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Dearest Ianto,

Is that how you begin letters? I’ve never written you one before. I feel like you’ll undoubtedly cuff my ear for the “dearest” part, but it’s already there, on the page, and I can’t do much about it now. I suppose I could scratch it out. Or perhaps even restart this letter. Though I’m rather fond of it now, so I shan’t do either. Live with it.

I am writing to you because, well, I am bored. Utterly, completely bored. This trip to London was nothing more than wasteful. I don’t care what you say, I can do without another suit. I will be doing without another suit, anyway, because I have left the tailors without so much as a fitting. I know you said he was an esteemed tailor, but there was something shifty about the man. He refused to even think about making anything double-breasted! How could I trust him to make a suit for me when he has that attitude? You know how I prefer my suits double-breasted. I know you’re sneering at that, by the way. I can just tell. Don’t be like that. I know it isn’t very fashionable (or fashionable to you, for that matter), but I do like my suits that way. So, I will not be employing Master Lynch for the making of my suit.

Speaking of suits, how is your father? You seemed worried about his health before I left. I hope all is well with him. Yet again, I know you have that look on your face. He’s your father. You might not get along, but you should still wish him the best for his health. I’m certain he does the same for you. In his own way.

But, as I am now expected to come and be entertained by my cousin, I cannot return to you as early as I hoped. I should have brought you along. The Doctor shall certainly mock me for not having my trusty valet along. Of course, I can’t tell him how much more than a valet you are, now, can I?

That is the good thing about sending this letter to you, though. No one suspects a thing about it. It’s not uncommon for a earl such as myself to write a letter to his valet. I could be asking you to polish up my shoes, for all anyone could care. But you and I know differently. I’m writing to you because I’d like to bend you over and have my wicked ways with you. Or because I’d like you to bend me over and have your wicked ways with me. Either works for me. I’m a versatile man. And flexible. I’m also a flexible man. (Which is a hint, by the way.)

Though, perhaps people should suspect something. A earl and his valet? How more personal can one get with another man? You dress me every day. And also undress me every day, which I like much, much better, but that’s less a part of your valet role and more a part of your other role as my lover. (Is lover a good word for it? I like lover. It suits you. Lover.)

Alright, I know I said I was writing because I was bored, but now I’m not bored, because the Doctor has sent a man. Don't look like that—not that kind of man. Just one who hands me the Doctor's invitations. Though the man is rather attractive. I’m teasing. Don’t hit me over the head with my own shoes again.

Anyway, with that, I must say good-bye.

Good-bye.

There. I’ve said it.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. Is that how you end letters, too? I don’t know. I’m keeping it, in any case.


Jack,

I refuse to write the word “dearest” to greet you, sir. That is absolutely soppy. I am not a sop. Anyone would sooner accuse me of being that strange, leathery, fanged beast you swear you saw (and I still say to you—you were drunk, and it was your own shadow) than of being a sop. Therefore, your letter will begin with “Jack” and only “Jack” because while I am foolish enough to hold any fond feelings for you, I am not foolish enough to act like I do.

As it seems not to have sunk into your thick skull yet again, I will have to tell you once more: double-breasted suits are not in fashion. Double-breasted anything should have been thrown out with the change of the century. I do not care how comfortable you swear they are; they are monstrous and hideous and you look ridiculous. Just listen to a master tailor’s son for once? Please? Though no matter if you listen to me or not, it seems I shall have to write an apology to dear Master Lynch (under the guise of it being under your nose, of course, as we cannot have anyone thinking that I would be so bold to disregard and rebuke you, nor that you would be so foolish enough to let me). He is a good friend of my father’s, and while my relationship with my father is strained, my relationship with those who have been nothing but kind to me in my youth does not have to be the same.

My father is just fine, by the way. Don’t trouble yourself about him. He’s just a drunkard and a slob.

I am pleased you are getting to see your cousin, the Lord Smith. You are always at the most ease when you come back from a week with him (except, obviously, when you are at ease after a good… bollocks. I’m not writing that on paper.) I hope he is well. Is he still seeing that Miss Rose Tyler of his? I don’t mean to pry, but… well, I suppose I do mean to. I rather like that woman. She treated me as an equal the last time I met her, which is far more than any of your other friends do. Of course, I cannot be truly angry about that. This is the life I chose. I must accept the place I was given in life. Though, much like Lord Smith may think, I wish that place was currently by your side. He always hands you off to that Ross fellow when I’m not with you, and Ross never does your ties right. They’re always just a tad lopsided; always heavier on the right side.

And, yes, alright, I do wish my place was at your side for the very thing you yourself have mentioned. Yes, you are flexible. I know that already. Or have you forgotten that I know that? Perhaps I shall have to remind you when you get back. Sir.

As for my role as your valet… I, too, prefer undressing you.

I’m glad that writing a letter to me has alleviated your boredom, Jack, but really. Teasing me with another man? Shame on you. I’ll have you know I could probably also get women and men any time I want, but I don’t, because you whine. Like a little girl whose mummy didn’t let her go to the fair. So, think of that next time you tease me.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Again, I am not a sop, and therefore refuse to write “yours.” Plus, I am technically under your employment, and therefore am already yours without being yours, so saying it has little meaning.


Dearest Ianto,

Are you calling Shakespeare a sop? I’m fairly certain he has used the word “dearest.” And if Shakespeare is a sop, then all men should be, because he is one of the great men of history.

I want a double-breasted suit. I will get a double-breasted suit. I have made arrangements for a double-breasted suit to be made for me. No, you cannot change my mind. It is happening. (And should you truly write that letter to Master Lynch, then don’t be too unkind to me.)

Be good to your father, Ianto. Some of us would willingly take a drunkard and a slob for a father than the alternative.

The Doctor is delighted that you thought of him. He did titter awhile at me for having “forgotten you behind” (as he was certain that was what happened; I could not convince him that it was a choice that I made, and not an error on my part), but when I told him you had been asking about his happiness, he was touched, and left me well alone afterwards. He is still seeing his Miss Rose Tyler, and he thanks you for asking. I think an engagement might be coming sometime soon, but only time shall tell.

About your concerns about my tie—is it really my tie you’re concerned about? As far as I can see, they’re not too far off your own ties. Ross is doing just fine with me. I am doing just fine with Ross. Stop fussing.

And as for your place in this world… Oh, Ianto. You are worth no less than any other man in this world. In fact, I think you should be more concerned about their places in the world, because they are the lesser men. Truly, you are one of a kind, a treasure amongst men, a ruby surrounded by granite, an orchid in a field of wheat. Alright, that last one got away from me a little, but you get my point. Ianto, you are wonderful. Please, never doubt that.

Now I’m getting mixed messages. Either you’re about to help me remember how good fucking is, or you’re going to run off and shag someone else. Which is it? If it’s the former, well. I shall certainly look forward to it. If it’s the latter, then I fully expect an invitation.

And I should hope you know by now that I’d never do anything with anyone else, not when I have you. Even if I did, then you should know that it would mean nothing in comparison to what I feel with and for you. Again, you are wonderful. In so, so many ways.

Also, I may never have mentioned it to you before, but did you know that you have the most delightful arse? You do, you know. It’s very… ample. It looks splendid in your trousers. And even better out.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. I don’t own you, Ianto. You’re not a thing. You are your own person, and no one and nothing can take that from you. Unless, of course, you were mine, much in the way I was yours. Because I am yours, you know. Very, very much yours.


Jack,

You know I’ve never read Shakespeare.

And I’m sorry to have brought up unwelcome feelings about your own father (truly, I am very sorry), but this is my father. Or, rather, the man who is supposed to be my father. He didn’t do much fathering to warrant the title in the first place, and he certainly hasn’t done anything to work toward it since. A drunkard and a slob are all he will ever be. Well, that, and a leech. He takes up half of my wages, I’ll have you know, and a good portion of Rhiannon’s, too.

You know damn well I’d never be too unkind to you. Even to take that massive ego of yours down a few notches. Though I am very, very cross that you went and got yourself a double-breasted suit against quite literally everyone’s wishes. Very cross.

Tell the Lord Smith that I am happy he is happy. He deserves it. And if marriage to Miss Rose Tyler is what God has in store for him, then that is fantastic. He is a good man and she is a good woman. I hope they will continue to be happy with each other. (And I’d like an invite to their wedding, if you can get one. I’ll sit in the back, but I want that invitation.)

While I am indeed flattered you think so very highly of me, I must remind you that, no matter what you believe, there is still a way which things go in this world. Those such as yourself are more important, and those such as myself are far less so. We mean very little, despite being the backbone of the society in which your kind lives. I shall say no more, or else I will get far too upset to continue with this letter.

I’d also like you to understand that there was a reason you never became a poet, sir. Wheat and orchids? Do they even belong in the same soil? I’m beginning to wonder if you even read Shakespeare.

I’m not planning on bedding myself with anyone but you. Your sentiments towards monogamy are returned. No, that is a lie; I know you’re not one for monogamy. Or is it marriage you were truly against? I could never tell. My point is that, much like you, I do not plan on having other affairs. I don’t think I could handle it, to be honest. Do you know how much work you are? I wouldn’t be able to put up with you and another lover. (That was a jest, if you couldn’t tell. Though if you’re not able to tell when I’m jesting by now, it is entirely your own fault.)

Sir. I know how good my arse is. I also know what “arse” sounds like on your American-sounding tongue. Nobody believes you’re a Scotsman anymore. Stop trying to prove you are. Just say the American “ass.”

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. I know you don’t own me. All I’m saying is, it’s a little distasteful. Perhaps not strong distaste, really, but enough. Though, if it weren’t distasteful at all… I think I would be. Yours, I mean. I’d be yours.

P.P.S. When are you coming home, sir? It’s been a while, and nobody knows when you’ll return. Miss Sato and the kitchen staff are getting tired of setting out food for you on the off chance you’ll return to eat it.


Dearest Ianto,

I didn’t mean it like that. But don’t worry. I shall get a book of his finest sonnets and I shall woo you with them, because I, unlike you and Shakespeare both, am a sop.

I do accept your apology, and not just because we have both overstepped. I know you never mean ill when you talk like this about your father, but it does make me a tad angry with you. Nevertheless, I understand you do have your own issues with your father, and I will stop trying to get into your business.

Regarding your wages, I know half of them end in your father’s pocket. I’ve been trying to increase them sneakily, but I don’t want to do it so quickly that it will alert anyone else in the household. While it is true that you are my favourite, it is dangerous for us to play that game, you and me. As for Rhiannon, I can’t do much for her. I can’t very well go and pay her myself, as that would still be far too close to playing the favourites game. Though I suppose you’d get cross with me anyways for trying to pay her out of my own pocket—you always get cross when money comes up between us. I suspect you’re already angry about me sneakily increasing your own wages. But, no matter. I’m doing it anyway. You will just have to live with it. You can pay me back by buying me flowers and pretending they’re from a mistress, or something.

The Doctor thanks you yet again, as does Miss Rose Tyler. And I do have to agree that they make a handsome couple. They do seem to keep each other very happy.

I know you are frustrated about the ideas of class. We can talk about it sometime. I enjoy listening to you be passionate about something, even when said something is as grave as this one. And you know I hold no grudges for you for hating my class, as you bear no judgement against me for being in the class that I’m in. Though I do believe this is the “distaste” you are trying to convey in your postscript, yes? Then, without classes, you would be glad to be mine, is that it? I believe I can live with that. On second thought, yes, I can live very happily with that.

As for your comment on my poetry, I must confess I have the poetic sense of a concussed gull. You’ll have to pardon me for it, as it is one of my few flaws. Speaking of, I resent that comment about my ego. And that comment about handling me—I believe myself to be very fun to “handle,” thank you very much. But most of all, I resent the idea that I wouldn’t be able to read your jest. I know you well enough by now.

On monogamy and marriage… that is to complex for me to express with pen and paper. After you go on your diatribe against class, I shall go on mine against the institution of marriage that the Church of England has in mind. But do not doubt for a second that, just because I am not overly fond of marriage or monogamy, I am not fully and wholly loyal and faithful to you. I am yours, Ianto. I do not know how else to describe it to you than that.

And I am Scottish. Don’t blame me for my mother’s excursions in America. I came back to Britain as soon as I could. Granted, I came to my estate in Wales, not Scotland, but I think we both find Wales to be the better choice. After all, it led me to you, so how could that be a bad thing?

In response to your post-postscript, I’m returning soon. I believe my letter will reach you only shortly before I come back, and therefore do not try to send me one in return. I won’t be at the other end to accept it, and so it would end in the wrong hands. Then again, those hands would be my dear Doctor's, and he knows how to keep a secret, so it shouldn’t end too poorly. You can never know that for certain, though, so best not write at all.

That also means that, by the time you get this, you will not need to tell Miss Sato or the kitchen staff to stop cooking, because I will be home soon. You can tell them that I am deeply sorry for making them work so hard, instead.

From

Your Jack (fully and wholly)

Chapter Text

Your presence is requested

at the marriage of

Lord John Smith

and

Miss Rose Tyler

Saturday morning on of June the twentieth

at the hour of noon

 at St Andrew's Parish Church, Inverurie

Reception to follow


Jack,

I am still cross that you did not get me that invitation. I understand why I did not get an invitation (class again!), and I am also cross about that (though not at you), but I am still cross because you are going, and I am not. I’m your valet, Jack! How the hell are you going to button yourself up without my help? Ross? I think not. He will be far too busy helping preparations. So, I am very, very cross with you. I hope you break your wrist buttoning up your shirt, sir. 

Since I will not be going with you, I am sending this letter along with your trousers so that you can keep this with you at all times to remind yourself how cross I am.

Sincerely, 

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Do not actually break your wrist. Please. Do not.


Dearest Ianto,

Two things.

First of all, rest assured, for I will not be breaking my wrist.

Second, there is a reason you are not going along. You will be even more cross at me after I tell you why, so I do need you to know it was for a reason. A big, important reason called “Ianto Jones’s life.”

You did, in fact, receive an invitation, as per your request. I burned it. I plan on telling my dear cousin, the Doctor, that you are too ill to be travelling at the moment, to spare your public face. He will, undoubtedly, send you a letter to wish you well again, because that is how he is, and I expect you to tell him you are sorry you missed the wedding due to a flu, as that is what I shall tell him you have.

I can feel your rage even as I write this. I don’t want to make you angry, Ianto, but I do want to keep you safe. There are people that will be here that I do not trust. Not only do I want to save you from meeting these people in the first place, but I want to save you from what they could bring down on you should they find out… certain things. If you were to have come along with, you would have had to have spent your time hiding in the shadows. I know you can act completely professional. I’ve seen you do it. The thing is… Ianto, I cannot trust myself around you. I do not want to risk you because I cannot withhold my affections for you. Had there been any other way—had there not been those people there—I would have let you come, and we would have had a wonderful time. But I am not losing you because I made a mistake. I am too fond of you for that.

I have said my part. You may be angry with me now. But I hope you can find it within yourself to forgive me.

From,

Your repentant Jack


Jack,

I have been finding it hard to write what I want. I understand you did what you believed was right. I cannot fault you for that. But I do not believe it was necessary to leave me behind. I have always been adept at fending off your advances when it is prudent to do so, and I would have been perfectly capable of doing so while staying at your cousin the Lord Smith's, especially in front of a crowd of complete strangers. I do not believe that any of those people could be so malevolent or conniving that they could find us to be lovers when we would be remaining abstinent. I know you’re undoubtedly thinking (as you usually do in these situations) “but you don’t know them like I do!” in which case, you are right, and I defer to your judgement. But there comes a point when you are just paranoid, sir, and I believe that may be the case this time.

However, as what is done is done, I am at home and relaxing. In your bed, of course. The rest of the staff have finally stopped complaining about it. The rest of the staff that knows, anyways. You pick the worst butlers, sir, let me assure you. Owen (I refuse to call him Mr Harper when he isn't around) is a twat. And you cannot quote me on that, because I may get fired, and then you will never see me again.

I have enclosed my response to the Lord Smith. But be sure to thank him for me by word of mouth, too. He is outstandingly kind, your cousin.

As I write these words, I think I am finding myself less and less cross. More than anything, I think I am just missing you. (Do not take that to the heights I know you will. I still am not a sop.)

Come home soon, please. Your bed is lonely without you.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dear Lord Smith of Garioch,

This is a rather informal note, for which I apologise dearly. I am currently ailing of a flu and cannot think straight.

Despite your kind and gracious invitation, I am unable to attend the wedding of yourself and the lovely Miss Rose Tyler, as due to the aforementioned illness. I am horribly saddened by this, and therefore must convey my regards to you and your betrothed through note and through your cousin and my employer, the Earl of Glamorgan. He is generous enough to pass along my best wishes and my sorrow in my stead.

I truly wish I was there to congratulate you myself. I am certain your wedding shall be one of the finest. Your bride certainly is.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

If my bed is lonely due to my absence, you can only imagine how mine feels. It is unfamiliar, unwelcoming, and uncomfortable, and it does not have you in it. I cannot sleep. I miss you.

I am afraid I looked something akin to the undead when I attended the wedding; I had so little sleep that I think I had dark rings around my eyes and my skin must have been pale. I do not want to imagine what I looked like in that picture I took with the Doctor. Perhaps, the next time I take you to visit, he will have it out, and then I can show you how I look when you are not around. Miserable, deathly, exhausted, dismal, dreary, etc. My point is, the wedding was horrible without your presence in the back, where you were supposed to be. Maybe I do regret not bringing you along, just a little. Though not that much. You are safe at home, and that’s what matters.

The Doctor did get your letter. His wife (the newly minted Lady Rose Smith) thinks you’re sweet. I wanted to tell her just how sweet you are, but that’s only for me to know.

I don’t know what else to write. You see, I still am a sop, and therefore I am consumed by missing you, and it’s cumbering my ability to think.

I am supposed to wait until they have returned from their honeymoon, and then I am to spend another week with the newlyweds, and then I will be home. It feels like forever.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. Ignore the spots on the paper. It was water. I’m not saying where from.


Dear Ianto Jones, Jr,

You are outrageously sincere and (as my wife says—for she is my wife now) sweet, you are. My cousin has done well in hiring you. Pity you won’t be joining us, for it would have been nice to spend some time in your company. I don’t mind spending time with staff, you know. This whole nonsense on classes, it’s just ridiculous. Why should I spend time sitting with stuffy old men who know naught, when I could be sitting with those who know a thing or two about the world? And on that matter, I thought I told you to call me the Doctor! Only those stuffy old men think it fit for my title to be “The Right Honourable” this and “The Viscount Smith of Garioch” that, and I have already said my piece on the matter of stuffy old men.

Sorry. I do have the tendency to ramble, as my Rose often says. I’m meant to thank you, and tell you to get well. So, that is what I am doing. Thank you, and get well, Mr Jones.

Best,

Doctor John Smith

P.S. Mr Jones, you poor, dear man! Thank you for your kind wishes! Get well soon!

Love, Rose Tyl Smith, sorry. It’s still a little new!

Rose Smith


Jack,

Sir, you astound me. Sometimes, I think you to be a callous person; other times, I think you to be an average person. But never in all my life did I think you to be the sort of person to sit and weep over a letter to your valet.

You are pathetic.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

Is that really all you got from my last letter?

From,

Your Jack


Jack,

Yes.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

You know, you end your letters incredibly formally for one who begins them so informally.

I think the wedding is what turned me into this sappy, morose man. It will either end when everything stops being about weddings or when I get to see you again.

I’m coming home soon, though it still feels forever away. I promise not to cry over this letter, as you are clearly object to such signs of my affection. But my bed is still miserably lonely, and I have never gone this long with this little sleep. I know I used to say I didn’t really sleep, but that changed with you. You’re comforting.

One and a half more weeks, Ianto, and then neither bed will be lonely. It will just be one happily occupied bed.

From,

Your Jack


Jack,

I begin like this because I want to. I end the way I do just in case my father ever has the audacity to contact you. There are two Ianto Joneses. I do not want you to confuse us. That will end rather badly.

And I never said I objected to your signs of affection, just that they made you pathetic. So. You know. Be a little more pathetic.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

If your father ever contacts me, I will certainly be able to tell that he is not you, simply because of the following:

He will not begin the letter so informally, because he does not know me like you.

He will most likely ramble on and on about useless things, as he (and not you) is wont to do.

He will probably be asking for money, which means that it is certainly not you.

He does not have legible handwriting, and therefore I will not be able to tell who it’s from in the first place. And you have very neat handwriting.

So, rest assured, I will be able to tell if Ianto Jones Senior ever writes to me. Though I am not certain he could write to me, anyway. I believe drink has addled his brain to the point where he no longer knows anything but drink. Though that is not my place to say (and even though this is also not my place to say, you should still try to care about him, just a little).

If you want me to be even more verbosely pathetic, you could just say. I’d willingly do that for you. You know how loquacious I can be; why would I not take every opportunity to be even more so? Especially when what I am talking about is you. You are a wonderful muse, Ianto Jones. Ianto Jones, Jr. (I just know you’d smack me for not adding that, when we were just talking about your father.)

I miss you. Terribly. But I’ll be home soon. I think I will actually be getting home the day after this letter arrives. Place it on the bed beside you and pretend it’s me, and then you’ll only have one more restless sleep until I’m there, in its place, holding you and never letting you go.

And then doing some things to you that I’ve been desperately wanting to do ever since I left you.

But not before I’ve kissed you and held you and gotten a good night of rest with you.

From,

Your pathetic Jack

P.S. Your father wouldn’t contact me, anyway, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know where you work. 

Chapter Text

Jack,

I know you’re headed off to Scotland with your cousin, the Lord Smith, to open up the old Torchwood House for him, and I know the reason you’ve left me behind this time is because there will be nowhere to stick me, and no occasion that you’ll need me. I do not understand why the you plan to set up the place by yourselves in such drab attire, but that is none of my business. I am simply sending this letter along with so that you at least have some company from me. I’m not sure if you get post up there yet. Hopefully you will. I’d like a reply. Not that I’m being needy—you’ll be busy setting up the House. I don’t expect one if you haven’t the time to write one, or if you have no way to send the letter to me.

I know going back to the Torchwood House is not your ideal way to spend a month. I’d rather not ever step foot in London again, if I had the choice (don’t take that as a suggestion—if you need me in London, I will go. Do not leave me behind simply because you are worried about me. I can handle myself. You, on the other hand, are a spoiled brat and I need to go with you, so shut up and take me anyway, sir). I don’t know if you are legally allowed to gift the House away to the Lord Smith like that—I know he was your mother’s nephew, but does that give him rights to the place, when you are still alive to inherit? Don’t answer that. I will be fraught with dread that someone might want to strangle you in your sleep for your damn estate. Whatever the case may be, I know it must be hard to gift the place to someone you spend so much time with. It would mean going back and visiting a lot. Maybe I will be there to help you those next times, but for now… Jack, I hope you will be okay. If you aren’t, please just come home. I’d rather you be miserable about not being with your cousin back here, in my arms, than absolutely dead inside over there, where there is nothing to bring you back to reality.

You know I’m hopeless with words. I mock you for your inability to create poetry, but the truth is, you could make the most wonderful sonnets in comparison to what I could do. My words never say what I want them to. I can’t express what I need, when it comes to the important things. Sure, I can rant and rave about the fit of your cuffs or the polish of your shoes, but I’ll never be able to express things like affection in the way you do.

So, I’ll leave you with this. I care about you, and I hope that you understand my thoughts are always with you, but especially now, as you return to Scotland.

I hope it isn’t too harrowing. I hope you find some peace. Most of all, I hope you are happy.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr 

P.S. I had Miss Sato pack you some of your favourite biscuits in one of your suitcases. Be gentle with them. I don’t want to have to clean crumbs out of your shirts for the next four months.

P.P.S. And give the Lord and Lady Smith my best wishes. 


Dearest Ianto,

You are incredible.

I know you always say you don’t have the words you want or need, but in the end, they always seem to be right there for you, anyway.

I think you already grasp that there is a way to send post up here. First of all, I would not care if you were being needy. You have the right to be. Stop making that face. You do have that right. And why wouldn’t I write you a letter? You know I like talking. You know I like talking to you even more. And if I want to take time out of my day to write to you, who the hell is going to stop me? You? No. I’m writing to you, and you have no say in the matter. Even if you don’t write back, I will be writing more.

On another note, Torchwood House, technically mine by right of birth, and I sold it to the Doctor. The Viscount of Garioch should have a place in Garioch, no? It would have been his by right, anyway, had his mother been born just a minute earlier than mine. Funny, how those things happen… Besides, I do not want to hold onto that place a minute longer than I had to. There was a reason I came to my father’s estate, and not my grandfathers. The title was part of it, but I could not stand living in the place my brother and father died. You used the word “harrowing” in your letter, I believe. Well, that word suits the place. The good news is that I’m finding it to be less so with the Doctor as its head. I could stand coming here every so often for a few weeks, if I know that I will be with him (and his wife, who absolutely enchants me. Don’t worry—I think she enchants everyone. Even you, I suspect). I also suspect that if you had a good reason to return to London, you would hate it less, much like me with Torchwood House. But I’m not willing to test it, not with you. I couldn’t bear to see you unhappy, Ianto; it would crush my soul. To repeat myself—you have the right to need things, and I will respect that. I won’t take you to London. Unlike what you believe, I am capable of handling myself. So, I will ignore what you wrote on it entirely (save for that it makes you sad, though I knew that already).

About your hopes that I am happy, I cannot say that I am, for your offering of your arms at home makes me desperately lonely.

On a more serious note… I will never find peace here. I can find understanding, clarity, and emptiness. Happiness, perhaps, when the Doctor takes away—oh, what I want to say is its harrowing-ness, to mirror what I said before, but I don’t think that’s a word. But never peace. And I do miss you. I always do, when I’m not with you.

I hope you miss me, too.

The Doctor appreciates your wishes. Rose herself isn’t here to accept them herself. I don’t think the Doctor wanted her throwing her back out when we move furniture around.

From,

Your Jack, unhappily alone

P.S. You shouldn’t be worried. Nobody’s coming to strangle me in my sleep. I’m too widely beloved for that.


Dear Miss Sato,

My brilliant, beautiful cook. You know how I love your divine, heavenly, wonderful biscuits.

You also know how I tend to overeat them and get fat.

Did Mr Jones set you up to this?

If so, give him a nice whack with your ladle for me. He knows he’s not allowed to cheer me up by fattening me.

On an unrelated note, Mr Jones has been looking a little on the scrawny side. Those curves shouldn’t dwindle like that. Love handles are meant to be held, Toshiko, and I haven’t been holding much these past few weeks.

From,

Jack

P.S. Don’t tell him I told you about his love handles. For whatever reason, he’s embarrassed about them. I haven’t the faintest idea why. They’re one of the best bits about him. (Okay, a lie—every bit about him is the best bit).

P.P.S. Don’t tell him I was talking to you about him, either. That one, I can understand being embarrassed about, because… well… we’re not supposed to talk about this with anyone. But you understand. He should know that by now. So maybe I don’t actually understand why he’s embarrassed. He’s an odd one, our Ianto.

P.P.P.S. Don’t let Mister Harper be too much of a snob.


Jack,

Sir, I will tell you right now that you should not disregard what I said about London. Maybe I should never have said a thing about it, but I was trying to empathise with you. I was not trying to get myself out of my responsibilities. I really don’t have a right to be needy. I have a duty to you, both as your valet and as your… well, lover, as I believe you have once put it. I will not shirk those duties just because I feel… sad. That is unprofessional and unhelpful. And unkind. Therefore, I will be going to London with you whenever you go again, because I should.

Why wouldn’t I write back? I was the one to write you in the first place.

I’m sorry that you won’t find your peace at Torchwood House. I can only pray that, one day, you will. Until then, I am also sorry that you are unhappy, and I wish I was there to make that unhappiness go away.

But, Jack, what are you doing moving furniture by yourself? What applies to the Lady Smith also applies to you. In fact, I think it applies to you even more so. Since you seem to be forgetting it yourself, I’ll remind you that your back is not fit for that sort of work. It would be rather a shame if you were to injure yourself further. Please be careful. That goes for being strangled, too—I know you think you’re beloved by all, but I’ve met a few people who would disagree. So, be careful. I’m not there to protect you from being strangled currently.

And, despite what you think, I really am not good with words. In fact, I am finding myself to be lacking things to say. This letter is rather uninspired, I’m afraid. I do hope you’ll forgive me for that.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Why is Miss Sato feeding me extra portions? The sudden special treatment has me, and the other staff, rather suspicious.


Lord Jack,

Fat never harmed anyone, not even on you. I’m sure that, if they are good on a certain someone, then they are also good on you, too.

Speaking of said certain someone… your Mr Jones is a suspicious man. I can’t even feed him a spoon more of soup or a half slice more of bread without him suddenly turning on his guard and hunting me down with watchful eyes with each move I take. Mr Harper, being Mr Harper, also tried to jump down my throat when he noticed he was not being treated thusly (which goes to show how well I can keep him from being “too much of a snob”), which seemed to make Mr Jones even more suspicious.

So, I believe I am failing in the duties you have prescribed to me. I shall work harder at it, but by God, Jack, nobody can convince that man of yours that he should get (or deserves) more than he has already been given. I didn’t know selflessness could grow to the extent of becoming nearly a bad trait!

Best,

Miss Toshiko Sato

P.S. I won’t.

P.P.S You don’t really think you’re the only one who confides in me, do you?

P.P.P.S. Mr Harper is going to be Mr Harper no matter what I do.


Dearest Ianto,

If you think for a single moment that I will force you into a place that you feel so unpleasantly about, then you are more wrong than you have ever been in your entire life. I know what it feels like to be in a place where someone you loved left you for good (what have we been discussing, if not that?) and if I could spare you that pain in any way, I would. I will. I do not want to cause you sorrow or pain, Ianto. That would make me so unhappy that I would never be able to live with myself again.

Don't ask me why you wouldn’t write back. You were the one who thought I wouldn’t in the first place.

My back is fine. Stop worrying.

Though I am rather interested in returning home to your protective embrace. To have your arms around me, shielding me all through the night from wayward men who seek to strangulate me—Ianto, that sounds like heaven.

The Doctor is releasing me early. We have come across some wardrobes that we cannot ourselves move, and he is calling in some help. Official, hired help. I’m certain there are people who know how to better move a table than any of our acquaintances. We have already scuffed the floor once, and I don’t think the Doctor wants to do that again. So, I shall be home soon, and then you can hold me and protect me. Or just hold me. Your arms are everything to me.

That also means you don’t have to think of words to write back. It is okay if you have none to say now, because you accumulate some over the next few days, and then say them to me when I return. I don’t expect another Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I would like to hear you say that you missed me. (I would also like to have you show me you missed me, too.)

From,

Your Jack, glad to be returning to you

P.S. I’m not sure. Perhaps she believes you are looking a little on the thin side. I wouldn’t begrudge her for wanting to make you full.


Dear Miss Sato,

Toshiko. I have made a grave mistake. I am afraid of turning to my left or to my right, and of bending up or down. I am returning home soon, so could you save a little ice from the next delivery for me? My back aches something dreadful, and the coolness should help.

Don’t tell that to Mr Jones, please. He will absolutely strangle me if he knew of that. I’m trying to avoid strangulation right now.

As for his suspicions… I don’t know what to tell you. He doesn’t like being looked after. It’s something we shall both have to work on with him.

And what do you mean? Who else confides in

What does he tell you?

Please say that it’s good things. I’d hate to think that I’m not making him happy.

Anyway. Start up the fires, please, because I’m coming home. And I’m in a lot of pain. It would be nice to eat the warm comforts of your labour again. (Some sort of hearty pie would be nice, please?)

From,

Jack

P.S. Do not tell him, or I’ll… I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’ll be very unhappy with you.

Chapter Text

Dearest Ianto,

Now I understand what it’s like to be the one left behind. I watched you through the windows, just so you know, and it felt like a bit of my heart walked away with you. It has left me feeling very empty and cold inside.

I assume you are travelling to Newport, yes? Only, when I asked where you were headed, you had spouted “a spot of family trouble” as your excuse. You wouldn’t give me much more than that, but I assume that it is your sister, Mrs Davies, that you are intending to visit. If not, then I hope your sister is kind enough to burn this letter (or redirect it, if at all possible) without reading it. This would become a very awkward situation otherwise.

(And thus, I must add: Mr or Mrs John Davies, if it is one of you that is reading this letter, I kindly ask that you stop now. I shall warn you I am a man of high power, and tampering with my mail is one way to get on my bad side. You do not want to be on my bad side.)

I shall proceed with this letter, in the hopes that it reaches its intended recipient, Ianto Jones (Jr, I know you hate it when I don’t add the Jr).

I don’t normally let my staff take time off without giving a proper excuse or a proper early warning, so I hope that lets you know that you mean more to me than the rest of my staff. Of course, this letter-writing business in itself might have told you that. Or, perhaps, all the fucking we have been doing. (I do really hope the Davies don’t have their hands on this…) Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are truly more than a valet to me, if I haven’t made that clear enough to you already.

Also, I’m slightly angry with you, because you left me whilst I was starting to get a cold. Who the hell am I supposed to cuddle up with now? I feel extra awful now. No Ianto and no health. Maybe my body just knows you aren’t here and is throwing a fit. Please come back; it might right itself if you came home to me. And if not, I will at least have someone to hold me and keep me warm as I shiver away.

Sorry. I sneezed on the paper. Like I said, I have a cold.

I have to stop writing because I’m going to sneeze more all over the paper.

From,

Your cold, miserable Jack


Ianto, you fuckwad,

Why the hell didn’t you clear this with me before you left? I had to send Tommy up to deal with Harkness and I can’t spare Tommy for this shit. You should be the one doing your bloody job, not Tommy, you bastard.

Regards,

Mister Owen Harper


Jack,

Are you sure that was your heart leaving that made you feel cold and empty, or was that just your cold getting to you? If I didn’t know any better, I would think that you were just moping around, wishing for someone to coddle you. Oh, wait. I do know better, and yet that is still what you are doing.

Yes, I’m at Rhiannon’s. You are very lucky that I am, because I tell you now, Rhiannon and Johnny would not have burned the letter, nor would they have redirected it (should they have known where I was otherwise, anyway). They also would not have stopped reading at your insistence—or should I say, at your threats? Not nice, sir, threatening my sister. Especially with your “higher power.” That’s classist. You know I hate that. Point is, I’m very glad you scratched out what you scratched out. Even though I could read it (because I know you well enough to pick out your unruly scrawl from beneath literally anything), and even though they could probably get the gist of our… arrangement… through the rest of the letter’s tone, it still would have put me in a very bad situation. So, it is rather lucky indeed that I am here to receive your letter.

For future reference, do not send letters to my sister’s place, especially when I didn’t explicitly say I was going there.

As for your cold, I will be back soon to make you feel better, but not before it cures itself. You will be fine. Soldier on. Stiff upper lip, and all that.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Ask Miss Sato for some soup. My mum always made soup for me when I was sick. I’m sure Miss Sato’s will make you feel better right away.


Mr Harper,

Yet again, your inability to create a sentence without bearing less than a single expletive astounds me. I’m surprised you even landed a job with such high prestige in the first place. Do you even have an ounce of civility within you?

I’m allowed my time off, I’ll remind you. I have cleared it with his lordship, and therefore should have it cleared with you. He is your boss, so what he says, goes. And he said I was allowed to go. Therefore, I have gone, and there is nothing you can say or do to change that.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. He has a cold. Make sure he has enough to do to distract him from that, else he will be downright miserable the entire time.


Dearest Ianto,

It’s not my cold. It’s you. I have had enough colds in my lifetime to know the difference. But yes, I do want you to coddle me. Please come back and warm me up. Please?

How was I to know they would have snooped? I’ve never met them. You won’t let me. So maybe it would’ve been on you if they did read it, did you think of that? Also, I never would have followed through on those threats. Come on, Ianto, you know me better than that! I’m classy, not classist.

Don’t be like that. I do know better than to let slip our affair. Plus, you have always given me the impression your brother-in-law knows naught, so I thought it was safe to be otherwise indiscrete about my favouritism to you. Though maybe your sister is as sharp as a knife, much like yourself, and could have clued him in. Again, how should I know? I never met her.  

And I wouldn’t say it was luck that had my letter reach you. It was my intuition. And my good knowledge and understanding of you. You did say family business. I know for a fact that it never would have been outside your immediate family; you have expressed numerous times how you detest your aunts, uncles, and cousins, and your grandparents are all dead (whose aren’t?). And you wouldn’t be visiting your mother… well, I’ll leave it there. You hate your father more than your extended relatives, so why would you go there? Therefore, the only option was to assume you were at your sister’s. And was I wrong? I’ll answer that myself, as you won’t: no, I was not. I was very right. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

I’m not sure if your warning about sending mail to your sister’s house applies to this letter. If it does, I’m going to pretend it doesn’t. I don’t care. I want at least some contact with you, as you are not home with me this instant to mend my cold, lonely soul. But, if you’d rather return, and doing so spare me the trouble of writing these letters (and the cause of writing these blasted things), that would be much appreciated. You will refuse this, though, so on I write.

Or perhaps not.

All I have left to say is that I miss you. That would get very tiresome very quickly.

Please come home soon.

From,

Your classy, yet cold Jack

P.S. Note taken. Soup was good and helpful. Will be subsisting on the stuff until you return.

P.P.S. What kind of soup did your mother make? Did you like it?


Ianto (read: arsehole),

Fuck you; I can be civil. Now, get back here and distract him yourself, you ninny.

Don’t take that too seriously. Keep your grubby little mitts off him until he’s better.

But do get your arse back here.

Regards,

Mister Owen Harper


Jack,

Seems to me like the thing you need most is to stop catching colds. If you know the feel of a cold well enough to discern it from your melancholy (which I still very much doubt is the case), then perhaps you have had one too many colds. Stop catching those.

I coddle you enough. And you have never had to ask for it. You just whine and then, against my better judgement, I cave to your every last whim.

There is a reason you have not met Rhiannon. I do not want you to. Your world and hers should never collide. And that has nothing to do with class, by the way. That has to do with… Well. My point is, I want your part of my life to keep to your part of my life, and her part of my life to stay well away from it. The two should never mingle. I want to keep you to m I want there to be a separation, that’s all. I believe I am allowed that.

And, on a serious note concerning your threats … I know you, sir. I’m not condemning you to the titles of cruel, vindictive, or otherwise spiteful and hateful, not in the slightest, but I am saying… Jack, you can be a dangerous man. I have seen you. I know you. I do not blame you for it (for we all have our dark sides), and it would never tear me from you (for I know there is always more to you than just that, and even if there wasn’t… it still remains that I care about you), but I know that that side of you exists. You claim that you would never follow through on threats to my sister and her family. Maybe, out of whatever feelings you hold from me, you wouldn’t. But I cannot be certain. I am simply saying… Rhiannon mustn’t be on the receiving end of yours. Please. If I must beg of that from you, I will.

On the lighter note. Classy, not classist? Really, sir. Your poetic skills seem to fluctuate with every letter you send.

I did say “family trouble,” and I’m not so shallow as to not aid any of my slightly-more-distant relatives. Or my father. And my mother… I’d still go to her side, too. So, yes, you did get lucky.

Are you encouraging me to smoke more? Because I remember the other day when you bashed my head with a pillow for daring to light a cigarette in your room. (And, for the record: I had the window open; it was not going to stink up the room.)

I’m not objecting to your writing. I’m not coming home, but I’m also not objecting your writing. That is all I have to say on that matter.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. I’m not sure how you’ll fare on an all liquid diet, but I’ll leave that up for Miss Sato to deal with.

P.P.S. Tomato. She had a secret recipe. I loved the stuff.


Mr Harper,

And once more, I cannot begin to express my amazement. Really. Can you get through one letter without insulting the recipient? I daren’t think of the letters you send to reputable people. Do you even know any reputable people?

I’ll be back when I’m back. Stop bothering me about it. It won’t change the fact that I am away, and I will be away until I return of my own accord.

And if you leave him miserable until I do return just to spite me, then I’ll remind you of two things:

That will not improve your employer’s opinion of you.

That will make your employer bring his misery to you and thus make you miserable.

I would wish that his misery would be enough for you to see past such petty things, but, clearly, you need more self-serving excuses.

Take care of him.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

Oh, hum, why have I not thought of that before? You are right. This is all due to my folly. I shall now command my body to stop catching colds.  

Ianto. If there were a way for me to stop catching colds, by any special medicine, ritual sacrifice, or bloody incantation, I would have tired it already. (And then I would have done the same for you, because you are downright wretched creature when you’re ill.) But, alas, there is no such thing. So, on I suffer.

But, as I keep saying, that suffering would be alleviated should you just return home. And coddle me.

I believe that scratched out bit was the beginnings of you saying you wanted to keep me to yourself. How do you think I feel right now? I should like to keep you to myself. Yet, here you are not. You are away. But I respect your decisions, even though I am dreadfully curious and am dying to meet your sister.

Should it help, I’ll apologise for any threats and promise to never make them again. I haven’t much else to say on the matter, other than…

Ianto, I do not believe that there is such a darkness in you. In me, of course. Like you said, I am a dangerous man. Many times, I have half a mind to send you away from me, to keep you safe from the life I live, the company I keep, and the darkness inside of me. But... Ianto, even in your darkest days, you are still good. And you are because you choose to be. You said it yourself once, as you lay in my arms: you are terrified of the rot in your heart and you do anything to keep away from it. And therefore, you are a good person, Ianto Jones Junior. You will never let yourself fall to those terrors. And, should you do so (though you will not), I will be right there with you to haul you up.

And back to that lighter note of yours: must we keep mocking my poetry? Ianto, you wound me.

I never said you were shallow. And I’m sure you would help your fellow man, even should you hate them as you hate your cousins. But your tone implied no urgency, which lead me to believe that it wasn’t a dire crisis. You wouldn’t aid those cousins if it were nothing less than a dire crisis. So, I was still right, and I still know you well. Not. Luck. Why are you fighting this so hard? Is it so horrid that I should know you this well?

You need to stop smoking. I’m sure it is none too good for you.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. Might your sister have a recipe?


Ianto the twat,

Fuck you.

I’m not an idiot. I can take care of my boss just fine.

Regards,

Mister Owen Harper

P.S. He’s feeling better now. He’s still moaning on and on about it, like he does, but he’s just fine. Alright?


Jack,

Sir, I would just like to tell you, because you cannot see it for yourself: I am rolling my eyes at you. You are ridiculous.

Alright, fine. I’m returning home. Not because you asked, but because the small spot of trouble has since passed. Owen tells me you don’t need coddling anymore. But, God knows, you will still manage to eke it out of me.

Thank you for respecting my wishes. But I’m not thanking you for reading my scratched-out words.

Don’t send me away. Please. Ignore everything I’ve said about darkness—I don’t give a damn about it. Just don’t send me away. You gave me meaning again.

I… have nothing to say on myself. Anything I’ve said to you on the matter of the darkness I know lies within me, I have already said. I can’t express it more now than I did then. I know it exists, and I know I’m afraid of it. But I don’t think about it when I don’t have to. Instead, I just… think of you. Because I didn’t lie, up there. You do give me meaning.

I mock your poetry because I care, sir. Perhaps this constructive criticism will urge you to become a better poet.

Alright. You do know me. Is that what you wanted to hear? I’m not fighting you. It’s just that, sometimes, it is a bit daunting to know that I’m. Well. Known. What if someday you should decide that I’m not worthy of being known anymore?

Never mind that. Sorry.

I’ll smoke when I like and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.

Don’t write back.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Rhiannon has the recipe. Why do you want it? No matter, she decided to send it along with me, figuring I was in desperate need of it because I had asked. I hope you like tomato soup.


Mr Harper,

You are an arrogant sod and I wish I didn’t know you.

I’m returning home, and not due to anybody’s insistence that I should. He better be completely well again by the time I get there.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Thank you.

Chapter Text

Dearest Ianto,

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.

From,

Your excited Jack


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.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

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.)

From,

Your Jack

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.


Jack,

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.

Sincerely,

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.

Best,

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


Dearest Ianto,

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.

From,

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.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr,

P.S. As his valet, I would much prefer he didn’t face another one of those, too, Lady Smith.


Jack,

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.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. There was nothing all too meaningful to reply to that letter, anyway.

P.P.S. So come home, then.


Dearest Ianto,

I’m coming home.

From,

Your Jack

Chapter Text

Jack,

I send you this letter because Tommy doesn’t know where the right cufflinks are, and I left in too much of a haste to remember to tell him. Remind him to not use the crystal ones for everyday wear. You get far too grubby for that.

I haven’t much else to say. Just tell Tommy where your cufflinks are.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

Did you write that from the train to London? Ianto. You were supposed to be thinking about things other than work.

Tommy has been informed. He’s a good kid. He’s nothing like you, though. You always give my shirtsleeves a nice tug when you’re done to make sure they sit right. He just leaves them. I know it’s not important and isn’t really required, but… it doesn’t feel right without it, now.

From,

Your downcast Jack

P.S. How are you, Ianto?


Jack,

I did write from the train. I am not sorry about it. Your appearance and how you present yourself to the world is important to me. I take great care in dressing you well and in making sure you are taken seriously. I’ll not have Tommy muck it up because he gave you the wrong cufflinks for the wrong occasion, thank you very much. So, I will write on the train if I must.

If you’re really missing it that much, just tell Tommy it’s a sharp tug on the shirtsleeve once you have your jacket or waistcoat on (though if he caves to your demands of only the waistcoat, throw him out and get Andy. He knows naught of dressing you—or of being a valet—but he certainly won’t be bullied or encouraged by you). I am sure Tommy will be more than happy to oblige. He is eager to please, as I’m sure you know.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. All the better for having written you, sir.


Dearest Ianto,

I’m glad that my looks are important to you, though I’m not sure whether to be offended (by your implication that I would otherwise be dull, drab, and not taken seriously without you and your care) or pleased (by the implication that you care this much about me). Ianto, how the hell am I supposed to take this?

You really shouldn’t be working while you’re away. I know why you are, though. You never face the unpleasantries head-on, do you? You always distract yourself with one thing or another. I’m your distraction. Yet again, I don’t know if I should be flattered or insulted. Flattered, because it’s me you are distracting yourself with, or insulted, because is that all I am to you? A distraction?

Please don’t try to unearth that one. It came from a pocket of hurt somewhere in me, and I regret it. I don’t care why it’s me you distract yourself with. I know London is hard on you, so if all I am to you is the thing that keeps it from being so daunting, then I cannot complain. I want you happy, Ianto. And if I can’t make you happy, then I’ll settle for at least not unhappy.

And I think you missed my point. By a lot. Or perhaps completely.

I don’t give much of a damn about the shirtsleeves, Ianto. I give a damn about you. It’s not the position of the sleeves I miss, it’s not the action I miss, it’s you. The way you make sure I’m at my best. The way you kiss me when you’ve finished. The way you smile when I say something incredibly inane as you do so. God, your smile. Half the time, you wear that goddamn mask you put on for the rest of the world to see, but I know you, Ianto. I know your smile. Those are always real smiles. I miss them. I miss you.

Ianto. I have a surprise for you. I know you are in London for business —well, not “business,” but that’s the word I shall use—but I felt that this little diversion was worthy of your limited time. It may make you smile, which is always a bonus.

I hope you like it.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. That’s a lie and we both know it.

P.P.S. I have contacted a florist in London. One of the best that I know. If you’d like to take flowers to her grave, go to Halloran’s.


Dear Jack,

You were right! I did like him! And very much so. He was sweet. A bit flustered, but very sweet. And rather intelligent, too. Kept up with everything I said, understood it all, and then, on top of that, added his own thoughts. Correct thoughts, I might add. Your Mister Jones is a clever one. Keep him close!

Speaking of his cleverness—he had this brilliant idea that I rather enjoyed. It involved a large insect and a murder mystery. I am warning you now: I think I might have to borrow him in the future. This directly contradicts my statement of “keep him close,” but I think certain allowances must be made to that statement, right? I shall steal him from under your nose if I have to.

Overall, I enjoyed his company and I daresay he enjoyed mine. I hope to see him again in the future! (Again, I will steal him if you won’t permit this. Don’t test me, Jack—you know I would.)

With all my love,

Martha

P.S. We have plotted out your demise. Consider yourself thoroughly warned!


Jack,

Well.

I’m not certain whether to be cross with you or to thank you.

Yes, your diversion did make me smile. Martha Jones is perhaps one of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. You were right. She is charming. She and I got along very well, if I do say so myself. It may be that we’re both Joneses. Or possibly that we share a liking for one certain sop that we both know.

In any case, I would like to meet up with her again, if you will allow me some time off for it. I shared with her a small idea that she thought was interesting. While I have nothing more to offer her than the bare husk I already told her about, she thinks I could help her with this one. I haven’t the guts to tell her I know nothing about writing.

Regarding the contents of your letter, now…

Jack. You are conceited. You know that?

But why can’t it be both? Perhaps I both care about you and your looks. Perhaps without me you would not have those looks.

I’m not sure about happy. At least, not right now. Maybe when I return, I’ll have something more to say on the matter but now… I hate London, Jack. I went back to the manor. Or, where the manor used to be. It’s still a pile of ash. Smaller pile, now, because they finally bothered to clear it up, but there’s still nothing there. I mean, I know Marchioness Hartmann didn’t have an heir and didn’t leave the place to anyone in a will, but you’d think… no, I suppose not.

I don’t know, Jack. This place makes me tired, deep inside somewhere. I can’t explain it. Martha Jones’s visit made it better, for a short while, but the tiredness is beginning to seep back through. It follows me everywhere. I keep closing my eyes and seeing flames. Even when I blink.

Right, sorry. That’s enough of that.

Don’t worry, sir. This isn’t the end of tugging your shirtsleeves. I’ll be back to do it again soon enough.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. I’ll be fine.

P.P.S. Thank you. Lisa always loved lilies.


Dearest Ianto,

I told you that you would like her, didn’t I? I’m glad you got along well. I have a feeling that any Jones is worthy of my affections, but especially the two of you (and you especially extra). So, I’m very pleased that perhaps the two most important Joneses in the world could get along splendidly.

I am a bit worried about you meeting up with her again, though. You see, she wrote me, as well, and I have the distinct feeling things were said about me. You wouldn’t have anything to say on that, would you?

Aha! See, I have you there. I have no qualms with being called egotistical. It just goes to show I have something to brag about.

Ianto… I’m sorry. There’s not much more that I can say than that. I can’t make you feel better over letter. At least, not in the way I know how to make you feel better.

And you don’t have to apologise for this. Never apologise for this. I care about you, alright?

Well, then. Come home sooner to tug my shirtsleeves.

From,

Your demanding Jack

P.S. I’m not sure I believe you.

P.P.S. You’re welcome.

P.P.P.S. No spending time with Martha until I figure out what the pair of you have conspired.


Nightingale,

What the hell did you say about me. 

I am glad that the two of you got along like a house on fire, but I know a conspiracy when I see one. What is going on? What has been said? What demise am I to face? What is to become of me? Martha, this won't stand. If I must hold Ianto hostage until I figure out the truth, I will. No Jones reunion until I have answers. 

I did tell you he was smart, didn't I? Smart as he is handsome—which, as you can now verify, is incredibly so. So, you can see why he's my valet. All of my staff must be both smart and attractive. 

Give your family my love.

From, 

Jack

P.S. It better not be poison in a bowl of cold mashed swede or something like that. I hate that stuff. 


Jack,

I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about. Ms Martha Jones and I would never say things about you. And conspiracy? What must you think of us, sir? I dread to think.

Never mind the rest of this letter, I’m coming home. Nothing I can say here will convey anything worthwhile. I have done what I came to do in London, and now there is nothing here for me but dread and that tiredness.

At any rate, I’ll be home to tug your shirtsleeves. And more. Stop whining.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Dearest Ianto,

I entrusted this letter to Tommy, and hopefully it should reach you in a timely fashion.

Normally, I would not do this. I would usually relay this information to you myself, when you were with me. But you are out right now, fetching my last pair of shoes, and you need to hear this (or read this, I suppose in this case) before you come up to dress me for dinner. And you will be coming up to dress me for dinner, because we have a guest, which is what I’m fumbling around telling you about.

Do you remember Captain John Hart? I know you do, as I whinge about him often.

Well.

He has come to visit Cardiff, he has decided, and needs a place to stay. That place, of course, being Dyffryn House, of all places. I have no idea how to convince him to otherwise find an inn. We are stuck with him until he decides to leave.

This is why I need to reach you first. While, in order to save his own skin, he has to keep his mouth shut about his previous affair with me, he will have no qualms with turning you and me in, should we even make one wrong look in each other’s direction. We will have to be very, very careful here, Ianto. Caution does not even begin to describe it.

I believe we have talked about something like this in the past. You swore then that you could keep a secret, especially this one. Well, Ianto, you really have to employ that secrecy of yours now. Otherwise, we are both doomed.

I wish I had a happier something-or-another to tack onto this abrupt and sudden letter, but I have nothing. All I can say is, I hope this will be over soon, because I dread to sleep on my own in our bed when you are still here, in the castle, with me. That is, perhaps, the loneliest I will ever be in my entire life.

I shall miss you something fierce.

From,

Your disheartened Jack

P.S. Do you even know where your old room is at this point?


Jack,

What the hell is that bastard doing in Cardiff?

Jack, you are far too generous for your own good. If it was me, and right now I really do wish it was, I would kick that farce of a captain out on his arse, tell him good riddance, and send him on his way. However, it is not me. It is you. And sometimes you do not know how to say “no.” You really need to learn to say “no,” else we end up in situations like these.

God, I will tell you now: if he even sneers in the wrong direction, I will punch him. I do not care about consequences. I will.

Anyway.

I am leaving you this note/letter/whatever because I refuse to have such little contact with you when you are just right there. I’ll hide it in your dresser, and hopefully you’ll have gotten the hint I shall be giving you later to find it. If you haven’t gotten the hint, then I am just rambling on to myself. Which would be a pity, really, because what good would that do? Please find this letter. I’d hate to stumble across it in a month or so when I’m cleaning out your dressers again.

You know damn well I can keep secrets like this. I have proven that on multiple occasions, I believe. Secrets are always safe with Ianto Jones, Jr. Nobody would ever get so much as a peep from me, not even in an interrogation. With knives. And pliers. And corkscrews. And… whatever else that hurts.

Point is, if he figures anything out, it won’t be from me. It’s the other staff we shall have to make sure stay quiet.

Particularly Miss Sato, because I half believe she is smitten by the bastard at the moment. Someone will have to tell her what a slimeball he is. I’d do it, but every moment I think about the man I want to gag, so that won’t go down very well.

It’s alright. I have nothing happy to say in return. I do want this to be over soon, too, because I hate your old boyfriend and I hate sleeping in this damn uncomfortable bed. Seriously, why is it that I can feel every last spring in the mattress? God.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. I did not need you to get Owen to show me where my room was. I can remember things well enough on my own, thank you very much.


Dearest Ianto,

Evidently, he has a job. How John got a job, I shall never understand. He has no work ethic whatsoever.

Unless it’s a very different sort of job…

Never mind, I know what sort of job it is. I do not know why I did not think of that before.

I can’t send him away. That would not be at all smart. Generosity isn’t the motive here; it would be dangerous to refuse him. It’s either he takes advantage of this, or he tears this house apart trying to find a way to smudge my name without pulling himself into the dirt along with me. Guess what he will find, should he do that?

You.

I cannot let him have you, Ianto. Sure, he can have me scorned, locked away, or even… well. I don’t care what happens to me. He can find any last shred of evidence that I am a disgraceful human being that isn’t fit to walk this earth, and he can present it to the world, but I won’t let him ruin your good name. Or your life. That’s what he does, Ianto, he ruins lives. I refuse to let that happen to you.

Do not punch him. Do not even acknowledge him when you do not have to. The more he forgets about your existence, the better.

I did get your letter, as you can see. And I’m not that thick-headed—I can take a hint.

I can’t sneak mine down to your room like you can sneak yours into mine, so I will be handing this to you in person. You will stick it inside your suitcoat; I know you will. I can already picture you doing it. It is a very nice image in my brain—I think I shall hold on to that for some time. Especially after I see it in real time.

Yes, you are good at keeping secrets. I believe you have kept a few from me in our past. I have, of course, forgiven you for everything—not that there was much to forgive, anyway—but it does prove that you can keep one well. And you have kept my own secrets for me, too. I can never thank you enough for that, by the way.

Anyway, keep this one close. Let nothing slip.

(But what kind of interrogation do you think you’re going to encounter? Ianto, no one is going to torture you within an inch of your life, here. I’m somewhat worried now…)

Most of the staff will likely keep their heads down and hold their tongues, as they usually do. I suppose if they are pressed for information, like you evidently think is bound to happen (Jesus, Ianto…), they may give it up, but I wouldn’t resent them for that. Especially as this is unlikely to happen.

I think Miss Sato now fully understands what sort of “slimeball” John is after this morning, don’t worry.

Are the mattresses down there truly that awful? If so, then I’ll upgrade them. Why did nobody say anything before now? I don’t want you all having miserable nights on horrid mattresses!

From,

Your very concerned Jack

P.S. Well, how was I to know you’d remember the place? You haven’t been in the bedroom for well over two years.


Jack,

Christ, do I even want to know what sort of job you are talking about? No, wait. I can answer that myself. I do not. My curiosity does not outweigh my self-preservation, in this case.

I refuse to believe this isn’t also in part from generosity. You work yourself so hard to please others, to make sure others do not disrespect you. Jack, they do not own you. You do not have to please anyone. Please learn to push boundaries for yourself, else you shall wear thin.

I can take care of myself, I will remind you. He can’t do anything to me. Or you. Not when I have anything to say about it. So please, do not worry about me.

Fine. I will not punch him. I will also not acknowledge that he is an existent person when I have to. Not because you told me to, but because I really do not want to acknowledge that he is an existent person in the first place. Happy?

Do not deny it—you can be thick-headed sometimes. I once gave you specific directions to polish your own shoes (God only knows why you wanted to learn to polish your own shoes) and you still managed to cock that up. So, if you had forgotten that letter, I would not have been entirely surprised. Sad, yes, but unsurprised.

Alright, so now I regret stuffing that letter inside my suit. Is that really what runs through those fanciful daydreams of yours? Me, wearing my suit, doing normal things in said suit? That’s very tame, sir.

Of course I would keep your secrets. Your secrets are my secrets now.

That sounds absolutely ridiculous; do not read that.

What I mean to say is: yes, I keep your secrets. You entrust them to me and I would be foolish to break that trust. Worse than foolish, really. And trust aside, I… well, I care about you too much to reveal any of your secrets.

So, suffice to say, anything you confide to me in the darkest of nights, I will keep between me and you.

Hey! I was only saying I wouldn’t say anything to anyone, no matter the case! You know I’m not good with words. I didn’t mean to say I was actually going to be tortured. Unless I was. In that case, the sentiment stands very firmly. Well, it wouldn’t be sentiment at that point, would it? It would be a promise that I would have kept.

Miss Sato indeed does understand what a slimeball he is and has been ranting and raving about it all afternoon. I fear she will continue to rant and rave until… Christ, I don’t even know what until. Sometime. Maybe.

You weren’t to know about the mattresses, because evidently most are fine. My bed was given the worst of the lot because I have not used the thing in years. Do not go out and purchase a ton of mattresses. Do not.

This is what I meant about being overly generous, by the way.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. I know everything, Jack.


Harkness,

I’ve seen that idiot eye-candy valet of yours sneaking around. Tried following the bastard, but he’s too slippery. Quite the weasel you have there. He doesn’t seem to like me. What nonsense have you been spreading about me now?

Oh, and I’ve been eyeing up those footmen of yours. They haven’t been eyeing me up in return. What sort of weird, non-sexual household do you run? It’s pathetic.

—Cpt John Hart


Dearest Ianto,

See, this is why we need to be careful. John is now suspicious of you. Don’t sneak into my room to give me notes, just hand them to me directly, like I do with you. This is a dangerous game we’re playing now. It’s either we get clever about our moves, or we stop playing altogether.

He can do things to you, Ianto. Do not underestimate him. Granted, I am not frightened, but I am… worried. Very much so. And I worry about very few things.

Yes, please do not acknowledge him. I would say it is antagonising him a bit, but… it’s better than punching him dead-on. I am still warning you against that. I swear to God, Ianto, don’t do it.

I am not thick-headed! Your instructions for shoe-polishing were confusing, okay? That one is not on me.

Please keep sticking things in your suit like that. It isn’t fantasy-fodder; it’s just cute. Tucking letters and stopwatches and pins and buttons and cufflinks and everything else… it endears you more to me. But no, that isn’t what my daydreams consist of. Most of those have me peeling your suit off, or just plain have no suit in the picture whatsoever.

I read it. It was very sweet, and I appreciated it.

And, likewise, anything you have said to me in private moments will be kept close to my heart and never be shared with another soul.

Ianto Jones. Nobody is torturing you. Nobody is going to torture you. Please set that aside and never bring it up again. I hate the very thought of it, and I hate that you think of it.

No torture.

Miss Sato does know when to be well and truly enraged about something, doesn’t she? I do always say it is you quiet ones who snap the loudest, hardest, and longest.

I am not overly generous, Ianto. I care about you. I care about my staff. I can do what I want when I want, and I will not have you stopping me because you’re worried I will run myself ragged, or whatever you think. Because I will not.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. I know you do.


John,

Mister Jones has done nothing to you, so I haven’t a clue where your suspicion is coming from.

The footmen don’t return your glances because you are appalling.

And I really don’t know what you were expecting, but Dyffryn House is not a brothel, and will never be.

Don’t leave me any more notes.

From,

Jack Harkness


Jack,

I am now handing you the note in person. And I know the moment I leave the room, you will tear it open and read it. That is far less of a picture, I’d imagine, than me sticking my letters in my pockets (which I cannot believe I did again).

“I worry about very few things” is the biggest lie written by your hand, and we both know it. You worry about a great many things. You’re a fretter, Jack. You fret and fret and fret. Do not try to deny it—this is the complete truth about Lord Jack Harkness. You just pretend it isn’t and we let you get away with it.

Anyway, John should no longer be suspicious of me. If he still is, that is not my fault.

My instructions on how to polish your shoes were very concise and very clear. I still have no idea how you managed to screw it up so badly.

Like I said, I did it. I stuck that damn letter into my suit coat. Is that all you wanted, or did you want me to spin around and do a backbend as well? God knows why, but I’d do it, if you asked. I do anything you’d ask of me…

I told you not to read that, Jack.

But thank you.

If you are truly that bent out of shape about it, I will say nothing of torture again. I just thought the sentiment would be appreciated… Christ…

You absolutely will run yourself ragged, Jack. You do every time. And then when you finally recover, you get back up on your feet and throw yourself to the world to knock you over again. And that’s why I’m here. To make sure you don’t do that to yourself. If you can’t stop yourself, then I will, and then I will be there to pick up the pieces when I fail because you ignore my advice all of the time.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Good.


Jack

Is that really how you shuold talk to me? Nauthgy

Suit boy hot

Suit boyS hot theres many.

Fuck you it should be a brothel.

Leaving to find a brothl

—cjh


Captain John Hart,

This is a note for if you ever return from your brothel. If you don’t, then I’ll remove this from the door in a day and hope I won’t ever see you again after. But, on the slight off-chance you do return, I’ll leave you this:

I have your previous note, which should be enough to incriminate you, sully your name, and discredit your word, should you ever try to take me or my house and staff down. So, do not try. It will get you nowhere.

Which means that, after all these years, I can finally say things I have been meaning to say, but instead I'll stick to those things most relevant after this stay.

Do not drink my Scotch ever again.

Do not insult my staff ever again.

Do not come back ever again.

From,

Lord Jack Harkness.

Chapter Text

Jack,

I swear to God above…

Why do you keep leaving me behind? I only come with you on half of your trips these days. I have begun to worry that I have either upset you, have been found lacking in my work ethic, or am undesirable company. Which of it is it? And if it’s none of them, what am I doing wrong?

To make matters worse, this time you actually need me, too.

Dame Donna Noble, sir.

Jesus Christ, Jack, of all the times to leave me behind… this is by far the worst.

Also, you’re at Torchwood House again, and I know you hate that place.

And there will likely be alcohol.

God, this is my nightmare come to life.

Don’t do be untidy. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be sad.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Mickey,

Sorry to bother, as I know you are busy having a grand time with your mates.

But could you please keep an eye out on your friend and my employer, Lord Harkness, for me? Don’t let him drink to much, please.

Please and thank you, and I’ll owe you another bottle of that brandy. Yes, I know that’s a tad ironic, but it’s what I know you like.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Mister Jenkins,

My Lord Harkness hates doing his ties on his own. He won’t admit it, but he does. Can you pop in and make sure they’re done right on the days he has to make himself look particularly… well, less unkempt.

I understand that your duties probably have you swamped as it is, so I’m prepared to thank you with a particularly good brandy. Sir Michael Smith can attest to its quality, should you feel the need to verify it.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

What the hell are you doing?

I have Mickey watching me like a hawk, Ross coming in to bother me every morning while I try to put on my tie… What is the meaning of this? What is going on? Ianto, if you do not tell me what this is about, I will be rather upset with you. This feels like a violation of my privacy, and you know how much I detest that. Just because I allow you to do what you wish with me does not mean I want anyone else to do the same.

Whatever this is, Ianto… please put an end to it.

Right, anyway.

I left you behind this time because this is, evidently, another informal occasion. This shouldn’t be a surprise to you; the Doctor hates formal occasions. I think Rose may have half-forced him to agree to making their wedding formal, actually. But it isn’t you, Ianto. I am not upset with you (or, I wasn’t before, anyway… now I might be, somewhat), you work ethic has never been anything but impeccable, and you are by far from undesirable company. You are doing nothing wrong. It is just that I continue to believe the Doctor’s “informal events,” and I never think to note that he might be inviting important guests. He never tells me until too late.

Yes, the Dame Donna Noble herself. Can you imagine, she has us calling her by her given name. It feels… odd. I mean, you know me. Usually quite into familiarity. But she’s a dame, Ianto, and the part of you that permanently resides in some corner of my mind keeps reminding me that this is so incredibly unformal.

Torchwood House has its ghosts, yes, but it is actually tolerable this visit. I find myself not wholly miserable. The Doctor, Rose, Martha, Donna, and Mickey… they make it manageable. You would make it even more so, but we both know I’m never wise enough to bring you along, so there we are on that.

Alcohol is not an issue. I am not touching it, do not worry. I am drinking juices instead. I feel like a five-year-old girl, but it is what it is.

Unless you have lied to me about your nightmares, I am not sure that statement is entirely accurate. And I hope to god it stays that way—living through one of your nightmares would be something awful.

I am not untidy, I am not stupid, and I have mostly steered clear of sad.

From,

Your bemused Jack


Ianto,

Sorry, mate, but he’s looking at me funny every time I try to monitor him. I’ll try to be less noticeable about it, but I’m not so sure how that’s going to go…

You still owe me that brandy, though.

Cheers,

Mickey


Mister Jones,

He has denied me entry to his guest room for the rest of his stay. I am sorry that I cannot be of more service.

From,

Ross Jenkins


Jack,

Forgive me for finding alternative methods of taking care of you while I cannot physically do it myself. As far as I was concerned, I was doing my job. However, if you do not like my attempts to do that job, maybe you should bring me along to do my actual job. You know, my true job of looking after you and dressing you and making sure your shoes are polished and all of that other important stuff.

Mickey and Ross have informed me you have both made them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Harsh, sir. Please be kinder to your friend and your cousin’s staff.

Next time you are called away on another “informal occasion” to Torchwood House or the Lord Smith’s London property, do not believe a word of it. Bring me along—force room for me, should you need to—because every last one of these so-called “informal occasions” have been anything but informal. The first was an exception, but the rest… Jack, you should not be greeting Dame Donna Noble in the morning when you look the way you always look without me there. Unkempt.

Really, Jack, just let Ross take two seconds to fuss over your appearance. It can’t do you any harm.

Sorry to disappoint, but I cannot follow your request; I find it impossible to imagine calling Dame Noble by her given name. That is absolutely ridiculous. It isn’t right. I would never.

I should hope the me in your head (why is there a me in your head, anyway?) is telling you off for that. I assume you have no choice but to call her what she wishes—as she is a dame, and you should probably listen to her—but I would agree, there needs to be a part of you that hates it just as much as I do.

Well, I suppose the best I have to say is: thank God for your cousin and your friends. Anything to make the place less horrid. I can only hope it stays that way for the rest of your stay.

You are not a five-year-old girl. Stop whining about that. It’s for the best. For you, me, and all the people staying with you.

I would think you better than anyone else should know an exaggeration when you see one.

No, perhaps this isn’t what inhabits my nightmares, but I do worry about think about it often enough to dread all of this happening together.

And, yes, my nightmares would be awful to live through personally. In fact, they were.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. Two bottles of your best brandy might disappear from your shelves, but I’ll have Owen replace them before you return. So, really, you won’t even miss them.


Mickey,

It’s fine. Do your best.

Brandy on its way.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Mister Jenkins,

Thank you very much for trying. I shall send you the promised brandy as a compensation for any grievances my Lord Harkness may have caused.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

That is not a part of your job, Ianto. Not that I have ever specified. Unless Valet Class taught you otherwise, and in that case, I suppose I defer to your better judgement. But right now, I did not ask for it, I did not want it, I will not accept it. Please consult me about this first.

Next time, I will be sure to bring you along with me. Because you know I miss you dreadfully. I always do. And before you make a snippy comment about your services, it isn’t that. I miss you. Just you. Just Ianto Jones, Jr. Your job isn’t as important to me as you are.

Mickey knows damn well not to be uncomfortable around me. That’s his own fault, at that point. I will begrudgingly apologise to Ross, though I feel you have already done so with that brandy you pilfered, so it will be brief and not entirely sincere.

He isn’t fussing with me. Not in any way. Only one person fusses over me, and that’s you.

Also, I am not unkempt. I am roguishly, ruggedly handsome when I wake up in the morning, which you know perfectly well. So, there.

I find it funny that, no matter how much you may bellyache about class and all that, but then abide by things like this. You can’t even try to imagine calling her Donna? Come on, give it a try. Just for a moment. Live a little.

There is always a tiny you in my head. He yells at me a lot.

Right now, he is yelling at me because I got used to calling her Donna. And now I will get a written version of the actual you yelling at me because I got used to calling her Donna. So, at least I know my tiny brain-Ianto is accurate.

The good news is that they aren’t doing much for drinking. They do get out a few glasses of wine or have a small sip of whisky at the end of the day, but nobody is inhaling bottles of liquor. I can tell Mickey, Donna, and Martha might wish to, but they aren’t. I can’t tell if that’s kind of them or too kind of them. (Before you comment on that: yes, there is a difference between kind and too kind. One means they’re accepting and the other means they’re begrudgingly placating.)

Are you saying I exaggerate? Or is this another dig at my poetry?

Don’t worry about me, Ianto. I will be fine. I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.

I know. I know. I wish I could take your memories and wipe it all away. Give you happier ones in their stead. But you would hate that. I understand that. We have to keep the painful memories to keep the good ones. I just… God, Ianto, I just don’t want you to have to be in pain. Can I not just wish your nightmares away? Why can’t the world grant me that one thing?

From,

Your Jack

P.S. Please have Owen get that same stuff when he replaces the brandy.

P.P.S. The Doctor thinks something dark and grim awaits us all in the future. He’s said that twice this weekend, and now I’m vaguely concerned.


Jack,

“Valet Class” is not a thing, sir.

That means, of course, that you do have to defer to my superior knowledge of all things valet. And also that you need to learn a thing or two about my job, which does, in fact, entail making sure you are properly cared for when I am away. I am truly sorry that I caused you any discomfort, but I did do it out of… caring.

I know how to do my job. Let me do it.

Good. Bring me with. I don’t even mind that I won’t be sleeping with you, eating with you, bathing with you… just so that I can keep you happy, safe, well-dressed, and on time. Yes, all four of those. Unlike you, I do think my role as your valet is important and therefore will be doing my job when I am with you, whether you like it or not.

Alright, maybe Mickey is less uncomfortable with you and more annoyed with you. That is something very easy to be. I am annoyed with you every waking moment. Fondly annoyed, but annoyed.

I do not fuss over you.

Wait, unless you are implying—

First of all, Jack, if you are calling that fussing, then I am somewhat concerned.

Second, that is a very good thing you are not having Ross fuss over you, then.

Third, that isn’t what I meant, and you know it, so cut it out.

Finally… I am rolling my eyes at you, sir, just to let you know.

Roguish and rugged are unkempt. I will not deny handsome, because that would be incredibly stupid and wholly wrong of me to say, but the rest… no.

I refuse to call her anything but Dame Donna Noble, or any of the rest of her respective titles. I will entertain no other thought. I would like to both keep my job and my life, thank you so very much.

He should yell at you.

And now I will pointedly not yell at you myself.

They are your friends, so I doubt they are being “too kind,” or whatever you’re on about. They care about you and want you safe, happy, and healthy. Plus, there are a lot of things you can get up to when you aren’t drunk. Like asking Martha Jones about how her newest novel is coming along.

Please don’t mention dying after saying I don’t have to worry about you… that does not paint a particularly pleasant image. Dying doesn’t suit you, Jack. You are too full of life.

I am averse to you wiping my memories, yes. But… I’m not in pain all the time. I used to be, back when I first came. Pain so constant, like my stomach was full of rats. That’s changed, now. Coming here gave me meaning again. You…

But I will be alright. Don’t worry.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr

P.S. You can’t even drink it, so why does it matter?

P.P.S. No offence to him, but your cousin predicts dark things in the future quite literally all the time. I wouldn’t be too worried about this.


Dearest Ianto,

This letter should arrive, once more, a day before I will! I do love when that happens. A precursor to saying my “hello” to you in person. (Warning you now: this “hello” will consist of many things.)

Okay, so you do know more about being a valet than I do. I’ll allow you that. And it was done out of “caring.” But still, in the future, please make sure I am alright with being monitored so closely before you order someone to watch over me. It’s either you yourself, or no one at all.

You know I find your services valuable, so don’t be like that. I just care more about you overall than the thing I hired you for. That’s it.

(Speaking of bathing together, I do want that to be included in the “hello” I give you when I return, so prepare for that.)

Aha, I did manage to read that. You are fond of me. How sweet. I’m blushing.

Roll your eyes all you want, Ianto. I said what I said.

You will keep your job and your life if you dare to think of her once in your head as “Donna.” Nobody but I will know that, and I already said I care too much for you to only be my valet and have no other importance to me. Firing you will never happen, no matter what.

Also, you refusing to yell at me after you said “he should yell at you” only proves my point, so I am pleased nonetheless.

(I have asked Martha how her novel is coming on your behalf, so expect a story to you as part of my “hello,” too.)

If you are in less pain now than you were before, then that is all that matters to me. I want you to be happy, Ianto. And if this place gave you meaning… that’s all I could ever hope for.

I will be home soon to give you my “hello.”

From,

Your Jack, coming back for you

P.S. I know, but if I have guests with good tastes, I want them to have the good stuff.

P.P.S. He doesn’t say it all the time. And this one was… different. I don’t know. We’ll just see what the future has to hold.

Chapter Text

Dearest Ianto,

I had, very honestly and very sincerely, hoped it would never come to this.

As it unfortunately has, I am taking a page from your own book and I will be slipping this letter into your suitcase before you go. It will be mostly filled with nonsense prattling, because either it will soothe you or distract you. I should have thought to do that when you last went to London, but sometimes thoughts only catch up with me when it’s too late. But, seeing as the thought finally hit me before this had happened, I have a chance to do it now.

I know you don’t entirely like rain, but look outside! It looks rather lovely this time, doesn’t it? Well, assuming it’s still raining like that when you look outside. If it isn’t, just remember how it looked this morning. Silvers and greens, Ianto, silvers and greens.

My mother wrote me the other day, would you believe? All the way from America. I will be sending a letter back to her, imploring that she takes a homecoming sort of visit. Mind, I said nothing about Torchwood House and Scotland. Only Dyffryn House  and Wales. And I think you would like my mother, Ianto. She would certainly like you.

Rather belatedly, I realised parents may not be what you want to talk about. But I only crossed out the parts lightly, because maybe you don’t mind as much as I worry you might. I suppose it’s up to you to decide on that one, Ianto.

Owen is in a fit of madness, I think. I assume you heard him this morning, demanding to do a full-scale cleaning of the servant’s quarters. I understand where he’s coming from, and it is certainly something that should happen, but in that timespan? That seems unreasonable. And overly ambitious I don’t think that can happen in two days flat… can it?

Miss Sato is preparing a week’s worth of soup, on top of that. I don’t know why she feels the need to test that many recipes for that many soups, but here we are. I hope they’re all good…

I will be stuck with Tommy again. Well, not “stuck,” as he is actually quite a decent fellow. He can be pleasant to talk to, at times. He isn’t you, but he’s… okay, I’ve said decent already, but that’s the truth. Tommy is decent. I can deal with him until you return.

The maids are conspiring against me, I swear, because every time I turn around, at least one of them is giggling at me. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I am both intrigued and terrified.

That’s truly all I have to tell you, Ianto. You haven’t even left yet, so I can’t explain to you all the changes since you have been gone. That might be next letter. If you send a letter with an address I can write to, that is. Can’t write you a letter if I don’t know where you will be.

Anyway… I hope your trip isn’t too bad. I’ll miss you, as always.

From,

Your Jack


Jack,

You and me both, yet it has still happened. The universe does not seem to care much about our hopes, it would seem.

I’ll have you know that your letter nearly slipped from my suitcase. You are very lucky that I set it down for a brief moment and noticed the little white flap of paper sticking out. Otherwise, it would’ve blown away with the next gust of wind. But, as I stuck it in my coat instead, I managed to keep it, and I read it the moment I reached the inn. It did distract me, thank you.

Yes, I very distinctly remember that rain. You do realise I had to trek a good portion of my trip through that, right? The rain was far less welcome for me, I think, than it was for you. It had its appeal when I was indoors (and back then, I would have agreed that the colours were indeed beautiful), but the moment it soaked mud through my shoes, I was far more than done with it.

I don’t mind you talking about your mother. Your mother seems kind, from the small bits I’ve gleaned from you when you ramble about everything and nothing. Sometimes, I’m surprised how much I can learn about you when you say nothing of importance.

If your mother does visit, I should like to meet her.

There is one thing that heartens me about this trip: I will not have to lift a single finger to do any cleaning. Well. Presumably. I don’t think the inn will make me clean up my room, but I may do it anyway, depending on what state I leave it in.

(And, no, you wouldn’t have had an address to send that letter to, as I’ve been staying in an inn, like I’ve been saying.)

God, here’s me realising that I’m wasting everything I earn on that man. He isn’t even expected to make it. Why do I even bother? The bastard ruined my life.

Anyway.

I’m also somewhat glad to be missing soup-testing week. I don’t think I would much enjoy that. While Miss Sato’s cooking is wonderful, I don’t think I want a whole week of soups. Please tell me how you fare, though.

“Decent” is a very good descriptor for Tommy. You will both do just fine—I’ve coached him in a few finer points since the last time I left you in his care, so I have full confidence he won’t mess up your cufflinks again.

Right, I have to go for a moment. When I get back, I will certainly not be in a writing mood, so this will be the end of this letter.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

No, the universe does seem to be having a right time of bothering us. Some days, I find myself sitting and thinking, “God, what next?” because it seems every time either of us takes a breath, we are assaulted by everything ranging from inconvenience to tragedy.

Do you remember what I had told you the Doctor had said? About the future being dark and grim? I wonder if he means this.

I am very glad you caught the letter before it flew away. I would hate to think of you sitting through this by yourself. Knowing you, you wouldn’t have sent a letter yourself to say you were having a hellish time, so there would be no way for me to contact or console you. So, yes, I am relieved you managed to get my letter. And I am also relieved that it gives you at least some distraction. Hopefully even comfort?

Oh, no… I hope you managed to clean and dry those shoes out. You do really hate wet clothes, especially wet shoes. I’m sorry you had to be out in all that rain. I pray your return trip—whenever that may be—is less wet.

I shall talk about my mother more often, then, perhaps. She would definitely like you. She is quite like you, in a lot of ways. Dear God, I hope that doesn’t say anything about me…

I have had no word back from her, so I haven’t any clue if you will end up meeting her.

That’s you through and through, Ianto: willing to go above and beyond, even when you aren’t expected to. I’m sure the workers at the inn would appreciate the pre-cleaning.

Soup week is going well at the moment, though I am beginning to tire out already. There’s only so many types of soup one can handle in a few days before they all start blending together in memory. Miss Sato asked me for my favourite thus far, and I had no reply, because I couldn’t remember which was which. I don’t remember the flavour or the colour or the name. I lied and said “Tuesday’s dinner,” but I think the answer was actually “Tuesday’s lunch.” Oh, well.

Tommy has improved from the last time we were together. Thank you for that. It’s far less awkward now than it was before. There are still a few kinks to work out, but Tommy is still otherwise decent, and now improving.

Cleaning has commenced. The maids and Andy are now tetchy when I see them. I have learned to avoid them all.

And, Ianto…

I’m sorry.

I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know if that’s what you want to hear—I don’t think you even know what you want to hear, honestly—but it is the truth. I am sorry about your father, and I am sorry you are about to lose him. I know you hate him, but there is still that part of you that loves him. I know there is. Because I know some of the reason you hate him so much is because that part of you still loves him, in spite of it all.

If you are in any monetary or financial need, I will gladly assist. Just say the word, and all debts and expenses will be paid.

From,

Your sorry Jack


Jack,

My mum used to think the universe had a special place for everyone, but at this point… that special place must be hell for the pair of us, if this is what the universe dishes out to us. I can’t remember what I’d done to deserve that, but it must have been something dreadful.

I highly doubt this was what Lord Smith had in mind when he said that. I don’t think he’s psychic enough to read our own personal futures; I think he was just on his usual “doom and gloom” conspiracy.

No, you are right. I would not have written you first. I wouldn’t want to impose myself on you like that.

Also, I feel like it would somehow be incriminating to admit I draw comfort from your letters, so I shall say nothing and let you draw your own conclusions.

Shoes are now clean and dry.

I am very sorry for this letter—I just haven’t the brain to sit and write. I have restarted this four times over. I don’t know what to say. Or, if I do know what to say, somewhere deep inside my head, I just don’t know how to say it.

I’m tired, Jack. So tired.

Bastard refuses to even admit he’s dying. Lying in the goddamn hospital, on a hospital bed, wearing the hospital’s clothes… yet the few times he’s awake, he will not accept that he won’t make it. Thinks he can just get up and walk out for another pint. Can’t even get him to realise he hasn’t got two pence to rub together.

I don’t know what to do anymore.

You don’t need to loan me anything, or waste anything on me. You already pay me enough.

I have to go again. I’ll slip this away for mailing as I go, so I won’t come back and add more. God, I still haven’t an idea what I would add, anyway. There’s nothing I have to say that is useful.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

No. I reject that. You, having done something to deserve hell? That is the single most idiotic thing I have ever read with my own two eyes. Ianto, if you deserve anything, it is goodness, and happiness, and love. You do not deserve hell—do you understand me?

Okay, I will admit that you make sense in your second point. Perhaps this isn’t what the Doctor meant. But I dread to think of what he meant otherwise.

You aren’t an imposition, Ianto. I want to talk to you. Surely you’re not thick enough to think that. After all we’ve been through? You should know that by now. You asking for comfort (and I swear, Ianto, there is nothing “incriminating” to admit you feel somewhat better after reading something) is never something you should worry about. I will always want to make you feel better.

Like right now.

Ianto, if you’re tired, take a step back. If he’s set on believing… whatever it is he believes is going to happen, then let him. All you are doing is wearing yourself out trying to change a mind that won’t be changed.

I wish I could be there for you right now. I believe you to be every bit as tired as you say—even your handwriting is slipping a bit. I would hold you, Ianto, until you got the rest you needed. And then I would continue to hold you until the world started to right itself and skies cleared.

I don’t know what else to do for you but wish I was there and say “I’m so sorry” a million more times. Just know that, if I could do more, I would. I would do anything and everything in my power to make things right.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. It wouldn’t be wasting money on you.


Jack,

I think you look at me from a rose-tinted window. Maybe I don’t deserve hell, no, but I don’t think I deserve the rest of those things you have listed off. Perhaps I just deserve nothing. Yes, I think that’s it.

Rhiannon has finally showed up. Took her forever. I am now not alone in this mess, and I cannot tell if that is better or worse. Better, because now I do not need to deal with my father alone. Worse, because now I have to deal with Rhiannon and my father.

I can’t step back, Jack. He’s my father. You were right, all those times you yelled at me about him. I have an obligation.

I want to come home.

When did that become home? Not the castle, I mean, but you

Never mind that. I just want to come home. That’s all.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones, Jr


Dearest Ianto,

You do deserve good things, Ianto. I don’t know how to explain that more than I already have. I can show you when you return, because a demonstration tends to reach you far more than words ever do.

I will show you, Ianto, how good you are. How much you deserve.

I don’t entirely know what to say about your sister. I am glad that, at least in a small way, some of the weight is now lifted from your shoulders. But is unfortunate that she should cause you grief of another sort.

Not entirely sure you got my point from the talks we’ve had about your father. You have an obligation to him, yes, but not like this. Not to your own ruin. Any obligation you have is to solely be kind—I have said nothing about stretching yourself thin. Please, do not do that.

Home will be waiting for you, whenever you return. It always waits for you.

From,

Your understanding Jack


Jack,

He’s gone.

Only a few hours after I dropped off that letter. Awful timing, wouldn’t you say? Complain about him only for him to just

We’ve taken care of the funeral arrangements. Not much of a “funeral.” It should just be the five of us, I think. Tomorrow afternoon.

Should be leaving the morning after tomorrow. I shall be glad to see the back of this place. I’ve never had any fond memories of here.

Can we just rest, when I get back? Even for only an hour? I promise to get back on top of work, right after. But I just want a moment to rest. With you. For a little while.

I'm so tired, Jack...

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones

Chapter Text

Jack,

Well, now I’m just cross. Big, fancy party—one where I am certainly needed—and I am stuck at home, sick as a dog. How is this fair? What have I done to deserve this? Is the universe punishing me for being a bad valet? Well, if it is, it could be decent enough to tell me when I was a bad valet, and how I can right this wrong.

I have barely gotten out of bed. Owen has forbidden me from doing any work, which is absolutely ridiculous. First of all, I only have a few things to get done here. Second, it isn’t as if I can infect anyone more than I already have. I work with all of these people, and I share your bed. If any of you were to catch what I have got, the deed would have already been done, and you would already be sick. Seeing as nobody else is sick, I should be allowed to do my work. Right?

It is boring, sitting here in bed. What is there to do? Sit and write letters? Unless I write you letter after letter after letter about the most useless and bland things, it won’t do much. And even if I did do that, I would tire of it easily. Very easily. There isn’t much to say right now. Nothing has happened. Nothing is going to happen. It is so utterly dull here.

Anyway. Whoever they have set you up with better be doing your ties right.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones


Dearest Ianto,

You are ridiculous, you know that? The one time you get to take a true break, one where you have nothing to worry about at all, and what do you do? Complain about it. You should want a real break, Ianto. Everybody needs them—including you. Actually… especially you, at this point. You overwork yourself.

I hope the bedrest is doing you some good. Well, it probably isn’t, considering all I know about you and what the contents of your letter expressed. But one can still hope. Please get some rest, Ianto. Let Owen badger you. Even just a little.

If you do not wish to write letters, then don’t. I’d rather you did, so I know if you survive your… whatever it is you have caught. Keep in contact, so I know you haven’t dropped dead, please. Also, please don’t drop dead. That would be most unfortunate.

Gwen says she is sorry you couldn’t come along, too, and also that it’s a shame you are sick. She urges you to get well, and soon.

There, that’s me done passing the message along.

It is quite nice up here, Ianto, and it’s a shame you weren’t able to come along this time. Remember that picnic I promised we’d have? I would’ve taken you. It seems like it will be filled with nice weather, these last two weeks of July. Oh, well. Perhaps we can sneak back up in August, unannounced, and take our picnic. Gwen wouldn’t mind that. Rhys… well, he would mind very much, because he has mixed feelings about me (especially when I show up to his manor—and even more especially when I show up unannounced). But Gwen would be fine with it. That’s all that really matters.

In August is your birthday. You’re almost twenty-six. Nothing grand about the age, other than it will be yours. But, you must make of it what you wish! A great many things can happen to you when you are twenty-six.

Sometimes, I think people forget how young you are. You act incredibly old for your age, you know. I am not that much older than you, but at times, I forget I’m older than you at all.

Though, other times, you act so young… and I can’t believe the world has done so much to you already. And I am so angry at it. And thankful, too, because it brought you to me. I don’t know. It’s confusing.

Either way, I’m glad you are you and you are with me.

I think I have lost track of where this letter was headed. I think that means it is time for me to stop.

From,

Your Jack

P.S. Stay. In. Bed.


Jack,

I am not ridiculous. You are ridiculous.

Listen, I am not ridiculous. I simply have work to be doing. And I should be doing it. The fact that I am not allowed to do it is quite annoying, and rather inconsiderate. There are more important things to be doing than resting. Like cleaning out your wardrobe. Certainly, it must contain a few more shirts you have torn beyond usefulness.

(How you manage to destroy your clothes so often and so easily is beyond me, sir.)

So, no. Not ridiculous. Just driven. And that isn’t a fault, I’ll have you know.

Bedrest is driving me mad, Jack. Completely mad. Should you come home to find this place taken apart, it would have been done by me, in the throes of insanity. Write Owen and tell him to leave me alone and let me do my job. Please.

I’m writing you your letters. I haven’t much else to do, so fear not—if I don’t respond, I have most certainly perished.

Seriously, Jack. I’m fine.

Now let me do work.

And also give the baroness my thanks for me, please.

Way to rub salt in the wound, Jack. Why don’t you also spit on me, too? Or kick me while I’m down? You know I would have loved liked to have gone on that picnic. Teasing me with it now is just cruel. If we do sneak up again in August, I would not mind one bit. Yes, Baron Williams would, and I don’t have the understanding of his wife to the extent that you do, so I have no idea if she would, but I certainly wouldn’t.

It is my birthday in August. Do not make a fuss about it, please. The day is best just ignored, really. I will be ignoring it. Everyone else will not know about it. So, it is for the best to… leave it be.

I cannot tell if you are laughing at me, telling me I’m young, or bemoaning your own age. Or is it a mix of all three?

I’m not, technically, with you, in case you have somehow forgotten. I am at home. In bed. Sitting. Doing nothing but writing this letter. Though I hope by the time you return, I will hopefully be standing out front, dressed in my normal suit and waiting patiently for your arrival.

I just want out of this bed, Jack.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones

P.S. No.


Dearest Ianto,

Illness, as it would seem, brings out your… more satirical side. The wit in your last letter was so dry, I feared that if I shook the paper, half of a desert would come pouring out. I do hope that I am the only one on the end of your derision. Not entirely sure how most people would take that.

Speaking of: how closely do “ridicule” and “ridiculous” ride? Because if it’s as close as your letters seem to portray them… yes, I would say you are quite ridiculous.

You are also ridiculous because you seem to think whining will suddenly make Owen let you do anything. It will not, and you know that. And Owen and I would both argue that “doing things” is less important than getting your rest. (Actually, Owen would argue that not infecting the rest of the staff is more important than doing things, but in the end, we agree that doing things is not high on your list of priorities.)

I don’t destroy my clothes on purpose, I’ll have you now. Accidents just…  happen!

Again, me writing to Owen will do nothing. Well, it might do something—you’ll be put on a longer bedrest. Would you like that?

I seem to recall when I was last sick, you told me to stop getting sick. You also said I whined too much. And that I was dramatic. I’m feeling a warped sense of déjà vu, here.

I would remind you that you are going to perish of neither your cold nor bedrest, but I think that was another of your snide comments. So, instead, I shall tell you to take a deep breath and count to a good, high number. And then take a nap. Then, maybe, you will be calm.

Gwen has been thanked for you.

Ianto, I had no intentions of rubbing salt in wounds, spitting, kicking, or teasing. I was simply pointing out that we didn’t get to go on that picnic, and wouldn’t it be nice if we tried it again later? Though I’m glad to hear you would’ve loved the outing. Perhaps we’ll try a picnic out in the garden whenever you feel better again. It’s no river, but it is still pretty and still a picnic. But now I am absolutely going to sneak you up here in August.

I’m not doing any of the three, actually.

I know you’re not with me with me. You are at home, and I am here. What I meant was, you… and me… well. I’m assuming your derision means you got the sentiment, so I’ll leave it there.

Yes, I can picture it now. You’ll be standing there, with your hands on your hips (the way I like). Though I’m not sure about the “patient,” part, as you’ll undoubtably snatch my suitcase from my hands, carry it to the room, upend its contents, and then yell at me for not sorting it better.

(But now that I know to expect it, I will sort it very carefully, and then there will be nothing for you to squint your eyes at.)

Relax, Ianto. The sooner you relax and rest, the sooner you can get out of bed.

From,

Your ridiculously fond Jack


Jack,

Well, we’ll see how you fare when you have nobody to talk to but the wall (and maybe occasionally a letter to your… just a letter). You might get sulky and sarcastic, too. But we’ll never know, will we, because I’ll either be there to coddle you, or the rest of the staff will. I, on the other hand, am alone. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be sarcastic if I would like to.

Also, just because two words sound similar does not mean they mean the same thing. Ridicule makes someone else look ridiculous, Jack. So, take that. Sir.

I am not dramatic, whiny, ridiculous, or any other such adjective you intend to sling at me. And I never once said you were dramatic, by the way.

If Owen even thinks about trying to put me on bedrest… actually, the threat I intend to make has already been put in place. I haven’t been making the morning coffee for the staff while I have been sick, have I? If he forces me to stay in bed any more than needed, he will have to suffer even longer without my coffee. I think that is a good threat.

I wouldn’t protest against a picnic in the gardens. But last time we did that, ants ate some of the strawberry jam. No more strawberry jam on picnics, Jack.

And I look forward to August.

I will remind you that I am patient, and I have never dumped out your suitcase to (rightfully) yell at you for your disorganisation. I have, on one occasion, scowled at you for packing your shoes with your ties, but otherwise, I have done no scolding.

(Well, now I know to look for things to “squint my eyes at.”)

I am relaxing. I have been doing nothing but relaxing. It can get so very tiring, doing nothing but relaxing.

Sincerely,

Ianto Jones


Dearest Ianto,

Be as sarcastic as you would like, Ianto. I will not stop you. If it means redirecting your attention from your predicament, then I am all for it.

Though I would like to point out that the staff is also instructed to leave me well enough alone when I am sick. You are the only one who ignores that instruction. Or maybe it isn’t given to you—I don’t know. But I am lonely when I am sick. So, I’ll be coming home soon to make you less lonely. How does that sound?

Alright, maybe you never outright said I was dramatic. But it was implied.

Ianto, you are inconsiderate and cruel. Leaving the staff bereft of your coffee? How inhumane! I don’t think there is any crime that earns such a punishment. (Especially not leaving you on bedrest, which isn’t a crime at all. Just common sense.)

I’ll sneak the jam anyway, because we both like it and we’re both man enough to deal with a few ants. Or a hundred. Anyway, jam comes on all picnics. What is a picnic without jam?

Would you mind if we stole away on your birthday, or did you have plans?

No, I distinctly remember your rather loud displeasure the one time I came home with all of my things bundled up. Don’t tell me I’m making it up—I’m not. It was almost a year and a half ago, now. You were quite annoyed with me, and you did shout. And then we had sex, so I didn’t really mind.

But it did happen.

Well, relax from relaxing, then. Take some deep breaths. And another nap.

From,

Your Jack


Dear Mister Jones,

Lord Harkness has taken off for his cousin’s residence in Scotland. He asked me if I could write this to you, so that you knew where he was headed. He had no time to write the letter himself, for which he is sorry, but he had to leave immediately. 

I am sure you are now aware of the events that have occurred. I believe these are also the events that have your employer fleeing to his cousin’s residence, for he said (and also told me to relay this to you) he was gone to ask the Lord Smith about “dark and grim things awaiting us all.”  

Anyway, he said he would be back home in a matter of days, and that there is little point in trying to contact him at Torchwood House. 

That is the entirety of his message, so, with that, I will stop writing this letter.

From,

The Right Honourable Lady Williams

P.S. I suggest we all pray that we do not get sucked up into this war.

Chapter Text

Dearest Ianto,

Well.

I don’t think anybody had expected this, especially not either of us. War? Your sudden departure for the frontlines (though I do not know if you actually are on the frontlines—nobody has said a thing to me about it. I rather hope you aren’t on the frontlines)? This wasn’t what we had planned for. We were supposed to spend your twenty-sixth in Merioneth, and now the pair of us have missed it while you have been away.

Though I do hope you managed to celebrate at least a little. I have no idea what the war is like where you are, but a part of me is envisioning some small few minutes spent wishing you well. If that didn’t happen, please don’t tell me; let me keep my one happy thought of this. I just sat in bed for the entire morning and missed you.

Also, forgive me for not writing sooner. This is the first chance I have been able to write you one. Which is rather horrible, considering it has been a whole month of you being away.

I miss you so much, Ianto. This is the longest we have been apart in a very long time, and I hate every moment of it.

I have been, as you might have guessed, set up with Tommy again. Things are going better than they had the first week, but I still find that there are things he does that I do not like. Perhaps it is just because I do not like how he does them, or perhaps it is because I miss when you did them instead. I don’t know. It’s messing with my head somewhat. Missing you, I mean. Missing you is doing my head in.

And, as a side note, I’ll have you know I also enlisted, but I was denied. How ridiculous. And infuriating. What’s wrong with me? (Don’t say my back—they didn’t know about that.)

Right, I won’t say more until I know this letter has reached you. Would be a shame to send a bunch of nonsense if nobody was there to receive it.

From,

Your “Jacklynn”

P.S. I thought that would be a suitable name to hide behind, because it would be… not wise to put just my own. God, I hope nobody save for you can read through this, otherwise it would defeat the purpose of hiding behind a woman’s façade.


Jack,

“Jacklynn,”

No, we did not expect this. Part of me wishes we had, so we could have maybe prepared. Christ, I don’t even know if we could have prepared for this… but still, it would have been nice to know. I would’ve spent the last night we were together doing more than just I would have done something more if I had known I might not see you again.

It is absolutely disgusting where I am, I’ll have you know. Mud and dirt everywhere. And that’s the least nasty bits. It is… not pleasant here, sir. Ma’am…

I am rubbish at this.

Anyway, this letter is also late. I don’t have much paper. I can’t restart this, even though I would like to—as I have made a few too many errors for my liking—because of this lack of resources. You’ll have to do with my unedited nonsense, which is arguably a lot worse than it usually is, considering how distracted I constantly am from these domestic matters at this point.

It’s nearing night now, and I’m trying to write this by squinting my eyes, because candles are not a good idea right now. I don’t even think I have access to a candle, anyway. I shall have to find out. I won’t use it, but it would be good to know.

I have a lighter, though. And some cigarettes. Not enough to last me a good while, but enough to keep me going for a few days. Please don’t berate me once again for them—I would like to have one creature comfort here in this…

Anyway.

I was given two or three “happy birthdays” and that was far more than I had expected, so it will suffice.

Tommy will get the hang of it soon, if he hasn’t done already. While that won’t stop you from missing me, as I gather from your letter, it will hopefully give you some ease of mind about your appearance and timeliness. He will have you dressed and on time everywhere. I taught him well, I’d like to think.

Sir, Jack, Jacklynn,

Jesus Christ. I might as well address you as “you there” at this point.

What I was trying to say is: there is a reason you are not out here, fighting an actual war. It is because you are an earl a person of such high status. They would not willingly chuck you to the frontlines when you are an important member of society. I, on the other hand, was born with nothing and will die with nothing, so does it matter whether I should die here or back in Wales? No. Thus, here I am, trying desperately not to die until I’m back in Wales, because I will not die here. God, no.

Your nonsense was a much-appreciated distraction. Even if it’s a distraction that only happens once and a while, I would still like it. Please, send more nonsense.

Sincerely,

Private Ianto Jones

P.S. You do realise that is a made-up name, right? Nobody is named that. Why not Jacqueline? That is, at least, a real name.

P.S. You asked for a picture of me in uniform. There should be one enclosed in this letter. I hope that’s suitable enough.


Dearest Ianto,

If I had known you would be leaving me like that, I would absolutely have done something more than what we did. I would’ve held you tighter that night and demanded you not go. Refused to let you leave, maybe. Snuck in with you? I don’t know. But I would have done something.

Hindsight is always perfect, isn’t it? Oh, well. Can’t do a thing about it now.

Are you in a trench? What’s that like? You say muddy and dirty, but what else? I will never know, so I must picture it in my minds eye. I want to know what you’re dealing with. Might make me miserable to know, but I feel I must.

Do you normally edit your letters? If so, how many times do you write and re-write before you make the perfect one to send? Because that seems a tad… fussy, if you don’t mind my saying. And a bit of overkill. You don’t have to edit anything for me. I like your ramblings and your false starts.

I am slightly worried by the “I don’t have a candle” statement, so I must assume there are reasons you do not have one. Hopefully not for the same reason as your lack of paper. Should I send you a candle?

I will say nothing about your dreadful smoking habits. Smoke your life away, Ianto, if that’s what you choose.

Two or three “happy birthdays” are better than none, I suppose. I think I preferred the ever-so-slightly larger and grander birthday wishes that I’d conjured in my mind, but I can’t complain.

Tommy is… getting there. He still irks me in ways that I am now deciding are because I miss you, but otherwise, he can tie a tie as well as anyone else. You do it better, don’t worry.

However, there is one thing he is not good at: massaging out my back. I didn’t expect this to be a problem, as it isn’t often that you had to do it, but that problem has arisen. He was very awkward and my back hurts even more. I spent the day in bed, trying not to move. He was apologetic, and I accepted his many apologies, but he won’t be coming near my back with those hands ever again.

As for on time… Ianto, nobody could get me anywhere on time except you. You, and that trusty stopwatch of yours.

I miss that stopwatch.

If it is my status that keeps me from joining you out there, then why is it that Rhys managed to become a captain? That does not add up, Ianto.

The entire staff sends their regards. Yes, the entire staff, and that includes Owen. Miss Sato asked me to include a small message from her: “Tell him we all are rooting for him, and that we all want him home soon.”

Ianto, can we please not talk about you dying?

From,

Your “Jacklynn”

P.S. “Jacqueline” doesn’t have “Jack” in it. “Jacklynn” has both “Jack” and “Lynn” in it. And “Lynn” is Welsh. I can finally be the Welshwoman of your dreams, Ianto.

P.S. Suitable? Ianto, it is everything to me. (Also, you look very striking in that uniform. I’ll leave it at that for now.)

P.P.S. Private, huh?


“Jacklynn,”

I would like to drop the façade, but I suspect they might be reading our letters, considering how long it takes for them to deliver. And also because one of Eugene’s letters came in looking strange.

None of those things would have worked. I was strong-armed into enlisting, if you remember. This wasn’t exactly my choice. Begging me to stay would have done nothing for either of us, except make me miserable because I would have had to refuse. And sneaking in with me would have gotten you nowhere. Well, maybe dead.

I can’t tell you where I am. But it’s muddy and dirty, yes… and sometimes it fills with water when it rains, and the stench is near unbearable. And that’s not even mentioning the smell when people d

Never mind that. It’s a trench; it probably reaches all of your trench-y expectations. Nothing glorious about it, and I rather suggest you stop thinking about it.

No, back then I did not edit my letters. Perhaps I would restart if I had begun it in a way that lead to nowhere, or if I absolutely detested what I was saying, but I did not write the letters over and over again until I had the entire letter exactly perfect.

But now… now I find myself making many mistakes. My hands shake and sometimes it ruins the words and sometimes I write the wrong thing and… it’s all a mess, and I don’t know what to do…

Anyway, now I have no paper to restart. I have to keep writing what I write. And what I write is a mess, now.

I don’t have a candle. I don’t want a candle. There isn’t much use for a sustained flame. I don’t want them to see me.

Smoking is about the only thing doing me any good at this point. Part of our rations at this point. I think I smoke more than I eat. Don’t scold me—eating isn’t high on my priorities. The food is horrid, and I am hardly hungry, anyway. It’s hard to be hungry here.

It’s been a long while since my birthday. I hope you aren’t still thinking about it.

Tommy is doing his best, but do not let him anywhere near your back. That is the one thing I didn’t teach him about, because it was the one thing that bordered intimate. I didn’t think you would ask him.

I don’t have my stopwatch. Either I lost it in some muck somewhere, or it’s at home.

Alright, I’ll explain it better: Rhys is a baron with a wife and a baby on the way (don’t ask me how I know that –Pte Eugene Jones used to work for her before the war, and he got news from one of his friends). You, on the other hand, are an earl, a bachelor, and have no heir, and that makes you too valuable to lose. And you are a… woman, so you can’t fight.

Do you mind if I ask you to send a short reply back to Miss Sato? Could you read it out to her, please? Just this: “Tosh, I hope you’re well. Feed him more. Sincerely, Ianto.”

I know that’s short but… I haven’t much to say, really. I can’t think of anything.

Right, I have to go.

Sincerely,

Private Ianto Jones

P.S. There has never been a Welshwoman of my dreams.

P.S. I’m glad you like it. I look nothing like that man now—my uniform is considerably dirtier. Which I hate.

P.P.S. It is my rank. Please don’t make lewd jokes about that.


Dearest Ianto,

Are they tampering with your letters?

Okay, maybe nothing would have worked, but I would still have tried. I miss you, Ianto, and if past me could save present me this, I would’ve.

I won’t ask you where you are then. I hope it isn’t France—France sounds a horrid place to be right now. I haven’t heard much, but there have been rumours… it doesn’t sound pleasant. Anyone on that front is in all of our prayers, but I hope to God you are not one of those people.

Ianto, I worry about you constantly. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also because you seem… I don’t know how to put it. You don’t seem fully there, when you write. And your handwriting is shaky. Are you alright?

And if you are sure you do not want a candle, I will not send one. Though I am not sure I would have been able to send one, anyway.

I suppose I’m glad that something is keeping you warm at night, even if it is a cigarette. I can’t say what it will do for your health, but it is good that something gives you at least something to hold onto.

I have learned my lesson, and I’ll leave all back-massaging up to you. Of course, that would mean you would have to come home to do it.

Since I didn’t want you to worry about, I went searching for your stopwatch. I found it hidden in my desk, under some papers. When did we use it there? Wait. No, I know. I suppose we should be glad we didn’t break the thing when we were… “moving the desk.”

Gwen’s pregnant?

I have another letter to write…

From,

Your worried “Jacklynn”

P.S. Well, now there is.

P.S. Ianto Jones, in dirty clothes. I can just picture the disgust on your face.

P.P.S. I’ll say nothing. But there’s no stopping what I think.


“Jacklynn,” 

I think yours and mine have made it through fine, but they certainly censored things Eugene had written. But we should be safe. For now, anyway.

I miss you, too.

I miss lots of things. Good coffee, for a start. A bed. Pillows. Soft blankets. Miss Sato’s cooking. Not being full of mud. Baths. Clean air that doesn’t smell like decay. Letters that send on time. Sleep. Lack of the constant feeling of doom. The quiet.

No matter how hard you try to get me to say where I am, I still can’t. All I can say is that I hate it here. I hate it so much and I want to go home.

I’m fine. Mostly. At least, I’m better off than… others. Don’t worry about me.

And, no, I don’t think you would have been able to mail me a candle. Like I keep saying: it’s fine, and I don’t need one. My lighter died anyway. Though I might be able to nick one off of a dea

Don’t try to send me a lighter. I’ll get a new one.

Keep the stopwatch safe for me, yeah?

Sincerely,

Private Ianto Jones

Chapter Text

Dearest Ianto,

These letters just keep sending farther and farther apart, don’t they? I think this time might be partly my own fault, though. Changes to the staff have left me swamped.

Do you remember John Frobisher? Oh, why am I asking—of course you do. Anyway, he decided that his job helping me run the estate was too much of a bother for him, and he took his wife and kids and ran off to god knows where. So, all I have left is his secretary. I now have to figure out what to do there. Wish me some luck.

Tommy has been itching to leave off for war, which is troublesome. First of all, he seems too eager for his own good. That makes me nervous, for some reason. Second of all, Andy is not suited for your job. And he’ll be getting second-hand education on the job, because Tommy will be passing on his only passable knowledge on the matter. Lastly… we would miss him, if he left.

Speaking of missing people, I miss you right now. I always miss you. Missing you has permeated my daily life and become a constant heavy weight hanging over me. It hurts, in a way…

I also especially miss you right at this moment, because I have just received a letter from Martha, and I will now have to write her back and tell her you cannot help her with the idea you two shared. I suppose you could write your own letter to her and the two of you could collaborate that way, but to write and tell her that she cannot come over just to see you, because you aren’t here… that does not feel good.

But, since I miss Martha, too, I will convince her to join me here, anyway. God knows I need somebody’s company.

The staff are fine. Some have asked me to write more notes for you, but for now I think I just want this letter to myself. If they really want to reach you, they can write their own letters this time.

I have to go and figure out how to fix Frobisher’s mess now, because Owen just came in and yelled at me for it.

Also, I’m fairly certain that there are biscuits being made, and I would like to go steal one of those.

Hopefully you’ll write back faster than I do.

From,

Your "Jacklynn"


Dearest Ianto,

It has been… longer than it usually takes you to write me back, so either you missed my letter, or you just do not want to talk to me. I’m assuming it is the former—for the sake of my pride and because it seems the smarter thing to do—so I will repeat (in part) what I said last time.

As of then, John Frobisher ran off with his family and abandoned his job, the estate, his secretary, and me. And I had no idea what to do.

As of now, I have replaced Frobisher with his secretary.

Yes, his secretary.

Evidently, Ms Lois Habiba is well-versed in the workings of her former employer. Sneaky of her, but also incredibly clever. And while technically she still holds the title of secretary, and I have technically replaced Frobisher, that is only in writing. She is as much in charge of this as I am, and she is now helping me run the estate fairly well. We have big plans ahead of us, Ianto. Big, exciting plans. Well, exciting if you are either Lois or myself, anyway. Andy finds it dull as all hell.

Martha came to visit back then, which I had told you was going to happen in the last letter. She sends her regards and love. She said she might write you a letter, so the pair of you could work on whatever it was you were scheming up in those brilliant minds of yours. Maybe you have gotten that letter already. I have no idea if she sent it, or if you even received it if she had.

I found an old diary of yours. Very interesting stuff in there, if I may say so. How much do you write in your diaries, anyway? It seemed to be a rather eclectic composition.

And for the record—measuring tapes never lie.

I should go now. I have work to be doing.

Come home soon, safe and sound.

From,

Your "Jacklynn"


Dearest Ianto,

I am getting worried now. I waited even longer for that last one, but it seems you are not getting them. If you were annoyed with me, you would at least send me a letter saying to leave you alone. But you wouldn’t be so cruel as to leave me uncertain and concerned like this. That, and because I would then stop sending you letters, unlike now. Because I’m hoping that this one will reach you.

Also, Martha says she wrote to you, but you didn’t respond to her either, so there’s me glad it certainly isn’t me.

Right, if you haven’t gotten those last two letters, I suppose I’ll just quickly recapitulate once more.

Martha came to visit, because she had wanted to meet with you. I told her you were not here, but still convinced her to come, anyway. She sent you a letter, instead (as mentioned prior).

John Frobisher left his job and ran off with his family, and I replaced him with a joint combination of myself and his secretary. Lois is completely capable—if not more so—and together we are working on fixing up the castle a little, because she had pointed out that parts seemed a little decrepit and I am sad to say I agree. But, with some time and effort, this place should be as good as new. As new as a castle this old can be, anyway.

That is the old news. Onto the new news.

Gwen has had her baby: a rosy-cheeked little girl named Anwen. I am her godfather. And, yes, I know what you’re thinking: that ought to end terribly. It likely will. But she is adorable, Ianto. I couldn’t say no.

Tommy has decided he would like to enlist. Miss Sato, Owen, and I… well, we’re all holding onto him for as long as we can, delaying it as much as possible. None of us want to lose him to the war.

Christ, Ianto. I miss you.

From,

Your worried "Jacklynn"

P.S. If Tommy does join, and if he somehow ends up anywhere near you—take care of him. I’ve given him the same instructions for you.


Dearest Ianto,

Forget worried. I’m downright terrified now.

Ianto, where are you? Are you getting these at all? Can you just let me know, so I stop being so frightened all of the time?

Please be safe. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

From,

Your Jack


Ianto,

Stay with me, please.

Don’t go. Don’t leave me.

Please.

Don’t.

Your Jack

Chapter Text

Dear Lord Harkness,

Hello, I am Chaplain Luke Smith. I write to you today because the two of us share a mutual acquaintance.

Private Ianto Jones, one of the patients at the hospital I work in, has asked me to write to you on his behalf, as he is currently unable to write you himself. He says you are his employer, and that you would like to know his whereabouts. As I have come to befriend Private Jones, I would like to thank you for that. You are a generous and kind employer, being this concerned for his well-being. I told that to Private Jones, and he said you would hear of no such compliments for yourself, but it is true. The world could use more people like you.

And now I write for Private Jones:

“Sir,

I apologise for the lack of communication. Things happened. Things that I did not predict. Though perhaps I should have, considering everything.

But don’t worry about me.

Anyway, I got your letters. I have them all, and I have read through them. I’ll send my own when I can, and explain everything better. If I can explain, anyway. I’m not sure what to say.

Sincerely,

Private Ianto Jones”

That concludes his letter.

I suspect I may be writing for Private Jones for the foreseeable future, so I haven’t a clue when his promised self-written letters will come to you.

Until next time, I suppose.

Chaplain Smith