As you know, I was a bit bewildered as to the nature of the reason my cousin, the Doctor, called me to his home in London so quickly and so eagerly. I had questioned it to you when you helped me pack, remember? Well. My questions have finally been answered.
Do you know of the illustrious author, Alonso Frame? (Your answer is going to be yes—I have seen you now and again with your nose in one of his books.)
I have met her.
“Her?” you might be thinking. Yes, that’s right.
Alonso Frame, master novelist of science and fiction, is the pen name of one Martha Jones, a good friend and ex-travelling companion of the Doctor’s and all-around lovely woman.
Oh, Ianto, I wish I’d ignored the Doctor’s insistence of informality and dragged you along with me. You would love Martha. First of all, she is a Jones, and while not related to you, you do seem to approve of anyone with, and I do quote you here: “such an upstanding, fine surname.” Second, she is the author of books you enjoy, and isn’t it always nice to meet the people who create the things you like? Third, she is just overall spectacular. Fantastic and brilliant, the Doctor calls her. He isn’t wrong. She is exactly those things. I adore her already, and I’ve barely met her. And, finally, she’d probably love to meet you. She’s a lot like you, in many ways.
Damn the Doctor and his constant assurance that I will not need you along. He’s entirely wrong—I always need you. And then things like this tend to happen, and I wish for both selfish purposes and for your own sake that I’d brought you with. God, do I want you to meet Martha.
Anyway, it’s just me, Rose, the Doctor, and Martha, all packed into the Doctor’s tiny London home, having the time of our lives. There is a lot of drink, but I’m staying away from it as much as possible. The Doctor is keeping an eye on me when he can, for which I’m immensely grateful.
Also, I had just learned last night that the Doctor and Martha had seen a rhinoceros in real life. I’m confused by this. When did the Doctor travel anywhere where rhinos live? I can’t recall this. Must have been back when I was still in America. At any rate, I learned of this when Martha divulged her latest novel. She didn’t spare much detail, so I cannot give you them, but she did say it was based somewhat on the moon, that short trip, and a hospital. I’m eager to see what she comes up with. And I may have to pilfer a few of your novels to catch up on her other stories. Maybe, by the end of this trip, I can tell you which are based on real life experiences Martha has had. That would be a nice night. Just you, me, the moon on our skin, and a nice talk.
I seem to mention how much I miss you in all of my letters. The sentiment still stands. Ianto, I miss you.
Your excited Jack
I am… speechless.
Alonso Frame is someone called Martha Jones?
You got to meet her and I didn’t?
I am fine with the first one, after the initial moment of shock, but the second… Jack. Teasing me like that? Hardly fair of you.
Seriously, I would like to meet her, and I am jealous of you. Or, perhaps more accurately, furious at the irony of the situation. You, by your own admission, have not read her books. I have. And I should like to question her about them. Her eye for intricate detail and plot is something I’d like to ask her about. But you’re there, with her, and all you can do is just sit there, with not a single useful thing to ask her! Sir. This is unfair.
Your cousin doesn’t like formality. I cannot fault him for it, because it flows in the same vein that carries his rage against class, but I can be irked by it. Who wouldn’t want to be dressed in fine clothing? Who wouldn’t want to dine at a fine table?
Hm, I think I am just reminding myself right now that you and he branch from the same tree. Sir, sometimes you must let yourself wear a dinner suit even when you’d like to be wearing your riding jodhpurs. Honestly. If class should exist in the manner it does, perhaps the people who act that a certain class should inhabit it.
Back to the matter at hand—if this Martha Jones is as lovely as you describe her to be, then yes, I should think I would like to meet her. Even beyond questioning her about her wonderous stories. It’s hard to find you so easily charmed by a person. Entertained, yes. Intrigued, yes. But charmed? No. ‘Tis you who does the charming of others. Very few charm you. So, yes. I’d love to meet a person who has so easily won you over. She and I could plot your demise.
I suspect—gleaning, of course, from what you have told me—a great many of Lord Smith’s travels may have happened when you were still in America. You did stay there for quite some time. If you’d been any later to “hop back across the pond,” as I believe you once put, you may not have met me. I hate to think of what your life should come to, had you not. God, you’d be underdressed, underfed, under-cared-for (yes, I am making that a word). Let’s face it, you are only a human being because I present you to the world as such.
If you would come back to me, I would gladly lie in the moonlight with you. The blue lights always play such a spectacle across your skin. It suits you, that blue. You look softer than I’ve ever seen.
I don’t think I can enjoy you any more than I do in the moonli
Damn, that’s me poetic now. I should stop before I end up sounding like you.
Ianto Jones, Jr
You? Speechless? That is certainly something to behold. Wish I’d been there to see it.
Oh, wait, you’re really not speechless, are you, because you wrote this entire letter. Look at that.
Hey. I didn’t say I haven’t read any of her books, just that I need to catch up on them. And I’ll have you know I have plenty of useful things to ask her. They’re not about her books (most are about her travels with the Doctor or the Doctor himself, if I’m honest—don’t look like that, I’m always a bit curious as to what shenanigans my cousin gets into that he won’t let on!), but they are inspired questions. And the answers are always riveting and notable.
I see you have attacked me, not once, but twice about my level of formality. Ianto, are you trying to imply you should be the Earl in this relationship? We could try it, for a day. Though I’m not sure how well you’ll take to my level of expertise. You’ll demand to do all the work yourself, citing that my work simply isn’t good enough.
Also, dinner suits aren’t comfortable. And no, I wouldn’t wear my jodhpurs everywhere. If I had the choice, I’d be dressing much like the Doctor does. Well, not exactly like him. I’ll admit I have more of a distinct taste than he does. But you get my drift. I’d wear something that I’d like, and not a stiff, stuffy old tie and dress shirt.
I don’t think I much like the idea of you meeting Martha now. It seems it will only end in my own suffering.
And I’m glad that I arrived back here just in time to meet you, too. But I gather it’s evidently for much different reasons than yours…
Ianto, if I am soft beneath the moon’s pale glow, then I cannot even begin to describe how you look. You are radiant. I think that’s the most I can manage without waxing poetic. (Which, by the way… ouch. That stung.)
P.S. Still on the subject of moonlight, I think I’ll take you up on all this. We’ll discuss the turning of real life into phantasmagoria through prose, and I’ll hold you and you’ll hold me, and it will be… well. I think you can imagine how it will be.
If you were to see me right now, I would once again be rolling my eyes at you. And you may mock the body of my letter, but I’ll remind you, yours had not exactly been short, either.
You read memoirs, Jack. I am positive that, if you ever truly did stumble across one of her books and happened to pick it up, you certainly did not finish it. And you certainly did not reach for another. However, should you wish to rectify this, I will happily loan you one of mine from my small collection. I believe I have three, though I think Tommy or Andy may have a few between the two of them, as well. I definitely borrowed a book off of one of them.
Fine. Ask your questions about your cousin. Though I still believe them to be useless when you could instead be asking a great mind about other things.
If we switched positions… Well, let me just say that I think Hell itself would have to freeze over before that would happen. But, in the one in a million chance that it should, I would say that it may incite total chaos and destruction.
Your levels of expertise are not enough. You would fail each and ever task. Or, at least, you would botch them up so badly that I would have no choice but to take over from you. You would be—and I say this with fondness, Jack—the worst valet ever to live.
Dinner suits are very comfortable. If you wear them properly. Maybe if you’d stop fiddling with the ties enough that they fall loose and the sleeves so that they pull unnecessarily, you’d appreciate them more. And don’t pretend you haven’t worn your jodhpurs around the castle. I have seen you. While you may not enjoy them entirely, you enjoy changing your clothes even less.
Don’t be like that. You know I’m glad I met you for other reasons, too. But I am not wrong about my other statements, so I refuse to rescind them.
I’ll say nothing more on the matter of moonlight and skin, as we both know where that will lead.
Ianto Jones, Jr
P.S. I can imagine how it will be, and I eagerly await your return.
Dear Ianto Jones, Jr,
I am writing to you on behalf of my cousin, Lord Harkness. Or Lord Glamorgan. Or however the bloody hell I’m supposed to formally address him.
You know who I’m talking about, so why must I
Sorry. Rose has read that and told me I’m nattering on already. Let’s restart, shall we?
I’m writing to you because your boss, my cousin, has… I believe the euphemism is “fallen off the wagon?” He’s on the drink again, is what I mean. Or, not on, as it’s only been the night, hasn’t it? But he’s not off it. Oh, bother, there’s too many “ons” and “offs” in this paragraph…
Plain and simple, he got drunk. Too drunk. I took my eye off him for a moment, as I was drunk myself, and then… you get the picture.
He’s in his room right now, moping away (I’m sure you’ve witnessed this behaviour from him before. The self-isolation when he thinks he’s done some dreadful crime against existence. Rather rubbish behaviour, if you ask me, but you didn’t, so I digress). I’ll convince him to come out, later, but right now I’ll leave him to his melancholy (you also undoubtedly know how he can get, if not allowed his time to stew on the matter at hand).
He didn’t ask me to write, but I’ve managed to squeeze out of him in the past that you’re the person who watches over him usually. You keep him right. No, that’s not the phrase… what is that phrase… honest. You keep him honest. I think that’s the right one. If it isn’t, I’m sure you still get my point.
Anyway, I’m writing because I feel you should know. I don’t think this will happen again; I’m quite certain this is a once-off ordeal. But, I’d like you to keep an eye on him. I believe you were hired not too long after he decided to get his act together, so you know, at least minimally, how horrid he can get. And how horrid it can get for him. I think we’d both rather he not get like that again, yes?
Right. This is rather wordy.
Keep an eye out on him, please and thank you.
Doctor John Smith.
P.S. Please keep Jack alright. We love him too dearly! I’d hate to see him go through another dreadful spell again.
Love, Rose Smith
Ianto, I am so sorry. I am so, so unbelievably sorry.
I made a mistake.
One bourbon too many led to more bourbons too many. And I got drunk. Completely, totally drunk.
I’ve been told Mickey (the only witness lucid enough to remember the other night, when this drinking had occurred) that I didn’t do a single thing, which is good. But I still drank until I blacked out and woke up in bed with no memories of that night, a raging headache, and the strongest feeling of despair I have felt in a long, long time. So, while it could have been worse… no, there’s no bother with the “it could have been worse.” This was bad enough as it was.
The drinking has stopped. Not just for me, but for the entire party. I feel badly about it, as now they cannot enjoy their nights. No, not badly. I feel guilty about it. I feel ashamed about it. They have to stop their fun because I am a goddamn problem for myself.
I return to my apology because… Ianto. God, that’s all I want to say. Ianto, Ianto, Ianto. You make things better. You make me better. I wish you were here. You’d know what to do, how to fix this. Christ, Ianto, I’m so sorry I couldn’t be better on my own. Not even for you. I tried, but, evidently, I’m shit at it. I’m so sorry.
Your Jack, truly sorry
P.S. I should really reply to the rest of your letter, but… I don’t feel up to it. I’m sorry for that, too.
P.P.S. I think I don’t want to wait. I want to hold you and be held by you now, in bed, in the moonlight. I feel utterly miserable, and I think it is the only thing that will make me feel like a human being again.
Dear Lord Smith of Garioch,
I have no words to express my gratitude towards you and your wife. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you, both for keeping him safe and for telling me.
You are right in thinking that he entrusted his sobriety to me; it is my foremost unofficial duty as his valet. He’s meant to be keeping it himself, by his own wills, but he believed an instance like this would occur. And it has.
I can only suggest you send him home. If he’s in that melancholy mood you’ve described, then it may be likely he just needs some time alone at home to recover.
Again, thank you for all you have done.
Ianto Jones, Jr,
P.S. As his valet, I would much prefer he didn’t face another one of those, too, Lady Smith.
I know you’re apologising to me because you feel you have wronged me in some grave manner. I’m to remind you that you have not. Things like these happen, Jack. You’re not my father. You don’t wilfully throw yourself at any liquor you come across. You slipped up. It was a mistake. I will never blame you for a mistake like this. Never.
I’m glad nothing happened that night. I’d hate for something rotten to have occurred. As it hasn’t, I’ll count our blessings and move on. No need to dwell on that bit. No need to dwell at all, really, but I know you and I know I can’t convince you not to dwell on something at all.
It isn’t your fault that they quit drinking. They did it out of concern for you, not because they’re mad at you or because they pity you or because they think your weak, or whatever nonsense you have convinced yourself to be true.
Contrary to popular belief, I really cannot fix everything. I will try my best, though.
Don’t be sorry. You still haven’t wronged me. I promise.
Ianto Jones, Jr
P.S. There was nothing all too meaningful to reply to that letter, anyway.
P.P.S. So come home, then.
I’m coming home.