Greg and Nick bade the other two men good night and headed up to the bedroom they seemed to have commandeered. Apart from the clothes that had been in there to start with, a surprising quantity of the couple’s clothes had found their way there, from bits and pieces that they thought they might possibly need to items that had been left behind when they’d stopped. A pair of toothbrushes were on the side of the sink, shirts were thrown over the back of the chair and, bizarrely, one of Greg’s shoes was poking out from under the wardrobe, all on its own.
Nick closed and locked the door behind them and pulled Greg gently into his arms, kissing him tenderly and holding on for dear life. Greg held on just as tightly, and kissed him back with a fierce intensity that they’d never felt before. They didn’t need to say anything; they both just knew that tonight was the night. It felt so much like their first kiss, the same awkward tenderness and passionate communication, hiding nervousness and genuine fear. Although it wasn’t the first time with a man for either of them, it would be their first time together. “Two years.” Greg whispered, trailing his fingers down Nick’s sides to rest lightly on his hips, “Two years Nicky.”
Nick kissed him tenderly again and trailed his lips down to the sensitive spot just below Greg’s ear and gently scraped his teeth across it, causing him to gasp and sag in Nick’s arms. “G.” He breathed, the air puffing warm and slightly moist across Greg’s ear, “G, do, do you want…”
Greg let out a groan as they ground against each other and gripped tighter to Nick’s hips, pulling him impossibly closer and kissing against his neck, “I need, I need you Nicky.”
They stumbled backwards to the bed, tripping over each other’s feet as they tried and failed to get shoes off. Greg eventually tumbled onto the bed and was soon squashed when Nick managed to trip over the one shoe that they’d managed to get rid of between them and fall on top of him. They held onto each other for a moment, staying almost perfectly still for fear of damaging each other further, but soon the laugher was bubbling through both of them. When Nick pulled back enough to look at Greg they lost it completely and he tipped forwards again, pressing his forehead against Greg’s shoulder as they both shook with laughter. Greg squirmed slightly and then rolled them both, so that he was straddling Nick’s hips and looking down at him. The laughter died as their gazes met, and the younger man leant forwards to crash their lips together, gripping Nick’s upper arm with one hand whilst using the other to lift his head slightly to get better access to his mouth. Their tongues swirled against each other, giving and taking in equal measure, and their teeth clashed as they strove to get even closer together.
Nick groaned in encouragement as Greg got a hand between them and started working on the buttons of his shirt, brushing just the tips of his fingers against Nick’s chest as each button ceased to be an obstruction before he moved on to the next. Once he’d got a couple undone, Greg dragged his mouth away from Nick’s and kissed down his chest instead, following the opening line of buttons downwards until they were all open and his shirt was spread wide. He kept on kissing across his lover’s torso, leaving a wet trail with his tongue, then blowing warm air across the trail before nipping gently at the soft skin, whilst his fingers traced and enjoyed the planes of hard, defined muscle. Nick fought the instinct to wriggle as hard as he could, letting Greg enjoy the moment, but couldn’t keep completely still as Greg dove his tongue into his navel before blowing across it, “God G.” He gasped and tangled his fingers in Greg’s hair, tugging gently to pull him up to that he could kiss him again, hungry, fierce and passionate. Greg let him have his way for a moment, but only so that he was distracted whilst the Californian got his belt and fly undone.
Greg’s smile when he pulled away was positively devilish, and Nick soon found out why when his lover’s hand slipped into his boxers and grazed across his dick. He arched up at the touch and dragged Greg’s head back down to crush their lips together, smothering his own heated cries in his lover’s mouth. Greg’s hand hesitated a moment, just brushing his fingers across Nick’s heated erection before he squeezed it gently. “Nick?” He didn’t pull away this time, just whispered so that his lips were still touching Nick’s, “Nick, do you want this?”
He smiled at that and kissed him again, reaching up into it, “Greggo, I’ve wanted this, wanted you, ever since I met you. And right now, I can feel every,” he kissed Greg again, “single,” and again, “day of it. So, if you don’t do something!” He gave a strained chuckle and thrust his hips up into Greg’s hand, “I won’t be responsible for my actions.”
“Confident words.” Greg gasped, “But said surprisingly calmly, considering that I can barely form a sentence.” He cut off Nick’s response before he could get it out by squeezing more firmly and twisting, sending heat and pleasure blazing through him.
Heat and want flooded through both of them, surrounding and encompassing them until they couldn’t identify anything but each other and either could they care. As he finally slid into Nick, revelling in the tightness and warmth of his lover’s body, he gave in to the emotions and sensations: feeling, giving, taking, loving. They seemed to be tuned in to each other more so than ever before, so he knew without Nick telling him that the other man was close, as close as he was himself. “Nicky.” He breathed out, “Nicky, I’m…”
“I know.” It went both ways then, “G, with me.” He didn’t need any more encouragement, and when he felt Nick tightening around him it was the final straw to push him over the edge, sending him spiralling upwards out of control until he landed safely back in Nick’s arms.
They lay like that for quite some time, regaining control of their breathing and thought processes, until Greg felt able to stand again and pulled out of Nick, padding softly across to the sink to get a washcloth. He cleaned them both up and lobbed it back across the room, missing the sink but not caring as he settled closer into Nick’s embrace, now leaning against the wall behind the bed. “Remind me, why did we wait two years to fly like that?” He asked softly with his eyes closed
“I don’t know.” Nick chuckled, “But promise me we’re not going to wait another two years for the next?”
“I don’t think I could.” Greg smiled against Nick’s chest. ”They all know now, we don’t need to hide any more.”
“Hmm, you scared?” His soft Texan accent was full of concern as his fingers trailed down Greg’s side gently
“Scared of losing you. Ecklie’s gonna split us up.”
“Nothing’s gonna split us up babe. I promise. If it gets too much, we’ll jump to Liberty Towers, or to London.”
“If we went to London, we could get married.” Greg commented lightly, nervously, “If we did, would you want to?”
Nick was silent for so long that Greg had to look at him, scared of finding that he was in shock or had fallen asleep. Instead he found his lover staring at him with tears and love in his eyes, “Oh G, there’s nothing I want more.” He eventually found the ability to speak again and was rewarded by a dazzling smile from his young lover as he settled back against him.
Greg tugged the quilt up to cover them and lay silently for a while, tracing idle patterns on Nick’s arm, “I nearly lost you today. It could have gone so differently so easily, and you wouldn’t have come home and I’d be alone again. And whilst I was waiting outside the house, all I could think of was the fact that we’d never made love, that I’d never told you I wanted to marry you, that I didn’t tell you often enough that I love you.” He looked up at Nick again, “I want to spend the rest of my life here.” He paused to consider, “Well, maybe not exactly here, but here in a general sense meaning with you.”
Nick pulled him closer and kissed his forehead, then his eyelids, and then his nose before moving down to his lips, “That’s good, because I had no intentions of letting you go. I love you so much G. Fuck Ecklie, fuck the world, we’ll make it. Somewhere.”
Ianto’s face nearly cracked with the force of his grin when Greg and Nick disappeared out of view. Chuckling quietly to himself, he turned to the drinks cabinet and poured out four tumblers of whiskey, adding water to two of them and ice to the other two before offering one to John. The other man was watching him in amusement and leaning on the back of one of the armchairs, “You did it?”
“Of course not. Jack beat me to it.” He shook his head, “They’re so sweet.”
“Not for long.” He slugged back his own drink and set the empty glass on the table, falling onto one of the sofas and toeing his shoes off before resting his blue socked feet on the arm, “She’ll be OK John, she’s tough.”
“Yeah, I know.” John threw himself into an armchair and downed his drink more slowly that Ianto had, savouring the burn and twist of the liquid as it worked through him. He knew that Ianto was watching him carefully, studying his tense posture and the worry that must be written in every line of his body. “If I’d known what happened in there, I would never have let her go alone.”
“Yeah, I know, but what we could really do with not happening is her getting so wrapped up in guilt that she walks under a bus or jumps off a bridge. The cover-up would be a nightmare.” He sighed, “I love her so much, but sometimes I feel like I’m swimming against the tide.”
“She’s still struggling?” Ianto asked in slight shock, Jazz always seemed so bright and cheerful
But john just nodded and clasped his hands between his knees, “She’s better now than she was. The Dalek invasion really knocked her for six, but as long as she had you to look out for, it was something to keep the darkness away. Once she knew that you were happy again, she sort of lost her way. Getting out of London’s done her good at least. She wasn’t born to make those decisions, to carry that weight.” He smiled sadly, “Now Jack, Jack’s a born leader. I remember when they first paired us together, it was because he’d gone off the rails and found his way back onto them, and they thought that he’d be able to help me find my way back. Never worked, but he wasn’t the right person to do that. He told me what to do, but he couldn’t lead me, just direct me. He’s a natural leader, I’ve sometimes wondered if something made him that way, or if he was always that strong.”
“He’s not invulnerable.” Ianto stated, sitting up and mirroring John’s pose facing him, “He cares so deeply and it hurts him so much.”
“I know, but Jazz… Jack’s tough all the way through, you get below the Captain posturing and underneath he’s still a hero, but in a different way. Get under Zee’s skin and you find a very scared little girl. She takes it all so personally. If it had been two of her team.” He swallowed and looked away, unable to meet Ianto’s gaze as he thought about the consequences of his cowardice, “She wouldn’t have coped, she would have run away. Jack, every time Jack gets knocked down he gets back up again stronger than before. She can’t do that.”
“I never realised.” Ianto’s voice drew his gaze back to the young man who was so much older than his years, “She always seems so…”
“Yeah, I guess. You’d never think that anything could get her down.”
John shrugged again and rolled his shoulders, feeling them crack, “She’s probably not as bad as I make her sound. She copes, but she has dark days.” He smiled sadly, barely a quirk of his lips, “I guess we all do, don’t we?”
Ianto nodded silently and sadly, “I need another drink.”
“Amen to that.” John beat him to it and passed the double measure across, smirking slightly as he did so, “Well now we’re both definitely over the limit.”
Ianto snorted, “I was when I drove us back.”
The smug Welshman smirked, “Young ladies, and some young men, have been buying me drinks all night, what do you think?”
John stared at him in shock and pure admiration, “You’re a fucking genius Ianto Jones. A twisted, brilliant genius.”
Ianto just nodded, biting back the automatic response as it flooded him with memories of Tosh. He couldn’t help but blame and hate John for her death, for the wholesale destruction that Cardiff was still recovering from, but he also recognised that Jack needed him, that Jasmine needed him, so the world needed him. He also recognised a brother soul to his own, albeit one twisted and darkened almost beyond recognition. “I hate you.” He said eventually
John looked surprised, saddened, but not like it was news, “I don’t blame you.”
“I blame you.” Ianto added, eyes fixed on the carpet, “But it doesn’t mean that I don’t like you.”
He smiled at that and met Ianto’s gaze again, “That means a lot.”
Once again, Ianto merely nodded in response and lay back down again, staring fixedly at his toes, “I would suggest doing our reports. But quite honestly, I can’t be bothered.”
“She’ll eat you.”
He huffed out a laugh, “It’ll wait until the morning.” A yell came from upstairs and they both moved their gazes pointlessly to the ceiling, “Do you think they know just how un-soundproof the rooms are here.”
“I think that if you get your way tonight they’ll find out. What is it with that, why aren’t they better soundproofed?” Ianto had choked with laughter at the first comment, but didn’t deny it, and it took him longer than usual to get back under control. John watched him in amusement, “You are one kinky couple.”
“Yup.” He glanced towards the kitchen, "You don't know the half of it."
“And I don’t think I want to. Where’s that errant Captain of ours?”
On cue the door opened and Jack arrived noisily, removing his coat and boots whilst Ianto looked at John with an eyebrow raised, “How do you do that?” He didn’t wait for the answer though, but stood up to meet Jack and pull him close for a kiss before releasing him, “Clean up go smoothly?”
“Yeah.” Jack sat down next to him on the sofa and grabbed one of the two remaining tumbler, drinking it slowly whilst Ianto settled against him and wrapped Jack’s spare hand in both of his own, “Where are the others?” He asked at last
“Nick and Greg have gone to bed.” John smirked in a way that told Jack exactly what he meant, as if he weren’t already fairly sure, but the smirk melted away to be replaced by a more sincere, concerned look, “Jazz went out running when we got back, probably won’t be back for an hour or so, maybe a lot longer.”
Jack looked across at him with worry dancing in his eyes, “Why, what happened in the house?”
“The guy who was holding them threatened to kill Nick if she didn’t comply. She stood her ground.”
Jack nodded in understanding, “She got him out though. That’s…”
“Impressive, to say the least, but you know what Jasmine’s like. She’ll stew over it for ages.” He reached for another drink but appeared to think better of it, “So, anyway, what’s the next stage of the plan?”
“Our jurisdiction was the Weevils. We’ve got that sorted out; Liberty Towers are rounding up the last of the tagged ones and are instructed on dealing with any more that come through. Once we’ve got the paperwork done…” Jack waved the hand holding the now empty glass, “We can go home.”
“That’s a relief.” John sighed and flexed his shoulders, “But what about Greg and Nick, I get the impression that now their secret’s out, life’s not going to be pleasant for them.”
Ianto shook his head and settled even closer to Jack, “No relationships allowed between members of the same shift. They’ll be put on separate shifts. Apparently it happened to Gil and his then girlfriend a couple of years ago. But their relationship, as far as I can tell, was already strained. Greg and Nick are strong, they’ll cope.”
“And if they can’t, there’re always options open to them.” Jack put the tumbler down and wrapped his arm around Ianto, completing the circle and pile of hands, “Catherine caught me before I left, she said that it was just unfortunate that Ecklie was there, none of the other team members would have said anything, and it just confirmed their suspicions.”
“Yeah.” Ianto sighed, “Hell of a way to do it though.”
Jack squeezed him tighter, “Oh yeah, almost as impressive as Gwen finding out about us.” Ianto snorted but John just looked bemused, “Oh don’t tell me she hasn’t told you that one!”
Ianto laughed out loud at that and squeezed his hands, “The poor thing nearly died of embarrassment. Would have served her right too.” He added darkly, “We were… You know the rift takes people as well as bringing stuff here, and that the people who get taken occasionally get brought back as well?”
The former Time Agent nodded scornfully, “Of course.”
“Yeah, well it wasn’t common knowledge. Jack knew, I knew, and that was about it. The nurses on Flat Holm Island didn’t even know how they came to be like that. But Gwen found out about a disappearance, just one lad, but she met his mother and you know what Gwen’s like, she’s like a dog with a bone. Anyway, she was on her way in to have it out with Jack, follow it up as her own private project, I was secretly going to lead her to the island and explain it all so that Jack would think she’d just dropped it and she’d maybe learn to do what Jack told her.”
“Unlikely but worth a shot.” He had tensed up in Jack’s arms and wouldn’t look at either of them, “I’m not proud of it, but I thought it was necessary.”
John waved his moralising away, “Come on, I want to get to the good bit.”
“What, you mean the bit where she must have seen movement in the hot house and walked straight in not realising that we were enjoying some… down time.” Jack pulled a face, “I couldn’t look her in the face for a week.”
“Fortunately, she thought he was mad at her and just avoided him. And didn’t check me out after the first time when he growled at her.”
“Showed great restraint I think.” Jack commented, freeing a hand to run a finger lazily up and down his side, “I couldn’t look away after…”
“Get a room!” John rolled his eyes and groaned, but there was no rancour in it, “Honestly, you’re like a pair of rabbits. And Jazz won’t want to deal with too many people when she gets back anyway, get yourselves to bed.”
They hesitated a moment but he glared at them until they moved. Ianto stood up first and collected the empty tumblers together, heading for the kitchen, “I’ll just wash these, then follow you up.”
John settled back in his chair and gazed at the far wall, formulating plan and ideas, wild schemes and half-baked plots to follow the life he’d left behind, combined with what seemed like madder ideas of security and stability. That wasn’t why he was with Jazz and they both knew it. The sound of soft, Welsh humming drifted through from the kitchen and, after a surprisingly long time, Ianto reappeared, carrying a bowl of what appeared to be melted chocolate and a bag of marshmallows.
John managed to ask his question with just an incredulous look, Ianto shrugged in reply and disappeared up the stairs. That seemed to cover it, kinky bastard.
Upstairs, Ianto pushed their bedroom door open with his hip, grateful that it was a handle rather than a knob, and smiled at the sight of his lover sprawled on his front on the bed, with the covers drawn up to his waist probably more against the slight chill in the air than out of modesty. His smile when Ianto entered was only made more stunning by the slight confusion and more than slight horniness when he saw Ianto’s presents. “Playtime? Or dinner time?”
Ianto just shook his head with a smile and set the bowl and bag down on the desk. He crossed to the bed and pulled the covers back, rolling Jack over with firm, insistent shoves. Jack complied with a grunt and lay on his back, eyes widening when Ianto pulled out two sets of restraints. The Welshman remained silent as he secured Jack right where he wanted him, stripped off himself and went to fetch the chocolate, dribbling a line of the sticky substance down Jack’s nose. He kissed it off, then kissed him full on the mouth before answering, “Oh, definitely playtime.”
Quite some time later, Jack flexed his shoulders and wiggled his hips, feeling the stiffness ease now that he was finally released. He used his newfound freedom as soon as Ianto returned from the sink and the desk, sitting up only long enough to pull him down into the circle of his arms so that he could cuddle him close. When they kissed he could taste the rough, smooth sweetness of the chocolate, mixed with the familiar muskiness of his own taste mixed with that of his lover. “Love you Yan.”
“Mmm…” Ianto nuzzled in closer and took up his usual position with his head and one hand on Jack’s chest, “Love you too.”
John now sat in the dark, eyes definitely not fixed on the doorway and equally definitely not fixed on the two glasses in front of him, one empty and one full. Instead he watched the pattern of lights on the wall as car headlights bounced off the front of the cabinet behind him and lighted on that one patch by the light switch. He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting there, but figured it must have been a while, judging by the fact that he’d heard Jack yell out and Ianto had had… He shook himself, it sounded like they’d had fun at least. Letting out a sigh he considered standing up and walking around the room (was that pacing? Too desperate maybe) when he heard footsteps outside. He wanted to say that they sounded tired, or familiar or anything descriptive really, but they were just footsteps. Trainers, heavy enough to make the middle step creak but not heavy enough to make it audible if you weren’t listening. The steps paused outside the door and he stood, moving to stand in the hall doorway, waiting for her to enter.
Minutes ticked by, he could see her forehead pressed against the glass, until she pulled away and the door opened. Jasmine had her eyes on the floor, and it would have been funny the way her gaze paused on his feet, and then dragged up the length of his body if it hadn’t been so sad, so scared. He bit back a sigh, recognising that look, and moved around, shutting the door with a firm click and following her as she backed away from him until his chest was touched hers with every heaving breath she took. They watched each other, eyes locked, until he leant back slightly and braced his hands on either side of her head. “Where did you go?”
“Running. I don’t know.” She looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights and he got the feeling that although she knew he would never hurt her, right this moment she was scared he would. Or hoped he would. Which was why he never would. “It’s all I’m good at, running away from things.”
He hadn’t been expecting that, “Why do you say that?”
“Because it’s true.”
“No it’s not.” One of his hands slipped slightly closer and she flinched, “You run towards things, not away from them. And you’re good at lots of other things besides.” She opened her mouth but he cut her off, “Thinking, planning, fighting, gymnastics.” He pulled a wry smile, his first since she returned, “Filing. You are good at what you do.”
“I nearly killed him, how is that being good at what I do?” She nearly spat the adjective
“But you didn’t, you got him out of there, he’s safe upstairs in the arms of the man he loves because of you, because that guy respected you. You did that, you brought him home.”
He moved his hand again and this time she didn’t flinch away, letting him cover her lips with his finger, “You did what you had to do.”
“I just want to stop hurting people.” The whispered words, the look towards the stairs, the tightening of her shoulders… He pulled her away from the wall and crushed her against his chest, stroking her shoulders and back as she shook with sobs, “I want to stop hurting.”
“I know sweetheart, I know.” He held her close and cursed the fates that brought them together. This wasn’t what he wanted; he didn’t want to have this vulnerable, innocent girl relying on him when he could be off tasting other worlds and seeing other stars. But once he had her in his arms, once he’d lost her and got her back, how could he turn away. The call of the stars was strong, but to be wanted, to be needed… It was worse than a drug. He’d give up everything to have her cling to him like this.
Gradually the tears slowed and then stopped and her grip on his shirt loosened. She was almost asleep in his arms, so he lifted her gently and carried her up the stairs to their room, “How far did you run?”
“To the stars.” She answered sleepily, arms laced loosely around his neck and eyes half closed, “But I got called back.”
“By what?” He was pulling the bobble out of her hair, running his fingers through sweat damp hair, pulling off her running top and shorts and supporting her to slip her into a vest top and long, loose pants.
She sighed and nuzzled in against his side again as soon as he let her, curling up so that all he could do was wrap his arms around her and hold her, “By you. I had to come back to you. The stars aren’t so bright when you’re not there. I think… I think it’s because I love you.”
She relaxed even further ad he knew she was asleep, but still held onto her for the moment, “Yeah, I know what you mean sweetheart.”