Chapter Thirty: Epilogue
Date Written: 11/1/08
Word Count: 1,229, 55,998 total (WTF)
Fandom: Torchwood/Doctor Who
Characters/Pairings: Ianto/Jack, Andy Davidson (TW), mentioned Master/Rose, Rose/Doctor, Donna.
Spoilers: Doctor Who up through Season 04, Torchwood up through 02
Warnings: AU like whoa, boys kissing.
Author's Notes: Thanks so much to my gorgeous betas totally4ryo and katestamps, who are my sounding boards, my muses, and betas dedicated enough to call me about fic. O. M. G. Thirty chapters and almost 56K later, and it's done. Thank you so much, all of you, for sticking with me while I've been working on this. I love all of you!
Previous chapters found here.
Book cover by cjharknessgirl
"I'm really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words."
-- The Doctor, The Doctor Dances
Even though Ianto slipped into the classroom as quietly as he could, Jack still paused in his lecture and smiled at him. A few of the students turned to see what could have interrupted their teacher's train of thought. In response, Ianto raised his eyebrows and gave them a practiced look that said back to work.
"Right, so," Jack said, looking back down at the textbook in his hand. "Where was I? Oh yes, the reign of Queen Rose." He turned and wrote a thirty year time span on the blackboard. "After the execution of King Harold at the hands of the Renegades, Queen Rose was reinstated. She and her consort, John Smith of Torchwood House, ruled for thirty years, until she died. Since the Queen died without heirs, John Smith assumed the throne until his own death three years later."
Ianto saw the ghost of long-ago pain flicker across Jack's face, but the students either didn't see it or didn't recognize it or didn't comment. To them it was just a thirty year span of peace. To Ianto and Jack, it had been thirty years of hard work and sacrifice, of Ianto relearning how to use his magic after almost getting burned out, of Jack being gone days, weeks, months at a time to help put the country back together while Donna and Ianto held down Torchwood House. They'd lost his parents and Rose, then both the Doctor and Donna on the same damn day three years later. It was almost enough to give up.
Then Little Ross (who wasn't quite so little anymore) had turned up with his youngest son, a newly-triggered Mage. That had been more than enough motivation to continue their work.
"After the Doc -- John Smith's death, the nobles of the kingdom selected someone to take his place, a young noble named Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart."
The Mage smiled in the back of the class, leaning against one hand as he thought back. Alistair had truly been a wonderful man, just what the country had needed during the upheaval of not having a proper successor to the throne. An iron hand when called for, yes, but kind and caring and beloved by everyone. The entire empire still recognized the anniversary of his death.
"The system worked out so well that there hasn't been a strict family-line succession to the throne since," Jack was saying. "When a monarch dies, a new one is elected to take their place. If enough nobles decide that a monarch is not doing a proper job, they are removed and a new person is elected." He smiled. "We have the distinction of forming the first working democracy on this side of the world."
"That's all well and good," one of the older students pipped up from the front. "But what does this have to do with anything?"
Jack snapped the book shut, raising an eyebrow. Ianto tilted his head a little to see if he could catch a glimpse of who was causing the problem, but all he could see was short-cropped red hair.
"My teacher once told me that if we do not learn from history," Jack said, giving him a level gaze, "we are doomed to repeat it."
"This stuff happened hundreds of years ago," the kid argued. "It's pointless."
Jack crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow. "It is? Well, Andy, by all means."
"Most of these stories have magic and spooky-dos and things like that," Andy said. "There's no such thing as magic."
"Mr. Jones!" Jack called out.
"Yes, Mr. Harkness?" Ianto asked, feigning disinterest as the entire class turned to look at him.
"Mr. Davidson here doesn't believe in magic." Jack wasn't even trying to hide his grin. "What d'you think about that?"
"I think it's good that he's not studying any magic discipline then," Ianto deadpanned. "He'd be rather upset with me on a daily basis."
The class roared with laughter, and Andy frowned. "That's not what I meant," he protested once he could be heard. "Magic is just the name for something we haven't quite sussed out yet."
Jack's blue eyes met Ianto's own and they shared a little grin. Andy was talking about a trend that the younger students were starting to believe in more and more. Mages and normal Humans working together, trying to figure out how everything in their world ticked, including themselves.
"Well, until it is named, you will refer to it as magic in your essay -- " the class let out a collective groan, forcing Jack to raise his voice " -- which is due in two days! Now, get out of here, I'm sure you're all starving," he dismissed, turning to erase the writing off the blackboard.
The students collected their things and swept out the door, most of them greeting Ianto as they left. He smiled and nodded at them in turn, watching them leave, a sea of trousers held up by braces and boots with hundreds of buttons and considerably fewer petticoats underneath pretty dresses. "Sometimes I really miss making those perfect dresses for nobles," Ianto admitted once the last student was gone.
Jack laughed. "I could force them to wear some one day, say it's for an historical reenactment," he said, wiping the chalk on his fingers off on the hip of his trousers.
Ianto chuckled and stood, approaching the front of the classroom. "I'm not pining that much."
Jack sat on the edge of his desk, pulling Ianto in to stand between his legs. "And Mr. Jones..." He grinned and looped his arms around Ianto's waist. "What do you think about what Andy said?"
"I think it's terribly exciting," Ianto said honestly, putting his arms around Jack's neck. "Finding out how and why we're the way we are. Still won't change what we can do, though, but it might help others that are yet to come. Maybe one day everyone will be a bit like us."
Jack grinned, pressing his forehead against Ianto's. "So you don't believe in magic?" he teased.
"Same principle, different name," Ianto told him, smiling. He ran his hands over Jack's shoulders, twisting his fingers teasingly into the braces. "But there are some things still in this world that can only be described with the word magic."
"Yeah?" Jack teased, pulling him in closer until their bodies were flush up against each other.
"Yeah," Ianto agreed, leaning in to kiss Jack softly. Even if he hadn't been born with power, the little thrum he got every time they kissed was an affirmation that magic was alive and well in the world.
"Mmm, got an hour for lunch," Jack said as he pulled back, grinning.
"No, Jack," Ianto sighed. "The last time you talked me into having sex during the lunch hour, I was rather late to my own classes."
"I'm not talking about sex," Jack teased, nuzzling his neck. "I'm going to draw it out for the whole hour."
"No, Jack," Ianto repeated, even as he tipped his head back to grant Jack more access to his throat.
"But I need my daily devotional," Jack said, grinning against his skin. "Don't you listen to the priests? I'll go to Hell if I don't."
Ianto laughed, snapping Jack's braces teasingly. "Fine,” he relented, kissing him again. “But I'm timing you and if you're not done in an hour, too bad."