Summary: Ianto is the best thing that has ever happened to Jack; now he just needs to tell him that.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood
Author Notes: Post ‘KKBB’. The sequel to my Tears of an Angel fic
Song by: Three Doors Down
Walking away from the Doctor was one of the hardest things Jack had ever done in his very long life, yet it was also the easiest.
Only one person mattered to him at that moment in time, and that was Ianto Jones, his beautiful Welshman. Ianto, who stood behind him no matter what, even though Jack took him for granted. He was the man Jack denied his true feelings for, until the day the Master so cruelly ripped the life from Ianto and discarded his body like a used tissue.
Jack fought back a shudder as the memory of Ianto dying in his arms flashed through his mind; he needed to see with his own eyes and to feel with his own arms that his beloved Welshman was alive and well.
‘This time I will do things right with Ianto. I am going to woo him like I should have done in the first place,’ Jack vowed to himself. Come hell or high water – even and alien invasion - he would show Ianto how much he loved him.
’This did not go how I planned,’ was the first thought that came to Jack’s mind as he sadly entered his hotel room all by himself. Ianto should have been at his side; they should have been reconnecting, finding themselves again. Now Jack just wanted to forget the entire farce of a night had ever happened. The only thing that had gone right, albeit not entirely to plan, was that he had managed to ask Ianto out on a date without totally blowing it.
“I made a Grade A fool of myself. Seriously, what is wrong with me? I’m Captain Jack Harkness for crying out loud! I should have been able to ask Ianto out on a date without sounding like a stuttering idiot! God, how am I supposed to woo Ianto if I can’t even ask him out properly?” Jack growled to the empty room as he fell onto the hotel bed.
A low moan of pure pleasure escaped Jack’s lips at the feeling of a nice soft mattress beneath his body. After being forced to stand and being tortured for a year truly made one appreciate the simple luxury of a real bed. “Of course, it would be better if Ianto was sharing this bed with me, but I should be lucky that he even agreed to go out with me.” Jack muttered to himself as he punched the pillow and stuffed back under his head.
A smile crossed Jack’s face. “But Ianto is alive and that’s all that matters. He may be angry with me for abandoning him the way I did, but he’s alive and I will make this right.” Jack promised himself as he began making plans.
In another part of the hotel, Ianto Jones was biting his lower lip as he engaged in a heated debate with himself. Ianto’s heart said he should give into his growing need to check on Jack. He had noticed immediately that something had changed within the immortal man; there was no denying the look in Jack’s eyes. Something had happened during the time Jack had been away, something awful; something that had left the captain a broken man.
Ianto’s mind argued with his heart, although it was more out of guilt than anything else. “The question is, do I have the right to comfort him anymore?” Ianto asked out loud, but the sterile hotel room gave him no answer. Yes, before Abaddon had killed Jack they had shared something warm and intimate and Ianto had hoped that the kiss Jack had given him when he’d resurrected meant that they were moving forward with their relationship.
But all that was before hearing everything that John Hart had had to say about the past he and Jack shared. It was before witnessing the kiss with Hart that Jack had seemed to truly enjoy. And, it was before seeing the look of pain and loss on Jack’s face as the rogue Time Agent disappeared into the Rift. After all that, Ianto no longer had any idea what he and Jack were or if they even had a future at all.
True, Jack had asked him out, but Ianto feared that was only because Jack was on the rebound. Ianto had heard the change in Jack’s voice when he found out that Gwen was engaged. Ianto had heard Jack and Gwen’s conversation and knowing that he might be nothing more than Jack’s second choice killed something deep within him.
‘I need to know the truth. I deserve to know the truth!’ Ianto told himself fiercely. ‘And if I am his second choice then Jack and I are done. I will not be his consolation prize!’ That decided Ianto grabbed his key card and stormed out into the hallway. He needed to talk to Jack before he lost his nerve; he needed to find out once and for all exactly where he stood with the older man.
“Please don’t break my heart,” Ianto whispered softly as he padded through the quiet hotel halls.
Although his body was exhausted and still recovering from the thousands of deaths he’d suffered during the year that never was, sleep didn’t come easily to Jack as he lay in his darkened hotel room. Every time h closed his eyes, nightmares of Ianto’s death flashed against his eyelids, one horror movie after another. Over and over again he watched as Ianto died at the hands of the Master. The scenes replayed in his mind on one continuous loop, as they had since the day he’d lost Ianto in the other timeline.
Once again Jack closed his eyes and consciously slowed his breathing, searching his memory for a good moment of his time with Ianto on which to concentrate. A quiet evening at Ianto’s flat pooped into Jack’ mind and he concentrated the sight of the two of them snuggled up together on the sofa. The lights were low and soft music played in the background; Jack even imagined that he could smell freshly brewed coffee. He smiled as the feeling of Ianto lying in his arms intensified; he missed holding his young lover so much.
He nuzzled the side of Ianto’s neck, kissing the sensitive spot just behind his ear, and then Jack nibbled his way around Ianto’s mouth. Gently, he kissed his lover’s lips and waited for a response; there was none. Then, Jack heard a whisper emerge from his lover’s pale lifeless lips; “help me, Jack, please save me…”
Stricken with fear, Jack lifted his head and looked down at Ianto, but Ianto did not look back. Instead, Ianto’s eyes were blank; their light had gone out. As he watched, a thin trickle of blood appeared on Ianto’s forehead, growing larger and flowing faster until blood was gushing forth, covering Ianto’s face and soaking his shirt.
‘No, no, NO!’ Jack cried out, frantically shaking Ianto’s body, refusing to recognise the icy coldness of his lover’s skin. He wiped at the blood on Ianto’s face, but the more he wiped off, the more blood poured out. ‘Ianto, no, please, come back!’ Desperately, Jack looked around, trying to find someone to help him, but there was no one else around. ‘Please don’t leave me, Ianto,’ he whispered inconsolably. ‘I love you,’
Jack realised that he could feel the wet heat of Ianto’s blood on his skin and with a terrified shriek he jerked awake. Desperate to escape, he tried to scramble out of bed, but his foot tangled with the duvet and he fell off the bed instead. He lay in a heap on the floor, drenched in sweet, his chest heaving and tiny whimpers coming from his tightly clenched lips. His Ianto, his beloved Welshman, was dead. Again.
Angrily he brushed at the tears that flowed unchecked down his cheeks; once again, the Master had invaded his dreams and destroyed the one true love of his life. Jack could feel the heavy weight of melancholy trying to settle on his heart again. He thought he’d had successfully defeated it the moment he’d set eyes on Ianto – his Ianto, alive and well – again, but his dream had been so very, very real, so strong.
A sudden noise outside in the hall drew his attention and Jack uncurled from his foetal position and untangled his feet from the duvet, waiting to see what would happen next. He was very grateful when he heard a hesitant knock on his door and hope flared in his chest as his heart began to sing. Jack grinned madly; he would know that knock anywhere. It was Ianto’s knock. Scrambling to his feet, Jack quickly threw on his trousers and t-shirt, leaving his braces hanging at his sides. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to make sure he looked presentable. Instead he just made his bed head even worse, and the more he tried to fix it, the more his hair ended up standing out in every direction. He was surprised to see that his hands were actually shaking just a little.
A second hesitant knock, followed by a soft, “Jack, are you awake?”, had the immortal bolting for the door. He was overjoyed that his beautiful boy had sought him out and Jack silently repeated his earlier vow. This time, he was not going to let Ianto get away.
Ianto blinked with surprise at the force with which Jack’s door was thrown open and he almost took a step back. Jack appeared in the doorway, looking at him anxiously, hopefully. Fighting back a grin, Ianto raised an eyebrow as he took in Jack’s dishevelled form. He was dismayed when he saw Jack’s red-rimmed eyes, but chose not to comment.
“I’m sorry, Jack; I didn’t mean to wake you. I shouldn’t have bothered you tonight; we can talk tomorrow.” Ianto turned to leave. “I’ll just go.”
Before Ianto could take a step Jack’s hand shot out and grabbed the younger man’s arm to halt him from leaving. “No, don’t go! I was awake, really! Please come in, Ianto. It’s clear there’s been something bothering you all day. Please, we can talk about it,” Jack pleaded with Ianto. He really wanted to talk, to try and fix things with Ianto. He needed to remind himself that Ianto was alive and safe, that his beloved Welshman was not dead at the hands of the Master.
Ianto debated with himself; he knew that if he didn’t talk to Jack tonight he would bury his concerns and feelings, and they would go on like nothing was wrong. But at the back of his mind he also knew that he would always wonder if Jack was with him simply because he was the only choice the immortal had left.
‘How can we have any kind of relationship if I’m always worrying that Jack will dump me the minute he finds out that Gwen has changed her mind about marrying Rhys?’ No, Ianto knew that he had one chance to talk to Jack properly before he got swept away in the hurricane known as Jack Harkness.
Jack waited with baited breath, silently and patiently hoping that Ianto was going to come in and open up to him. Something was truly bothering his beloved Welshman and he feared that Ianto might be regretting agreeing to go on a date with him. He’d been quite surprised and immensely pleased when Ianto had said yes to his hesitant invitation.
Mentally, Jack cringed as he remembered his less-than-polished performance; he used to be so suave and debonair, but he’d been so afraid that Ianto would refuse to go out with him that he’d ended up sounding so clumsy and stilted.
‘Please don’t let that be true. Please, please don’t change your mind, Ianto. I need to show you that I’m serious about a relationship with you, that I really want to be with you and no one else.’ Jack was sure that his heart would shatter if Ianto had changed his mind. He knew in his heart that there was no way that he could possibly deal with them going back to being just boss and co-worker.
Ianto gave Jack a faint smile. “If you’re sure I’m not disturbing you, then yeah, thank you. We really need to talk.” When he finished speaking, Ianto couldn’t help but wonder about the brief flash of pain in Jack’s blue eyes.
Fearing that his worst nightmare was about to come true, that Ianto wanted nothing more to do with him, Jack found that he had to force a smile on his face. “Come on in.” He moved aside to allow Ianto in and once the Welshman entered, Jack closed the door behind him. Suddenly overcome with a deep sense of foreboding, Jack took a deep breath, steadying himself for Ianto to tell him they are over.
Ianto waited impatiently for Jack to turn around; he had to speak before he could lose his courage. He met Jack’s gaze with pure and undisguised hurt in his eyes and he struggled to keep the bitterness and betrayal from his voice; it was harder to maintain a neutral tone than he thought it would be. “I heard you talking to Gwen.” He didn’t waste any time in laying out the reason he was there.
Jack winced; he’d no idea Ianto was anywhere nearby when he was speaking alone with Gwen. He’d given it a lot of thought since that conversation, and he still didn’t know why he said what he did to Gwen. He had come back for Ianto, not her. “Ianto, I can explain.” Jack spoke quickly, as he prayed that Ianto would give him a chance to explain.
“What is there to explain, Jack? I got the impression, when you told me that you came back for me, that you had come back to Cardiff and Torchwood for me. However, you made it quite clear while you were alone with Gwen she’s that you want. She’s the one you actually came back for.” Ianto held up his hand as Jack opened his mouth to speak.
“Let me finish, Jack,” he insisted, and then he waited until Jack snapped his mouth shut before he continued. “How am I supposed to believe anything you say? How am I supposed to trust you? I’m afraid to leave you two alone in the same room for a single moment because I’m afraid that I’ll walk in to find you fucking her over your desk!”
Ianto’s fears exploded from his mouth in a whispered of agony. “That would destroy me, Jack,” and he hurriedly turned away so Jack wouldn’t see the tears that threatened to fall from his eyes.
Jack had never hated himself more than he did in that moment for ever having made Ianto feel such pain. “Ianto, please you have to believe me! I came back for you, not Gwen.”
Ianto whirled on Jack, tears be damned. “Then what was that with touching little scene with Gwen? You said the same damn thing to her that you said to me! So who do you want, because I can’t do this again, Jack, I can’t keep letting you rip out my heart over and over again!” He shook his head sadly and reached for the doorknob.
“I will not be just your part-time shag again, Jack.” Ianto stated softly but firmly. “If it’s Gwen that you want to be with, then this…” and he waved his hand back and forth between them, “… ends right here, right now. You have to let me go before you break my heart again.”
Something inside of Jack shattered with the realisation that he was losing Ianto. He had never heard so much pain and betrayal in anyone’s voice and it broke his heart. Terrified that if he let Ianto walk out the door he was never going to have another chance to make the Welshman understand, Jack lunged forward and pulled Ianto into his arms. His mind raced desperately as he tried to organise his thoughts; he didn’t want to forget to say anything.
“I came back for you, Ianto; that was not a lie! I asked you out on a date because I want you, not Gwen. I already lo…” Jack voice broke and it took several seconds of frantic swallowing and blinking before he could continue, “… lost you once, Ianto, and it destroyed me. I cannot lose you again.”
Ianto had seen the broken and haunted look in Jack’s eyes when he’d thought no one was looking at him, and now it was back. “Jack?”
Jack’s shoulders collapsed in defeat. “The reason I said those things to Gwen was very simple. I was afraid. Afraid that you had moved on, afraid that you would never forgive me for leaving you like I did. I was afraid that you wouldn’t want me anymore.” Jack confessed in a small voice.
“I don’t want to miss one more moment of us. I just wanted to come back home; all I could think about was being back in the arms of my angel!” Jack shrugged, trying for nonchalance, but falling quite short, if the quiver in his voice was any indication. “I know I never told you this, Ianto, but I get such a sense of peace every time I’m in your arms. When I gaze into your beautiful blue eyes I become lost in their depths and I can see my future, our future.”
Jack paused, waiting for Ianto to look him in the eye. “Somehow, I’ve told you more about me, about my past than I’ve ever told anyone before. And even though you know the real me and you see all my flaws, you are still able to find it your heart to love me. You accept the real me, Ianto; you’re not afraid to love me despite the person I used to be. There is absolutely no way I could survive without having your love in my life.” There were unshed tears in Jack’s voice.
“It’s what brings me back each time.” Jack’s last words were spoken in a barely audible whisper that Ianto had to strain to hear, but their effect on him was profound. Ianto didn’t know what to say; he had never once thought, dreamed, or expected that he’d ever hear Jack Harkness speak with such heart-felt sincerity.
Like a bird taking flight, the heavy burden he was carrying in his heart lifted and Ianto was overcome with a feeling of warmth that started in the very centre of his soul and spread outward. He opened his mouth but no words would come out, which was actually a good thing, considering he actually didn’t know what to say. He’d never thought he’d hear such honesty from Jack, so he’d never planned anything to say in response.
“It took me over a century to get over a man I wasn’t even in love with.” Jack admitted to Ianto. “I can’t imagine how long it would take for me to get over you if I lost you. I don’t know if I could get over the losing of you. You are my heart and my soul, Ianto.”
The room was still; only the faint sounds of traffic coming from the street far below could be heard. “Please, Ianto, say something.” Jack didn’t hear his pleading, begging tone.
For several excruciatingly long moments, Ianto studied Jack, looking deep within the man who had just bared his soul to him. He looked inside himself, searching for any possible doubts. He weighed the consequences of walking out the door and trying to live with everything that Jack had just told him against the benefits of locking that door and taking Jack back into his heart and into his bed. Finally, Ianto reached a decision and he prayed it was the right one; he was going to have to live with it for the rest of his life.
“I love you, Jack Harkness. You may never understand just how deeply you hurt me when you just up and left me but I’m not going to give up on us. I refuse to allow anger or jealousy to destroy our future together. I know that it’ll take time and work but I think we’re worth it, don’t you? I think we’ll make it.” Ianto reached out to brush his thumbs gently across Jack’s cheeks and wipe away the tears that had begun to fall. It was a tender gesture shared between lovers.
Jack surged forward and did something he had wanted to do, needed to do, from the moment he’d declined the Doctor’s offer to travel with him and Martha. It was all he could think about as he’d walked across the Plass and into Torchwood. Once he’d ended the Blowfish’s reign of cocaine-powered terror, it was the first thing he’d thought of upon seeing Ianto again. The idea had stayed with him all through the team’s battle with John Hart. Finally, he was going to make his thought, his dream, his need, a reality.
Carefully, slowly, Jack reached out, took hold of Ianto’s hands and brought the young man forward a few inched, closing the distance between them. As he pulled his younger lover against his chest, Jack slid his hands up Ianto’s arms and them around to his back. One hand went downward to rest in the small of his back, while Jack’s other hand went upward to cup the nape of Ianto’s neck. He found the tickle of Ianto’s hair against his fingers to be quite erotic.
They stood like that for a moment. Jack was drinking in the sight of Ianto in his arms again, the feeling of his body pressed against Ianto’s. His gaze focused on Ianto’s eyes and then slowly slid down to his lips.
Ianto was afraid to move; he didn’t want to break the spell. He’d spent so many long and lonely nights dreaming about what it would be like to have Jack hold him again, to feel the heat of his skin soaking in to him. He subtlety breathed in the delicious scent of Jack’s pheromones; God, he’d missed that smell so very much.
‘I can’t wait any longer,’ Jack thought to himself as his desire to finally taste Ianto again became too much to resist. He leaned forward just a bit and kissed Ianto, pouring all his love into the kiss. His heart soared as he felt Ianto return the kiss with just as much love and passion. The two lovers stayed connected until the need for air forced them apart.
Pulling away, Jack rested his forehead against Ianto’s. “Stay with me tonight, please? I need to hold you, Ianto; I need to know you’re alive.” Jack pleaded, his eyes and voice filled with desire that had more to do with love than sex.
“Of course, Jack.” Ianto knew something had happened to Jack while he’d been away with the Doctor, something horrible that had changed the immortal, and Ianto knew it wasn’t for the better. Ianto was determined to give his lover all the comfort he possibly could and while he might never know what happened to Jack, he would do whatever it took to make up for it. If that meant spending the night lying in Jack’s arms then he couldn’t think of a better place to be.
‘On the plus side,’ Ianto thought, ‘I really need to feel Jack in my arms again, to know that he’d all right, that he’s really back. I need to know for sure that this isn’t another one of my dreams.’
A few hours later found Jack watching Ianto sleeping soundly, his strong young body curled up in his lover’s arms. As he watched the steady rise and fall of Ianto’s chest, Jack knew he had a lot of work ahead of him if he wanted to win back Ianto’s trust. However, Jack was determined that nothing would stop him.
“I am so sorry I left you, Ianto. I thought the Doctor could give me the answers I thought I needed and the place I thought I belonged. I was so lost in that belief that I didn’t see that my home is with you, Ianto, you and the others.”
Jack reached out and brushed Ianto’s hair from his forehead. “I love you. Ianto Jones, and I’ll prove to you that you are the only one in my heart.” Jack sealed his promise with a feather kiss to the top of Ianto’s head. Lulled by the soft sounds of Ianto’s breathing, Jack finally let his eyes drift shut. He was at peace for the first time in months knowing that he was finally where he belonged, safely within the arms and heart of Ianto Jones.