Twenty years later
It had been two very long, very lonely decades since Jack had last stepped foot on Earth. He’d spent the majority of the time travelling with the Doctor – which still involved a lot of running even with the new regeneration – although there was a two-year period when he settled down to teach Ancient Sol 3 History at the University of Mars. Otherwise, he stayed as far from planet Earth as possible; he couldn't chance the young man growing up to see him as nothing more than another uncle.
No matter where he was though, he still had made sure to keep in contact with John Hart who had remained on Earth and eventually married Jane Foster, a fact which had shocked Jack to the core. He’d never once thought that his ex-partner would settle down, and especially not with a human – John had always preferred the more exotic life forms, especially those with tentacles. But through periodic holographic chats over their vortex manipulators, he’d learned all about Ianto.
He heard about Ianto’s school years, about him leading the youth rugby team to its first championship in years, and how he earned his University degree in only three years. He laughed at the pictures of Ianto in his various Halloween costumes and cried with him when his heart was broken for the first time. He relished every second of video and every scrap of information he got about his Ianto.
Finally, after much soul-searching, Jack decided that it was time to return to Earth and find out if Ianto still wanted him, if he still loved him. After sending word to John of his arrival, Jack stood anxiously on the roof of the Avenger Tower, his heart in his hands. He could only hope that Ianto still wanted to be with him.
"It's about time you returned, Sir," a quiet voice commented with a slightly reproachful tone.
Whirling around in surprise, Jack forgot how to breathe as he stared into the beautiful blue eyes of the man he loved so very, very much. “Ianto?” he whispered. He cleared his throat and tried again, “You’ve grown up.” Mentally, Jack groaned; ‘What a stupid first thing to say!’
As Ianto raised his eyebrow and gave his former lover that oh-so-familiar look of fondly amused exasperation, Jack was sent hurtling back through the years to another lifetime.
"That's what happens when you leave for twenty years, Sir," Ianto pointed out casually, although his tone suggested he was not at all happy with that decision.
"Your fathers would have ended up killing me so many times if I’d stayed, not to mention what the rest of your family would do to my anatomy!" Jack's token of protest and weak attempt at humour fell flat and were promptly forgotten as Ianto closed the short distance between them and pressed his body against Jack's.
"So then you would have been happy if I’d moved on? Allowed another to touch and take what is yours and yours alone?" Ianto purred seductively in Jack's ear.
A low growl escaped Jack as he bristled at the idea of anyone else being with his Ianto. "Nobody had better to have touched you!" Jack wrapped his arms tightly around Ianto's waist and tugged him firmly against his body and with a deeply satisfied sigh, Ianto went willingly.
After standing and simply holding one another for several minutes, Ianto pulled away just enough to look up at Jack with a distinct challenge in his eyes. "And what if they had? You left and it was clear that you had no plans on coming back."
"I was too coming back!” Jack was horrified by Ianto’s words. “I told you that the night I left, I promised you I would return!” He tightened his grip on Ianto’s arms and stared deeply into his eyes. “You've been mine from the moment we met in the park and I'll rip apart anyone who so much as looks at you," Jack stated fiercely, his blue eyes flashing with the raging green fire of jealousy. He fought the urge to demand the names of anyone who might have touched and taken what had always belonged to him so that he could hunt them down and destroy them.
The happy smirk that graced Ianto's beautiful face let Jack know played right into his hands. "No need for anything so dramatic.”
“Really? Are you sure or are you just trying to make me feel better?” Jack smiled, although it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
Ianto reached up and stroked Jack’s face tenderly. “I’m sure; there's been no one else, Cariad, you're the only one I have ever wanted," Ianto admitted.
“Surely you've had boyfriends or girlfriends i while you were growing up?" Jack didn't dare hope that Ianto was still pure and untouched, that he would be the one and only person to lay claim to his innocence.
Ianto put him in his place with one flat look. "Did you forget who my family is? Even if I was interested in someone there was simply no way anyone could get past them and actually gain their approval. Trust me even for casual friends, shall we say, that was no easy feat." At Jack's dangerous growl Ianto smiled sweetly, "I admit I may have had one or two rather ardent admirers that didn't understand the word ‘no’ until they met Aunt Natasha and my fathers and heard them say it."
"But your family hates me! Why would they accept us?" Jack pointed out, fighting against the feeling of hopelessness that was stealing over him.
"They don't hate you, Jack, they just hate the fact that we let pride and insecurity ruin our relationship in my last life, and they fear that we may go down that path again. Besides, it's my decision who I want to be with and I chose you a long, long time ago. They'll just have to learn to live with it." Ianto snuggled closer to Jack again and whispered, "I love you, Jack Harkness, in my last life and more importantly, in this one and nothing is going to change that, I swear."
Jack gave a soft sob with relief as he buried his face in Ianto’s neck; he’d been so afraid that Ianto had come up to the rooftop to say good-bye. He could feel his heart singing with joy, the man he loved was still his. "I love you too, Ianto Stark-Rogers, just as I loved Ianto Jones. You are my moon and stars and without you in my life I would be lost forever. I’ve already been forced to live without you and I know that I can't do that a second time,” Jack paused, stepped away from Ianto just a bit and took hold of his hands. “So I want to know if you'd be willing to spend the rest of your life with this old fool, together forever?"
Ianto stared at Jack in pure disbelief; never did he think he would hear those words from the immortal. "Are you… asking me to ma… marry you?" Ianto stammered out his words; he had to be sure that he wasn't imagining things.
Jack smiled that oh-so rare small but true smile that Ianto had only seen a few times but which had always been reserved for him alone. "I am, but if you want, I’ll get down on one knee and ask you again,” he joked.
“Oh don’t be silly, Jack!” Ianto laughed but there was something in his eyes that told Jack that was exactly what Ianto Stark-Rogers wanted, so he did.
Dropping to one knee, Jack reached out, took Ianto’s hand in his and solemnly said, “So what do you say Ianto Stark-Rogers, will you marry me?" Jack barely made it to his feet before he found himself stumbling back a few feet as Ianto flung himself on him and hugged his fiercely. When he could catch his breath again, Jack grinned, "I should take that as a yes?"
“Yes! Oh yes!” Ianto pulled back from Jack a wide smile on his face as his eyes shone with happiness. "Yes, Jack, I will marry you!"
A loud and wild whoop of pure joy escaped the older immortal's lips as he exuberantly twirled his fiancé around and around in circles before claiming his lips in a deep kiss that let Ianto feel all the love he had for him.
It was a kiss that Ianto happily returned with all his love.
Four Months Later
"I still say he's too young for a lifelong commitment and given how long their lives are going to be they could have waited until I was dead," Tony grumbled irritably under his breath as he watched the newlyweds sharing their first dance.
Steve smiled fondly at his husband. "If they had waited then you won't have gotten to give Ianto away," he pointed out reasonably. "Besides,” Steve wrapped his arm around Tony’s shoulders and pulled him closer, “I know you don't hate Jack as much as you claim to, not when you know now just how deeply he loves Ianto."
A childish pout graced Tony's face as he snuggled into his husband’s embrace and crossed his arms over his chest. "I still think they should have waited a little longer."
Steve raised an eyebrow as he wrapped his arms around Tony. "You mean like we did?" He loved reminding his husband of their first wedding when they’d eloped in the middle of the night to a Las Vegas wedding chapel just a month into their relationship. Neither man had the patience to wait long enough to plan an actual wedding ceremony although that that of course naturally changed the moment they’d gotten home.
Pepper had given them one look, they’d wisely shut their mouths and handed over their checkbook and six months later they enjoyed – or endured, depending on who you were talking to and when – one of the biggest weddings anyone had ever seen before.
"You just have to keep reminding me, don't you," Tony continued to grumble under his breath although now it was with a smile as he sank into Steve's hold.
Steve pressed a kiss onto the top of Tony's head. "I know you don't like Jack that much, but he makes our son happy and in the end isn't that all that truly matters?"
Shifting so he could look his husband in the eyes Tony's pout turned into a begrudging smile, although there was still a hint of it in his eyes. "You're right, but I still reserve the right to decapitate, disembowel and dismember Jack if he ever hurts our son."
"Oh that's a given and you know Natasha has been keeping her knives extremely sharp just waiting for the chance to sink them into Jack," Steve reminded Tony and he was rewarded with a bright smile.
A thoughtful look appeared in Tony's eyes at his teammate’s name. "You know when she and Pepper got married I had hoped that Pep would rub off on Natasha but instead I think it's Pepper who's gotten even more scary."
"I heard that, Tony," Pepper lightly but pointedly slapped him across the back of the head as she and Natasha joined him and Steve.
Bruce was right behind helping a heavily pregnant Darcy waddle over to the nearest chair, followed by Clint and Phil who were carrying their two adopted little boys. Moments later the table was nearly filled when Loki, Thor and Jane took seats, with Jane saving one for her husband. Everyone had been surprised that Loki and Jane had managed to form a friendship, although it still suffered from growing pains once in a while. With John’s help, Jane had gotten over her broken heart and had come to accept the truth that Thor and Loki belonged to one another, even though the pain had lingered for a long time after their break up.
Clint shot a warning glare at Jane. "Please tell me that your husband isn't off causing trouble somewhere."
Jane rolled her eyes; no one had been more shocked than her when she managed to tame and even domesticate the renegade John Hart. "He's over at the open bar, he knows how important this day is and he's not about to ruin it."
Darcy grinned proudly as she leaned into Bruce's side, heaving a deep sigh of pleasure as he wrapped his arm around her and gently scratched her swollen belly. "Yep, Jane made sure that John knew that if he misbehaved today the couch was going to be his friend for quite a while."
Jane blushed but a smile tugged at her lips. "You just have to know how to control him, which is why Ianto is not going to have any problems with Jack; he's got that man wrapped around his little finger."
And as much as Steve and Tony didn't want to agree with Jane they both knew she was right.
"I think your family is plotting my death." Jack used the pretext of dancing close to his new husband to whisper in his ear. He was leading during this dance so that he could keep an eye on the head table and when he saw the entire group assemble and look at him, he knew he was in trouble.
‘Oh, Jack! Don’t be so paranoid!’ Ianto rolled his eyes at his husband's worry. "No, they're not, they know how important you are to me and they wouldn't dare make me sad."
Jack had to admit his husband had a point. "Have I told you how much I love you, Ianto Harkness, lately?" And hadn't that been a surprise to everyone, including Jack, when Ianto had declared he was taking Jack's last name, much to the irritation of his parents.
Ianto's blue eyes sparkled with joy. "Not lately, no."
Jack grinned at the obvious challenge in his husband’s voice. "Well then let me change that, I love you, Ianto, now and forever."
Leaning forward Ianto brushed a kiss against Jack's lips. "I love you too, Jack Harkness, and I will until the last star burns out and even beyond," Ianto promised and he sank into Jack's arms as they danced across the floor. 'I wonder when I should tell Jack the news the TARDIS shared with me this morning? That we’re having a baby.'
Idris had popped in to wish Ianto the best of a blessed day, while the Doctor had gone to check in with Jack. The two men had spent the previous night in separate rooms, on separate floors of the Tower, and wouldn’t see each other until they met at the altar. Jack had put on his best pout, but Ianto had been adamant about preserving some mystery, “since I obviously can’t wear white!” he’d laughed heartily. The Time Lord and his TARDIS couldn’t stay for the ceremony and reception – there was a diplomatic tantrum brewing on TuTuNuNu that he was to mediate – but neither was willing to let such a remarkable and long-awaited day go by without stopping for just a moment.
Ianto cast a glance at his family who were trying and failing to hide their glares at Jack and he sighed, deciding, 'Maybe on our honeymoon, when we’re far, far away from all of them.'
Ianto knew that his family would come to accept Jack and their child but he didn't want his fathers to fall into an overprotective rage and ruin his wedding by getting into a fist fight with his new husband right on the dance floor. 'No, I'll tell Jack when we’re alone and then we’ll tell everyone else when we get back.'
This was a new beginning with the man he loved and they were starting a family and Ianto Harkness couldn't be happier. He knew that despite the personality clashes that were sure to continue, the child growing in him was going to be loved by his or her big extended family.
Somewhere in time and space
“So the freak is going to be a father, oh happy day.” The voice was pure sarcasm. “The first child of the vortex holders is on its way, which means we are going to meet very soon, Mr Ianto Harkness.” The voice changed to one of pure evil. “This time, nothing and no one is going to stand in my way from claiming what is rightfully mine."
The End, for now