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”
The next morning, Ianto helped to serve breakfast in the dining room. It was one of the few occasions where Mr and Mrs Harkness were eating breakfast together.
“Morning, Ianto!” smiled Mr Harkness. “I’ve got some good news for you- Donna found Gwen’s necklace and earrings in one of the guest bedrooms when she was replacing the towels. God knows what they were doing there, but it’s just like Gwen to put things down and forget where they are.”
“That is good news, Sir.”
“It certainly is! And we’ll be talking to Gwen about jumping to conclusions.” There was a look on the older man’s face which made Ianto think that Mr Harkness had more than a good idea of what had been going on.
“Thank you, Mr Harkness,” he said as he poured him a cup of coffee, happy that Donna had managed to come across the missing jewellery so quickly. He’d been hoping that everything was all sorted out before the end of the afternoon, when he intended to leave his resignation letter for Mr Harkness and a letter thanking Jack for giving him a ‘chance’, before leaving. He’d wanted to leave the house knowing he’d been proved innocent, rather than the family still having its suspicions about him.
His last day at the house was uneventful; Gwen had swept out of the house after being told that the missing necklace and earrings had been found, declaring she was going straight out shopping. Jack had set out early, too, to a meeting with the local hospital’s fundraising committee.
It was around 4 o’clock as Ianto packed the last of his belongings, that he heard the kitchen telephone ringing down the hallway.
As he made his way into the kitchen, Donna looked up at him. “Ianto, can you be a love and take this up to the drawing room for Gwen?” she said thrusting a glass of gin and tonic into his hand.
“No problem, Donna.” He smiled- in the next couple of hours he wasn’t ever going to have to see Gwen again.
He knocked on the door, before entering and finding Gwen sat in one of the large leather chairs.
“Your drink, Miss.” He said as walked over and placed her drink on the table next to her.
“I’m glad it’s you, Ianto- it saves me coming to find you. I’ve been told I have to apologise,” she paused as she looked him up and down. “But we both know that the necklace and earrings were in your room, before they turned up in that bathroom...and I know you put them there.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Miss.”
“Like you had no idea Owen Harper was going to be at Millennium yesterday? I’ve not just been shopping today. It may surprise you that Owen and I have quite a few mutual friends. I remember that first evening he met you- he thought you were one Ifan Jones. So while I was out I met up with a couple of those mutual friends for lunch. Turns out, they did know an Ifan Jones- often known as Ianto. But the Ianto Jones they told me about has apparently been travelling or something in Africa for the past few years...And he’s also apparently the somewhat reclusive son of one of Wales’ oldest families...”
“Like I said, Miss. I really don’t know what you’re talking about...” Ianto repeated.
Gwen looked over at him. She was sure from her friends’ descriptions that this was indeed Ianto Jones, and her mind had been working overtime since finding out. She’d also been told that he’d had a girlfriend, just before he’d ‘gone travelling’ a couple of years ago. She thought back to the time she’d seen Jack kissing him those months ago- it had all probably been instigated by Jack, with Ianto too surprised to push him away. In fact, it sounded like she was much more the Welshman’s type than her step-brother. And she had to admit that the young man certainly looked significantly better without a beard. He’d looked even better when she’d seen him in Millennium. There might even be a way of recovering the situation, if she went about it the right way.
“I think it might be a good idea if you and I have along chat, away from the rest of the family- say we meet up at the pub down the road in about an hour, while we decide what we’re going to do about all of this. What would your family do if they found out about you living rough, coming here as our butler? You can make up some excuse about an errand, and I’ll say I have to meet one of my girlfriends.”
“Ok, Gwen...” Ianto actually had no intention of meeting Gwen- as soon as he left the room he did have every intention of leaving the letter for Mr and Mrs Harkness, and the letter for Jack, explaining some of his reasons for walking out.
“I knew it!” she said getting up to leave the room, not noticing Jack standing at the door. “I’ll see you in the Red Dragon in an hour- shall we say 5.30?”
“What the heck are you doing, Gwen?” Jack looked crestfallen as he looked between his sister and the butler.
She winked at Jack as she walked past him, leaning in to say quietly, “It seems that Ianto and I have a lot of things to chat about...” And then she was gone.
“I should have known it was only a matter of time before she got her way. Again.” There was a dejected tone in his voice.
Jack looked at his wristwatch. “I guess you’d better be going before you’re late for her...”
It was obvious to Ianto what Jack was thinking, and at this stage in the game he really couldn’t be bothered with the formalities. “Jack, I have no intention of meeting Gwen at the Red Dragon, or anywhere else for that matter.”
“I can’t stop you if you want to, I don’t really have any claim on you...”
Ianto raised his eyebrows closing his eyes for a second before speaking more firmly than his ‘mentor’ had heard him speak before. “I can assure you, Jack, that Gwen is not my type, in more ways than one.”
“Oh...?” Jack still looked uncertain.
The Welshman ran a hand through his hair before muttering “What the hell!” and striding over to the other man. He grabbed Jack around the waist kissing him hard, before he drew away. “I hope that answers your question, Sir?” he said looking into Jack’s eyes, before marching out of the room. As he’d expected, he left a shell shocked, breathless and rather dazed Jack- if he moved quickly he could be out of here before Jack had time to process what had just happened.
Ianto had been right. It had taken a full twenty minutes before Jack had raced down the stairs to the kitchen and then the servants’ quarters only to find Ianto’s door open and the room empty. Unfortunately for Jack, it had only taken the young man fifteen minutes to collect his suitcase, and head out of the house leaving his letter for the head of the household on the hallway table as he went. Jack had been about to turn to leave and search for the butler, when he noticed an envelope addressed to ‘Jack Harkness Jnr’, sitting on a small table by the door. He reached forward and tore it open, reading the letter he found inside.
I’d just like to thank you for all the faith you’ve shown in me- there aren’t many people who’d put so much faith and trust in someone, and invite them into their home. You gave me the opportunity to think about where my life was going. But now it’s time for me to move on. I have every intention of doing something useful with my life from now on, and that is down to you. I’m sure you can also understand that I don’t want to be put in another situation like last night’s.
Thank you once more, and I hope that you, too, find some purpose which satisfies the compassion and kindness that I know that you have. I don’t think you’ll see me again, which is a pity; I can only wish that I’d met you under different circumstances...
Best wishes for the future,
“Shit!” was all that Jack could say, before rushing up the stairs to find his father. As he passed through the hall he saw another letter, this time addressed to ‘Jack Harkness Snr’ and picked it up as he made his way to the study where he found his dad sitting at his desk nursing a Scotch, as he tried to complete the Times crossword.
His father looked up at the intrusion.
“Ianto’s gone. I found this for you...” Jack handed the letter to him.
It turned out that the letter said something quite similar to his own letter, with Ianto thanking the family for their kindness, but it was time for him to leave now, and find his own way in the world. It also hinted at Ianto’s discomfort at being accused of stealing.
Breakfast over a week later was a quiet affair, with Jack sulking as he ate a solitary piece of toast.
“For God’s sake- stop looking as if the world is going to end,” snapped Gwen. If the truth be told she was almost as disappointed as her stepbrother at the disappearance of their ‘butler’. His coffee was a vast improvement on the last few mornings’ offerings, and she’d been looking forward to finding out exactly why Ifan Jones had been living down at the docks.
“The world has ended,” Jack winced as he sipped at his coffee; it was far inferior to the brew he’d become used to in the last six months. “And it’s all your fault, Gwen.”
“Get over it- he was never butler material, anyway.”
“I thought he was doing very well...” Mrs Harkness interrupted.
Jack took another half hearted bite at his toast before he put it down and pushed the plate away. “He was...”
Gwen snorted. She’d got well and truly bored of her step-brother moping around the house.
“He could end up anywhere Gwen!” Jack moaned.
“Yeah right! He never needed us, he never belonged down there at the docks. That was just a con...” She trailed off as she realised Jack was looking at her, his mind working overtime.
“What do you mean?”
Gwen opted not to tell the whole truth. “You know I saw him- with Owen Harper on his day off...they were having drinks in one of Cardiff’s more expensive bars, like they were old friends.”
Gwen hadn’t meant to say she’d seen Ianto with Owen; it had just slipped out while she was thinking of a way of covering up his suspected true identity.
Mr and Mrs Harkness looked between each other as John Hart dug into his full English breakfast, insensible to the conversation around him, while Jack remembered the exchange between the doctor and their new butler, all those months ago.
Some hours later, after Jack had coerced Owen into meeting up with him for twenty minutes at lunchtime (“Honestly, I just need a quick word with you, Owen- it’s important to me” he’d pleaded), the two men were sat in the nearest coffee shop to the Doctor’s surgery.
“You know Ianto don’t you, Owen? You didn’t just get him confused with an old friend- he is an old friend.”
Harper exhaled quietly and looked away.
“You do know he’s resigned and disappeared without trace? He’s not even left a forwarding address for the last week’s pay.”
“Look, Jack. By the sounds of it Ianto didn’t want you to know where he’d gone-can’t you just leave it at that?”
“No! I know that you know what’s going on here. He kissed me before he left...And I just can’t leave it at that...”
Owen struggled with his conscience. He’d spoken to Ianto yesterday, and he’d explained how he’d had enough of all of the pretence; how he’d grabbed hold of Jack, kissed him and left.
“OK, I know where he is,” Owen said quietly and scribbled down an address on the back of one of the coasters on the table before pushing it across the table. “And he’s not going to thank me for this, but yes, we are old friends and I did lose touch with him until I saw him at your party. I think he’s been thinking a lot of things through since then. Looking for some kind of meaning-”
Jack reached at the coaster and smiled. “Thanks Owen, if this doesn’t work out, it was worth a try.”
Jack stood outside the converted warehouse on the edge of Cardiff docks, checking the address on the paper coaster. Definitely flat 26. He keyed the flat number into the intercom and waited.
“Hello?” It was Ianto’s voice cracking through the small speaker- Jack would know those beautiful Welsh tones anywhere.
“Ianto- it’s Jack.”
There was a pause before the other man responded. “I guess you’d better, come up. I owe you an explanation, Jack. Press top floor in the lift- floor 5- and this is the only flat,” Ianto said as he buzzed in Jack.
Jack looked around. This was obviously an expensive and well run building- well tended plants filled the foyer, and the entire central space was lit to highlight the Victorian brickwork. Ianto made his way to the lift. It seemed incongruous against the red bricks and was completely made of glass.
As he stepped out of the lift and onto the fifth floor landing, Jack decided that whoever Ianto was working for now was not financially challenged. He looked out of a window to see that the building had some fantastic views. The only door on the landing opened, and Jack jumped away from the window.
“Jack, I think you’d better come in,” Ianto said. It took a moment before Jack realised exactly what was wrong- Ianto was dressed in a pair of loose jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt. The only time he’d ever seen the other man this casually dressed was when they’d first met.
“Hi are you Ok with this? Are your employers out?” Jack said as he looked about. The living area of the apartment was huge. To Jack’s left was an open plan kitchen which ran seamlessly into a dining area replete with large dining table. Beyond that, at the far end of the room was a sitting area. Large windows overlooked the bay and he could see that a wide rooftop balcony surrounded the room.
Ianto laughed. “If you’ve got this far I think we should have a talk. I’m not sure I know how to explain any of this,” he said shaking his head. “I’m guessing Owen gave you my address?”
“Sorry- I kinda emotionally blackmailed him.”
“And he buckled?” There was that laugh again- Jack was enjoying this new, less subservient Ianto, even though he did worry about how they were going to explain this meeting when Ianto’s employer came back home. “I have to admit that I thought he would...”
“I’m going to have to start at the beginning- I never meant to lie...” He walked over to the kitchen returning with a mug. “Have a coffee- and, please, take a seat.”
Some time later, when Ianto had finished the story of how he’d gone to help his friend and ended up getting caught up in the whole Scavenger Hunt thing, Jack sat there disbelievingly, now empty mug in hand.
“I never meant to deceive anyone- I just didn’t know how I was going to explain how I’d pretended that I was living down at that warehouse. And you’d just won the Scavenger Hunt- I didn’t want you disqualified. ‘Specially when I’d seen Gwen’s face when you beat her.”
“I understand,” Jack said sadly and then stifled a laugh. “I suppose my lack of insight didn’t help, did it? I feel kinda stupid now...”
“I didn’t exactly make it easy for you to realise what was going on, Jack!” Ianto reached forward and took the mug from Jack’s fingers and then placed it down on the coffee table, and then took his hand. “And I don’t expect that you’re going to believe me when I say that, in the past few days, I can’t even count how many times I’ve regretted leaving like I did.” He stroked his thumb gently over Jack’s knuckles. “I’m sorry.”
“Apology accepted.” Jack looked down at Ianto’s hand wrapped around his, muttered “Sod it!” and then leaned over. He stopped just as his lips touched Ianto’s.
A moment passed before neither man could hold back any longer; they kissed, arms grasping each other. Several minutes later, Jack pulled away. “I’m thinking we should stop this now- I really don’t want you losing another job, but because of me this time. All you need now is your boss walking in.”
He was taken aback as Ianto threw his head back and grinned. “There is no boss, Jack. There are quite a few other things I’ve not mentioned. For a start I don’t think I fully explained what my circumstances were when I met you. This is my flat- and, like I said, there is no boss...”
“So, there you have it.” Ianto tilted his head to look at Jack, and then reached forward to place a light kiss to his chin.
The two men were lying in Ianto’s bed, propped up against far too many pillows.
“Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” Jack huffed and then tightened his arms around the other man, who was busy nuzzling against his chest. “But then I wasn’t really expecting this, either...”
Ianto paused and then shifted and rested his cheek against Jack’s shoulder. “And I certainly wasn’t expecting this.” He gave quick kiss to the shoulder and smiled. “But I’m more than ecstatic about it.”
Jack grinned and dropped his head to the side, letting it rest against Ianto’s hair. “I’m glad I’m not the only ecstatic one! And now everything’s out in the open, I was kind of hoping that we could see each other again?”
“Ah...about everything being out in the open...”
Jack lifted his head with a moan and pulled away slightly. “Don’t tell me- there’s someone else? You’re actually married with 2.4 children?”
Ianto sat up and reached out to place his hand on Jack’s neck. Smiling, he rubbed his thumb gently against Jack’s jaw. “It’s nothing like that. In fact, it’s something I’d like you to get involved in.”
The American looked confused as he looked into Ianto’s eyes.
“It’s a project I’ve started and you’re going to love it.”
Several hours later, Ianto got his answer. Jack was very happy to be involved in every way possible...