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Signals Into Space

All I want for Christmas is a Tardis
FESTIVE TITLE BITCHES YO: Signals Into Space
RECIPIENT WHO HAD BETTER BE GRATEFUL BECAUSE I SPENT TIME THAT I COULD HAVE BEEN DRINKING WRITING THIS SHIT: misswinterhill
AUTHOR OF FLUFF AND #ASSMALLOWS: lionessvalenti
SUMMARY: Ianto's the only one without plans for Christmas. Jack helps.
BETA: allfireburns
RATING: FESTIVE
WARNING: IMMA REALLY CRAP WRITER AND YOU'RE ALL MUCH BETTER THAN ME
SPOILERS: JESUS PEOPLE IT'S JUST ABOUT THE TORCHWOOD TEAM DRINKING EGGNOG
DISCLAIMER: THEY'RE NOT MINE. EXCEPT WHEN THEY ARE. IN MAH PANTS.


Ianto walked into the Hub just after noon on Christmas. He walked to his workstation and began making the coffee for just himself and Jack, with Gwen off in Swansea with Rhys, having Christmas with her parents.

Christmas in Cardiff was quiet. All year long they were on edge, waiting for the next disaster, but Christmas was calm. Jack said it has something to do with the alien energy in London on Christmas. It hadn't been quiet there in years, each one bringing some alien-related disaster with it. There was something about that day and those energies that converged on London, so strong, in fact, that it did something to the energy from the rift, like it sucked the rift dry for Christmas and a day or two after.

"What are you doing here?"

Ianto spun around. "I work here."

"Other than that." Jack slid his hands around the back of Ianto's neck and pulled him in for a kiss, slow but heated. Now Ianto felt fully awake and completely focused. This worked way better than coffee.

"Mmm, what was that for?" Ianto asked, nuzzling against Jack's cheek.

"Christmas gift."

"I see." Ianto pressed his mouth to Jack's, resuming the kiss like it had never stopped.

"Now don't be greedy, Ianto," Jack mumbled.

"I can share." Ianto nipped at Jack's lower lip.

Jack grinned. "Yeah, I know." He draped his arms lazily over Ianto's shoulders. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I'm just here. What did you think I was going to do with my day off?" Ianto asked with raised eyebrows. Then again, it wasn't as if they had discussed it. In fact, he and Jack rarely discussed anything that involved plans for the future - even the very near future.

"I don't know. I thought you'd be doing something," Jack said. "Gwen is, I am... I didn't realize you didn't have plans."

"Plans?" Ianto repeated. Where would Jack go on Christmas? Gwen wasn't here, and it wasn't as if Jack had anyone else. Or, at least, no one else that Ianto knew of. His mind raced through the possibilities, but they were all a bit depressing.

"Yeah, don't you have any?" Jack asked. "With you sister?"

"They're on holiday with her husband's family," Ianto replied. He didn't mention that 'holiday' was going to Pontypool to visit Johnny's brother. "I sent their packages two weeks ago. They have a big New Year's party. I was thinking of going. It was fun last time."

The New Year's party was an outdoor affair with the entire estate. They drank in the cold and set of fireworks while the kids ran around together in a pack, shouting almost as loud as the adults.

The last time Ianto went was with Lisa. He had been nervous. He felt like he was outing himself to her, showing her where he came from and what kind of people he was related to, and therefore also was. It was everything he was ashamed of being ashamed of.

Lisa had loved them, not batting an eye at the shitty estate or the cheap beer. On the way home, she had smacked Ianto upside the head and told him he had nothing to be embarrassed of and to stop being such a snob.

Obviously, he hadn't listened.

"Oh," Jack said, shoving his hands in his trouser pockets.

"I didn't mean that I thought I'd be spending it with you," Ianto blurted. He swallowed, recomposing himself quickly before Jack could speak again. "It's Torchwood. Even if isn't rift activity, who knows what could happen. Weevils." He pictured weevils wrapped in garland and fairy lights and had to hold down a laugh. "Someone needs to be here. There's always work to be done."

"You're going to work in the archives on Christmas?" Jack asked.

"Or clean."

"Ianto?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you want to come with me?"

Ianto lifted his chin. "Where are you going?"

Jack hesitated, considering his words carefully. He didn't quite meet Ianto's eyes as he replied, "My, uh, my daughter invited me over for dinner."

Ianto tried not to let his jaw drop, lest Jack see. He had read all of Jack's files and nothing, nothing was ever mentioned about a daughter. Though, Ianto reasoned, it made sense. Jack had been around for a long time. Of course he had left a trail. No one was perfect.

"Your daughter."

Jack nodded. "Alice. And her son, Steven."

"Her son."

"Yes."

"I had no idea," Ianto said.

Jack shrugged. "Do you want to come?"

"Yes." Ianto didn't think about it. The idea of spending Christmas alone for the second year in a row was devastating, especially when so much had changed since then. Truth was, he had sort of been depending on Jack not having plans. Jack hadn't said anything about Christmas plans every time Gwen brought it up. Ianto had imagined ordering Chinese and shagging on the sofa in his flat.

Jack smiled. "Were you waiting for me to ask?"

"Only once I realized I was an idiot who didn't have plans for Christmas," Ianto replied. "I don't mind the pity date."

"It's not," Jack said, reaching around Ianto and squeezing his shoulder. "I would have asked earlier if I'd known you didn't have anywhere to go."

Ianto frowned. "We're rubbish at this, aren't we?"

Jack didn't say anything, but he smiled at Ianto, giving him another squeeze before pulling away. "I was thinking of leaving around four."

"Well, it's twelve-thirty now. What should we do in the meantime?" Ianto asked, eyebrows raised in mock curiosity.

Jack grinned.

* * *

"Is it just the two of them?" Ianto asked, helping Jack pile gifts into the boot. It looked like enough presents for four children and their mother.

"He's the only one I have at that age," Jack said. "I can't help but spoil him a little. When they're young, it's what Christmas is all about."

"How many, uh, children, grandchildren, do you have?" Ianto asked, looking to Jack, then away, to close the lid of the boot.

Jack didn't answer. He turned away and slid into the driver's seat of the car.

Ianto did everything but drop his head down onto the car and bash his head against it. He pulled his coat around him and got into passenger's seat.

They had been on the road for a while, riding in awkward silence, when Jack finally spoke.

"Six children. Four are still alive. Ten grandchildren. Steven's the youngest of them. Two great-grandchildren. Neither of them know of my existence except in old pictures. As a war hero. That I died in the war." He sounded like Jack, but the regret in his voice was painful. More painful than other times and other subjects.

"I'm sorry," Ianto mumbled. He supposed it could be a comfort to Jack to be with him, or men in general, that they couldn't have children together. No accidents, no mistakes.

Jack reached over the gearshift to pat Ianto's leg. His hand remained there until he had to shift.

"I was surprised when Alice invited me," Jack said softly. "Or maybe she didn't think I'd accept. But... it's her first Christmas since the divorce."

Ianto watched Jack's face as he spoke. Jack's openness might have made him uncomfortable in the past, but now Ianto only wanted to hold him. He wanted to, as impossible as it sounded, make everything wrong in Jack's life go away. At the very least, let Jack forget them in nothing more than in an embrace.

He had to resist the urge to reach out and touch Jack at the hairline, letting his fingers stroke behind Jack's ear and kissing him at the temple. The idea of such intimacies bothered Ianto less and less as time wore on. As on edge as he was when Jack avoided questions, he felt at ease when Jack answered them, no matter how difficult the response.

He had no idea how Jack felt about it, but he suspected Jack might appreciate the comfort.

Relaxing back against the seat, Ianto turned his head to watch Jack in the silence. Occasionally, Jack looked over at him and they shared a smile.

After the fourth time, Jack asked, "What?"

"You're nice to look at, Jack. You know that as well as anyone," Ianto replied.

Jack shrugged and chuckled. "It's a curse."

"That's why I try to keep you away from mirrors. We'd never get anything done."

"I'm not that bad."

Ianto raised his eyebrows in a very loud silent disbelief that made Jack laugh.

It was quite annoying how he was in love with Jack and couldn't quite bring up saying it. He didn't need a response or validation, but just to put it out there, like signals into space.

"We're here," Jack said, the car suddenly crawling up the road as he sought out spot on the street to park. "That house there, with the stained glass."

"It's lovely," Ianto said as they passed it.

"It should be," Jack replied, the silent I paid for it hanging in the air, but it wasn't in resentment, but more as a statement of fact.

They found an open spot a few yards from the house, and as Ianto helped Jack unpack the gifts from the boot, he wondered if Jack had called Alice, to let her know he was bringing a guest.

"It is all right if I'm here, yeah?" Ianto asked, two boxes stacked on top of each other in one hand and the other held a bottle of wine with green and gold ribbons tied around the neck.

Jack plopped another box onto Ianto's pile. "It's a family Christmas," he said, as though that explained everything, but all it did was make Ianto more confused.

They walked together slowly up the pavement, trying to keep their balances as they carried all of the gifts in one trip. Ianto had no idea what was in any of the packages he was carrying and feared all of them might be incredibly fragile and ready to smash at the slightest ill-timed tumble.

Jack shuffled the boxes around in his hands, but settled on giving the door a couple of kicks.

"Classy," Ianto said.

"Gets the job done."

The door opened and Ianto had his first look at Alice. She was beautiful, which was to be expected, being Jack's daughter. She looked quite a bit like him, even. She dressed well, too, Ianto noted. These things were important.

She didn't see Ianto at first, her eyes drawn to the stacks of gifts. "Oh, god, did you bring enough?" she asked, sounding annoyed, but a bit like she was trying to sound more put out than she was.

"No, but I couldn't fit anymore in the boot," Jack replied. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Alice said, a smile breaking through as she took some of the packages from him. "Come on in. And who's this?"

"Ianto Jones. We work together," Jack said. With one hand free of boxes, he placed a hand on Ianto's shoulder, just close enough to the back of his neck to give Alice the realization that Ianto was not simply an employee.

"Nice to meet you," she said, extending a hand, but saw that Ianto's hands were full. "I'll take that, and you put the gifts under the tree." She took the wine from Ianto and motioned toward a comfortable looking living room with a white plastic tree in front of the window.

"She warms," Jack mumbled to Ianto as they stacked the gifts beneath the tree. It sounded like he was going to say something else, but they were interrupted.

"Uncle Jack!" A young blond boy jumped on Jack's back. Jack grinned, his face lighting up brighter than the tree.

"Hey, soldier!" Jack twisted himself around to give the boy - Steven, Ianto reminded himself - a hug. "How was Christmas?"

"Brilliant! I got a load of sweets and Mum got me real walkie-talkies, and Dad sent me a game for my Playstation." Steven paused, then added, "And I got a bunch of clothes."

Jack grinned. "You can open up these after dinner, how does that sound?"

Steve nodded, enthused. He looked at Ianto, then back to Jack. "Who's this?"

"This is my friend Ianto. Ianto, this is Steven."

"Hello," Ianto said. He wasn't really used to kids. He was occasionally around his sister's children, but they were easily subdued with a tenner each. He wasn't typically required to make conversation.

"Are you staying for dinner?" Steven asked.

"Is that all right?"

Steven studied him for a moment. "Yeah, it's good. Do you have children?"

Ianto shook his head. "No. I do have a niece and a nephew. You're about right between their ages." He thought about how David would obliterate Steven in a second, probably without even meaning to.

Over Steven's head, Jack gave Ianto a wink. He must be doing something right.

* * *

"It only shows your lack of respect. You should have called ahead and told me. You're always so full of surprises, but they only serve your own purposes."

Ianto had his back pressed to the wall separating the dining room and kitchen, listening to Jack and Alice pointedly not-argue. It reminded him a bit of his Dad and his Aunt Millie.

"Does it bother you that much?" Jack asked.

"Your inconsideration, that's what bothers me," Alice replied.

"I think you're just trying to find something to argue with me about. You don't care that I brought my boyfriend, it's just not a visit without a fight."

There was silence from Alice for a long moment. "He's quite young."

Jack chuckled softly. "Yeah, but he's good for me."

Ianto missed Alice's reply, because Steven walked into the dining room. Ianto placed a finger to his lips, then mouthed, Fighting as he nodded toward the kitchen.

Steven rolled his eyes in such a way that gave Ianto the impression Jack wasn't exaggerating much when he said there couldn't be a visit without a fight. He stood next to Ianto, back against the wall, and they both listened in.

"I think it's obvious how much respect I have for you, for him, all of you," Jack said. "Remember when you were a teenager and you said that I wasn't real?"

"I said you were an illusion," Alice corrected. "When you live forever, nothing's real. You're not even human."

"This one's real," Jack said in a low voice. "I wouldn't have wanted to introduce you to each other otherwise."

There was silence, then Alice said, "We should open that wine."

It was exactly how Jack changed the subject when he was done with the conversation, with a mundane task.

"I think it's safe for us to go in," Ianto said to Steven in barely in a whisper, so Jack and Alice wouldn't know they were listening in.

"Uncle Jack can live forever?" Steven asked in a similar whisper, his eyes on Ianto.

Ianto froze. "I think it's some kind of saying."

To his relief, Steven accepted that. Ianto had the sense to know it was a secret and it was most definitely not his place to tell.

The dinner was casual, but not relaxed. At every lull in the conversation, Jack set his hand on Ianto's leg, just above the knee. Ianto helped himself to three glasses of wine and that made it easier to laugh when he was self-conscious.

"Everything's delicious," Ianto said to Alice. He placed a hand to his stomach. "I think I ate too much."

"I hope not," Alice replied. "There's still dessert. Steven and I made cookies yesterday."

"I decorated them," Steven said, grinning.

After dinner they took the cookies and the wine into the living room. Alice sat in an arm chair while Jack and Ianto sat together on the sofa. Jack kept his arm around Ianto, as if they always sat that way when they never did. Between sips of his wine, Ianto titled his head so his head dropped onto Jack's shoulder and they watched while Steven opened the gifts Jack had brought. Steven held each gift up like a prize and thanked Jack excitedly after each one without being prompted.

"This one's for you, Mum," Steven said, handing a small box up to Alice.

"Thank you," she said to him, then looked at Jack suspiciously as she tugged at the ribbon. She opened the box and looked inside. Ianto couldn't see what it was, but she smiled at Jack. "Thank you. Really."

"You're welcome," Jack said. He shifted, reached into his pocket, and retrieved a box. He set it on Ianto's lap. "I got something for you, too."

"Oh." Ianto gazed down at the box as he leaned forward to set his glass down on the coffee table. "I left your gift at my flat." He thought about the box of expensive French caramels Jack liked so much, though rarely had (he had to order them, and Jack was horrible at ordering things). It was pointless, Ianto figured, to buy Jack some kind of keepsake.

"I'll get it later," Jack said. He nudged the box and it slid into the dip where Ianto's legs met. "Open it."

Ianto picked at the tape and when he realized his short nails were going to do nothing for it, he ripped the paper. He opened the box and a bracelet fell into his hand. It was heavy with chunky red and silver beads.

Ianto gazed at it for a moment, thinking how someone would have to know him so well to buy him something like this. To know, underneath the suits and every wall he put up, that this precisely the sort of thing he loved. He had no idea he had been giving that much of himself to Jack for him to know.

"Thanks," Ianto said, leaning over to kiss Jack briefly, not caring who was watching. He fumbled to put it on, but the awkwardness of doing it one-handed while incredibly tipsy proved to be too much, and in the end Jack put it on for him, even if it looked strange with the suit.

Ianto picked his up his wine glass again and relaxed in Jack's embrace, descending into a full-on cuddle as they watched Steven open his last gift. Ianto leaned away when Steven threw himself at Jack.

"Thanks, Uncle Jack! The presents are great. You're the best. Will you help me with the model airplanes?"

"Yeah! Of course!" Jack grinned, giving Steven a hug.

Ianto suspected Jack bought the model airplanes in the hopes that Steven would ask him that very question. In so many ways, Jack was like a big kid. Maybe it was some sort of counteraction to all the death and loss.

"Upstairs," Alice said. "I'm not having those little pieces all over the floor in here. Everything, in your room. Or it'll be in here for weeks."

"I'll give you a hand," Jack said. He helped Steven gather up the boxes and they ran upstairs together.

Ianto smiled to himself as he started picking up wrapping paper and ribbons off the floor.

"Oh, don't," Alice said. "You're a guest."

"Doesn't bother me," Ianto said. "It's what I do. I'm used to cleaning up."

She looked at him skeptically. "You don't look like a janitor."

"A bit more like a butler," Ianto replied, sensing a barrage of questions. "Jack doesn't have much in the way of organizational skills, so I take care of a the paperwork end of things, as well."

"How old are you? Twenty-five?"

"Twenty-six."

"Did he tell you who I am?"

Ianto nodded.

"So you know he doesn't age? Or die?" Alice asked. She brushed her thumb over her knee, like she was pushing away lint or cookie crumbs, but there was nothing there except well made cotton blend.

"Yeah, I know," Ianto said, thinking it was a good thing, too. If he didn't, that would have been a very shocking revelation.

She was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry, I've... the only person I ever had to talk to about this with was my mother, and she never wanted to talk about it. So I never wanted to talk about it either."

"If it makes you feel better, Jack doesn't like to talk about it. It doesn't bother me as much as it bothers him, I think." Ianto could feel the honesty of drinking coming out in him. Besides, someone needed to be honest with Alice. It didn't seem anyone else had. "We aren't the ones who have to watch him die." Except Ianto did watch Jack die, over and over again. He hated it. Even when he knew Jack would wake up, he also knew it was painful and it took Jack somewhere he didn't want to go. All Ianto could do was be there for him, and it never felt like enough.

"I suppose," Alice said. "It's hard to grow old as he stays the same."

Ianto nodded, fiddling with his bracelet. He wouldn't have that problem. Torchwood. He'd be lucky if he made it to thirty.

She stood up suddenly. "We should open another bottle of wine."

"Good idea," Ianto replied, smiling. Exactly how Jack would have changed the subject.

* * *

"Maybe I shouldn't have left the two of you alone," Jack said, walking into the kitchen. Ianto and Alice were sitting across from each other at the table, both of them laughing as Ianto refilled both of their glasses. He looked up, grinning at Jack.

"Hey, welcome back."

"Where's Steven?" Alice asked, setting her glass down on the table.

"Asleep. Too much sugar and excitement. He fell asleep right on the floor. I tucked him in bed." Jack sat down next to Ianto and stretched his arm across the back of Ianto's chair. Ianto dropped his hand on Jack's thigh and winked at him.

"How much wine have you have?" Jack asked, chuckling.

"A lot," Ianto replied happily. "We opened another bottle."

Jack smiled and looked to Alice. "I count on you to be the responsible one. In fact, I count on him to be the responsible one, too."

Alice made a face, an everyone's got to be responsible but you face.

Jack looked away. "It's getting late," he said to the wall. "And we still have to drive back to Cardiff."

"It's not that far of a drive," Ianto said, bringing the glass to his lips. He took a sip and offered the glass to Jack. Jack shook his head.

"Someone needs to be able to drive us home."

Ianto laughed. "Not like you'd let me drive your car, even if I were sober."

"You don't have to go," Alice said, motioning at the two of them with her glass. "Ianto was just telling me stories about his family."

"Oh?" Jack turned to Ianto, looking rather expectant, like Ianto should keep telling these stories now that he was there.

"And Alice was telling me about her mother," Ianto replied, shooting Jack an equally pointed expression. Two could play that game and he wasn't drunk enough to pass up the opportunity to say so.

"Oh." Jack's tone completely deflated, and that made Ianto all the more curious. Alice had conveniently left Jack out of most of her stories and definitely never mentioned him in the context of Lucia. Ianto didn't ask. They were her stories and she could tell them however she wanted, removing any details she wished. The last thing Ianto wanted to do was act like all he wanted was information on his boyfriend, even if he sort of did. He never got any from Jack.

So he asked normal questions. Her name, what she looked like, and Alice went into beautiful detail (a side effect of the wine, Ianto guessed), talking about Lucia's hair in sunlight and the sound of her laugh, and how she smelled when Alice crawled into bed with her after a nightmare. She made Ianto increasingly sad that he never had the chance to meet the woman, and a little jealous because he'd never really had a mother.

But then again, Alice never really had a father.

Continuing his internal self-pity, Ianto wondered, if Alice didn't exist, would Jack ever give Lucia a passing thought? Maybe the comfort in having a relationship that couldn't result in children was in that you wouldn't have to give them another thought. There was no lasting proof that they existed and no reason to remember them. As long as Jack had children, grandchildren, and so on, there would always be something left of those lovers. A trace of them, and himself, Jack could follow, but for someone like Ianto, there would be nothing remaining and Jack could simply go on without another thought of him.

Ugh. Ianto took a long drink of his wine, trying to wash out the morose thoughts. His glass wasn't even completely empty and he was reaching for the bottle.

"Your turn to tell a story," Ianto said, looking to Jack as he set the bottle down on the table. "Were you there when Alice was born?"

Jack smiled, his gaze falling on Alice. She smiled a bit, tracing her finger around the rim of her glass.

"Yup. Lucia was in labor for thirteen hours. She didn't want me there. It still wasn't common practice to have the father in the room during the delivery, so I sat in the waiting room. I paced, I walked around the hospital. I probably smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes." He paused and added, "Everyone smoked then. And when it was all over, the doctor came out and told me it was a girl."

"You totally cried," Ianto said.

Jack looked a little misty-eyed from telling the story. "I did."

"So did I," Alice said, "but being a newborn, I think that's expected."

Laughing, Jack took Ianto's glass and helped himself to a small sip. "I went to that window, like you see in the movies, and there she was. Not just another scrunchy, purple, wailing baby."

Ianto took his glass back. "Did you have that movie moment where she looked at you and the music swelled?"

"No, there was only crying. Alice had colic. She cried for three months."

"Were you even there for any of the three months?" Alice asked.

Jack shook his head. "Not a lot, no. A few days here and there, but... not really."

"That's what I thought."

He stared at her for a long moment, then looked away, shaking his head. He shifted his hand from the back of Ianto's chair to his shoulder. "You ready to go home, Ianto?"

Ianto didn't want to go, but he was still coherent enough to realize that Jack needed out, so he nodded. Slowly, the three of them got up from the table and started for the door.

With their coats on, Ianto and Jack stood with Alice by the staircase. There was a tension that drunken Ianto seemed to have forgotten about on the trip from the table to the door, and he now remained blissfully unaware. He gave Alice a hug and kissed her on the cheek.

"It was wonderful meeting you. Thank you for everything."

Alice smiled and held one of Ianto's hands between hers for a moment. "You're welcome. Come by anytime you'd like." She stepped back from Ianto and looked at Jack before shaking her head slowly and reaching up to hug him. He embraced her tightly and they held each other for a moment. Ianto didn't hear what Jack said, but Alice replied, "I love you too, Dad."

Ianto might have felt the stinging threat of tears. Damn the wine.

Once outside, Jack wrapped an arm around Ianto's waist.

"Oh, look at the stars," Ianto said, pointing the sky. "Beautiful."

Jack smiled. "Yeah."

Ianto snuggled his head onto Jack, though holding his head at an angle as he walked made his whole body feel wobbly. "Jack?"

"Hm?"

"Why don't you ever mention Lucia? I know it's hard for you talk about a lot of that stuff, but is it Alice and Steven? Is it... you talk about all the flings and aliens you've shagged like it's a big joke, but it's the ones you don't talk about I wonder..."

Jack didn't say anything until they reached the car. He unwound himself from Ianto, pushed him gently against the side of the car, and slid his hands inside Ianto's coat to hold him in place. "I don't talk about her out of respect for raising Alice and being everything I couldn't for her. And, really, there isn't anything to say. Lucia and I weren't in love. We didn't even like each other that much. I can blame her for why Alice acts like she does to me, but I let that happen. That's my fault."

Ianto nodded. "I love you, Jack."

There it was, the signal out into space. The cry into the void, letting someone know you're alive and you exist, hoping for a reply and knowing it may never come, or when it does, it will be too late for you.

Jack grinned and kissed Ianto, leaning into him, holding Ianto with his whole body, kissing him with fervor. Ianto didn't know if that was a response or a distraction, but it didn't really matter. It was exactly what Ianto wanted for Christmas.

"Back to yours?" Jack asked in a low voice, not quite pulling away.

Ianto nodded slowly this time, not letting his brain rattle around in his skull.

Jack helped Ianto into the car, even buckling his seat belt for him, despite Ianto's protests and batting him away. Jack sated him with a brief kiss before walking around to the driver's side and sliding in. He started the car and glanced over to Ianto.

"This New Year's party at your sister's? I'm invited too, right?"

Ianto considered the neighborhood, his past, and where he came from. He thought about Lisa telling him not to be such a snob, and he thought about Jack revealing more of himself today in letting him meet Alice and Steven than he had in the last two years. It was really only fair, Ianto reasoned, toying with the heavy beads on his bracelet. Then he realized he didn't need to reason. He wanted to share it with Jack. He trusted Jack with everything else.

"I wouldn't want to go without you."

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
blue_fjords
Dec. 30th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Awww, drunk!Ianto meets Jack's family. Sweet. And Jack's all touchy-feely. :) I like Alice's reserve and residual bitterness -- it wouldn't be the holidays without family sniping at each other, and she's got a lot of ammunition.

This line was especially poignant:
There it was, the signal out into space. The cry into the void, letting someone know you're alive and you exist, hoping for a reply and knowing it may never come, or when it does, it will be too late for you.

Nice, Anon!

And I liked Jack giving Steven a toy he'd get to help with -- classic.
paragraphs
Jan. 3rd, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Darn you, that was a fav line of mine too. Beat me to it.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
thank you! :D Oh, Christmas is totally an excuse for Jack to play with toys as long as he still has someone to buy them for.
i_luv_redheads
Dec. 30th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
That was lovely. Absolutely lovely.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
amand_r
Dec. 30th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
Aw, Ianto meets Alice! And how much do I love it that Ianto bought Jack caramels!

Lovely story.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
beesandbrews
Dec. 30th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
I had to walk away from this before I commented, because it made me sad all over that CoE gave us spectacle and throw away characters instead of something as lovely and character driven as this introduction to Jack's family and back story.

Well done.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
Awww! Well, i'm glad you liked it! Thank you! :)
used_songs
Dec. 30th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
This is gorgeous, just beautiful. It's inevitable that it makes me regret COE all the more because I love this exploration of how Jack and Ianto each fit into the other's families. You struck just the right emotional note here.

And I love the signal out into space.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
nancybrown
Dec. 30th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
That was so sweet, Anon! I liked this introduction of the characters a bit better than others in canon I could name, and hey, I'm always a sucker for family arguments at the holidays. Lovely job!
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Hee, mee too. I love meet-the-family type fics. :) Thanks!
51stcenturyfox
Dec. 31st, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
So much love for Alice, especially in the story. Of course she cried... she was a newborn. I think her voice in this is perfect.

Well done!
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
lawsontl
Dec. 31st, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
I'm with Bees. I didn't have to walk away, but I agree about Alice and Steven. So much could've been done with both of them, both in their own right and as reflections on Jack and his team. You did a lovely job showing that (and getting the tense family dynamics that only holidays bring out). Favorite image? Ianto and Steven eavesdropping!
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Hee, thank you! I really tried to not forget Steven was there, because I do have a tendency to slowly filter kids out of a story when i write them. So he and Ianto got a moment, too.
alba17
Dec. 31st, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Ah, this was great. I particularly liked Ianto here and you made Alice very sympathetic. Love the way you depicted Jack and Ianto's relationship too. And the end is great.

I loved the line that blue quoted also.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
huesiemama
Dec. 31st, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
I like the peeks into Jack's past. So much we don't know...
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
That's one of the fun parts of writing Jack. :) Thank you!
kel_reiley
Dec. 31st, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
drunk!ianto!
and i love that jack introduced him to alice and steven and the ending!
awww :)
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Drunk!Ianto is fun. Thanks! ;)
kel_reiley
Jan. 3rd, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
he's also ianto-shaped, only drunk
misswinterhill
Dec. 31st, 2009 10:51 am (UTC)
Anon, this is wonderful! Poor Ianto and Lisa, and his own nervousness about his family, and then the way it turned around with him inviting Jack to the NYE party.

I liked the little physical details too, like Ianto wanting to reach to touch Jack at the hairline. And the seamless introduction of Jack's past, Jack's family. And asking Steven if it was okay if Ianto stayed; and especially Ianto's initial discomfort around Steven. That felt a lot more real to me! And then that they found a point of connection and conspiracy ♥

I also liked how astute Ianto was about Jack and the whole situation -- the realistic gift of something that would be consumed, rather than held onto. And realistic against Alice's brusqueness; it felt like she was testing him, and that he passed. The image of the signal out into space -- the initial thought, and then the action -- was lovely, too.

Thank you, Anon! ILU! Very gorgeous work bringing together a realistic Jack and Ianto, and a believable scenario in which Ianto met Alice and Steven. ♥ ♥ &hearts
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yaaaaay! I'm SO happy you liked it! At the end of the day, that's all that matters, since it's your story! :D

Yeah, I always like it when Ianto is smart about the relationship with Jack. He wants all the same things out of it as anyone wants, but he knows it's different for Jack, even if Jack wants those things too. I think he does, it's just harder for him. So they have to go about things in a different way. :)
misswinterhill
Jan. 3rd, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
:D I loved it, Lioness! Thanks for writing it for me!
loveme_likethat
Jan. 2nd, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Stunning!

Ianto gazed at it for a moment, thinking how someone would have to know him so well to buy him something like this. To know, underneath the suits and every wall he put up, that this precisely the sort of thing he loved.

Gives me goose bumps that does!
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!
invisible_lift
Jan. 3rd, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
This was charming. Good times.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
rexluscus
Jan. 3rd, 2010 05:42 am (UTC)
Wow, this is just fantastic. Every note was perfect, every exchange and moment of characterization - especially Alice, who was so vivid. And oh, Ianto.

It was quite annoying how he was in love with Jack and couldn't quite bring up saying it. He didn't need a response or validation, but just to put it out there, like signals into space.

Ohh...

As long as Jack had children, grandchildren, and so on, there would always be something left of those lovers. A trace of them, and himself, Jack could follow, but for someone like Ianto, there would be nothing remaining and Jack could simply go on without another thought of him.

That is so exactly something he would think.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! "Perfect" and "vivid" are always words one wants to hear! :D
remuslives23
Jan. 3rd, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC)
Love, love, love! I adore this! *mems*
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!
paragraphs
Jan. 3rd, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)
Well dang, this one somehow slipped past me. It is the last for me to read but only because I missed it by mistake! WHO ARE YOU ANON YOU MUST CONFESS!!!

There was something really special about this piece that I really liked--it gave Ianto the perfect foundation to express observations like this:

As on edge as he was when Jack avoided questions, he felt at ease when Jack answered them, no matter how difficult the response.

This fic is chock-ful of these marvelous truths and observations about Jack and their relationship. I loved that, found myself nodding to so much. Thinking "Yeah, this is so right, the way this author's Ianto thinks about Jack, their situation, etc." I loved it, anon--I hope you de-anon today so we can know who wrote this truly lovely piece!

I also love how you brought it back full-circle to Ianto and his family, deciding to share them with Jack as Jack had shared his family with Ianto.

Just a truly lovely piece with some powerful Ianto-thoughts I know will stick with me.
lionessvalenti
Jan. 3rd, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
It was me! Except I already told you that. ;) Yay, I'm so glad you liked it. It doesn't get much better than to really a strike a chord with someone and get all the details right. :D
thrace_adams
Jan. 3rd, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oh this was really lovely!!! What a nice moment between the four of them. And I'm glad Alice and Ianto got along. Very well done!
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )