Genre: AU/ Romance
Pairings: Jack /Ianto
Summary: Ianto Jones in an aristocrat who’s been betrayed by his fiancée, Lisa. There enters industrialist Jack Harkness. Is what he asks something the young lord can give? Or isn’t?
Torchwood- Copyright BBC. Vaguely based on the book Le Maître de forges by Georges Ohnet
Beta-d by the wonderful evalentine99 (all remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone)
Chapter 1 at: http://anastasisrick.livejournal.com/1723.html#cutid1
Ianto sat alone for a while thinking about his conversation with Owen. The doctor was right. It was he who should secure his happiness. A noise from his left informed him people were approaching him. Wen and Gray were now slowly returning together. They were no longer talking to each other. Wen seemed somewhat more serious than usual. Gray was looking down and smiling, as it were, to happy thoughts. At last they reached the spot where their horses were tethered.
Ianto was surprised to hear his brother’s whispered words to Gray.
“You will allow me to tell my brother?” He wondered what the big secret was.
Gray nodded his head in token of assent and said. “Tell him. You know how much he loves us. The news will make him happy and he will be helpful to our plan. I think."
Gray smiled at Ianto and remounting his horse, he went to find Owen and Tosh to have a small chat with them while Wen shared his news with his younger bother.
As the hunting horn resounded through the forest closer each time Owen took his and Toshiko's horses to follow Gray in his quest to find the rest of the hunters.
Wen and Ianto watched the trio as they rode away. There was a moment's silence. The older brother was solemn, and seemed somewhat ruled by some kind of emotion, as if he had some very serious revelation to make. Ianto didn't know what to think about the whispering he had heard. His brother's voice roused him from his thoughts.
“ Ianto…” He said “I have some great news to tell you.” His brother raised his eyes looked at him questioningly, then added in an undertone. “I think you may have guessed… I love Gray and he loves me too.”
Ianto's sad face brightened up like a stormy sky suddenly crossed by a ray of sunlight. He held both hands out towards his brother, and drawing him quickly towards him he hugged him by his shoulders. Ianto wanted to learn everything, and it seemed to him as if a favourable occasion for reconciliation with Jack might now present itself. Then, in the stillness, Wen rapturously told him the simple and yet already long story of two hearts which had gradually taken possession of each other. “It became slowly, but from the first time I met him, remember? He had come with Jack to visit us…”
Ianto nodded he remembered those days and he could no longer recognize himself in the young man who thought Lisa was his life, who treated Jack with contempt. “Go on…” He said to his brother not wanting to spoil his happiness.
“It just happened, Ianto. Just like and Jack, we didn’t plan it, but he’s my life.”
“I’m happy for both of you, Wen.”
His brother looked at Ianto as if he wanted to ask something and Ianto raised his eyebrow waiting to hear what that was.
“We need to tell Jack because he is Gray’s guardian.” Ianto closed his eyes while listening to his brother. “You have so much influence over Jack. Speak to him for me, and obtain his consent. He has long been well acquainted with my ideas. He knows that I count the advantages of birth for nothing, and that I wish to make my position myself. And be eloquent and strive to convince him, for you have my happiness in your hands.”
Ianto suddenly become very grave again. He did not possess the influence which his brother attributed to him. Not since that night, the night of their wedding, the starting point of so much grief, had he exchanged a single serious word with Jack. At Torchwood they only saw each other at mealtimes, and in presence of the servants they talked but little, and merely on indifferent subjects. And yet now, Ianto had to lay this weighty matter, before his husband. Still he wouldn’t hesitate; all his old confidence came back to him. He seemed to have a presentiment of victory. He had to. For Gray’s and Wen sake!
Ianto's silence, however, had already made Wen feel anxious, for like all lovers he was prompt in notice difficulties. “At least you don't refuse to plead my cause, do you?” He asked Ianto.
''”Certainly not.” His brother replied smiling. ”And be at ease; I will plead for you as if it was for me.”
Wen hugged his brother joyfully and Ianto joked about fees and gifts he should give him. “Come, go in search of Gray, now that you have confessed your secret. You know that I don' fear solitude. You must prefer being with him than with me.”
Wen hastened towards his horse. He vaulted into the saddle, and waved his hand to Ianto, who was looking at him, he started off with all the impetuosity of a man who knows that the person he loves is at the end of the road.
Left to himself, Ianto forgot where he was, what was passing around him, and began to think. As time passed his thoughts were interrupted by a distant hum rose from the forest, mingled with the notes of the horn. In the direction of the paved highway a loud rumble of vehicles could be heard. But Ianto was blind and deaf to everything unconnected with Jack. He took a bitter pleasure in picturing his life as it might have been. He dived back into the past, and counted the days of happiness which he had voluntarily deprived himself of. How much time had passed since he had wrecked his life. Now he could hardly understand the feelings which had then swayed him. He could not comprehend the power of pride to which he had been a prey. His all-absorbing preoccupation had been that his wedding should at any cost take place before Lisa's, but now it seemed to him so petty and trivial that he blushed in shame for it. Was it possible that he had risked his whole existence for the sake of yielding to such a vulgar impulse? He thought to himself that Jack, although disgracefully treated, could not show himself relentless for ever. And yet his stern and haughty profile was still before Ianto's eyes, and he could hear him saying. ”One day you will learn the truth. You will discover that you have been even more unjust than cruel. But though you may drag yourself at my feet, imploring forgiveness, I shall not have a word of pity for you.” That night he had thought nothing of the declaration. Not it was just too painful to bear.
But was it not anger that had dictated this terrible resolution? Was Jack a man to cling to it without ever wavering? Ianto saw him again, with his brow resting on his hands, as if he were crushed with grief, and then rising up and showing him his face, down which the tears were streaming. Jack had certainly loved him, and on that night he would have given his life for a word of hope or a tender look. But eight months had since elapsed, and maybe all his love had oozed forth and utterly flowed away through the wound Ianto had inflicted on him.
With the tip of his foot Ianto listlessly stirred the gravel. "When a person has deeply loved…" he said aloud, as if he wished to submit the question which disturbed him to the woods, the wind, and space. “When a person has loved as he loved me can he ever forget?”
"No, a person, man or woman, never forgets when they have deeply loved," replied a voice which seemed to descend from above.
Ianto sprang to his feet at once, and on raising his head he saw Lisa, who had entered the kiosk a moment previously, and now stood leaning over the barrier, looking at him smiling. ''You will agree that I have arrived appropriately enough to answer you," she happily said. “But you weren’t thinking about me!” She pouted and Ianto remembered the days he wanted to kiss the pout off those full lips. Now it only caused him distaste.
Ianto looked at her with an air of superb contempt. “Indeed, no.” He replied.
“So much the worse, then, for me.”
“And you? What are you seeking here?” Ianto asked her.
Lisa came down the steps and approached him. “I was seeking you.” She answered.
“Because I wished to speak to you frankly. You gave me a bad reception when I offered you my company an hour ago. But I thought you might perhaps have become more sociable. So here I am. Would you mind terribly to talk with me?”
'”I don't think we have anything to say to each other.”
“Are you really sure of it? I am sorry to see that you are such an adept in acting. I sense you have a great many things to grieve about, but you won't admit it."
Lisa could always read his emotions well but that was no longer acceptable so Ianto shrugged his shoulders disdainfully. “And I see that you keep repeating yourself. You are always returning to the same subject with a lachrymose air... Set your soft heart at ease. I have no grief, and I am not at all disposed to worry myself to please you.”
“Maybe so, I shall be delighted to learn I have been so mistaken in my guesses, and yet they appeared to me to be correct. This morning it seemed to me that you were nervous and disturbed. This hunting was very attractive, but you would not take any part in it. You spent your time in watching your husband."
“Have I? What about it?” Ianto asked masking his emotions.
“The thing is that Mr. Harkness didn't seem to pay any attention to you. He busied himself with John, who had chosen him as his guide, and by his side, instead of looking pleased when he discharged his duties gallantly, you kept on giving him crushing glances.”
”And what did you conclude from that?” Ianto asked coldly.
“I concluded that the good understanding which you told me prevailed between him and you does not exist. I concluded that Mr. Harkness does not rightly value the treasure which chance, or rather my ill luck, has given him. And then there are little things, which I had forgotten, and returned to my mind. I remembered how strange you looked on your wedding day. I thought of your sadness and analyzed your anger, and having weighed the pros and the cons I came to this conclusion, that despite all you say to the contrary, you are not as happy as you should be."
Ianto got up from his seat and stood to his full height having been insulted enough by the woman who thought was walking right back into his heart. “And so you, with your generous commiserating heart, thought that the moment was perhaps a favourable one to offer me some consolation.”
“You judge me wrongly, Ianto.” She said sadly. “Believe me when I tell you that I have done all in my power to forget you. When I arrived here I thought I loved you no longer. I thought I should be able to see you again without the least danger for my heart. I was told that you were happy and I happy to hear it. But when I saw you, you looked so very worried. Despite all your efforts to conceal your feelings …. But your face cannot hide anything from me. Had you been happy I should merely have loved you from afar, and no word of mine whould have ever disturbed your peace. But you suffer. When I saw that, I was no longer my own mistress. An irresistible power seemed to impel me towards you, and I realised that only one man existed on earth for me. And you know that’s you. It was always you!”
Ianto listened with astonishment to her passionate words. Not a fibre of his heart throbbed. Was this woman, who spoke to him so shamefully, really the same one he had loved to madness? Her voice, which once had made him pulsate with passion, now left him cold and somewhat angry, even ashamed of his love. He saw that she was one of those skilful actresses who disturb the minds and trouble the senses of men, whose natures are deficient in equilibrium. He did not for a moment imagine that she was sincere. He looked upon her approach as some low desire to gratify a sudden fancy.
“When you had to choose between a man you pretended to love and a fortune that tempted you, you did not hesitate. You closed your heart and opened your hands. But now that you have the money safe, you would perhaps like to have the man as well. And so you come and make advances to me. You forget to whom you're talking to, Madam. I'm not a man to be used. If you had asked I'd had done my best to help you. Maybe my money wasn't enough though. Now? You only succeed at being cheap to my eyes. Is that what you want? To destroy even the memories I still keep dear to me? One can't have everything, you know, Lisa. You made your choice and now you have to live with it.”
“How harshly you speak to me. I knew that you still harboured vindictive feelings against me.” Lisa said dejectedly.
“Vindictive feelings!” Ianto laughed despite his attempt to remain calm. “You flatter yourself!! If I had any feeling towards you at all, it would be one of gratitude; for it is thanks to you that I married Jack, who is as useful as you are useless in the world, as devoted as you are egotistical, as generous as you are selfish, who, in one word, has all the qualities you don't possess and none of your failings.”
Lisa bit her lips. Each word of this violent outburst felt like a a slap to her face. “Mister Harkness," she said, trying to subjugate Ianto with her glance, "is no doubt perfect. But there is one little point that greatly detracts from his perfection, at least so far as you yourself are concerned; he does not love you! He has only been your husband a few months, and if he appreciated you at your worth he would have remained beside you. But where is he? Why, he has gone off with John.”
“I don't need Jack to be by my side constantly to know how much he cares Lisa. And don't forget that John is your husband. If you are so jealous about him being with Jack you should have gone with them.” He said pretending to be indifferent to her words but they hurt him deeply.
“Oh Ianto, I’m not jealous of my husband. He possesses no heart to make me love him. But you? You saw your husband going with John, happily so. He doesn’t deserve you; he doesn’t deserve your love, Ianto.” She said, eyes wide trying to convince him about her honesty. Come, leave him with John. They are worthy of each other. But let me remain with you. I who appreciate you, I who understand you, I who love you.”
Ianto stood looking at the woman he had loved appalled. She couldn’t be serious, could she? Where was her dignity, her morality? But even as he deflected from her emotionally and physically she walked closer to him.
“You have nothing in common with him, Ianto. Everything in you and him is contradictory and antagonistic. He is a plebeian and you are a patrician. I am sure that he is biased in favour of equality; but you, you are an aristocrat to the tips of your finger-nails. He is rough, like everything that pertains to the people, and that is distasteful to you. You are proud, like all members of the nobility, and that wounds him. The races from which you have sprung, you and he, are born foes. In a word, there is every reason why you should hate each other, but there is nothing to induce you to love one another.” Lisa said trying to convince him about the truth in her words by reminding his past beliefs.
Ianto could only smile in response as he thought of his husband. “And yet, I love him. And you know that I do… otherwise you wouldn’t have said all of this.”
The sound of horses galloping close by caught their attention and before Lisa had the time to reply Owen came and interrupted their conversation.
“Ianto, here you are. You haven’t moved from this spot in hours! Ah hello, Mrs Hart.” He added in the end as he saw her.
“Hello Owen. How are you?” She asked him, her eyes never leaving Ianto’s face.
“Very well, thank you.” Owen said looking at his old friend with aversion, but she didn’t seem to even notice.
That moment Ianto saw Jack, who was returning with Gray, Toshiko and his Mother along with Wen were already standing by his side. Owen had outpaced his companions, and approaching his cousin first when he had seen Lisa being so close to him. He leaned close to Ianto and whispered to him. “When we got there Jack was no longer beside John; he had left him to Davidson to lead him through the hunt. A nice talent the simpleton has and a truly delightful one in company.”
Ianto nudged Owen to his side. “Stop it. Andy works for Jack and he's a good man.”
“Whatever.” He whispered turning his eyes to Lisa who was trying to listen to what they were saying. “Any idea of where your husband may be?” He asked her.
It was that very moment that John was heard from their left, sauntering down to them. "My dear, I finally found you." John said to his wife . His eyes travelled to Jack’s face, who had finally reached close as if he wanted to instil some poisonous supposition into Jack’s mind. "..At the same place as Mr. Harkness Jones, no lees. It was really amiable on your part to keep your cousin company." The word ‘company’ was said in a tone that implied much more than discussion between the two cousins.
Before Ianto could think to protest about the mocking tone and the further implications John was was suggesting between himself and Lisa, she spoke to her husband. “I was not fortunate enough to keep my cousin company, as you so appropriately re-marked. Owen was already here when I arrived.”
Ianto wanted to disagree and tell the truth but Owen’s hand on his arm stopped him. With a nod, the doctor showed Ianto Jack’s expression and smiled. The older man looked livid. Owen said quietly only for Ianto to hear . “Trust me, cousin, he cares.” And then took Toshiko and Nesta by the arms and escorted them to the carriage that would them back to ‘Warf’.
Ianto felt a weight settle on his heart. It seemed to him that Lisa's answer to John had made him in some measure her accomplice. He was on the point of telling everything to his husband, preferring his blame and anger to this revolting support to the woman who had so outrageously insulted him; but at the last moment Owen had made him stop adding guilt to the myriad ugly emotions that were hurting him.
And sighing bitterly, he pictured himself condemned for ever to falsehood, despite all his loathing for it, and compelled to practise deceit everywhere and always; to show, indeed, a smiling face, even when his heart was full of despair. He glanced timidly at Jack, who was talking with Wen and Gray at his right. Jack's features wore an expression of composure, and there was not the least sign of emotion in his voice as he quietly talked. Ianto thought to himself that perhaps he had been mistaken in believing he had seen a gleam of anger in his eyes as he approached Lisa and him earlier. Still he was aware of Jack's control over himself, and perhaps at the present moment he was merely forcing himself to look casual or careless.
Note: I'm terribly sorry for the delay in updating.