Jack considered Rose’s words and lifted his head. “Jackie had a baby? Jackie Tyler??” He couldn’t believe Rose was standing in his Hub. The Doctor even considered her dead, since he couldn’t go between universes to visit with her. Jack had mourned her loss, when he had heard the story. And yet, she was standing there.
    “Don’t you start,” Rose warned, shaking a finger in his face. “You liked her stew and you danced with her.”
    He lifted his elbows to the desk and leaned on them.
    “Don’t I even get a hug? I really think I deserve a hug.”
    Rose rolled her eyes and put her arms around him. Jack smiled and hugged her tight, missing her smart, funny company.
    Ianto crossed his arms, waiting, while the rest of the team watched the drama.
    “Did you sleep with her?” he asked bluntly. Jack knew the tone; it was one that demanded the truth.
    “Yes, I did,” he said with a nod. “One year, tight box… what can I say?”
    “Jack!” Rose hissed, reddening. She pushed at him.
    “The TARDIS, Rose,” he clarified. “Although you were…. ouch.” He rubbed at his arm.
    Jack considered the fact that he was surrounded by Ianto, Gwen, and Rose. A brief speculation crossed his mind, and he kicked himself before it got out of hand.
    “Ok, ok,” he said, holding up a hand of surrender. “Let’s just sit down, CALM down, and try to figure out a plan. I’m more interested in how you got here, than I am in that tree thing. I will get your baby brother another rabbit. What’s his name?”
    “Tony,” Rose said, smiling as she followed him to the conference room. “He’s just two,” she said, staring out the window at the waterfall and pond. Myfanwy was sleeping at that time of the day, so the scene was clear of flying dinosaur.
    “How’d you find us?” Gwen asked, making nice. Rose turned and sat, pushing her blaster out of the way.
    “There’s a Cardiff office on my world, too,” she said. “I was taking a chance that you’d have one here.”
    “You’re world?” Tosh chimed in. “I don’t understand.”
    “Alternate reality,” Jack said. “Long story, not in the files. Rose lives on an alternate Earth, in an alternate London. I take it you work for your Torchwood?” he asked, pointing his chin at her vest with the Torchwood logo.
    “Who better?” she asked. “Me and Mickie head up the investigation unit for the London offices.”
    “You and Mick together again?” he asked with a smile.
    “Now and then,” she admitted. “He needs a few more years of growin’. I’m still fond of father-figure types.”
        “Ouch,” Jack chuckled, clapping a hand to his chest. Ianto was glaring.
    “Oh, relax,” Rose told him. “His cute bum is all yours; he taught a young girl how to be a woman, that’s all. It passed the time on many lonely nights.”
    “He was your first?” Tosh gently asked, leaning in. “You seem happy about it. If you don’t mind my saying so.”
    “He’s a very good lover,” was all Rose would say, her face relaxing into a warm smile for him. He smiled back, enjoying the memories of teaching her how to make love. When the Doctor finally gave in, things got really interesting in the darkness of space. Apparently, the Doctor hadn’t known that the Tardis could make things vibrate, as well as decorate chosen rooms with pleasure toys from any world in the universe. To say they had fun would be an understatement.
    “So.” They all looked at Ianto. “How’d you get here?”
    Rose thrust a fist out. Ianto jumped. Jack saw the thing on her wrist and resisted the urge to grab it. “Where’d you get that?” he asked. The team stilled at his voice.
    “Found it,” Rose said. “Some kind of small, one-seater came through our Rift and crashed. Creature was the ugliest shade of green I’d ever seen. Looked like pea soup. Two week old, unrefrigerated pea soup. I liked this thing, though; looks like yours.”
    Jack leaned back, watching the wrist band. “Purple blood, red eyes?” He took a writing tablet and drew on it. “Wearing a necklace with this symbol?” Rose looked at it and nodded, not surprised.
    “Yeah. What is it?”
    He stared at it. “Not important.” Another Time Agent was dead. Jack didn’t particularly care about this one; Flssssrrrrr was always stealing from the other agents. The knowledge that it was dead, though, still hit hard; it was a connection to a life long past.
    Gwen was watching him. She knew something was up and he knew she’d get it out of him later.
    “You can’t have it, Jack,” Rose warned, pulling her wrist close. He shook his head.
    “I trust you with it. Only you, Rose. Just…. be careful,” he said. “You don’t want to meet the others. They can home in on it, so don’t use it too often. In fact, you should destroy it when you get home.”
    Rose looked at the wrist band. “Is it… am I in danger?”
    “Only if one of the others finds you,” he told her. “And believe me, you don’t want that. Your world doesn’t want a visit by them.” His team was beginning to look annoyed at his cryptic words. Rose looked at him and then at the band. She began to take it off.
    “If it’s going to hurt my planet….”
    Jack shook his head. “You’ll need it to get home,” he said. “Don’t worry about it now; I’ll give you instructions for destroying it.”
    “Alright,” she slowly nodded, trusting him. “Now. How do we get rid of that tree thing?”
    She was given an ax and a few bricks of C4. She wasn’t amused.
    “It’s a tree, Rose,” Jack said. “Made of wood. It burns. Turn it into tooth picks.”
    “I’ve met a couple of the Cheem,” she said. “Is this thing one of their race? ‘Cause I liked ‘um.”
    “This one is not a member of the Forest of Cheem,” Jack said. “I like them, too. I don’t know what race this one belongs to, probably from a different universe than either of ours, and it’s carnivorous. The Cheem are not.” He paused, a light bulb going off over his head. “In fact…. Rose, let me see that, would you?” He held his hand out toward the wrist band. She took it off and handed it to him.
    Tosh looked closer, seeing it more clearly, and seeing that it was a replica of the one Jack wore. He pulled back slightly, holding it upright so that the others couldn’t see what he was doing with the face of it. He opened it and leaned around to Rose while his team sat impatiently, used to his non-communication which pissed them off.
    “When you get home, open it and put the dials like this,” he showed her. “Attach it to a limb of that tree, and tell it I said to go back through the Rift and this will take it home.”
    “But where’s home?” she asked, taking the ‘watch’ back from him.
    “I don’t know. That setting will take it to the first place it thinks of. Make sure it understands that it needs to concentrate on its home world. I don’t think the tree is a bad thing, it’s just lost and out of its element.”
    She agreed and put the watch back on. “Before I go, I want something I haven’t had in a while.”
    Ianto stiffened. Jack reached out and took his hand. “Will you relax?” he stage-whispered.
    “Chips,” Rose said clearly, thrusting her face in Ianto’s direction. “I may be living in London, but it’s a different London and they haven’t figured out how to do proper chips. Himself may be good in bed, but the chips are more important.”
    There were snickers around the table.
    “Yeah, ha ha,” Jack told them, “looks like we’re having chips for lunch. Come on.”
    The team went for their jackets. Jack stopped Ianto and waited.
    “Who’s Jackie?” Ianto asked.
    “Rose’s mother.”
    “You danced with Rose’s mother?”
    “It was Christmas,” Jack said with a shrug and a quirky grin. “The Doctor took Rose home for the holidays.”
    “You haven’t taken me dancing.”
    “I will take you dancing. Will you chill out? Please? I had a fling with Rose; it was me, the Doctor, and Rose. Just the three of us, on a ship. I wasn’t about to turn into a monk; Rose is pretty, she wanted to learn a few things, I was available and willing.”
    “And this Doctor?”
    “Oh, he taught ME a few things,” Jack chuckled. “And no, nothing happened the last time I went away with him; all that was before I came here. This last time I went, we fixed a planetary problem, and yes, it did last a year, it was a very serious problem, and I came back. He asked me to stay. I’m here with you.” He took Ianto’s face between his hands, holding his eyes.
    Ianto gave a nod and accepted Jack’s kiss. Jack kept his arms firm around Ianto’s slim frame, holding him close as they kissed until Owen stuck his head in and snapped at them to quit being disgusting. Neither of the men were feeling pain when they finally unlocked their lips.
    The team had scrambled up the stairs, hungry, while Jack pulled his greatcoat on.
    “Jack.” Rose hovered to his side and leaned her head in. “What are you doing here? You’re the nearest thing we have to another Time Lord, and you’re playing footsie with pretty-boy? Are you that serious about him? Why don’t you just take him with you? You’re needed out there.” She jerked her chin toward the roof.
    He put an arm around her shoulders and smiled. “The Doctor’s right about us; I’m starting to understand the miracle of humans,” he said quietly, a soft light in his eyes. “They keep me sane, Rose. I’m closer to the people of this time, than I am with the people of my own time. This is my home, now.”
    “Yeah, but this must seem like the Dark Ages, compared to your time,” she whispered. “I’ve seen your time, Jack, remember? Thirty-two hundred years is one hell of a difference.”
    He simply smiled and pecked the top of her head as they walked up the stairs. Gwen was waiting somewhere nearby, he could sense her, and he looked at the upstairs door for her; Gwen may not be as intellectually smart as Tosh or Owen, but she was quicker. Jack didn’t want to answer her rather pointed questions if she heard the conversation.
    The rest of the team was waiting for him, and they began to walk down the street to their favorite greasy spoon. Jack looked around, spotting Gwen, who was walking thoughtfully a few feet behind him. He gave her a smile, which she returned before going back to her thoughts. He could usually get a sense of the thought processes, but found himself turned away at her ‘mental door.’ She was developing shields. Irritating, yet he approved; she’d need them, if she ever ran into some of the more psi-powerful races.
    “Where’s Ianto?” Jack asked.
    “He went ahead to order for us,” Tosh said. Jack nodded. Ianto needed head-space. He’d make it up to his lover later in the evening. Both of them. They chatted and laughed as they walked, and sat at the outdoor seats of the pub when they got there. The pub’s owner came out, folded his arms, and stared down at them through suspicious, knowing eyes.
    “No guns, no fighting, no messin’ with the clientele,” he warned them. Jack put a hand to his chest, wounded.
    “I’m hurt, Tom,” he said, frowning. “When was the last time we had to pay for damages? We’ve been very good.”
    “I got that window replaced six days ago,” Tom told him, flinging his rag in the direction of said window. “It’s the third window this year.”
    “We did pay for them,” Jack reminded him, giving his best whipped puppy eyes. The man squinted in distrust.
    “Your chips are ready,” Tom said abruptly. “You stay out here.”
    “Ok,” Jack cheerfully agreed. “Where’s Ianto?”
    “Sittin’,” Tom said. “I’ll tell ‘im you’re here.”
    Jack sighed and pushed himself into a standing position. “Let me get him,” he said. “He needs to talk.”
    The owner reluctantly let Jack into the pub. Only Jack. It really wasn’t the team’s fault that people chose to start arguments with them and cause them to destroy furniture, windows and mirrors. A few regulars were in for lunch; they paused to watch Jack swagger in.
    “Hi, boys,” he said with a friendly wave. He gave his wrist a loose flip and his hips a wiggle just to irritate them. Tom glared and pointed toward the end of the row of tables. Jack walked the row until he came to the end, gave the tables another look, and walked back. He considered possibilities and stuck his head in the men’s room, “Ianto?” Nothing.
    “Tom, are you sure he was here?” Jack asked, going back to the bar.
    “Carla!” Tom bellowed. The waitress looked up from washing down a table. “You see where Ianto went?”
    “Followed that flapper, he did,” she informed the entire pub. The men laughed and slapped tables. Jack frowned. He took their tray of food and went back out, smacking the tray down on the table, and pulling his phone out. He dialed and waited. There was no answer.
    “What’s wrong?” Gwen asked. Tosh and Owen slowed in their reaching for food while Rose poured vinegar on her food and bit into her fish with a groan of pleasure.
    “Can’t find Ianto,” he said. “They said he left with some flapper.”
    Owen snorted and shoved a greasy chip into his mouth. “Not likely,” he commented. “Probably playing boy scout and helping with a tire or something. Relax and eat, Jack, he’ll show up.”
    Gwen put a paper plate in front of Jack and handed him napkins. “He’s a big boy, let him clear his head,” she said to him. Jack looked up and down the street before reluctantly sloshing a chip through katsup. Rose watched him over her paper plate.
    By the time they were finishing up, Jack was completely unconscious of the fact that his hand was frequently on Gwen’s thigh with worry. Owen and Tosh kept up the conversation with Rose, getting stories out of her about her travels to other worlds, while they shot looks at each other. Owen finally gave his empty plates an irritated toss into the garbage.
    “Look, we can go back to the Hub and pick him up on CCTV,” he told Jack.
    Jack sunk his strong, white teeth into the last of his fish and shoved the paper away from him. He stood, whipped around, and took long strides across the street toward their offices. The others hustled to keep up. He didn’t care what they told him, his spidey-senses were telling him something was wrong.
    “Get those monitors up,” he ordered as he skipped down the stairs. His team started flipping switches and brought up the monitors on the CCTV cameras for their street, backing the recordings up half an hour.
    “There,” Gwen said, pointing. Ianto was seen walking out of the pub, a woman with very short shorts and a tube-top hanging onto his arm. Gwen took the image in closer.
    “No way in hell he’d walk out with someone like her,” Jack snarled, clamping his arms around himself.
    “Look at his face,” Owen said, reaching over to adjust the image. “He usually looks like a zombie, but not that much.” Ianto’s face was completely expressionless; not even his lips moved to respond to the animated yapping of the woman at his side.
    “He’s in trouble,” Jack said. The others finally believed it. “Tosh, follow wherever they took him,” he said. “Get me names, addresses, and their first borns.”
    “Too bad we can’t go back in time,” Rose commented. “You could narrow in on the voices inside the pub and see what they were talking about.”
    Tosh began to rapidly hit buttons. “We can,” she said. “Sort of.”
    An image of earlier in the day came up on the screens, just minutes before they got to the pub, according to the time log. Tosh brought the image closer to the pub, fixing the pixels, and narrowing in again. They could see Ianto through the window, sitting at the far booth that Tom said he had been at. Tosh played with sound, not wincing at the squeaks and squeals when the others did.
    “Sorry,” she said, not taking her eyes from her computers. She adjusted the sound again, taking out most of the noise and zooming in on Ianto’s voice.
    “Want a date?” A woman sat across from him and asked.
    “No.”
    Ianto’s nose was in the paper and didn’t rise from it. Jack smirked, knowing Ianto wouldn’t go for her. Not his type.
    “You gay?” the woman asked. “’Cuz I got a friend….”
    “No.”
    “No to gay or no to my friend?”
    “Please leave,” Ianto told her with an impatient huff and frown.
    “Look,” she said, leaning in, her boobs practically falling out of her small tube-top. “Would you just walk with me a little? Please? I just need to get away from these blokes, see?”
    “Do I look like a bodyguard? Call the constable,” he advised.
    “Actually, you look like an undertaker,” she said, eyeing his dark suite. Owen snorted. “How about just buying me a pint? I’m sure they’ll go away after a while.”
    The waitress brought him his own pint and set it in front of him, giving the other woman a look down her nose. The streetwalker gave her a rude gesture. Ianto gave his newspaper an irritated rustle, folded it –neatly- and got up to walk to the men’s room.
    “What was that?” The team asked at the same time. They leaned into the screen while Tosh hit the rewind.
    “That bitch put something in his drink,” Jack snarled as they watched the woman do it again. When Ianto got back, he saw the woman still sitting at his table.
    He picked up his pint and moved to another table. “No!” Jack yelled at the recorded image of Ianto lifting the mug. “Dammit.” Jack laced his fingers behind his neck and paced.
    Minutes later, Ianto was clearly feeling the effects of something as he stared off into space. The woman came over and whispered to him, “Come on, my pretty, we have a party to attend.” She eased him from the booth. He went with her.
    “Let’s go get him.” Gwen put a hand on Jack’s shoulder and gave the tense muscles a squeeze.
    Tosh made quick work of tracking the couple on the CCTV cameras around town, which was unaware that Torchwood had long ago hacked into their mainframe to boost the audio and visual aspects. Jack had, more than once, reprimanded Owen for being a peeping-tom. Sometimes, though, the local police would get an
anonymous tip about someone being abused. Jack over-looked those peeps. Guns were passed out, Rose already had hers, and they hurried to the SUV.
    “Posh,” Rose commented as she slid into the back with Owen and Tosh, and heading to the back of the van.
    “Mine,” Jack growled. They weren’t sure which object he was declaring his. Be damned if some skank was going to steal Ianto. Fighting aliens all the time, and Ianto gets stolen by a local whore! Jack wasn’t happy.
    “That van they got into is modern; there’s a GPS signal,” Tosh called out. “It’s heading north on North Road, just past Blackwier!”
    Jack stepped on the gas and raced past the Millennium Centre, turning north onto North Road. He raced through stop lights, ignoring the tire screeches and honks from annoyed drivers. One car tried to chase him, lights flashing, but it didn’t last long; the car got the message to leave the Torchwood SUV alone.
    “Jack, we should let them…..” Gwen started. His jaw tightened. “Never mind. We’ll get him back.”
    So, yes, since this didn’t have anything to do with aliens, the job should probably go to the locals. Jack trusted Gwen; he didn’t trust the other police to get the job done. The bigger issue was who would want to kidnap Ianto? Was someone trying to gain access to Torchwood? Ianto, the man with all the keys, was certainly a good way to go about it; and with all the knowledge in the man’s head, someone would have a field-day with interrogating him. Jack needed to teach Ianto some anti-interrogation techniques.
    “It stopped!” Tosh called out, looking at the blinking dot on her screen.
    “Nothing but old farmhouses out there,” she commented, frowning in confusion.
    “The address they stopped at belongs to Reginald Bigsby. Sir Reginald.”
    Gwen tensed. Jack took a quick look at her.
    “What?”
    “Well…. nothing was ever proven, and he IS a lord….”
    “Spill it, Gwen!”
    “Whispers, mostly,” she said. “That he employs, well, people who are not necessarily paid for their duties. And that his private parties are rather extreme. People have gone missing after attending one of his parties.”
Jack’s hands tightened on the wheel. “So is Ianto staff or a party-favor?”
    “He’s pretty, Jack,” Gwen said softly. “We’re not far behind them, time-wise; we’ll get to him before anything happens.”
    He pulled off the road a short distance from the large mansion, and hid the SUV behind an old building.
    “Gwen, you and Rose see if you can find a side door or something,” he said as he reached into a compartment, took out a small thing, and handed it back to Rose.
    She put it into her ear. “Owen, with me; if he’s hurt, you get to him immediately. Tosh, get rid of their electronic security, stay here and monitor things, and have the SUV ready to grab us.”
    “Right.” Tosh gave a nod and jumped into the driver’s seat before bringing her computer screen around.
    “Are you sure about your friend here?” Owen asked, jutting his chin toward Rose.
    “We don’t know her; will she have our backs? Will she have Ianto’s back?”
    “I trust her with my life!” Jack snapped angrily, shoving the cylinder of his pistol back into place after checking it. “Girls, get going.”
    In fact, Rose gave him his life, although he wasn’t about to tell that to Owen. Rose gave him a nod and followed Gwen through the hedges, ducked low in sneaking-mode. Rose had grown a great deal since first starting her journey with the Doctor; the pouty teenager had made way for the maturing adult who had more
experience with death and fighting than any modern Earth young adult had a right to. They didn’t spend their entire time on the Tardis fooling around; Jack had also taught her how to fight and use weapons. Much to the pacifist Doctor’s annoyance; to fight or not to fight –that was one of the few things Jack and the Doctor disagreed on.
    “Security’s fixed,” they heard whispered into their earwigs. “I reversed the feed into a loop for them, and I’m getting the live feed; Ianto is below the main floor, along with about 6 others. They are being dressed in some sort of loincloth. And nothing else. He’s still dazed, by the looks of him. Wait, let me see… in the kitchen, there is a door to the left of the ovens. One of the others with him just came out from that door.”
    Jack touched his ear. “Great, Tosh; tell us when and where.”
    Tosh’s voice in their ears told them when to move and where to move to avoid people and get them into the mansion. Jack and Owen skulked through the library veranda door, hiding behind large, over-stuffed chairs when Tosh told them to duck. Voices moved past, commenting bitingly on the latest upset by Plaid Cymru.
Jack had to agree with them but for different reasons; Lord Cadoc had been a fool to allow the Conservatives gain that lead. Should have listened to Lady Helen….
    The halls were the trickiest part to get through, with servants hustling about and guests taking their time. About to head out again, there was a crash in the hall as well as a squeak of warning in his ear.
    “You idiot!” someone yelled. There was the sound of flesh hitting flesh. A slap.
    A tray had been run into by a guest, according to Tosh in his ear. Jack took a deep, silent breath and looked at Owen. They both forced patience as they waited for the mess to be cleared away.
    After what seemed like a century, “Go!” they heard whispered. There was no need to whisper, but it made Tosh comfortable. The men eased around the now open corridor.
    “Jack, Rose is up to something!” Tosh said urgently. “She…. she’s knocking on the kitchen side-door!”
    Well, it wasn’t something Jack would have thought of…. Owen rolled his eyes in agitation.
    “The door is opening! She looks like a beggar… hair is mussed, face is dirty…. She’s asking for a handout… willing to work for it….. there’s arguing about it…. someone’s giving her a broom, telling her to wash her hands and face before being around the food. She can have a bite when she’s done cleaning the floor.”
    Jack jerked his head, and he and Owen eased their way down the corridor and into another room to wait for the all-clear. One room at a time, they came closer and closer to the kitchen. Jack willed the staff to all vacate the kitchen but he knew, with this size party, that the kitchen was never going to be empty.
    He quickly processed a few thoughts as he looked around. They were in a guest room…. he took a look inside the wardrobe. Gun passed to Owen, he began to take his clothes off, much to Owen’s astonishment. The clothes were replaced with a black tuxedo and bowtie.
    “Oh, my God, he thinks he’s James Bond,” Owen muttered.
    “Shaken, not stirred,” Jack whispered. The shoes were a little tight on his big feet, but they’d have to do. “Find…” he looked for ID on the person whose clothing he was wearing. “Lord Edmun,” he told Owen as he pocketed the several thousand pounds he found in the wallet. “Make sure he’s silent for a while. Everyone on standby!” he ordered into his earwig before taking it off and slipping it into his jacket pocket. He didn’t want to make up stories about bad hearing; a billionaire would have gotten it fixed.
    He took his gun back, slid it behind the belt at his back, made sure the coat covered it, straightened his hair, and headed out.
    Servants bobbed their heads at him as he walked openly into the main section of the mansion. He took a glass of champaign from a passing tray. He recognized a few faces, famous from the worlds of politics, show business, and private, old money. He was given curious looks; society manners kept people from openly
questioning his presence. Looking the part made them hesitate; if he was someone important, and they didn’t recognize him, that would doom their own future. If he wasn’t important, they didn’t want to associate with him. Of himself, Jack recognized at least one royal face in the crowd that they’d probably need to extricate for the sake of Torchwood’s own politics with world governments. That one was too close to the crown to allow them to slip by.
    Someone commented on an oil baron who had recently been hurt in a riding accident. Jack knew the name. Picking an accent from the American South, he made his way through the room, making nice with the gentry as they wondered who he was.
    “Good afternoon,” he heard. He turned to see an older man, elegant in his own tuxedo, fit and trim. Jack made eyes at the handsome older man. He had guessed right when the look was surreptitiously returned. He took the hand that was held out. “How is your stay?” he was asked.
    “Fine, fine,” Jack said agreeably. “Nice little cottage ya’ll have here.”
    Confusion on the man’s face cleared a little.
    “I’m so glad you are enjoying it,” the man said. “How is… Texas, these days?”
    “Planet Texas is alive and well, thank you,” Jack said. The man smiled politely at the joke, although not understanding it. “My daddy sent his apologies for not being able to attend; I hope you received it?”
    The man, Lord Reginald, made a small moue. “No, I didn’t,” he confessed. “I trust his health is….?”
    Jack waved a hand. “Oh, daddy’ll be alright,” he said. “Horse tripped on a gofer hole, he fell, and the horse landed on him. He broke his leg. Daddy, that is, not the horse.”
    A face of compassion was made. “Oh, dear, not at all good for a man of his age.”
    “Believe me, he’ll be chasing those nurses around in no time,” Jack chuckled.
    “Oh, I’m sorry; if you didn’t receive his apologies, you must not know who I am. Where’s my manners? Jackson Baumann, son number Three. My older brothers wouldn’t have…. appreciated this as much as I can, so daddy sent me. Like father, like son, as they say.”
    Lord Reginald smiled and winked.
    “Just call me Jack.”
    The big oil family was known but hardly ever seen in public, so the story was accepted.
    “Did you take the time to sit with an advisor and made your wishes known?” Lord Reginald asked, leaning in.
    “No, I haven’t,” Jack said. He leaned in, too. “Tall and lean,” he said to the tall, lean man. The older man flushed at the attention from the handsome younger man.
    “Let me see what’s still available. Is this your first time at our parties?” Reginald asked. “I’m sure I would have remembered you from elsewhere.”
    “First time,” Jack agreed. “But not the First time, you understand.”
    Reginald patted his arm. “Not to worry,” he said. “I’m sure the rules won’t be too different from what you are used to, not if you use the same standards that your father does. As long as your… personal servant… is in one piece, you may use him, or her, as you will.”
    Jack leaned in again. “And if I wanted to take him, or her, home with me? Texas gets a little lonely, once in a while.”
    “We’ll see. Perhaps a…. small party? With one or two others?”
    “We’ll see.” Jack slid a hidden finger across the man’s tight stomach and into the space between two buttons. Brown eyes darkened with an inner flame. Lord Reginald removed himself to personally see to Jack’s needs. He had made his voice loud enough at the mention of his name that others nearby had heard and quickly passed it on; he was greeted by name from people he had never met before as he moved through the room.
    The Texas oil baron, Elliot Baumann, did have a third son, actually named Jackson, who was a bit of a recluse; there were no current photos of him. Older photos showed a boy with dark hair and a clef chin. The boy could possibly have grown up to look a little like Jack. Only a close, personal family friend would know that Jack wasn’t Jackson Baumann. Jack hoped none of them were present.
    A peak of a collar here and there, a chain under a blouse, confirmed to Jack exactly what kind of party it was. It also confirmed that he needed to get Ianto out. Ianto was a romantic; this kind of party wasn’t something he would like. Not that Jack couldn’t talk Ianto into tying him up, now and again.
    Someone whispered into Jack’s ear, and he made his way to a small, private office. A business-like man sat behind the desk, barely looking up as Jack entered.
    “Mr. Baumann, thank you for coming,” the man said. “I’m sorry we didn’t catch you earlier. We have a few odds and ends left over, but I assure you they are all quality material. These were just late getting here. If you would be so kind as to look through the catalogue and make your choices?”
    Jack sat in front of the desk and took the offered book. It was filled with photos of men and women, each dressed and undressed. Most of the pictures were marked as ‘sold.’ As he looked thoughtfully through the photo album, he quickly thought of how he was going to pay the listed prices. They were a lot more then the few thousand he had in his pocket.
    “Lord Reginald has already tallied your donation,” the man was saying. “Your family has quite a substantial amount recorded, so please don’t hesitate in your choice. Have you been told how this works?”
    “No, I’m sorry to say I have not,” Jack said honestly. “I was always more interested in the stories, not the finances.”
    “Of course, sir. The Baumann family has a long history with us; many generations have spent their time at our annual events. I believe the last time a Baumann hosted an event was in 1923. This was in the old family castle in Austria.”
    “Overdue,” Jack said with a smile, looking up for a moment.
    “It is more difficult in the United States,” the man agreed. “Half of the funds go to the host, the other half go toward charities. Mr. Baumann has several years paid in advance.”
    “That’s nice but I will add to it,” Jack assured him. He took out the pound notes and slid them across the desk. The man gave a small nod of approval, made a tic in his journal, and put the money away. “I’m not seeing anything stand out,” Jack said, shutting the book. “I really had my heart set on something
tall. Lean. I like dark hair, but any color will do. I suppose, though….”
    “Well.” The man thoughtfully tapped his chin with a pen. “We do have a young man…. but he isn’t completely… awake… from his trip here.”
    “Doesn’t matter to me,” Jack said, putting a hard edge into his voice for the first time. The man saw something in his eyes and took a step back into servant status.
    “Very well, sir.” He turned a small screen around to face Jack. “How about this one?”
    Ianto’s face came into focus. Jack leaned in. The eyes were sleepy, lethargic from whatever drug he was given.
    “Oh, now that’s very pretty,” he breathed in appreciation. “He’s available?”
    “Yes, sir. We will have him prepared and sent to your quarters.”
    Jack gave a nod of approval and left.
    Dinner was about to be served, so Jack took his place in the dining hall. He chatted with his table partners, engaging them with world politics and his own opinions, and surprising them with his knowledge of political history. Many of the people didn’t know their own history and pretended to understand what he was talking about while they made mental notes to do a little research. There were decades when Jack had not much better to do than read and pay attention.
    The servants took the dishes away and dessert was served. Jack plucked a few pieces of fruit, not wanting to be weighted down with the sugar from the treats. He flirted with the woman next to him, an old dowager who ate it up, and made show of peeling a grape before caressing her painted, wrinkled lips with it and sliding the small globe sensuously into her mouth. She gave a deep-throated chuckle and swatted at him with her cloth kerchief.
    One by one, a servant came and whispered into someone’s ear. The person left the room, a smile on their face as their table-mates sent well-wishes.
    “Sir,” came the whisper into Jack’s ear. “Your quarters are prepared.”
    He stood, patted his stomach, and gave his table a gleaming smile. The dowager’s hand was pecked and he wished her pleasant dreams.
    “Show me,” he told the servant. The servant was curious as to why, but didn’t dare ask. It wasn’t her place to ask why the gentleman didn’t know where his quarters were.
    “Jack.” Lord Reginald came toward him in the corridor. “That will be all,” he told the girl. She gave an old-fashioned curtsy and went back to her duties.
    “Since you haven’t been here before, I wanted to show you around before you retired.”
    Jack agreed and kept his impatience to himself.
    “Besides your quarters, there are many other places to entertain,” Reginald said as he took Jack’s arm and began to walk. “The library is always popular. –and don’t worry if it’s already occupied. If someone wants privacy, they can lock a door. There is a wardrobe of costumes you are welcome to choose from, the solarium windows are one-way. No one outside will see in. There is a playroom downstairs, with all the trimmings, and the third floor has themed rooms. No clothing in the pool or spa; soap bubbles make such a mess.”
    “My daddy says the same thing,” Jack commented. “We also have a barn.”
    Reginald nodded. “Yes, there is a barn, if you’d like to walk out there.” He made it a question. Jack smiled.
    “Later,” he said. He slid his arm out and his hand across Reginald’s back before giving the man’s ass a caress. “Do I get to play cowboy or Indian?”
    “I see you as more the bull-rider type,” Reginald told him. “Or breaking in those wild ponies.”
    Jack laughed and pressed his hand between the man’s tight cheeks. “Oh, there are times when I’m in need of a little breaking-in myself.” Reginald squirmed at the hand, tittering, flushing as the front of his pants
bulged.
    “Can you ride a bucking bull, Reggie?” Jack asked in a heated whisper.
    “I… will give it my best,” Reginald said, ready to faint from lack of oxygen to his brain.
    “Show me where my quarters are,” Jack told him. “I want that pretty boy’s ass before we relax in the barn. Make sure there’s plenty of rope, Reggie. Can’t break bulls and ponies without rope. And a whip or two.”
    A lord of the realm, Reginald almost tripped over his own feet as he showed Jack to his quarters and leaving to make sure the barn was properly prepared. Jack took a deep breath and went into his quarters. There was a naked body laying across the large bed. A familiar, lean length with dark hair. Jack put a finger against Ianto’s neck, waited, and breathed a sigh of relief at the strong pulse. In panic, Jack gently parted the bare ass cheeks. Another sigh of relief. Jack smelled soap and water, but there were no signs of trauma. He gave the cheeks a pat.
    “Ianto,” he whispered as he turned the young man over. Knowing that Tosh had fixed the security, he didn’t bother to look for any hidden cameras in the room. He slid the earwig back on.
    “I’m in,” Jack whispered. “Second floor, Southwest corner suite. Ianto is here but he’s unconscious. There are servant’s stairs across from the kitchen. Looks like a closet door, but there are stairs inside. Don’t try for the main staircase, there are too many people around. The servant stairs comes out on the second floor about 100 yards from here. There is one more suite between the stairs and my suite.” He walked to the window.
    “I see a garden maze outside my window. A couple of naked idiots running around in it, but otherwise it’s clear. I don’t know about windows below my location. There’s plenty of rope, blindfolds, and gags around here, so don’t hesitate to use them if you need to. Under cushions, attached to chair legs…. be creative in
your searching.
    “I’m going to try and get Ianto awake. I think this window outside to the maze is our best bet; the kitchen is going to make a nice playground, so I don’t think we’ll make it out from there. Tosh, get the SUV ready to catch us.
    “Owen, there’s a log book in the manager’s office, along with millions in cash. I can think of a few charities in need of it. Gwen, get to the maze and figure out logistics. Rose, see if you can get up here. Bring sheets and towels, or something.”
    Everyone acknowledged him, and the comm was silent.
    Jack sat on the edge of the bed and stroked Ianto’s face and hair.
    “Ianto? Wake up.” He tapped gently on his cheek. “What the hell did they give you?” He kissed the slack lips. “Come on, I really need you to wake up, Ianto; my suit is getting wrinkled, sitting like this.”
    A moment later, there was a low moan. Jack brightened. “Yes! Wake up, Sleeping Beauty, that’s it, come on.”
    “Jaaaa….?”
    “Yes, it’s me,” Jack leaned in to whisper. “You need to wake up. You were drugged. Fight it, Ianto, you can do it.”
    The door opened and Jack whipped around, reaching for his gun.
    “It’s me,” Rose whispered, holding a finger to her mouth. She had someone with her, someone bound and gagged, struggling. She shut and locked the door behind her before hustling over to the bed. “How is he?”
    “Coming around,” Jack said as he stroked the dark hair. He was presented with blinking eyes trying to focus. “Come on, Ianto, we need you up and about. Fight it.”
    The young man in the bonds tried to yell. Rose smacked him on the head.
    “None a-that, you,” she growled at him.
    “You are coming with us, whether you like it or not,” Jack admonished him, shaking a finger. “You are not going to humiliate your family like this, you spoiled piece of shit.” The young royal glared at him.
    “Jack.” Tosh was in his ear. “I can’t get any closer. You’re going to need to get Ianto out to the main road. There’s too many guards around.”
    “See if there’s any clothes in here,” Jack told Rose. She shoved the royal into a chair, and quickly went to search the closet and wardrobe.
    “Jack, unlock the door,” Owen whispered into his ear. Jack went and unlocked the suite door and Owen slipped in. He immediately went to the bed and gave Ianto a quick look-over.
    “No trauma,” he said in relief.
    “I noticed. You got anything to revive him? This is taking too long.”
    Owen took a syringe from his jacket and stabbed Ianto in the ass with it.
    “What’s that?” Jack asked. Owen was the only doctor he knew who walked around with syringes in his jacket.
    “An upper,” Owen said. “Always revives me.”
    “Here,” Rose said, holding out a handful of furry cloth. Jack took it and held it up.
    “It’s a mouse,” he said, eyeing the pointed face and whiskers.
    “The closet is filled with costumes,” she hissed at him. “You find something.”
Jack and Owen began to dress Ianto in the mouse outfit. Jack began to get an idea.
    “Lots of costumes?”
    Rose crossed her arms, shifted a hip, and gave him a suspicious look. “Yeah.”
    Five minutes later, Jack was walking down the hall. He had a fresh kill tossed over his shoulder, and Rose, wearing a leather mask, had two more trailing behind tied to a rope. His gun was resting against his shoulder and he was whistling merrily. Several people passed him and laughed.
    “Jack, I wished you good hunting but I didn’t think you’d take it seriously,” one man said with a chuckle as he eyed the two large ‘cats’ and the unknown Mistress. She snapped a riding crop at one of her leashed cats who was hissing and growling.
    “Oh, you know… a little pussy now and again…”
    More laughter followed him as he strolled down the main staircase with his cats.
    They left the house through the library and out into the maze.
    “Can I have the space?” Jack asked a couple of naked people. “My kitties want to chase the mouse.”
    They laughed and agreed to give him the space.
    “I won’t forgive you for this, Jack,” Owen hissed at him from inside the lion face.
    “Oh, I don’t know,” Rose said inside her leather mask. “This has potential.”
    Jack set Ianto on his feet, holding the young man as he wobbled a little.
    “Ok?” he asked. Ianto gave a shaky nod.
    “Getting there,” he said.
    “Can you run? I really need you to run. At least to the main road.”
    There was a crash from the other side of the house. Guards began to run.
    “Fire in the kitchen!” they yelled.
    “Now!” Jack ordered. Ianto began to jog into the maze, the cats chasing him, as Jack called out directions, picturing the maze from the window above. A shadow snuck around the house and joined them.
    “Kitchen will take some time,” Gwen whispered. “Grease everywhere. Naughty of someone.”
    By the time someone realized the diversion, they were almost to the road where Tosh was waiting for them. The royal was shoved into the back of the SUV while the others grabbed a seat. Tosh took off before the last door was closed. She wasn’t as fast as Jack, but she was a very good get-away driver.
    They left the royal with MI-5, who bit back their laughter at the site of the costume, and took Ianto home to Torchwood. He was put to bed in Jack’s quarters, covered, and sent back to sleep off the rest of the drugs under the careful supervision of Owen. Jack kissed Ianto’s forehead, covered him up, and left him to sleep.
    The girls were standing around and talking quietly when he came back into the main Hub.
    “Alright?” Gwen asked. Jack nodded.
    “He’s sleeping.”
    “Was he… harmed?” she asked, worried.
    “No,” he assured her. Tosh and Rose relaxed, having been unconsciously waiting to hear it. “Thank you for helping Ianto,” he told them. Gwen shook his arm.
    “Jack, we’re a team, remember?” she told him. “We’re family.”
    Tosh touched his arm, too. “Rift opens in twenty-three minutes,” she said. “If Rose needs to get to it. Next one won’t be for two days.”
    “Go,” Jack said with a nod. He put his arms around Rose, giving her a tight squeeze. She smiled and snuggled into his shoulder for a moment. He kissed her before releasing her. She smiled at him before turning to Gwen and taking her hands.
    “Be mindful of his face and neck,” she said gently to Gwen. “He doesn’t really like to be touched there, not without warning. Issues. He’ll tell you when he’s ready. And the backs of his knees are a hot zone. Get him on his belly and lick the back of his knees, and he’ll turn into a whimpering baby. And don’t be jealous of his time with Ianto; he loves each person individually, so don’t try and compare anything. If you want his attention before he gives it, you’ll need to ask straight for it. Don’t play games with his head or his heart; he’s your friend above all else. He will be at your side forever, if you are an honest and loyal friend in return.”
    Gwen gave a teary nod and smile before hugging Rose. Tosh didn’t question anything as she waited.
    Once Rose and Tosh left for the site of the next Rift opening, Jack collapsed into a chair, breathing deeply into his hands. Gwen rested against the desk, facing him, and gave his hair a stroke. He took her hand and pressed the back of his mouth to her knuckles before placing it against his cheek.
    “You’re allowed,” he told her, and shut his eyes to rest.

  
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Questions? Contact Michele at thelapisgates@gmail.com
And by all means, let me know if a link doesn’t work. There are a lot of pages on my site, and I try to make sure all links are updated, but sometimes the gods have other plans in mind.
Chapter 3: Mine!

By: Michele Briere
Rating: R
Pairings: J/I/G
Summary: Ianto gets kidnapped, and Jack and the team find themselves in an unusual place rescuing him.

Note: I’m adding a year to Rose’s time with the Doctor. I mean really, think about it –how long was Jack on the Tardis? No one knows. I’m giving him a year. So we have an unaccounted for year. That makes three years.


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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6