Jack lay in the dark with Ianto curled up against him like a cat. Wrapped in his lovers arms he wondered why there was a sense of unease he wanted to ignore. It was like having someone else's shadow instead of his own. Sometimes in the dark he could forget he had lived so long, he could just close his eyes and simply be. He wondered if he was being fair to Ianto as a familiar argument seeped into his awareness. Was he stopping him from falling in love with someone who could love him back. It was the a question he kept asking himself, peculating over and over in his subconsciousness until like now, it slipped into his conscious thoughts. He felt so cold lying in Ianto's bed wrapped up in a gently sleeping man. He wondered what it would take for him to fall in love with Ianto. What would he need to let go of, what would he need to do to let Ianto in. He closed his eyes and tried to shut out the world. If he was a fixed point in time couldn't he pick the point he was fixed to? And if he could would he pick Ianto. He examined that in more detail than he thought he should be capable off, the alarm flashing three o'clock at him.
If not Ianto, then who? He never went back for any of his former lovers, and he'd had a few. He didn't want to think how many, but he knew there had never been one quite like Ianto. This was becoming a familiar argument, the pain of losing lovers when they inevitably died and he did not. So he held back instead of pushing forward, it was less painful that way. He sighed softly, he didn't want to face what it said of him. Of what it meant for Ianto who stirred beside him and opened sleepy eyes filled with the shadows of his dreams.
'It's three am again isn't it.'
Jack nodded. 'I'm sorry, I didn't think I would wake you.'
Ianto shrugged as best he could lying next to Jack. 'You didn't wake me.'
Jack snuggled into Ianto in the darkness brushing against his lover. 'Isn't this where you tell me to go back to sleep?'
He smiled, even knowing Jack couldn't see him he smiled anyway. 'Not if you don't want to.' He found courage in the darkness to whisper suggestively to Jack with his body of other things they could do instead.
'Ianto Jones are you trying to seduce me?'
Ianto moved his hand up Jack's thigh and brushed a kiss over his shoulder. 'Maybe.'
'You are something else Ianto, I'm not sure I deserve you.'
'I'm pretty sure you don't.' But I love you anyway was left unsaid even in the darkness. Leaving Ianto to say with his body what he did not have the courage to say with words.
Jack felt a sense of, something he couldn't name, settle over him. Along with Ianto as he moved against him with a growing confidence Jack found very sexy. He gave himself up to Ianto and his sleepy seduction. Following where Ianto lead, kissing as they touched each other in the darkness. Hands saying what words alone couldn't convey and Jack almost thought, maybe he could give himself to Ianto. If he had a heart left to give.
Ianto just closed his eyes and let his hands move over Jack. In the darkness it was safe, in the darkness he could touch Jack and not worry about what would happen next. It didn't matter who was leading when they danced like this. Although he did find that taking the lead with Jack had it's own benefits. Finding Jack's lower lip he traced it with the pad of his index finger, moaning softly when Jack drew the same finger into his mouth.
Jack released Ianto's finger and pulled him into his arms. 'Ianto.' He kissed Ianto's forehead. 'It's late.'
'You always wake up around now.' He heard the sleepy tone in his own voice.
'Yeah, but you don't have to be awake Ianto, I'm the one haunted by ghosts.'
Jack exhaled slowly. 'You know we don't do what we do without collecting a few along the way. It's the nature of the job.'
'Not everything has to make sense.'
'Whose ghosts Jack?' Ianto mumbled as he drifted asleep in Jack's arms.
He listened to Ianto's breathing as the younger man dropped into sleep, his voice quiet in the darkness. 'Everyone's.' He sighed softly as he held onto Ianto and found his own solace in sleep. However temporary it might be. He wondered if he could have the lightness Ianto represented in the shadows of his memories and among the ghosts of his past. All of his pasts.
Dear Diary, today I finally got to shoot Owen.
Ianto put his pen down. Somehow shooting Owen hadn't been as satisfying as he thought it might be. He sat at his desk with his head in his hands, he never wanted to go though a day like that again. There were no words for how his heart had sunk when Jack and Tosh had dropped out of time. Leaving him to deal with Owen. Doctor Owen bloody Harper. They had never been best friends and after today he wasn't really sure he saw a time when that was going to change. Words had been exchanged that couldn't be taken back. Words that hung between them like invisible walls. Walls built of pain. Almost as much pain as the idea that Jack might not have made it back.
Jack leaned in the doorway watching Ianto. Wondering what was going though the younger man's mind as he sat there lost in thoughts that clearly didn't make him happy. If he was honest he wasn't totally sure what had really happened today. Meeting the man whose name he had taken had made him ask himself questions he didn't want to answer. Owen opening the rift to bring them back from 1941 was one thing, Ianto shooting Owen was another. He wanted to ignore his day and concentrate on Ianto. But to focus on Ianto he had to work through his meeting the real Captain Jack Harkness. He had told him he needed to live each night as if it might be the last, but that had only been true for one of them.
He'd told Tosh he didn't know why he was here, what he was supposed to achieve. He didn't even know how he was here. He had woken alone and been alone ever since. Meeting the other Jack, someone who had just been a convenient name, it brought a whole new level of jeopardy into his world. He wasn't proud of all the things he had done, and had spent the last hundred years or so trying to make up for it. Tosh's kindness, that he had brought honour to the name of Jack Harkness was something he hoped for. Something he sometimes doubted he was capable of.
He was even less sure he could finally love Ianto. It was easier to wonder what was on the other side of a rainbow than to work out his feelings. He almost wished he hadn't met him, that other RAF captain, hadn't connected in the moment. Hadn't looked across a crowded dance floor and met the one person he never thought he would met. It might have been easier. Now when he looked at Ianto he saw a lifetime of possibilities stretching out in front of them both, if he only had the strength to reach for it. But he wasn't in love and Ianto deserved better than that from him.
Ianto knew Jack was standing there, he straightened up and looked around at the man he hadn't been sure he would ever see again. Owen's words echoing though his mind twisting and forming into a thousand paper cuts to his heart. He wondered if forever would be long enough for him to love Jack and he wanted to know if he was more than just a tea boy. Was he just a part time shag? He didn't feel part time, spending every night with Jack, either at the Hub or in his flat. But they were almost never together unless they were alone. They might go out in the field hunting weevils or other rift related activity, but that was work related. With the exception of the one time Owen had walked in on them, they had kept their relationship completely quiet. If he was honest, it was less a relationship and more a convenience.
He was paralysed by the fear that Owen was right, so he didn't ask Jack the question he most needed answering. He knew this was going around in his head so many times it was wearing him down but he couldn't ask because part of him didn't want to know. And that part was the loud voice shouting down the tiny voice of perversity. What was currently happening was only going to continue to confuse him and until he asked, he might die waiting for Jack to tell him. But it was nothing compared to how it would be if Jack did tell him, and it wasn't what he wanted to hear. He felt boxed in with no one he could talk to because he was afraid to have the conversation he needed to have, with the one person who could have given him answers.
It was a circular argument he was tired of having with himself. He looked at Jack, hands in pockets and sad eyes. Was he going to fire him for shooting Owen? Or was he going to say they needed time apart, space in which to work out what they really wanted. He had seen that same sadness in the mirror, this was the first time it was reflected in Jack's face.
Jack smiled, no Sir, no Captain, just, Jack. 'I see you finally shot Owen.'
'It didn't feel as satisfying as I had hoped it might.'
'It rarely does Ianto, although that wasn't why I said you couldn't shoot him.'
'What, what happened Jack?'
'We stepped though a temporal shift into the nineteen forties and it was.' Jack stopped, what had it been?
'More ghosts Sir?'
Jack took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as he nodded. 'You could say that. I sort of, met myself while I was there.'
Ianto just looked at Jack, he wasn't sure if the man was being literal or figurative.
'I, Ianto.' Jack crossed the room to Ianto and reached out for his hand slipping his fingers though Ianto's. He needed to touch him, to know that this was real and not a dream.
Ianto sighed softly, his voice raw, unguarded. 'I wasn't sure you were coming back.'
Jack heard his own voice break. 'I would have found a way.'
Ianto closed his eyes, it was always easier to have these conversations at three in the morning, in the dark. Here he couldn't hide in the darkness so he looked at Jack.
'What happened Ianto?'
'What did Owen tell you?'
'That he wanted to open the rift and you tried to stop him, pulled a gun, shot him.'
'That's what happened Sir.'
'I know that Ianto, but the idea I might have been stuck in 1941 isn't the only thing that has you, out of sorts, is it.'
'I'm not sure I want to talk about it Sir.'
Jack nodded, so he was hiding behind the Sir again but he had an idea. 'Owen said something didn't he.'
'Owen says lots of things Jack.'
Jack nodded. 'Yeah, sometimes he does. Look, do you want to get out of here? Pick up a take away, go back to your place?'
'The Hub too crowded Sir?'
Jack nodded. 'Too many ghosts.' Too many secrets. There were things he needed to say to Ianto, he just didn't know if he could.
'Should we tell the others we are leaving?'
Jack shook his head. 'I just want to get out of here and be anywhere else right now.'
Ianto rose to his feet and picked his diary up as he followed Jack. 'It has been a long day Sir.'
Tosh stood in her kitchen and poured water into the delicate china teapot her mother had given her for Christmas. The ritual of making tea gave her peace to think. She wondered if today maybe she had actually met the man behind the coat. Jack hadn't answered her question, she still didn't really know his name and his story seemed impossible. How could he have taken the name of someone from 1941, that he was a con man who needed a name. He seemed at home in the forties, like it suited him. And that kiss, she was still not sure what that had been about. Clearly the other Captain Jack Harkness had made an impact on their Jack.
She poured tea in to her cup, she had meant what she said, he would have been proud Jack had taken his name. Tosh thought about Owen, she was glad they had gotten back but she was concerned there would be consequences. The rift wasn't supposed to be opened. She suspected being shot by Ianto was going to be the least of Owen's problems. This wasn't over.
Ianto handed Jack a glass of water before he joined him on the couch. 'What was it like?'
'It was 1941, soldiers about to go off to war, women with their hair curled and dresses just so, dancing. Not knowing if it might be the last time they danced before bombs fell and the world ended. No time for regrets as an angel sang.' Jack drifted with his memories as his voice faded.
'Sounds sort of romantic.'
He could almost hear the music as he put the glass of water down and took Ianto's hand in his. 'I thought I was alone in the world, but I realized I wasn't.' He didn't want to understand why he had lied when he said he didn't have anyone. Part of it had been about sending the real Jack Harkness off to die with no regrets. More than that though, he knew it was because he didn't want to fall in love with Ianto, because he didn't want to lose him. He was afraid of what his life might be like if he did fall in love, and he was afraid of not being strong enough to take the risk. None of which he knew how to explain to Ianto in words. So he said it the only way he knew how, kissing Ianto until they both ran out of breath. His hands worked Ianto's buttons until his waistcoat was undone before working at the buttons of his shirt, the tie having already come off earlier.
He needed to touch Ianto, needed to feel skin pressed against his own and the thought crossed his mind, was it Ianto he was making love to, or another man lost in another time. One he never thought he would met as he lost himself in Ianto. Their clothes littered the floor, the man lying beneath him encouraging him with soft breathy moans as he pushed back to met him. Ianto just held on and rose and fell with Jack as if he recognized Jack's need for oblivion.
Ianto pulled a throw over them as they lay on the couch tangled in each other, heart rates slowly returning to normal. Ianto was pretty sure Jack didn't really want to talk about it, So he did what he always did, he just held on instead. It was as if he could forget the world when he was tangled up in Jack. He didn't have to try and read between the lines of what Jack was saying with his words and wondering if it matched what his body said when they made love. It was this moment here that he wanted to get lost in. Lying chest to chest, hips to hips with Jack, hands touching, caressing, sometimes just holding.
And kissing. If he kissed a thousand people he doubted he would find another person he loved kissing as much as Jack. Dominating kisses, drugging kisses, soft and gentle kisses, demanding kisses. Lips that touched lightly, the soft exchange of a sigh passing between them. The hunger of a kiss after a day apart, urgent as mouths opened and tongues touched. The kind of kisses that started with the upper lip and moved into opened mouthed contact and to round it out, nibbled at the lower lip. As hands held each other. Kisses that formed the prelude to the undoing of buttons and moved down the chest, licking nipples and nibbling towards the inevitability of a blow job. And once they both came together they would lie in each others arms. Sometimes they talked, voices soft as they explored the day that was or just talked. Other times, like now, they lay in each others arms in silence. Listening to the sound of hearts beating and chests rising and falling with each breath taken.
Jack closed his eyes as he lay in Ianto's arms, stretched out on his sofa. His lips found Ianto's, cradling his jaw in the palm of his hand as they kissed. He sighed softly as he rested his forehead against Ianto's. His voice quiet. 'I have done so many things Ianto, mad things that shouldn't have been possible. Today was a reminder of a life I had tried so very hard to forget. I was a soldier once and I have so much blood on my hands.' His voice faded as he remembered the faces of
friends he had lost. 'I know you have lost people you worked with in London, you lost Lisa so I think you might have an idea of what it is like to see their eyes in the shadows.'
'What did Owen say? What where his words that were spoken in anger and pain?'
Ianto shook his head. 'No Jack.'
Jack reached for his hand. 'What did he say to you?'
Ianto closed his eyes at the memory. 'He said I was just the tea boy and a part time shag.'
'And what do you think?'
'I think I don't want to think about it because.' Ianto stopped.
'Because you don't want Owen to be right?'
Ianto sighed softly, his voice quiet in the faint light of the lamps behind them. 'Because I don't know if he's wrong.'
Jack thought about what Ianto was saying, he wanted to shoot Owen himself for saying that to Ianto. To his gentle, sweet Ianto. 'Owen is a blind man lost in his own pain. You are not a part time anything Ianto.' He kissed the tip of his nose. 'Come on, lets go to bed, it's been a long day.'
'It's three am again isn't it.' Ianto yawned as he rolled over and found Jack awake.
Jack looked at the alarm. 'It is, I keep waking you up.'
'I don't usually mind.' Ianto yawned again. 'More ghosts?'
'It seems to be becoming a habit.'
'I can give the number for my mam's priest if you want.'
Jack shook his head in the darkness. 'I don't think that will help.' He wasn't sure he could outrun them and he kept thinking about the temporal shift. How had he ended up in 1941, at the very dance where he would run into the original Captain Jack Harkness.
It was all too much of a coincidence but he didn't think Tosh would thank him for ringing her at three am to exchange theories. He had a bad feeling about it, Owen should never have cracked open the rift, this wasn't over. He found himself thinking about meeting Jack Harkness, about what he had said when the man had asked him if Toshiko was his woman. Of his saying no, that there was no one. No one waiting, no one missing him, no one desperate to reach though time to find him. But there next to him in the darkness was Ianto. There was always Ianto.
Jack was just about asleep when he heard his cellphone ringing in the other room, Ianto turned the bedside light on. Jack sighed softly, he'd hoped for longer before the calls started, and hadn't remembered to grab his phone when they had gone to bed. He padded into the sitting room and found his pants, looking for his phone. He'd missed seventeen calls as he answered this one. He looked up, Ianto tied the knot on his dressing gown as he handed one to Jack before heading to the kitchen.
Ianto came back with coffee and found Jack trying to pull pants on with one hand, hair sticking up at all angles and cellphone wedged against his ear. He smiled and gave up on his pants as he accepted the coffee and mouthed a 'thank you' to Ianto followed by 'UNIT'. Ianto just took a breath and began picking up their scattered clothes. He looked at Jack who just pointed back to the bedroom and he nodded deciding he was going to need a shower. It looked like they were going to the Hub a little earlier than usual.
By the time he was dressed and handed Jack another coffee Jack had managed to get though terse conversations with UNIT, the CIA, the Home Secretary and even the Prime minister along with a wrong number. Jack gave Ianto his phone and disappeared into the bathroom.
Jack's phone started ringing again before they reached Ianto's car, conversations echoed angrily as Jack continued to field calls about whatever hell was breaking loose around them. At the Hub Ianto brewed coffee while Jack checked computer readings and reviewed the chaos seeping out from the cracks in the rift. His posture shouted his displeasure to Ianto who just handed him a fresh coffee and a plate of toast, taking a slice for himself. Jack looked at the plate in his hand.
'Toast.' He smiled softly.
Jack just looked from the toast to Ianto and nodded. 'You should take my bed and grab some sleep while you can.'
'Only if you come with me.'
Jack shook his head. 'Too much to do.'
Ianto looked at his watch. 'It's after four Jack, we could get a few hours sleep before the rest of the world wakes up. It's going to be a long day as it is.'
Jack shook his head.
'What can you do now that you can't do in a few hours time when the others get here?'
'That's why you should get some more sleep.'
'Come with me Jack, I won't be able to sleep if I know you're still up here anyway.'
'I'm not sure I could go back to sleep.'
Ianto grinned. 'We don't have to sleep if you don't want to. I was reading this thing online.'
He shrugged. 'Well if neither of us is going to fall asleep.'
Jack sighed, Ianto was smiling his sexy little half smile. The one that told Jack he was up to something. He had a point though, his phone had finally stopped ringing and he'd checked all the messages and returned the urgent ones. There was nothing they could do this side of day light, and he was quite sure he wasn't going to fall asleep again. They had a few hours to fill in, so why not enjoy them. And, he was curious as to what Ianto had been googling. Last time Ianto had suggested something new he had ended up tied to the bed, blindfolded while Ianto made him guess what he was touching him with. He still couldn't look at a scarf made of that fluffy wool that looked like eyelashes without grinning at how the soft feathery wool had felt against his skin. Silk he had expected but soft, fluffy, feather like wool that had lightly dragged across naked skin without tickling him, that had been a surprise. A pleasant surprise that made him smile at the memory. 'All right Jones, Ianto Jones, what do you have in mind?'
Ianto grinned, Jack hadn't referred to him like that recently and he found he had missed it. He moved closer to Jack. When they were touching he could forget his fears that Owen was right. Something he had been wondering about for some time now. Just because Jack said he wasn't part time didn't quite quell all his fears. He stood in front of Jack, his hand resting lightly on Jack's chest as he spoke softly in his ear. His breath on Jack's neck brushing against his skin as he outlined his suggestion for how they could fill in the next few hours. His hand moving down to Jack's hip. The smile on Jack's face growing at what he was hearing.
'Ianto Jones, I do believe I have been a bad influence on you.'
Ianto just gave him a half smile. 'Is that a yes?'
Jack heard hesitation in Ianto's voice and contemplated shooting Owen himself for sowing doubt in Ianto's mind. 'Have we got everything we need?'
Jack pulled him into his arms and kissed him. 'All right Jones, Ianto Jones, lets do it.'
Ianto lay in Jack's arms as they both tried to catch their breath, hearts pounding as they too slowed to normal.
'When you take the lead, you do not disappoint.'
Ianto yawned. 'I just wish there were a few more hours between now and daybreak.'
'Yeah, it's going to be a long day while we clean this mess up.' The words if they could, floating in the space between them, unspoken but implied.
'How could you have come back if Owen hadn't opened the rift Jack?' With only the light of candles and from the Hub above them to create shadows in the darkness, Ianto felt safe to ask the question.
'I thought about that, we might have been able to come back over the same temporal shift. But it would have been more likely that we would have found 1941 Torchwood, and taken a nap in the freezers for a few decades until the world caught up with us again.'
'If Tosh's formula hadn't been scribbled out we would have been able to use that to get you back.'
'Which tells me that someone deliberately pulled us into 1941, it wasn't an accident.' Jack was even more convinced there had been no coincidence that he had ended up at that particular dance. He just didn't know why, although he had his suspicions.
'I'm glad you came back Jack.'
'Ianto, I told you, I was always coming back.'
'I didn't know how, shooting Owen, I was.' He stopped talking, knowing he wasn't really making sense as he struggled for words in the pre dawn darkness of Jack's bed.
Jack kissed him, sometimes there were no words. Sometimes it was better not to give voice to the fears. 'It's going to be a long day, we can have this conversation when we get thought it all. And I'm surprised my phone stopped ringing this long.'
'I'm glad it did.'
'So am I but we won't have a reprieve for much longer.'
Ianto reached for Jack and poured all the things he was still afraid to say into a kiss. 'Do we have to get up right now?'
Jack grinned in the shadows as the last few candles died out. 'Not right now.'
Ianto rolled onto his knees as he hugged the pillow and gave a satisfied sigh when Jack moved into place behind him. He pushed back to meet Jack as the pillow muffled his moans. This wasn't a gentle lovemaking as both men sought to banish demons summoned by fears they couldn't articulate. Ianto's fears Jack wasn't going to come back, that Owen had been right, and Jack's fears that Owen's words spoken in anger had damaged Ianto. Fears that because he felt incapable of love he was destined to break Ianto's heart. And a fear that the deliberateness with which he and Tosh had fallen though time was only the beginning of something much worse.
On the outside looking in, that's how he felt, watching the world fall apart around him. Jack was snappy, there was no other word for it, snapping at him and calling him superstitious. He had only read what he had found about the end of days and the great son of the beast. 'Thanks, that makes me feel a lot better...' the world was going to hell and they were falling apart. Watching the tensions play out between Owen and Jack he knew it wasn't going to end well. UFO's, ancient soldiers falling though time, religious nutters on the news proclaiming the end of the world. His future step father had even called him to say 'I told you so' earlier. Jack might not think this was the scheduled end of the world, but it certainly seemed to fit the description. He stood in the background and wondered how much coffee it would take to fix this. And he wondered how Jack was going to get them through it. Along with the question of, how did Jack know this wasn't how it was supposed to end. Unless it was that fifty first century thing of his. Along with his blue eyes and pheromones. And his coat, although that was from the forties rather than the future. Ianto tried to bring his focus back to the disaster unfolding before them all, feeling like he was back on the periphery as the butler once more. Always the butler.
Owen wasn't wrong, Jack did keep his secrets and they had all speculated over what those secrets might be, over who Jack might be. And was it those secrets now threatening to destroy them all, wondered Owen as he squared off against Jack. Ianto watched and wondered why Tosh suddenly looked guilty. Ianto sighed, the world was going to hell, splinters in time fracturing the planet and he was jealous of Tosh sharing something with Jack that he hadn't. It was hardly their most pressing issue, the vaults were filling up and it was just getting worse. He couldn't shake the idea that something had happened though as Tosh's face told him something Jack hadn't.
Jack might have said he wasn't part time but he hadn't elaborated on what he was, on what they were. They only seemed to be together when they were alone. He knew this was a tired argument and he was tired, they were all tired. As he just stood in the background, watching.
'Actions have consequences.' Jack felt helpless in the face of the rift splintering because Owen had opened it. He was well past getting a bad feeling, quite certain that these consequences were part of a bigger manipulation. And whoever the spider at the centre of the web pulling the strings together was, their intentions were not good. It might be the obvious conclusion but that didn't make it any easier as they all moved out into Cardiff to try and find order in the chaos.
Ianto got the weevil into the cell and froze. Lisa. Was he hallucinating from stress and lack of sleep? Lisa as she had been before, the way she said his name, and he had betrayed her memory with Jack. Holding her in his arms wondering if they could have saved her. If they could have saved him. Was she telling him that if they opened the rift it would bring her back? Ianto shook his head, he wasn't seeing Lisa, she wasn't telling him to abandon all common sense and open the rift. But he wanted it to be real and he felt torn all over again. He loved Lisa, and he loved Jack. But if he could choose, Lisa he knew had loved him back. Jack, Jack was a promise whispered in the shadows and darkness. If he was with Lisa he wouldn't be living all his love in the shadows. He didn't want to live in shadows and secrets, but they couldn't open the rift. He wanted to stand on the top of a building and cry out 'why'. Instead he stood in the vaults with his hands on his hips and tried to find peace in the madness. He wasn't finding the answers he needed. Why had he seen Lisa, why now? What cruel god would let this happen, why him, why Lisa, why now. And would he risk everything to get her back.
Ianto would look back later, now was a blur. He had seen Lisa, Tosh had spoken with her mother in the hospital and Owen had seen Diane. Gwen hadn't just seen Rhys die, he had actually been murdered by Bilis. Bilis who had manipulated them into opening the rift. To think about it, it had been madness, but at the time it had been so logical. Owen had come back and Jack had pulled his gun on him, on them. The irony not lost on Ianto, he had been prepared to shoot Owen to stop him opening the rift just to bring Jack and Tosh back. He had shot him although it hadn't stopped Owen. And yet when he thought he might have the chance to save Lisa he had been willing to do anything. Until Owen had picked up Jack's gun, after Gwen punched him. He would have to remember not to get in her way, she had quite a swing. But Owen. He had Jack's gun and had shot Jack. Dead. That was when it hit Ianto, the reality of what they were doing as Owen had shot their leader, with his own gun. He had fallen to the floor beside Jack, paralysed in that moment while the others reset time by opening the rift. If this didn't bring Jack back Ianto was going to shoot Owen again and this time he wouldn't be aiming just to wound the man. Which is when Ianto had watched Jack come back to life. It wasn't the rift, it was still opening, and Jack was alive. Of all the things he had ever seen, this was the most impossible.
Jack wasn't dead but the Hub was still falling apart as Ianto helped Jack to his feet. Apparently coming back from the dead took it out of him. And Gwen had opened the rift. He chose to ignore his part in the matter as they were trying to get out dodging falling beams and stone. Bilis of course had neatly confessed to manipulating them into opening the rift, so Abaddon could be freed. Chained in the fires of a world before time and sealed under the rift, the bringer of death. And Jack wanted Gwen to take him to somewhere out in the open for a show down between death and life. It was all very biblical.
Ianto felt like a fool. Opening the rift was never going to bring Lisa back, nothing could. And watching Jack die. Even if only for a moment was enough for him to really know where his heart was. That it was Jack he loved. He didn't just know this emotionally, it wasn't intellectual or physical. It was part of who he was, his very self and soul that resonated with Jack's. He loved his beautiful blue eyes and his dark hair, the way it would stick up at all angles each morning. The strong jawline he loved to kiss, lips he could loose himself in. The way they might be on different sides of the Hub and still be humming the same song without even thinking about it. Their minds constantly reaching for each other just as their bodies reached out in the darkness. He always knew when Jack was in the room and Jack was the one person who had seen beyond the suit. He had known he loved Jack but not this completely. So completely that he needed to be with Jack although Jack's not staying dead did raise a few questions.
What other secrets did the man have? And why hadn't Gwen been surprised when Jack hadn't stayed dead. Tosh had also avoided eye contact with him since she had gotten back from 1941, looking away when Owen had mentioned Jack had secrets. He wondered what else Jack had hidden from him. Jack had accused him of keeping himself hidden from the others, but it seemed he was the one with the secrets that were capable of changing everything. He knew Jack was a man outside of his own time, but he wondered if maybe that was all he knew. And now Jack was dead, again. Abaddon destroyed and the rift closed but what of Jack? Lying on a slab in the morgue below Torchwood. He was paralysed all over again, his world ended all over again. Only this time he had no Jack to bring him back. He had no purpose if he didn't have Jack.
Tosh walked Ianto to the door of his flat, this had been as close to the worst day of her life as she could imagine. Leaving her with no concept of what it might be like for Ianto. Unlike the others she had known when Jack and Ianto had first started being with each other. Even now she doubted they understood why Ianto was so numb. The last time she had seen anyone who looked like Ianto did now, it had been after her grandmother had died. Her grandparents had been married for sixty years. Her grandfather had crawled deep into himself and it had taken six years for him to come back. She saw the same soul wrenching pain carved into Ianto's eyes and in the way he held himself. If someone wanted a picture of utter agony and loss, they only needed to take a photo of Ianto Jones. She had taken the keys and opened the door to his flat, making the decision to follow him inside. With Jack's death looking permanent this time she didn't think Ianto should be alone right now. There were rain clouds in his eyes and his usually blank expression was frozen in disbelief and pain.
Had the circumstances been different Tosh realized she might have enjoyed being in Ianto's flat, with the shelves of DVD's and books. Not all of which were in English. She looked at the shelves and frowned. 'You speak Japanese?'
Ianto just nodded as he stood in the middle of the room looking at the coffee cup on the floor by the sofa where Jack had left it.
Tosh sighed, she really couldn't leave him like this, he was practically catatonic. She kept her voice light and breezy. 'I'll put the kettle on and make us a cup of tea. Unless you want something stronger?'
Ianto just shook his head as he saw a garish shade of green out the corner of his eye. Suddenly he didn't hate Jack's dreadful collection of boxer shorts quite as much as he usually did. Not if that was all he had left.
Tosh moved into the kitchen to put the kettle on and make tea, finding everything she needed including honey. Her mother had been a strong believer in hot, sweet tea for shock. Followed by a large brandy. Or was the brandy Jack's thing. Owen had offered to give Ianto something but since neither man quite trusted the other yet she understood Ianto's refusal. It felt like they had all lived several lifetimes since yesterday morning. She made the tea and took two mugs back into the sitting room, except Ianto was gone. She called out softly. 'Ianto?' It didn't take long to find him, in his bedroom lying in the middle of the bed with a pillow pulled into his arms. She set the mugs of tea down on the dresser and climbed up next to Ianto and just put her arms around him.
Ianto felt cold and alone. Even with Tosh lying next to him on his bed. He felt the tears at the back of his eyes but they didn't come. The curtains were still pulled shut and blocked out the late afternoon light but it wasn't dark enough. He could still see the side of the bed where Jack wasn't. He wondered if it would ever be dark enough again.
Tosh spoke softly in the growing dark. 'I made you a cup of tea Ianto.'
'I don't want your bloody tea.'
Tosh sighed, at least he had spoken, it was the first thing he had said since Jack had died. 'I put honey in it, it's an old trick of my mother's'
'I don't want it, go away.'
'I know who I am Toshiko.'
She sighed, he never snapped like this. Although the last two days had been a new lesson in stress and were unusual even by Torchwood standards. 'Do you want to talk about it Ianto?'
Ianto rolled over onto his side and looked at Tosh. 'What's there to talk about Tosh? Owen cracked open the rift to save you and Jack. Now Jack's dead. Again. I turned against him and Owen shot him. That ferret faced twat actually shot him Tosh, several times. He bloody shot him.'
'You shot Owen.'
Ianto didn't care if she sounded hurt, nothing mattered without Jack. 'I didn't try to kill him.'
'Jack didn't stay dead...'
'Yes well he's bloody dead now isn't he. And Owen only did it to get Diane back, well she didn't have to leave did she. She chose to leave him, Lisa didn't have a choice, Jack didn't have a choice. You have a choice so why are you here Tosh? Trying to add me to your list?' Ianto frowned in the growing darkness. 'Or is that Gwen? Although Owen's certainly fucked his way though a good percentage of his female workmates, I guess that finally means you're next.'
'Ianto Jones that's cruel and not like you.'
'Really? I wonder if you think you know me so well because you read my file. Although I speak Japanese which is in my file and you didn't know that.'
'You don't get to call me that.' He sat up, still holding Jack's pillow. 'I'm not apologizing to you, you don't care, none of you care. I'm not even sure Jack did, or does, if he un-dies again. Does that make him a zombie?'
'I don't think Jack is a zombie, and I do think he care for you, he just doesn't know how to tell you.'
Ianto narrowed his eyes and looked at her. 'Explain.'
She sighed softly. 'All of us only see what he lets us know. Gwen apparently knew he couldn't die, so what. It's you he saw with no distractions. I've seen how he looks at you.'
'And you, Toshiko, what secrets of Jack’s do you know?'
Tosh hesitated as she considered her words. 'Jack and I, we, met. Someone. In 1941, someone I don't think he had ever met nor thought he would.'
'The man in the photo with you, the other American, the other Captain Jack.'
Tosh sighed, it was probably in Jack's report anyway, or some of it. 'He said he needed to become someone so he became Captain Jack Harkness.'
'He's not really American is he.'
Tosh sat up so she was next to Ianto as she shrugged. 'Probably not, lets face it, he says some pretty outrageous things. Most of us don't know what to make of him at the best of times, he's always just Jack.'
'And this other Captain Jack?'
'He obviously told you something about him.' Tosh paused as he nodded. 'He was very good looking, but you saw his picture. They sort of, connected.'
She sighed. 'It might have been that they were both soldiers, but I think if they had the chance they might have been, friends.' She didn't think it would be fair to mention the two Jack's dancing, or that kiss. Yet even with how Jack had looked at the other Captain Jack, it was nothing to how she had seen him look at Ianto.
Ianto decided he couldn't get jealous of a soldier from 1941, not when Jack was dead and may or may not come back this time. 'What happened to him?'
'He died. They were on a training flight and ran into some Germans, he saved his men and died a hero. Jack took his name and I think he must have altered the records so he didn't officially die.'
'And you met him?'
Tosh nodded. 'It was strange, ending up at the exact same dance the day before he died.'
'Bilis did manipulate everything so we would open the rift. That must have just been part of it all.'
'I think so, why else did we end up there, at that time and at that specific dance.'
'For no good reason. How does he look at me?'
'Like you are the only person in the room.' She wanted to say of course, but he had asked so he clearly didn't know. She wondered if Jack even knew.
Ianto sighed, he wanted that to be true but without Jack it was speculation. And Tosh was hardly the shining star of successful relationships so Ianto decided he wasn't going to pin his hopes on Jack coming back for him, not just yet. 'Why are you here Tosh?'
'I couldn't leave you alone.'
Ianto held the pillow and sighed. 'What if I want to be left alone.'
'This isn't about what you want Ianto, it's about what you need. And I can't leave you alone.'
Ianto lay down and turned his back to Tosh wrapping his arms around the pillow that smelt of Jack and he let sleep take him into oblivion. He could be alone in dreams, only Jack ever followed him in dreams.
Tosh pulled a blanket over Ianto and left him to sleep as she took the now cold tea back to the kitchen. She was exploring Ianto's book collection an hour latter when he walked into the sitting room. He had removed his waistcoat and tie, although his face still looked blank, his voice soft.
'Is that cup of tea still going?'
Tosh smiled as she put the book in her hands back on the shelf. 'I'll put the kettle on.'
Ianto folded in on himself as he curled up on the sofa. His flat felt empty without Jack and he kept looking up expecting the charismatic man to walk into the room. With a big grin on his face and saying something. Anything. Or to curl up next to him on the sofa and sit in silence, just touching lightly. Ianto felt the ghost of a smile at how often what would start out as a gentle touch would turn into something much more intimate. And involving a lot less clothes. Which was how, he suspected, Jack's boxers, the awful chartreuse green silk ones, had ended up under the sofa from the night before.
This time he accepted the cup of tea Tosh handed him.
'I ordered a pizza before, it should be here soon.'
Ianto sipped his tea and tried to engage in polite conversation with her. 'Thank you Tosh.'
'You are welcome Ianto.'
'Um, about, before. I might have, I said, things.'
Tosh cut him off. 'I think we have all said some things over the last two days I'm sure we would all rather like to forget.'
'But I was a fool, such a fool, and, and it might be too late.'
Tosh felt her heart break at the tone in Ianto's voice. 'You love him a great deal don't you Ianto.'
'I never wanted to. I think I denied it for as long as I could, not knowing.' He sipped his tea and sighed, his eyes closed. It was always easier to say things if he couldn't see who he was talking to. 'Not knowing if he loved me back.' He felt he was babbling like a love sick teenager.
Tosh gave him a hesitant pat on the arm. 'I think you don't have the monopoly on how that feels.'
'I could ask you the same thing, why Jack?'
Ianto scoffed. 'I still don't know why Jack, I'm not exactly worldly in that respect. I had a few dates at school and in uni but nothing serious. Then I went to work for Torchwood in London, and met Lisa.' He shrugged. 'What's your excuse?'
'I see the possibility of who he could be.'
Ianto laughed, it wasn't a polite or friendly laugh. 'You sound like my mam's priest talking about how god sees us all.'
'You don't go to church do you.'
Ianto looked at Tosh for a moment as he considered his words, weighing them carefully. 'I haven't always agreed with my mother's need for religion, and I'm not sure what the Pope thinks of homosexuality Tosh.'
'So she doesn't know about Jack then.'
'Did you email your parents to tell them all about Mary?'
Tosh shook her head. 'That was a one off for me.'
'I rather think that might be the case for me with Jack.' Ianto sighed softly, it felt good to have someone he could talk to.
'What if he doesn't,' Tosh was interrupted by the door bell.
'Saved by the bell.' Ianto muttered softly under his breath. Speaking up. 'I think that might be the pizza.' He didn't want to think about her unanswered question. He didn't see a time he would be able to love anyone else the way he loved Jack, if the man didn't come back this time. So he drank his tea instead.
Tosh opened the door and rolled her eyes.
'Whoa, hello pretty lady. So he does swing both ways.'
Tosh frowned at the young man standing there with her pizza. 'I beg your pardon.'
'Well you don't look like no cleaner now do ya. Not dressed like that. Usually it's just him in the suits and the yank.'
Tosh handed him the money and took her pizza as he flashed what she was sure he thought was his most charming smile. With his acne scared skin and missing front tooth.
'Names Troy, numbers on the receipt if it don't work out with the fairy, ta ra love.'
Tosh watched him amble back to his car, double parked outside the flat. His pants hanging halfway around his bum and she couldn't be sure that he wasn't wearing more make up than she was. He looked younger than Ianto.
Ianto looked up when she walked back into the sitting room looking a little stunned. 'Met Troy then.'
'Is he always that obnoxious?'
'This from the woman in love with Owen?'
Tosh put the pizza on Ianto's coffee table. 'It's not that I don't appreciate our chat Ianto, but this isn't about me and Owen.' The irony of this being the longest conversation she'd ever had with the Welshman was not lost on her.
Ianto finally farewelled Tosh, apparently after eating a pizza with her he had been able to convince her he wasn't going to throw himself into the Bay. She promised to pick him up the next day as his car was still parked at the Hub. He could only surmise she had met her allotted number of hours of 'Ianto Suicide Watch' as she drove away. He decided he needed a hot bath and sleep. Tomorrow might be a better day. He didn't see how it could get worse.
It wasn't worse, but it was cold. Ianto was cold. Jack was still dead and Ianto still felt adrift in a sea of other people's emotions. Owen wouldn't look at him and Gwen just sat there with Jack's body while Tosh lost herself in equations and computer readings. Leaving him floating in the background trying to remember to breathe. To anyone looking in it looked like Gwen was the mourning lover waiting for Jack to come back to her. Not him. She still didn't know he had been having, he paused at that thought. What was the right word to complete that sentence, had they been having a relationship or just sex. Wonderful, soul enhancing, gentle and loving sex that held you as you fell asleep together. That was what he thought they had. But Jack?
Ianto wanted to push Gwen away, he wanted to be the one touching the man in his morgue bed, wrapped in the unsealed body bag. To throw himself on the body of his lover and weep. She had Rhys to go home to, he however could probably look forward to another awkward evening with Tosh. Jack was his lover, not hers and he hated her right now. With her gap toothed smile and shouty voice and the way she mourned Jack as if she was the one he had always wanted. He hated her guilt over fucking Owen and ignoring Rhys, a relationship Jack had told her not to let drift. She had resented being told that and he hated her for that too. What about his drifting relationship with Jack? He also hated that she didn't look beyond herself and see that they were all hurting right now. For different reasons, but they were all in pain. He stood in the background of his and they carried on around him. If he faded away who would know, who would mourn him when he died. Or would he just blow away like dust, no tears shed, no funeral pyre. Nothing. He was grey and incomplete and the longer Jack was dead the less of him there was left.
He didn't know how many days folded in on themselves as he stood in the background waiting, just waiting. Watching from a distance and falling further into the darkness of his soul he grew less than he was. Each night now spent with nothing to hold onto except a pillow and memories. And the unasked question, how long was Tosh going to take it upon herself to babysit him. He wanted to be held by Jack, to be kissed by Jack. To be loved by Jack. All of which was made difficult by the death of Jack. How many times could he hold Jack's coat to his face and bury his tears in the fabric that smelt of the man who should have been wearing it. How many cups of tea with honey could he stomach made of Tosh's pity. He didn't like honey in his tea but he didn't see how he could tell her. It was a link to her mother and he understood that links to the dead or absent were difficult to break. So another day folded in to the next and Ianto wondered if today might be the day Jack woke up.
He looked up and was sure he was finally losing the last thread of his sanity, hallucinating as Jack walked towards him. He saw nothing else, just Jack and his braces and the blue shirt. He went in for a hug and Jack felt real. Jack however wasn't content just to hug him.
Jack saw the others but his eyes were greedy for only one person, Ianto Jones and when he saw him he actually felt alive again. He pulled Ianto into his arms and into a kiss. Of all the kisses they had shared, this one was his new favourite as the others just looked on. He had forgiven Owen for shooting him, although he wasn't sure Ianto had judging by what Gwen had told him when he had woken up. She of course hadn't fully understood why Ianto might be so annoyed at Owen for that. He forgot it all as he felt his soul sigh in Ianto's arms, against Ianto's lips. This was what he had come back for.
Gwen looked at Tosh who was grinning as the two men snogged each other, even Owen was rolling his eyes but looked relieved. 'What?' Gwen looked from Tosh to Owen.
Tosh sighed, it was an indulgent sigh as she looked at Gwen. 'You really didn't see what was happening between Jack and Ianto?'
'No, never, since when?'
Tosh considered that a moment and gave a faint almost Ianto like smile. One with just the ghost of friendliness in it but little warmth. 'I think it started sometime between when Mary tried to kill you, and the time Suzie came back from the dead and she tried to kill you.' Tosh smiled a sweeter smile. 'Yes, that's when they first got together.'
'But that was ages ago, why didn't anyone tell me?'
'Like you told us when you first started shagging Owen?' Tosh rounded on Gwen, later she might reflect that some of her ire was related to Gwen sleeping with Owen in the first place. Right now she just wanted to be happy for Ianto. She had spent the last few evenings watching him disappear into himself without Jack. While Gwen sat there making cow eyes at a dead man.
'Why would anyone tell you? I thought the Cardiff police were supposed to be observant so they could work things out for themselves. Or did you sleep your way though training?' Tosh turned to walk away, looking back at Gwen. 'Maybe not everything is about you, Gwen Cooper.'
'That was uncalled for.' She looked at Owen for support.
Owen shook his head. 'You didn't walk in on them, I've still got that image burnt into my brain. Give it up Gwen, he's with the tea boy, god knows why but he is.' Owen followed after Tosh. 'Oi, Tosh, do you think we could interrupt them long enough to get the tea boy to put a pot of coffee on?'
'Don't be silly Owen, and don't call him that. We can just go to Starbucks if you want a coffee.'
Gwen frowned, the whole world had gone mad.
Jack breathed Ianto in before letting him go.
'I was afraid you were coming back this time.'
'So was I.'
'This not really dying thing...'
Jack nodded. 'Yeah, I've got a few things to explain haven't I, over dinner?' He looked around. 'I never want to do that again.'
Ianto touched him again as if to convince himself Jack was really standing there. 'I know I don't want to, I.' He stopped and sighed softly. 'I never really know what I'm saying to you half the time Jack.'
'It's a bit like that isn't it and we need to talk. Right now however there are too many people around for me to give you the proper attention you deserve, to do what I really want to do.'
'I think they all know now, Sir.'
Jack grinned. 'I think maybe they do.' He leaned in close to Ianto and told him what he had in mind for later. Still grinning as Ianto blushed a soft pink. 'Is that a yes Ianto?' As he breathed gently on Ianto's ear.
Ianto nodded and tried to swallow. 'Um, yes.'
Jack kept grinning. 'Good, now, where did the others get to?'
Tosh called over to Jack. 'We're going for coffee if you want one?'
Jack nodded. 'Ianto, go with Tosh and Owen and we will continue this later.' He gave Ianto a quick kiss that spoke of promises made as Ianto nodded watching Jack walk towards his office, his voice fading.
'Gwen, a word. Do you want to get fired...'