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Letters from Home

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Jack,

You told me to write you a letter. So, here I am. Writing you a letter. Bending to your outrageous demands, once again. God, I don’t know why I bother with you sometimes. Well, I know why, but…

Anyway, you did not say what I should be writing about, so I’ll just have my way with this, then, shall I?

Nothing much has changed since you left. Nothing ever does, really. We like our routine. Sometimes, it might be thrown off kilter to air out the carpets or to do a complete and total cleaning of your extensive library (for which, I act as stand-in librarian, to make sure everything stays neat, tidy, and in order). Owen is considering doing a full, deep scouring of some of your guest bedrooms. He has not given an order for it yet, but he has been poking his nose in them for the past week or so, according to Emma. She says he even gives them a sneer after she has completed her daily morning cleanings of the rooms, and since he’s not yelled at her for the state he evidently finds so appalling… one can only assume that the guest bedrooms will be the next grand project.

I’ll be spared any role in this, fortunately. What can a valet do to clean a room? Well, I’ll tell you what: quite a lot. I dare say I am better at cleaning than some of the maids. Though, I do not mind the false assumption, really, and I have no desire to correct it. I have other, better things to be doing than sweeping and dusting.

Like, for example, deciding which shoes of yours need to be tossed. Jack, you don’t wear half of these. And the ones you do wear are so over-worn and drab… I am throwing the lot of them, I have just decided. I will get you new ones, but this time, I’ll not make the mistake of buying pairs you won’t wear. Only the same make as those you already wear. That will be a lot of boots, sir. And a few pairs of decent shoes for when you’re not tromping about in the wet for a good place to stand dramatically. You need to cut that out, by the way. It’s not good for your back.

I think winter has finally fully fled. The trees out in the back gardens all have green sprouts, and the grass looks… not completely dead. Not completely alive, either, but certainly better than it had been before. And Miss Sato is complaining about the changes in the weather affecting her doughs. Not entirely sure what that’s about, but I believe her.

Also, Andy caught his foot in a door (don’t ask me how; I still don’t know), injured it, and is now resting it off. Owen is both livid about Andy breaking this enforced bedrest and about Andy being on bedrest in the first place. I don’t understand how that man can be so angry about such conflicting things.

I am running out of things to mention.

Have a good trip, sir. I shan’t say I miss you. What’s the point in that?

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones.


Dearest Ianto,

They aren’t outrageous demands, being as they are neither outrageous nor demands. I asked you if you would write me a letter, as we have established a pattern of doing so in the past. I did not think this was anything too burdensome. If I had, I would not have asked.

You are always free to write about whatever you want, Ianto. You never have to stick to any form or plan. I will happily read anything you send, even if it is just a page of random letters strung together to make nonsense words and a second page with merely a drawn—

Anyway. Write what you would like.

I always wondered what you all got up to when I was away. I mean, I know I’m not of much importance—most of you work on maintaining the household, rather than maintaining me. Which is good, I must add. You know I like being self-sufficient, for the most part. The place does deserve a bit of care, though.

Would it get me in any trouble to say I haven’t noticed that you do any deep cleanings? If it does, then I’ll just tack on right here that it means you all do such a swell job of keeping the castle maintained while I’m there. If it doesn’t, then I’ll still add that anyway, only without a pleading tone.

Perhaps by the time my letter reaches you, Owen will have made his decision. I do feel sorry that those rooms aren’t in much use. I shall have to invite people over soon to rectify this.

Ianto, I would not be surprised if you actually did show up and started dusting. Sometimes, you let your own pre-set views get in the way of what you and others should be doing.

My shoes? What’s wrong with my shoes? Don’t throw out my shoes! Not when I’m not there to say which ones I want to keep! I want my shoes, Ianto. I suppose it’s fine to replace the ones that I have worn to the point of exhaustion, but not the rest, please. There are some shoes that I do like, even if I don’t wear them often.

I’ll do what I want. Don’t mother me. My back is fine.

Merioneth is about the same as home, I’d say. Leaning towards green, yet not quite there yet. Certainly not quite warm yet. I wish it were. I detest the cold. When my mother fled with me from Scotland after… well, you know what after… Anyway, we went to a warmer, sunnier climate in America. I’d grown accustomed to that climate. And more often than not, I do find myself wishing that said climate could make its way to Wales.

I also haven’t a clue what weather does to Miss Sato’s doughs.

Oh, dear God. Andy… I hope he’s alright, and this maybe knocked a bit of sense into him. Though I suppose that would need to be a knock over the head, not an injury of the foot.

Why won’t you say you miss me? I miss you…

From,

Your confused Jack


Jack,

Alright, fine. They are not demands. But there are ways to phrase things far more nicely than you had done, Jack. “Write me a letter” sounds nothing but demanding. I’ll admit that it wasn’t outrageous, no, but you cannot deny that it wasn’t a demand.

Are you suggesting I should become more spontaneous? Because you hate spontaneity from me, I shall remind you. You constantly complain about it. And you always gripe about me landing us in literal bodies of water. So, I find it absolutely bizarre and completely far-fetched that you would like me to be spontaneous.

We really don’t do much, honestly. Just the few things. Sometimes, it can seem like it’s a big thing while it’s being done, but it never truly is. Minor cleanings, just a big castle.

I swear we have gone over your self-sufficiency before (and how ungodly you would present yourself to the world if that was truly the case). But I do admit, yes, most of your staff works towards the betterment of the castle rather than yourself. Actually, some of the staff just works for the staff, come to think of it… You would only need one cook, Miss Sato, if it weren’t for the fact that you had us to feed.

Christ, that makes it sound like you are our parent...

Moving on.

I suppose it does mean we do our job well enough, yes. When phrased correctly, that is quite a high compliment, and I am sure that the rest of the staff would be thrilled to hear that from you.

Owen has indeed made his decision, and now we are in a mad dash to clean the rooms. Why we are in a mad dash, I haven’t the faintest idea. But a mad dash we are in, and we shall evidently stay that way until we are finished.

“Pre-set views?” What the hell does that mean, Jack?

I have thrown out the shoes I know you don’t like. I do know you fairly well, Jack. I know which shoes you would rather me toss and which shoes you would rather me tuck away for another day.

Your back isn’t “fine,” and I know so, because I distinctly remember you moaning about it the day before you left. The carriage ride to Merioneth surely couldn’t have helped. It was cold, bumpy, and you were stuck on your arse—sound about right? Your back surely isn’t fine. And I know you’re at Lord Williams’s manor, which was just refurbished. The last time something like this happened, you came home and couldn’t sit up without great deals of pain for well over a week. Lord and Lady Williams must have hired people to move things for them. Let those people do the work, Jack. I hate to see you in such pain.

Neither have I, even though I just asked Miss Sato about it again.

Very funny, sir. I shall just tell Andy you wish him well again.

Well. Think about it. I wouldn’t write these letters if I didn’t miss you. It doesn’t need saying.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. I would like to know, just how awkward is it when you’re visiting the Baroness? If she’s one of your closest friends, and if every interaction you have with the Baron is like two stags butting antlers… how is this going for you?


Dearest Ianto,

I did not say “write me a letter.” I distinctly recall that my words were actually “you should write me a letter.” That is far less demanding than you make of it.

Written spontaneity, Ianto, is far different than trying to urge a horse into the bay on a whim. Please, for the love of God, stop doing that. You have done that twice now, on two separate occasions. Do not do so again, I beg of you. But, yes, written spontaneity is good, and ultimately rather harmless. Blather on about nothing to me, Ianto. I should desperately love to read it.

You said you don’t do much, and then you said you do a lot because it is a big castle. Which is it? I am a little confused, here. It is either big or it isn’t, but it cannot be both. That literally makes no sense.

I am self-sufficient. I truly do not need much. Just you. Only you. For multiple reasons, really. I could list them again, but that would just be repeating myself. And I’d rather just show you than write it to you. Showing is—and I believe you will agree—the far more pleasurable and overall better option, wouldn’t you agree?

God, I hope I don’t seem like the parent to any of the staff. I wouldn’t be a very good one, and we both know that. None of them look up to me like that, do they?

I shall be sure to relay that compliment to Owen. Not entirely sure he will take that well, or even remember to pass it on to the others, but I’m sure that, somewhere deep down in the cockles of his heart (deep, deep down), it would mean a lot to him.

Relax, Ianto. All I mean is that once you have an idea set in your head, nothing and no-one will stop you until you have completed whatever it is that idea is. It’s nothing bad. It just means that, if you happened to set your mind upon dusting things to a certain way, you will not rest until you have done that to near perfection. So, I would not be surprised to find out that you had rolled up your sleeves, grabbed a broom, and begun to sweep.

Alright. I trust you. You already know that, of course, because I have trusted you for so long already and will continue to trust you until my very last breath. But this time, I mean I trust you with my shoes.

But do please put extra thought and consideration into it, will you? Don’t throw out ones I really, really like…

No, I will admit that the ride was hell, and I couldn’t stand without shooting pains for at least a day. I would murder for one of your nice massages right about now. But I am moving nothing. All of the furniture was already moved back in, and even if it hadn’t been, Rhys would not have asked me for my help, anyway.

Hm. Weather and dough… I still have nothing. Maybe it’s just one of Miss Sato’s things.

Yes, it does. Say it anyway. My heart demands it, Ianto. Say you miss me.

From,

Your Jack, who misses you

P.S. It is very awkward at times. Bordering quite homoerotic, occasionally, when he gets up into my face to shout at me. Poor Gwen still can’t force us to get along, no matter how hard she tries.

P.P.S. Have you been to the Glaslyn river? Or I suppose you Welsh call it Afon Glaslyn… either way, Gwen and I took a nice picnic luncheon next to it one day. Rather gorgeous. I’d like to take you back with me one day, for our own little picnic luncheon. It would be marvellous. Like an entire little world, all to just you, me, and our sandwiches…


Jack,

No matter what you added before the “write me a letter” part, it still sounded demanding. I know how to use my words, Jack. I meant exactly what I said, and I said exactly what I meant.

First, I should like to suggest that it is, perhaps, your own fault? I would not have been near the water if you hadn’t taken me down there. Second, I didn’t expect the horse to plunge itself fully into the water. I just wanted to see if it would like to splash its… hooves, or whatever. Third, the second time was not my fault. I thought you were in trouble.

So… there.

Small deeds, big castle. Big job made from small jobs. So, I do suppose it is big overall. I don’t know. It just isn’t a big deal, I guess I meant. And I have said “big” far too often now, so I will stop.

Don’t turn that vulgar, Jack…

And that is vulgar. (Though, no, I am not opposed to the idea of being shown. Just stop writing about it, please.)

Nobody sees you as their parent. I only meant that saying that you have many mouths to feed just makes us seem like we are all under your care. And I suppose we are, in a way, as your employees. I do not like to think about it much, as it signifies a greater inequality provided by a broken system, but you do care about us outside of that. Far more than any other Lord, Lady, or what-have-you ever would. You are a compassionate, empathetic soul, Jack Harkness. Thank you for that.

If Owen had a heart, I’m sure that would just tickle him pink, wouldn’t it?

Pity he has no heart.

Fine, I’ll give it to you. I do like things done right. What’s wrong with that? Should we not all strive to make sure things are done properly, and to their fullest potential? And I’ll have you know I did no such dusting or sweeping. All I did was help adjust a heavy carpet. That’s it.

Your shoes are safe. Stop whining. I know what I’m doing. It is my job to have this sort of stuff down, sir.

I would give you that massage, if I was there with you. I do really hate seeing you in pain, and I hate it even more that I know you are in that pain and I cannot do a single thing about it. The only thing I can do is sit here and wish you better health, but that’s not much. God, I wish I could help.

I am rather glad you didn’t move any shelves or tables this time. Please note that for the future.

Nothing more can be gleaned from any of the kitchen staff. It really must just be something Miss Sato says.

Fine. I miss you. Happy?

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Perhaps you should stop provoking Lord Williams, and he would stop getting in your face. And then Lady Williams wouldn’t have to deal with either of you. Did you think about that?

P.P.S. No, I haven’t been. I’m sure it sounds lovely. And you, me, and our sandwiches do seem to be quite content in that little scenario of yours…


Dearest Ianto,

I feel this will be one thing we will have to agree to disagree on. You think I demanded, and I swear I did not. There is nothing further to argue upon.

You do realise that there are reasons I do not take you down to the bay any longer, right? That is one of them. Keep your horse away from water. You don’t even like water, Ianto, so I really do not understand why you… never mind. This is getting us nowhere. The point is, spontaneity via letter? Good. Spontaneity on top of a horse? Not good.

I won’t say anything about the word “big.” But I will be thinking about it, and it will certainly go into whatever it is I have to show you.

And don’t pretend you don’t like the vulgarity.

I’m very glad not to be the parent. I would be terribly bad at it—as far as I know, parents aren’t allowed to have favourites. And you would certainly be mine. You are.

No, thank you. Everything good in me came from you. Yes, vulgar, dirty, foul jokes aside. You made me good, Ianto. You made me want to be good for others.

Speaking of, stop picking on Owen.

There is nothing wrong with wanting things done right. This isn’t a criticism of you or your character. This is merely an observance. You want things done and you want them done the way you envisioned them. I’m glad you did help, though I am a bit sceptical about not dusting… I highly doubt you didn’t at least brush some dust off with your fingers.

Hey, didn’t I just say I trusted you with my shoes? How is that whining?

I am coming home in two days, and I am fairly certain that the same bumpy, cold ride will return home with me. If you’re still willing to give that massage, I will gladly take it.

No, I’m not happy. I want to be with you, and I have to wait two days. But I am glad you miss me, because I miss you.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. Who said I was doing the provoking?

P.P.S. It’s a date, then.

P.P.S. I have already said, I am coming home in two days. This letter will reach you before I do, and thus I’m warning you not to reply. I know you are smart enough to figure that out on your own, but I do want to make this absolutely clear. While Gwen is a kind, loving person, nobody deals with new, shocking information—information much like this—well on their own.