Title: “My Man Ianto”
Betaed by janiemc
Prompt: “My Man Godfrey” (1936)
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto. Other characters: Owen Harper, Rhys Williams, Donna Noble, John Hart
Warnings: Again, I can’t think of anything offensive in here...
Spoilers: Spoilers for the film My Man Godfrey- none for Torchwood that I can think of.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or My Man Godfrey, the plots and characters of which belong to their respective writers. I am just borrowing the characters and putting them in the film.
Summary: One night rich layabout Jack Harkness meets a young man down on his luck, and offers him the job of family butler....
If you haven’t seen the film and want to, it’s available on imdb My Man Godfrey
“My Man Ianto”
As a job being a butler wasn’t that bad; Ianto had managed to become almost indispensible, and he’d been with the Harkness family for 6 months now. He knew it wasn’t the easiest job in the world: this family was demanding. For a start, they just didn’t seem to realise exactly how easy their lives were- in a word they were spoiled. Over the months, though, he’d come to like old Mr Harkness. He quietly got on with his life, and sometimes looked as exasperated with his family as Ianto was.
Gwen and Mrs Harkness were a different matter altogether. Although Ianto could, in some small way, relate to Mrs Harkness and her need for a purpose, even the ill advised (in Ianto’s view) plan to sponsor John Hart, he hadn’t made any such progress with Gwen. She constantly made comments about his ‘background’ (if only she knew!), but, more worrying than that, she seemed to have developed an interest in Ianto. Any excuse for putting down Ianto was taken, but, more worrying than that, she’d taken to keeping her eye on the butler.
Ianto supposed that Jack was pretty easy to read- it was pretty obvious that he spent his time mooning over the ‘butler’.
And Jack...you’d have to be blind not to see that he spent the majority of his time in the house making sure that he was everywhere that Ianto was. It had even got to the stage that the two men had friendly chats when the house was quiet; Jack really did want to do something constructive with his life, he just had no idea of what, or how to go about it. And that was what had made it so hard for Ianto to come clean; there was a part of him that truly believed that he was just as bad as some of these overpriced nitwits. He’d gone and taken a job pretending he was homeless- just because he thought it would be a change, be fun. And so he decided to actually do something...
Ianto had kept in touch with his old friend Owen, and they met up whenever they both had some time off- usually in the evening... It was one of those days where Ianto’s day off coincided with Owen’s. On this occasion, though, Ianto had insisted on meeting with the doctor just after lunchtime, and had specified a cafe at the edge of Cardiff docks.
Owen arrived 10 minutes late, glancing at his wristwatch. “Sorry, mate. Had to pop in for an emergency home visit. How’re you doing? And why are we meeting here?” he asked looking around.
“I’m fine, and no problem- I’ve only just got here myself. As for why we’re meeting here: well, I’ve decided it’s time for me to do something useful with my time...”
“Ianto, you’ve got me intrigued!”
“C’mon. It’s just over there,” Ianto smiled. He looked out of the cafe window and gestured with his head in the direction of a large, old brick warehouse complex across the street and then stood up and left a fiver on the table.
“Curiouser and curiouser...” Owen mumbled as he followed the other man across the road and towards the warehouse’s main doors.
As the doctor stepped inside the building behind Ianto, he glanced around. He found himself in a large, long room. The freshly plastered walls were being painted by two decorators and on the far wall of the room he could see two other workmen fitting what looked like kitchen cupboards.
“Ok, Ok- what is this place?”
“Well, after a month or so at the Harknesses, I started to think that maybe Jack wanting to help people was a ‘good thing’. But it wasn’t the right way to go about it. What some of the guys- and women- round here need is some proper help and training and introduction to the world of work...So I looked around, bought this warehouse, got the Council and some of the local charities ‘on board’ and, well, here it is,” Ianto said as he looked around the room, suddenly embarrassed. “It’s a kind of hostel cum training facility cum job and general advice centre...This is the main communal kitchen, dining and lounge area.”
“I think I’ve started up a charity...by accident. I was only trying to do something useful for a change...” Ianto trailed off.
“No, you’ve got me wrong! It’s a great idea- but have you just been doing this on your days off? You never mentioned anything about it when we met up.”
“Yeah, and I’ve got access to the internet over at the Harknesses. And, well, it all started off quite simply- just buy the building, don’t get too involved. And then the next thing I knew it was all getting big. And before I realised it, all sorts of things were happening! Cardiff Council was getting in on the act, and then local charities...” By now Ianto was looking surprised and perhaps just a little bit freaked out, before he asked. “Can I show you the rest?
Owen followed the Welshman as he guided him around the building. Above the main area that he’d originally seen were a couple of floors of bedrooms and bathrooms- the ‘hostel’ part of the enterprise. The other half of the building was less complete, but was partitioned into what were going to be training rooms, offices and workshops.
It was now late afternoon, and Ianto and Owen were now sitting comfortably in one of the back rooms of one of the more popular bars in Cardiff, Milennium. Owen had insisted that they had a ‘relaxing’ drink, somewhere where they could talk about the Welshman’s new venture. Neither man had seen the woman at the far end of the bar, watching them intently.
Ianto had told him how “The Hub”- his name for the training centre and hostel- had basically developed a life of its own. As soon as he’d approached the Council with the offer of a facility, basically kitted out and converted by him-free, gratis and for nothing, they’d started to get local groups involved and ‘funding streams identified’- and then, to cap it all, he’d been cajoled into being on the Board.
When his friend had finished, Owen let out a sigh. “And you thought setting up a place like his would be anonymous? Although, I gotta agree with you- this is as good use of money that’s doin’ nothing, as anything else.”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Ianto laughed. “But, yes, I did think, perhaps naïvely, that I could just hand over the building...”
“Nothing’s ever that easy!” the other man laughed. “Anyway, I’m going for a pee- want a drink when I’m on the way back?”
“How could I resist?” the Welshman giggled. “I think, for a change, I’ll have a Gin and Tonic.”
Owen weaved off, and Ianto relaxed back into his seat.
“So this is what butlers get up to in their spare time?”
Ianto jumped and looked to his side. It was Gwen.
“Can I take a seat?” she said, not waiting for an answer as she settled next to him on the leather sofa, as she took in what he was wearing- dark jeans and a deep maroon, very expensive silk shirt. The top two buttons of the shirt were undone and she could just see a set of silver and black beads around his neck. “Didn’t I see Owen Harper here a minute ago? Now, what would you two be doing having a drink...?”
“You know how it is- I ran into him; had to point out I wasn’t the same guy he’s got me confused with. And then we got talking about ...rugby.”
“There’s something not right here, and believe me, I’ll work it out Ianto Jones. I’m not used to either being wrong or being turned down.”
“I can assure you that everything is right, Miss Gwen.”
Out of the corner of her eye Gwen noticed Owen with two drinks in his hands. She quickly stood, before turning. “I’d best be going now, Ianto, but I can assure you that I’m going to be watching you.”
Ianto sat there as Owen sat down, depositing the two pint glasses on the table. “Was that Gwen?”
“Cheers, Owen,” he said as he grasped the glass and took a large gulp. “And, yes, that was Gwen. I think there’s going to be trouble there, especially now she’s seen me in here. I told you this place was conspicuous.”
“For God’s sake- don’t blame me! You think you could get away with this forever? It was only a matter of time before someone else who knew you came around! I can’t believe you’ve got away with it for 6 months!”
“Neither can I. But I think I‘m going to have to resign- I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to them all. To Jack, especially...”
“Oh, yeah! So how’s it going between you and lover boy?” Owen said, and the other man was sure he could detect a snigger behind the words.
Ianto rolled his eyes with a lift of his eyebrows. “I know you think this is funny, Owen, but he’s going to be devastated. He really does think he’s managed to save me from a life on the streets. When- if he finds out that I never did need to be saved, he’s going to think I’ve been taking the piss. Like I’ve taken him- and the whole family- for a ride.”
“And that matters to you because?”
Ianto blushed slightly. “Owen...”
“God! You’ve not been snogging the boss again, have you? Or more?”
“I have not. Although if the circumstances had been different...Anyway, I’ll resign at the end of the week. I knew it had to happen when I got the Hub open- I’ve even bought a flat.” He paused. “Look, can we please change the subject before I have to get back?” Ianto asked. “How are you and Toshiko?”
“Conversation changed,” Owen shrugged before continuing. “Everything’s fine with Tosh- thank God she’s got everything in hand for the wedding...”
Gwen arrived back home before Ianto and made her way straight up to her room. She took a scarf and folded it in her hands and then made her way downstairs. When she reached the basement she made her way through the kitchen and then onto to the butler’s rooms. She found the corridor empty, quietly pushing the door open and made her way over to the bed. She crouched down and pushed the scarf under the mattress and then quickly walked back to her bedroom thinking of her earlier meeting with Ianto; there was something not right about him and this whole situation, and the sooner he was out of the house and away from the family, especially Jack, the better.
Gwen made her way downstairs for dinner a little after 7 O’clock, passing Ianto travelling in the opposite direction, carrying an armful of dry cleaning. She couldn’t have planned things better...
She went into the dining room, with a cheery “Hi” as she took her seat at the table. Her stepfather, mother, Jack and John Hart were already there.
“So Gwen, what have you been up to today?” her mother said, as the starter was served.
“Oh, y’know a bit of shopping, and then I met up with friends in Millenium for a drink.”
“It’s about time, Gwen Cooper, that you found something to do with your time, other than shopping and ‘lunching’. At the rate this family is going through my bank account, there’s going to be nothing left, and then you’ll have to learn how to support yourself!” her step father piped up.
“You could be right there, dad. I mean that place is getting run down- you should see some of the people they’re letting in there these days- all sorts of riff-raff. Although I did see Owen Harper,” she turned to face Jack. “And he was with this guy who looked like Ianto. I guess it must be his old college mate, that he took Ianto for that time, ‘cause Millennium’s not the kind of place I’d expect our butler to be spending his days off...”
Jack frowned. What was she up to now? He was still trying to figure it out when she felt about in her trouser pocket and got up.
“Anyway, I’ve just got to get my mobile. I’ve left it upstairs.” She was opening the dining room door when she turned back. “Talking of Ianto- it’s his day off. I passed him going upstairs, did you ask him to get you anything, mother?”
“No. He was probably just doing a favour for Donna. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, nothing, nothing...I’ll be back in a tick,” she said and left.
Gwen was definitely up to something, Jack thought was he ate his soup and wondered what it could be this time. Ten minutes later she was back, standing in the doorway.
“I...I don’t know how to say this but I left my mobile on the dressing table, next to my jewellery box. When I was picking it up, I noticed that my Tahitian pearl necklace was missing, the one you got me for my 21 st. And some diamond earrings- I’ve called the police. I’ve searched and they aren’t in my room.”
“Gwen, you’ve got to be mistaken- you know what you’re like at losing things...I really don’t think we should be calling the police at this stage...” Mrs Harkness said soothingly.
“Mum, they are missing. I left them there this morning, I know I did. They’ve been taken!”
“We’ve got CCTV. If anyone got in here it’ll be on that,” Mr Harkness interrupted.
“It’s got to be an inside job- those are the only things missing! My ‘phone, my i pad, my credit cards- they’re all still there.”
John Hart had been watching the scene unfold. He raised his eyebrows. “I can assure you that I was painting all day- the model can vouch for me!”
“John,” Gwen said. “I never said it was you. I never said it was anyone. Although- who’s the newest member of staff? Who’s the newest member of staff, the one without any references, or CRB checks?”
Jack couldn’t keep quiet any longer. “You have got to be joking Gwen! Ianto would never do anything like that!”
“Well, you would defend him, wouldn’t you? You spend most of your time eyeing him up in those suits!”
“I do NOT eye him up in those suits!”
“You do. And you’re completely blinkered to the fact that you brought him into our home without even looking into his background. Perhaps that was Ianto in Millenium today- perhaps that’s how he can afford to drink there!”
“Gwen does have a point...”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Jack shouted
It was at that moment that the doorbell rang, effectively silencing the room. It seemed like only a few moments before Detective Inspector Kathy Swanson of the Cardiff police, and her colleague, Detective Sergeant Andy Davidson, were shown into the room by a worried looking Donna.
After some hurried pleasantries, greetings and explanations were exchanged, Davidson spoke. “Miss Harkness- Gwen- it seems that you have some ideas about who could have done this?”
“I don’t like to say,” she said looking down at the floor and then she raised her head to look at Jack. “But there’s only one person here that we know virtually nothing about.”
“And who would that be, Miss Harkness?” DI Swanson said.
Jack couldn’t help himself, “Gwen!”
The policewoman turned to look at Jack, and then Gwen. “Mr Harkness, please. Now, who’s this Ianto?”
“He’s our butler,” Gwen said, and risked a quick look at Jack. “My brother, Jack, employed him as our butler. He was a down and out- he met him at Cardiff docks, living rough. And as far as I know we’ve never had any CRB checks, any references...”
“Does he live in?”
“Yeah, he’s got rooms downstairs.”
Davidson looked around the room and then at Kathy Swanson. “Seems Miss Harkness has a point- perhaps we should start our search there.”
There was an insistent knock at Ianto’s door as he lay on the bed a book in his hand. Ianto shouted ‘come in’- he had his suspicions about who was knocking.
However he was surprised to see the entire Harkness family plus entourage, along with two unfamiliar faces.
“Mr Jones, I’m Detective Inspector Swanson and this is DS Swanson. There’s been a theft reported. Do you mind if we search your room? It’s a formality. We’ll be searching the entire house.”
Ianto got up off the bed. “Not at all, Inspector.”
“You don’t have to do this, you can ask for a warrant, Ianto.” Jack said as he pushed to the front of the small crowd.
“It’s alright, Sir. I’m sure there’s nothing to be found in here. You can start your search, Detective Inspector.”
Jack gave Ianto a tight smile, as the two police officers started to search the shelves, the wardrobe the bathroom and the wardrobe.
A few minutes later and the police had to agree that there was nothing in the room.
“You haven’t checked everywhere yet. How about under the bed- or under the mattress? I’ve seen Midsommer Murders, they always leave things there.”
The two officers lifted the mattress and looked under the bed, as Gwen watched on. After some time they placed the mattress back on the bed as tidily as they could.
In the background Jack gave a sigh of relief.
“Nothing here,” Andy Davidson said.
“But it has to be here!” Gwen shouted.
Mr Harkness Snr looked at her from the corner of his eye, understanding beginning to dawn. “And why would that, be, Gwen?”
“Because...because...who else would steal my necklace?”
Mr Harkness turned to the police. “Do you mind if I speak to my daughter alone?”
Sgt Davidson regarded him. “You’ve got 5 minutes.”
“Thanks. We’ll see you all in the drawing room. In five minutes.”
As the rest left the room, including Ianto, Mr Harkness turned to his stepdaughter. “Gwen, I haven’t got where I am today, without recognising when someone isn’t telling the whole truth...”
“No ‘buts’, Gwen. Now there’s something going on here, and you’re going to tell me what it is.”
Gwen looked sheepish. “There’s nothing going on.”
“Right. If that’s all you’re going to say on the matter, I’ve got a few suggestions to make. There’s no evidence whatsoever against Ianto. I suggest you drop all charges against the man. It’s more than likely that you’ve misplaced the necklace and earrings, knowing you. If they don’t turn up in the next few days, you can make a claim against the insurance. I am not having any more about this family in the papers, especially when, as the law stands, Ianto is innocent until proven guilty.”
His daughter pouted and stared at him with wide eyes. “Ok. But you’ll see when they don’t turn up.”
“Good. Now we’re going upstairs and we’re going to have a word with DI Swanson and DS Davidson.”
A few minutes later Mr Harkness walked into the Drawing Room, followed by Gwen.
“I think Gwen has something to say, don’t you Gwen?”
The two remaining Harknesses, Ianto, John Hart and Rhys were all assembled in the room, along with the two Police, feeling for all the world as if they were in an Agatha Christie novel. Ianto hoped fervently that the conclusion to the story wasn’t that ‘the butler did it’; if it was, he was going to have a lot of explaining to do about his identity and what he was doing there. Never mind the Harknesses getting in the newspapers- the press would have a field day when his name was linked to this. Not to mention how it could affect his new venture...
“Er, yes...” she looked at Kathy Swanson. “Perhaps I have mislaid the jewellery. I guess I just jumped to the conclusion it was a member of staff...the newest member of staff. The necklace and the earrings weren’t in Ianto’s room, so I suppose there’s nothing to say this has anything to do with him.”
Ianto breathed a sigh of relief.
“I’d like to withdraw any accusations, Inspector,” she finished and looked away.
“See- I told you Ianto didn’t have anything to do with this,” Jack said triumphantly, looking over at the young Welshman, who was secretly impressed by Jack’s confidence in him.
“If you’re sure, Miss Harkness...?” Davidson started.
“She’s sure.” Mr Harkness said firmly and looked at Gwen, before he started to steer the inspector and his colleague towards the door. “I’d like to thank you for all of your help, Davidson, we’ll be sure to contact you if anything turns up.”
He disappeared into the hallway, with the two policemen, closing the door behind him.
“I just knew, this had nothing to do with Ianto. I just don’t understand how you could have accused him, Gwen,” Jack said.
“Well, my jewellery has to be somewhere,” she said staring over at Ianto.
Mrs Harkness waved her hand dismissively and then spoke before the two could start to argue. “I think we should just all try to forget this incident- it’s all very depressing. And, what’s more it’s made me really quite exhausted, and it’s not the kind of atmosphere that is conducive to John’s art.”
Hart looked over at his patron, and nodded thankfully. Tomorrow’s goal was to complete his new work: “Injustice”.
Ianto’s eyes darted briefly to Gwen, and then to her mother. “Mrs Harkness, if you don’t mind, this evening has been quite tiring. May I be excused? I think I need some rest before tomorrow.”
“Of course, of course, Ianto, you poor love. Goodnight.”
The butler nodded before turning and making his way to the door. Among the ‘goodnights’ from John and Rhys, he heard Jack’s voice, “Goodnight, Ianto.” He looked back, a faint smile on his face as he said a final goodnight, his eyes settling on the son of the house, before he was gone, closing the door behind him.
An hour later Ianto was sat on his bed. He’d been going over the evening’s events in his head, and had come to the conclusion that was right in thinking he had to leave the Harkness house. If Gwen’s plans hadn’t gone awry, he’d probably have been arrested and right now would have been at the police station, trying to explain how not only was he in the possession of Gwen’s jewellery, but that he was also the son of one of Wales’ most prominent families, but was working as a butler, after being mistaken for a down and out by Jack. He allowed himself a smile of satisfaction as he remembered how he’d just been tidying the bed after he’d got back from meeting Owen, when he noticed one of Gwen’s scarves sticking out from under the mattress. Gently he’d pulled it out and felt something wrapped inside; he’d carefully unfolded the fabric to find one of her necklaces and a pair of diamond earrings.
He’d known that there was only one way that they could have found their way to his room, and determined to make sure that the jewellery found its way back upstairs to one of the bathrooms. It had been sheer luck that Donna called and asked him to drop off Jack’s dry cleaning, giving him the opportunity to deposit the necklace and earrings upstairs, well away from him and his quarters.
There was nothing else for it, he thought, shaking his head. He was going to have to resign, and sooner rather than later. He didn’t like to abandon the family- strangely, he’d come to enjoy much of his time with them, although he knew that that was most definitely down to Jack. But if tonight’s events were anything to go by, it seemed that he would be better off leaving as soon as possible. He stood up, walked over to the wardrobe, retrieved his suitcase from on top, and then started to pack.