Monday

Aug. 30th, 2008 04:08 pm
galadriel1010: (Default)

Ianto woke earlier than he had the last couple of days and was confused by a sound he heard until he realised it was the shower going. Smiling at the reassurance afforded by having someone around in the house, he flopped back before levering himself out of bed to pad down to the kitchen and get breakfast and coffee started. He hummed as he worked and turned to smile at Jack as he arrived in the kitchen doorway, “Morning, Jack. Breakfast?”

“Definitely if you’re making it.” Jack hesitated, wondering if he should say something about his revelation of the night before, which had kept him awake all night, but as Ianto seemed to have forgotten or ignored it he felt it was best if he did the same. As he got plates and cutlery from their homes he joined in with the tune Ianto was humming and soon they were doing a two part harmony rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” Life really didn’t get any better or more surreal. As they ate, Jack paused to reflect a moment, “You haven’t asked me why I’m still here at this time? Is that significant?”

“I guess, maybe, I don’t know. Why, are you off?” He tried to sound casual, but after yesterday the idea scared him.

“Not today, Tosh is in charge and they can hold the fort. But once they’ve gone, I’d like to go down there with you, if you want.”

“Why?”

The young man looked understandably nervous, so Jack was sure he’d made the right decision, “I thought you might like to go back there without them, first. Rather than have to do it for the first time with them all there.”

“In case I break down the minute I step in there?”

“I don’t expect for a minute that you will, but no one would blame you if you did. That is, assuming you want to come back?”

The captain suddenly looked nervous and uncertain, Ianto hadn’t really considered it and he told him so. Jack looked relieved, “So will you come tonight? Or do you want to wait until tomorrow?”

“Tonight. Thanks, Jack.” He added genuinely, “I was dreading going back there after… After what I did. Still am if I’m honest. Are you sure you want me back?”

Now it was Ianto’s turn to look uncertain as he sought reassurance, “I’m sure, Yan. What happened was all of our faults, yours for not trusting us and ours for not seeing, but we’ll get through it together, because that’s what we do, we’re a team and we help each other. And I’ll be there for you tonight if you need me.”

“Thank you.” Jack just smiled in response, and Ianto finally felt that it would come right eventually.

After another lazy day, this time of Computer Games (Jack had never even heard of the Sims!) and Jack’s fabulous cooking, Jack got a text from Tosh to tell him that she, Owen and Gwen were packing up for the night and going to the pub. When he’d read the message through he passed it to Ianto and studied the young man carefully. He was still pale and too thin but his eyes were brighter than they had been and the outward signs had vanished. Inwardly, however, the damage would take a lot longer to heal. His hand shook as the meaning of the message sank in, and his eyes, when they finally met Jack’s, were scared and searching. “We don’t have to do this now, if you’re not ready.” Jack offered softly.

“No, I need to do this. Because if I run from it, it won’t go away, and you can’t be here for me forever.”

Jack nodded and went to fetch their coats, helping the younger man to put his on. Younger, hah, that went without saying, didn’t it? His heart bled again at how much Ianto had had to suffer in such a short space of time and he respected him all the more for coping as well as he had. Jack couldn’t have coped as well.

There was a chill in the air as they stepped outside, so Ianto pulled his coat tighter around himself as he looked around for the SUV. To his surprise, however, the SUV was nowhere to be seen and Jack made his way instead to a classic sports car pulled up outside the house. As Jack went to unlock it and get in, all Ianto could do was stare. “Gorgeous, isn’t she?” Jack grinned at him

Ianto wasn’t a car person, but he could tell that yes, this was a very nice car. “Bloody hell, Jack.”

The captain laughed, “1964 E type Jag, series 1. Bought her new. Of course, back then I got around a lot more. I haven’t had a chance to take her out recently. Ask me nicely and I might take you for a spin.”

“How nicely would I have to ask?” He wondered aloud as Jack stroked, actually stroked the car.

“Not very,” he admitted wryly, “any excuse to have some fun. You coming?” The concern that Ianto had come to recognise over the last few days was back in his eyes.

“Yeah, coming. Although I wouldn’t complain if you went the long way round.”

“You’re telling me there’s a short way from here to the Hub?” Jack laughed as the engine started with a gorgeous noise, “Better get out of here before I annoy the neighbours.”

Ianto was surprised to discover that he enjoyed the drive to the Hub. Normally Jack’s driving put the fear of God in him, but now he knew that Jack drove the SUV like he drove the Jag, which didn’t work. It was too big, too unresponsive and, apparently, not fast enough. It was like a roller coaster, in that it was great fun, terrifying and at the same time it felt completely safe.

He found he was laughing as they got out in the car park they always used, where even he had never noticed the Jag sitting quietly in the corner until it was needed, “You’re not the Stig by any chance, are you?”

“Nah, they asked me, but I told them I didn’t have time.”

Ianto was impressed but suspicious, “Really?”

“No, sadly not. But it would be a cool story if it were true.”

“Are all your stories like that?” he asked accusingly

Jack put a hand on his heart in mock offence but he was grinning, “Actually they’re usually genuine. Maybe a bit embellished, because even my memory’s not good enough to recall events of a hundred years ago perfectly, but I’ve never told an outright lie. Apart form the one about being the Stig.”

“Hmmmm…”

“Honest!” Jack held up his hands and then did the scout salute, “Scout’s honour.”

“You were never a scout, Jack.”

Jack hid the thrill of delight at the fact that Ianto was still using his first name, even though they were sort of at work, “Says who?”

“You don’t know Black Crow Spirit. Every scout knows Black Crow Spirit.”

“You got me.” He laughed, enjoying the banter, “But I’m still telling the truth.”

“Fine, I believe you.” Ianto joined in with the laughter, trying to hide his fear at returning to the Hub, but Jack seemed to notice that more than if he’d shown it.

“Come on, you’ll be fine, I’ll help you.”

“Catch me when I fall?” He asked, looking Jack directly in the eye. All the older man did was nod once, but it was enough. Ianto turned towards the door and let Jack lead the way into the building that haunted his nightmares.

Once inside, Jack used his wrist strap to turn on all the lights ahead of them and let Ianto go ahead at his own pace. They had come in through the TI office, and the young man stopped at the hidden door, staring down the stairs lost in thought. When he finally spoke it was so quiet that Jack almost missed it, and he almost wished he had because the words tore him apart inside, “You were right, you should have shot me there and then.”

“Oh Ianto.” He breathed, shaking his head as he came to stand beside the young man and forced him to meet his eyes, “I could never do that, and no, I was wrong. I was so wrong.”

Ianto shook his head, “I was wrong.”

“Doesn’t mean that I wasn’t. Look, how about we were both wrong? And we can build on our mistakes, by which I do not mean make them bigger.” Ianto managed a small smile, although he was still fighting tears, “We have to keep fighting Ianto, because there’s always a point where it’s sink or swim, and at Torchwood it’s the moment we first step through the door.”

“Did you sink or swim Jack?”

“I sank.” He said honestly, “I had no one there to help me.”

“I’m glad I do then.” Ianto attempted a smile and was grateful when Jack just accepted it, even though he knew he’d seen through it. “God, we’ve only got to the doorway and already I’m stuck.” He was surprised to feel a hand slip into his own, but he squeezed it gently, reassured that his friend was there when he needed him.

He led the way down the stairs slowly and carefully, feeling his heart rate and breathing increase as they got closer to the Hub. When he finally stopped, unable to go any further, Jack’s hand was in his again, reassuring him and supporting him. This time he didn’t let go either, even when they were standing side by side in the Hub. His eyes sought out the Captain’s and he found concern and compassion, which gave him the strength to look around them.

Jack let Ianto go and watched as he went to stand in the middle of the Hub, looking around as if searching for something. He looked back, towards Jack but not at him, instead focusing on the cog door behind him, “I used to stop every time I reached that door to give myself time to become the person you all expected of me, but eventually it didn’t matter, because you never noticed me anyway.”

Jack wanted to go to him and hold him and tell him that he’d always noticed him, but this was something Ianto needed to work through on his own.

Now Ianto turned to the pool in the base of the Hub, where Jack had revived him with that kiss, “When I woke up, and found you kissing me…” now he looked at Jack, “Why exactly were you kissing me, sir?” The tone was accusatory but the slight smile took the sting out of his words.

“You were unconscious with no pulse and no breathing, it felt like a good idea.”

“You saved me, even though you should have shot me?”

“Got a problem with that?” now Jack sounded defensive, but Ianto’s smile disarmed him

“Thank you.” He replied simply, then turned back to the pool, taking a moment to slip back into the reflective mood he’d been in before the memory of Jack kissing him stole in. It was a hard memory to subdue, “I think I knew that you’d saved me, that I’d be dead without you, but I didn’t know yet if it was a good thing or not. I haven’t found something to live for yet, something to give me a reason for coming back.”

Jack wanted to go to him and kiss him again now and tell him that he would give Ianto something to live for if he needed him, but he knew that he needed to find it on his own.

Ianto now walked to the edge of the autopsy bay and looked down, smiling slightly at the fact that it was the only place in the Hub that Owen would keep properly clean without being pestered. Then he saw the drawer where Gwen and Owen had been trapped, and the place where Owen had stabbed Lisa and he had found her, believed she was dead. Where she’d nearly killed two of his friends.

He heard Jack following him at a distance and descended the stairs to kneel next to the spot where he’d found her. Owen had tried to apologise for killing her, for killing a monster, defending the world and doing his job. Even Ianto had been able to see that, so surely he had? There was now no sign that anything had happened; autopsy floors were designed to clean well, as were the walls, and her blood would have been washed clean in moments. The autopsy room was the best place for anyone to die from Ianto’s point of view; it was easy to clean and he wasn’t even allowed to do it. He realised he was slipping back into his work persona when he jumped and flinched at Jack’s hand on his shoulder, and he was surprised when he found a handkerchief pressed into his hand. Turning to settle against the wall, he stared at the handkerchief as he twined it between his fingers but he saw Jack’s feet lift off the floor as he seated himself on the autopsy table in his peripheral vision.

After a while he looked up again and had to blink several times to clear his vision of unshed tears before he could focus on Jack again. For the first time he looked properly into the depths of Jack’s eyes and he was scared by what he found in there. The depths of compassion, pain, love, anguish and time itself were reflected in Jack Harkness like they could be in no other human being. Only a Time Lord or other immortal could know that much emotion and not be consumed utterly by it.

Jack was the first to break the connection and looked away, as though embarrassed by what Ianto had seen in him, as though it were some weakness. The young man shook his head and looked down at his hands again, “It puts it into perspective a bit, knowing what you’ve lived through over the years and years and years. My problems seem insignificant.”

Jack didn’t move, “One man’s story within a tale of many men?” He quoted quietly, a tear escaped Ianto’s eye as he nodded, still not looking at the Captain. “That doesn’t make it any less important, Ianto.” He said gently, “In fact it makes it more important, because what Lisa lost, what you lost the chance to share with her, was the important things in life. Love, stability, a family and a home. And they’re things I can never have, because mine is the tale of many men, so I can’t do the small picture stuff. It hurts too much.”

His voice had sunk, as he was speaking, until the last sentence was barely a whisper, a breath that Ianto barely heard; but he heard it and felt his heart break for the older man’s sorrows, “You’ve still got to fight for it, because even if you can’t die, that doesn’t mean that you’ll live forever There comes a point where living becomes simply existing. Don’t ever reach that point Jack.”

“Who says I haven’t already?”

Ianto finally met Jack’s eyes and saw the tears staining his cheeks, “You’re still here.”

They sat in silence for a long time, looking into each other’s eyes in search of reassurance, understanding, comfort, something that couldn’t be achieved through words alone or even with them getting in the way. This time it was Ianto who broke the connection first, dropping his eyes to the handkerchief again and resuming twisting it. He wanted to cry, but he didn’t know what to cry for. All his tears for Lisa had been shed over the course of the months in the basement, he’d cried for himself for nearly three days in the last week, but then he remembered what he’d seen in Jack’s eyes, the anguish and sorrow of a man who was always so strong on the outside, when internally anyone else would be broken. Now the tears came, tears for a man everyone relied on without thinking about it, who went through so much pain to keep this world, a world that wasn’t even his own, safe, all for the sake of a chance meeting on a barrage balloon during the second World War.

He looked up at the Captain and found him looking away, giving Ianto the privacy he’d never even thought to ask for, but he was grateful. It gave him the chance to study him with his defences down, the way he hunched his shoulders slightly, locked his feet together and clung to the edge of the autopsy table so tightly that his knuckles were white. This was Jack, not the Captain, the real Jack, who was as defenceless as Ianto had ever been, but who needed defending from himself as well.

Ianto gripped the handkerchief tightly and stood up, moving to sit with his back to Jack on the table. After a while he tipped his head back to gaze unseeingly at the ceiling instead of the floor and he felt the tears trace new tracks down his cheeks, “Thank you, Jack.” He whispered, but he knew that his friend had heard him. He promised silently that the moment Jack needed him he would be there. He had no choice.

Realisation slowly dawned on him that there was one place he had to visit on his personal pilgrimage around the Hub and that it lay in the basement. Steeling himself against the fear and uncertainty he set his shoulders and stood up, pausing at the bottom of the steps to note that Jack was once again following him, all trace of the uncertainty gone, just being there again. Yet again he silently thanked the Doctor for creating such a remarkable man.

He hesitated in the middle of the Hub, facing the door to the underground passages that led to the hellhole he’d created. He glanced back at Jack, seeking the reassurance he knew he would find there and turned back to continue on his journey, suddenly, however, and without warning, Myfanwy swept down from her nest, screeching and all but attacking him. In a split second, the memories of the fear and the pain as he saw the Pterodactyl attack Lisa sprang back and overwhelmed him in a crushing blackness.

Jack saw Myfanwy coming and felt powerless to stop her. He ran towards Ianto instinctively to protect him as he sank to his knees, covering his head and crying. Placing himself between the angry Pterodactyl and his young friend he fumbled with the controls on his wrist strap to find the frequency control to send her back to her nest where he could pacify her properly. As she veered away from him and returned to safety he turned his attention to the man behind him who was shaking with fear and anguish. Without a second’s thought, Jack pulled him into a tight embrace and pressed kisses to his dark hair, rubbing his back soothingly as he tried to calm him. Gradually, Ianto got his breathing back under control but as he did so he pulled even closer to Jack, searching for shelter and safety. Jack figured he was probably in shock.

He half pulled, half carried the young man to the sofa behind Tosh’s desk and held him again as he sobbed. His heart broke for the pain this too young man had to deal with, and for the life that would be denied him whether he stayed here or not. If he stayed he could never have a normal life with a family and a home, but if he left he wouldn’t know the wonders of the universe; it was impossible to do both, and nearly as impossible to choose between the two.

As Ianto’s breathing calmed and he clung less tightly to Jack, the immortal pulled himself away and went to get him a glass of water. He returned as quickly as he could and found his friend much calmer, but watching Myfanwy sweeping round the Hub, now not attacking him thankfully.

“I have no idea what she was up to.” Jack pondered out loud as Ianto accepted the glass gratefully.

The Welshman laughed, “I don’t know, maybe she knew it was all my fault.”

“Well if she is, she’s the only thing in the building who still blames you for it. Although, I’m not sure about Janet either… Maybe we should avoid her for a bit too.” He tried to joke and was rewarded by a genuine, albeit slight, smile.

“Do you mean that, Jack? Do you really not blame me?”

“Really genuinely I don’t blame you. I’m not going to say that the others have forgiven you, because I can’t speak for them, but I have.”

“Why?”

Jack smiled, “And to that profundity there is only ever one correct answer, because.” He sat beside Ianto again, aware that he was towering over him standing up and watched him carefully again, “Are you alright?” he asked tentatively, relieved when Ianto nodded in response.

“I can’t…” he took a deep, steadying breath and let it out again, trying to control the tears that threatened to fall just thinking about that room in the basement, “I can’t go down there Jack, not yet. I’m not ready. I…”

“Hey, it’s OK,” he pulled the young man to him again and stroked his back soothingly, “You don’t have to, not yet. But we’ll get there, you’ll see, I’ll help you.”

Back at Ianto’s house at just after midnight they sat at opposite ends of Ianto’s bed again with hot chocolate and marshmallows to keep them warm and amused, in that order, (Jack had an enormous mouth, there was no way to win fluffy bunnies against him, no matter how had Ianto tried or how much he cheated), but both supplies were running low. Sighing into his now empty mug, Jack glanced at the clock on Ianto’s bedside table and groaned. He put the mug down on the bed, grabbed a marshmallow and untucked his leg from underneath him, “We should get to bed, well I should get to bed anyway, as you’re already there. That’s if…” He hesitated, seeming unsure and almost nervous, “Do you want to come back in tomorrow?”

Ianto’s smile told him enough, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world, sir.” He said, laying extra emphasis on the title, but in a way that Jack knew was not dismissive like it had been in the past. The Captain grinned and stood up, collecting both the mugs and leaving his friend the marshmallows as he headed towards the door, but he was stopped by a call from Ianto. He turned and faced the young man, leaning against the door frame gracefully. The young Welshman coloured, but he knew he had to say it, there was no way he could sleep tonight if he didn’t. “Jack, will you stay with me tonight, please?”

The older man’s heart melted a little, maybe even a lot, “Course I will, I’ll just do these and be right back.” He indicated the mugs and padded down to the kitchen. When he returned he slid under the quilt with Ianto and they lay on their sides watching each other warily. It was Ianto who broke the silence, grinning mischievously, “What my Mam would say if she knew I was sharing a bed with a man…”

“What would she say, Mr Jones?”

Ianto just shrugged, “She’d probably be a hell of a lot more worried about the fact that you’re my boss actually.” He flopped onto his back again and reached for the light, feeling Jack do the same on the other side, “And on that note…” the room was plunged into darkness and he swore quietly.

“Whut?” Jack asked

“The marshmallows are still in the middle of the bed.” The quilt soared upwards and flopped back down again, presumably Jack had flapped it, and there was the sound of something plastic hitting the floor, “Oh, OK, not anymore they’re not.”


Thingy: I do not own Torchwood or anything in it (sorry, the word escapes me)

Author's note: There is a prize for anyone who can name me a folk song with that quote in it, "One Man's story within a tale of many men", especially if you name the one I'm thinking of. Even my brother didn't get it. I'll write a personal individual story for anyone who knows it, cos it's that obscure. And I blame everything here on Jack and Ianto, they just do their own thing. Honestly, I turn my back for five minutes and when I come back they're eating marshmallows without me! The cheek of it!

Dedication: Thankyou so much to everyone who's reviewed, especially Hotflower901 and LadyAnalyn who've done every chapter. I hope you've enjoyed it but it is now laid to rest, we have reached the end. We have run out of week. I will be starting on my next one, which hopefully will be a bit more cheerful and more sci-fi, very soon (I'm thinking hours rather than days) and there's a one-shot coming on Sunday for my 18th birthday :D Thankyou so much for reading, especially those who have reviewed, and I hope to see you again shortly.

Sunday

Aug. 30th, 2008 04:04 pm
galadriel1010: (Default)

Jack’s computer started making alarming noises at about five in the morning. With a variety of annoyed and worried noises he ran to shut it up and find out what the problem was before it woke Ianto up, but with no luck. He was packing his bag and heading for the door when the young Welshman padded downstairs looking concerned.

“Rift alert.” He explained, “Nothing to worry about, but I need to go check it out.”

“Want me to come with you?” Ianto offered

Jack hesitated and seemed torn, “Honestly yes, but I’ll be fine, and we don’t really have time for you to get dressed.” He added with a smile.

Ianto looked own as he realised that he was still wearing the scruffy T-shirt and joggers he’d slept in and blushed slightly, which brought a grin to Jack’s face again.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” The captain laughed as he pulled his coat on.

“That leaves me with plenty of leeway. Take care of yourself, don’t die or anything like that.”

“Back soon.” Jack called as he pulled the door to behind him.

Quarter of an hour later he pulled the SUV up at the end of a dark alley and got out to meet Tosh, Owen and Gwen. Gwen was liasing with the police officer who’d found whatever it was, Tosh was consulting her PDA and Owen was nursing a cup of takeout coffee, “What have we got here kids?”

“I’m picking up readings of alien tech in the area, but we haven’t found it yet. At the moment we have an alien who appears to have come through the rift, dead by the time PC Williams found him.”

“Cause of death?”

Owen jumped in, “Stab wound to the neck I think, although I’ll have a closer look once we get back to the Hub. Then I’ll also be able to tell if there’s any indication that its death was extra-terrestrial in origin or just it attacked the wrong person.”

Jack nodded his understanding and went to look at the body. It was a hunched, humanoid form, with soft, dark skin, large eyes, a thin layer of soft hair and heavy battle armour. He swore.

“What is it, Jack?” Gwen asked as she approached.

“We’re almost lucky. She’s a Watulah, a race of extremely violent warriors. They live in peace with anything on their planet but anything else is fair game. And normally they carry a lot of weapons; knives, bombs, small bombs. She hasn’t got any.”

“What does that mean?” Tosh asked nervously.

He bent down to examine an empty gun holster and a nick in her let above her boot, “Someone’s taken her weapons, all of them.” He sounded angry, “The knife they keep in their boot, it’s the one they carry from birth, it’s so special to them that they’re buried with it when they die and the marriage ceremony uses it.”

“Was she married?”

“I don’t know without seeing the knife.” He responded sadly, “But our main problem is that someone has her weapons, all of them.”

Gwen sucked in breath rapidly, “I’ll get the police to keep an eye out for any strange weaponry being used, although I suspect they’d probably pass it on to us anyway.”

“Good thinking, “ he approved, “I’ve got a few contacts I can tap to find out if it appears on the black markets, maybe even find out where they’ve got to. Right, let’s get her back to the Hub. Owen can do his thing, Tosh I want you to carry on with your scan, see if you can find the weapons. Gwen, go home to Rhys.”

“What about you?”

“I’m coming back with you, I need to do the report and I want to check on the situation back there and stuff.”

“Haven’t you been there?” Gwen asked before she could stop herself

“No, I’ve been at Ianto’s.” He smiled

“Wait wait wait!” Owen smirked, “Are you doing the tea-boy, Jack?”

Jack fought the annoyance, “No, I can actually spend time with someone without screwing them Owen. Ianto could do with some support at the moment, and I’m more than happy to give it.”

“Fair enough.” Owen conceded, although he didn’t look entirely convinced.

Once back at the Hub Jack disappeared into his office to clear out his inbox, which had piled up fairly horrifically, and organised the forms and responses he needed to send off to UNIT. They were getting a bit overbearing these days, evidently they’d heard the Torchwood One rumours too. He sighed and set the list to the side to sort out once Ianto got back, then called UNIT for the weekly argument before bracing himself for a phone call to the Prime Minister. It was so much better when it was Harriet Jones, she understood about Torchwood. This new boy was clueless.

Several very frustrating hours later he glared at the phone as he slammed it down and snatched it up again to call for a pizza delivery, only to be told that the Cockney had already ordered for them. After checking that he had ordered a meat feast and adding a side of onion rings he put the phone back more gently with a smile on his lips; sometimes it was good to have someone outside who knew about them.

He pushed himself into the main Hub and up to the TI office to wait for the delivery, then ran down to the conference room, calling for his team as he went. They ate the pizza as they discussed the day’s events, the rugby from the day before, anything but Ianto and Lisa. Jack checked his watch and realised with shock that almost seven hours had passed since he left the young man, he hadn’t intended to be gone more than two. Snatching the last onion ring before Owen could reach it he stood up and headed towards the door, “You all have the rest of the day off as long as you’re finished from this morning. I am doing. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He winked at them, repeating his instruction to Ianto on his way out.

Owen stared at the girls, “Did I just imagine that?”

“Don’t argue Owen!” Gwen laughed as she dragged Tosh towards the door behind Jack, “Just enjoy the time off.”

Jack opened the door to Ianto’s flat and reflected momentarily that he’d just walked straight in. The thought was driven from his mind by a sound coming from the living room again. Within seconds he was by Ianto’s side, holding the young man who was crying as though he’d never stop. The captain held him, whispered soothingly and cursed himself for ever leaving. They’d come so far, but apparently Ianto needed him more than he’d known. Fucking fantastic.

Actually… for the first time in many, many years it almost felt good to have someone who needed him. Normally it terrified him, because he came and went and couldn’t trust himself; but Ianto was… different. Ianto knew about him, he knew about Torchwood, he knew about the Doctor and he understood. So for now, for as long as Ianto needed, he could and would trust himself to be there.

After a while, Ianto regained control of his breathing and tensed in Jack’s arms as he realised where he was, but it didn’t last long as he allowed the familiarity and safety to envelope him once again. He sniffed and wiped the tears from his cheeks whilst Jack pulled back slightly and watched him concernedly. “Sorry, Jack. I just…”

Jack squeezed him gently to silence him and stood up, offering his hand to help the young Welshman to his feet, “You have nothing to apologise for, Yan. I’m the one who should apologise, I never should have left you in the first place, and I definitely shouldn’t have been gone as long as I was.”

“That’s not your fault, saving the world ranks way above looking after me.”

“Not for me.” Jack replied honestly, cursing mentally as he realised that he’d said it out loud. He hurriedly tried to cover it, terrified that Ianto would see through him like he usually did and realise how pathetic he was, “So, you going to tell me what’s wrong?”

Ianto sank on the sofa and started playing with a cushion, so Jack perched himself on the arm of the sofa opposite, watching his friend carefully. “I had a panic attack.” Ianto admitted bluntly, “I don’t know what brought it on or set it off or whatever, I just… I don’t know, I was scared that, that something had happened, something major and it was the end of the world of something, and that I wouldn’t see you again. I was scared something had happened to you.” He couldn’t meet Jack’s eyes now, not after that admission, because he didn’t really know how he felt about Jack, but there was no way Jack could feel the same. He’d been nice enough, that was true, but Ianto was just a fairly stupid Welshman, and Jack was an immortal time traveller from the future. They could never be even close friends. It scared Ianto just how much that idea hurt.

When he finally looked up at the Captain he was surprised by the look on Jack’s face. His friend was staring at a point on the floor with a bleak look and appeared to be fighting tears. “Jack.” Jack looked up, startled, “Jack what’s the matter? What did I say?”

“Sorry, Yan.” Jack swallowed the lump in his throat, “I just… I guess it’s been a while since I felt like anyone actually worried about me, I guess.”

“We all worry about you, Jack. We’re a team, we’re there to worry about each other.”

“The others don’t. They worry about what would happen without me, yeah. But I don’t think they actually worry about me, because they don’t know me. I never let anyone get close enough because as soon as I do they’re gone, and they take a part of me with them.”

“I’m sorry, Jack.”

He shook his head, “No, thank you. It means a lot to me that…” He trailed off; worried about the route this was going down and shook his head again, “I need a drink, you?”

“Yeah, thanks. Fancy a trip to the pub, I haven’t left the house in days.” He suggested, they both needed a bit of space and, quite frankly, he was getting cabin fever.

They walked in silence to a pub just around the corner where, Ianto assured Jack, they did a range of real ales; you just couldn’t beat proper beer, it was the best thing about this tiny blue planet. Settled in a corner with a pint each and some classic rock coming from the jukebox (Ianto was quite happy for the others to know that he liked Led Zep, it meant that they never even considered the idea that he might end up with Jack, which had been assumed of everyone who’d worked at Torchwood since he’d been there. Even Owen.), they relaxed and tried to forget the usual worries of Torchwood and a half converted cyber girlfriend. Jack let his head fall backwards and then reflected on how difficult that made drinking, so he raised it again, “So… Since we’re generally miserable, how about we tell cheerful stories for once, preferably ones that don’t get all maudlin at the end.” He paused, “Not sure I’ve got many of those actually.”

“OK, stop right there Harkness. You’re already going maudlin!” Ianto laughed, “OK, I think I have some cheerful stories that aren’t remotely maudlin. Scouts, that’s a good one.”

“You were in the scouts?”

“You mean you hadn’t guessed?” He teased, “Yeah, I was a boy scout, and a leader for a while once I got too old for it, but then my life got swallowed by Torchwood.”

“Maudlin! Stick to the story.”

“Fiiiine.” He sighed, “Scout camp was always brilliant, always. I remember this one time we went to Pembrokeshire and it was beautiful! We walked the coast path, all of it, God we were knackered by the end of each day, but when we walked along the beaches we’d take our boots off and just walk along the edge of the water. At night we camped wherever we’d got to and did the proper camping thing. We cooked on gas stoves, because it’s hard cooking camp stew on a fire, but we had a barbeque one night and once we’d eaten we’d have a proper camp fire with marshmallows and stories and scouting songs.”

“Like what?” Jack asked, genuinely intrigued and thrilled to see the happiness in Ianto’s eyes at the recollections.

“Ooooh, Black Crow Spirit in the Happy Hunting Ground?” Jack shook his head, “Swing Low. Jerusalem was always popular too, you must know those?”

“’Course I know Jerusalem and Swing Low, who doesn’t? But you’ll have to tech me the other.”

“Yeah, well. Team camping trip and lots of alcohol and maybe I will.”

“Now there’s an idea.” Jack smirked, his usual glint back in his eye, “Tents are great fun.”

“Now something tells me there’s a story there.” Ianto leaned forwards in delight.

“Not really,” he grinned, “We rarely got as far as the tent.”

“You and who?”

“Oh loads.” He shrugged, “Not recently mind, one lad during the 1960s, a girl in the 1980s. Pete and Karen they were called, still are actually. Both married, Pete just the other year when the civil partnerships rule came in, but he’s with the guy he left me for back in the 80s.”

“Maudlin Jack!”, although he felt sorry for the older man who had loved and lost so many over the years. “This is supposed to be cheerful”

“Cheerful you say. OK, I can probably manage cheerful.”

“Can you do it without sex being involved?”

“Yes.” Jack feigned indignation, “Although the woman I was sleeping with is involved. Actually, no…” He trailed off and stared at his drink again, “That gets too maudlin.”

“She must have been special.” He said quietly and sympathetically. “Was that Jasmine?”

“Yeah, she was incredible. It was so wrong, she must have been twenty years younger than me at least, but it just felt so right. I was lost from the first moment I saw her.”

“What happened?”

“She was attacked, by a Hoix in the centre of London. We were just there on a flying visit, Rose wanted a new pair of jeans or something, and we saw it down a back alley and chased it. She was living on the streets, almost leading the other kids. She compared herself to Gavroche in Les Miz, the leader of the gamines. But she was on her own when she was attacked; Rose and the Doctor got the Hoix and I got her, caught her as she fell. And she begged me not to save her.”

“So you did.”

“Of course, I never really had a choice, did I? Even if I had I would have anyway. She was so young, I had to give her something to hang on to. We took her into the TARDIS and she recovered, and she found something to hang on to.”

“You.” Ianto smiled at the look in Jack’s eyes, although it troubled him.

“Yeah, we made a right pair, I wrecked the joint, and she put it back together again. I lost count of the number of times I almost destroyed the world.”

“Seriously?” Ianto asked in horror.

“Well, it was only twice, and once was responding to an SOS call, so I don’t consider that entirely my fault.”

“You what?”

“Well it wasn’t, how was I to know that responding to the signal would have that effect?” Jack sounded defensive

“No, I mean, how did responding to the call cause the end of the world?”

“Oh, well it was on the Novrosk Peninsular in Russia, hasn’t happened yet I don’t think. And it was a distress call from an alien spaceship with a sort of biological computer that used these blue blobby things to absorb energy from living creatures to charge up the engines and they went on a sort of rampage.” He pulled a wry face, “Insane computers, I’ve had more than enough of them to last me a lifetime. Even my lifetime!” He chuckled, “God, sometimes I wish it could end. I don’t usually want it to end there and then but, you know? The option would be nice.”

“When did you last want to die, really want to die?”

“When the cyberwoman had hold of me.” He said quietly, “I just… I’d never been killed by a cyberman before, I hoped that maybe it would do the job.”

“Why?” Ianto dreaded the answer

“Because it hurt, not being killed, that always hurts, but the idea that you kept something like that from me, from all of us.” His eyes were bleak and empty, “I thought we were friends and, and, I kind of fancy you.” He muttered into his drink, “And it was sort of confirmation that you’d never want to go out with me, which always stings.”

Ianto sat in silence, the guilt tearing him apart inside as he realised what he’d put Jack through and tried to digest what he’d just been told. One fact floated through the confusion though, “You fancy me?”

Jack looked surprised, “Hadn’t you guessed?”

“Well, no. I mean, you flirt with anyone, how was I supposed to know?”

“Fair point.” Jack sighed but for the first time in as long as he could remember Ianto couldn’t read his face, “I need another drink, want a refill?”

“Thanks.” Ianto passed him his glass, “I am flattered though.” He added as an afterthought as Jack turned away, “I wouldn’t have thought I was your type.”

“Well, now you know. And…” He hesitated and blushed again, the second time in the history of the world Ianto thought, he must be on a roll, “Can we get more cheerful and forget this every happened when I come back? I don’t think I’m up to deep and meaningful.”

“Sure.” He smiled.

Later that night he lay in his bed and Jack lay in his own (it had arrived during the day and he’d forgotten to mention it until they got home) and he missed having the captain there. Jack had become a reassuring weight on the mattress, not close even though they were sharing a bed but just there. Always there when the nightmares took hold, always ready to listen. For a moment, Ianto wondered what it would be like to be in a proper relationship with the mysterious Captain Jack Harkness; he was loving and compassionate, he would give everything for the people he cared about and all he asked in return was something to hold onto and someone to listen and to know, to know the real Jack Harkness, the man behind the Captain. Ianto didn’t know if he was up to the job. Besides, he was straight; he’d never fancied another man in his life, so why the hell was he attracted to Jack?

He groaned and rolled over to stare at the place where Jack had slept the last three nights and made a decision. He didn’t want to be the one to keep Jack there, because the time was coming. Some day soon, the Doctor would come, and if Jack had anything to stay for he would. Ianto had to keep his distance to make sure that Jack would go when he needed to, and he would be the one to pick up the pieces when he left and it would be easier if he didn’t give Jack a piece of his heart to take with him. Now to stick to the resolution.

Disclaimer: Not mine, nohing to do with me, honest, I just put it down on the computer

Author's note: I hate it when that happens. I write a happy bit and Jack gets all moody and tries to declare love to Ianto, I tried to write an angsty bit and it turns fluffy, they really want to get together don't they? And yes, yet more AU with Jazzy there, all will be revealed before too long, I promise. Two chapters to go, let's see if they'll start behaving themselves now shall we?

Saturday

Aug. 30th, 2008 03:59 pm
galadriel1010: (Default)

Ianto blinked sleepily and focused on the face in front of him. In the half-light of the bedroom Jack looked tired and so very human. He was frowning slightly, and his lips formed a delicious pout, as though he was thinking deeply about something. Ianto was startled by how attractive he found Jack, even though he knew the captain was a good looking man, he’d never been attracted to a man before; and the time to start being attracted to men was not when the man in question was in bed with you.

He took a moment to study Jack’s face; the laughter lines that crinkled when he flashed that trademark grin, the soft, full lips, that jaw line that looked like it was crafted rather then a result of biology, those blue eyes unfocused from sleep but gazing at him in amusement, “Like what you see?” The captain drawled dozily.

“Name me one person who doesn’t.” he grinned as he flopped onto his back, trust Captain Jack Harkness.

“Fair point, my turn…” Jack now propped himself up and studied Ianto’s face as the younger man watched him warily, probably best not to push it, “You need a shave.”

“So do you.”

He ran a hand along his jaw, “So I do, back shortly.” Glancing back as he left the room he was disappointed not to see Ianto watching him; in fact it looked as if the younger man had fallen asleep again. He chuckled as he went into the bathroom and emerged a short while later feeling much fresher, but even more tempted to simply fall asleep next to Ianto again, it had been a long couple of days.

He noted that it was going on for noon and discovered that he didn’t care, so he collapsed forwards onto the bed and was rewarded by a chuckle from his young friend, “Sorry, Yan. Did I wake you?” He apologised groggily.

“Not to worry, not after the number of times I woke you last night anyway.” Ianto propped himself up slightly and watched as the captain got himself more comfortable, “How many times did I wake up during the night?”

“Mmmm, three?” Jack’s voice was muffled by the pillows he’d buried his face in as he turned back to face Ianto only when he’d finished speaking, just in time to catch the grimace of guilt crossing his face, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not your fault. I’m here to help.”

“I can only remember two times.” Came the rueful reply.

“Possibly, I don’t remember, it’s far too early.”

“Jack, it’s nearly noon.”

“See, far too early, go back t’sleep.” He groaned and was relieved when Ianto lay back down and appeared to do as he was told.

A short while later, however, he heard Ianto curse softly, “I was going to get the Lord of the Rings out today. Too late now.”

“Too tired, Rings requires concentration.” His voice was slurred, Ianto hadn’t realised he was still awake even.

“Maybe if we sleep through the day we can pull an all-nighter and watch it tonight?” he asked through a yawn.

“Mebbe, I’d never really considered an all-nighter for something fun before.” Ianto looked at him with a raised eyebrow and was astonished to see a blush colour Jack’s cheeks, “Stop it, Yan. I’m far too tired to play that game.”

“Damn.”

“What?”

“I just lost the game?”

“What game?”

“The Game.”

“You’re making no sense…” and this time Ianto was sure he really was asleep. The Welshman found that he was looking forwards to sharing the house with Jack. He was good fun, especially to wind up when he was tired like this. Ianto felt suddenly guilty, it was his fault that Jack was this tired, he really shouldn’t be enjoying it. Still… he was funny when he was groggy like that.

He smirked at the ceiling as he struggled to piece together his feelings over the last couple of days. He felt strangely detached from his emotions, like he’d felt other people’s during his psychic training, tangible and separate, but it was hard to tell where one finished and the next one started.

It always helped to think of it in terms of coloured wool with different strands twining together. The main strand, a constant binding the whole together, changed colour like a jackdaw’s wing; one moment it was jet black, glinting darkly; then it was blood red and burning, next moment icy blue and freezing, and then a deep, throbbing purple shot with acid green. It was pain, sometimes deep and bruising, sometimes cutting sharply across the surface, but always there twisting and twining through the heart of his being, indelible.

In with the pain was twisted a strand of guilt which seemed a dull grey until the light caught it and it lanced a brilliant, blinding white through his mind, splintering the surrounding emotions and somehow knotting the pain even tighter. It was wrapped most tightly around a thin golden strand of happiness at having emerged from the affair with a greater friendship with two of his team-mates. No matter how hard the guilt tried to smother it, that strand survived and would grow stronger and brighter with time.

Another pair were twisted together, growing stronger and weaker in their turns, one beautiful and one bitter, love and anger, his love for Lisa and his anger at her fate, still competing for dominance over his life.

Then there were the other emotions twining through the whole: silvery blue fear and dusky pink hope surfacing where he least expected them, coppery confusion tying his thoughts in knots, and a pinkish, bluish, silvery strand which glinted metallically like a fish’s scales. Actually, a fish was a very good simile, because it was like one of the small fish that dart among reeds, gone as soon as he saw it and like it had never been there whenever he tried to get a closer look.

Feeling a headache forming, Ianto put down his metaphorical knitting needles and chanced another look at the captain’s sleeping form. Jack had curled onto his side facing away from Ianto and the young man could see the tension, even in sleep. His heart bled for the worries and troubles Jack carried, had carried and accumulated over the last hundred plus years. How could one person deal with the whole of Torchwood and seeing everything he loved wither and fade whilst he stayed constant and remain as strong and as caring as Jack was? Whoever the Doctor was, however much Ianto wanted to hate him for what he’d done to Jack, he couldn’t have done it to a better man. Maybe only this one man in the whole of time and space could have coped with the challenges he had faced. Or maybe that’s how people became after travelling with the magical Doctor.

He folded his arms behind his head and let his mind wander into the vastness of space. Since joining Torchwood and having the wonders and the dangers revealed to him he’d wanted to travel and see it. Of course, when he’d been with Torchwood One he’d seen the Doctor just as a threat, someone who they needed protecting from, someone to be feared. But then the Battle of Canary Wharf had happened, the Doctor had saved the day and was the reason that he was still alive and Ianto had returned to Torchwood in Cardiff, where things were a bit different. Yvonne, a good woman in her way who he’d trusted completely, had detested them, so so had Ianto; when he’d needed them for Lisa he’d had no qualms about using them. Now though… Jack had opened his eyes to yet another world, one where heroes and enemies fought over the Earth without anyone ever knowing about it, where love and monsters rubbed shoulders and wonders never ceased. His whole universe had been turned upside down, and he so badly wanted to see what Jack had seen, to travel in the strange blue box and visit an alien planet, see the Earth as they saw other planets.

As the Captain stirred slightly, Ianto wondered if the Doctor would ever turn up again, and if Jack would go. He’d been in Cardiff a long time now, but it was just a stopping off point, a temporary measure, just like the bunker beneath his office. That was Jack all over, supposed to be temporary but ended up lasting forever.

Guessing that Jack would wake soon, he went to the kitchen to make a full English breakfast for the pair of them and then brought it back to the kitchen to find his friend half conscious and blinking blearily, but he was rewarded by an astonishing smile when Jack saw the breakfast, “Ianto you are a star!”

“Least I could do.” He smiled and handed Jack a plate and a mug of coffee once he’d sat up and then settled at the other end of the bed to eat his own, “Could we get any more debauched?”

The captain appeared to consider this for a moment, “Yeah, I could quite easily. Want to give it a go?” They laughed and settled into a mindless argument about whether cricket or rugby was the better game (doing wonders for stereotyping there) as they ate and then tried to decide what to do. The rift was quiet so Jack didn’t have to be elsewhere and they didn’t really want to watch films again. “So talk to me?” Ianto suggested.

Jack looked slightly taken aback, “What about?”

He recalled his previous train of thoughts, “Tell me about the Doctor. I spent more than two years hunting him, now I’m led to understand that he’s the hero of the piece. Who is he?”

“I wish I knew.” Jack looked slightly wary but eventually seemed to decide that he could tell the young man, “The Doctor really is a hero, my hero, my Doctor. Like I said yesterday, we travelled together for about two years, there was him and me and two girls called Rose and Jasmine. We travelled in time, to the extent that Jasmine was born two years before Rose but was actually younger than her.”

“How on Earth?”

“Not on Earth, that’s the key. Time got a bit… relative. Rose met the Doctor in 2005 when she was nineteen, I met them in 1942 over three thousand years before I was born, don’t ask me how old I was because I honestly haven’t a clue, but we picked Jazz up in 1999 when she was fifteen. And then we went back and forwards and generally got very confused and had a whale of a time together, visiting these amazing planets and saving the day, running for our lives most of the time but loving every minute. I wish you could meet him Ianto, I hope you will one day. But I don’t know. I was told I’d have to wait over one hundred years to see him again, but I’ve waited longer than that and I’m worried that I’ve missed him. He was at Canary Wharf, maybe that was my chance.”

“You said one of the girls was called Rose, is she Rose Tyler?”

“Yeah, died at Canary Wharf with her Mum. I think that’s when I really stopped blaming him for leaving me; he loses everyone eventually. Better to not check to find out if I was alive or dead than to check and find that he’d lost one more.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’d been sucked from our spaceship, the TARDIS, by a transmat and we’d been put in game shows on a space station in the future. They were lethal, you could get shot or dismembered, and it wasn’t a nice place. And then we found out that it was being run by the Daleks, and they attacked the station and the Earth. I organised the defences whilst the Doctor tried to destroy them, Rose stayed with the Doctor and Jasmine stayed with the other civilians, I begged her not to come with me, because I thought she’d be safe there.”

“What happened?”

The pain in Jack’s eyes was evident and heartbreaking as he met Ianto’s eyes again, “I heard her die, all of them, I heard them all die, but she was the first to die. She stood and faced them. And not long after I went the same way. Lived a coward, but at least I died a hero. First time anyway.” He laughed bitterly, “Next thing I know I’m gasping back to life again and there’s this dust everywhere, then I hear the TARDIS engines going and by the time I got there they’d gone, however many of them survived. And I couldn’t bring myself to go and find her, because I knew she was dead, but as long as I didn’t see her I could believe that she’d survived. That hope’s long faded now though. But I suppose that, give it a couple of million years or however long it was, I’ll be able to go back and find her this time. Do it right.”

“Is that why you didn’t do what you should have done with me? Because of her?”

“If you mean is that why I broke the rules, then yes. Because it might have been a very long time ago, but I can’t forget that I would have done the same for her. But I don’t equate the right thing to do with what the rules tell me to do, not always anyway.”

“I’d noticed.” Ianto shifted uncomfortably and tried to think of a way to cheer the conversation up, but Jack did it for him.

“We had some great times though, before we were separated. We went to this planet once, I forget what it was called because it was a really boring name, but their dreams were their enemies, because there were these microscopic organisms which fed on mind waves and magnified them like… You’ve read the Hitchhiker’s Guide?” Ianto nodded, “Yeah well, I had a copy of the real thing in the TARDIS, useful book, it’s like the babel fish, it fed back their dreams until they were magnified and horrible. People went mad on dreams, and I thought that it was an oppressive regime stifling creativity. Honestly, it was hell, no colour, no imagination, just completely bland, so I tried to brighten things up a bit. Oh I managed. I definitely managed, I went through the whole city telling stories, the one about the Armoured Sharks was particularly popular, then got myself arrested and taken to a mental hospital. Honestly, I nearly got lobotomised because I was a threat. Then engaged in a shootout with police, and this is all in a day’s work for us you understand.” He was grinning broadly and Ianto couldn’t help joining in, “I’m up the proverbial creek without a paddle, chocolate creek without a Popsicle stick, call it what you will, nearly with a chunk of my brain removed when an alarm goes and I manage to escape with sheer brute strength, and He just swans in and takes over the show. I’m like, well couldn’t you have done that earlier? But it’s no fun if it’s not the last minute.”

“So what happened, did they sort it, leave?”

“Sorted it, developed a serum to protect against the organisms. They can all dream freely now, and, I hope, pass around the legend of Captain Jack Harkness.”

“Modest as always?”

“Yeah well, I’ve had an interesting life, it’s no fun if you can’t share the stories with someone.”

“Go on then.” Ianto leaned forwards with a grin, “Tell me your stories. Tell me the one about the armoured sharks.”


Author's note: Don't own it, much though I'd like to

Sorry it's taken so long to update, I've been away again. But we are now nearing the end and it should get easier from here. Apart from the fact that I'm going away again in just over a week. I will get it done, I promise, before I go to Towersey hopefully. There are references in here again to Jasmine, who's going to be great fun to write, but that won't come for a while, maybe. Slightly AU by this point, but I can't get rid of her and I can't write that story in the future without mentioning her here really. Cos that would just feel silly.

Friday

Aug. 30th, 2008 03:45 pm
galadriel1010: (Default)

Jack lay on Ianto’s bed beside the younger man and watched him sleep; he looked so peaceful and so young. Jack’s heart bled at the sight, Ianto didn’t deserve the pain he’d felt, no one did, but especially not Ianto. He rolled onto his back and recalled some of their earlier conversation: “We’d been at a house just outside London collecting some artefacts from a garage sale, we knew the Ghost Shift was going to happen whilst we were there, but when it did it went… wrong.” Ianto had been staring at his hands, unwilling or unable to meet Jack’s eyes. “The ghosts became physical, cybermen. Mary, our leader, was ex-UNIT, she’d heard about the cybermen from people like Sir Alistair, all the horror stories of their invasions and the way the Doctor always saved the day. We raced back to Canary Wharf but it was over before we got there, we saw all the cybermen being dragged through the air away from us, and the bodies everywhere, all the people they’d killed. When we got there, the conversion machines, they’d just stopped, and Lisa…” his tears had started to fall then and he had been unable to continue.

Jack pulled him close and held him as sobs wracked him, needing to do something, anything, to stop the pain, but it had only got worse, “She was still alive, there was blood everywhere but she was alive. I knew my way through the building enough to avoid you all, I got her out and into the basement, and got a conversion unit to keep her alive, the whole place was dead, there were bodies everywhere, people who’d been caught in the crossfire, people I knew some of them. But I thought that if I could save her, if I could save just one person, it wouldn’t be as bad as it looked.”

It felt like it was working, to start with anyway. She regained consciousness and it was Lisa, or I thought it was. But in the end she was gone, really, she was gone and there was a monster waiting to take her place.”

Then he’d talked about his nightmares, the reason that Jack was still lying on his bed watching him, even though it felt a bit creepy. They’d come in here because it was more comfortable, and Ianto could go to sleep if he needed to, and they’d sat facing each other on the bed, until Jack had moved round to hold him. He didn’t know if Ianto had even noticed. “I was always at Canary Wharf, walking down the corridor towards the conversion chambers, but when I got there it was different. Lisa was there, human, being pulled out the far end of the room by cybermen, but I couldn’t reach her because the room was full of daleks and cybermen. Every time, I got through the room but they’d taken her and converted her, fully converted her.”

He’d broken down then, unable to speak for several minutes, sobbing brokenly so that Jack dreaded what would come next, “And then she killed me, every night. Every time, I went to that corridor and walked down it, and there was nothing I could do to stop.”

But last night it was different, it was worse, because when I went through the door at the other end of the room I was in the hub, in the basement with the conversion unit, and she wasn’t there. I knew as soon as I got there what I would find, she’d killed you all, and it was all my fault. I didn’t want to go on, didn’t want to see it, but I couldn’t stop.”

I went down the corridor towards the main hub. Gwen was the first one I found, she was near the door, then I found Tosh at her desk, and Owen in the autopsy bay. He walked up the stairs, knowing without having to think about it what he would find. He would be too late, as before. Lisa was in the door of Jack’s office, he hadn’t seen her. He needed to shout a warning, but he couldn’t. He was rooted to the spot and all he could do was watch as she put her hand on his shoulder, and he swung round, and he died. Too late, Ianto found his voice, “Jack!”

“Shhh, I’m here Ianto, I’m here.” The captain was looking at him with eyes full of concern, holding him as he struggled against the nightmare, trying ineffectually to calm him.

“Jack?” As the last couple of days pieced themselves together in his mind he curled up, away from Jack’s comforting embrace, to wrap his arms around his knees and cry again.

Jack paused, at a loss once again. He’d never had to deal with anything like this, especially not with the added complication of his feelings for Ianto, which he still couldn’t make head nor tail of. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Working on gut instinct, not the most reliable guideline in his experience but the only one he had at the moment, he reached out a hand and rested it on Ianto’s shoulder. When the young man didn’t pull away he slid it down his back and rubbed gently in small circles, like he had with Tosh the day before. “Hey, come on Yan, talk to me. What’s up?” He paused to consider the question, “On a very specific in this moment scale, rather than a general ‘the world’s going to hell in a handcart’ scale.”

Ianto gave a humourless laugh and looked back at him, “I left a bit out, Jack. The bit where I saw her kill you.”

Jack pulled the young man close again and was grateful when he curled closer rather than pulling away; for one night, just one night, he could hold him close. It was a shame it was this night really. He paused to consider, wondering if he should divulge his greatest secret, “That’s not going to happen, Yan. Never ever, I’ll always be here for you.” He said finally, settling for something ambiguously reassuring. The ambiguity seemed to have been in vain though.

“It’s true then, you’re immortal?” Ianto was shocked to see Jack’s face darken in a look of betrayal.

“Did she tell you?” He asked quietly, trying to keep his voice steady.

“Did who tell me? No, no, I figured it out. You’re looking at a man who lives in the archives, you’re in reports dating back to 1869.” He gave a reassuring smile and it seemed to work; the captain relaxed again and the look vanished.

“Sorry, Gwen saw Suzie shoot me, I asked her not to tell anyone.”

“I won’t tell them, if you don’t want me to…”

“I think it’s all a bit academic now,” he laughed slightly, “Since they’ve all seen me deleted twice. But seriously, I thought I’d covered my tracks better than that. I spent ages in the archives trying to get rid of all my reports back at the turn of the millennium.”

“You missed a couple here and there, and it’s all backed up on the computer.”

“Seriously?” the immortal looked incredulous, “That computer’s more intelligent than I am.”

“And extraterrestrial?” Ianto asked, intrigued.

“Yeah,” the captain was clearly thrown by the revelation and so was saying more than he normally would have, “it’s a TARDIS, time and relative dimension in space, I travelled in one once, a long time ago.” He looked strangely uncertain as his brain caught up with his mouth, “Very long time ago, lifetimes.”

“Nearly one hundred and forty years, is that how you ended up in Cardiff?”

“I got left behind, came here to try and catch him up again, the Doctor that is, it was his ship. We died, my girlfriend and I, daleks.” He explained in broken phrases, clearly upset by the recollections, “And then I woke up and he’d left me behind. I almost hated him for it, especially when I overshot and ended up in the 1870s. He’s going to come back here soon to refuel, but I don’t know if he even knows I’m alive. I live in constant fear of waiting over one hundred years for him and then missing him.”

Ianto reached across and squeezed his hand reassuringly, “You’re not making a lot of sense, Jack. But, if you want to talk about it, I’d like to understand.”

A wave of gratitude swept over the older man, he hadn’t told anyone about his past and, truth be told, it was starting to weigh him down. Maybe Ianto would be the person he needed, just like he’d wished until Lisa came along, a proper friend. But for the moment… “Not tonight, one day, I promise, but you need to sleep.”

Ianto looked understandably nervous, “I don’t… Will you stay?” he asked in a rush.

“Of course,” he smiled gently, “I’ll even make you breakfast in the morning. And trust me, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years, it’s how to make a decent breakfast.”

“The full works?” Ianto asked, his eyes feeling heavy, “Sausage, bacon, eggs…”

”Hash browns, the lot, you’d better believe it.” He laughed, feeling relaxed for the first time in longer than he cared to recall; maybe, for once, it was going to work out in his favour, just for a while, but this moment would keep him going.

Ianto slept soundly until he was woken by the nightmare again. Jack’s hand was a reassuring weight on his shoulder and he let the older man pull him close whilst he regained control of his breathing. He checked the time on the clock and groaned when he saw the reading, 09.46. Sitting up suddenly he frowned at Jack, “Jack, shouldn’t you be at work? You didn’t have to wait.”

“Not a chance Yan.” The captain smiled at him, “I’ve called Tosh and told her I’ll be in for a bit later to make sure everything’s running smoothly and Gwen and Owen haven’t blown anything up, then I’ll come back here. You need me more than they do. Besides, you’re better company.”

“I’ve been asleep though.”

“True, which says a lot about Owen, don’t you think?” Jack laughed. “Right, I’m going to make breakfast, stay there. And that’s an order!”

A short while later he turned round to find Ianto watching him approvingly from the kitchen doorway. The young man was dressed in faded blue jeans and a plain black T-shirt, reminding Jack of their first meeting in the graveyard. Jack smiled warmly and chuckled, trying to fight the cocktail of emotions rising at the domestication of the situation, the longing, the heartache, the amusement... “I thought I told you to stay where you were?”

Ianto stuck his tongue out and went to make coffee, “We’re not at work, are we? Beside, your coffee’s shit and I figured you’d need a Ianto Jones coffee special after last night. Did you sleep at all?” he shot at the older man who was studying a pair of fried eggs carefully and appeared not to hear the last question, “Jack?”

“No, I didn’t. Don’t worry about it; I don’t tend to sleep much anyway. I survive on coffee.” He smiled, his smile broadening at the disapproving look Ianto shot him.

“You’re impossible!” Ianto shook his head but couldn’t resist smiling in return, something about Jack did that, you couldn’t help smiling when he did. “Here, get that down you.

“Likewise.” Jack said, placing two plates on the table and dishing out the breakfast, then taking a seat opposite Ianto and accepting the coffee off him with a grateful groan, “You are a Godsend Ianto Jones, and I don’t even believe in him!”

He laughed and tucked into his breakfast to discover that Jack hadn’t been lying about his breakfast making abilities, “Bloody Hell, Jack! You can come round more often.” Which earned him a laugh, coupled with an unreadably wistful look in Jack’s eyes that inspired a wave of sympathy in him for the older man. He wondered if he’d once had a home and a family whom he could cook for every day, and if he had, how long had it been since he’d lost them? There was no doubt that these days, Captain Jack Harkness was alone.

They ate in a companionable silence, each lost in his own thoughts and enjoying the experience of not being on his own. Once they’d finished they stayed at the table until Jack checked his watch and groaned, “Right, I don’t think I can put it off anymore. I’m going to go in and check on the Hub, and then I’ll be right back.”

“You don’t have to.” Ianto said hurriedly, no matter how much he wanted and needed Jack there, Torchwood and the world were more important, “I’ll be fine, honestly.”

Still, he was relieved when Jack shook his head and smiled, although it was a sad smile, “Like I said, I’ll be right back.” He said as he left, resting a gentle hand on Ianto’s shoulder on his way past. Ianto found himself looking forwards to the captain’s return, something he never would have expected even the day before.

After letting himself out, Jack leaned against Ianto’s door for a moment to think; he knew that he should put Torchwood before Ianto but… He tried to work it out in his mind, Ianto was Torchwood, Torchwood couldn’t function without Ianto, and Ianto couldn’t function without him at the moment. Probably. He sighed and swore at himself for making excuses, before sliding into the SUV and crossing the town in silence, it was a long drive from Ianto’s house and he wondered again how much sleep the young man must get if he had to travel this distance every day. Recalling that there had been a few occasions when Jack had got the distinct impression that he’d slept at the Hub, the captain made a mental note to offer Ianto a room of his own at the base; it wasn’t like they were short of the space, and it would give him an option after particularly long days.

Gwen was in the TI office dealing with a couple from the North: Lancashire by their accents, it was a while since he’d heard that accent last, so he helped her out by advising a couple of American gap year students who were waiting for her. When they had all left he found her staring at him in slight surprise and he shrugged, “What? I’ve been living here long enough to know my stuff. I’ve even picked up a bit of Welsh.”

“Well done you.” She said by way of a response, slightly sarcastically.

“Diolch.” He grinned at her

“That’s not the extent of your Welsh, is it?” She asked in mock horror, although she expected it probably was, “You can say thank you? Well, better than most I suppose.”

“Actually I have a fairly good grasp of Welsh, I can get by at least. And don’t look so disparaging!” They walked into the Hub together, “Normally I don’t bother to learn languages, I can understand and be understood almost universally. Learning the lingo was quite a leap.”

She laughed, but they were interrupted by a call from Tosh, “Good morning, Jack. How’s Ianto?”

“Morning, Tosh. He’s fine, or will be at any rate.” He grimaced as guilt shot through him again; Gwen really wasn’t helping matters with the dark glances she was shooting his way, “I’m just checking in here, then I’m going straight back there. You’re in charge whilst I’m gone. Play nicely for Aunty Tosh kids.”

Owen scowled as he approached, “When’s tea-boy coming back then?”

Jack almost snapped at him, until he realised the significance of the nickname. It meant that, for Owen at least, things were back to normal, so he just sighed instead. “I don’t know, probably Monday or Tuesday, not before then anyway. Not until I’m sure he’s ready.”

“And you’d be the expert I take it?” Owen shot, standing his ground.

“I got bored once, I have a degree in Psychology from the Open University, not sure if that counts though.” He almost laughed at the gob smacked expressions on the faces of his team, “What, I’m a quick learner?” He’d been collecting stuff as he talked and had now put it all into a bag. As he turned to Tosh he pulled it onto his shoulder, “Like I said, you’re in charge until I get back. No arguments, if you get anything major call me. Send me a briefing tonight, no matter what. I don’t know that I’ll get another chance to check in here before tomorrow or the day after. Can you set something up so that rift spike alerts are sent to my laptop as well?” When she nodded he seemed to make his mind up and turned to go, but paused for a moment, “Ianto’s family, guys. Remember that.” And without another word he left the Hub.


Ianto was sitting in the living room, trying to pretend that he wasn’t just waiting for Jack to get back. He’d been gone about an hour and a half now, surely he should be back soon? The young man got up and went to the bookcase, trying to distract himself, and he was grateful when he heard the door open and the loudest, most outrageous man he’d ever met announced his arrival simply by arriving. No chance of pretending he hadn’t noticed his arrival then, “You took your time.” He turned and smiled at the captain, the smile growing when he saw the pizzas Jack was carrying.

“Yeah, well, if you will insist on living so far from anything…” He put the pizzas down on the coffee table, slung a bag carefully into the corner and took his greatcoat off, hanging it on a hook in the hall before rejoining Ianto on the sofas where the young Welshman appeared to be examining them closely without opening the boxes.

“Ham and pineapple and…” He hesitated at the aromas coming from the other pizza, “A bit of everything?”

“Correct, was I also correct in thinking that ham and pineapple is you favourite?”

Ianto looked impressed, “How did you figure that one out? We almost always have a different order these days.”

“Easy,” Jack leaned back with a slice of pizza, looking smug, “All I had to notice was that the two things that our pizza orders always have in common are the fact that we always have a ham and pineapple and you always order.”

“OK Sherlock, you win!” Ianto laughed as he reached for another slice. “I could order all the toppings more often if you’d like?”

“I may take you up on that one.” He smiled slyly, “Do you think that a person’s character can be guessed by their choice of pizza?”

The younger man looked at him, debating the wisdom of his next move, “Not really, sir. Because if it did I would have a cheese and tomato with either Welsh Cheddar or something outrageous. And you would consider all the toppings but eventually settle for just one.” When he saw the look on Jack’s face he was glad that he’d hesitated for long enough for the older man to swallow the pizza he’d just taken a bite of. Whilst Jack may be immortal, Ianto didn’t think that he was up to seeing him die in his living room.

When he’d regained control of his mental capabilities Jack put the slice of pizza down carefully and just stared at the Welshman, who seemed unwilling to meet his eye again. “Bloody hell.” He muttered, more to himself than to Ianto, “When did you get so damned intelligent?”

“I’ve always been that intelligent, sir. You just didn’t notice it underneath the suit.” He tried and failed to lighten the mood, judging by the way Jack’s face darkened almost in pain.

“Please stop calling me sir? At least when we’re out of the Hub? And, I did see it, I just didn’t realise…” Didn’t realise what, that Ianto would read him so well that he’d know him better than Jack knew himself? That Ianto would eventually be everything Jack wanted, but still unattainable? That he’d come to rely on him more than he’d relied on anyone for so, so long, and that it would break his heart? No, he hadn’t realised any of those things.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and realised that Ianto had come over to sit on the same sofa as him because a solitary tear was rolling down Jack’s cheek. He reached to brush it away angrily but found that Ianto had beaten him to it and had brushed it away softly with the pad of his thumb. The young man was gazing at him, searching his face with eyes full of concern, “Didn’t realise?”

“That I wasn’t the only one with a degree in psychology.” Jack replied, trying to rebuild his defences before the young Welshman got to him. Again.

It appeared to be futile though, as Ianto continued to search his face before sighing and pulling him closer, just as he had done for Ianto before. “I think it’s your turn Jack. You heard my worries last night, now let me do it for you.”

He wanted to, he so wanted to, but he couldn’t. Still, he found he couldn’t pull away either, “I can’t, Ianto. I’ve got so much welled up, that if I let go for a moment I’ll never get it back under control until it’s done. One day, one day I want to tell you everything. But not now, I can’t. I just…”

“It’s OK, I understand. Well I don’t, I never could, but I understand if you don’t want to talk about it yet, especially with me.”

“Why especially with you?” Jack looked genuinely confused by that one. He’d also seemed reluctant to pull away, but he did anyway and stared into Ianto’s eyes, trying to find the clue he was missing.

“Because of Lisa?” Ianto prompted, amazed and almost hurt that Jack seemed to have forgotten or passed it over.

“You don’t think I still hold that against you, do you?” he took Ianto’s hand in an attempt to make him understand something that Jack himself didn’t fully understand, “That’s… That’s made me trust you more than ever.”

“Because I betrayed you?” Ianto looked beyond perplexed now.

“Yes.” Jack said finally, settling for the most confusing and yet most accurate answer.

“Right.” The young man smiled slightly, “And where do we go from here?”

“Pizza?”

“That’s what got us here in the first place.” He smiled, “But if we don’t it’ll get cold.”

They ate in silence again, each contemplating their choice of pizza more than they would ever admit, until Jack gave a sudden yelp, nearly dropped the pizza he was holding and bolted over to the bag he’d dumped earlier to drag a laptop out of it. Ianto just stared at his friend as he got it set up, then sat back down on the sofa and continued eating as if nothing had happened, “Better?”

“Yeah, much better. Now we’re getting rift alerts.” Ianto looked put out so he hurried to explain, “I’m not going to do anything about them. I just like to know that I can find out what’s going on if I so wish. The world can be invaded by Graske today for all I care; I’m not going anywhere. But I’d like to know that it’s happening.”

“Whoa, I the world gets invaded we’re both going. Even if you weren’t here with me I’d dash straight back to the Hub if anything nasty fell out of the sky. Actually,” he paused, “I’d be more likely to. At least the Hub is vaguely defendable.”

“Fair point,” Jack admitted, “Ah, we’re living la vida loca.”

“Cracking song, and far far far too appropriate. The best version is, of course, the Shrek 2 one with Antonio Banderas and Eddie Murphy.” Ianto laughed, and then caught sight of the look on Jack’s face; melancholy and dark once again. “OK, what did I say this time?”

“Sorry, just remembered going to see the premiere, twice actually. That’s a story I’ll tell you one day. My ex-girlfriend loved that film, almost as much as she loved Pirates of the Carribbean.”

He was intrigued, Jack rarely spoke of his exes with that amount of sadness, “She must have been something special.”

“Yeah,” the captain sighed, feeling so very old, “yeah, she was special. So young too.”

A lump built in Ianto’s throat, as he knew without having to ask where she was now. “How old?”

“Seventeen.”

“Shit, Jack.” He pulled the older man close again to offer him the comfort he so desperately needed. Who knew how long it had been since he’d lost her, but it was so clear that he’d never really got over it. It could have been well over one hundred years ago, but the pain was still as fresh, yet Jack wasn’t crying. He’d shed all his tears for her many times over the years; he didn’t think he had any left to shed.

“Can we… can we change the subject? I don’t think I’m up to this yet.”

“Course we can. Why don’t we watch a film?”

“Sounds good to me.” Jack smiled at him, his eyes bright with unshed tears but still full of life and energy. Ianto would never understand how he kept going, but there had to be a way, otherwise how could he keep going?

“What do you fancy then? I’ve got the Lord of the Rings films, Zorro, well you can see.” He gestured to his DVD shelf, grimacing at the fact that it was organised alphabetically, a sure sign of someone with too much time on his hands.

Jack, however, just shrugged, “You pick, I don’t see many films. Don’t have the time.”

“What do you do to relax Jack?” He asked, glancing along the row to find a film he thought Jack would like, selecting one with a smirk.

“Not a lot, really. I don’t like to relax, I think too much. Besides, there’s not all that much to do in the way of things to relax at the Hub.”

“What about at home, what do you do there?” the way Jack refused to meet his eyes, the first time it had ever happened as long as they’d known each other was indication enough, “You do have a home, right?”

Jack smiled at the worried tone in Ianto’s voice, why did kids ever complain when their parents worried about them? “Did have, lived with my girlfriend. But when I left her I didn’t really have anywhere else to go so I moved into the Hub as a temporary measure. Eight years later, I’m still there.”

“You’ve not had a relationship in eight years? A steady one I mean…”

“I’ve slept on my own every night this millennium, Yan.” He looked sad and lost, a look which did not suit the indomitable Captain Jack Harkness one little bit, “Until last night.”

“Which was clearly the most cheerful event it possibly could have been. Why won’t you let me help, Jack?” He didn’t know whether the frustration or the wave of sympathy hurt more.

“Because you don’t know what you’re offering to help with.” Jack smiled sadly again and changed the subject rapidly, “You picked a film them?”

“What, oh, yeah.” Ianto looked at the box in his hand and the sly grin reappeared, “You will love it.”

“Go on?”

“Bring it On.” He grinned wider at Jack’s blank look, “It’s the perfect film for you, it’s a movie about a high school cheerleading squad who find out that all their routines are stolen, so they have to create new ones really quickly.”

“And you think this is perfect for me why, Ianto?” Jack looked like he was about to laugh, or cry, or of the two.

“Attractive young men and women in tight shirts and short skirts doing gymnastics.”

“You had me at attractive.” The captain laughed and flopped down on the sofa again.

A considerable while later (Jack had insisted on watching the sequel as well) they were sitting at opposite ends of the sofa with a measure of Scotch each and a relaxed attitude to life. Ianto watched his boss in this very domestic situation and realised just how different he was. Here, Jack felt he could let down his defences. He didn’t have to be invulnerable or strong or defensive. He could enjoy the girliest film ever with pizza and cola, he could cry and he could laugh, and Ianto would be the only one who knew. He knew it was a huge privilege to see this side of Jack, the side that maybe hadn’t been out in those eight years, but he knew how important it must be to Jack too, there had to be a way he could help him find this more often. “Jack?”

“Hmmm?” The captain raised his head from the back of the sofa and looked at his friend questioningly, Ianto seemed to have something on his mind.

“I don’t like the thought of you there at the Hub on your own at nights. For a start you never have the chance to be anyone except who you are at work and don’t try to contradict me on that one because I’ve spent more nights there than you think I have.”

“Yeah.” His head flopped back so that Ianto couldn’t study the emotions crossing his face, not before Jack had a chance to analyse them anyway. “Not much choice really though. I could get a place, I suppose, but I’ve never really been able to deal with going home to an empty house. At least at the hub I’ve got Myfanwy now.”

“There is a possibility open.” Ianto ventured hesitantly. “I mean, I have this massive three bedroomed house, and there’s me in it. There’s plenty of room if you wanted to move in here?”

“Are you serious?” The captain was staring at him with an unreadable expression

“Yeah, I mean, I’ll have to get another bed, cos you may have noticed that I’ve only got the one.”

“Aw shucks.” Jack was grinning excitedly now.

“Harassment!”

“Totally off the clock.”

“And we so have to watch that movie, Dodgeball by the way. But if you wanted to?” He left the question hanging

“Do you want me to?” Jack asked, uncertainty clear in his voice.

“Yes, do you want to?”

“Yes. Thank you, I can’t think of anything I’d like to do more.” Apart from share your bed, he thought to himself. Please don’t let Ianto be a telepath… Apparently not.

“Cool. Erm, well, Dodgeball?”

“I should probably get back to the hub, it’s getting late. And, as yet, you still only have one bed.” He smiled gently as he stood up but sat back down again closer to Ianto when he saw the look on the young man’s face, “What’s up?”

“You know, I wouldn’t mind sharing with you tonight,” he attempted a smile, “actually, I don’t…” Start again, “I’m not sure I could sleep tonight, if you weren’t…” Shit, “Sorry, Jack. I’m just… Don’t worry about me, I’ll call you in the morning.”

Jack just shook his head, “It’s a good job I brought a change of clothes and something to wear during the night, isn’t it?”

“You knew all along di… what do you normally wear to sleep?” He asked, curiosity winning overself preservation, but apparently even Jack Harkness knew his boundaries and when was and wasn’t a good time.

“Normally I don’t sleep. I just lie on the bed fully clothed and stare at the ceiling as if trying to make it go away. And no, I didn’t know this would happen, but I like to be prepared for anything.”

Ianto relaxed slightly, “You got the dinosaur nets with you then?”

“Damn.” The captain laughed, “I knew I’d forgotten something.”

Author’s note:

Wahey, my longest chapter yet! Falls off chair and dies

OK, so I meant to get this finished before I went to Guernsey, I ended up writing lots of it in the car on the way there and back and lots more in a tent. I thn intended to get it finished before I went to Sidmouth, but that keeps creeping nearer until I’m staying at my friend’s tomorrow before we go down on Friday, so I shall attempt to have it finished before I leave but can’t make any promises.

Also, you may have noticed the mention of Jack’s exes. One of them crops up in my first Torchwood fanfic, Wind Beneath My Wings, the other will feature more heavily in the next one which will have fluff galore. I can’t wait. See you all shortly I hope :)

Thursday

Aug. 30th, 2008 03:45 pm
galadriel1010: (Default)

07.30

Jack was in the cellars feeding Janet when he heard the alarms go off to signal that one of the team had arrived. He finished off and strolled up to the Hub to find a very fragile looking Tosh sitting at her desk with a half empty glass of water, clear signs of an interesting but not unusual Torchwood night. The really unusual thing was that it was Tosh. He rested his hands on her shoulders and rubbed them gently in a circular motion, eliciting an appreciative groan, “You OK, Tosh?” He asked, “If you’re feeling ill you can have the day off.”

“Thanks, Jack, but I’ll be alright. It’s just a hangover, I’m not used to dealing with them, that’s all.”

He chuckled, “Not very like you, what were you doing last night?” The true meaning of the question remained hanging between them, unspoken but understood.

“Ianto and I drowned our sorrows in at least three bottles of wine between us. Well, mostly Ianto’s sorrows to be honest. I think he’ll be OK. At the moment he’s far too thin and doesn’t look like he’s slept but…” she smiled gently, “It’ll take a while, but he’ll get there.” Jack nodded gratefully and relaxed visibly. She could tell it had been weighing him down over the last couple of days. “I think it would help if you went to see him. He needs as many friends as he can get.”

He looked dubious and avoided the issue, as she expected, “How do you think Gwen and Owen are taking it?”

The technician wasn’t a woman to be diverted that easily, “I know it’s not because you don’t want to see him, because you clearly do. So why not? He wants to see you. If you ask me he’s got a bit of a hero worship thing going on.”

“Hero worship?” Jack looked astonished, “But he saw straight through me. I’m no hero, I’m a monster.” He looked thoroughly broken as he repeated Ianto’s words to her, like a man with no purpose and no desire to continue, showing a side she’d never even suspected he possessed. “I lash out and I hurt the people I care about, every time. And as a result, I’ve become nothing more than a hard shell with a core of acid, because that way I can’t get close enough to people to hurt them.”

“No! No, Jack. You’ve saved us all, especially Owen and me. We were at a point where we could either give up or go on and without you we couldn’t have gone on. For us, you are everything; you are the hero we want to be. We know that we’ll die young, because that’s Torchwood, but because of you we’ve got the chance to live more in this short space of time than we ever could in three lifetimes. Look, Jack, you were the only person who could save me and Owen, now you’re the only one who can save Ianto. Go and see him tonight, please?”

He nodded, indicating that he’d heard what she said, not agreeing to go and see him, “So…” He paused and swallowed painfully, he was as close to breaking down as he’d been in a very long time, “How are Gwen and Owen taking it do you think?”

Tosh knew when to drop the subject as well as when to push it; “Owen is taking it harder, because of Katie. I think that he’d like to think that he wouldn’t have done what Yan did, but secretly knows he would have.” She looked uncomfortable about what was coming next, “Gwen’s forgiven him I think, she’s still stung by it a bit, but she knows that she would do the same for Rhys…”

“She’s just having trouble forgiving me?” Jack hazarded in a monotone. Tosh’s heart almost broke to see him so miserable.


Ianto had almost laughed to see Tosh looking so ‘fragile’ the morning before, but he wasn’t in much better shape himself. Yet again he hadn’t been able to sleep, haunted by nightmares as soon as he got close to nodding off, so once she’d drifted off in the main living room he’d gone into the other one to read. By now he’d read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories, soon he’d have to move onto the DVDs, which he got out almost every time he had a day off, and then onto the fan-fiction he was working on. Once he got bored of that, hopefully sometime tomorrow, he’d move onto the Lord of the Rings DVDs he’d got in town, which would last him about two days and he’d only have another two to get through before he could go back to work.

Somewhere in his evening with Tosh, he wasn’t all that surprised to discover that he couldn’t remember exactly when, or even what they’d been talking about by the end of the evening, he’d decided that he would definitely be going back to work. Aside from the fact that he couldn’t imagine life without aliens, dinosaurs and, he had to admit, the dashing captain, he would definitely miss Tosh, and he got the feeling that she would miss him too. This was the small bright spark in what was a very dark outlook at the moment, probably not helped by the alcoholic clouds whirling around his brain.

Stifling a groan at the ache building in his head, putting a lie to the line that not sleeping prevented hangovers, he grabbed a couple of paracetamol and returned to the main living room to put on some ‘lift music’ and sink back into a Conan-Doyle induced cloudbank.

21.00

Jack was alone in the Hub again. The team had left not long before, having had a weevil sighting at about ten past five. Without Ianto around they were a mess, it had taken them nearly four hours to achieve what should have taken no more than one. He leaned back in his chair and let his thoughts stray back to the young man, worry clouding his features. Tosh’s words earlier in the day, coupled with Gwen’s continued standoffishness, had hit him quite hard. He’d been wrong, completely wrong, to ask what he did of Ianto; although maybe ‘ask’ wasn’t the right word. It had been an order, possibly the most despicable order he’d ever given. He’d been angry, furious, maybe even livid. But Ianto had been in love, and love is a much more admirable emotion than anger.

He rubbed at his eyes, hoping that if he did so enough he’d erase the memories of what he’d seen and done, but it wasn’t going to happen. Had his life, his extraordinarily long life, been building up to this point, this decision, which he’d made wrongly? He hoped not, because otherwise it had all been in vain. Every heartbreak, every loss, and every love, all worthless because he’d betrayed someone who relied on him. Someone who saw him as a hero? That was laughable. He’d never been a hero, even in the good days with Him. He’d been a coward, until that last day, when it had all gone wrong. After the disastrous result of his heroism he’d reverted to type. That was until Torchwood had got hold of him and he realised just how close he’d got to betraying his friend. The fact that they’d forced him into working for them and, by a convoluted route, against them had knocked off some of the edges that had grown back, until he was almost ready to take the control when it was given to him. Almost, but apparently almost wasn’t enough.

Groaning he swung his way down into the bunker under his office and stretched out on the bed. Sleep would be a long time coming tonight, if it came at all, but he didn’t really need it any more. The last thing he needed was to think, but with all the paperwork done and the Hub spotless, there wasn’t really anything else to do. What he really wanted to do was go and see Ianto but… Should he?

He reached for the phone but stopped with his hand hovering over it, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. Tosh had said he wanted to see him, but how many glasses of wine had they both had by the time she decided that? Would Ianto be less willing to see him on a clear head? Would he have a clear head at all, or would he have spent every night in a drunken stupor? That didn’t sound anything like his Ianto, but the idea made knives dance in Jack’s gut.

Hang on. When did he start calling Ianto his Ianto? He shook his head and laid back down feeling thoroughly miserable. Ianto didn’t even care about Jack and he’d still got hurt, just because Jack cared about him. Sometimes life dealt you a blinder. For Jack it seemed to happen on a fairly regular basis.

The sounds of the hub were deadened from here, it was virtually silent, and so the ringing of his phone was particularly loud. He reached for it and looked at it in confusion, feeling both hope and fear rising at the name on the screen: Ianto


His eyelids were getting heavy and he could feel sleep claiming him. He didn’t try to fight it, because he didn’t have the strength. He hadn’t eaten today, apart from a pickled onion which he suspected probably didn’t count, and he hadn’t slept properly since… OK, avoid that one, it was too hard to work out, but it was a long time. Far too tired to move, he switched off the TV and laid back on the sofa, letting the waves wash over him and claim him in dark oblivion.

Fifteen minutes later he was sitting with his back against the sofa sobbing and shaking. No matter how hard he tried to persuade himself that they were just nightmares his mind, sleep-deprived and still in the grip of the nightmare, would not be persuaded. Every shadow was full of menace; every sound was something coming to punish him for his mistakes. His breath hitched painfully as a car drove past the window, but he saw a cyberman’s searchlight and heard a Dalek. Not having seen them made them seem worse than they were, because his tortured imagination came into play.

Terror had a full grip in him, and he could only think of two options. The first was to run, but his subconscious mind knew that he couldn’t run from something inside his own head, so it went for the second option and reached for his phone. It rang a couple of times and he began to wonder if it would even be answered, but a worried voice greeted him before that train of voice was even completed. He took a deep and completely ineffectual breath to steady his voice and asked one of the most important questions of his life, “Jack, will you come round here, please? I need you.”


Jack had been halfway up the ladder by the time he’d registered the name, knowing that the reason for the call would be important, so when he heard Ianto’s request he only had to grab his coat and the keys for the SUV before he was heading out through the rolling cog door, thought was not required or even involved. Ianto had sounded terrified, his choice of words was obviously controlled, but his voice betrayed his true emotions; it sounded like he’d been crying, or screaming.

The usual fear, a sort of bone deep ache, which he felt whenever they were out and the team were in danger, had settled in and was urging him faster to Ianto’s house. It was about half an hour’s drive from the Hub, even at this time of night when the roads were quiet, and yet again Jack longed for the heady days of teleports and time-travel when everything had been so easy. He could have been there as soon as the phone rang, which would have removed this tense period of worry when he really, really shouldn’t be in control of a vehicle, especially one as large as the SUV. Jack swerved around a traffic island and reflected for a moment on the changes he’d seen in Cardiff since he’d moved there over one hundred years ago. Back then there had been no cars, no traffic lights, no Millennium Centre, barely any Torchwood. There had been nothing to hold him there, apart from vague threats and a promise that in one hundred years or so the person he was looking for would come around again. These days there was so much more, it was more like his home, the only home he could remember properly after so long, and there was so much keeping him here. He was halfway to one of the things.

Everything came and went in Jack’s life. The Doctor was a constant, even when he wasn’t there (Jack still felt like he was constantly looking over his shoulder), Jack himself was a constant, he knew he’d always bounce back, except for that brief moment with the Cyberwoman where he’d dared to hope that maybe this would finish him off. He considered that for a moment, it was the first time for quite a while that he’d wished he were mortal, that he would die and have it all over; he’d been that miserable. Ianto’s betrayal had broken his heart, which wasn’t all that unusual in Jack’s life, but it really was a spectacular way to do it. He’d thought they were friends at least, or that Ianto respected him enough to be unable to keep a secret like that. Then again, he’d also thought that Ianto was far too intelligent to do something so catastrophically DUMB, but people in love did stupid stuff.

Some would ask, if they knew what Jack had seen and done over the years, how he could come through that still believing in Love; the answer was that he had to, because that was the other constant in his life. He loved everything. Not like Owen would suggest, like he projected, that he would sleep with anything with a pulse, he actually loved everything. No matter what happened, there was always something to get him up in the morning, even if it was only the sight of the sunrise over Cardiff Bay and the taste of a bag of chips.


Ianto had made it to the bathroom and was staring at his reflection in the mirror; he was a wreck. He looked like he hadn’t slept or eaten in a week and he needed a shave – what Jack would say he couldn’t imagine. Actually, he could, which made it worse. He groaned and wandered back to the living room to flop back on the sofa – bugger Jack and bugger Torchwood. There was wine in the kitchen, a bad idea but a very appealing one; he was on his way when the doorbell rang and he changed his path to open the door to a concerned looking Jack. “You look dreadful Ianto, can I come in?”

He pulled a wry face and stepped aside, gesturing through to the living room and taking Jack’s coat to hang it up, “You don’t look much better, sir. Compared to your usual at least, your starting point is higher than mine.” He wasn’t lying, Jack looked tired and harried and guilt lanced through Ianto again. Had he done this?

But his boss managed a smile, a genuine one and even chuckled, “Harassment, Ianto? And please call me Jack. Everyone else does, and we’re not at work, are we?”

“Depends on your definition I suppose.” He gestured for Jack to take a seat and collapsed back on the sofa, “If we are then I call you sir and you’ve got me on the harassment. If not then it can’t be harassment. So which is it?”

“Jack. I don’t really mind the harassment anyway.”

Ianto laughed, “Can I get you something, coffee?” Jack didn’t even need to answer; the look on his face was quite enough so he followed Ianto through to the kitchen.

“How are you feeling, Yan?”

The young man turned round, surprised at the shortened form of his name, which only Tosh had ever used before at Torchwood. He paused to consider the options and eventually plumped for honesty, “Shit.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Yes.” He sighed.

Jack felt a huge surge of affection for the young man and was determined to do his utmost to remove the broken look, “I’m so sorry Yan.”

Ianto shook his head and handed Jack a steaming mug of coffee, pulling a chair out from the table and sinking into it, “Don’t be, it wasn’t your fault. It was mine, because I was stupid and blind. I’m sorry. I betrayed you all; you gave me so much, all of you but especially you, Jack. And all the time I had a monster of a secret just waiting to explode and kill you all.”

“We all make mistakes Ianto, there’s always something there to blind us to what’s right and what’s wrong. And one thing I’ve learnt is that love is always right, but the things we do in the name of love, they’re not always right.”

“So was I right, or wrong?”

“Wrong, but if it’s any consolation I’ve been more wrong in the past, we learn from our mistakes.” He smiled gently and seemed to hesitate a moment before reaching across to squeeze Ianto’s hand, and he was grateful when the young man not only didn’t move his hand but actually turned it to squeeze Jack’s hand in return, although he looked quite surprised by the open show of affection from the captain, “Let us help you, let me help. Please?”

Ianto nodded, and then hesitated, suddenly unsure of where to start. It had been nice to talk to Tosh the night before, but there had been things he felt he couldn’t talk about. Mostly they’d just drunk, but tonight he felt that he needed to talk, and Jack was probably the only person who would listen. “How long have you got?” He asked, half jokingly.

“As long as you need, I’m here for you Yan.”


Author’s Note: I’m going to leave to your imagination what Ianto says tonight, some of it will emerge in the next few chapters, but as A) I want to give poor Ianto some privacy and B) I hate writing reams of dialogue, this feels like a good opportunity to finish the chapter I intended to finish erm… four days ago? Sorry for the delay again lol, far too much angst going on for my poor brain, but the next one is well underway (you know when you want to think about one thing and something else insists on happening? Yeah, me too. Lol)

And I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next chapter, or when I’ll get interwebs next, so I’ve no idea when this is going up or when I’ll finish the next…

Disclaimer: Do not own, much though I want to. Property of the Barrowman Broadcasting Corporation

Wednesday

Jul. 16th, 2008 11:53 am
galadriel1010: (Default)

08.00

Having got started on the reports at 8ish the night before, he was still on it twelve hours later. UNIT had requested copies of five of them, one seven months ago, so he got those done first and sent them off before moving on to the rest of the pile. By the time the others arrived he had finished all the reports that had still needed doing for the last three months and was now finding it much harder to remember what had happened. He would never again object to Ianto’s pestering to do reports when the events happened, it was infinitely easier the morning after than even a month later. How he was going to fill in that one from 2001 he had no idea.

Fear and regret clutched at him as he realised that he may never again have the chance to roll his eyes in exasperation and see Ianto’s amused and tolerant smile as he ‘purloined’ the paperwork that Jack had neglected yet again.

He reached for the phone, filled with an urge to check on his receptionist, his friend, but he stopped himself. He’d promised Ianto the space to figure out what he wanted, and he half suspected that part of the urge was an attempt to avoid the report glaring at him from his desk, which he couldn’t remember the faintest thing about. Had they really been visited by a Judoon requesting their cooperation? Or was it one of Owen’s spoofs? He resolved to give that one to the medic to fill out, then turned to the next report with a sigh, setting the phone from his mind, even if the reason for the phone call was lodged there.

Ianto had tidied and cleaned every other room in the house, but he’d left his room to last. He knew it would be the hardest. Even though she’d never come to the house, it felt like they’d shared this room. When he moved in he’d put all her clothes in the wardrobe and the dresser, organised her favourite books onto two shelves in the bookcase and set out the photos of them. In here, Lisa was everywhere; no wonder he hadn’t been able to let go. He stood in front of the bookcase and took down the photo of the two of them that held pride of place. It had been taken at her sister’s wedding, about two months before… before the battle. She was wearing that gorgeous dark blue dress with silver embroidery, whilst he wore a dark blue waistcoat over a white shirt; both now hung side by side in the wardrobe at one end.

He took the photo and sat down on the bed, swallowing painfully as he traced her face with his finger. She was so young, so happy, so carefree; they both were. Their jobs had shown them a whole new universe of wonders and they believed they could control it all, they believed they were invincible. The naivety of youth, how soon everything had changed.

As the face of an unnamed partygoer was obscured by a tear, he realised that it was his and dashed any further tears from his eyes. He had no right to cry, not when his actions had caused so much destruction in the name of love. Lisa had become a monster, and it was his fault. He felt physically sick, but didn’t move; how could Jack give him a second chance after what he’d done? At Torchwood One he would have been shot immediately, and he definitely wouldn’t have been given the chance to try to talk to her. He wondered if Jack had been holding onto hope as much as he had, that maybe she could be changed back, but they’d been wrong, yet again. Torchwood wasn’t a place for hope, it was a place for equations and certainty and, he had to admit, quite a lot of guesswork. Not hope. Which made him eminently unsuitable for a position there, even one as trivial as receptionist. He knew this, it was the reason he’d resisted Jack’s attempts to get him to join them in the field, but now he knew that he couldn’t go back to Torchwood at all. As long as they relied on him even slightly, the rest of the team would be in danger.

He finally allowed the tears to flow as he accepted the inevitable. He would leave Torchwood and be retconned, he would have no memory of aliens, of Torchwood One, of Lisa, of moving back to Cardiff, of Jack… His breath hitched in his throat; hope, yet again, foolish hope had tricked him into believing that maybe one day the Captain, the man he regarded as Earth’s greatest here (he shuddered inwardly at the hero-worship going on there) would come to regard him as at least a friend. Oh he knew that Jack flirted with him a lot, but whom didn’t he flirt with? Ianto just looked good in a suit, that was all it was, and made a bloody good cup of coffee.

He set the photo aside on the bed and buried his face in his hands again. He wished that he could say that he’d miss them, but he wouldn’t remember them. Without Torchwood he would have nothing, but that was the way it had to be. He didn’t deserve a second chance and couldn’t trust himself with one. Even if Jack trusted him again, the others wouldn’t. He couldn’t go back after betraying them like that. Knowing it was true didn’t make it any easier though.

10.57

Owen appeared in the door of Jack’s office and grinned at the look of concentration on his face. He set a mug of coffee down within his reach and attempted to peer over his shoulder at the report, “Coffee Jack.”

“Thanks Owen,” Jack sounded distracted, “You didn’t make it, did you?”

The medic laughed at the mild panic in his voice, “Not a chance, it was Gwen, but she said she figured it was my turn to have a go at you over yesterday.”

Jack leaned back in his chair and met his eye, “Do you think I was right?”

“Nope.” The captain nodded, the usual confident façade breaking for a moment before Owen continued, “You should have fired him and retconned him into oblivion. You can’t afford to be soft here, Jack, you know that better than most, or we thought you did, anyway.”

Jack met his eyes sternly, “Ianto is integral to this team. Without him we would have gone to pieces long ago, and I know that in the last three months he’s turned down at least five approaches from Canary Wharf to come and join the new team there.”

“Yeah, and I wonder why that is…” Owen sneered.

“Damn it Owen, if he’d just been here for Lisa he would have been much better off in London. He stayed here for a reason. Besides, now Lisa’s gone he’s going to need as much support as we can give him. I’m worried about him, Owen. I’m worried that he’ll think he has nothing left to live for.”

“Would he be wrong?”

The look on his leader’s face told Owen everything, it was a look of pure anguish and loss, mixed with hope, exhaustion and a deep, indescribable knowledge. “He’s only twenty five, Owen. Twenty five, intelligent, good looking and capable of pretty much anything. He has everything to live for.”

Owen shifted uncomfortably but was saved from having to reply by the rift alarm. He ran down to Tosh’s station where he studied the readings over her shoulder.

“Rift spike over towards Barry, Jack. Town called ‘Twin–yur–Odun’”

“Twyn-yr-odyn” Gwen corrected.

“Whatever, any idea what it is Tosh?” Jack interrupted tetchily.

“Getting a visual on it now Jack.” She said as she hacked onto the local CCTV network.

He ran down the steps to stand behind her and winced as the visual appeared, “Just what we always wanted, a hoix. You all know what to do?” They answered in the affirmative and he nodded, “Right, so…” He hesitated a moment, and it was painfully obvious that he’d been about to give an order to the absent administrator, “OK, Gwen, you’re with me. We’ll track it and secure it. Owen, I want you to come via a butcher’s shop and get some pork chops. Tosh, keep a visual on it and keep us informed.” He grabbed his coat from the rail, snatched the SUV keys moments before Gwen reached them and bounded out through the rolling cog door not quite full of his usual energy.

Ianto had gone through to one of the spare bedrooms and collected a box and two holdalls for clothes. Into the box he put all the photos of the two of them, her copy of Wuthering Heights from her A levels and a few pieces of jewellery; then he taped the box up, labelled it carefully with her full name and the date, and put it in the loft. Once that was done, he very carefully packed all her shoes and clothes into the holdalls, with some of her favourite books, which he knew he’d never read himself. Her few dresses were already in a long dress bag, apart from the blue one from that wedding; he was furious with himself, but he couldn’t get rid of it, couldn’t lose that wonderful moment. Hopefully, one day he would have a daughter or a friend to whom he could give the dress. Lisa would have liked that.

He sat on the edge of the bed and stared down at the two holdalls and one dress bag which were all that remained in his life of the woman he’d loved. Her dad had most of her things: photos, exam result certificates, the manuscript of her novel. He would take the box with him next time he visited London. In the meanwhile, he took the bags down to the car and drove into the centre of Cardiff, then left them at the Marie Curie shop where they could do some good.

18.00

The Hoix had been a nightmare to stop. They’d had to shoot it in the end, because it got too close to a children’s playground, but he wasn’t happy about it. Owen had finished the autopsy and written his report, Tosh had done hers and even Jack had finished his. He had filed everything in a cabinet by the door (he didn’t trust himself with the archives) and sent everyone except Tosh, who was working on some new programme and wanted to get it finished, home.

With the young technician there, the quiet in the Hub was peaceful; the whir of computers, Myfanwy’s lazy wing strokes above their heads and the steady drip of water calmed his nerves. He leaned on the rail and looked down on the hub, at a loss for what to do. He knew he should go back to the reports, but he needed files from the archives, and he didn’t dare go in there without Ianto anymore. Once upon a time he’d been in and out of there constantly, using the files for his own personal search. Since Ianto arrived, however, and spent about three months organising the archives, he’d been reluctant to go in there. Jack was to filing what Herod was to childcare.

He sighed heavily and Tosh looked up at him with a slight smile, “You sound bored, Jack.”

“Just thinking, Tosh.” He stretched and wandered down to stand behind her, “Worrying about everything as usual.” Although Gwen was supposed to be the sensitive one, and Ianto seemed to understand him better than anyone, Tosh was the only one he told about his worries and stresses.

“Ianto?” she asked

“Yeah, I’m worried about leaving him to deal with it on his own. And worried about the decisions I made.”

“Don’t worry about your decisions after the event, Jack. What’s done is done and we’re all relying on you. Once you start second guessing yourself we fall apart.” She looked him squarely in the eye and he nodded, glad for having someone there to tell him off like that, “If you’re worried about him, why don’t you check on him?”

“I’m the last person he wants to see.” Jack mused, “I get the feeling he doesn’t like me all that much.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Jack. You gave him the chances he asked for, and there was nothing else you could do in the end. I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said.” The look on his face told her that nothing she could say would convince him of that, “Fine, Jack. But I’m going to go round and check on him. You’re right, he shouldn’t be alone, not all the time anyway.” She let him help her into her coat and picked up her bag, “I’ll tell him you were worrying about him. And don’t stay here all night, OK Jack. It’s not healthy, and you’re not as invincible as you make out.”

He tried to smile, but it didn’t seem to make the grade because she gave him a pitying look, “You’re right, Tosh. I’ll go find a live band or something. Don’t worry about me.”

Five minutes later he’d sealed the Hub up and was settled back in his office with another report. He suspected that Tosh knew that he’d had no intention of leaving.

Ianto had wandered around town for a bit after leaving the clothes, gratefully received as he’d expected, as he’d been unwilling to return to the empty house again. He treated himself to a box set of the extended edition Lord of the Rings films, and some computer games he’d always fancied, but then found himself with a dilemma when the shops shut. He could either go home and watch the DVDs, or stay in town and drink himself into a stupor. The decision was made when he realised that it was the night of an international match at the Millennium Stadium, so every bar in town would be packed.

Back at the house he made himself a slice of cheese on toast, reflecting belatedly that he’d probably have enough nightmares without the cheese, and settled down in front of his computer with the first of the Sims 2 games to install. A knock on the door at about quarter to seven surprised him, but hope sprang in him at the thought that it might be Jack. As a result, he was quite surprised at the relief he felt when he opened the door to Tosh instead. She was carrying two bottles of wine and wearing a shy smile, “Tosh, hi, come in!” he stammered.

“Thanks, Ianto. I brought two bottles, I couldn’t remember which you preferred and figured that with the match on you probably wouldn’t fancy going into town.”

“Sounds like I don’t have a choice in the matter.” He smiled gently to take the sting out of his words and took her coat to hang up, “I’m glad you came today rather than yesterday, the place was a right mess.”

“Been there, done that.” She grinned, “I’m tempted to take a day off just to tidy, but there are better things to do. You have a gorgeous house, Ianto.”

He looked around as if seeing it for the first time, “Yeah, it’s lovely. I had hoped that one day it would be full of kids. Guess there’s no chance of that now though.”

“You never know Yan. You’re still way below the age that most people settle at these days, if you choose to you’ll find someone else.”

“Tosh, we work for Torchwood, we’ll both be dead long before most people have children. How could I have kids with that hanging over me?” He got down two wine glasses and poured two reds, “Sorry, Tosh. Didn’t mean to get all introspective.”

“It’s OK, I appreciate it must be hard.” She took the glass and they settled at the kitchen table, “I’m sorry about what happened to her, no one deserves to have that happen to them.”

“No, I’m sorry. Lisa died in the battle, what I brought into the hub was a monster. I put you and everyone else in danger because I couldn’t let go. When we were together I couldn’t believe that she would stay with me when she could honestly have had anyone she wanted. When I had the chance to cling on that bit longer I took it without considering the consequences. It was practically necrophilia, just because no one else would have me.”

She squeezed his hand across the table, “Don’t put yourself down Yan, there are plenty of people in the world who will do it, you have to hold yourself high. Why would anyone not have you, anyway? You’re clever, funny, good looking, loyal and dependable. And, and this is important, you make the best coffee in Cardiff, no, the whole of Wales! If not the world.” That got a smile at least, a genuine one.

“So what you’re saying is…” he grinned at her over his wine glass, “you’d go out with me if I asked you?”

The look on his face reassured her that he wasn’t asking, “Yes, if I weren’t utterly and hopelessly besotted with Bollock Brain.”

He laughed at that, picked up the bottles and gestured through to the living room. Once in there he settled in an armchair with his feet on the coffee table, not something she’d expected of him, whilst she curled up with her feet underneath her. He seemed about to say something when a noise she recognised came from the computer and he blushed, “Erm… bear with me a moment.”

“You’re installing Sims?” She grinned, “I love that game.”

“I’ve never played it before, but I’m told it’s very good. Just, do me a favour and never tell Owen.” Ianto pulled a face, “I think it might improve my reputation, not necessarily a good thing.”

Tosh laughed, “He ribbed me for weeks when he found out I play it, but if he’s ever winding you up, he LOVES morris dancing, but it really annoys him if anyone knows about it.”

“You didn’t tell me, I take it?”

“Got it in one. Have you got any of the expansion packs?”

“All of them, I went a bit mad in town today, bought the whole lot, and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. I’m hoping it’ll be as good as the original, because that won’t run on this machine.”

“I’m afraid it’s not, too complicated, too many additions. Still a very good game though.” She watched him as he wandered across to change the disc, then came back to sit on the sofa and reclaimed his glass, “You’re finding stuff to fill your time then?”

“Yeah, cleaned the house yesterday, then went on a mad spree in town and came back with a mountain of DVDs and computer games. The house just seems so empty, I was honestly going stir crazy until you arrived.” He replied miserably.

She smiled sympathetically in response, “I’m glad I came then, Jack wanted to come and see you but…” He looked up startled, “He was worried you wouldn’t want to see him. I was planning on coming anyway so I said I’d tell you he was worried about you. We all want you to come back.”

“Even after what I did?” He asked incredulously.

“Especially after what you did. You’re our friend and we want to be able to keep an eye on you. This would be a hard time for anyone, it must be especially hard for you.”

“Why, because I’m weak?” he asked, clearly stung

“No, because love is like chemistry, the more you put in, the more painful it is if it blows up in your face. And you’ve got so much love to put in Ianto.” She paused as if considering what she’d just said, “God, I sound like Gwen. But I mean it Ianto, Lisa was a very, very lucky girl, and you’ll find someone else who’s just as lucky. Someone else you can love like that.”

“I can’t. It hurts too much. How can I ever love anyone when I know how much it hurts?”

“Because we have to.”

Author’s note:

Sorry this is taking so long (and becoming so long). I intended it to be a quick filler to get onto the Janto later on, but, as always, it evolved and ate me. So this is being uploaded either from the TI office in St Peterport on Guernsey or from the reception at the campsite (Fauxquets, lovely place, I can’t recommend it highly enough.) It’s been written up to this point partly at home in Halifax, partly at Sedgemoor motorway service station, partly in the car, partly on the ferry and quite a lot of it in a tent. An odd bunch of places really.

Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or anything to do with it. They belong to RTD and the BBC. Aaaah acronyms and alphabetisms.

See you on Thursday J

galadriel1010: (Default)
 

Tuesday: 00.03

Ianto closed the door and leant against it, sliding to the floor in a flood of tears. He knew that he had lost everything in one day. Lisa was dead and he now saw her as a monster, his colleagues no longer trusted him and the one man who could have saved him, would have saved him, finally saw him for the traitor he was.

With each fresh revelation, the knife in his chest seemed to twist deeper, until with the last one he buried his face in his hands and keeled over sideways onto the floor.

Sobs wracked his thin frame, eating hadn’t been a priority since he returned to Cardiff, an every part of him seemed to burn with an agonising maelstrom of guilt and loss.

Recollections flashed before his eyes, no matter how hard he tried to focus on the cobweb in the corner by the door, a testament to his distraction and disillusionment recently. He saw Abbie after Lisa had ‘upgraded’ her, reminding him of the times they had spent together before Torchwood, then he saw Lisa after Owen had stabbed her, thinking she was dead but secretly being more upset about the fact that Owen and Gwen had nearly been killed and it was his fault. Then it was Jack pressing a gun to his head and telling Gwen that he was, what was it? “Resisting the urge to shoot.” Ianto wished he had, he should have, especially after what he said. Had he really called Jack a monster? He knew he had, the last 24 hours weren’t going to become a bad dream just by wishing, and he hoped that Jack hadn’t believed him; the captain was a hero, and the world depended on him not doubting that for a moment. But would Jack ever know that Ianto hadn’t believed himself when he said it?


Jack was at that moment mired in self loathing and uncertainty magnified by years of experience. He was good at introspection. He’d sent the rest of the team home before Ianto, then told the young man to take a week to compose his thoughts before making a decision on whether he wanted to stay or not. Ianto had been all set to take retcon and leave Cardiff forever; Jack thought he would have taken his own life if Jack had asked it of him. For a moment, Jack wondered if it was purely selfish on his part keeping Ianto here where there were so many bad memories for him, but he pushed the thought aside roughly. Torchwood needed Ianto, and he was sure that Ianto needed Torchwood too.

The hub was virtually silent, even Myfanwy was quiet, sulking after her ‘meeting’ with the Cyberwoman as far as he could tell. He’s always hated these times, when he’d been freelancing they had meant a disaster, but he’d got used to them since he started sleeping in the bunker under his office. The problem now wasn’t the quiet, it was the emptiness. Jack had accepted the essential loneliness of his existence over a hundred years ago, but that hadn’t stopped him from trying to fill it for brief moments over the years; he’d had to. Without someone filling that void, his life lacked purpose and point. And once upon a time he’d dared to dream that Ianto Jones, Torchwood’s coffee king, would one day fill that space in his life. Maybe not even share his bed, that wasn’t important these days, just be that someone who Jack needed to shed a light in the darkness, to tell him everything would be alright, someone he could tell the secrets that ate him away from the inside and still love him…

He slammed the door shut on that thought and pushed himself away from his desk, his feet taking him to the balcony to look down on the hub, still a scene of destruction. The power of Ianto’s love had almost destroyed everything, but he couldn’t blame him, not when he himself had once almost destroyed the world through greed. The guilt of that mishap still burnt him, he didn’t deserve Ianto’s love, even if he had had the slightest chance. With a love that strong, Ianto deserved and needed someone reliable, stable and strong; Jack was none of those things. He knew that one day the Doctor would reappear in his life and he would run off with him (after him?), he flirted with everything that moved and he had crises of confidence like this one. All in all, not a good choice for a relationship. He knew he could love Ianto as much as he deserved, God knew he did, love was something he was good at, even after all this time. But he wouldn’t let himself. Ianto didn’t deserve the destruction his love always brought.

10.14

Since he moved into this house, Ianto hadn’t known when the post was delivered. If he was working it arrived after he left and if he had a day off he always slept until at least noon and it arrived whilst he slept. Today, however, it landed on top of him.

He hadn’t slept, he’d just cried and lain there. Still with no desire to sleep, he got up and dumped the post on the kitchen table before making a coffee. As he drank it he went through the post and sorted it into piles of junk, bills and anything interesting. The third pile, even though he hadn’t sorted his post for over a week, consisted of a postcard form his cousin who had been in China when she sent it, but by now was back in Huddersfield.

Ianto stuck the postcard to the fridge door with a thermometer fridge magnet, put the junk mail in a pile to recycle and went to file the bills, eternally grateful for direct debits. Looking round the living room he noticed the coffee cups on the table, the books in a pile on the floor, the newspapers folded untidily on the table and the sofa and the remotes lying all over the place. Back in the kitchen the picture was the same and he knew there was no change in the rest of the house. How did one man manage to get a house this size so messy? He took the coffee mugs through to the kitchen and washed them, then washed everything else that had accumulated. With that done, he set to work on the rest of the kitchen, descending into a frenzy of spring-cleaning.


Jack had got the computer systems back online by the time Tosh got in at nine o’clock, he pretended to be insulted when she showed how surprised she was but couldn’t prevent the relief at not being alone any more from showing on his face. He was also grateful when she rested a hand on his arm and told him that she was sorry he’d had to face the decisions he’d had to make the day before, even though she left him with the warning that Gwen would have something else to say about it. He knew that one of the team would lambast him over how he had handled it, badly as ever, but that didn’t mean he looked forwards to it. He’d had nothing but self-condemnation all night and whilst he deserved it, later was infinitely preferable to sooner and the guilt over that fact felt worse than anything he could remember feeling.

He carried on with the cleaning he had started, collecting mugs that Ianto had missed from around the hub and washing them, organising the bookcase in his office. Owen arrived whilst he worked and ignored him completely, which sent yet another spasm of guilt through him. How had he not noticed that something was wrong, Ianto had always been so thorough, a total perfectionist, but in recent weeks, maybe even months, his standards had slipped? And Jack hadn’t noticed. He clenched his fist and resisted the urge to thump the wall, knowing that inflicting pain on himself wasn’t going to solve the problems he had created. Yet again, he’d messed up royally, and he hoped he could put it right again.

Right on cue, Gwen appeared in the door of his office; he’d been so consumed that he hadn’t hear her arrive, even with the alarms and flashing lights which must have accompanied her entrance. She was now glaring at him with her arms folded; ‘Volcano Day’ had arrived.

“Tell me about cybermen, Jack.” The look on his face made it clear that he wasn’t expecting that, so she felt she had to make the situation crystal clear, “I want to know what could possibly be so bad that you could treat one of your team, someone who relies on you, like shit. No, it was beyond shit, Jack. It was unforgivable. If last night is your true nature coming to the fore, Ianto was right.”

“He was.” Jack had broken eye contact with her almost immediately and was leaning on the back of his chair, his eyes fixed on the now clear top of his desk but clearly not seeing it, Gwen wondered what he actually saw, “Once upon a time I was a conman, a criminal. Then I met someone who made me better, but I think his effect’s wearing off by now. I lash out when I’m scared, when I’m angry, when I’m hurt…” He smiled bitterly without a trace of humour, “When I’m jealous. Which makes me the exact opposite of the cybermen.”

He passed her a file from his desk and she opened it, looking at reports from over the years of meetings with cybermen, he just repeated the information file she found on the first page, “The cybermen are extra-terrestrial, I think, although you won’t find it in that file, that they first arrived on Earth just in time to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs, but the first date you will find in there is 1971 when they first tried to take control of Earth. They came back in 1986 and then in 2007.”

“The ghosts?” She didn’t look up from the file, but seemed disgusted by something she’d found in there. He wasn’t surprised, considering what she would find in there.

He nodded, “Yeah, them. Torchwood one had eight hundred and twenty three staff, only twenty seven survived, and only seven of those were in the building on the day. We’re incredibly lucky that we have Ianto, all things considered.” He would never forgive himself if he’d ruined that.

“He was there?”

“No, he’d been sent out to collect some artefacts which Torchwood had ‘acquired’.” She heard the inverted commas drop into place, “He got there after the battle finished, but before we arrived, or he would never have got her out of there.” The reason for this didn’t need saying, “The cybermen are the way they are because they have had all their emotions removed. They believe themselves to be superior to all other forms of life as a result, and strive to make everything like them by upgrading them, turning them into machines of war. Never needing to stop, never faltering from their quest. You can’t hesitate, if you face one and have a chance to kill it, you have to. Because even if you escape, some other poor sod won’t be so lucky. It’s not a life, it’s an existence.”

“So why did you hesitate before killing Lisa?”

He seemed at a loss, “I don’t know. I think, I think it was because Ianto still saw her as the woman she once was, and I didn’t want to take that from him. And also…” He hesitated, seemingly unsure of whether he should tell her what was on his mind, “I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t certain that my motives for stopping her were as clear cut as I would have liked.”

“What other motive could you have had? You did the right thing as far as she’s concerned.” She still wasn’t letting him off on his treatment of Ianto he noted.

“Jealousy.” It was said in a small voice, sounding so completely unlike Jack that Gwen was sure someone else must have said it, but it was Jack’s lips that had moved.

“Jealous of whom?” She looked completely incredulous.

“Of Lisa.” Gwen was silent, shocked, “It’s been a long time since anyone loved me that much. If anyone ever has.” He looked completely broken, and Gwen resisted the urge to go to him and hold him, she knew that she couldn’t be what he so desperately needed and that she shouldn’t try. She filled the silence by reading Jack’s report on the incident the night before, which he’d evidently recently completed; it was stained with tears which were still damp.

Reading through the report, she noted a gaping omission, “You haven’t mentioned anything about how she got into the Hub. No mention of Ianto’s involvement, except that he defended her.”

He took the file back and looked at it in embarrassment, “We all make mistakes, some bigger than others, but this file will be here long after Ianto’s gone. Mistakes like that shouldn’t last any longer than they have to, and they certainly shouldn’t be shared with the outside world.” He straightened up and returned the file to his desk, “If the cybermen ever return, that file will have to be shared with every other authority. And I’ve heard a rumour that Torchwood 1 may be reopening. Under their policies I should have shot Ianto as soon as I found out.”

“Then why didn’t you? Would it have been worse than what you did?” She glared at him again as she recognised his distancing tactics.

Jack didn’t turn back to her, “I didn’t because I couldn’t. Aside from the fact that I would have to live with the guilt for eternity, I cared, care…” he paused, “too much, I care too much for him to lose him like that. I know I’ll lose you all one day, but by my own hand… I couldn’t do it.”

18.00

Ianto hadn’t stopped all day. He’d got the kitchen, the dining room, both living rooms, the hall and the downstairs bathroom cleaned to perfection and had moved to the upstairs rooms. When he’d moved back to Cardiff, he’d bought a house this size in the belief that one day, Lisa would be properly alive again and they could start a family to fill this house. As it was, he’d never used the dining room or the second living room and only one of the bedrooms. A combination of moving from the centre of London to an obscure area of Cardiff and a Torchwood salary had enabled him to buy a nice and rather large house. He suspected that it would always be empty now. Probably best to move out into somewhere smaller actually. No matter what he’d said to Jack last night after the others went home, he couldn’t leave Torchwood, it was all he had. He felt a familiar stab of guilt as the gratitude at Jack’s not firing him, or shooting him, on the sport. It was all he had deserved, but Jack gave him a second chance. He hoped he was worth it.


The rift had spewed up three spikes during the day, two of which had produced nothing, but one of them had brought a very angry and very confused Terradonian through. Jack had tried hard to placate him, but had been forced to tell him that there was no way back. Encounters like this always left him feeling drained and guilty. Once upon a time he would have been able to take him straight back home, but today he was as stranded as they were, separated from the people they loved, desperately hoping for the coming of a man in a blue box who could make everything right again. Tosh had created a cover story for him and they had set him up in the alien quarter of Cardiff where he would have to start a new life. There were families there who had been living in Cardiff for over a hundred years and were on their fourth generation with no intention of ever leaving. Then there were the ones who’d been there a few years, who still asked him, when he saw them in the bar where anyone was welcome, if there was a way home yet. At that moment, every ear in the bar would tune in to hear him tell them that, no, they hadn’t found a way to get them back yet, and a dark air would settle over the bar again. He didn’t go there as often as he used to any more.

He was settled in his office writing up the report, then moved onto the pile of paperwork which had accumulated over the… he checked… years. Wanting to make Ianto’s job as easy as possible if and when he returned, he settled down to complete the reports.

Author’s note: Angst, angst, angst and it’s only going to get angstier. Kudos to anyone who can pick up the more obscure classic Who reference in there. Some of the ideas are from the fic I was never ever ever going to write but which will follow this one.

I’m off on me jollies on Saturday (sorry, I’m from Yorkshire), so I will aim to get this finished by then. If not, I’ll keep writing and try to find a wi-fi spot to upload it as and when I can. I hope you’ve enjoyed it thus far! I was sitting in the pub and nearly crying as I wrote the first bit :) Sad, I know

Disclaimer: Torchwood and the other little references to Who belong to the BBC. The only thing which belongs to me is the alien bar in the alien quarter of Cardiff, which I love but will gladly share with anyone who wishes to use it. Everyone needs somewhere to go for a drink with his or her more conspicuous friends.

September 2017

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