It’s a warm summer’s night when Jack notices them.
The windows in Ianto’s bedroom are thrown wide to let in a frail breeze, and the swaying curtains play havoc with the shadows on the wall. The heat has forced Ianto to throw the bed covers off of his body. Jack finds himself trailing his fingers over Ianto’s moonlit skin, entranced.
He watches as Ianto shifts slightly, keeping his back to Jack but bringing himself closer.
“Am I keeping you awake?” Jack asks.
“No.” The voice that replies is warm and soft, thick with sleep.
“I woke you, then.”
“Yeah. ‘S alright.”
Jack leans in to place a kiss on the back of Ianto’s neck, and then resumes the pattern he was tracing.
“You have freckles.”
“Mhm.” Ianto agrees. “On the two days a year Cardiff sees sun, I make sure I’m outside to get them.”
“Did you know your freckles look like solar systems?”
“Bit hard for me to look at them. Since they’re on my back.”
“Any systems in particular?”
“Near your shoulder might be Laskis II,” He presses his thumb into it’s sun, and then brings his hand lower, down Ianto’s spine. “And here is definitely Cyprus.”
Ianto shivers at his touch. “How far away is Cyprus?”
“Four million light years from Earth.”
“Have you been?”
“Yeah. When I was a kid I spent about a year on the planet Hadrian. Beautiful place.”
He moves so that he’s pressing against Ianto’s back, and drapes an arm over his lover. Tentative fingers lock with his.
“What was it like?” Ianto murmurs. His words vibrate through Jack’s body.
“Mostly rural, at least where I was. The people were humanoid, and had developed a culture around their healing rituals. They grew plants to help them make their medicines, and sold remedies across their world and a few others. They would have a market in the center of town every other week, where they would exchange ingredients with the next town over and sell to outsiders.”
He had been one such outsider. Everyone he’d met had welcomed him with open arms. They had offered to show him how to brew, and were thrilled when he seemed to grasp their methods with ease.
“The planet had eight moons. And you could look up and tell what time of day it was by which ones were visible in the sky.”
“I suppose time-pieces were not as common there, then.”
Jack chuckled. “Your stopwatch would have been the talk of the town. They existed, but only the very rich owned them. They were for show.” He paused, sorting through his memories. “It was the ideal planet for stargazing. Their nights were longer than their days, and there were never any clouds in the sky. When night fell, you could look up and imagine you were seeing the entirety of the universe.”
“It does sound beautiful.”
Jack hums, and he hopes that he can keep the lilt of melancholy from his next words.
“I wish I could take you there.”
Ianto tenses, ever so slightly.
And then Ianto is facing him, and Jack finds himself wandering in deep, grey eyes.
“I’m sure I have enough vacation days saved up by now,” Ianto mused, running a hand through Jack’s hair.
“Some weekend, when the world isn’t ending…”
Ianto pulls him into a kiss. Jack wraps himself around the other man and, for a few moments, gives over to the intense spark of hope igniting in him. He takes the promise from Ianto’s lips, and lets his own say thank you in return. They stay intertwined for what feels like years but passes in moments, even after the kiss ends. Jack watches as Ianto’s eyes drift shut, and his breathing slows. Just when Jack thinks he’s drifted off, Ianto speaks.
“Tomorrow. You’ll tell me about Laskis II?”