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Chapter 12

Methos was already seated at the bar in the Bute Dock pub when Jack arrived. The Captain slid onto the stool next to him and observed the ancient Immortal. He was consuming a beer and clutching it so tightly that his knuckles were almost white.

“Where’s MacLeod?” Jack asked as a way to start the conversation. Methos could stall for hours before getting to the point about something if he didn’t want to talk, and Jack intended to make him hurry this along so he could get back to Ianto.

“I left him at the Hub telling Tosh about medieval Japanese weaponry,” Methos replied, a fond smile gracing his face. “They’ll never miss me.”

The bartender arrived to take Jack’s order. “Just water,” the Captain said.

“Bring him bourbon,” Methos contradicted, pulling out some folded bills from his wallet. “In fact, leave the bottle.”

“Adam, I don’t really ...” Jack began before Methos stopped him.

“Trust me, you’ll need a drink for this, Harkness,” the Ancient told him as the bartender set down a bottle and two glasses and then moved away.

“I always love conversations that start with ‘have a drink; you’ll need it’,” Jack quipped as he poured himself some of the strong-smelling liquid and sipped it. “Where does MacLeod think you are?” he prompted.

“He knows where I am,” Methos replied, glancing at Jack over the rim of his own glass. “I told him that I was going to take Joe home and then I needed a private word with you so I was going to invite you for a drink.”

“And he left it at that?” Jack wondered, looking amused.

“I’m sure he had questions, but he trusts me,” Methos responded, staring at Jack pointedly. “We’ve gotten past the whole thing with Kronos. I don’t lie to him unless I have to – like what I left out about the past year – and he trusts me as much as he is capable of trusting anyone. You know how it is in the Game – you never trust anyone completely.”

Jack winced in sympathy. “I’m glad he got over the whole Horseman thing,” the Captain said sincerely. “You were a bit wrecked over it last time we talked.”

“I was pissed on the most vile beer known to man, you mean,” Methos corrected, looking a bit smug. “I figured I had reason.” He narrowed his eyes at Jack. “So, what did you tell Ianto about leaving him this late after your date? Rift spike? Alien invasion?”

“Weevil,” Jack replied with a shrug. “I didn’t want to have to ...”

“Damn it,” Methos hissed, moving closer into the Captain’s personal space. “There are some things you are always going to have to lie about,” he seethed. “Most relationships don’t have issues of timelines and paradoxes standing between them and total honesty. Yours does. Why lie when you don’t have to?”

“It’s just become second nature,” Jack admitted, looking away. “If it’s uncomfortable for me, I deflect or I lie. It makes it easier.”

“For whom?” Methos wondered, shaking his head. “Certainly not for Ianto. Unlike the rest of your people, he understands that you can’t share some information. He’d welcome the honesty about every day things. In fact, I think he’d relish it.”

“Know him that well, do you?” Jack spat sarcastically.

“Better than you think,” Methos replied with equal rancour.

There it was. It was out in the open. Jack’s eyes widened in comprehension, and there was deep hurt in them before a mask of nonchalance dropped back into place. “I see,” he muttered, taking another sip of bourbon.

“Don’t you want to know when or why?” Methos demanded, looking sceptical. “The Jack I know likes to hear details.”

“Not about this I don’t,” Jack replied, knocking the rest of the bourbon in his glass and pouring himself another. “I’m assuming it happened during the year that never did, because he doesn’t remember. Ianto fooled me once. I know the signs to look for now; he won’t fool me again. As to why – I’m taking it on faith it was because you both wanted it, because the Methos I know might have been a rapist in the past, but he isn’t one now.”

Methos shook his head. “Stop pretending this doesn’t matter to you, damn it. Ianto and I were lovers. There, now I’ve said it. You can’t deny it or pretend it never happened. You are one of two people in the Universe who know.”

“And is it supposed to make me happy?” Jack asked harshly, clutching his glass. “Because, I don’t have a claim on Ianto, but it doesn’t make me happy to know he ... to know he had something with you he can’t get back because in this time you’re with MacLeod.” He paused. “Unless, you want it back?”

“Oh for the love of ...” Methos sighed, tossing his hands it the air. “I don’t want it at all. It never happened. Not for him. In that timeline, it was only possible because MacLeod was dead and Ianto was convinced you were never coming back. He never lost faith in you – that you would fix what had happened – but he also never expected to see you again, and he accepted that. He just wanted you to be happy.”

Confusion etched Jack’s features. “I don’t ... I always intended to come back. Why would he think otherwise? Did he trust me that little? I guess I really never gave him reason to ...”

“Stop it!” Methos snarled. “He trusted you. He believed you would come back until that woman? Martha Jones,” he explained, waiting for Jack to acknowledge the name. When he did, Methos continued, “She came through Cardiff briefly to tell the team that you stayed on the Valiant of your own free will. She told them you had chosen to stay with the Doctor. By the time I got here – I led a group of refugees in a couple of months after the first wave of the Toclafane as a way to find you and try to sort what was happening – they already had an organised resistance running. I figured out pretty quickly why you sent that message. You didn’t want them trying to come after you.” Methos didn’t add it hadn’t stopped two of his team from trying and dying in the process. If Jack didn’t know that, there was no reason to tell him.

“It just would’ve gotten them killed for no reason,” Jack affirmed, looking a little lost. Then his face darkened as he started to get angry. “Why even tell me this?” he wondered, a sharp bite to his words. “You could have left me completely oblivious to what went on between you two. It’s not like Ianto will ever remember; it never happened for him. Is it just fun to watch me squirm?” he spat, glaring at the ancient.

“God, you’re a bastard,” Methos replied, sounding tired. “I have a great deal more to lose here than you do if anyone ever finds out about my relationship with Ianto. My partner – my husband – won’t understand infidelity or that it happened in another timeline. I’d have been better off to keep my mouth shut, but I don’t want to watch you make the same mistake twice. It’s like I said in the Hub today, there is no magic reset this time. I don’t want you to lose Ianto because you’re afraid to tell him what he means to you.”

Getting to his feet slowly, Methos tossed another wad of cash on the bar. “Go home to him, Jack. Be as honest with him as you can, and don’t let him get away this time. I’m going back to MacLeod. We’ll see you in the morning.” With that, he left as Jack stared after him.


Jack entered Ianto’s flat quietly, knowing the slightest noise would wake his lover.

He should have gone back to the Hub to think about what to do. On one hand, Ianto was an adult. They were not committed or exclusive. He had the right to know what had happened between him and Methos, and make his own choices.

On the other hand, Methos had a point about MacLeod. What Jack couldn’t share with any of them is that when he met an 8000-year-old Methos as a Time Agent, Mac was right by his side as his partner, lover, friend, and advisor. If learning about the Ancient and Ianto changed the relationship between the two Immortals, the chain reaction might undo the fabric of time, which was still healing from Saxon.

Easing into the bedroom and out of his clothes, Jack slipped into bed without a clue about what he was going to do.

“Catch the Weevil?” Ianto mumbled, cuddling closer to Jack’s chest and feeling strong arms wrap around him.

“There was no Weevil,” Jack admitted, decided Methos was right and he needed to tell Ianto the truth when he could. “Methos wanted to talk about that year. I’m the only one he can really talk to. There’s only so much we can tell all of you.”

“It’s okay,” Ianto murmured sleepily. “Did it help?”

“I think he got it off his chest,” Jack replied, knowing that much was true.

“Meant you,” Ianto sighed as his voice became slurred. “Did it help you?”

“Yeah,” Jack answered, blinking back tears as he kissed the top of Ianto’s head. “Go back to sleep. I’ll be here in the morning.” He arranged them more comfortably as Ianto drifted back to sleep in his arms.

His decision was made. He’d be as honest with Ianto as he could from here on out, but he couldn’t tell him about him and Methos in the other timeline. Not only was it a risk to timelines, but Jack was selfish. He wanted Ianto Jones all to himself.

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