Feather in the wind

Chapter 24

Jack had hoped he would see the Doctor and he was luckily tripping across the waterfront with a bag full of breakfast bagels when he spied a familiar figure leaning against the rail with a gorgeous woman laughing at something.

"Doc?"

The Doctor swung with shock and stared at Jack, opening and closing his mouth. Jack had never seen him at a loss for words and cocked his head.

"Nice new face, your TV debut sucked though" Jack said calmly.

"Um. Yes." The Doctor screwed up his nose, "I looked so skinny!"

"You are skinny" Martha laughed.

Jack turned his head and then smiled. "Soon baby, I'm just talking to an old friend. I got your favourite!"

Jack grinned and snorted, "Yes, you are my favourite too. You aren't still picking on Owen are you?"

Jack coughed and rolled his eyes, "Owen, get off this frequency. Ianto and I are having a private conversation and if you think you need to syringe your ears out I'm sure Ianto would love to help."

Jack turned back to the doctor and grinned. "Kids."

The Doctor snorted and cocked his head, "How are you Jack."

"You left me" Jack suddenly blurted, "You left me behind amongst all that death and loss."

"I'm sorry Jack" The Doctor sighed, "I panicked. You were not supposed to happen. You … are an impossible thing."

"I say that every day" Ianto chirped as Jack spun to see him approaching.

"How the hell did you …. Ah. Invisible lift" Jack frowned, "I told you not to play on that."

Ianto poked out his tongue and screwed up his nose. Jack grinned.

"Jack wanted to know if you could fix him" Ianto informed the man in the lovely suit, "But I know you can't. He doesn't need fixing, does he? He's fine as he is."

The Doctor knelt by the chair and looked at the young man who looked back without fear. "And you are?"

"Ianto Jones." Ianto answered, "We've met before. At Canary Warf. You and Rose and … oh, Jackie. Gosh, that woman had a gob. Anyway, we were all in the lift together. I told you, you needed to go down another level!"

"Ah! Lisa! Did you find her?"

"No" Into said sadly, "I found her cyberman self and nearly destroyed the world for the hope that she was still alive. Look what she did to me."

The Doctor looked at Jack who had moved to hug Ianto and comfort him.

"This is not your fault" Jack crooned. "She used you and you loved her so much you couldn't see the machine hiding inside like a bloody virus. She nearly took you with her. My brave boy, you won. She didn't. End of!"

"He has a lovely suit" Ianto said softly and Jack laughed.

"The Doctor has a huge room called the Wardrobe and it is full of suits like that" Jack said and Ianto's eyes grew wide, "You could wear a different one every day for the rest of your life and still have spares!"

"Wow!"

"Are you cold dumpling?" Jack noticed the chill in the air as he removed his coat and tucked it around Ianto with a soft kiss to his temple.

"Psychic link!" the Doctor crowed, "You have a bond. Wonderful."

"Yeah" Jack smiled, "My love has complete run of my mind and still loves me."

"Well, he probably wears protective clothing for those rougher patches" the Doctor snorted and Ianto laughed.

"You were making Saxon angry" Ianto said softly, "You were being crafty."

"That's what he said?" the Doctor laughed, "Crafty? Hmmmm."

"Saxon was a bad man" Ianto said and the Doctor sighed. "I did like him though. He had a nice laugh."

"You knew him?"

"We spoke a few times" Ianto agreed, "He was sad. Tired and his head hurt. I think I made him feel better, he always rang when it was worst. The banging. He said I helped soothe it when I talked with him."

"My, aren't you a little enigma" the doctor murmured as he studied Ianto.

"No. He called me a lovely little ape" Ianto laughed.

"See?" Martha hit the Doctor lightly on the arm, "It is rude!"

"Oh, he didn't mean it like that." Ianto assured her, "He was like the next step. Like planet of the apes. We are not dumb or lesser that him. Just … not as advanced."

"Well put!" the Doctor smiled, "You are clever. Jack, you have a clever one here."

"He's mine!" Jack rose and protectively grabbed for the chair.

The Doctor's eyes widened and then he laughed.

"Don't worry, I won't take him from you but maybe one day you might both like a trip somewhere." He assured Jack, "I would love to see how the old girl responds to him."

"She liked me" Ianto said softly, "She didn't like being stolen away like that but she knew you were coming for her. I told her so. Nice to see her again. Franny says she is connected to you and you are like her power source. She will never accept another pilot. They mate for life, just like swans."

"Ah." The Doctor smiled. "Franny?"

"Mainframe" Ianto said as Jack took a sharp breath, "She lives in the hub. She's the alien lifeform that controls our computer system and stuff. She knows you, you were her daddy. You and the blue lady. You created her when you made the perception filter over the lift stone."

The Doctor had grown very still as he listened and he turned to face Jack.

"I need to see your base!"

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