cover for Companion's Companion
Fabulous cover was made by the devinity also known as Nicci_mac [www]

Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Category: AU, Humour, Crossover, Episode-related (Dr Who Christmas Special 2005)
Summary: It's Christmas in London and an evening shopping trip takes a turn for the insane for Ianto Jones.
Rating: NC-17/adult
Thanks to: Nora Charles who most lovingly took this apart and made me put back together in a slightly different way. To Nicci who took it upon herself to be my very own cheer leader.
Notes: For the sake of this little AU, imagine that Jack manages to get back to Earth from the Game Station, but instead of missing by nearly a couple of centuries, he returns to London at the same time as Rose and the Doctor. He needs to know why they left him, but there's that pesky little problem that London is never safe, especially not at Christmas. So there's a thing or two that need taking care of first. Just keep in mind that this Jack is closer to the Doctor Who version than the one we see on Torchwood.

The air was cold but quite pleasant. It was early in the evening and all the shops were still open, twinkling along Christmas clad suburban streets. There was no snow falling, but the frost was nipping at ears and noses, leaving no doubt that it was winter.

Sidestepping a laughing child who was too busy staring at the window displays to pay attention, Ianto did a mental check of his list. It was never a joy to buy Christmas gifts for his family. He wasn't even sure why he bothered every year. Family duty? Habit perhaps? Maybe somewhere deep down he believed that it would bring about the end of the world if he deviated from the worn path.

The only thing making it bearable was that he'd long since learned to take the shopping out of the middle city of London, into the suburbs.

He wondered for a moment, avoiding another stressed shopper, if his decision to shop for a family he rarely if ever saw might be a sign of OCD. Not that he cared at all. Just because he was meticulous it didn't mean there was anything wrong with him. No matter what his co-workers might think. He was good at what he did and he knew it.

At least he'd managed to get out of the office secret santa exchange. He shuddered at the thought.

Ianto checked off the gifts for his niece and nephew. Kai, his brother, would not let the children have them, but he was sending them just because it felt right. Ianto wondered for a moment as he looked at the sharp black suit on the shop-window dummy, why he bothered. Catching his own reflection in the glass, he had to smile. He knew perfectly well that it was his stubborn streak. Just because his brother was an arsehole, didn't mean Ianto couldn't rub his nose in exactly that fact every year. And all because Kai didn't like the fact that his little brother had a flexible taste in bed partners.

Ianto studied the suit for a moment. It wasn't a label he had seen before but it looked like it was well worth the price.

Ianto was distracted from his thoughts as he caught another reflection in the glass. He turned around and watched the two santas on the other side of the street. There was something off about them, but he wasn't sure what it was. He might be a little disillusioned with Torchwood at times, but at least he had finely honed paranoia to show for it.

One moment his thoughts were on work, the next he found himself flat on his back on the cold pavement. The impact of a warm body on top of him slammed the air out of his lungs and Ianto tried dizzily to catch his breath.

"Hello there," the stranger said, not making any moves to get off Ianto ...which Ianto found more than a little rude. While he was nice and toasty on the front, his arse wasn't exactly enjoying the contact with the cold ground.

Ianto tried to focus at the face above his, and was a little unsettled by the smirk on the man's face. He wasn't sure if he'd ever seen anyone who seemed to jumpstart every nerve in his body like this guy. Ianto felt he should be appalled at this stranger, but of all times, his body decided to betray him and completely override his indignation. "He-hello," Ianto stammered, wincing at the sheer stupidity of the answer and the breathy quality of his voice.

"Hi," was the husky reply, along with a slow shift of the hips that fired up Ianto's body like nothing had in a long time.

"Oh, God," Ianto groaned as a thigh pressed down between his. The pressure of warm, human muscle, even through two layers of clothes, made his breath hitch.

"Nah, I'm just Jack," Jack said.

For a moment Ianto wondered if this Jack might be considering kissing him. Their lips weren't far apart and Ianto could feel the hot breath ghosting against his chin. Every pristine and proper part of him was arguing against it, but Ianto found himself wondering what it would feel like, taste like.

Suddenly the world reasserted itself and pieces of glass rained down all around them, covering them in shards. Jack swore and slid off Ianto, who felt almost bereft. For a moment he'd been cocooned from the world and it had been an intriguing feeling, if a little unsettling.

Ianto accepted the hand up that Jack offered him, surprised at the strength with which Jack yanked him to his feet. All around them people were running and screaming as bullets filled the air, shattering this and that.

Ianto looked down and to his surprise, he found that Jack was still holding onto his hand. Looking up, he found the other man with an odd look on his face, then a smile appeared that Ianto had no idea how to react to.

Jack's hand tightened around his. "Run," he said with a grin and turned, pulling Ianto along with him. With the armed santas behind them, Ianto didn't see any reason to argue. He wouldn't have trusted himself to find any words that would make sense anyway. His thoughts were jumbled as he pounded down the sidewalk, matching Jack's long strides to avoid getting his arm wrenched out of its socket.

Running down the street, Ianto tried to pace himself, control the adrenaline pumping through his system. Somewhere behind them, the santas were still wreaking havoc, but the sound of gunfire was swiftly growing more distant. Ianto did what he could to focus on the running and keeping up, but his gaze was drawn to Jack for a moment. Ianto had seen men fill out jeans nicely before, but being a step behind Jack he could see the muscles working under the tight denim with each long stride.

Really, trying to run with an erection was not funny and Ianto put some effort into it and ended up running alongside Jack, though the man still refused to let go of his hand.

It was okay for a few minutes until Jack yanked him to the side, into the darkness between two tall buildings. The move almost caused Ianto to slip on the pavement, but Jack stopped a little way down the passage, pausing to steady Ianto and maybe to catch his breath.

Shaking glass out of his coat, taking a deep breath to quench the adrenaline rush, Ianto made his move. He might not be a fully trained field agent, but he had his basic Torchwood training to lean on. He swivelled and pushed Jack up against the wall, holding him in place.

Before he could open his mouth and ask what the hell was going on, Jack made a move of his own and Ianto found himself in reversed positions. He winced as the back of his head hit the cold stone. The extra spike of adrenaline made his body misbehave even more. The thigh between his did nothing to alleviate the problem. On the contrary, it offered the most fantastic pressure.

"What...?" was all that Ianto got out before Jack silenced him by covering Ianto's mouth with his own. The kiss was unlike any Ianto could remember having felt before. Possessive and cocksure, intimidating in a way that sent a rush of pleasure through Ianto. He realized with a spike of fear that he'd never been in less control in his life.

When Jack finally broke the kiss, Ianto was beyond caring about how unsettled he should be. Panting for breath, he watched Jack's eyes glitter in the streetlight that reached a little into the dark passage. Neither of them moved for what felt like forever. Ianto became uncomfortably aware of the cold from the stone wall seeping through his layers of clothing, giving him yet another reason to shiver.

"Tell me," Jack said conversationally. "Do you make a habit of kissing strange men?" He slipped one hand up behind Ianto's head and rubbed lightly at the spot that had impacted with the wall.

Anger rushed through Ianto. "Oi! I wasn't the one doing the kissing," he defended himself, pushing at Jack, though his fingers seemed more inclined to clench at the sides of Jack's short jacket than pushing him away.

Jack shifted, pulling the hand out from behind Ianto's head and putting it against the wall, while the other slid from Ianto's shoulder, down his side, under coat and suit jacket, raising goose bumps all the way. It came to a rest at the small of his back, a warm and intimate pressure against his spine and a strange feeling after the cold of the stones.

"So, I'm Captain Jack Harkness," Jack said in a low voice that did unspeakable things to Ianto. "And you are?"

Ianto swallowed hard, then shook his head to clear it. He was still holding onto the jacket and forced himself to let go, pushing his hands into the pockets of his trousers to keep them from wandering. "The name's Ianto Jones," he said in a gruff voice.

Jack shivered. "Can I just tell you how I love your voice?" he asked. "I do. I think I could listen to it for a very long time."

"But of course," Ianto said as he tried to reassert control. Which was hard, still having Jack's thigh wedged between his own. "I bet you say that to all the young men you maul on open streets."

Jack let out a startled laugh. "Contrary to what you might believe, Ianto Jones, it's not something I've made a habit of."

Ianto took another deep breath, feeling a little overwhelmed as he caught what had to be Jack's scent. There was a little sweat there, overlying some sort of metallic scent. It was not unpleasant, it was... Ianto could not quite put his finger on it, but it had an almost fresh and cool smell to it. A little like the air would smell after a quick rain shower. Raising an eyebrow, he tried to play it cool, even if he knew very well that his body was betraying him.

"Now," Jack said, finally taking a step back, though the hand on Ianto's back pressed just hard enough to prompt Ianto to follow along. "Do you have any plans for the near future?"

Ianto blinked, trying to make sense of the question. "The near future?"

Jack shrugged, a small smile playing on his lips. "I could be really cheesy and ask if you have plans for the rest of your life, but for now, I'll settle for your company for as long as possible."

Shaking his head in disbelief, Ianto took a step back, dislodging Jack's hand, but unfortunately bringing himself up against the wall again. "And why would you want my company?" he asked.

"I've got a few things to take care of, and I'd love to have you my side," Jack said with an outrageous wink.

Ianto could not help the small laugh escaping him. Every little logical part of his mind was telling him to turn around and walk away, but he had the sinking feeling that he wouldn't be able to do that without wondering for the rest of his life what he might've missed out on.

Jack took a step down the passage, holding out his hand. "Well?"

Against his better judgement, Ianto stepped forward, slipping his hand into Jack's, marvelling at how warm it was. "And where are we going?" he asked as they set off at a rapid pace.

"Those things attacked for a reason and I'd like to make sure that a couple of my friends are okay," Jack explained as he led the way.

"Were they involved in the shooting as well?" Ianto asked as they turned down a quiet street.

Jack laughed as they took another turn. "I'm not sure they were, but my friends do have a habit of attracting trouble."

Ianto tried to digest that as they ran. His body was still pumping with adrenaline and he wasn't sure he'd ever felt so alive before. It seemed to override every logical thought he tried to think.

They turned into the car park of a housing estate. Jack seemed to know where they were going, and Ianto settled for following. The urge to follow Jack overrode his annoyance with Jack's cockiness and assumption that Ianto would follow meekly along.

Walking up the outside stairs, Ianto had his thoughts derailed once more as he watched Jack's body move in front of him. Ascending the stairs provided him with the absolutely best view of Jack's arse he could ask for. It was a view that had Ianto allowing himself a small appreciative smile.

The door to one of the flats flew open, and four people almost fell out. A blonde girl, a woman who looked like her and a young man. They were trying to steady a heavily breathing man in pyjamas and a housecoat.

"Jack!" The girl looked more than a little frayed, but she managed to give them a smile, pausing as she saw Ianto, but then quickly seemed to dismiss him from her thoughts as the man they were holding up, stumbled forward, staring at three figures down in the middle of the car park.

Had the santas followed him and Jack to the place, or was there something he was missing? No one said anything and Ianto wondered why none of them seemed particularly surprised by the three santas. He watched as the man held some pen-like thing out, pointing it threateningly at the figures below. For a moment they just stood there, then they flickered and disappeared in three columns of shimmering blue light.

"They've just gone! What kind of rubbish were they? I mean, no offence, but they're not much cop if a sonic screwdriver's gonna scare them off," the young man who was hanging onto the girl exclaimed.

"Pilot fish." The man who seemed to have scared the santas off, staggered a little, and Jack let go of Ianto as they all moved to catch him.

"What?" the girl said, exchanging a worried look with Jack before returning her attention to the man who was leaning against Jack's chest, looking like he was about to drop.

"They were just pilot fish," he repeated before he shook and tried to suppress a cry of pain.

"Doctor!" Jack said insistently, trying to hold him still as he coughed and shook, letting Jack lower him to the ground.

"What's wrong?!" the girl asked.

"You woke me up too soon," the doctor said.

Ianto frowned as he put the little bits and pieces together, then bit his lip. If this man was who Ianto thought he might be, then...

"I'm still regenerating. I'm bursting with energy," the Doctor said, convulsing again and something shimmering like gold escaped from his mouth.

Ianto took a step back, staying in the shadows along the wall. If this was indeed the Doctor, then they were in greater trouble than he could have imagined. Then it hit him that Jack acted as if he knew the Doctor and his friends quite well...

Closing his eyes for a moment, Ianto almost laughed. Why couldn't life for once just be simple? He shook his head and listened once again as the Doctor spoke.

"You see? The pilot fish could smell it. A million miles away. So they eliminate the defence - that's you lot - and they carry me off. They could run their batteries on me for a couple of year..." he broke off, lurching forward with a groan.

Somehow Ianto had imagined something more from what Torchwood saw as the ultimate threat to the British Crown.

The woman fuzzed over him, obviously worried as well.

"My head!" the Doctor cried out.

Ianto watched as they all gathered around him, trying to figure out what the Doctor needed. He winced in empathy when the Doctor seemed to be losing it completely, shouting in pain.

"Brain... collapsing..."

Ianto listened as the Doctor managed to warn them that something was coming, before he lost consciousness. Something what? And if Ianto had it right, that this was the Doctor... Of course he was right. Everything seemed to be pointing in that direction. Now the question was what should he do with this knowledge? And what did he really know apart from this being the Doctor?

Jack gathered the Doctor up as if he weighed nothing and they all filed inside.

Ianto stood there for a moment, feeling more than a little bereft. Do I call Torchwood right now? he asked himself. He knew he should. He should report this to Torchwood immediately yet all he could think about was that Jack seemed to have forgotten about him.

Christ, the Doctor...

"Well, aren't ye comin' in?"

Ianto was interrupted by the voice and as he looked up, he found the woman at the door, looking expectantly at him. "You're a friend of Jack's aren't you?"

"I... yes..." Ianto managed to get out before she grabbed him by the hand and drew him inside, closing the door behind them.

"Name's Jackie," she continued as she led him inside. "Rose is my daughter, Mickey's her friend, as is the Doctor and Jack," Jackie continued.

Ianto looked around the small flat. It looked like a Christmas tree had exploded in there. There was greenery and broken glass decorations covering the floor.

In the living room, they found Mickey trying to clean the place a little. Ianto still felt completely off balance, but at least he could do some good if he was staying. Putting a hand on Jackie's, he caught her attention again.

"I'm Ianto," he said, "and you look like you could do with something hot to drink."

"Well, a cuppa wouldn't hurt," Jackie said with a tired sigh. "I'm afraid that's all there is in the kitchen."

Ianto managed not to sigh. He could have murdered a cup of coffee, but tea would obviously have to do. "Show me the kitchen, and I'll make some."

"That is so sweet," Jackie said, fluttering her eyelashes at him.

Ianto coughed and took a step back, letting go of her hand. "The kitchen?"

"Right through there," Jackie said, making to follow him.

"I'll go see to it," Ianto said quickly, turning her toward the living room. "Go sit and relax a little."

Jackie looked like she was going to argue, but Ianto just put on the most charming smile he could, and he managed to escape to the safety of the kitchen.

Taking a deep breath, he took off his woollen coat and folded it over the back of a chair. Making tea would at least give him something to do for a bit. He wondered where Jack and Rose had taken the Doctor to as he looked through the cupboards, locating cups and tea.

Ianto put on water and stared at the kettle, unseeing. What was he doing? He was in the same location as the Doctor and if he were to follow Torchwood regulations, he would have to get word back to Torchwood One.

Instead he was in the kitchen, making tea. He'd followed Jack on a whim and look where it had brought him. Who was he kidding? Jack knew the Doctor, obviously cared about him and Ianto had no idea why Jack had dragged him along. It wasn't as if he were paying attention to Ianto at the moment.

Ianto leaned on the kitchen worktop, shaking his head. What had he expected? Just because a stranger came by and whirled him up and along, it didn't mean anything but a short rush of adrenaline, did it? Setting up the tea, he poured the hot water over the tea bags, letting it steep as he watched the steam rise.

A warm presence pulled him back to reality as Jack came up behind him. Ianto was surprised that he didn't even flinch when Jack's arms came up around him, his warm body moulding itself to Ianto's back. It was unsettling how fast he had become so physically relaxed around Jack.

"You're taking this remarkably calmly," Jack mumbled in his ear, hot breath making Ianto shiver a little.

"I..." Ianto stopped himself. What? Could he... should he tell Jack whom he worked for? He was sworn under contract to keep Torchwood's secrets, no matter how many of those might rub him the wrong way. Besides, if Jack was friends with the Doctor, what was Ianto supposed to do? Jack would, without a doubt, be upset if Ianto turned the Doctor over to Torchwood.

"Take off your suit jacket," Jack whispered, preempting any argument from Ianto by tugging it off his shoulders and folding it over Ianto's coat on the kitchen chair. His broad hands returned to Ianto's hips a moment later, and just for a little while, Ianto forgot all about making tea, because the appreciative noises Jack was making were absolutely criminal.

"Who are you, Ianto Jones?" Jack whispered, holding Ianto close, swaying slightly from side to side. His hands slid a little forward, resting on the waistband of Ianto's trousers. "You look stunning in a suit, I bet you look divine in nothing at all."

"Jack, please..." Ianto let his head fall to the side, giving Jack more room. It didn't make Ianto's blood run any slower to feel Jack's obvious erection against his own arse. Suddenly the thoughts of the Doctor were less important than enjoying Jack's nearness.

Jack took the baring of Ianto's neck as an invitation and licked from the edge of Ianto's shirt to his ear. "Please what? Please touch you? Kiss you? Make love to you?" Jack's voice was low and seductive. "Or please don't ask?"

Fingers tightened almost painfully on Ianto's hips and he couldn't help the whimper that escaped him. What had he gotten himself into? "If I said please don't ask," he gasped as Jack kissed his neck. "If I did, would you not?"

"Oi!" Mickey's voice rang loudly through the room. "Could the two of you not do that in the kitchen?"

Ianto felt how Jack's mouth curved into a grin against his neck before Jack pulled back a little, turning his head to look at Mickey, obviously not at all flustered by the interruption. Ianto refused to turn around before he had a better grip on himself. Pushing Jack's hands off his hips, Ianto grabbed the tray next to the kettle, placing the cups on it.

"I've looked up what the Doctor said about pilot fish," Mickey said as he took the tray off Ianto's hands with a nod of thanks, even as he was trying to keep an eye on the both of them at the same time. He turned away from the kitchen doorway, obviously expecting them to follow. As Ianto moved to do so, Jack held him back.

"I don't want to find out that I was wrong in trusting you," he said quietly. "I really would prefer to be right."

Ianto took a deep breath and touched Jack's face. "I want to tell you, but you have to convince me that the Doctor isn't dangerous."

Jack frowned. "What do you mean?"

"I..." Ianto took a leap of faith. He wasn't used to people outside of Torchwood being able to fathom what he saw almost every day. It was too much of a temptation... Jack was too much of a temptation of his own.

Jack seemed to suddenly understand. "I'm not saying that the Doctor can't be dangerous. I wouldn't want to stand in his way if I'd done something wrong, but he's willing to give people a chance to redeem themselves..." Jack looked as if he were far away for a moment, then snapped back to reality.

"What I mean," Ianto said, "Is that from what I've heard, where the Doctor goes, trouble follows."

Jack closed his eyes and tugged Ianto closer and Ianto found he didn't want to fight it. The few relationships he'd been in before, well, he'd never liked the clingy type. It was different with Jack, although he couldn't call whatever the hell it was they had a relationship. Jack was simply... he seemed to function best through touch. He conveyed a lot more in his touches than he did in his words.

"Actually, it's mostly the other way around," Jack mumbled as he leaned his forehead against Ianto's. "Sometimes he's at the right point, at the right time and he can stop things from going too wrong. Sometimes he can save lives, sometimes he can't... I think it kills him a little inside when he can't..."

Jack suddenly snapped back, looking a little embarrassed, though he still wasn't letting go of Ianto.

Ianto found himself smiling a little, hooking a hand behind Jack's neck and pulling his head back down, giving him a quick kiss on the lips. "That was a very moving description."

"And very accurate," came a soft voice from the doorway.

Turning toward it, Ianto met Rose's tired eyes. Jack's arms stayed where they were, though they were both watching her.

"Who's your friend, Jack?" Rose asked, not taking her eyes off Ianto. He wondered if she was reluctant to accept him into their midst, but she did not seem to mind him being there. If anything, she gave him small, sweet smile and Ianto realized that she looked so very tired.

"My name's Ianto," Ianto said before Jack could reply. "I hope you don't mind me being here."

Rose shook her head. "Not at all," she said. "You seem nice enough, but don't let Jack get away with too much, at least get him to buy you a drink first."

Jack laughed out loud and winked at Ianto. "You and the Doctor trusted me," he said to Rose, and although he was still smiling, his voice sounded a little strained. "I thought it was about time I took a little chance on someone as well."

Rose nodded. "I'm glad we did," she replied. "Oh, and Jack?" she said before leaving the kitchen again. "I'm sorry we left you behind, and I'm really glad you're still alive. The Doctor will be glad to see you too once..." she trailed off.

"He'll be back to his old insane self in no time," Jack said, his grip on Ianto tightening a little. "Don't worry, Rose."

Rose nodded and gave him a thankful smile, then left them on their own.

Ianto watched the exchange with curiosity. He knew little about Jack, but every little thing Rose had said, every reply of Jack's, Ianto put that away in his mind like little pieces of a puzzle. He looked at the empty doorway for a moment, then turned his attention back to Jack, pushing him back a little, taking a deep breath and making what he knew would have to be the craziest decision ever.

"I work for a corporation by the name of Torchwood," he said quietly. God, they would have his head for this. They probably wouldn't just ret-con him for it. He could not help but remember some of the gossip he had heard at the office, about what Torchwood did with wayward employees. Dismissing those thoughts, he told himself that they were simply gossip and the Torchwood version of old wives' tales.

Jack's frown told Ianto that he was not following him. "In some ways we work a little like UNIT," he tried. "But we answer to no one. We were created by Queen Victoria after she met the Doctor."

Jack's eyebrows rose. "Well, the Doctor always did have a habit of running into important people."

"Jack... she wanted Torchwood to be a safeguard. To protect England and the world against aliens, in particular the Doctor."

Jack shook his head. "So you're saying that..."

Ianto forced himself to hold Jack's gaze, even if he could see the hint of disappointment there. He nodded. "I've read the reports on how the Doctor has interfered over the years," he admitted quietly.

Jack leaned back against the kitchen counter. His eyes seemed darker than Ianto had noticed before, but he carried on, hoping he could at least alleviate some of Jack's worries.

"I remember all that I read about the Doctor and a lot of it never really fit all that well together. It's like a puzzle with fuzzy edges -- it may look like it fits, but upon closer scrutiny, it doesn't." Ianto rubbed his forehead and sighed. "It's hard to explain, but a lot of what I read about the Doctor seems to be less objective and more... well, depending on who wrote the reports, it always sounded vaguely like the stories of madmen."

Pursing his lips, Jack watched him for a few moments. Neither of them said anything. Then Jack tilted his head to the side.

"I get the feeling they won't exactly love you for telling us this, then, will they?" he finally asked, reaching out, tucking two fingers down inside Ianto's waistband to pull him forward, closer.

Ianto broke eye contact for a moment, looking at the dark window behind Jack. "I get the feeling there's more at stake here than my job," Ianto finally said.

"Ianto Jones," Jack scolded in a low voice. "Tell me the truth. Will they let you go?"

"I think..." Ianto finally focused on Jack's eyes again. "Don't worry, I may only have been with Torchwood for a year, but I know the ins and outs." He hoped the universe would forgive him that little lie. As much as he could cover a lot of his tracks, he was pretty sure this would be beyond his abilities.

Jack stared hard at him and Ianto wondered if he could tell that Ianto was lying... sort of.

"Come with us," Jack breathed, a smile forming on his lips that caused Ianto's breathing to quicken. "Come with me."

"How do you do this to me?" Ianto asked. He flushed a little as he realized he'd said that out loud. "Where would you take me?" he asked curiously. When they ret-conned him, he wouldn't remember Jack, or Jack's promises. He wasn't so stupid as to think he could have this. He couldn't quite picture Jack as the permanent type.

Jack leaned his head against Ianto's, and they stood cheek to cheek. Jack swayed a little back and forth, taking Ianto with him, slow dancing to some tune in his head only. In the living room the TV was a constantly, low hum.

"I haven't been born yet, if you think in linear terms," Jack whispered into his ear. When Ianto wanted to jerk back in surprise, Jack held him tightly in place. "I'm out of the 51st century, Ianto. If you go with us, with me, you'll see things you could never even imagine, that your Torchwood can only dream of."

Ianto tried to digest those words. Surely he wasn't serious? "It sounds fantastic, Jack," he made himself say, with the same calm he always donned when at work. He wondered why he wasn't, for a moment, considering turning on them.

"We can go to worlds at the end of the Universe," Jack whispered hotly against his ear. "There's so much out there, and trust me, once you've experienced time as anything but linear, you will never think of it the same way again."

"Is that what it's like travelling with the Doctor?" Ianto asked. Was he doing the right thing? Should he just drop all this and call Torchwood One and tell them where the Doctor was? Somehow it grated on him, since there was no way the Doctor could protect himself, and what about the others? What would Torchwood do to them? To Jack?

Jack's soft laughter sent shivers down Ianto's spine. God, what it wouldn't be like to accept this offer? To stay with this madman, to see what he ever only saw hinted at in the Torchwood archives?

"I won't lie to you," Jack said quietly. "It's dangerous at times. The Doctor has a habit of wanting to go for a quick trip to some fun place, and ends up in a place that isn't pleasant, but where someone needs his help. I sometimes think the Tardis knows and dumps him where he's needed, not where he wants to go."

"The Tardis?" Ianto tried to focus, but Jack was doing something obscene to his ear, involving tongue and teeth. It was quite difficult to keep a clear head when all Ianto could think about, feel, was Jack's warm body moulded to his, heat and want evident.

"The ship. The box."

Where the Doctor goes, chaos and death follows, Ianto thought to himself as he tilted his head to the side to give Jack better access. Maybe it was the other way around...?

"He tries to change time," Ianto gasped as Jack moved against him.

"He's a meddlesome fool, sometimes," Jack said, his breathing coming a little faster now as well, as their bodies were pressed together. "But he means well, and there are others out there who try to change time as well, but never with good intentions."

"Oh, God, I can't think straight anymore," Ianto moaned as Jack's fingers cupped his arse and squeezed.

"You 21st century humans and your labels," Jack laughed into his ear.

"Now really! I've never..." Ianto jumped back at the loud voice and turned to find Rose's mother, Jackie, staring at them, shaking her head in disbelief. "There's an invasion going on and you're making out in my kitchen!"

Ianto realized that Jackie was right about the invasion when he managed to hide his embarrassment and follow her and Jack into the living room. Grabbing his jacket from the chair, he pulled it on. It made him feel a little better

Jackie put a hand on his arm before they joined the others and she gave him a worried look. "Don't let Jack pull you around by the ...," Jackie began, then seemed to reconsider, "the nose," she finished.

Ianto tugged at the bottom of his jacket, straightening it as he fought the flush heating his face. Even if Jackie meant well, he couldn't quite help the mental images her little slip had provided him with.

The TV caught Ianto's attention and he watched as the transmission showed a UNIT representative. He listened carefully, but wondered if they might be more pressed for time than he had thought. The cover story was... Well, there were enough holes in it to grab Ianto's attention, not to mention that the representative seemed very ill at ease. Ianto stared as the regular presenter returned to the screen. This was it. This was what they meant when they said that chaos and destruction followed the Doctor. Ianto straightened his cuffs and caught Jack's eyes.

Jack was staring at him, licking his lips, hands closing and releasing and Ianto felt his cheeks heat as he looked away quickly. Just looking at Jack made him feel creased and rumpled. Even in the middle of an alien invasion...

"Do you know what they are?" Rose asked Jack quietly.

Jack shook his head. "I've seen so many species over the years, but it's only been a fraction of the ones out there," he admitted. He looked up and gave Ianto a small smile.

Ianto hadn't recognized them either, but he kept that to himself. Just because he'd told Jack the truth it didn't mean he wanted to explain it to them all.

The minutes ticked by and they all slowly lost interest in the story that the Government was trying to sell them.

"I wonder how far away they are," Jack mused.

Ianto opened his mouth to ask what he thought they might expect. He normally only dealt with abandoned alien technology. He didn't deal with the makers of it. The little voice in the back of his head giggled madly, urging him to ask if this might be the end, and if perhaps he could have sex with Jack just because it would be the last and only opportunity.

He was quite sure Jack would agree, even if Ianto's mind seemed to be screaming at him to not be so daft. To focus... Ianto shook his head. There was an annoying buzz, right behind his eyes.

Maybe he was just tired? He had had a long day, maybe the absurdity of what was happening around him was finally catching up with him? Catching Jack's eyes again, Ianto tried to ignore the strange fuzzy feeling in his head, the buzz growing to something more, something...

Ianto's mind went blank. One moment it was a maelstrom of thoughts and feelings, the next, nothing but an urge to walk out. Go toward a high point, just get upwards.

He wanted nothing more than to obey. He vaguely felt hands grabbing at him, but it wasn't important. Nothing but obeying was.

Jostling and feeling thwarted, was how Ianto perceived his world. He almost felt like crying. He couldn't do as the buzz told him to, he couldn't follow the urge, even though he felt as if he would never be happy unless he did as it wanted.

Coming to with a gasp as something cold clicked shut around his right wrist. Looking down, Ianto realized that Jack had closed one half of a pair of handcuffs around his wrist and with a quick flick, the other half clicked shut around a metal bar.

"I'm not letting you go that easily," Jack said, sounding like he'd run a marathon. He was kneeling close to Ianto. In fact, he was almost in his lap. Ianto realized that Jack looked almost... scared?

"How is he?" Mickey came into Ianto's sight, looking at them a little worriedly. On the other side of Jack, Ianto found Rose, studying something at some kind of console.

Ianto heard Jack answer that he didn't know. He could still feel the buzz in his head, but all of a sudden he was far more interested in his surroundings. Alien. It was the only description he could come up with. The room he was in had a high ceiling, the walls seemed to be almost breathing. It all seemed somehow organic, even if Ianto couldn't put his finger on why exactly it struck him that way.

Turning his attention back to Jack, Ianto found him still watching with worry. "There are a lot of people just getting up and walking away tonight," he mused. A small smile grazed his lips and Ianto wanted to lick that. See if it tasted differently from their earlier kisses.

To tell the truth, he was feeling a little intoxicated for some odd reason.

Jack got up and Ianto immediately wanted him back. It was as if with the compulsion being gone... he was even more obsessed with Jack than before. Well, it was a theory of sorts, because Ianto still felt weird and he couldn't find anything else to help him explain what the hell was wrong with him.

The next hours were strangely many-layered to Ianto. He felt like he was fading in and out, but at least he felt anchored in some way. He'd figured out he was in some sort of alien vessel, probably the Doctor's.

Mickey and Rose had left them on their own, but Jack stayed with him. At first he'd fidgeted, as if he wanted to go check on the Doctor, then he'd finally sat down next to Ianto. He didn't uncuff him and that puzzled Ianto a little.

"Jack?" Ianto leaned against Jack's side, resting his head against Jack's shoulder. If he'd been tired before it was nothing compared to how drained he now felt.

"Yeah?" Jack turned his head. They were close enough for Ianto to feel the warm breath against his face.

"Where'd you get the handcuffs?" Ianto asked. "And are you planning on taking them off me anytime soon?

Jack nuzzled Ianto's neck. "They're mine," he admitted with a small laugh. "And no, I'm not letting you off until I'm sure you're not going to wander off in a daze."

Ianto shivered a little. He didn't feel so good, but at least he was more or less lucid. "I bet you didn't expect to have to use them this way," he mumbled as he closed his eyes and enjoyed Jack's heat against his side.

This time Jack's laugh sounded better, as if he wasn't quite so worried anymore. "No, I had other ideas for the cuffs and you."

Ianto shivered. "That sounds... nice."

"Hey," Jack's voice grew stern. "Stay with me, okay Ianto?"

"I'd like that," Ianto heard himself reply. His head felt as if it was full of cotton and it made it hard to think. "I hope you won't think me rude, but I'm so tired..."

"That's okay," Jack replied quietly. "It's been a long night."

Ianto drifted in and out, still vaguely feeling the urge to do as the buzz in his told him to. Get out, go up.

"Is this the Doctor's time ship?" Ianto asked curiously.

"She's more than a ship," Jack said quietly, his fingers unconsciously drawing small circles on Ianto's thigh. "She's a TARDIS, a living being."

Ianto wanted to ask more questions, but suddenly there was a series of loud crashes from outside, only slightly muffled by the closed doors.

There was a shouting but he couldn't make out what was being said. As if his brain had turned to lead, making it impossible for him to think at anything close to normal speed.

Next to him, Jack cursed and got to his feet, looking torn between investigating and staying with Ianto. In the end, he kissed Ianto hard before running outside.

Ianto wanted to call for him, feeling a little odd being left along in such a strange place. Then Jack was back, carrying the Doctor and gently putting him down on the metal floor next to Ianto.

"Would you...?" Jack asked a little awkwardly as he supported the Doctor's still form.

Ianto nodded and put his free arm around the Doctor, helping Jack to arrange him with his head in Ianto's lap for as much comfort as possible on the cold floor.

Rose and Mickey came bursting through closely followed by Jackie and Ianto found himself drifting again. He could feel the heat from the Doctor burning through his clothes. The alien seemed to be reaching a temperature where Ianto wondered if his brain would not be fried.

The others were running around the place and Ianto tried to focus on Jack, but soon gave up. Something had obviously happened and being cuffed to the ship, the TARDIS, and quite frankly not in a state to help, Ianto just couldn't get his brain to care.

The next thing he knew, there was shouting outside the door, just before it slammed shut and he found himself alone again, save for the unconscious alien on the floor.

Something hissed, like an electric installation that wasn't working quite right. Ianto tried to care but again he couldn't find the energy to focus.

Suddenly he was arching off the ground, gasping for air and the world around him slammed back into crystal clear view.

"There's a good man," someone muttered next to him.

Ianto looked up find the Doctor looking down at him, his eyes terrifyingly clear.

"I'm the Doctor," he said. "And that was a nasty bout of mind control you had there."

Ianto found himself agreeing, nodding until he realized he had a mind splitting head ache. "I'm Ianto Jones," he said, accepting the offered hand.

The Doctor stared at the handcuffs for a moment, both eyebrows raised. "I take it you're a friend of Jack's," he mused, as he wielded that same stylus shaped thing that he'd pointed at the santas earlier and the cuff closed around the metal bar snapped open.

Still holding Ianto's hand, the Doctor pulled him to his feet, turned around and started for the door. "Let's go, shall we?" he said happily and Ianto wondered if the man was high, or something, because he didn't wait for Ianto's reply, simply dragged him along, out the door and right into what had to be another alien ship.

Ianto did not have time to take in the new surroundings, as he caught sight of Jack, the others and an alarming number of hostile looking aliens. The Doctor finally let go of Ianto, although he found he wasn't allowed his freedom for long. Jack appeared at his side, and a moment later, he was tugged close to him.

Ianto noticed that Jack was looking around him, probably for some sort of weapon. Then, just all of a sudden, he stopped and even though he still seemed hyperaware of their surroundings, he was much more relaxed, focusing on the Doctor. It was almost as if Jack could see something that Ianto had no idea what was. Ianto did his own assessment, but there were none of the aliens near enough to him for him to acquire a weapon. It might even do them worse if he tried.

Watching the scene unfold, Ianto noted with surprise that the Doctor went right up to the Prime Minister, who was there as well. Ianto was beginning to get a headache from the whole situation. It seemed a lot had happened while he had been... indisposed. It even looked as if the Doctor knew the Prime Minister, with whom he chatted away as if they were not surrounded by aliens.

Ianto watched almost breathlessly as the Doctor talked and talked, almost bouncing all over the place. It sounded like a long string of consciousness, but Ianto soon suspected was an overdeveloped mind going way faster than any of them could follow.

It was... almost a delight to watch as the Doctor ran verbal circles around the aliens. There they were, prisoners of these aliens, probably about to be executed and none of them seemed particularly worried. Next to him, he noticed Jack had started to smile, and when he looked at Rose, he realized that she was quite pretty when she didn't look so worried. And she was smiling as well, eyes sparkling as she watched the Doctor as closely as Jack did. Mickey, however, looked caught between admiration and fear. Ianto got that, he really did.

"Is it always like this?" Ianto asked in a whisper, as they watched the Doctor circling, of all things, a big button. Ianto wondered if there might not be a sign missing that should say 'don't push this button'. Not that Ianto thought it would hold back the Doctor, who happily slapped it down, his remarks sounding more than a little sarcastic to Ianto as he verbally steamrollered over their captors.

When the button was pressed down, the headache Ianto had felt since the Doctor had broken the mind control, lifted significantly and he took a deep breath.

"If you mean slightly crazy and full speed ahead?" Jack replied, Following along with the others, keeping one eye on the Doctor, the other on the aliens and a hand tightly wrapped around Ianto's wrist. "Yes, the Doctor might've come back differently, but he's still the Doctor."

Ianto wondered about that comment, but he was drawn back to what was going on as the Doctor nonchalantly challenged the aliens to a swordfight with the Earth as the prize.

He wasn't sure if he should feel shocked by the suggestion or glad that Earth had a champion like the Doctor. However utterly mad he might seem.

Who the hell had swordfights these days anyway? With aliens and hi-tech all around, what was wrong with a duel of ray guns? They moved along, watching the fight, and Ianto had no choice but to follow as they went outside, into the sunshine. Jack's grip on his wrist didn't loosen for even a moment, although now Ianto realized that Jack seemed to be focusing on the weapons of the nearest aliens again. It was probably about time to expect the final showdown and Ianto doubted it would be bloodless.

Ianto realized to his horror that they were standing on the hull of the alien ship. He held on tightly, feeling Jack squeeze his hand in a reassuring answer. For a moment he took his eyes off the fight, to look at Jack. Then they both turned to look and Ianto held his breath as he watched the Doctor fall, landing flat on his back at the very edge. He closed his eyes for a moment when the alien swung the sword, though opening them again in time to see it cutting off the Doctor's hand.

He could not take his eyes off the Doctor's arm, as a new hand seemed to appear out of nothing. Next to him, Ianto saw Jack elbowing another alien in the face, Rose grabbed the sword and a moment later, the Doctor was armed again.

It was a rush of joy and adrenaline to watch and it quite took Ianto by surprise. This all, the fighting for your life and pinning your hope on luck and... what was that the Doctor had said? A Time Lord. It should make Ianto feel so very unsettled because of his normal preference toward order and logic.

It just didn't. It made him feel more alive than he had for a long time. He watched the Doctor as he disarmed the alien and demanded they leave Earth alone. Next to him, Jack had lost his tenseness and even Rose and Mickey looked happy and relaxed.

Hell, Harriet Jones, PM, looked like she was about to clap her hands in glee.

When the alien got up and stalked at the Doctor's back, Ianto wanted to call out, but the Doctor pulled his hand out of his pocket and threw something at the wall next to them, and a part of the ship folded away. Right underneath the advancing, angry alien.

A rush of feelings ran through Ianto. He felt the adrenaline in his veins and the smile that would not leave his face. He wondered, as Jack spun him around and gave him a spine-melting kiss, if maybe he was catching a little of their madness. He couldn't quite help himself laughing against Jack's lips.

As they were teleported back down, he was willingly swept up in their joy, and he watched with amusement as Jack agreed with a widely smiling Rose that yes, this Doctor was still their Doctor. At Ianto's quirked eyebrow, Jack laughed.

"I'll try to explain it later," Jack promised. "It's a Time Lord thing," he tried, the shook his head and pulled Ianto into a hug, nearly lifting him off his feet. The happiness and thrill with being alive, having won, the Sycorax leaving, it was mind-bending, but it felt so good to be part of it.

As Jackie came running at them, Ianto slipped from Jack's grasp, taking a few steps back, closer to one of the looming warehouses that surrounded them. He didn't feel excluded, but these people needed a moment on their own to reconnect, he figured.

With a frown, Ianto looked up at the Prime Minister as he caught her talking to her assistant, the familiar word, 'Torchwood', catching his attention. He watched her sad expression, saw her look to the skies and as he followed her gaze, he saw to his horror as a flash of light lit the sky. Blinking away the blue and white spots that danced before his eyes, Ianto watched the fleeing vessel blown to pieces.

"That was murder!" The Doctor walked toward Harriet Jones, staring at her as if he was seeing her for the first time ever.

"That was defence. It's adapted from alien technology. A ship that fell to Earth ten years ago." The Primed Minister gave him a stubborn look.

"But they were leaving." The Doctor still sounded and looked angry and Ianto took a step back, even if the anger wasn't directed at him. He turned his head and noticed two men coming out of the door closest to him.

He didn't have to ask to know who they were. Torchwood employees. Took one to know one, Ianto figured. He felt the fear in the pit of his stomach as they reached him. Turning his head and opening his mouth to call for Jack. Ianto closed his mouth again and winced as something bit through his jacket, into his upper arm. Looking down, he saw the syringe. A feeling of nausea and dizziness hit him.

"Mr. Jones?" One of the dark clad men asked, though Ianto knew he knew. It was a simple formality, they knew who he was.

Ianto heard the Doctor's words to Harriet Jones as if they came at him through a tunnel. Hollow and hard to understand. The other man reached out, took hold of his and turned him away from the others.

"I gave them the wrong warning. I should've told them to run - as fast as they can, run and hide because the monsters are coming; the human race." The Doctor's voice was low but clear, conveying his displeasure.

Ianto tried to focus, but the burning spread from his arm to the rest of his body, making the dizziness worse than before.

"I suggest you come with us, Mr. Jones," one of the agents said. Ianto wondered giddily why it was they all seemed to be bad copies of the Men in Black. Jack, Jack, he needed to warn Jack, to tell him that...

He couldn't find his feet, his focus, to fight off the hold the two men had on him as they escorted him into the warehouse and through it, the empty storage rooms echoing with their footsteps. Whatever they had drugged him with rendered him unable to fight them, all he could do was follow along like a good little sheep. Deep down he hoped that Jack would know he'd been taken and not simply walked out on him.

Ianto's mind sank into oblivion with the last thought of how much fun it could have been to take Jack up on his promise.

Ianto looked down at the suit on his bed. He didn't feel like doing this, not now, possibly not at any time soon. He was still tired, trying to get used to being back in his own flat again.

For a little more than a month, the only living thing there had been whatever sentient being had developed in his fridge. Ianto winced at the memory. They'd kept him at Torchwood since Christmas, not letting him out, submitting him to countless hours of interrogations, questions raining down over him that he couldn't even begin to answer.

Where was the Doctor?

How did he know the Doctor?

Why had he been with the Doctor that day if he claimed to not know the alien?

Ianto was really tired of hearing about the Doctor and for a little while he'd wished that the Doctor and his entourage hadn't come crashing into his life...

He'd fought off that ridiculous idea when he realized that if that had been the case, then he'd probably never have met Jack either. That wasn't an option. He'd tried to be angry with Jack for not looking for him, then had chastised himself for those thoughts.

Jack was travelling with the Doctor, who would always bounce from place to place and time to time where he was obviously needed. How could Ianto compete with that? He did not really want to, he would have much rather joined them, accepted Jack's invitation, to come along with them, maybe just for one quick trip?

If he'd been disillusioned with Torchwood before, it was nothing compared to the aftermath of the invasion attempt. He found the endless questions about the Doctor annoying. They probably wouldn't have been alive if not for the Doctor's intervention and Ianto found their obsession with him as an enemy sickening.

He'd tried to explain to them that the Doctor had been delayed by illness, but they didn't care. All they wanted to know was how and where to find the Doctor. Ianto thought bitterly to himself that if he had that ability, if he could contact those mad, travelling people, then he'd tell them to run and never return. He'd heard the Doctor's words about the real monsters being the humans.

Ianto was inclined to agree with the Time Lord.

Listening to the TV in the living room, he had to smile a little. Genuinely so this time. Harriet Jones had gotten into a world of trouble and Ianto had to admit that that stunt the Doctor has pulled, commenting on her looking tired had been an amazing spin. The Doctor had the kind of charisma that made you stop and listen, even if you swore you wouldn't.

Thoughts of the Doctor slid away and Ianto sat down on the bed with a sigh. Jack. He'd only known the man for maybe twenty four hours and yet... He missed him terribly. There had been so much promise there, the opportunity to stay with Jack for a while at least, to have those teasing touches turn into more...

Ianto looked to the side, at his suit. Maybe it was too soon? Or maybe he was the foolish one for carrying a torch for someone he hadn't known for all that long and who was obviously lost to him. He'd finally cracked and let Jamie from the office talk him into a blind date with someone from one of the other offices. All he knew was her name. Lisa. She was probably a nice, quiet girl.

Unless of course she was another less than subtle way for Torchwood to keep an eye on him? Right, paranoid, all this, had made him raving paranoid. Still, how did that saying go? Just because you think they're out to get you doesn't mean they're not?

Life did go on, he knew. He smiled a little and got to his feet. He'd even managed to assure his parents that everything was alright, even if he hadn't managed to answer the Christmas greeting on time. His parents had seemingly taken it with their usual easiness, going back to not really being interested in what he was doing. Even Kai had tried to contact him, though that had ended just as badly as it always did.

Shaking his head, Ianto dressed and he sent Jack and his friends a warm thanks for shaking his life up a little. Once things calmed down he'd see about getting out of Torchwood London, at least. Maybe transfer to Torchwood 3 in Cardiff. He couldn't leave Torchwood all together, because it was standard procedure to ret-con anyone choosing to leave.

Wonder of wonders, they hadn't chosen to do this to him already, but Ianto had the uneasy feeling that they were keeping an eye on him just in case the Doctor came back. So a Ianto Jones with his memories intact seemed to be in their interest for the time being.

If he left, and they retconned him... he'd forget it all, including Jack and he wasn't ready for that just yet. So he'd play along, knowing that they were watching him for any missteps and while he did so, he might as well make it look as if he had a life.

If Lisa turned out to be a plant, he could just play along and act clueless. Then at least he could feel a little more in charge of his own life.

He had considered contacting Jackie and Mickey after what had happened, but he'd caught glimpses of them and they both looked so sad and lost and he hadn't had the heart to approach them. Besides, there was no reason for him to draw Torchwood's attention to them anymore than they had already managed on their own.

As he got ready to leave, his mobile beeped. Checking the time, he knew he had plenty of time before he was meeting Lisa, so he had no idea whom it might be from.

Ianto Jones. Quaint little park around the corner. Come have a look. Unless you're 'tied' up.

Ianto stared at the ID telling him that there had been no number from which the message had been sent. Still, before he could stop himself, he had grabbed his keys, his woollen coat and he was out the door.

It could be a trap, of course it could, but he had to risk it. As he exited his building, he turned left instead of right, even though he knew it was in the opposite direction of the park.

He knew they were watching him. With a quick look, he caught the CCTV camera. Then frowned. The light that indicated it was on was out. Ianto quickened his pace and got to the next street on his left. The camera there was dead as well.

Hardly daring to hope, Ianto turned the corner, keeping to the shadows. If the cameras were out, someone might notice that there was something wrong and that left him with very little time to follow through with this.

There were very few people around, the streets cold and dark, with people in their homes, enjoying their supper. The ones Ianto did meet, he kept from looking in the eyes, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.

The next corner that would take him toward the park in question, he found the same thing. The CCTV camera was out. With a hopeful grin he found the same evident as he came to the iron gates of the park. The cameras were off.

Ianto looked behind him, still keeping to the shadows as much as he could. No one seemed to be following him, but he felt the urge to hurry, and not just because of what he was hoping to find in the park.

It was quiet there, a few lights lining the gravel paths. Apart from that the only source of light came from the streets along the park. Shining through the naked branches, it lent the park an almost eerie and spooky ambience.

Ianto stood there at the centre, trying not to be too disappointed as he couldn't see a blue police box anywhere. His heart beat fast, not just from the rush to the park, the fear of being caught... He'd thought, for a second an insane flash of hope that the message meant what he wanted it to. That it had come from Jack...

What a fool he was. Turning around he froze. Ianto rubbed his eyes and turned back toward the north part of the park. There was nothing there, but... Turning slowly, he let his gaze follow his movement until he caught a shimmer in the air, just out the corner of his eye.

Ianto slowly walked toward it. He'd been with Torchwood long enough to be wary of anything that set off his alarm bells, but it couldn't be a coincidence, could it? Stepping forward, he found himself thrown back, landing on his arse.

Staring upward, Ianto wondered what was there that he couldn't see. There was another shimmer in the air and for a moment he could see the outline of something sleekly shaped. He simply sat there, staring up at the underbelly of what he supposed could only be a vessel of some sort. From down here, the cloaking device, or whatever it was keeping it hidden, contorted the view of the night skies more than a little. It didn't seem to be terribly big, but then again, he only had the huge Sycorax vessel to compare it to.

A part of the underside hissed and opened, slowly sliding downward. A pair of boots appeared, as what had to be a sort of lift descended. A pair of soft looking dark leather trousers covered the shafts of the boots and Ianto felt his mouth go dry as he could see more and more.

If the backside was anything as promising as the front, Ianto couldn't really complain. Licking his lips, he stared as abdomen and chest were revealed, clad in a tight sleeveless shirt. Hands fisted on hips were gloved in a pair of black leather gloves and if Ianto had ever had the urge to imagine what an x-rated human version of the Cheshire cat would look like, he had a pretty good idea at that moment.

The grin was wide and the eyes sparkled brightly. Two steps was all it took and Jack was standing over him, grinning manically at him. Ianto took a deep breath as the smile softened a little, along with the look in Jack's eyes.

He didn't hesitate to grab the proffered hand and let Jack pull him to his feet and flush up against his warm body. Forgotten was the cold winter evening, the air chill around them, Ianto couldn't remember having been that warm in the past.

"I'm sorry it took a while to get back," Jack mumbled softly against his lips. "I swear that if the Doctor doesn't go looking for trouble, it comes looking for him."

Ianto was embarrassed when a small sound escaped him. He wasn't entirely sure how to react. His body had no doubts and was happily trying to get as close as possibly to Jack. Still, last time he'd seen Jack, he'd been with the Doctor and Rose. And he still couldn't imagine being able to compete with that. His cool-headed personality kept telling him to not hope for anything more than a parting shag. If he was that lucky.

"Came back to say goodbye then? Or did you forget something?" he asked softly. He'd meant to sound lighter, but have it come out maybe a little sarcastically, and much to his horror, he could hear the softness and the expectation of being left behind again.

Torchwood would have a field day if they were still monitoring him at that moment. If they had gotten the CCTV cameras back online. Something flittered across Jack's face and Ianto almost thought it was surprise and a little hurt.

"I seem to recall offering you the ride of your life," Jack said, covering it smoothly with an ill hidden come-on and an outrageous quirk of one eyebrow.

If Ianto hadn't caught that moment of insecurity, he might have considered turning Jack down. It was probably safer on Earth, even with the aliens noticing them now. But to be out among the stars and to travel with Jack...

"And what exactly would this ...ride entail?" Ianto asked as coolly as he could with Jack's hands sneaking up under his coat, fingers rubbing lightly against the small of his back.

"Come into my spaceship, and I'll show you," Jack said with a small laugh, kissing the corner of Ianto's mouth.

"'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the spider to the fly," Ianto whispered against Jack's soft, teasing kisses.

Jack's grin widened. "I haven't got a winding stair, but a pretty cool lift. Although I think I can promise my parlour can take us anywhere you want to go."

Ianto closed his eyes and let Jack hold him tightly. "Where do you suggest we go?"

"Anywhere you want to," Jack repeated.

"I've never been in space," Ianto said dreamily. "I've never seen the stars up close."

Jack gave him a quick kiss on the lips and took a step back. Holding onto Ianto's hand, he tugged him in under the hole in the ship and pressed a button on the armband he was wearing. There was a hum and they were lifted into the underbelly of the beast.

"It's not a huge ship," Jack said quietly as he held him close, stealing a few more kisses. "But she's mine and yours if you want it."

"We've barely known each other for a day, Jack," Ianto argued, though he was sure Jack could hear that his heart wasn't in it.

"Sometimes it's just right," Jack said with a small laugh. "Sometimes you just meet someone and it works."

"What about the Doctor and Rose?" Ianto asked. He wasn't too keen on going off to only end up not having what was waved in front of him at the moment.

Jack's smile dimmed a little and he leaned his forehead against Ianto's. "Three's a crowd," he said quietly. "We'll meet up with them every now and then, but we'll be on our own most of the time."

"So I'll be Rose to your Doctor?" Ianto said with a laugh. He still wasn't sure what to think, but if he could really have all this? How could he turn it down?

Jack laughed out loud as the lift hummed a little and stopped. He took a step back, letting Ianto see the interior of the ship. "I don't know about that. You'd look odd with blonde hair and as much as I love Rose's tight shirts, I'm not sure they'd look right on you."

Ianto didn't look around, he kept his focus on Jack. "Did you have an argument with them?" he asked.

Jack sighed and shook his head. "I love travelling with them, but every now and again, I do like my own freedom and my own transportation. I enjoy the insanity and the adrenaline, but in the long run it really does wear me out."

Ianto nodded. He thought maybe he could see the logic in that. "So, I go off with you to the stars?" He still couldn't quite grasp that.

Jack turned and went up to a control unit in what had to be the front of the ship. He sat down in a comfortable chair and swung it around, powering up the ship. "We'll be going through space and time, Ianto," he called over his shoulder as he punched various buttons. "Computer: lift-off, cloak on and leave the planet's atmosphere. Then take us out to ...Venus and enter standard orbit."

Biting his lower lip, Ianto kept quiet as he felt the alien machinery humming with life around them. He wondered for a moment if perhaps he should have found somewhere to sit down and get strapped in, but he only noticed the lift-off from the louder humming of the engines and outside the window, the park disappeared from view, in its stead was nothing but a clear night-sky full of stars.

He kept trying to see the ship inside, but it was hard to keep focused when outside the front transparent panel, the view was nothing but pitch-black space and a myriad of stars.

Ianto undid his coat and slung it to the side to what he figured were sleeping pads. There wasn't all that much room, but would be more than enough for two people if they didn't object to staying close together. Somehow Ianto doubted Jack had such reservations.

Up front, Jack swivelled the chair back around, watching him with a mixture of glee and expectation... and something else, that Ianto wasn't entirely willing to label 'worry'.

Ianto took a few steps forward and up, positioning himself right in front of the pilot seat. "So, you're offering me the trip of my life," he said.

Jack's smile slipped a little. Reaching out, he grabbed Ianto's hand and tugged him up against the chair, another tug and Ianto had to lift his knee, planting it along Jack's thigh. Jack grinned and let go, moved his hands to Ianto's arse and tugged until, not at all dignified, Ianto found himself straddling Jack's lap.

"Before I ask you if you've ever had sex in flight," Jack said quietly, a little stressed maybe, looking up at him with a softness that Ianto wasn't sure he could have imagined on Jack's face. "You need to know a thing or two about me."

Ianto shook his head. "It can wait," he said softly, much to his own surprise finding that yes, it could. He was normally so focused on control that he'd have wanted to know everything to keep ahead of the game, but now? With Jack? Part of the excitement was not knowing everything at once.

Jack shook his head. "Before we head off for no one knows how long, I have to tell you that I may be human, but..." That was as far as he got before Ianto kissed him while shrugging out of his suit jacket.

"It's okay, Jack," he said when he pulled back a little to catch his breath. "I get the feeling we have plenty of time and you can tell me when you feel ready to do so, not because you think you have to. When you know me a little better. When you've shown me a star or two."

Jack's laughed with delight and pulled Ianto's head down for another kiss. "I think I like the way your mind works already," he whispered against Ianto's mouth.

"So you're not just after me because I look cute?" Ianto teased, though it was becoming increasingly hard to focus on words.

"Oh, I like you for your sharp suit as well as your voice," Jack admitted. "I can't get over how deep it is and how husky it gets when you're turned on."

"Which is pretty much all the time," Ianto admitted a little embarrassed, "at least when you're around."

Jack chuckled and stole a quick kiss.

"So," Ianto said conversationally, "how did..." his breath hitched as Jack's fingers skimmed up under his shirt. "How did you get this ship?"

"Oh, that's a very interesting and amazing tale," Jack whispered. "I'll tell you later." Jack's fingers deftly undid Ianto's shirt from the bottom and up, loosening the trousers as well and Ianto was a little impressed at how easy it seemed to be for Jack. Ianto had less luck when he tried to undo the leather trousers, though.

"What's with the kinky outfit?" Ianto asked breathless with laughter as he finally gave up and squirmed out of Jack's lap to pull Jack with him. Outside the main viewing-panel, Venus took up most of the screen.

"I wanted to show off my assets when I came to get you," Jack grinned. As Ianto opened and parted the front of them, Jack's breathing became a little more laboured. "Computer," Jack ground out, as he pulled the gloves off. "Standard orbit until I program otherwise, clear hull."

Ianto gasped as everything around them became transparent, including the floor they were standing on and every piece of technology, every consol. He held onto Jack, since it was a little unsettling to be standing in open space, even if he could see the faint outline of the ship around them, the interior, the control consol, the sleeping pads.

Jack seemed to know where they were going, and he was pushed lightly down on the padded surface. "Let me know if it becomes too much," Jack said as he quickly stripped the rest of Ianto's clothes off along with his own. Though, he did leave Ianto's tie on with an outrageous wink.

Ianto laughed a little breathlessly. "You or the view?" he asked.

Laughing, Jack dumped the clothes off to the side and lay down, covering Ianto's naked body with his own. "Either."

"Uh-huh," Ianto agreed as he slipped a thigh in between Jack's, pulling the other man closer. "Now shut up and show why you want me to stay with you. Stop being so flashy and just do it."

Jack's smile widened but he did as Ianto wanted and put a hand on either side of Ianto's head, slowly gyrating his hips, causing the sweetest friction to the both of them.

It was everything Ianto had thought it would be and so much more. Jack's skin was warm and a little damp with sweat, they fit together perfectly and he'd never met anyone who took such delight in kissing. Ianto didn't mind, the more he could get of that, the better.

Heat rolled through Ianto's body and he quickly forgot the dark void of space around them, focusing on nothing but Jack's skin, the movements of his muscles and the incredible focus he had on Ianto. Wherever they touched, Ianto felt like his fair skin was burning, tingling.

When he wasn't kissing Jack, he was biting and licking at whatever he could. Jack's chin, cheek, shoulder, neck. It didn't matter as long as it was Jack.

Jack wasn't exactly trying to fight him off. On the contrary. Ianto knew he'd have bruises and love bits showing for a few days himself. The thought only made him moan and writhe more, wanting to feel Jack everywhere.

This was what had been promised that night they'd met in the street. Only this time there were no clothes in the way and Ianto had been fantasizing over this ever since so his reluctance had long since vaporized. If Jack was faking wanting him, he was a better actor than Ianto figured. Actually, he kept Ianto so preoccupied with touching, sliding and pleasure like Ianto hadn't felt in a long time, that his orgasm took him completely by surprise.

Ianto shook and clung to Jack, digging fingers into Jack's shoulders and back. He could not bring himself to be embarrassed about how vocal he was being. The last shivers kept running through his body as Jack moved slowly against him, the slippery stickiness between them easing his movements.

When Ianto managed to uncross his eyes again, he found Jack looking down at him, a little breathless and a lot flushed. "I wanted you fuck me," Jack pouted a little, rolling his own hips to emphasize his own erection.

"Later," Ianto promised, sliding his hands a little further down Jack's back, digging his fingers into Jack's arse, lifting up a little to offer Jack a little more friction.

Jack groaned and buried his face against Ianto's neck. He shook with his own release and Ianto could feel the warm, slick sperm joining his own between their bodies.

"I think I'm in love," Jack mumbled against his neck as they both tried to calm their breathing.

Ianto stiffened a little, but Jack must have caught it, because he lifted up a little, staring down at Ianto without saying anything more.

"I may flirt a lot," Jack said quietly. "But I don't go around offering everyone a trip to the stars like this."

Ianto relaxed. He wasn't sure how close Jack's definition of faithful was to his own, but he would have to see. He reached up and pulled Jack back down for a long kiss full of intent.

"Stay with me," Jack asked quietly.

"I will, on one condition," Ianto said as he squirmed to get more comfortable.

"That being?" Jack asked curiously, sliding a little to the side to take his weight off Ianto.

Ianto reached down the side of the bed and grabbed the nearest piece of clothing. Pulling it to him, he used Jack's discarded t-shirt to mop the sperm away. He looked up and found Jack watching him with a bemused expression. Ianto simply raised an eyebrow and put his arm around Jack's waist and held him in place as he snuggled up against him, the shirt dropped from the bed again. "Turn off the transparency setting, please? I think there are a few things I need to ease into," Ianto replied.

Jack laughed and told the computer to switch back before he pulled a blanket up and over them, although Ianto had no idea where he'd gotten it from. Then again, he was in an alien spaceship orbiting Venus and Jack had hinted that their trip would blow his mind. Although, he wasn't sure if Jack wouldn't be the one to do the blowing. Definitely later.

Ianto quite liked that idea, he decided, as he drifted off to sleep.

The End