Title: Screams of the Lost
Pairings: Jack/Ianto and mentions Ianto/Lisa
Summary: What if it was more than love that spurred Ianto into saving Lisa? What if he thought it would silence the cries of the others echoing in his mind?
Warnings: Racial Purity on alien world, war, and mentions of massive
Disclaimer: I do not own the pretties of Torchwood. RTD can keep Gwen, and I am pretty sure that Jack and Ianto belong to one another.
Author Notes: This is for the Long Live Ianto bingo card; the prompt is Telepathy. A massive thanks to royalladyemma for beta this for me and her wonderful ideas about Ianto’s back story.
Screams, endless screams, always in the back of his mind, they never stopped, never gave him a moments rest, and why should they? He had survived and they didn’t; it only seemed fair that he should carry around their final moments of life.
But of them all, the worst was Lisa. His beautiful Lisa. Her cries for help were the loudest; even away from the Hub he could still hear her.
That is why he needed to save her, because maybe if he did, the others would be silenced.
Ianto just never imagined it would come to this.
He couldn’t breath; the screams of the others we’re drowned out by Annie’s tearful cries, and by the conflicting emotions of his team-mates. The only one quiet was Jack.
Not that Ianto cared as he sat on the cold Hub floor in between the bodies of Annie and what had once been Lisa.
“I’m so sorry,” Ianto whispered brokenly to Annie. He never meant for anyone to get hurt, let alone someone as innocent and young as Annie.
He heard the distinct footsteps of Jack growing closer. “Please Jack, just kill me. I deserve no less, and maybe it will make them stop screaming.” Ianto pleaded with his furious boss. He couldn’t take it any more living with the guilt of surviving and more importantly, he couldn’t take living with those screams anymore.
Despite his rage over the circumstances surrounding the evening, and his anger at the broken man on the floor, Jack could sense something was not right here. “Ianto, what do you mean screaming?” Jack asked softly as if he was talking to a wound animal. “Who’s screaming?” He was quite pleased that he somehow managed to keep his fury out of his voice.
Ianto finally lifted his head and looked at Jack. The look in his eyes almost broke Jack’s heart. It was tumultuous mixture of guilt, fear, shame, sorrow, and pain. “I hear everyone that died that day. They’re all in my head, and they scream so loudly, and they never stop. They are in so much pain and so scared. Please just make them stop, Jack; I don’t want to hear Lisa and Annie too.” The Welshman begged his boss.
Making sure his body language presented no threat, Jack took a step closer to Ianto as he acted on his hunch. He dropped his own mental shields and let his mind brush ever-so-gently against Ianto’s. The over-whelming echoes in Ianto’s mind staggered Jack’s senses, and he nearly collapsed at the onslaught of emotions. There were hundreds of voices shrieking through Ianto’s mind; the strongest were those of Annie, Cyber-Lisa and those of his team.
Suddenly everything made sense to Jack. Now he understood why Ianto wouldn’t believe that Lisa was gone. Ianto was a telepath, and he had Lisa’s echo calling out for him to help her, to save her.
Jack tapped his comm.; “Tosh, I need you to look up Ianto’s, Torchwood One file to find out how strong his telepathy is.” Jack ordered, fearing that if he was right, Ianto was in grave danger of having his mind shatter completely.
“I’ll get right on it.” Tosh’s worried voice came back.
Once that was done, Jack turned his attention back to Ianto, only to find that the younger man was on his side curled in on himself. The immortal feared that Ianto was going into shock.
“Ianto, I need to know when did the screaming start?” Jack asked keeping his voice calm.
“The day One fell, I lowered my shields just a little to try and find out what was happening and then I could hear them all crying out as they were killed and their brains put into the Cyberman shells but it was like they were still alive and it was too much, my shields shattered before I could get them back up.” Ianto explained to Jack in a lost tone, his words all running together.
“Jack,” Tosh’s frantic voice cut in.
Never taking his eyes off of Ianto, Jack touched his comm again, “What have you got, Tosh.”
“Ianto scored off the charts in almost every category, including empathy. I’ve never seen a human that high with telepathy before.” Tosh explained what she found.
Pure worry filled Jack and he fought to remain calm; the last thing he needed was for Ianto to pick up on his panic. “Tell Owen what you found and tell him to get ready I’m bringing Ianto to the med lab.” Jack growled.
“Will do.” Tosh promised.
Jack knelt on his knees in front of Ianto and for the first time really looked at his youngest team member. He was powerless to stop his physical recoil when he saw the raw pain in Ianto’s eyes and Jack felt his face flush with shame. It was true that Ianto had lied and conned his way on to the team, and yes, he had placed them and the world in danger, but Jack knew that he had failed Ianto too. He had never taken the time to make Ianto a part of their team; hell, earlier today he could have invited Ianto to come have drinks with them at the pub instead of just tossing him the basket ball. He tried to remember if he’d even spoken to Ianto today; nothing came to mind. Hell, Jack couldn’t even remember the last time he thanked Ianto for any of the myriad things the young man did for him, for the team. Ianto had been right; he took care of their shit and they never noticed him at all, much less actually thanked him.
Carefully Jack wrapped his arms around Ianto and pushed his mental shield onto Ianto just enough to block out Annie, Lisa and their team’s thoughts.
Ianto leaned into Jack’s embrace, trying to bury himself in the immortal’s body, thankful for the silence.
“Shh, Ianto, I got you.” Jack whispered soothingly into Ianto’s ear.
“Jack, do you need any help?” Gwen’s questioned as she moved closer to them. ‘I’m the one Jack should be holding! I was the one in the bloody machine, after all!’ she thought angrily. ‘I’m the one who needs to be comforted and cuddled, not the piss-ant little Tea-Boy!’
A tiny whimper escaped Ianto’s lips as Gwen’s thoughts pushed against the temporary mind shield; her jealousy was almost too strong to hold back.
‘Why does Ianto get to be in Jack’s arms? Jack should be using this time to be with me, to check on me.’ Her resentment of Ianto grew. ‘This is all Ianto’s fault! He doesn’t deserve to be comforted by Jack,’ she fumed. ‘I’m the bloody victim here!’
With his own shields down, Jack was able to hear Gwen thoughts clearly. He was dismayed by the bitterness she felt towards her young countryman, and surprised by the scope of her feelings towards himself. He realised that he was going to have a serious talk with her about what she thought was between them. He sighed; it wasn’t going to be pleasant for either of them, he knew that.
“I got this, Gwen.” Jack realized he had snapped at her more harshly then he needed to, but right now she was mentally broadcasting her negative feelings towards Ianto, and that was causing him pain.
Gwen was hurt by Jack’s tone, and she wanted to say something about it, but left instead. She wanted to be as far away from Ianto as she could be. She didn’t trust him and yet she didn’t want to leave Jack alone with him. ‘What if Ianto hurts Jack?’ Before this evening, she would have never thought such a thing, but now, well, it was clear she didn’t know Ianto as well as she thought she did.
‘And that’s the problem,’ Jack thought sadly. No one knew Ianto because not one of them had ever taken the time to.
‘Well that changes today.’ Jack vowed, refusing to listen to the voice in the back of his head that was whispering just how ‘well’ he would like to get to know Ianto.
“Jack, I’m ready; you can bring Ianto up.” Owen’s surprising serious voice interrupted Jack’s thoughts.
“We’re on our way.” Jack answered back while never taking his gaze off of Ianto. “Do you think you can walk?” He asked softly.
“I think so.” Ianto answer was muffled against Jack’s chest; despite everything that had happen tonight Ianto felt the safe in Jack’s arms. He had tried so hard to keep his distance from Jack, sensing within himself how rapidly and deeply he could, and did, fall for Jack.
“I’m sorry.” Ianto whispered suddenly. “I just thought saving Lisa would make them stop.”
Jack tightened his grip on Ianto as he pressed a kiss onto the top of Ianto’s head. “I know and I am sorry too, for not seeing the pain you were in. But we’ll talk about this later; right now you have to see Owen. I don’t want you to go into a telepathic shock.” Having seen that happen many times to his fellow Time Agents, Jack categorically refused to allow Ianto to become lost and trapped in his own mind.
It was with great reluctance that Jack and Ianto broke apart slightly; still Jack kept an arm around Ianto’s waist to help keep him steady. Both denied to themselves that they were standing a little closer then they needed to be as they walked slowly out of Lisa’s room.
Owen was ready for them as Jack helped Ianto down the stairs and onto the autopsy table. He was mad as hell at their Tea-Boy for putting them all in danger, but the bloody fact remained that Ianto was a telepath in danger of losing himself and Owen was a doctor first and foremost. He’d help Ianto and then give him well-deserved a piece of his mind.
Owen did not miss the way Jack hovered protectively behind Ianto, and he fought back a snort of derision. Despite everything that had happen over the last few hours Jack still wanted Ianto in his bed.
‘Gwen’s fooling herself if she thinks anything will happen between her and our fearless leader.’
Owen was not blind to how different Jack’s flirting with Ianto was when compared to Gwen. With Gwen it was just simple flirting, and she was normal, the only one with a life outside of Torchwood, something they didn’t have, not anymore. But Ianto? Oh, Ianto was different; Jack was serious about pursuing Ianto, something he clearly wasn’t with Gwen.
“Okay, Tea-Boy time, to come clean. How is it that your mind hasn’t already cracked from the pressure of so many telepathic echoes?” Owen had been listening in over the comms when Ianto had confessed his problem to Jack. “Because seriously, mate, no normal human could handle that many voices for this long.” Owen got right to the point.
A shaky breath escaped Ianto’s lips; he wanted to tell them but he was so afraid that they would hate him more then they did already.
“We don’t hate you, Ianto, we’re just hurt that you didn’t give us a chance to help you with Lisa. Although, I admit we didn’t give you much of a choice. So please, Ianto, don’t hide something from us that could help us help you.” Jack whispered softly against Ianto’s ear.
Ianto couldn’t help but shiver at the sensation of Jack’s hot breath against his ear. Their kiss flashed before his eyes and he blushed deeply as Jack’s chest rumbled with a chuckle, clearly he knew what Ianto was thinking about.
“I’m an alien.” Ianto blurted out a secret that was even greater then Lisa, hoping he didn’t end up in the cells or somewhere worse.
“I knew it!” Owen crowed triumphantly. “That’s how you got that bloody coffee maker to work.” Owen had decided that there was something off about their Tea-Boy the moment he was able to produce perfect coffee from that infernal machine. None of them could even figure out how to switch it on.
Jack stared at Ianto in shock, disbelief and worry. “And you decided that working for Torchwood was a smart move?” Jack couldn’t help but ask.
Ianto blushed. “It seemed like a good idea at the time and I thought it might allow me to find information on my home.” Ianto explained. He was amazed that they were taking this so well, although there was still a part of him that was waiting for the other shoe to drop. In his mind’s eye, he could clearly see the plaques hung many times over in the halls of Torchwood One: ‘If it’s Alien, It’s Ours’. Those five simple words had cost him many a night’s sleep.
“Oi! I am only going to say this once. You made a mistake, and it was a big one, but you did it for love. It will take us a while but we will forgive you. Owen patted Ianto on the shoulder. “After all, you’re our Tea-Boy, alien or not.”
Jack and Ianto stared at Owen, wondering if he had been exposed to anything. Being nice was not historically part of the medic’s repertoire of known behaviours.
Owen scowled at the two of them and resisted the urge to flip them off. “Now that I know Tea-Boy is Alien-Boy, I’ll give him a sedative and then this nice little liquid that will block the echoes enough for you to rebuild your shields.” He explained the treatment plan to Ianto. “Any questions before we begin?” Owen waited for Ianto to shake his head before turning to Jack. “I take it you’ll be helping him,” he stated rather then asked.
Jack nodded. “I’m the only one with any form of psychic training. Once you checked Ianto over, I want you to take the girls home while I take Ianto home,” Jack ordered.
Owen figured that Jack would want to rebuild Ianto’s shields at his own place, free of the memories of this night. “Alright, but if you need anything or if he slips into a bloody coma, you will call me right away.” Owen issued his own orders, using his no-nonsense doctor’s tone.
“I will.” Jack promised. The ‘Don’t tell the others. Ianto’s paranoid,’ went unsaid but Owen got the message loud and clear.
It took both Jack and Owen to get Ianto out of the Hub and into Ianto’s car. The sedative had hit the other man like a ton of bricks, turning his legs to rubber and somehow adding ten stone to his body weight. Tosh had surprised everyone when she gave Ianto a great big hug. Jack smiled at his tech; he should have known that sweet, gentle Tosh would be the first to start forgiving Ianto.
“I’ll stop by in the morning with some breakfast.” Tosh promised.
Gwen was surprisingly quiet as she stood far away from Ianto, watching the others bustle about him. Distrust poured off of her in waves. ‘He tried to convert me into a Cyberman and they’re all being nice to him,’ she thought bitterly. ‘Well it’ll be a cold day in hell before I forgive him.’
“That would be wonderful, Tosh.” Jack thanked her as he settled Ianto in the passenger seat of his car.
“Remember to drive at a normal speed, and I mean a normal people speed.” Owen warned Jack.
Jack just gave him a cheery grin and a salute. “Can’t promise a thing.”
Tosh gave Jack a soft hug, knowing full well that Jack had been falling for Ianto for a very long time; she hoped this crisis would push them closer together.
Jack wrapped his arms around Tosh in return. He was so grateful that he managed to get this beautiful woman out of UNIT prison.
Once Tosh let him go, Jack climbed into the car and much to Owen’s relief, made a big show of backing out and driving away slowly.
It took some doing, but Jack managed to get Ianto out of his car and into his arms. He was grateful that Ianto was fast asleep; he very much doubted that Ianto would be happy being carried bridal-style. ‘Of course, if I’m lucky, he might blush; he looks so delicious when he blushes.’ Jack thought with a grin. Yes he was still hurt and angry with Ianto but he could not deny that he still longed for Ianto to be his, especially when it felt so right to cradle Ianto in his arms.
Jack managed to get out the key to Ianto’s Victorian house and unlock the door without losing his grip on Ianto.
As he found his way into Ianto’s bedroom, Jack grumbled under his breath, “Not exactly how I planned to get into here.”
“Oh, come on! This isn’t fair.” Jack groaned as he took in the king-sized bed covered in red satin sheets. He worked hard to repress the lusty images that flooded his mind.
Jack laid Ianto down on the bed and stroked his hair. “Just who are you, Ianto Jones? Can we work past all the hurt and pain we’ve caused each other, because I am not ready to give up on you yet. It has been far too long since anyone made me feel the way you do and I’m not ready to give up on what might be between us,” Jack admitted to the sleeping Ianto. As he looked into that young face, so peaceful-looking when he was free from nightmares, Jack had a feeling this was the first time in a long time that Ianto actually been able to sleep, his mind free from the screams of those lost at Torchwood One.
Jack left Ianto to sleep; they would start to work on his shields when he woke up, and then Jack would find out just where exactly Ianto came from.
It was five hours later when the sedative Owen gave Ianto wore off and when the screams returned, so did the nightmares.
With his mind still linked to Ianto’s, Jack sensed Ianto’s fear moments before he heard whimper. He was off the couch and in Ianto’s bedroom before the pathetic sound died out.
“Shh, I’m here, Ianto.” Jack whispered softly as he wrapped his arms around Ianto’s shaking form.
Ianto’s eyes shot open, huge with fear as a terrified scream escaped his lips. As the waves of psychic pain tried to pull him down into the sea of echoes, he clawed at Jack, desperately trying to stay afloat.
Jack pushed himself into Ianto’s mind. “Ianto! I’m here but I can’t do anything. You have to push them back yourself. Imagine a wall keeping them out, standing between you and the screams. Come on, you can do this! Push them back, Ianto! Push harder! This is your mind.” Jack told Ianto.
“I survived when they didn’t! I owe it to them! I knew what was coming but I didn’t do anything.” Ianto cried out. “I could have saved them; I could have saved Lisa if only I had spoken up.” His thin body was shaking in Jack’s arms. “It’s all my fault! I deserve this; I need to be punished!”
Jack growled; he was losing Ianto. “And risk letting Hartman get her greedy claws into you?” Jack was horrified at the thought of what might have-no, what would have happened to Ianto had he revealed himself to anyone at Torchwood One. “No, you would have become their prisoner and still been unable to do anything. If you really believe you owe them something in exchange for surviving, then you live, damn it! That is how you honour them, not by drowning yourself in guilt.” Jack growled in Ianto’s ear. “You live the lives that they didn’t.”
Ianto whimpered. “I can’t.”
“Fine, then I’ll give you something to live for.” And just like before, Jack kissed Ianto deeply, pouring some of his own energy into Ianto.
The moment Jack’s lips touched his, Ianto could hear nothing but Jack in his mind. The screams slowly faded away as his captain’s lips moved against his own, and he gathered and used the strength Jack’s mind to rebuild his shattered shields. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Ianto was able to push all of those minds behind an impenetrable wall.
Jack slowly broke the kiss, and when he opened his eyes, he was shocked to see Ianto’s eyes glowing a beautiful electric blue. “Ianto?” he asked softly.
Ianto smiled at Jack, the first true smile in a long time. He quickly cast about in his mind and was overjoyed to discover that, other than Jack, he was alone for the first time in months. “Thank you, Jack, they’re quiet.” Ianto’s voice held a low, husky tone that sent shivers of pleasure down Jack spine. “I suppose you want answers?”
Jack nodded as he sat up.
Ianto followed his actions. “I don’t remember much about my world, just what my mother told me. Some of us were blessed with gifts, like my telepathy, but others were normal. For millennia, we lived in a world of peace and harmony. Unfortunately, there were some who thought that those amongst us who were born without gifts made our race un-pure. They sought to cleanse our world of these ‘abominations’, as the Pure-Blood Patriots called the non-gifted.
“The conflict tore at the very fabric of our society, destroying everything we found sacred. It ripped apart families and friendships. It pitted husband against wife, loved one against loved one. My own family disintegrated before my very eyes. I may have been a child, but I understood well enough what was going on.” Ianto turned to Jack; his blue eyes were dull with pain, and Jack pulled him into his arms again.
“My own uncle became a high-ranking leader of the Pure-Blood Patriots. In fact, it was by his order that so many of the non-gifted were rounded up and secretly executed. The public was told that they had all accepted an offer of relocation to a different world, but the rumours persisted, and eventually proof of the atrocities committed by the Patriots was discovered and made public.
“When my father found out that my uncle, his own brother, was at the forefront of the ethnic cleansing movement, my father stood against him. I remember hearing the shouting and fighting downstairs, and my father was pleading with his brother to stop what he was doing to our people and our world. My uncle laughed and called my father weak and useless. I listened to my father tell his older brother that he was no longer brothers, and that’s when my Uncle turned on him.”
“I heard my uncle laughing as he murdered my father.” Ianto clutched at Jack as tears rolled down his cheeks. “My uncle then declared that anyone who stood against him would be killed on the spot. My father was not a fool, and he knew that there would come a time when we might have to flee for our lives. My parents had a plan set in place, survival gear and money, food and clothes, they had it all secreted away in a safe-house.
“Because of his foresight, my mother and I were to slip away from the house unnoticed. We barely escaped with our lives, Jack. My uncle had our house burned to the ground that very night, and a price put on our heads. He wanted to make me and my mother a public example of what would happen to those who opposed the Pure-Blood Patriots. My father was a beloved man on our world and a favourite with the off-worlders who came to trade and study with us. Through the kindness of complete strangers, we came to this world because it is still quite young and primitive when compared to ours, and as such, it would not be worthy of my Uncle’s time and attention.” Ianto explained. He sighed deeply and slumped against Jack’s side. It was the first time in decades he had thought about his father’s death, and he was emotionally exhausted.
“What happen to your mother?” Jack asked quietly, projecting a sense of serenity and safety around them.
Ianto took a shaky breath. “My race mates for life. We believe that there is only one person out there for each for us, and to lose mate is death. My mother held on as long as she could, until I was old enough to survive on my own, and then she surrendered to the loss of her mate, She died of heart break when I was fifteen.” Ianto fought back the tears that poured from a grief-stricken heart.
Something deep within Jack clenched at the possibility of losing Ianto. It was clear that Lisa had been his mate, and since she was now dead… Jack shuddered; he couldn’t bear the thought of losing Ianto, not so soon.
Ianto pulled away from Jack enough to caress his face with his fingertips. “I didn’t love Lisa, Jack, not like I would have if she had truly been my life’s mate, which means that she wasn’t the one I would spend my life with. I wished it to be her; she was funny and smart, and beautiful, but it wasn’t meant to be. But I needed to try and save her so she could find the one person who would love her like she should have been loved.” Ianto whispered softly, never taking his eyes from Jack’s.
Jack looked at Ianto now with hope shining from his eyes. He tried to speak, but the words couldn’t escape past the lump in his throat.
Ianto smiled knowingly and reached out a hand to Jack. “We have a lot of hurt to get past, but from the moment we met, I knew it was you I have been looking for.” Ianto laid his heart on the line as he asked, “Can we get past this?”
Jack took Ianto’s offered hand and clasped it to his heart. “We do have a lot of hurt to get over; we hurt each other so deeply, but I feel something for you, Jones, Ianto Jones, something I am not ready to give up on yet, so I think with some work, we will get over this.”
Ianto smiled brilliantly at Jack till a sudden thought hit him. “So, you’re okay with going slow?” He asked hesitantly, knowing that Jack led a very active sex life.
Jack could sense Ianto’s trepidation. “For the right person, I can do slow, and you, Ianto, are the right person.” He wasn’t about to let this chance with Ianto slip through his hands. “We’ll both know when the time is right, and for you, I’m willing to wait for as long as it takes.”
Ianto felt his cheeks heat up and cursed himself for been able to blush so easily around Jack.
“You are adorable when you blush.” Jack loved making Ianto blush.
A tired yawn escaped Ianto’s lips.
“Time for bed, Mister Jones.” Jack ordered crisply, standing up and pulling the bedclothes back on one side.
Ianto looked up at Jack shyly. “Will you hold me? I don’t think I will be able to sleep if you don’t.” Ianto asked softly.
Jack smiled tenderly at him. “I will, Yan, as long as you need me to.”
Too tired to change, Ianto crawled back into bed, bringing Jack with him. He sighed in contentment as the immortal engulfed him in his arms. ‘I really need to tell Jack that I know his secrets, and that in my race, we live for as long as our mate does. I’ll do it in the morning.’ Ianto decided drowsily; Jack’s warmth was making him feel safe and protected, and he smiled as he drifted off into sleep.
Jack gazed down fondly at the man snuggled into his body. “You really are worth waiting for, and I will wait for you until you are ready to become mine.” Jack placed a chaste kiss on Ianto’s forehead as he settled in to keep Ianto’s nightmares away.