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Time is the Essence of Eternity

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For once, Jack and Ianto didn't fall through the door with their arms around each other and their lips pressed together (and then promptly throw themselves onto the first even vaguely horizontal surface to have sex), which, in retrospect, was probably why Jack had never noticed the watch before.

Instead, Ianto trudged into the apartment and let out a distinctly unsexy groan. "Why is it," he demanded as he peeled his dirty suit jacket off, "that I fell down a muddy ravine and you're still clean as ever?"

"Just lucky, I guess," Jack replied with a shrug. He pulled off his coat and hung it on the hook, then yanked off his boots and set them down underneath it. Ianto, he'd noticed, could be a little fussy about that.

"Ugh." Ianto pulled off his jacket and held the offending garment an arm's length away from him. "I'm going to go shower and try to remember what it's like to be clean."

"I could help," Jack offered.

"I actually want to get clean, Jack," Ianto countered. "I won't be long. Make yourself at home." He gestured vaguely at the living room, then headed down the hallway to the bathroom.

Jack looked around the apartment. He'd never really taken the time to explore it thoroughly. Whenever he'd been there, he'd had other things on his mind. With Ianto in the shower, however, it seemed the perfect opportunity to take a closer look.

There weren't many pictures, but there were a lot of knickknacks. Jack picked up a few to look at more closely, but he was careful to put them back in the exact place he'd found them. He knew from experience that Ianto liked things to be just so, and he'd definitely be able to tell if Jack moved anything.

The watch was battered and tucked away, and Jack almost didn't notice it. For a second, he thought it was Ianto's old stopwatch, but quickly recognized that it wasn't. It was just a normal pocket watch. Jack picked it up more out of boredom than anything else, flipped it over, and promptly almost dropped it.

"Snooping, are you?" Ianto teased. Jack whirled around. Ianto was standing behind him with a slight smirk, his hair tousled and wet. Beautiful, lovely, human Ianto.


"How long have you had this watch?" Jack demanded, holding it out.

Ianto looked at it with a frown. "I… I'm not sure. I've always had it, I suppose. It doesn't work. It won't open."

"Have you ever tried?"

"I…" Ianto looked at the watch again, then his eyes went a bit glazed and his gaze seemed to slide away. "Does it matter, Jack?"

Jack looked down at the watch again, flipping it over and running a thumb over the Gallifreyan characters on the back. "I guess not," he replied, ignoring how his stomach was tied up in knots. He set the watch on the shelf behind him. Absently, Ianto picked it up and set it back in its proper place.

"I'm all clean now," he remarked, looking at Jack with a wicked expression on his face.

Jack grinned, pushing all thoughts of the watch out of his mind for the moment. "Would you mind if I dirtied you up again?" he asked, taking a step forward and sliding a hand through Ianto's hair.

"Not really," Ianto replied, and then he and Jack wrapped their arms around each other and pressed their lips together and fell on the nearest horizontal surface (the bed, which wasn't necessarily common for the two of them) and had some very enthusiastic sex.

Later, though, when Ianto was sleeping, Jack got up and crept back out to the living room. He picked up the watch again and looked at it, pressing his lips together. Then he pulled out his phone and called a number he'd never used before.

"Doctor?" he said when he heard the distracted greeting. "I think my boyfriend is a Time Lord."

Ianto woke to the sound of voices in his living room. One of them was Jack, but he didn't recognize the other. Groggily, he pushed himself out of bed and stumbled to the door.

The first thing he noticed, upon stepping into the living room, was that there was a large blue police box in the corner. Then his tired brain made the connection and his eyes flew open, any weariness immediately gone.

On the couch, Jack and his visitor (the Doctor, Ianto's brain supplied, but it was far too early for him to deal with aliens on his couch) looked up at him with wide, guilty eyes. Ianto looked at them, then sighed.

"Anyone want to fill me in on what's happening here?"

"Ianto!" Jack jumped up to his feet. "Did we wake you?"

"Jack, why is there a Time Lord in my apartment?"

Jack looked at the Doctor, then back at Ianto. "Yeah, funny story, actually-"

"What can you tell me about this watch?" the Doctor asked, standing up with Ianto's old pocket watch in his hand.

"Am I going to find out why you were asking so many questions about it?" Ianto asked Jack.

"Do you know what this means?" the Doctor added, showing Ianto the back of the watch.

Ianto stared at it and felt his eyes slide away, unable to focus. He shook his head and forced himself to look at the strange circles etched into the watch.

"Should I?" he asked, looking up. The Doctor pressed his lips together. Ianto ignored him and turned to Jack. "What is going on?"

"Have you ever heard of a Chameleon Arch?" the Doctor asked.

Ianto ignored him. "Jack-"

"The Doctor can explain better than I can," Jack said, not meeting Ianto's eyes. "Just hear what he has to say, okay?"

"Fine." Ianto turned to the Doctor. "I've never heard of a Chameleon Arch. What is it?"

"It's Time Lord technology," the Doctor explained, sitting down. Ianto tentatively sat down next to him, and Jack sat behind Ianto, a hand on his leg. "You can use it to rewrite cellular biology. It can turn a Time Lord into a human. The Time Lord's essence is kept in a watch." The Doctor held up Ianto's watch. "A watch just like this."

Ianto looked at the watch with wide eyes, then looked up at the Doctor, then turned to face Jack. "Do you think that I…"

"Where did you get this watch, Ianto?" the Doctor asked gently.

"I don't know!" Ianto snapped, snatching the watch out of the Doctor's hand. "It's just a watch!"


"No, Jack!" Ianto whirled around. He only realized he was shaking when Jack put a gentle hand on his shoulder. "I'm not a bloody Time Lord. I can't be."

"The watch-"

"And that's enough out of you," Ianto interrupted, jabbing a finger towards the Doctor. "I'm not- I can't be-"

Ianto jerked upright and stormed out of the room. He didn't slam his bedroom door, because that would be childish, but he did close it with a bit more force than was strictly necessary. Then his knees gave out and he sank to the floor, leaning against the door and gripping the watch in both hands.

Out in the living room, he could hear a hissed conversation, and he knew Jack would be coming in to talk in a moment. But Ianto ignored the quiet words and stared down at the watch in his hands. Surely, it couldn't be as important as the Doctor and Jack seemed to think it was. It was just a watch, a battered and broken old knickknack that Ianto had kept because… Well, he wasn't quite sure why he kept it, but it couldn't be because he was a secret Time Lord. That was ridiculous.

Wasn't it?

Ianto sighed and leaned forward, resting his forehead on his hands. The watch touched his skin and-

"Open me and remember."

Ianto gasped and flung his head up, as far from the watch as he could. The voice had sounded like his own, but the thoughts weren't his. It was almost like they had come from the watch itself. Almost like there was something inside the watch that had spoken to him.

Ianto flipped the watch over and traced the circles. Gallifreyan writing, something told him. It says your name. For a moment, his hand moved to open the watch, then Ianto stopped himself. Instead, he stood and opened the bedroom door.

Jack and the Doctor froze the second he came out. Obviously, they'd been talking about him, but it wasn't like Ianto hadn't known that already. He ignored it and took a step forward, the watch gripped tightly in one hand.

"Ianto?" Jack asked softly, taking a step towards him.

"I think," Ianto said numbly, "that you're right." He looked at the watch in his hand. "What do we do now?"

"Doctor?" Jack asked quietly. Ianto was sitting on the couch, his head in his hands and the watch on the table in front of him. He was clearly overwhelmed, and Jack couldn't blame him. Jack was overwhelmed himself, and he wasn't the one who had just found out that most of his past was a lie.

"Hmm?" The Doctor was in his TARDIS, doing something with one of the screens, but he had the door open.

Jack tentatively walked inside. "Do we know that…" He turned and shot Ianto a look, then stepped closer to the Doctor and lowered his voice. "Do we know that this isn't going to be the Master all over again?"

"It won't be," the Doctor replied confidently. "I've held the watch, Jack."

Jack stared. The Doctor didn't seem to notice the silence. Jack had spent too much time away from him if he'd forgotten how badly "subtle" tended to work when it came to the Doctor. "What does that have to do with anything?"

The Doctor flapped an arm in Jack's general direction. "I was only able to get flashes, but I could see bits of your Ianto's life as a Time Lord. The clearest were the ones of him right before he used the Arch. I'm not sure why he did it, but he seems perfectly sane."

"Will he still be… Ianto?" Jack asked.

"I've used the Arch before," the Doctor said, looking up at Jack for the first time in the conversation. "With Martha. I thought I was a teacher at a boy's school, right before the first World War. And I was still me. Not entirely, but enough. And then, when I opened the watch back up, I was still John Smith. I'd fallen in love, and I still loved her." The Doctor shot Jack a sly look. "If that's what you're wondering about."

"Will he think I'm wrong?" Jack asked bluntly.

The Doctor winced. "Jack, I-" He raked a hand through his messy hair. "I don't know. I mean, you are- Sorry, that's probably not helping, is it? It's… weird to look at you, Jack. But he might not mind, especially if he loves you as much as I think he does."

Jack shot Ianto a look. He still hadn't moved off the couch. "You think he loves me?"

The Doctor scoffed. "I know he does. And I know you love him too." The Doctor clapped Jack on the back. "I approve and all that."

"Never asked," Jack retorted playfully.

"I'm approving anyway," the Doctor replied, beaming. He hurtled out of the TARDIS, leaving Jack scrambling to follow him. He'd forgotten how fast this incarnation of the Doctor was. And bouncy too, much bouncier than Jack's Doctor had been.

"Now." The Doctor sat on the table, next to the watch. His face had abruptly gone serious. "You've got a decision to make, Ianto."

Ianto looked up at the Doctor. His eyes were red-rimmed. Jack sat down next to him and put an arm around his shoulders, squeezing gently.

"What decision?" Ianto asked, his voice rasping slightly. Jack rubbed his thumb along Ianto's shoulder comfortingly.

The Doctor picked up the watch. "Whether or not to open this."

Ianto looked from Jack to the Doctor. "I didn't think I had a choice," he admitted in a small voice.

"If you don't open it, Jack will have to Retcon you, so you don't remember this night," the Doctor explained. Jack shuddered at the thought. "And I can't promise that seeing the watch again won't trigger your memories. The Retcon might not even work. I've never tried it before. But we could try."

"And if I do open it?" Ianto asked hoarsely.

The Doctor shrugged. "Then we deal with it."

"You don't have to choose right now," Jack told Ianto soothingly.

"Er." The Doctor fidgeted slightly. "He should choose soon, actually. Now that he knows what the watch is, he's probably feeling a compulsion to open it."

"It's like it wants me to," Ianto whispered.

"The longer we wait, the worse the compulsion will get," the Doctor added. "If you wait much longer, you won't be able to think clearly enough to make the decision."

"I-" Ianto looked at the watch, then up at Jack. "Jack-"

"Doc, can you leave us alone for a minute?" Jack asked.

The Doctor made a face. "Don't call me Doc," he scolded, then he wandered off towards the kitchen. "Do you have any bananas, Ianto?"

"On the counter," Ianto called back. The Doctor beamed and walked into the kitchen.

"I don't think he'll listen in," Jack said softly. "He'll probably get distracted by your tea collection or something like that."

"What do I do, Jack?" Ianto whispered, his voice cracking. "This bloody watch wants me to open it, and part of me wants to do it, but I'm fucking terrified-"

"It's alright." Jack wrapped his arms around Ianto, holding him to his chest as he trembled. "Whatever you choose, it'll be alright."

"But what should I choose?" Ianto asked desperately. "What if I open that watch and it turns me into a monster?"

"The Doctor says it won't," Jack assures him. "He says he can sense some of the memories in the watch, and you won't be anything like- You won't be a monster."

"What will happen to us if I open the watch?"

Jack blinked. "What do you mean?"

"Us, Jack!" Ianto snapped, pulling away and glaring. "The two of us, together? Our relationship or whatever the hell it is? What'll happen to us if I open the watch?"

"I'll stay with you for as long as you want me to," Jack replied. "And if you decide you don't want me, we'll figure things out."

"Why wouldn't I want you?" Ianto asked, frowning. "Jack, is there something you're not telling me?"

"It's-" Jack sighed. "Okay, so I'm a fixed point in time-"

"I know," Ianto interrupted. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"Apparently, that makes me wrong," Jack said. "And it's hard for Time Lords to look at me."

Ianto stared at him, eyes wide. Jack drank in the feeling of meeting Ianto's eyes. The Doctor had been trying his best, Jack knew, but he still didn't like to actually look at Jack. If Ianto opened the watch…

"That's stupid," Ianto stated furiously. "You're not wrong, Jack. Who the hell- Did the Doctor tell you that?"

"People aren't supposed to be fixed points in time," Jack replied with a shrug. "I'm just telling you what he told me. If you open that watch, you might not want there to be an us anymore."

"If I do open it, I'll live forever, or nearly," Ianto countered, reaching out and touching the watch then yanking his hand back.

"Don't make this decision for me," Jack warned, shaking his head. "Make it for yourself, Ianto. If you don't want to open the watch, don't open it for my sake."

"We don't even know that there are any alternatives," Ianto replied. He was staring at the watch now. "It wants me to open it, Jack. But I can't tell how much of that is the watch and how much of that is me."


"This is what I am," Ianto added. "Or what I was, at least. But why did I decide to live as human? What made me think this was necessary?"

"The Doctor might be able to tell you," Jack offered. "Maybe he could figure it out if he held the watch long enough."

"And then, if I find out the answer to that question, I'll just have another one, and another, and another," Ianto replied, a humorless smile on his face. "I have to make this decision, Jack, before the watch makes it for me."

"You should decide soon," the Doctor said softly. Jack's head jerked up. He hadn't heard him approach. Ianto didn't move. Jack didn't know if he'd somehow known that the Doctor was behind him, or if he just didn't care enough to be startled. "The watch's compulsion will just keep getting stronger."

"Do you think Retcon will actually make me forget?" Ianto asked, turning to look at the Doctor.

The Doctor's face was grave. "I don't know. But even if it does, the sight of the watch might trigger all of your memories, and by that point, the compulsion might be so strong that you'll just open it on sight."

Ianto looked at the watch for a long moment. "Will it hurt?" he finally asked. "You said it rewrites cellular biology. Does it hurt?"

"Yes," the Doctor replied seriously. "Very much."

Ianto grabbed the watch and stood. "Then I think I should do it inside your TARDIS."

"Excuse me?" the Doctor demanded, shocked.

Ianto smiled grimly. "It's two in the morning. I can't exactly go around screaming. I assume the TARDIS is soundproof?"

"You're going to open it, then?" Jack asked.

Ianto looked at him for a long moment. Jack could see helplessness in his eyes for a moment, then it was gone. "I don't think I have much of a choice, Jack. It's best if I open it now, with the Doctor to help."

"You're certain?" the Doctor asked. "It's not really reversible. I mean, you could use the Chameleon Arch again, but I can't guarantee that you'd come out Ianto Jones."

"If I open it, will I still be Ianto Jones?" Ianto asked, looking at the watch in his hands.

"And more," the Doctor replied. "Much more."

Ianto looked down at the watch again, then he turned and pulled Jack in for a desperate kiss. "I love you," he told him in a rushed whisper. "I wasn't gonna say it, but just in case, I want you to hear it."

"I love you too," Jack replied, kissing him again.

"Into the TARDIS, then, if you're sure," the Doctor urged gently.

Ianto's laugh was just this side of hysterical. "I'm not sure at all," he replied, but he walked over to the TARDIS. "Jack-"

"I'm going to wait out here," Jack replied. It was weak of him and he knew it, but he couldn't watch as Ianto writhed in pain. He couldn't watch as Ianto's body got back up, inhabited by something that might or might not be him.

"Alright." Ianto gave him one last featherlight kiss, then he stepped into the TARDIS.

"He'll be alright," the Doctor told Jack kindly, then he followed Ianto inside and shut the door.

Jack sat down on the couch and tried to convince himself that the Doctor was right.

The Archivist came to on his hands and knees in a TARDIS that was not his own. For a moment, he was confused, but then he saw the watch on the ground in front of him and he remembered.

"Are you alright?" a voice asked. The Archivist looked up as a hand entered his field of vision. The Doctor was looking at him with concern.

"I've been there," he told the Archivist, pulling him to his feet. "Not fun." He looked over the Archivist quickly, then asked, "So, who're you, then?"

"The Archivist." His voice was hoarse. "Where's Jack?"

"Still outside the doors," the Doctor replied, waving a hand. "You feeling alright now?"

"Yes," the Archivist replied, nodding. He picked up the watch and tucked it in his pocket.

"Why'd you do it?" the Doctor asked. He nodded at the pocket. "Turn yourself human?"

"I wanted to escape the Time War," the Archivist admitted. "I ran and used the Chameleon Arch to turn myself human. I thought it might give me more time."

The Doctor's face went grave. "Then you don't know how the war ended?"

"How did it end?" the Archivist demanded immediately.

The Doctor pressed his lips together. "Badly. We're… We're the only two Time Lords left."

The Archivist blinked once, twice. "How did it happen?"

"They all died. Most of the Daleks did too, but some of them are still around."

"I know," the Archivist replied grimly. "I was at Canary Wharf."

"You worked for Torchwood One?"

"Did Jack not tell you?" The Archivist delved back into the memories from his time as Ianto. "I joined Torchwood not long after I used the Arch. I worked for One until Canary Wharf, and then I joined Three."

"How long have you been here?" the Doctor asked.

The Archivist frowned. "Since 2005. I joined Torchwood within the year."

"Why?" the Doctor demanded. "Why would you want to work for a place like that?"

"I was a junior researcher," the Archivist retorted. "I had no part in their anti-alien agenda. And I will never regret working at Torchwood Three."

The Doctor looked at the doors of the TARDIS. "Do you still love him?"

The Archivist didn't need to ask who "he" was. "Of course I do," he retorted. "I'm still everything that Ianto was, except human."

"He's a fixed point, so he's a little…" The Doctor's voice trailed off.

The Archivist scowled. "He told me you called him 'wrong.'"

"Well, he is!" the Doctor protested. "A human isn't meant to be a fixed point in time!"

"And who's fault is that?"

"Oi, that was Rose, not me!"

"I'll work around it. How hard is it to look at him?"

"It's not bad, more uncomfortable," the Doctor corrected. "Things go… weird around him. I can't describe it."

The Archivist looked at the doors to the TARDIS. "I should go out there and see him."

"He was very worried about all this," the Doctor agreed. "He was worried you wouldn't be Ianto anymore."

The Archivist shook his head. "I'm still Ianto."

"Should I call you that, then? Or would you prefer Archivist?"

The Archivist thought for a moment. The Archivist was a title that he used instead of revealing his true name, as many Time Lords did. But Ianto was his name, the name he'd used for the past three years. The name he'd used as a human without knowledge of what he really was, yes, but it was still his in a way the title "Archivist" had never truly been.

"Ianto," he finally decided. "Call me Ianto."

The Doctor nodded once. "Right. Ianto. Shall we go see Jack, then? Bet you he's frantic out there."

"I guess we should," Ianto agreed. He put a hand to his jacket, where he'd tucked the watch. He'd have to go back to his TARDIS before too long and put the watch away. And he'd have to check on his TARDIS too, to make sure it was alright. He'd left it in close enough proximity to the Rift that it wouldn't starve, but it had been three years since he left it. He hoped the Chameleon Circuit hadn't gotten stuck like the Doctor's had.

The Doctor bounded over to the door. "Ready?"

Ianto looked at the door and nodded. "Yeah," he replied, walking up to the Doctor. "Yeah, I'm ready."

"Remember, looking at Jack will be… different," the Doctor warned. "Just be prepared."

"I know," Ianto replied, nodding. "Open the door, Doctor. I'm ready."

The Doctor nodded, and he threw the doors open.

Ianto froze when he first looked at Jack, which didn't really make Jack feel particularly hopeful. "Oh," he breathed. He looked over at the Doctor. "Is it always like that?"

"I know," the Doctor replied grimly. "It's not-"

"It's so quiet," Ianto said, sounding awed. Jack tentatively began to hope that this might be positive. "There's nothing… I just see him."

"Oh." The Doctor blinked. "That's how humans see people, isn't it? I suppose that's the only way you've see him before."

"Do you meant to tell me," Jack demanded, "that when you said it was hard to look at me, it was because you were seeing me like a human would see me?"

"Well." The Doctor looked uncomfortable. "It's not how I see anything else."

"We can see timelines," Ianto explained. "When we look at people, we see their timelines. But we don't see that with you. It's strange, for a Time Lord, but it's not wrong."

"You can see timelines?" Jack repeated.

"Did you not tell him anything about what it means to be a Time Lord?" Ianto asked the Doctor with a deep sigh.

"I don't spread that information around," the Doctor muttered, sounding sullen.

"You can tell Jack," Ianto countered, as if it were obvious.

"What should I call you?" Jack asked suddenly. "I mean, what's your name?"

Ianto blinked. "I'm still me, Jack," he replied. "I'm still Ianto."

"What's your Time Lord name?" Jack asked, because even if Ianto was apparently still fine with being called Ianto, he wanted to know.

"The Archivist." Ianto grinned. "It seems my job at Three was even more fitting than we knew."

"And why did you…" Jack gestured vaguely. "You know."

"To escape the Time War," Ianto explained. Something grim passed over his face. Jack remembered that all of the Time Lords except the Doctor, the Master, and, apparently, Ianto had died in the Time War. "It was supposed to be quick. I thought the other Time Lords would catch up with me before too long."

"I'm glad they didn't," Jack said quietly. He took a step forward. "Can I… Will it be weird if I touch you? Like looking at me?"

"Not any weirder than looking," the Doctor confirmed cheerfully.

"Good," Ianto replied, stepping forward and pulling Jack in for a long kiss.

"Although I haven't done that," the Doctor muttered. Jack ignored him, focusing solely on Ianto. The kiss was mostly the same, but there was a little something different. It wasn't surprising, he supposed. He couldn't quite place what the difference was.

Ianto's eyes were wide when he pulled away. He put a finger to his lips. "You make everything quiet," he told Jack in shock. "When you're kissing me… It's almost like I'm human again."

"Do you mind?" Jack asked. Ianto didn't sound like he minded, but Jack wanted to be sure.

"No," Ianto told Jack fervently. "It's nice. The quiet is nice."

"Being human changed you," the Doctor remarked. "Or were you always strange for a Time Lord?"

"I've always been strange," Ianto replied, grinning. "Far too interested in other species. Time Lords can be awfully superior," he told Jack in a confidential tone.

"Trust me, I've noticed," Jack replied.

The Doctor scowled. "We are not."

"We are," Ianto corrected. "Especially the older ones. They think other species are barely worth spending time with. They think they're so clever."

"This seems a little pointed," the Doctor whined.

"I always thought other species could be clever too," Ianto told Jack. "The other Time Lords thought I was very odd. They figured I'd grow out of it."

"How old are you?" Jack asked.

"What regeneration?" the Doctor added.

"Nearly three hundred years old, and third regeneration," Ianto replied. He scowled. "I regenerated twice in the damn War."

"No wonder you ran," Jack breathed.

"I wasn't going to let it kill me a third time," Ianto replied simply. "I believe in the evil of the Daleks, but genocide, like the Time Lords intended…"

The Doctor's face twisted slightly. Jack tucked the realization away without mentioning it.

"So what's different now?" Jack asked. "I mean, now that you're a Time Lord and everything. Do you… Do you still eat?"

"I can eat, yes. My tastes might change, though. Things will be different with Time Lord senses. But I'll still make you coffee, never you fear."

"The most important thing, of course," Jack agreed.

"Can I try some of this famous coffee?" the Doctor asked. "Jack kept going on and on about it when he was traveling with me. Wouldn't drink any other coffee because it wasn't yours."

"Well, mine is the best," Ianto agreed. "Do you want a cup, Jack?"

"Always," Jack replied, grinning.

Ianto sauntered out of the living room and over to the kitchen, shooting Jack a wink over his shoulder. Jack's grin widened as he followed him into the kitchen.

They were going to be just fine.

"This is very good coffee," the Doctor said, peering into the cup. "I've never been much of one for coffee, but this is very good."

"I make the best," Ianto replied primly. He had a cup of coffee in his hands as well. Jack was on his second, swirling it around in the cup pensively.

"Do you have a TARDIS?" Jack asked after a moment.

"Me?" Ianto asked, pointing at himself.

Jack chuckled. "Yes, you."

"I do," Ianto replied. "I hid it near the Rift, actually, so it's here in Cardiff."

"We should go get it!" the Doctor exclaimed, jumping upright. "My TARDIS will be happy to meet another one. It's been a while."

Ianto did want to see his TARDIS again, so he shrugged. "Might as well."

"Into my TARDIS, then!" the Doctor cried, setting his coffee to the side. "You can give us the coordinates for your TARDIS and we can go pick her up."

"Sounds good to me," Jack said, downing his coffee.

"Alright," Ianto agreed, putting his coffee down and following the Doctor into the TARDIS. Jack was walking behind him, and Ianto was pretty sure he was staring at his butt. Sure enough, while they waited for the Doctor to unlock the doors, Jack set his hands on Ianto's hips, pulling him flush against Jack's own body.

"Hey, you."

"Hello," Ianto replied, leaning his head back and looking over at Jack. "What's this about, then?"

Jack hummed, nestling his face in Ianto's hair. "Do I need a reason to want your body pressed against mine?"

"Oi!" the Doctor exclaimed. "None of that on my ship! Wait until you get to your own!"

"Guess we have to wait, then," Ianto sighed, leaning against Jack for a moment before stepping after the Doctor into the TARDIS. Jack whined softly as he followed him in.

"He's insatiable," the Doctor said wonderingly, looking at Jack and shaking his head in awe. "How do you manage him?"

"With great difficulty," Ianto replied dryly.

"I'm not that bad!"

"Of course you aren't, sir."

"Ooh, he called me sir," Jack said, shaking his head sadly. "I think I'm in trouble."

"You're not in trouble yet," Ianto replied primly. "Behave, Jack. At least as long as we're in the Doctor's TARDIS."

"Where's yours?" the Doctor asked, pushing a console screen over to Ianto. "Put in the coordinates."

"Your TARDIS is different from mine," Ianto remarked as he set the coordinates. With a shuddering feeling and a horrible grinding noise, the TARDIS took off. "And do you realize you have the parking brake on?"

"The parking brake?" Jack asked.

"I like it," the Doctor replied stubbornly. "Adds to the ambiance. My TARDIS has her quirks. Anyway, we're here. It really wasn't far at all."

"Sure we're still in the same year?" Jack asked dryly.

"Oi, no cheek from you!"

Ianto walked over to the doors and threw them open. The room they were in was in the basement of a warehouse, rarely used. In the corner was a large metal cabinet. Ianto grinned and made a beeline for it.

"That's your TARDIS?" Jack asked. "I was expecting something a bit more…" He gestured vaguely at the Doctor's TARDIS.

"Mine has a functional Chameleon Circuit," Ianto replied. "It disguises itself based on its surroundings. Here, the best disguise was a metal cabinet."

"What does it look like on the inside?" Jack asked eagerly.

Ianto's smile widened. He laid his hand on the door of the TARDIS and felt it wake up, sluggish pleasure creeping through its system as it realized that he was back.

"Let me show you."

Ianto's TARDIS looked just as he remembered it, sleek and silver. It looked far more like a stereotypical spaceship than the Doctor's did, and was also much neater. "It's a slightly more advanced model than the Doctor's," Ianto explained, trailing his hand along the railing. "She's happy I'm back."

"What's that?" Jack asked, pointing across the TARDIS.

Ianto followed his gaze to see the headpiece for the Chameleon Arch. "Ah." He set the watch back into place, and the contraption retracted back into the ceiling. "It's the other part of the Chameleon Arch. It must not have put itself away without the watch."

"This is a nice TARDIS," Jack said, looking around. "I mean, it's only the second one I've seen, but it's nice."

"It is a nice TARDIS," the Doctor agreed, standing in the doorway.

"It would be nice to explore a bit," Jack added with a lewd look on his face. Ianto wasn't fooled for a second.

"Well, I wouldn't want to- Oh." The Doctor made a disgusted face. "You meant explore each other, not the TARDIS."

Ianto choked on his own spit. "Well-"

"Yup," Jack agreed unabashedly. "You're welcome to join, Doctor."

The Doctor scowled. "I'll have to decline." He looked over at Ianto. "I've got to go right now, but I'll pop back over before too long, shall I? Us Time Lords have to stick together."

"I'll have you over for coffee," Ianto replied. "Thank you, Doctor."

The Doctor grinned widely. "I was happy to help. Gotta go!" He was gone, running back to his own TARDIS, almost before the words fully left his mouth.

Jack shook his head. "Crazy alien."

"To us, you're the crazy alien," Ianto countered.

Jack's grin was positively filthy. "Wanna have some crazy alien sex?"

"You need to work on your flirting skills," Ianto complained, but he took Jack's hand when he held it out.

Alarms began to blare the second Jack and Ianto crossed the threshold into the Hub the next morning. Before they could even move, an energy shield sprang to life around them, and a moment later they were staring into the barrels of three guns.

"Jack," Owen said sharply, "get away from Ianto."

"What?" Jack demanded. "What the hell do you three think you're doing?"

"He set off the alien sensor," Gwen said, her voice high. "It's not really Ianto. It's an alien pretending to be him. You need to get away, Jack."

"He's got two hearts," Tosh reported. "And his core temperature is only fifteen degrees Celsius. And his brain is bigger than a human brain… and he's got two livers… and there are some other organs here that I don't recognize at all!"

"Ah," Ianto said. "We should have seen this coming."

"Yeah, probably," Jack agreed.

"Jack, what the hell is going on here?" Gwen demanded, her voice even higher.

Jack looked over at Ianto, who shrugged. "We were always going to have to tell them sometime."

"Tell us what, Jack?" Owen demanded.

Jack offered the others a grin, slipping his arm around Ianto's waist. "Kids," he said, his grin widening when he saw Ianto roll his eyes next to him, "we've got something to tell you."