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Chapter 6

July 2983 (old Earth Calendar)

Sometime later, after they’d cleaned up with some wipes Ianto had in his duffle bag and redressed themselves, they cuddled together at the base of a large tree. Ianto’s head lay pillowed on Jack’s stomach, and the Captain was idly running his fingers through his partner’s hair.

“We still have a lot to talk about you know,” Ianto remarked almost too casually. “You still hurt me. That just doesn’t go away.”

“And you still doubted me,” Jack countered, his own pain and anger apparent in his voice.

“Touché,” Ianto admitted, looking a little sheepish. “The fact that we were both idiots doesn’t make it okay, though.”

Jack sighed and closed his eyes briefly, before opening them and looking down at the younger man. “I know,” he admitted, his voice a bit unsteady. “Can we ... can we talk later? I just want to enjoy being with you.”

“Okay,” Ianto said, his voice indicating that he wasn’t letting this go. He was quiet for a while and then spoke again. “So tell me about this place,” he suggested lazily, not wanting to fall asleep on the ground on a strange planetoid, but not wanting to move either.

“It’s small,” Jack replied with a contented sigh. “It’s almost completely undeveloped, except for a series of cottages near the lake that the Cantalian Federation leaders used for holidays and such. They’ve modernized them over the years, though some still need work. I’ve staked out one for us and I’ve been working on a plan to remodel it. Your office was my first task. It’s all set up so that you can still work on Luke’s project. I knew that would mean a lot to you and that not actually going to the research centre might be disappointing, but you can do it on a freelance basis. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t have to consume you, though. There’s a whole planetoid here to explore. It has mountains, valleys, rivers, rainforests, and several lakes. The cottages are near the main one, but there are many others. There’s even a waterfall. I thought we could get to know this world together.”

“I’d like that,” Ianto admitted, smiling sleepily.

“There’s a scheduled supply run by the Cooper every few weeks,” Jack continued when Ianto didn’t say anything else. “She patrols this sector, so I made arrangements with Alonso. I’ve also acquired – completely legally, I assure you – a Chula personal cruiser. She’s actually who I was thinking about when I made the message for you. I expect she’ll last more than a century, but I do think I’m in love. And for the record, the Chula are very superstitious.”

Ianto gave a sharp laugh, but otherwise stayed silent, so Jack kept talking. “She’s not a warship and she needs some work, but once she’s ready, we’ll be able to hop over to any of the other outpost worlds whenever we want. You can even visit the research centre Luke has set up. He’s arranged total access clearance for us for all the ports and facilities. That ship’s going to be one of my first projects, along with renovating the cottage I’ve selected, if you approve of it, of course. We have others to choose from if you don’t like it.”

“I’m sure I’ll more than like it,” Ianto assured him, finally finding his voice. “It all sounds lovely, but I still don’t understand why you went to such elaborate – and hurtful- lengths to lure me here.” The tone of his voice indicated he had not completely forgiven Jack for his actions.

Jack’s hand stilled and he looked down. “I honestly didn’t mean to hurt you,” he began and then paused. “I’m going to have to work hard to make it up to you, I guess?”

“Oh, you have no idea,” Ianto replied, shaking his head slightly. “Of course, I have some making up of my own to do, but you’re evading the question. If you wanted to be together again, why not just ask? The worst that could have happened is my saying ‘not yet’.”

Jack shifted so that he was looking directly into Ianto’s eyes. “It’s more than wanting to be together again. This place is completely isolated. No one comes here without permission. It has a perception field around it, so they can’t even stumble on it accidentally if they don’t know it’s here. The only regular contact is with the Cooper, and even she will just be transporting down supplies unless we ask differently. I want us to have a chance just to be a couple – with no Torchwood or patients or even the Doctor to distract us. We’ve never had that. We’ve always taken a backseat to greater purposes. I still want you to have your work – because I know that mind of yours needs to be active – but I want us to be our main focus while we’re here.”

Ianto worked his throat a couple of times, trying to speak without letting his voice crack with emotion. “So how long did you envision this interlude lasting?” he finally managed to ask. The whole scenario was so completely opposite of what he’d feared that he found himself feeling guilty for doubting Jack.

“A century or two,” Jack replied carefully, his voice indicating he knew what he was asking. “It’s a relatively peaceful time for the Universe, and the Doctor has more help now than ever before because he finally trusts the Torchwood we built. He knows in a real emergency, he can ask us for help, but he also understands what’s happening here and supports it.”

“So what happens when the leaders of the Cantalian Federation want a holiday?” Ianto wondered softly. “I can’t imagine them giving up their retreat for a couple of centuries just to ensure our privacy.”

“It’s not their retreat anymore,” Jack explained, looking sheepish. “I bought it – more precisely I bought it for you as a birthday present.”

“You bought me a planet?” Ianto shrieked as he drew back in shock, his voice going up at least an octave. “I thought you went over the top when you bought me a house before our bonding, but a planet ...?”

“Technically a planetoid,” Jack reminded him. “But yes, I bought it for you – for us.”

Ianto dropped his head into his hands for a moment. When he looked up, his eyes were shining with love and wonder – as well as a bit of amusement. “You really don’t know how to do subtle, do you?”

“Never saw the point,” Jack replied with an unrepentant shrug. “We don’t have to stay here if you don’t want,” he continued in a rush. “We can keep this place or sell it. We can go back to Newydd Cymru. That will always be our home, but I thought we needed a place away and ...”

Ianto silenced his rambling with a kiss. When they broke apart, he stood. “I like the idea of a century or two with just you, some projects to keep us busy, and a whole planet – sorry planetoid – to explore. We also have plenty of time to talk about the mistakes we both just made – again.” When Jack’s face fell, he sighed then reached down to offer him his hand as he hauled him to his feet. “The talking can wait. We have time. We should start with a tour of where we’re going to live – especially the bedroom,” he added with a leer and a suggestive wink.

“Oh, yeah,” Jack replied with a rapturous expression as he took Ianto’s hand and led him towards their new home.

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