Title: The Promise Of Normality
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto (friendship but with slashy undertones) and Ianto/Lisa
Genre: General/Angst
Summary: Just a short piece set Post-Cyberwoman. Ianto reflects on the day and Jack gives a couple of wise words.
Disclaimer: I don't own 'Torchwood', just playing in the sandpit!
A/N: Beta'd by Helen. Written for a challenge on LJ with the prompt of "second chances".

The sun has long since set over the city of Cardiff; the darkness it leaves in its wake marks the end of a beautiful day, devastating to perhaps only one man. It is with bitter irony and trembling hands that Ianto Jones scrapes the remains of his girlfriend from the basement of Torchwood Three, just hours after the incident that maimed his heart until it could no longer bleed.

He asks himself cynically why his boss is yet to fire him. Perhaps this is Jack's last means of torture before he slips him some Retcon and kicks his teaboy out in the cold. Ianto drags himself out of his somewhat pessimistic thoughts and shakily brings himself to stand. He can feel Jack watching him on CCTV, and at any other time Ianto would think he was being a good (and slightly perverted) boss, but now he realises the Captain is just waiting to see when he cracks. And Ianto will be damned if he lets Jack see how weak he is.

He moves the equipment piece-by-piece from the room until, piece-by-piece, there is nothing left but memories and a broken and exhausted man standing in a bloodstained suit with nowhere to go. Ianto hears the door creak open and familiar footsteps echoing nearer until they stop less than a metre behind him. He stays rooted to the spot, staring mournfully at the space where Lisa used to lie.

Silence passes between the two men, and when Ianto can stand it no longer he gathers all the courage he has left and says in a small but confident voice, "I'm not going to apologise".

Jack seems to understand and comes to stand beside him, both looking at where Lisa's table used to lie. "I think I would be ashamed of you if you did."

Ianto would be taken aback at how calm and wise his boss was sounding, if it were not for the shock numbing his senses.

"I remember what it's like, falling in love, that need to stay with your lover - no matter the costs."

Ianto turns to look at Jack for the first time, but unable to hold his gaze, quickly diverts his eyes to the floor.

He continues, "Soon you'll realise that there are more important things in life than love. That sometimes you have to make a sacrifice."

In the solace of the silence, Jack lets an unwanted tear fall, before rapidly wiping it away and turning to leave the hostile room. With his hand on the door, he turns and gives Ianto his last order of the day.

"Go home. Get some sleep. And bring me in a Starbucks tomorrow."

Ianto hears the door close behind him, leaving the unspoken promise of normality floating in its wake. He allows a small smile to flicker hesitantly - he still had his job, even if the team did hate him for what he had done. He wonders if they will ever forgive him, and then with a sad smile, he wonders whether he will ever forgive himself.

He glances around the room where so many stolen moments were made and so many friends lost, before closing the doors on it for the last time. Ianto steals a final glimpse at the locked grey doors, before taking a deep breath and walking away towards his second chance and the promise of normality.

Comments are very welcome:-)