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Out of Time (part 10 of?)

Title: Out of Time
Rating: pg/12
Summary: Jack has landed back in the wrong century, and he’s quite alone there. That is until he meets a young butler in one of the households. Who is he? And is he all he seems?
Characters/Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Disclaimer: the characters all belong to RTD and the BBC, etc, I don’t own them
Author’s Notes: AU (ish, with Torchwood references). Originally this begun as a simple Jack and Ianto love story set in another, past time. Instead, it developed into something very different. C.1894, prior to Jack’s official/freelance employment with Torchwood. My first long Torchwood fic so be nice! Never intended to write TW fanfic, but here I am. First long fic in a while too. Con crit welcome :)
Long add here for you! Please comment if you read :)

here for previous chapters



Jack rang the door bell of the smart town house, number five, yet again. He was back again. He kept finding excuses, which he validated in his mind as reasonable, and that was why he found himself at the house once again.

Of course he was not surprised when Ianto answered the door.

‘Good afternoon.’ He said cheerfully, ‘Brocklewood in?’

Ianto seemed to be looking at this face intently; an intent expression covering his face which was quickly covered by confusion. Jack returned the look.

‘I’m afraid he’s out today.’

‘Well maybe I’ll leave my card, and call again another day then.’

‘Ianto!’

Ianto seemed to resist rolling his eyes and beckoning that Jack should come into the hall, turned away, leaving Jack stood there while Ianto disappeared.

Jack watched as one of the maids went scurrying across the hall, keeping her eyes down and away from him and disappeared downstairs. Ianto returned minutes later.

‘The mistress would like to see you Captain.’

‘Very well.’ Jack nodded, taking his gloves and hat off.

He entered the smart living room that he hadn’t yet had the pleasure of seeing. It was very grand, and sat on one of the sofas was a well dressed beautiful woman.

She rose as Jack entered, nodding to Ianto who disappeared leaving the two of them together.

‘Ma’am.’

‘Captain Jack Harkness?’

‘The very same.’ He bowed her head to her and she sat down again, a smart tea set in front of her.

‘Was it business you wanted with my husband Mr Harkness?’

‘Captain, ma’am.’ Jack corrected automatically. ‘Yes. I hadn’t made an appointment though, my mistake. Perhaps I shall have better chances another time.’

‘I’m afraid he isn’t here today. He’s rather busy at the minute.’

Jack just nodded.

‘There’s something not quite right about you Captain. You don’t seem the same as the others.’ She mused. ‘You’re different. What do you want from my husband?’

It wasn’t the first time someone had said something like that to him. It was Ianto who had last pointed out that he was different from everyone else. He had quickly realised that he was only pretending. But then he knew. This woman just thought... what did she think?

‘It’s official business ma’am, I can’t divulge that.’

‘Of course, of course.... are you a government man?’

‘Government?’ Jack repeated. He hadn’t entertained that notion. Yet he supposed in a strange way he was. He didn’t quite know how to explain his freelance status. He didn’t really know how to explain himself. ‘Not exactly, ma’am.’

‘Captain of what, maybe I ask, Captain?’

‘A - a ship ma’am.’

‘A navy man.’ She nodded, smiling. ‘Of course. That would explain the way you speak. Have you spent many years abroad?’

‘A fair number of years. Things have changed since I’ve been gone. It feels like a life time. I’m just finding my feet here. It looks like I’m going to be on shore for a while.’ Jack was warming to this story and wondered why it hadn’t occurred to him before. He was rather worried though about how easily this woman got him to speak.

‘My husband knew a Captain, dear friend of ours he was. They moved down south though, and he had a family. We haven’t seen them for years. Do you have a family Captain?’

‘No ma’am. I’ve been away too many long years to settle down.’

Their awkward conversation was at long last interrupted by Ianto appearing.

‘Ma’am there is a Mrs Churchhouse here to see you.’

‘Oh dear Lizzie! Bring her in Ianto.’

A smile had spread across Mrs Brocklewood’s face as she arranged her gown and shawl.

‘I best take my leave.’ Jack told her glad of the excuse to leave.

‘Yes, Captain. It was nice to meet you.’ As he got to his feet she did so too.

‘The pleasure was mine ma’am.’ He bowed to her and bent to kiss her hand.

He could hear voices in the hall way and he turned to leave. But as he did Mrs Brocklewood stretched her hand out, as if she wanted to touch his arm, and then stopped herself just as quickly, choosing to speak instead.

‘Captain,’

Her voice shook as she spoke, her usual demeanour and front broken.

He turned back to look at her again, unsure of this sudden change. The voices in the hall were getting closer.

‘Captain, is my husband – what is he doing?’ She spoke softly, as if afraid someone would hear her.

Jack had been expecting her to ask, if anything, if he was safe, or if – not what he was doing.

Suddenly she wasn’t the same woman that he thought he had met; the one who believed her story about the navy. She was worried and scared, and fully aware that her husband was in danger.

‘Your husband, I couldn’t tell you; I don’t know, and that’s the problem. ‘

‘But you keep showing up, there must be something you know.’

‘Believe me; I’m doing all I can to figure this out.’

‘There must be something you can do; something you can find out. You can stop him, can’t you?’

‘You know him better than me.’

‘I’m a woman. You know I can’t do anything to stop him.’

‘Where I come from women can do everything and anything. You’d love it.’

‘You sound different when you talk like that.’

‘Is that a bad thing?’

‘I didn’t mean – I think you should go now Captain.’

‘Of course.’ Jack hesitated a moment and then turned and left the woman, passing Mrs Churchhouse on his way out the room. He looked around for his hat and gloves that Ianto had taken from him and saw them sitting tidily on the side. As he went over to get them he heard a cough from behind and turned to see Ianto standing there.

‘Let me get them for you sir.’

Ianto crossed the hall and handed them to Jack calmly, their hands brushing ever so slightly as he did so, watching as he slid his gloves on, his stick under his arm and placing his hat on his head again Jack nodded at Ianto, a smile sliding on his face as he caught Ianto’s eye.

Jack smirked to himself and shaking his head left the house, almost running into two children on the steps, who were chasing each other and laughing.

‘Children!’ the woman with them chided them. ‘Careful. Apologise to this gentleman.’

Jack waved it off with a shake of his head. ‘No one was hurt, Nurse.’

‘Sorry sir.’ She said as the children ran into the house.

‘It’s okay. I bet they can be quite a handful sometimes?’

‘Yes sir.’ She kept her eyes down and gathering her skirts hurried up the steps, Jack standing to one side to let them through.

The front door shut behind them and yet again he found himself standing by himself on the front steps. He was aware of the people passing in the street and quickly moved away and began walking.

He was in a daze as he walked. No closer was he to finding the person he needed, but that extraordinary snippet of ordinary everyday life had surprised him. It was so... normal. How could he expect to find anything in that? And yet, at the same time, it wasn’t normal. Of course it wasn’t to him because he didn’t belong here, but even as a stranger he felt like there was something wrong there. The mistress of the house seemed perfectly respectable, it was just the way she had spoken to him, addressed him. It was like she knew, something and she was just teasing him; playing with him. But then Jack had known plenty of women who did that, and he thought he could spot them a mile off. Why had this woman seemed so interested in him and who he was? Was it just because of curious local gossip, or was it something more?
Jack had seemed to lose himself, when she addressed him, unable to become his normal completely charming self.

That was until that last, strange moment, when she had suddenly seemed another woman. Not one who was in control. One who was lost and confused, and very scared. And he didn’t understand that.

Of course he understood that it was perfectly possible to maintain a front, to pretend to be someone else, but it was the way she had changed; as if she had known all along that he was something else and that he could know more. It was the way she seemed to suggest that she knew her husband was doing something dangerous that unsettled Jack.

Jack was used to dangerous. He was used to the uncertainty. But this family, this woman... in their perfect Victorian household, they had never experienced it before. And he hated to be the one bringing it into the house. There was nothing he could do though.

He looked behind as he walked away, aware of someone following him. Yet he pretended not to see, and crossed over the road, knowing they would follow. This time he was ready. He had had enough of this playing, this pretending. He was fully aware of where he was going as he walked; leading his stalker into strange unfamiliar places that he hoped would confuse them.

He stopped abruptly, at a corner, and turned to face the man behind him, who caught unawares stared at him in shock.

‘Who are you with?’ he demanded, squaring up against the stranger.

He pushed his fingers against the man’s neck in a threatening way that caused his breathing to shorten. The man didn’t say anything, and Jack held him against the wall waiting. It was only time... only time.

‘Are you with Torchwood?’ He asked, wanting answers desperately from this man. He hated this tiptoeing around.

The man hesitated and Jack held his neck tighter.

‘Yes, alright.’ The man spluttered and Jack loosened his hold ever so slightly. ‘Yes I am with Torchwood. They sent me. I’m just the middle man, won’t you just let me go?’

‘No chance.’ Jack said grimly. ‘Why are they having me followed then?’

‘Isn’t that much obvious?’ The man smirked despite his uncomfortable position. ‘They want to know who you are, where you go. They want you. And you’re not being very polite are you, not responding to their letters.’

That was it, Jack unleashed his anger, hitting the man before letting him go, and standing back, wondering at his sudden anger. It had been a while since he’d lashed out like that.

‘You consider this done.’ He growled. ‘You leave me alone. I have nothing to give you or Torchwood. I don’t want to see you again. And you can tell your precious Torchwood that I’ll never work for them. I’m not theirs to have. I’m a free agent and they can leave me alone. Understood?’

Not waiting to hear an answer, worried he might hit the man, Jack strode away not caring if
he was following or not. Of course Torchwood would hear all about it, and it wouldn’t stop them following him. If anything they would keep a closer eye on him. He had had enough though. He couldn’t stay there and listen to anyone talk to him like that. He walked fast, his pace double his normal, in an attempt to get away. Coaches passed him but he ignored them, choosing to go by foot and try and work some of his anger off.

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quotes and things

“He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun…

He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of the time and he can see the turn of the universe…and he’s wonderful.”

“They say you’re supposed to talk to people when they’re in a coma, don’t they? I have absolutely no idea whether you can hear me Jack.

I never heard of anyone coming out of one and carrying on the conversation. So I suspect it’s probably something the doctors tell us to do. To make us feel better, rather than help you. We don’t feel quite so useless and helpless. We get the feeling there’s still some sort of purpose in our lives. We’re not just waiting. Waiting for the science to work. Or the miracle to happen. Or the nightmare to end.

I’m not much of a talker Jack, you know that, but I’ll talk to you now on the off chance that it helps.

Just promise me, if you’re hearing this, that when you come round - and you’re going to Jack. You’re gonna come out of this - just promise me you’ll bring up anything I say to you now. How’s that? We got a deal?

This must be the longest I’ve ever looked at you and not see you smile. I’ve watched you in your sleep, did you know that? So many times.

Just woken up beside you in the middle of the night, and watched you. Watched your eyes move behind your eyelids as you dreamed. I tried to imagine what a man like you could possibly dream about. Things you’ve seen. The lives you’ve lived. The people you’ve loved. I wondered if you were dreaming about me, I hoped you’d be dreaming about me.

But let’s be honest Jack. I’m nothing more than a blip in time for you. Everyday I grow a little older. But you’re immortal. You’ve already lived a thousand lifetimes. How could you watch me grow old and die? How can I watch you live and never age a day?

I suppose we both know that will never be a problem. Not in this job. No-one in Torchwood ever lives to draw their pension, do they? Even if, by some miracle, I survive to see my hair turn grey, or god forbid fall out, I don’t kid myself that you’d still be around to see it.

One day you’ll go again, just like you did before, and this time you won’t be back.

Maybe that’s what you’re dreaming about those nights when I watch you sleeping. Maybe that’s why, even when you sleep, I see you smile. But you haven’t gone yet, Jack. I know that. I know you’re coming back to me.”

"But you never will be just a blip in time, Ianto Jones. Not for me."
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