a Christmas spent in the sun with an all important, all inclusive, ‘all you can eat’ buffet. Whatever Ianto and Jack’s views on a ‘fly and flop’ holiday, as they called it in the trade, they’d quickly totted up their Air Miles and bought the ticket to Tenerif-ee for just after New Year instead, although the truth was that he’d seen more of his Mam in the last twelve months, while he was with Jack, than he had done in the last three years with Lisa.
“Well, who’d have thought, this time a couple of years ago, that you’d be all settled down!” ‘Doc’ Smith nudged his shoulder against Jack’s and then appeared thoughtful, before he raised his eyebrows and spoke as if to himself. “Oh! I did, didn’t I?!”
“You did, did you?” Jack said with amusement- and a certain amount of disbelief.
John turned to look at him more seriously. “Of course. You’re not one for showing off your beaux.” Jack cocked his head at the archaic word. “And- come off it, don’t give me that look- it was obvious he was special when you brought him to Sarah Jane’s that time… and Ianto, well, he was interested but kind of unsure. It was cute!”
“I’d be careful there, Doc!” The pilot laughed, thinking of Ianto’s reactions to some of John Hart’s comments- and he knew that being called ‘cute’ didn’t come high on the young man’s list of descriptions of him. Unless it was Jack saying it, of course. “Ianto doesn’t react well to being called cute.”
“I didn’t say he was cute- although I suppose he is…” Distractedly, John’s eyes settled on the young man in question, stood just outside the kitchen door. “But that’s not the point,” he grinned. “The point is that if I was a betting man I would have put money on you two staying together.”
“Yeah- all Ianto needed to do was get used to the idea of going out with you. Which must have been quite a struggle, knowing how infuriating and irritating you can be!”
He ignored John’s appraisal of him; yes, he had been hard to live with in the past, especially when he was married, but with Ianto he knew that he’d wanted to be a better person- be worthy of him, even- and he trusted that he had been. “Me? I guess Ianto brings out the best in me.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he does, Jack. Not in the least.”
After seeing the last of the stragglers out, only Ianto’s family were left as he made his way around the kitchen, wearily tidying away a few empty bottles and cans, ready for recycling the next day. He paused to look out of the window and smiled as he saw Rhys and Jack similarly employed clearing away the accumulated debris from around the barbeque.
“A penny for them, Ianto?”
Bethan Jones’ voice startled Ianto from his deliberations.
“Just thinking, Mam,” he smiled at her. “Just thinking how I never expected to be here…”
Beth followed his gaze as he stared out into the garden and placed her glass down on top of the kitchen cabinets.
“Oh, Ianto…” his mother sighed. “I know… and I never expected to have two sons-in-law, at least not at the same time.” She laughed.
“Not, as I’ve told you before, part of the life plan,” he said as he turned to her. “Look, Mam… you’ve been brilliant this year. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you- and Rhi- you know, being OK about Jack. I was struggling a bit with it myself, as it was.” It was true that although Ianto had privately accepted that he was seeing a man, he had had more difficulty in being open about the relationship in public; it was only when he’d come clean about it all to his family that he felt more at ease admitting that he was going out with Jack, and he was sure that without their acceptance he would never been able to come to terms with everything so quickly.
“We’re family, son, of course we wanted to see you happy. And Jack does make you happy and he adores you- I’d be a fool not to see that,” she stepped forward and gathered him into a hug. “Not to mention,” she said quietly, hardly able to contain her amusement as she knew her next comment would have Ianto blushing with embarrassment, “He’s cute- Rhiannon was right!”
“Mam,” Ianto admonished and pulled away, and Beth saw that her son’s cheeks were, indeed, suffused with a pink flush. He didn’t have a chance to scold her further as Jack appeared in the doorway with an armful of paper plates and a bag of rubbish. He quickly set them all down on the work surface, and appeared to take in the red tinge currently gracing his partner’s cheeks. Ianto could see that the other man was unsure of quite what to do, wondering if he’d barged into one of those family moments; the fact that Bethan Jones was grinning happily and that the young Welshman sported a relaxed, but slightly self conscious, air seemed to reassure him. Whatever Jack had interrupted, he reached his arm around Ianto’s waist and rather chastely kissed him on the brow and then drew back.
“Well, it’s more or less clear out there. Johnny’s just got a few bags and stuff to bring in,” he said uncertainly, looking between mother and son.
Beth laughed out loud, before composing herself and smiling once more. “Don’t look so worried- I was just telling Ianto that I never thought I’d end up with two sons-in-law.” She paused and Jack worried exactly what she was about to say. “And definitely not two such gorgeous ones. Here’s to 2012- keep my boy happy, Jack!” Beth reached out and grabbed her half empty wine glass from the counter top, and raised it in a solo toast.
Unusually, the pink stain which crept across Jack’s cheeks matched his boyfriend’s.
“Strictly speaking, Mam, Jack’s not your son-in-law…” Ianto managed to say through his embarrassment.
“We could easily sort that one out, Ianto,” Jack replied with a wiggle of his eyebrows and a wide smile. His fingers gripped at Ianto’s hip a little more tightly. This was a conversation they’d had before, when they’d been buying the house. And both of them had come to the conclusion that no Civil Partnership or ceremony was needed; their bank account was a joint one, the house had been bought in both their names, and they had even nominated each other in their pensions and all other legal documentation- and neither of them really wanted any fuss about it all. Ianto knew that the other man was winding him up, and, just a little, saying just what his Mam wanted to hear.
The Welshman coloured even more, if it was possible, although he knew Jack wouldn’t be offended by what he said. “I really don’t think that’s necessary, Jack. I think we’re both secure enough without all that… silliness. I’m happy with everything the way it is.
Beth had been wishing that the two men would take her hint. Now that she’d got used to the idea of Ianto having a boyfriend, of all things, she had realised that she would be more than happy if the two tied the knot. Or at least, as close to it. “Well, a mother can hope…”
“Mam!” Ianto reproached her for the second time in as many minutes.
“Don’t think I haven’t suggested it, Bethan. Ianto doesn’t seem to support the idea of Civil Partnerships. He associates them with celebrity articles in ‘Hello!’ magazine.”
“That’s not quite what I said,” Ianto almost pouted at Jack. “I just don’t want all that fuss… or people wondering which one of us is the Elton John of the proceedings…”
“Or, worse, the David Furnish…”
“I always liked Elton John in the ‘70s…” she trailed away.
Ianto’s eyes darted upwards briefly. “That’s not what I meant, Mum… I just don’t think either of us need all that pomp and ceremony. And I could have used any high profile Civil Partnership…”
“Ah well, one day, maybe?” she laughed and finished her glass of wine. At her son’s flustered look she quickly added, “Ianto, I’m only joking. I’m happy enough with the way things are- and you two certainly seem to be. And, on that note, it’s time for my bed.” She leant forward and kissed each of them on the cheek, before heading out of the kitchen and towards the stairs and the spare bedroom.
“I’m sorry about that, Jack,” Ianto finally said.
“What for? You know what Moms are like- I guess she just wants what she thinks best for you, and an opportunity to go out shopping for a wedding outfit!”
“You’re probably not far off there!” He laughed, and then added more seriously, “We are alright though? I mean, you know… if you wanted to... I would…”
“Hey,” Jack grinned and lifted his other hand to Ianto’s neck, turning the younger man’s head towards him before speaking quietly. “I’m more than happy just the way things are. I kind of gave up worrying that you were going to realise you’d made some kinda mistake and go running for the hills a while back.”
That was all it took for Ianto to slip his arms around the other man’s waist as the two men’s lips met.
It was only when the noise of the rattling of glasses, accompanied by a deep Welsh voice- “Bloody Hell, you two- are you trying to scar me for life?!”- alerted them to Johnny’s presence that the two broke apart self consciously.
“What can I say, Johnny? Rhiannon’s little brother is irresistible,” Jack responded, unabashed.
It seemed to Ianto that he was blushing furiously for the hundredth time in ten minutes- ‘Really,’ he thought to himself, ‘I should surely have got used to this- and Jack’s comments- by now…’
“Ja…” he started in protest, but was interrupted by his fellow Welshman before he could even finish his first word.
“Well, he’s a great brother-in-law… But I’m not sure about irresistible…” He chuckled and deposited the stacks of glasses and cups he was balancing in his two hands onto the worktop. “Anyway, more or less sorted out there- Nothing that can’t wait until morning,” he waved towards the garden and now extinguished grill.
“Thanks, Johnny,” Ianto replied, still kicking himself for his inability to control his natural reactions to his own embarrassment- and he knew he no longer had any reason to be embarrassed, if he ever did in the first place.
“Right… I’d best go and get the kids and Rhi and get back to the hotel, or else we won’t get back in the morning to see you before the train… I’ll go and get them,” and he headed out of the door, towards the Sitting Room, where David and Misca had finally succumbed to sleep on the sofa, whilst Rhiannon, half asleep herself, was flicking through the TV channels, desperate for something to watch to keep herself in the land of the living.
Ianto watched him leave and Jack grabbed his hand and moved in the direction of the door. “C’mon you, let’s say goodnight. The sooner Rhi and Johnny go to their hotel, the sooner we can go to bed.”
“Sounds like a plan…”
Yep, it looked like life was going pretty well.