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Fic: Echoes Of Our Souls Chapter 3/13

Title: Echoes Of Our Souls
Fandoms: Torchwood/The Avengers
Pairings/Character: Steve/Ianto/Tony, Jack/Ianto/Steve/Tony, Natasha/Tosh/Darcy, Maria/Owen/Martha, Clint/Pepper/Coulson, Thor/Bruce /Jane, Nick Fury, past Steve/Bucky/Peggy and mention of Rhys/Gwen
Summary: After Jack left, instead of falling apart like the others him to, expected Ianto moved on with all aspects of his life. When Jack returned from his journey with the Doctor, nothing was the way he thought it would be. Now he's on a quest to win back Ianto's heart but Tony and Steve are not making it easy for him. The three men must figure out a way to put aside their differences in order to fit into Ianto's life, but it may take a mission gone wrong for them to finally see that Ianto loves them all equally.
Rating: R
Beta: RoyalLadyEmma
Art by: hollymarchosias see it hereand here
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or the Avengers.
Author Note: I had to mess with the Avengers timeline in order for this to work.




Chapter 3

It all seemed to happen in a whirlwind, two days after Ianto placed the call to his father, he, along with Tosh and Owen, found themselves on a SHIELD aircraft heading out of Cardiff in route to New York City.

It had been a bittersweet parting with Gwen, who despite Owen's warning, chose to stay with Torchwood and accept the team UNIT had sent her to fill the void that their leaving would create.

'Gwen, I do hope you remember how luckily you are to have a man waiting for you at home. Don't waste your life waiting for Jack to return because if he does ever come back, it won't be you he'd be returning for.' Owen took a quick glance at Ianto out of the corner of his eye; none of them had missed or could forget the kiss that Jack had given Ianto when he returned from the dead.

Gwen had simply looked at Owen as if he'd grown a third head. 'How could he possibly think Jack would come back for anyone but me? Why does he think I'm saving Torchwood in the first place! This way, Jack will see that I'm the one who loves him and that I'm the only one who cares about what goes on here.'

Sadly, Owen realised that Gwen hadn't heard a word he'd just said and it was time to go. He could only hope that for the three of them, this would be a fresh start.

As the plane sailed on through the night, Ianto thought back to their hurried departure, carried out under the cover of darkness. From the moment UNIT had arrived in the Hub and they'd left for the restaurant, Tosh, Owen and Ianto had been inseparable; as Owen has so wisely said, "there's strength in numbers'. If anything happens to one of us, it happens to all of us." Toshiko had actually wept with relief; she'd been living with the constant fear that UNIT would snatch her away and no one would ever know what happened to her.

Communicating over a secure agency mobile given to Ianto when he'd taken on his Torchwood assignment, all the necessary arrangements had been made within a matter of hours. After quick stops at Owen and Tosh's flats to pack a few necessities, they'd settled in at Ianto's waiting in the dark for SHIELD agents to meet them and escort them to the airfield. They had looked over their shoulder the entire trip, so afraid that UNTI might ambush them along the way. Just before boarding, they'd each handed over the keys to their homes so that SHIELD agents could pack and ship their belongings before UNIT could confiscate them all.

Ianto glanced down at Tosh's sleeping form; she was exhausted from all the stress and her head had ended up using his shoulder as a pillow. He was pleased to see her finally getting some much-needed sleep. He'd been quite alarmed to see her as they'd boarded the plane; they'd been so busy he hadn't taken the time to really look at her until then. Her skin was dull, there were heavy bags under her bloodshot eyes, and there was a steady tremor to her hands. Ever since UNIT had arrived, Ianto seriously doubted that she had gotten more than an hour of sleep over these last few days.

Trying to shift carefully so he wouldn't wake up Tosh, Ianto managed to make himself a little more comfortable. Excitement was building up within him the closer they got to home; he missed his SHIELD family terribly, and more importantly, he missed his father. 'I can't believe how close I came to losing my father and I couldn't even be there for him.' Ianto had hated that his duties at Torchwood One had kept him from being there for his dad when he needed him the most. 'That all changes now.'

Turning his head Ianto gazed out the window and up at the night sky, trying to see beyond the stars that twinkled back at him. 'I hope you find it is whatever you're looking for out there, Jack.' He sighed deeply, unable to look his reflection in the eye. 'I just wish it could have been me.'

*****

As the SHIELD Helicarrier came into view, Ianto couldn't help but smile proudly as he heard Owen and Tosh's sharp intakes of breath.

"Okay, so UNIT hates SHIELD because they have nicer toys than them, is that it?" Owen snickered loudly. "From what I've seen of UNIT's flagship, the Valiant looks like a cheap knock-off of the Helicarrier."

'I'm home,'  Ianto thought fondly as the aircraft landed and taxied forward into the safety of a secure hanger. For the first time in years, he actually felt completely relaxed.

Their pilot turned to face Ianto, respect and admiration clear in his eyes and demeanour. "Agent Jones, you and your guests are free to disembark. We've been given orders to send your belongings on to the Avenger Tower."

"Thank you." Ianto climbed to his feet and helped a wobbly Tosh up.

Owen and Tosh watched as a distinct and positive change came over Ianto; a lightness they'd never seen before appeared on his face as the three of them exited the aircraft. They looked up to see two men clearly armed and watching them closely. One of them was a scary, badass-looking African American with a patch over one eye, while the other man, in Owen's opinion, looked like the Tea-Boy, only older and more distinguished.

There were also two women standing there waiting for them, both drop dead gorgeous. One was a redhead and the other dark-haired, and they both gave off a vibe that declared, 'mess with me and you will die a slow and painful death.' Owen shivered in his tracks, 'just my kind of challenge!'

Ianto straightened his shoulders and smiled. "Director Fury, Agent Phil Coulson, Agent Maria Hill, and Agent Natasha Romanov, I would like you to meet Toshiko Sato and Doctor Owen Harper." Ianto introduced everyone; he'd seen the way Owen's eyes had lit up the moment he'd seen Maria and Natasha, so he just stood back with a tiny smile to see what would happen next.

Without warning, the redhead shot forward and Owen quickly slapped a grin on his face as he searched his mind for a good come-on line. Opening his arms, he waited for her to rush into them only for his lower lip to shoot out in a mutinous pout as the gorgeous redheaded woman rushed past him without a second glance. Gobsmacked by this strange turn of events, the doctor watched as wrapped her arms around Ianto's neck and pulled him down into a brief kiss  before releasing him to settle against his side. "Oh come on!" he grumbled in disgust and disappointment.

The very next moment a man dropped from the air ducts like a giant spider and landed right in front of Ianto and the woman with a big grin on his face. "Hey, Yan! I see Natasha's already latched on. Ya know, I'd greet you the same way but it might be a little weird since I'm sleeping with your father. How about a hug, son?" He opened his arms wide.

Ianto favoured him with the same familiar eye roll that Tosh had seen him give both Owen and Gwen whenever they said something stupid. "How about no and I don't cut you off from my coffee." Ianto generously offered with a raised eyebrow.

Clint pouted at Ianto before turning to look over his shoulder. "Phil, our son is ashamed of me!" he whined dramatically.

'Bloody hell! It's another Jack!' Owen grimaced and fought the urge to roll his eyes. 'One Jack Harkness was more than enough for me.'

Tosh, on the other hand, giggled at Clint's actions; she was happy to see that Ianto had so many warm and loving people who cared about him.

Hearing the sweet sound of Tosh's giggle, Clint turned his most charming smile on her as he took her hand in his. "Why hello, I'm Clint Barton and who are you, my lovely flower?" He brought her hand to his lips and placed a soft kiss on her wrist.

"Toshiko is off limits to you," Ianto growled protectively.

A childish pout graced Clint's face as he released Tosh's hand and he turned to face Ianto. "You ruin all my fun!" he whined and stomped his foot in protest.

Ianto and Coulson both rolled their eyes at the same time and they gave identical put-on sighs, and it was in that moment that Owen knew he was right.

They were father and son.

"Agent Barton, I don't pay you to flirt, I pay you to kick ass and I don't see any asses being kicked." The man that both Owen and Tosh thought of as the badest of all bad asses growled menacingly.

"Agent Barton and Agent Romanov, why don't you take our guests to the Avenger Tower so they have time to rest before the debriefing?" Coulson suggested.

"Hold it! Before we go anywhere with Legs and Jack, Jr., I want to know one thing." Owen was tired of being ignored and he decided it was time to speak up. Tosh groaned and Ianto tightened his grip on Natasha as she stiffened at Owen's nickname; he began to worry about how long the medic would last before Natasha or Maria tried to kill him.

"Yes, Doctor Harper, what is it?" Coulson struggled to keep his temper under control; the moment Owen had spoken Coulson knew he was dealing with another Tony Stark.

Owen's eyes narrowed as he gazed at Coulson. "Are you and Tea-Boy and you related?"

A savage growl escaped Natasha's lips. "You call Agent Ianto Jones Tea-Boy? You degraded him down to a Tea-Boy?!" Natasha's eyes flashed with barely controlled rage.

Alarmed by the sudden change from delighted to beyond angry, Owen wisely took a step back from her and Ianto was amused when Owen even ducked behind Tosh in an attempt to hide.

Lips twitching as he watched Owen's reaction to Natasha, Coulson cleared his throat. "To answer your question, Doctor Harper, Ianto is my son and Director Fury is his Godfather."

Looking at Coulson then at Fury and finally back at Ianto, Owen could only shake his head. "Only you, Tea-Boy, could have a Super-Agent as a dad and one of the scariest men alive as a Godfather. It explains so damn much."

Ianto wasn't sure whether or not he should take Owen's comment as a complaint or insult. Sensing his confusion, Tosh graced Ianto with a soft smile. "I think what Owen is trying to say is that he finally understands where you get your badass side from."

Seeing the way Toshiko offered Ianto comfort while at the same time leaping to Owen's defence, Natasha knew she was going to like the petite Japanese woman. She was very happy that Ianto had found such a good and loyal friend in the snake pit that was Torchwood.

Bored by all the emo crap going on, Clint broke the tension the only way he knew how. "Come along, son, it's time you got to meet your new uncles and aunties." Clint threw his arms around Ianto's shoulders and began dragging him off towards one of the waiting SUVs. Natasha's good humour had quickly returned, and she ushered Tosh and Owen after them.

Maria, Fury and Coulson waited till the five of them were out of sight before a hint of a smile twitched at the corner of Maria's lips. "So, how long do you think it'll take before Ianto has the Avengers completely under his control?"

"The very moment they taste Ianto's coffee." Fury turned his gaze to Coulson, "You do know that if your son ever went evil he would be ruling the world with a week."

Coulson met his old friend's gaze with a knowing look in his eyes. "Then it's a very good thing Ianto and his coffee are on our side."

Maria nearly moaned aloud at the thought of once again having access to Ianto's coffee. "What I'm most looking forward to is seeing Ianto's sharp tongue putting Stark in his place." 

Coulson and Fury had to admit that Maria had a point; they'd both like to be there when Tony Stark and Ianto Jones met for the first time. There weren't many who could match Tony snark for snark but if anyone could, it would be Ianto.

*****

Steve Rogers wasn't sure what he should be expecting from the new arrivals; people were so different and even a little weird for his taste. 'I've barely adjusted to my teammates, how will I adjust to these newcomers?' It was no secret that Steve was rather awkward when it came to dealing with his fellow teammates and even those from SHIELD. In his opinion, they just emphasised how out-of-touch he really was with the rest of the world.

Entering the living room Tony's gaze zeroed on Pepper like a homing beacon. "So are you ready to meet the son-in-law?"

"Ianto is not my son-in-law because Phil, Clint and I are not married." Pepper pointed out for what felt like the thousandth time since Tony learned about Phil's son. She was really getting tired of stating something that she thought should be perfectly obvious to Tony; after all, it certainly was to everyone else.

Tony waved his hand dismissively. "Still, you are bumping uglies with his father so that does place you in the could-be-future-step-mom role."

"Hey, what have we said about teasing our girl?" Clint's voice cut through the air. All those present turned to the doorway eager to get their first glimpse of Coulson' son.

Clint grinned proudly as he swung an arm around the person standing closest to him. Definitely the youngest of the trio, the young man looked deliciously yummy in a pinstripe three-piece suit with a dark red shirt and an even darker red tie. "Say hello to Ianto Jones, people; son, say hello to everyone."  

'Son?' A long-suffering sigh escaped Ianto's lips. "Of course, dad." Sarcasm dripped off the last word but apparently, it went completely over the older man's head because...

Clint's grin grew impossibly wider as he turned to face everyone, his eyes shining brightly. "Did you guys here that? He called me dad!" His grip around Ianto tightened and he pulled his son in close against him; he didn't think he'd ever been prouder of Ianto than he was at that moment.

As one, Ianto, Pepper and Natasha all rolled their eyes. "Ignore him," Ianto smiled politely at the assembled group. "It is a pleasure to meet you all. These are my friends, Toshiko Sato and Doctor Owen Harper."

The instant Tony Stark looked into the sparkling blue eyes of Ianto Jones, he knew he was a goner, and from the hitch in Steve's breath, Tony knew he wasn't the only one.

Smiling broadly, Pepper climbed to her feet and crossed the distance between them to come and stand in front of Ianto, the young man she had only seen on their web chats. "It's so good to finally meet you in person, Ianto," and she reached out to shake his hand.

The warmth of Pepper's smile reminded Ianto of Lisa's and he was happy his father and Clint had found such an amazing woman to share their life with. "And it's nice to finally the woman who can put up with Clint without running for the hills."

The grin fell from Clint's face;  he gave Ianto and Pepper a kicked puppy-dog look. The pout he aimed at the two of them reminded Ianto surprisingly of the one Jack used to give him.

Pepper just stared back at Clint, completely unimpressed. "That look won't work on me honey. I work for Tony Stark, remember? I've seen that look every day for years.  I'm immune to it."

Ianto raised an eyebrow. "My old boss was a master at using that look as well, so it won't work with me, either," he added casually, causing Clint's pout to grow as he sulked. Only Tosh and Owen saw the deep pain that flashed in Ianto's eyes, and Tosh realised that although he masked it well, that pain hadn't left Ianto's eyes since the day Jack had disappeared.

"What is this, pick on Clint day? Pepper," Clint whined piteously as he released Ianto and curled into Pepper's side. "I thought you loved me?"

"It's always pick on Clint day." Tony added helpfully as he flicked his gaze over the three new arrivals. He was very careful in his perusal, making sure his gaze didn't linger too long on Ianto Jones; no sense in being obvious this early in the game. Only one other man had ever stirred such intense emotions so quickly with just a single glance and that was Captain America. 'You, Ianto Jones, are going to be trouble, I just know it. I can feel it in my bones.'

Tony figured the best way to get away from the delicious temptations that Ianto Jones and Steve Rogers were offering was to get the introductions over with. "Right.  I'm Tony Stark, genius billionaire, and I have an awful lot of work to get done. Word of advice, gentlemen, stay out of my lab, except for you, of course Miss Sato. You can stop by any time. " Tony winked at Tosh before turning on his heel and exiting the room as dramatically as he could. He was heading for his lab, already making plans for the next time he'd see Ianto Jones.

A knowing gaze entered Pepper's eyes as she watched Tony leave. 'Oh, Tony, when will you stop denying yourself a chance at love?' It hadn't escaped Pepper's notice how Tony would look at Steve; it was a way he'd never looked at her. Now she saw the same flash of interest when Tony looked at Ianto.

Bruce shook his head. "Don't mind Tony, he's not very social able; he actually prefers his machines to real live humans. I'm Bruce Banner and it's nice to meet the three of you." Bruce smiled at them, welcome in both his voice and his eyes.

Snorting with laughter, Owen nudged Tosh in the side. "Then Tony and ol' Tosh here should get along just fine. They can geek out over the newest science toys together."

A dark blush painted Tosh's cheeks; it was no secret among the Torchwood team that she preferred her devices to humans. 'They don't have the power to hurt you like some other people.' Tosh chanced a glance at Owen, saw the usual condescending look on his face he always had when he talked about her work, and made herself a solemn vow, 'This is a new start, Owen Harper. You never have and never will see me as anything but the geek girl so it's time I found someone who wants me for me.'

"I'm Darcy Lewis and I'm supposed to tell you that Jane and the big hunk we all know as Thor are sorry they missed you but they are looking forward to meeting you when they get back." Darcy had been quietly and unobtrusively studying the newcomers and she'd easily decided that Owen wasn't to her taste, especially given the clear disdain in which he held his Torchwood teammates. However, Tosh and Ianto were another story entirely.

'If I didn't have Natasha, I'd have jumped Mr Looks-Good-in-a-Suit the moment I heard those beautiful Welsh vowels! I have to admit, smart equals sexy in my book, which makes that Toshiko pretty darn cute. Of course, I also saw the way the two others reacted to Mr Jones and there is just not enough boy/boy/boy love on this team to suit me!' Oh yes, a plot was beginning to form in Darcy's mind, one she was quite sure was going to make everyone very happy.

The final member of the welcoming committee stepped forward and held out his hand. "I'm Captain Steve Rogers. It's nice to meet you all." Steve greeted them with a friendly and easy-going smile.

"Bloody hell! You're Captain America!" Owen blurted out the obvious when it dawned on him just exactly who Steve was and the blush that graced Steve's face only proved he was right.

"Grow up, Owen, and stop embarrassing the man," Ianto snorted; he could see the discomfort that being recognized was causing Steve.

Glancing at Steve, Owen could clearly read the discomfort pouring off Steve in waves. "Sorry, mate. It won't happen again." 'Geez, grow a pair, mate!' While he felt no remorse for making the man uncomfortable, Owen knew it would do him no good to get on the wrong side of his new teammates.

Steve just shrugged his shoulders and favoured Owen with a genuine smile. "It's all right you didn't know."

At the lull in the conversation, Pepper decided to speak up. "I'm sure you three have had a long journey and would like to have a chance to get settled in your rooms."

"That sounds wonderful, Miss Potts." Tosh longed for a real bed to lie down in; she'd barely closed her eyes since seeing UNIT soldiers standing around in the Hub; the few times she'd managed to doze off she had been immediately overcome by horrifying nightmares of them dragging her back to a prison cell. Even thinking about it now made her feel queasy.

"Call me Pepper, everyone is on first names here. Bruce, would you mind showing Miss Sato to her room and giving her a tour of the lab Tony has set up for her."

Tosh's eyes went wide with pure delight. "I have my own lab?" Her voice literally squeaked with surprise. 'I didn't even have one at Torchwood!' Suddenly sleep didn't seem all that important anymore.

Grinning, Bruce offered his arm to Tosh. "Tony likes to spoil his guests, it's his way of sucking you in so you never want to leave."

Ianto was pleased to see Tosh finding a friend in Bruce; he'd always tried his best to keep up with Tosh's science talk in the Hub, but after a point, it would just get to complicated and he'd fail. 'It will do Tosh some good to have someone who can not only understand and keep up with her but actually give her some good input.' He caught her eye and winked; she returned a smile that lit up her entire face.

Climbing to her feet, Darcy glanced at Owen. "I'll show Doctor Harper to his room and then the fancy new Medical Bay Tony had set up. Just a word of warning, Doc, I have a Taser and know how to use it, in fact I once tased Thor, the God of Thunder, with it, so it would be in your best health if you kept your hands to yourself." Darcy raised one eyebrow when she saw Owen open his mouth to comment.

As Owen looked into Darcy's eyes, he saw the same scary look that Ianto had in his when he shot him for calling him Jack's part-time shag. 'Yeah, never doing that again.'  As his shoulder gave a twinge, Owen gulped back the pithy comment that was on the tip of his tongue, and instead merely said, "Lead on, Miss Lewis."

Pepper and Natasha were having one of their infamous conversations without words and once it ended Pepper turned to Steve with a sweet smile on her face. It was a look he'd seen too many times before and it immediately set Steve on guard; nothing good ever came of it. "Steve, would you be a dear and show Ianto to his room?"

Now, there was something about Pepper Potts that people just couldn't say 'no' to, whether it was her sweet and friendly personality or just the fact she be could downright terrifying. So when she locked that sweet smile onto Steve, he knew he couldn't say no. "It would be my honour," Steve told Ianto.

It wasn't until Steve and Ianto were walking away talking about something that Clint finally understood what the two very scary redheads were up to. "Are you playing matchmaker with our son, Pepper?" He tried to act outraged but he couldn't help agreeing that Ianto would be good for Steve. "But what about the unresolved sexual tension between Tony and Steve? I don't want Ianto to get hurt." There was a clear warning in his words.

Natasha just smirked at Clint. "Who says we're just playing matchmaker between Steve and Ianto?" 

'Life with the Avengers is going to get very interesting,' Clint thought with a grin.


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