anduria_trianys (anduria_trianys) wrote,
anduria_trianys
anduria_trianys

Forever Autumn 9/23

Title: Forever Autumn 9/23
Pairings: Jack/Ianto, John/Nick,
Characters: Jack, Ianto, John Hart, Nick Jones, and a cast of (probably!) thousands.
Spoilers: Set after Exit Wounds. Sequel to 'We Could Be Heroes'
Rating: Adult - it's going to get very dark in some places.
Warnings: Slash, language, angst, dark themes.
Summary:The big day dawns!
Disclaimer: I'm a student. I don't own Torchwood.

The Master List is here:
anduria-trianys.livejournal.com/27610.html

Chapter 9

30th June 2013, 1:00pm...


“John, your eyes are starting to bug out of your head and you're shaking like mad,” said Jack. “You're going to turn up to your own wedding either giving off the impression that you're high on something or you're going to be rushing off the stage with a desperate need for the bathroom because you've drunk too much coffee.”

John sighed as he took in the sea of china cups spread over the table. “I know,” he admitted. “I just couldn't sleep for hours last night.”

“I know. You kept me awake for most of it.”

“And when I did get to sleep,” continued John, ignoring Jack's interruption, “I kept having nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat.”

Jack stiffened. “What kind of nightmares?”

“Oh, nothing like what you're thinking. I just kept dreaming of the wedding and having all these awful scenarios happen. What if it rains during the reception? What if I forget the wedding bracelets? What if my paintings don't show up or get put up in time? What if,” and, in a quiet voice, he voiced the fear that had been chilling his thoughts all night, “what if Nick's changed his mind?”

“John!” Jack reached over and gripped his hands tightly. “For goodness sake, will you listen to yourself – you're being ridiculous!” He breathed out heavily and opened the curtains, revealing the sun shining in a cloudless blue sky. “Firstly, it is over thirty degrees and the height of summer out there. No rain is forecast for the rest of the week – by the meteorologists or the Hub mainframe – and even if it was, you'll be thousands of miles away on your honeymoon in two days, so you won't even have to worry about the weather here.” He paused. “Besides, do you honestly think I would be stupid enough to organise your reception and not have a contingency plan in mind?”

“I sometimes do wonder,” muttered John dryly.

Jack ignored that. “Secondly, Catrin and David have the bracelets and the cushion, and they'll be giving them to Trev just before the ceremony. Have you honestly known Cat to lose anything?”

“No, but –”

“Thirdly,” continued Jack. “Your paintings went up yesterday. In fact, much to the annoyance of the set designers who were there, you put them up yourself, because you couldn't trust any of them to do it right.”

“Yeah, but –”

“And finally.” Jack was still resolutely ignoring any interruptions, “do you honestly think that Nick would agree to marry you and then not show up on the big day? I mean, would you do that?”

“No!” exclaimed John, suddenly quite annoyed. “I wouldn't –”

“Then why would you think Nick would?”

“I don't, I just...” John stopped and actually thought about it.

“Exactly,” said Jack simply. “He wouldn't.” He smiled softly. “Now, will you take a minute and calm down and just think about how paranoid you're being?”

John blinked and shifted slightly. “Yeah, I'm sort of wishing you weren't here to see me being an idiot,” he said sheepishly.

“Good. Now that you've realised that, will you please get ready? We have to leave in less than an hour.”

“Yes, sir!” John got up to get ready, but then blinked as another feeling made its presence known. “Jack?”

“Yeah?”

“I need the bathroom now!” And John rushed into the ensuite bathroom and slammed the door, Jack's laughter ringing in his ears.

~*~

1:30pm...

“Wow.” Jack was clearly impressed. “You look amazing.”

John looked in the mirror and grinned. He was really pleased with the morning suits that Nick's uncle Steven had made. The grey trousers were expertly tailored – as he knew they would be – and the colour blended in beautifully with the black waistcoats and tails, while the purple shirt, or blue in Jack's case, with the silver cravat added a pleasing touch of colour to the ensemble. It just served to confirm something he already knew; the Jones family really did have that 'family eye' that Ianto and Nick kept talking about, though he did feel a slight pang that Nick's father hadn't been alive; if he had been, John knew he would have bent over backwards to make the outfits himself. But as he lightly caressed the fine stitching on the jacket cuffs, John knew that his father-in-law would have been proud of what his brother had accomplished.

However, the one part of the whole outfit that he had been most worried about – the black top hat – turned out to be just the thing that was needed to complete the look. He'd been decidedly uneasy about the hat, remembering that the last time he'd had to wear something similar had made everyone ridicule him so much that he'd actually ended up hiding away for a week, until the furor had all died down. However, this time, it looked exceptionally dashing. In fact, when Jack came over to preen himself in the mirror, John mused that he actually looked a lot better than his former partner had.

“Well, you are the groom,” said Jack; apparently, he'd heard John's thoughts. “It's only right that you look better than I do today.”

“Oh!” John raised an eyebrow. “So you finally admit that I look better than you, do you?” He preened. “I told you I was the hotter one of the two of us!”

“Oi!” Jack waggled his finger. “You may be getting married today, but don't push your luck! Everyone knows that I was the hot one!”

“No, you were the pretty boy. I was the hot playboy.”

Jack smiled and reached out to take John's hand. “Not such a playboy now, though, are you?”

“No.” John grinned and clasped Jack's hand. “And I wouldn't change that for the world.”

~*~

2:20pm...

John smiled as he waited in the wings with Jack and took in the scene before him. All around the theatre there were candles and tiny multicoloured lights shimmering and flickering. He and Nick had decided from the outset to use their own smaller lights rather than the lights belonging to the actual theatre, because they had wanted the occasion to have the intimate feel that they weren't sure would be possible with the large theatrical lighting. Looking around now, he saw that they had definitely made the right decision.

The stage floor was covered by a soft grass-like carpet with several plants and flowers dotted around and there was even an artificial waterfall with the water flowing slowly into what looked like a large pool, giving the effect of a futuristic forest or jungle. In the middle of the stage, there was a tall wooden gazebo, plainly made, but with yet more tiny lights entwining with the colourful leaves and flowers that were wound around the thin wooden pillars.

A soft whistling sound, quite unlike the band playing as the crowd entered, suddenly hit his ears and he looked around, his mouth dropping open slightly when he saw that the baby aatiae Nick had rescued were soaring around the stage, basking in the scene. He felt tears prick his eyes as he looked around and recognised some of the plants from when he had followed his mother into the forest around their home.

Jack leaned over and rubbed his shoulder gently. “Look at your paintings,” he whispered.

John looked up and his breath caught sharply in his throat as his eyes zeroed in on the paintings on the back wall. In keeping with the botanical theme of the rest of the décor, he had painted three panels making up a scene of a bright forest, much like the places he used to go with his mother when he was a child, complete with the bright flowers and the shimmering waterfalls and streams edging the pathway and reflecting the colours of not only the flora and fauna, but also the faint rainbow colours in the sky, which had been so common in the skies of his home, both by day and by night. Even the music playing – the 'Jupiter' movement from Holst's 'Planets' suite – added to the theme, with the chords rippling and crashing around them like the waves in the streams.

“Wow,” he croaked out. “Just...wow.”

The two men waited in the wings as everyone took their seats in the auditorium, all of them whispering in admiration at the beauty of the landscape in front of them, although Jack had to snicker softly when Nick's cousin James squeaked loudly as one of the aatiae flew above him and brushed the top of his head with one of its wings. To his credit, however, once he'd gotten over the initial embarrassment, he grinned at everyone and even reached out to stroke the creature's wing, making it warble cheerfully.

John's mouth twitched, even as he tried to slap his friend's arm. “Behave,” he silently chided him. “Or I'll tell everyone about the time when you screamed when that ladybird –”

“Shh!” Jack whispered and nodded in the direction of the stage. The music had progressed while everyone had been taking their seats, to the point that the string quartet had taken their place and were now playing out a very familiar melody line. At the same time, John noticed that Lucas, who was dressed in a smart black suit, had made his way across the stage and was now standing in the middle of the gazebo, waiting. Blushing slightly, John linked arms with Jack and together, they made their way onto the stage. His breath hitched slightly as he walked towards Lucas and realised that, yes, this was really happening. In fact, he was so lost in his own thoughts that it was several minutes before he registered something nuzzling his hand.

Looking down, he saw Michelle, Nick's little niece, who was wearing a deep purple silk dress with a black lace sash and with purple and blue flowers in her hair tied with tartan ribbon, and in a small basket she was holding. She was standing beside John and scattering the petals across the floor and grinning, aided enthusiastically by Estelle, who was dressed similarly, but in a sapphire blue frock. With them was Woodie, Catrin's black Labrador puppy, who had a small cushion on his back with two small sprigs of blue flowers on them. Beside the girls, also wearing elegant gowns in the same colours as the young flower girls, stood Catrin and Helen, watching the scene with amusement, as well as George and David, both of whom looked very striking in their own morning suits, although David's naturally wild curls looked as if they'd exploded.

Trevyn, who up until now had been holding the cushion with the two embroidered ceremonial bracelets that John and Nick would exchange, now passed it to his aunt and reached down to pick up the two little sprigs, which he then handed to the flower-girls. “Now, Michelle, you pin yours to Uncle Jack,” he instructed. “And 'Stelle, you pin yours onto John-dad! Isn't that right, John-dad?”

John chuckled and accepted Estelle's offering. “That's absolutely right, buddy!” he said, ruffling Trevyn's hair. “By the way, you were right – that green shirt looks much better on you than blue or purple would.” He remembered the awful time they'd had picking out an outfit for Nick's son. While the little boy had been perfectly happy to wear his small morning suit, he had flat out refused to wear a blue or purple shirt, stating emphatically that he 'didn't want to be dressed like a girl!' before Jack had eventually suggested a green shirt for Trevyn, stating that it would work well with his hair. Nick had been a bit doubtful at first, but when his son had fallen head over heels in love with his new outfit, he couldn't very well refuse.

“Told ya!” said Trevyn with a grin as he took the cushion back from Catrin and took his place beside Jack.

Then the room went silent, an air of anticipation burning in the air as everyone suddenly sat still. They held their breath, watching the aisles and waiting. Even the lights seemed to dim and, in the silence, Jack put a hand on John's arm, his fingers trembling as he did so. John smiled. The atmosphere and the excitement was causing his heart to pound until he thought it would burst out of his chest.

Then, suddenly, the lights went back up and the band started playing again, the trumpets leading from the front with their vibrant sounds. As the music continued, all the heads turned towards the left aisle, which had suddenly started shimmering with a bright blue light.

John heard Jack inhale sharply and knew that his best man's gaze was fixed upon Ianto. However, he couldn't take his eyes off Nick, who was walking arm in arm with his cousin. Both men were wearing the traditional Welsh kilt, made out of the same green and blue tartan that was also making up the ribbons in the flower-girls' hair and that John suddenly realised was the traditional tartan of the Jones clan. The sporran was of a simple small black leather design with a silver dragon decoration, matching the silver kilt pin which was a dragon reclining on the hilt of a sword, and Nick also had the ceremonial sword that he'd carried during his time at the Time Agency, as well as the smart black jacket that had been part of his formal uniform. He had joked once that the sword and the jacket were the only parts of his Agency uniform that he actually liked, but it looked very striking with the pale blue shirt and black tie he was wearing. Even the floral buttonhole – a purple iris surrounded by red and green leaves – looked striking without taking away from the overall picture.

When the cousins reached the centre of the stage, John grinned at Nick. “Great legs, my Jedi Knight,” he said, frowning when everyone else raised their eyebrows at him. “What? Oh, come on, the man just walked up the aisle to the Star Wars theme music – as if you wouldn't have made that joke!”

“Well, later on, I can show you my lightsaber,” replied Nick, causing Lucas to turn bright red.

John's eyes widened. “Okay, that I cannot wait for. But first, we've got something to do.” He turned his smile towards Nick's uncle. “Over to you, Lucas.”

Lucas blinked several times. “What? Oh, right!” He cleared his throat, clearly slightly flustered as he checked the papers in his hands. “Well, it looks like we're starting this wonderful event with a poetry reading from Catrin, so, without further ado, over to you.” He grinned at his niece.

Catrin smiled back, handed her bouquet to Helen, and stepped forwards, her elegant gown trailing behind her as she took her place. “As many of you know, Nick is an exceptionally avid reader, to the point where I remember Ianto saying that he saw more of the top of his head than he did of any other part of his body for several years,” she said. “But what you may not know is that he is also a rather gifted writer, especially when it comes to one of his favourite subjects – dragons.” She opened up her booklet. “The poem I am going to read to you today was written when my brother was still at school and it has become one of my own personal all-time favourites, even though he never actually gave it a name.” Clearing her throat amid the soft laughter, and ignoring the horrified look on her brother's face as he realised what she was doing, she started to read.

“In the green, dark depths of the forest,
Where the tall, falling trees form a crest,
A dark, deep shadow lies in wait,
Brooding in the darkness of her hate.
Her eyes are as dark as the night,
As she waits to set the woods alight.
The forest dragon, green as her dark mire,
Will so soon show her strength in fire.

Up in a cold, dark, ravaged mountain,
Through a curling mist of bitter rain,
Lingering in the beauty of his love,
His scales hard as stone, yet soft as a dove,
He waits, breathing in a scent ahead,
Watching the flowers, purple, white and red.
The fair mountain dragon in haste exits his lair,
And moves quietly through the piercing air.”


“Oh, no...” groaned Nick, his face turning as red as his hair. “Ianto, did you give her that book?!”

Ianto chuckled. “Sorry, Nick, but it's her privilege to embarrass you. She is, after all, the sister of the –”

“Please, don't say 'sister of the bride'!” pleaded Nick, his eyes widening as Ianto snickered. “I am not a bride! I'm not even a woman!”

John laughed. “Honey, you're the one wearing the skirt!”

Catrin, whose mouth had been twitching wildly, turned around and glared at the men. “Come on, guys, trying to focus here!” She rolled her eyes at them and went back to the poem, trying to get the next sentence out coherently. Unfortunately, she was giggling so hard at her brother's embarrassment that she could barely even breathe, much less speak, and after a few minutes, Helen took pity on her and took over the reading.

“Lo, there, deep in the cold, windy valley,
Where the rush grass sways by the sea,
Waiting for the true meaning of justice,
Her breath being raised in a mere hiss,
She lingers, head reared to clouds of grey,
Giving nothing up, come what may,
The cold valley dragon lies low in the grass
Her scales as bright and bold as brass.”


John inhaled softly and closed his eyes slightly, listening as the words flew over him. He felt as if he had just walked straight onto another planet, maybe even into another universe, a place rich with colour and with the majestic creatures that Nick held in such high esteem. He knew it sounded crazy – and he would certainly never let Nick know this – but hearing those words was stirring more emotion inside him than what his partner described as the 'literary gems' by far more distinguished authors, such as Anne McCaffrey.

“See, beside the blue depths of the river,
Where the moon is shining like silver,
A hard, cold eye sparkles by the water’s side,
The black pupil filled with penetrating pride.
He is waiting and watching, ever still,
Watching for the moment to move and kill.
The dragon of the river arches his spine,
His neck is as long as a shadowy pine.

Everywhere you look, be it on water or land,
As the stars and moon reflect on soil or sand,
Feelings, meanings, rise up in the mist,
Pride, love, hate, and sweet justice.
And now, as one, united in the moment,
Their fire burns bright, as though Heaven sent.
Flying through the sky, faster than a comet,
Linking like a large burning gold net.”


When Helen finally finished reading and the applause had died down, John opened his eyes and breathed out sharply. “Wow, Nick,” he said softly. “I didn't know you wrote poetry.”

“I was twelve,” said Nick, chuckling. “There was a competition on at school and it really did seem like a good idea at the time.”

Lucas smiled. “It was a good idea, Nick. That was a wonderful piece.” He cleared his throat. “Friends and family – and pets – we are gathered here today in this beautiful place to celebrate the –”

But the words were cut off when the curtains suddenly began to blow about, as if they were caught in an invisible wind. Everyone turned round to see what was going on and John saw Jack's hand reach inside his jacket where his gun was concealed. Instinctively, he stepped in front of Nick and Ianto, his hand reaching for his own weapon. I should have known we wouldn't have an incident-free wedding, he thought, feeling very disappointed. I'm sorry, Nicky. You deserved a break from Torchwood, today of all days.

However, a moment later, a very familiar shape started forming in the space near to where George and David were standing. Behind him, John heard Jack groan softly and he heartily agreed with him. Of all the things that could happen, why did the TARDIS have to show up now?

The door opened at that point and the Doctor stepped out, looking around. To the surprise of everyone, he had abandoned his usual pinstriped suit and was wearing black trousers with a white Regency style shirt and a deep blue sleeveless tunic over the top. He looked like he'd just walked out of a Shakespearian play – which, John reminded himself, he might well have done.

“Sorry!” he said suddenly, grinning. “I know I'm a bit late – kept crashing the wrong weddings! And I think we ended up crashing a couple of stag or hen parties as well. Do I have cake in my hair?”

John shook his head slowly. “Doctor,” he said, “I know this is going to sound unbelievably selfish of me, but the universe is just going to have to wait if it wants to implode or end or whatever. Because I am getting married today and then Nick and I are going off on our honeymoon, and there is nothing you can do that is going to stop that.”

“What?” The Doctor blinked. “No, no! I'm here as a guest – a bit late, as I said, but I'm here now. And I have a gift for you!” He opened his arms, revealing a tiny white blob curled up in the crook of his elbow.

Trevyn squealed. “Awww, it's so cute! Daddy, can we keep it?”

“What is it?” asked Nick, coming over to get a closer look.

“A baby Adipose,” answered the Doctor. “Oh, I know,” he said as Nick recoiled slightly, “yes, it's basically fat. But they do actually make very loving pets.” At that moment, the Adipose opened its eyes slightly and made a soft cooing sound, which caused everyone in the room to sigh softly.

“Please will you keep it, Daddy?” pleaded Trevyn, looking up at Nick with his big brown eyes.

John chuckled. “You can't really say no to that face, can you, hon?”

“No,” said Nick with a smile. “You really can't.”

“Oi, Spaceboy!” John grinned as he recognised that voice and then, a moment later, Donna stepped out of the TARDIS, wearing a purple dress and with her hair pinned on top of her head by a couple of small gold hair combs. She grinned at the couple and then snapped her attention back to the Time Lord. “Haven't you forgotten something else – or rather, someone else?”

“Oh, right, of course!” The Doctor clapped his hands. “Nick, John, there are some people with me who I just couldn't have missing out on this joyful event! Donna, bring them out!”

“Yes, sir!” Donna disappeared back into the TARDIS, coming out a moment later followed by two young people. The first was a man with dark eyes, messy black hair and a pale face with a smile that looked slightly out of place, as if the young man was used to scowling. Walking beside him was a woman who looked a lot like Catrin, with her long thick red hair and soft brown eyes, although John thought she was much thinner and paler than his sister-in-law. Both of the new arrivals were wearing what appeared to be formal military attire – black trousers tucked into calf-high boots and waisted black jackets with green cuffs and a white wolf's head embroidered on the sleeve.

Slowly, Nick came forwards, blinking a few times in astonishment. “Shani?” he whispered. “Shivna? But...but I don't...how did you...?”

“The Doctor came by,” said Shivna. “Told us that you were home and safe and that you were getting married. Well, obviously, we weren't exactly going to miss that, were we?”

“I...wow,” stammered Nick, clearly extremely flustered. He turned to the others. “Shani and Shivna are...friends of mine. They helped me out during my time away. I'd even go as far as to say that they made each day bearable.” He smiled at them, though it was plain that he was still rather nervous. “Thank you, both, for coming.”

“Thank you, too,” said Shani. “Thank you for getting rid of someone who our people have been trying to see off since before I was born.”

“Ah, yes, dear old Orion,” said Nick with a small chuckle. “Good riddance to bad rubbish, if you ask me. I –”

But he didn't get any further before something else flew out of the TARDIS – an enormous, blue butterfly, which calmly settled down near the gazebo and then, in front of everybody there, changed into a tall and beautiful woman wearing a stunning blue robe with her long hair flowing down her back. She glanced around and then smiled a smile that was blindingly familiar to the couple.

John swayed slightly. “R'nessa?” he squeaked, barely able to comprehend that his childhood friend, the woman who had once saved his life and had later become the Neokin Queen, was standing right in front of him. “Is...is that you?”

“Well, who else do you know who can turn from a butterfly into a woman?” asked R'nessa with a laugh as she came over and hugged her friend tightly. “It's good to see you again – it's been too long.”

“Indeed it has,” said John, kissing her on the cheek. “Long enough for me to find a partner.”

R'nessa nodded. “Yes, I know.” She crossed over to Nick and cupped his face in her hands. “It's good to see that you made it home, Nick, and that you're happy.”

“It's good to be home,” answered Nick, a bit huskily.

The Doctor chose that moment to interrupt. “As beautiful as these reunions are – R'nessa, I feel I have to ask, why did you decide to make your exit in your butterfly form?”

“Oh.” The Neokin Queen blushed slightly. “That was just because Kordel wouldn't stop trying it on with me and I wanted to make a quick getaway.”

“Who's Kordel?” asked Ianto, looking puzzled. “Did you hide someone else on the TARDIS, Doctor?”

“Ah.” The Doctor shifted uneasily. “This might be slightly awkward, but, John, he has changed from who he used to be and he really did want to be here.” Suddenly he grinned. “Or, should I perhaps call you Vera?”

John's mouth dropped open a crack as he saw everyone staring at him in astonishment. “I...changed my name by deed poll,” he said with a smile. “What guy would want to keep a first name like Vera?!” He laughed slightly hysterically, trying to cover up the wild beating of his heart.

There's only one person alive who would know what my real name is...but it can't be...he can't be here...

But the thought cut itself off as the man stepped out of the TARDIS. He had grown pale and thin over the years, and his hair had grown grey and straggly, but there was still no mistaking him. He looked up and smiled, though the expression didn't quite reach his deadened, grey eyes.

“John?” Nick stepped tentatively forwards. “What did the Doctor mean? Who...who is this man?”

“He's...” John coughed and swallowed, unable to take his eyes off the man. “He's...he's my father.”

He had always thought that he was fast at drawing a weapon – one of the fastest in the business, as a matter of fact – but he had never seen anyone remove a gun at the speed he saw Nick do so now. In less than a second, his partner had reached into his sporran and pointed his gun at the old man in front of him, his eyes flashing with so much anger that everyone recoiled in shock, even the other members of Torchwood.

Jack reached over and gently touched Nick's arm. “Calm down,” he whispered. “Do you really want bloodshed on your wedding day?”

“No.” John's father spoke then, his voice a weak croak. “I don't blame him. If I were in his position, I would point a gun at me.” He looked up at his son. “Look...Vera...”

“John.” John's voice was almost mechanical. “Like I said – I've changed my name.”

“Right.” The other man nodded stiffly. “Well...John...I wanted to say...I'm sorry. I don't know if that changes anything, but I've had time to think things over and I've realised that...what I did to you was really wrong. I was just so caught up in wanting revenge on the creatures who killed your mother, that I stopped thinking about what was right for you.”

He reached out and clasped his son's hand. “I understand if you don't want to see me again, but, please...give me this one chance.”

John sighed. “Wow,” he said weakly. “I'm...I'm not sure what to really say to that, to be honest.” His heart was pounding even more violently, hoping that maybe he could reconcile with his father again, even though his brain told him that he was just setting himself up for a fall. He had used his Time Agency skills to look into his father's mind and had seen that the man's words were true; he did genuinely regret what had happened all those years ago. And he also understood that what happened in the past should stay in the past. But at the same time, his father had hurt him badly once and John knew that, no matter what happened, if he was pushed far enough, he was more than capable of hurting him again. And yet, even despite knowing that, he also knew that, regardless of what might happen in the future, he wanted the other man here with him on the happiest day of his life.

His father, however, must have taken his silence as a dismissal, because he bent his head and started to turn away. “I understand,” he whispered. “You're still hurting from what I did to you. I can't say I blame you. I'll leave now.” He smiled tentatively. “I hope you're both very happy.”

“Wait.” John dropped Nick's hand and rushed over. “Don't leave. I...I want you to stay.”

“You...you do?” His father blinked, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing.

“Yes, I do. Whatever's gone on in the past, you are still my father, and...and you should be here on the happiest day of my life.” Cautiously, he touched the other man's cheek, inhaling slightly as he felt how warn and withered the skin was. “Please, stay.”

R'nessa chose that moment to step up and offer Kordel the seat beside her. “Just don't try anything,” she said. “I swore off men a very long time ago.” She grinned at John, who grinned sheepishly back, remembering the story about her friend's partner jilting her at their wedding. He still didn't know who that partner had been – R'nessa had never told him – but had he known, the man would probably have suffered an extremely painful death.

The Doctor, who had taken a seat beside Donna, looked around. “So, it looks like we're all staying?” At R'nessa's nod, he clapped his hands. “Excellent!”

Jack raised his eyebrow. “Er...Doctor?” he said, motioning to where Lucas was watching proceedings with an expression of complete confusion on his face.

“Hmm? Oh, right, yes!” said the Doctor, nodding. “As you were, as you were!”

“Don't worry, Lucas,” whispered John. “You get used to him after a while.”

“I'm sure you do,” answered Lucas, before he cleared his throat and spoke out to the room again. “As I was saying – we are gathered here today to celebrate the joyous union between John and Nick. Now, I must ask you both to confirm that you are both free to enter into this commitment. John?”

John nodded. “I am free.”

“Nick?”

“I am free.”

Lucas nodded. “You have each selected witnesses to confirm your affirmations. Ianto Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, do you both confirm that these men speak the truth?”

Jack and Ianto nodded. “We do,” they said simultaneously.

“Thank you.” Lucas nodded and then smiled broadly. “Now, Nick, John has told me about a certain, shall we say, long-time wedding fantasy of yours.”

Nick raised an eyebrow. “Oh yes?”

“Oh yes,” said Lucas with an impish grin. “I've heard that you've always wanted to have a certain song playing during the vows. So, without further ado – Carlo, if you would?”

A tall Italian-looking man with a mass of thick black curls nodded and stood up behind the musicians and, with a smile towards the couple, he began to sing in a rich melodic tenor.

“Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o, Principessa,
Nella tua fredda stanza,
Guardi le stelle
Che tremano d'amore
E di speranza.”


John smiled as he saw Nick's eyes widen in amazement. “Nick,” he said slowly, “when I first met you, nearly four years ago, I knew that one day, you would come to be very important to me. That you would be the one who could reach out to me in a way that no one else could. But I could never have even considered just how much you would come to mean to me, and I certainly never thought that we would ever be where we are today.”

His fingers trembled as he tied the bracelet onto Nick's wrist. “I have spent years...decades, even, searching for the best that was inside me. The best man I could ever hope to be. And for a long time, I thought that the man I was at the Time Agency was the best kind of man I could possibly hope to be. But now, I've realised that I was wrong. Meeting you and falling in love with you made me realise that I can be so much more than what I thought I could be. You have truly shown me how to be a truly great man – to be the best man I could be. You showed me that there was more to me than even I believed there could be. You've been there for me throughout it all, even when I didn't know it – even when I didn't know who you were.” He couldn't quite suppress a shudder as he remembered those dark and painful days before Nick had found him again and they had returned to Cardiff. “And I love you for that, Nick. I love you more and more each day and I can't wait for us to spend our lives together.” He paused and then grinned. “Starting tonight when I can finally get you into bed again!” Everybody laughed in response, although Helen and George blushed slightly.

“Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
Il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò
Quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
Che ti fa mia!”


Once he had stopped chuckling, Nick said his own vows. “Okay, let me just start by saying that, frankly, I can't wait for you to get me into bed!” he admitted. “It's been way too long and last night was just torture, as I'm sure Ianto will confirm.” He winked at his cousin, who blushed furiously, even as he smiled.

“Il nome suo nessun saprà!...
E noi dovrem, ahime, morir!”


Then, Nick turned more serious. “John, when we first came together, I was in...well, I guess you could call it a very strange and confusing place. But you were there for me and you came through and showed me the truth when I needed to hear it.”

Slowly, he tied his own bracelet around John's wrist. “You know that I'm not very good with words, but I will at least say this. I am the man I am today because I met you. You picked me up at a time when I felt as if the universe was going to crush me and you stayed by my side throughout everything I threw at you. And now, I hope that I can give you the same respect and...and love that you have shown to me.” He smiled softly and then clasped John's hand in his and kissed it gently.

“Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!”


Lucas swallowed hard, clearly moved by the couple's words. “I realise this question may be slightly redundant, given what I've just heard you both say,” he stammered when he could actually speak. “But I still have to ask – John, do you take Nick as your partner, to love and to cherish in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” said John, barely able to keep the grin off his face.

“And Nick,” continued Lucas, now turning to his nephew. “Do you take John as your partner, to love and to cherish in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” replied Nick, the happiness in his voice echoing around the room.

“John and Nick have made their vows and,” now, Lucas' voice fairly trembled with pride, “by the power that they have invested in me, it gives me great pleasure to declare them partners for life.”

“Vincerò, vincerò!”


“You may kiss.”

John needed no further invitations and, as the music reached its majestic finale, he swept Nick into his arms and kissed him as he'd never kissed him before, gripping his hair and closing his eyes and plundering his mouth desperately. He didn't even blush when he moaned softly as the music crashed over them like waves hitting the beach.

When they finally broke apart, Nick's eyes were wide and glassy and his cheeks were flushed. “Wow!” he gasped. “I know I say that every kiss with you is special, but that one just...wow. It just blew my mind.”

John grinned. “Well, maybe I'll be using my mouth to blow something else later,” he quipped. But Nick was right, he realised; every time they kissed was special, but that time had been something else altogether. Hmm, maybe Dad was right, he thought, his eyes flickering towards the old man who was watching with a huge smile on his face. Maybe there really is something about marriage making things special...

Lucas smiled brightly at them both. “Friends, family – and, you know, pets,” he said, his amused gaze taking in not only Woodie, but also the aatiae flying around the ceiling and the Adipose that was now sitting perkily in Declan's arms. “It is my great pleasure to present to you Captain and Dr. Hart-Jones!”

As the crowd clapped and cheered and showered them with confetti, John laughed silently as he heard the celebratory music playing behind him. Wrapping his arm around Nick's shoulders, he wondered if Han Solo had felt this happy when Princess Leia placed the gold medallion around his neck. But when he looked down and saw Nick's beautiful brown eyes gazing up at him, he realised that it wasn't possible for anyone to feel as happy as he was feeling at this moment. Even when he found himself swept into Jack's arms for an almost rib-cracking hug, and saw Nick receive the same treatment from Ianto and Catrin, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face, something which Jack instantly picked up on and commented that it was the biggest grin he'd ever seen on his friend's face.

“Jack,” he replied, “that's because this is the happiest day of my life.”

***

Next Time: The wedding day continues with the reception. What has Jack organised?

~*~

And here's a few links for the music that the couple used during their ceremony:

'Jupiter' movement from the 'Planets Suite' by Gustave Holst -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-LNkuqq6g

'Star Wars Theme' -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjMNNpIksaI

Nessun Dorma -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMl124VvFRg

'Star Wars: The Throne Room' -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5N6_NWtVxY
Tags: adult, angst, fanfic, forever autumn, jack/ianto, john hart, john/nick, the soldier and the healer, torchwood
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