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Fic: Starting Over

Title: Starting Over
Fandoms: Torchwood/Harry Potter
Characters/Pairing: Ianto, Draco, Tosh, Owen, Gwen and mention of Jack/Ianto
Summary: Ianto meets up with an old friend and discusses his new life as a former Torchwood Agent.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or Harry Potter
Beta: RoyalLadyEmma
Rating: PG

It had been a long time since Ianto Jones had set foot in the magical world but as he looked around he still felt right at home. Tucking his hands into his pockets he stared up at a building he hadn't seen in years but right now it felt like he had never left. He felt lighter than he had in far too long as if a great weight had been lifted off of his shoulders, one that he hadn’t even realised had been holding him down. But now, it felt like years of hard living had been wiped away leaving him feeling younger and capable of anything. ‘Today,’ he decided, ‘I’m going to start living again.’

As he pushed open the heavy wooden door of The Three Broomsticks a rush of warm air hit him in the face as Ianto entered the familiar old pub; it looked, smelled and sounded just like it always had during his schooldays.

Madam Rosmerta smiled brightly as she saw Ianto walking across the room with a spring in his step she hadn't seen since before the war. Everyone who knew Ianto had been terribly worried about the Ravenclaw alum working for such horrible places as Torchwood One and then Three. They all agreed that dealing with the emotional turmoil of being one of only twenty-seven out of nearly eight hundred souls to survive the Battle of Carney Wharf had to be extremely difficult and they admired the young wizard for his resiliency. Torchwood and its exploits – both good and bad – wasn't a secret in the wizarding world although Torchwood quite fortunately knew nothing about them.

"Draco!" Ianto greeted his old friend enthusiastically as he slipped into the booth across from the blond man. It felt so incredibly good to let his magic out once again; it had been too long since he’d been himself.

Draco's left eyebrow climbed high as he watched Ianto slide into the empty seat. "What the hell has gotten you in such a bloody good mood today?" Draco had felt the change in Ianto the moment the man had entered the room and his curiosity had spiked. Like everyone else, he too had been worried about his old friend since he’d been out of contact for so long with the wizarding world, but when Ianto contacted him wanting to meet he wasn't about to look ‘a gift horse in the mouth’ as the muggles would say. As he studied him Draco could tell by the sparkling light in Ianto eyes he had recently freed himself from some heavy, soul-crushing burden. 'I just wish it was the right burden he freed himself from.'

At that moment the waitress, veela appeared at their table with two mugs of butterbeer. The men raised their mugs and saluted one another before taking a long drink; their mugs hit the table at the same time with a resounding clunk. Draco waited patiently for Ianto to answer his question.

"I quit Torchwood today."

“Huh? Wha…?” Whatever Draco had been expecting Ianto to say that definitely hadn't been it. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I don't think I heard you right."

Enjoying the moment, Ianto chuckled at his friend's confusion. "I know many of you want me to come home but I've had my reasons for staying. That cyber-thing posing as Lisa was one of them but there was another, more important reason..."

Draco's confusion melted away as a deep, brow-furrowing scowl took its place. "The other reason is that blasted Captain Jack Harkness, isn't it? Oh, Ianto! You can't be serious about him! He left you!" Draco felt angry and even a little betrayed himself on behalf of his friend.

Ianto’s smile abruptly faded from his face as pain flickered in his eyes and he suddenly found the table and the ring of condensation from his mug very interesting. "Trust me, I never expected to fall for the likes of Jack Harkness but Draco it's more than a simple crush…” his voice trailed off as he searched for the right words to express his feelings for the immortal. “…my magic calls for him," Ianto admitted in a soft voice.

Draco sucked in a harsh breath and felt the anger he had been feeling towards the muggle who’d so callously left his friend behind suddenly explode into pure rage. "I'm going to kill him!" Draco slammed his fist down on the table so violently that, the mugs trembled and the butterbeer sloshed over the rim.

Ianto laid a calming hand on Draco’s clenched fist and whispered softly, "It doesn't matter now; Jack has made his choice, he has to do what’s best for him and I can't fault him for that."

'And isn't that Ianto, loyal to a fault and placing the needs of those he loves before his own.' Draco forced himself to relax. "You know none of the others are going to see it that way and let's not get started about your mother!" he grinned with a knowing look on his face that bordered on a wicked smirk.

Ianto winced and barely supressed a shudder as he thought of his mother's wrath. "I think even my mother will have trouble tracking the Doctor and his TARDIS throughout time and space," Ianto was thankful that Jack was safe from his mother.

Ianto's relief was short-lived as Draco made his next point, "Well that might be true about your mother but while I wouldn't put it past her to find a way to track him, what about your father? I don't think that will hold true for him." The blond watched as Ianto immediately deflated and his shoulders slumped in defeat.

Draco sighed deeply; he felt badly that Ianto now looked like a kicked puppy and he longed for the old days when he wouldn't have cared what others were feeling. However, that had never held true of Ianto; the young Ravenclaw he had been his first real friend and no matter where life had taken them that had always remained true. "Listen, Ianto, I get it that you want Jack to be happy; in fact, your bond demands it but that doesn't mean that you have to be the one doing all the sacrificing and destroying your happiness for Jack’s benefit."

"I'm not doing that!” Ianto protested. “Jack had to go with the Doctor, there’s something he needs from the Time Lord, I can only hope and have faith that once he gets whatever it is, Jack feels more for me than he does for the Doctor and comes home to me. Then he's going to have to come find me because I am done with Torchwood," Ianto explained.

That had Draco resting back into his seat taking a leisurely sip of his butterbeer. "See now that’s a story I am very interested in; just what caused you to leave Torchwood after all this time? A lot of us feared that it would be your death."

Draining half his mug in a single gulp, Ianto copied Draco and relaxed in his seat as he began his story...

******

Earlier that Day

After the unexpected joy of Jack’s return to life, the immortal had left them without warning and his unexplained departure was an open wound that was slowly tearing the team apart. Owen and Gwen were constantly butting heads over who should lead, a dangerous situation which had nearly cost Toshiko her life on one occasion. Gwen’s relationship with Rhys was suffering and Owen was becoming even more of a bastard. Tosh was sinking deeper and deeper into the private world of her computer programs, and Ianto had faded completely back into the shadows. Once again the young wizard was the invisible member of the staff.

They were falling apart and Ianto knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if they didn’t get their act together soon someone was going to die.

The day had been filled with Owen in his medical bay and Gwen from her desk on the Hub’s main floor yelling and screaming at one another so loudly that even Myfanwy was shrieking in dismay. Owen didn’t like the fact that while they were in the field retrieving a new piece of flotsam from the Rift, Gwen had believed that she was in charge. He didn’t understand why she thought she should step into Jack’s boots when she was the newbie on the team and he had refused to follow her orders. As for Gwen she was under the impression that since she’d been hired as Suzie’s replacement and Susie had been Jack’s second-in-command that automatically gave her the same position and authority.

Back in Hub with a bit of harmless space trash in their possession, the war that had been brewing between the two finally erupted, leaving Tosh and Ianto to run and duck for cover.  Gwen was upset and expressing her opinion of Owen for refusing to accept her orders while Owen was shouting back that she couldn’t properly order lunch much less order him around.

Another week passed and tensions between the two feuding team-mates were still running high. Ianto tried not let the situation get to him, but after Gwen, in a fit of wrath, threw her coffee mug – still more than half-full of Ianto’s premium blend, by the way – at Owen, Ianto had decided that enough was enough. He and Tosh were so unbearably fed up with hearing Gwen’s grating voice and Owen’s crude yet childish comebacks that Tosh had taken to wearing noise-cancelling headphones and Ianto was ready to let Myfanwy binge on the chocolate stash which would put her into sugar overload and have her shrieking at the top of her lungs and dive-bombing anything that moved.

In the end, Toshiko had taken pity on Ianto and after checking with her predictor program, she’d told him that the Rift was going to be calm for the next week, Ianto headed back to one of the few places he actually felt safe, his Archives. Being several levels below the main Hub, whenever he was down there, Ianto was surrounded by nothing but blessed silence.

Unfortunately, the forced idleness caused by the Rift’s inactivity only seemed to make matters worse. With no reason to go out into the field and work off their pent-up hostility and energy, the war of words between Gwen and Owen has escalated into a physical battle, with Gwen destroying their supply of mugs and Owen throwing whatever he could get his hands on. Fortunately for everyone involved, either on purpose or by accident, neither one of them ever actually hit their target. Ianto winced as he heard the sounds of yet another coffee cup smashing as Gwen’s angry voice drifted down from Jack’s office and into the kitchen. In an attempt to force Owen to accept her as Torchwood’s leader, she had moved into the upstairs office even though the team had previously agreed that it should be left exactly as it was, awaiting Jack’s return.

A sigh escaped Ianto’s lips as he closed his eyes and attempted to block out the endless noise bouncing off the Hub’s walls by concentrating on washing up from the day’s coffee-making duties. He fought back a groan as despite his best efforts to ignore them, the angry voices of Owen and Gwen destroyed his meditative state; they were fighting for what felt like the thousandth time over who was acting leader during Jack’s absence.

Honestly Ianto was simply itching to tell them both to just shut up! He was so excruciatingly tired of their endless bickering that he was sorely tempted to lace their next round of coffee with a strong sedative from the med bay just to get a little peace and quiet; he was sure that Tosh wouldn’t mind the respite one little bit. Ianto might not always get along with Owen but between the two of them the man was the clear choice for leader. Gwen was far too new to the world of Torchwood, much too naïve and far too wrapped up in herself; she had no right to try and lead them. They all three had years more experience than her, Ianto especially given his time with Torchwood London, and in all honesty Ianto could not see Gwen’s bleeding heart allowing her to make the tough choices that the job often required. Having seen Owen in action, he knew the doctor could and would do whatever was necessary for good for the team, for Cardiff and for the world at large.

“You must be out of your mind to think that you, the newbie, have any right to boss us around. I’m not Jack, I don’t have oatmeal for brains where you’re concerned which means I won’t let you lead me around by my dick! I’ve already been there and done that and honey, you are not that impressive!”

Ianto fought back a snort of laughter as Owen’s comments reached his ears; he had to admit that the medic had a valid point. Jack never thought with his head when dealing with Gwen; all she had to do was flutter her eyelashes and stick out her chest and he’d give in to whatever demand she was making at the moment. At first it was clear to everyone that Jack had hired Gwen just to get her into his bed, but as he and Jack had spent more and more time together Ianto had noticed that Jack’s interest in Gwen had faded to almost nothing as they’d grown closer.

‘It sure as hell wasn’t Gwen that Jack kissed in front of everyone when he returned from dying at Abaddon’s hands. If Jack had really wanted Gwen then nothing would have stopped him from having her.’ Ianto felt a small shiver of pride fill him as he recalled the dagger-filled looks Gwen had sent him after watching Jack kiss him in front of everyone. He had hoped that when Jack so publicly revealed their relationship to the team that the other man was showing Gwen who he really wanted to be with. Feeling Jack’s arms wrapped around him so tightly and their lips pressed so firmly together, Ianto had foolishly believed that Jack wanted them to become more than just convenient shag buddies.

How wrong he was.

Ianto wasn’t blind nor was he stupid. He knew that Jack had been waiting for the Doctor for more than a century, hoping against hope that the Tine Lord could cure him of the curse of immortality. The moment Tosh had played back the CCTV coverage of the Plass and Ianto had heard the distinctive sound of the TARDIS, he’d known exactly who Jack left with and why. As if learning about the Doctor and the ‘threat’ the alien posed to the British Empire hadn’t been drilled into the minds of every Torchwood London employee wasn’t enough, Jack  hadn’t been as thorough as he’d thought when he tried to hide or destroy the many files that Torchwood had created on him over the years. Yvonne Hartman had been well aware of the fact that Jack was once a companion of the infamous Doctor and therefore London had kept detail notes of every aspect of Jack’s life they could discover including the fact that Jack was waiting for the Doctor to return.

In the beginning of their relationship Jack had occasionally confided in Ianto about his adventures aboard the TARDIS and while he never spoke of his longing to return to the stars nowadays Ianto knew that the immortal was merely using Torchwood as a temporary rest stop while he waited for the Doctor.

After reading everything Jack had suffered through during his many years with Torchwood, Ianto could not fault or hate Jack for leaving with his Doctor at the first opportunity. He only wished that Jack had taken a moment to leave them a note, just a quick word that said he was gone travelling with the Doctor and that he’d be back. ‘I hope you’re happy wherever you are, Jack,’ he thought forlornly.

Another deep, soul-weary sigh escaped Ianto’s lips as he poured the freshly brewed coffee into the prepared mugs, his eyes following the dark liquid as it cascaded downwards; he made a mental note to stock up on some plastic beakers to use until Gwen was out of her destructive phase. As he finished setting up the tray with a plate of biscuits for Gwen and Owen and a few pieces of sweet Japanese mochi for Tosh, the same thoughts kept running through his mind: ‘What am I doing here? Here, I am nothing more than a glorified Tea-Boy. Back in the wizarding world, I was so much more.’ Once again the idea of leaving Torchwood and all its heartbreak and death behind and returning home crossed his mind and each time the thought grew all the more tempting.

Without Jack, there was truly nothing keeping him in Cardiff. True, he cared for his team-mates and cleaned up after them, but it was clear that he was not and in all likelihood never would truly be considered part of the team. Owen and Gwen viewed him nothing more than the Tea-Boy who kept them in coffee and takeaways and who picked up after them as well as being their boss’ part-time shag. It didn’t matter who won the battle and ended up in charge, Ianto knew that he would never see any field work. Not even a year ago Ianto wouldn’t have cared went out into the field and then Jack had started training him. One night as they’d lain together he’d told the younger man that it was time he started taking a role in field work and Ianto had found himself enjoying the whole experience tremendously. But now it looked like all his hard work was for nothing.

The only ones who made his life bearable were Tosh and Myfanwy and Ianto knew in his heart that if it weren't for them he would have been gone long ago.

“And don’t try and tell me that Jack gave you Suzie’s job, you know nothing about weapons. It’s been clear to everyone but you since day one that you were hired to fill the void that Suzie left not to take her place! You could never take Suzie’s place!”

Ianto was broken out of his depressing thoughts by Owen’s strident shouts. Owen had been pissed that his lover had been so easily replaced and it seemed that he was still holding onto some of that lingering anger.

Ianto had serious doubts that Jack even knew that Owen and Suzie had been an item, the Captain might often act cold and detached from his team but he wasn’t unfeeling. If Jack had known that Owen and Suzie were involved Ianto was sure that he might have approached Gwen’s hiring with a little more tact.

Ianto liked to believe that Jack wasn’t so far removed from his feelings that he  would take pleasure in his team’s suffering. Okay, so he personally wasn’t the best example given how easily he’d managed to go relatively unnoticed by anyone, slipping between the shadows and into the background until someone demanded coffee. It took that cyber-thing breaking free and trying to take over the Hub for them, Jack included, to sit up and take notice of him. But the point was that Jack had finally noticed him and opening his eyes to the fact that Gwen wasn’t the only one with feelings and that she wasn’t the only one amongst them who was human.

None of the others would ever tell Jack how deeply it hurt them to know that he didn’t see them as human, that they were cold and unfeeling.

Ianto knew he couldn’t speak for the others but he had his reasons. ‘Spending your teenage years preparing for war, knowing that some of your own classmates are your enemies, makes it hard to trust anyone,’ he thought to himself. Ianto knew that he would never truly be able to open up to his Torchwood team-mates, not like he had with his fellow Hogwarts classmates and then war mates. Hell, not even Lisa had known the full truth about him and they’d shared their most intimate dreams and secrets with one another.

There had been one person that Ianto had spent hours agonising over the notion of letting in on about his past and that was Jack. ‘I can’t fault him for leaving though; Jack was searching for answers that only the Doctor can give to him. I hope you find whatever you’re looking for.’ Ianto wanted Jack to be happy and if that happiness was with another then Ianto would learn to grin and bear it, even though his heart felt like it had been ripped out of his chest.

Suddenly it dawned on him that he’d made a decision about his future without even realising it and so firm in his resolve, Ianto squared his shoulders and returned to making the liquid dark gold that kept the others going. ‘This is the first day of the rest of my life and going to start living again.’ It was time to come out of the shadows and enjoy the sun on his face once more.

"Enough!" Ianto bellowed at the top of his lungs, sending the other three members of Torchwood into surprising silence; even Myfanwy found an out-of-the-way spot on which to perch quietly.

The forceful sound of Owen and Gwen's jaws snapping shut echoed around the base while Tosh smiled behind her hand as Ianto took control. She knew that neither of the other two really ever thought of Ianto Jones as anything more than a coffee-boy and much to Gwen’s intense displeasure, Jack's part-time shag but the Japanese tech genius knew that there was so more to Ianto than meets the eye.

"This bickering is ridiculous!” Ianto stood in the doorway of the kitchen, coffee tray in hand, trying to be the voice of reason. “How do either of you think you can lead this team if all you do is fight. God, it’s like being back on the playground and the two of you are fighting over the ball. This isn't helping anyone and you both know it. We could just sit down and vote on who we think should lead. Tosh and I have just as much say as you do."

Green was quickly becoming Gwen’s new colour as she took her hurt and anger over Jack’s rejection of her for Ianto out on the young Welshman. Even Owen thought Gwen’s treatment of Ianto was downright cruel. In Gwen’s mind she was the scorned woman who had been betrayed by the man she loved and since Jack wasn’t around to face the music, she was determined to take her anger out on Ianto.

Her complete dislike for her co-worker became glaringly obvious when she didn't stop to think as she opened her mouth, "Ianto, pet, I know you think you’re trying to help but really, you’ve overstepped your bounds this time. This matter involves actual field agents not…” She waved her hand at the silver tray in his hands. “…staff. Why don't you be a dear and go get us some lunch?" Gwen suggested with a smile that usually made men willingly do her bidding although there was a tone of icy disdain in her voice. “There’s a good boy.”

Tosh gasped as she saw the colour drain from Ianto’s face. She knew that Gwen didn't think highly of Ianto but humiliating in front of the others and degrading him down to nothing but support was far too cruel. "That’s enough, Gwen! You’re letting your petty jealousy cloud your judgement. We all know that you wanted to be one in Jack's bed. You’ve made no secret of the fact that you believe you and he share a special bond. It was so unbearably selfish of you to sit by Jack’s side until he revived; you knew perfectly well that you were taking Ianto’s place and you've been green with envy ever since Jack kissed Ianto in front of us and not you like you were hoping.”

“How dare you!” Gwen’s face had turned an ugly shade of red. “You don’t know anything about what went on between Jack and me!”

“Oh please, Gwen, you were so sure that you were the only one Jack wanted that you ignored your boyfriend, the man you constantly claim to love so much, for nearly a week. Did it ever occur to you that the rest of us wanted to say good-bye to Jack? No, of course not! You were too busy playing the grieving widow! You can be such a nice girl when you want to be but most of the time you’re nothing but a selfish self-centred brat!" Tosh spat at Gwen.

Standing back and watching the exchange between the two women, Owen barely fought back his snort of laughter; ‘that’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one.’ From the day Jack left Gwen had been short and snapping at Ianto over the simplest things, and it was clear even to the cynical doctor that the Welshwoman was jealous over the kiss that Jack and Ianto had shared before the older man had buggered off.  ‘She must have been blind to miss the smouldering heat, clear passion and emotions that existed between Jack and Ianto.’

Gwen was furious with Tosh; she couldn't believe that sweet quiet Tosh dared to speak to her like that. Smiling graciously at the irate woman she said, "Tosh, I know you feel protective over Ianto and that the mean things you just said were for his benefit. But honestly, my personal and intimate relationship with Jack is none of your business. I know that you’re a lonely single woman so you can’t understand what I’m going through; I'm sorry that you can't see that Jack and I do share a very special bond." Gwen knew Tosh was under a lot of pressure and that was why she didn't take her words to heart.

Immediately Owen jumped to Toshiko’s defence. "And what about Rhys? You know the bloke you claim to love? I notice you didn't mention anything about him.”

“Shut up, Owen!” Gwen didn’t even bother to turn around; if she had she’d have seen a satisfied smirk cross the medic’s face as he realised he’d struck a nerve.

“Give it up, Gwen; you're only fooling yourself if you think that none of us  know that you’re desperate to get into Jack's pants. You’re just mad that Ianto got their first," Owen drawled out with a broad smirk on his face.

"I could have had Jack any time I wanted!” Gwen shrieked and upon hearing herself and realising that she was out of control, she paused, drew a deep breath and collected herself. “He just didn't want to come between me and Rhys and I think that’s very gentlemanly of him." She smiled softly as she thought of the dashing captain who had stolen her heart from the moment they’d met.

Even though he knew Gwen was delusional at best with her unfulfilled fantasies about Jack and the more Gwen talked the more Ianto could feel his magic crackling beneath the surface demanding to be let loose. Jack's soul called out to his magic through a connection that was rare and precious to his kind but which muggles considered a childish fairytale. Forcing himself to calm down before he accidentally revealed his powers, Ianto walked over to the closest desk and set down his tray before turning to face the shrewish woman. "Well I can see where I truly stand with you, Gwen. I have tried to be nice even when you took pleasure in belittling me and taking advantage of me but no more, it’s over. You can find yourself a new whipping boy; I quit.”

“Oh, Ianto!” Tosh was shocked. It never occurred to her that Ianto would leave Torchwood; she thought for sure he’d want to be there when Jack returned to them. With a brisk shake of her head she refocused on what Ianto was saying.

“…and don't bother trying to Retcon me; it doesn't work." Ianto’s smile had a wicked gleam to it as he turned on his heels and stalked out of the Hub with his head held high. Even before he’d finished speaking his mind was already working on how he could take Myfanwy with him. He would miss Tosh terribly and wished she could go with him into the wizarding world, but he vowed to keep in touch with her.

The remaining members of Torchwood Three could only stare in shock as Ianto stalked out.

Suddenly aware of the gravity of the situation, Gwen shifted nervously; ‘Oh shit! What have I done?’ She knew that Jack was very fond of Ianto and when he returned he wouldn't be happy to know that Ianto quit and that it was partly her fault. She was pretty sure there was no way she could flirt her way out of this one. "Ianto will be back, won't he?" she asked. “I mean, he’s just being a little overly dramatic, right?”

Owen snorted derisively and shook his head; he was actually rather proud of the Tea-Boy not that he would ever tell anyone that and if he did he’d certainly kill them afterwards.

It was Tosh who finally answered and as she spoke her voice shook. "No, I don't think so. I think Ianto's gone for good and I for one don't blame him. Now if you don't mind I'm going to be taking lunch outside of the Hub; it's suddenly become too stuffy in here from my taste." Without waiting for a response Tosh grabbed her purse and quickly exited the Hub.

******

Draco let out a low growl; so far the only person he liked was this Toshiko Sato that Ianto used to work with. "You do know that if your mother ever learns what this Cooper woman said she’ll feed her to her dragon." Draco smiled at that idea; ‘I would actually pay good money to see that happen!’

Ianto shook his head and laughed out loud. "I would never submit Aithusa to that kind of punishment; she’d be vomiting for a week. Now do you think the twins would be up for helping me break into Torchwood Three and stealing my pet dinosaur?" Ianto asked with a devious grin.

Draco matched it. "Just try and keep them away." Draco knew that his friend was covering his hurt over having Jack so far away and if the other man was indeed Ianto's soul mate then he would have to get through Ianto's friends and family first and prove that he was worth of someone as special as Ianto Jones.

Unaware of the direction Draco’s thoughts were taking, Ianto was wondering where Jack was and what he was doing. 'Jack, I hope that you find whatever it is you’re seeking with the Doctor and that he can help you put to rest whatever demon it is that haunt you. Please come home to me,’ Ianto begged silently. ‘I love you so much.’

******

At the End of the Universe

As Jack Harkness prepared to enter the radiation chamber he had only one thought running through his head, 'Wait for me, Ianto Jones, I'll be back for you soon.'

End
Note:Mochi is Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain glutinous rice. The steamed rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. It comes in all different shapes, colours and sizes and is served with tea and during tea ceremonies. During the four seasons, moulds are used to create designs including cherry blossom flowers for spring and maple leave for autumn. Many of the traditional moulds are more than a hundred years old.

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