Title: Trying To Reconcile
Author: Vera Steine
Disclaimer: I don't own them, don't make any money of them. They belong to RTD and the BBC. The lyrics I used belong to Alison Krauss, and can be found on her album, "Forget About It".
Rating: K+ (PG)
Spoilers: End of Days, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, To The Last Man
Author's notes: I seem to only be able to write post-EOD stories so far… Hope to correct for that soon, now that delivered season one to my doorstep only yesterday. And, again, I haven't seen "End of Days", so any mistakes are mine.
Also, this one's for my beta reader and best mate, Loki, thanks for your suggestions. You're invaluable.
This story was inspired by the fantastic acting of John Barrowman in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". From the moment I saw the scene where Jack asks Ianto out, I knew I wanted to write about it. Took me long enough :)! Part Two will be from Jack's perspective, but I find Ianto easier to write, so I started with him. Thanks to everyone who reviewed my first TW fic, "Counting the Days", you rock! Any criticism is much appreciated, suggestion will be fed to my plot bunnies! Please read & review… Let me know if you want to see this from Jack's perspective as well.
Trying To Reconcile – Part One
'Cause after all
I see you sometime
Maybe when I can't recall
How you drove me crazier
From: "Forget About It", by Alison Krauss
The bruises faded. And weren't replaced by new ones. It was the first thing he noticed that would be permanent. Oh, at work, at work there were a million things like that, but they weren't personal. Jack's coffee mug that stayed in the cupboard because there was no point in taking it out. Jack's office that didn't need straightening at the end of the day. Cleaning, yes, and dusting, but no more collecting of paperwork for filing and artefacts that needed to be locked up in the archive.
But the bruises on his upper arms, from where Jack had held him down on the bed the last time they'd had sex, they faded. And weren't replaced by other ones, somewhere else on his body, or in the same place, depending on what they'd get up to after hours.
He spent every night alone. Alone in his small flat when he wasn't working. And he found he had precious little to fill his evenings with. He ended up rereading every book he owned, watching every DVD again, until the memories behind those purchases, often memories of Lisa, telling him to buy something, watching a DVD together on the sofa, became too much.
So he went with the team the next time Gwen tried to instil some team spirit, misguided as it was, and suggested they go to the pub after work and unwind. They sat around, he and Tosh quiet, Gwen and Owen trying too hard and telling stories. Still, they went again the next week, the reason behind their forced team bonding going unsaid the whole time.
It got easier. After three weeks of sleepless nights, where he would wake up expecting to be in the hub, or simply wake up expecting to have company in his bed, and then being unable to go back to sleep because he remembered why he was alone, he slept through the night and woke up remembering without the empty bed having to remind him.
It was easier at work, too. They all looked less at the empty office, even if no one dared stay in there for long for fear of looking like they'd forgot. They looked less expectant every time the door opened, they caught themselves less when they talked, because they were adjusting to the team having only four members.
He would never forget. A rare weekend at home, his mother asked him if he was seeing anyone, and he didn't know what to say. Because somewhere inside, he believed Jack would be back. Somewhere, he believed it wouldn't be forever. But if it would be, he would never forget. And he found he could think of the good times without hurting too much, and remember them fondly.
Gwen mentioned Jack without stopping and starting again. Just like that, in passing, and no one reacted too much like it was blasphemy when she used the past tense. They stopped treating Jack's possible return as a surety that lay just around the corner.
He loved Jack. That revelation, one startlingly bright spring morning, took him by surprise. The reason why he couldn't move on, why he still had no motivation to find companionship, to go out, to look at anyone else in that way, was that he'd loved Jack, been in love with Jack, and still loved Jack. He hadn't thought it was the case when they'd been together. Strangely, it didn't grieve him that much that he'd never had the chance to say it. If Jack had wanted to know, he probably did already, always having understood Ianto better than Ianto understood himself.
That afternoon, at the hub, the coffee mug in the cupboard, with its blue and white stripes, suddenly did hit him hard, and he retreated into the archives to fight against the tears that he hadn't cried until then. The team never came around to find out why the coffee was fifteen minutes late. But Tosh gave him a small, compassionate smile when she saw his red-rimmed eyes when he did finally bring her cappuccino over.
He missed Jack in the moments when he laughed. He missed being able to share. Missed the trademark grin, the innuendo, the flirtatious touches. Missed him more then, than when he lay alone in his cold bed at night. He still did not resign to being alone forever, but also couldn't stomach the idea of not waiting for Jack to come back.
The team didn't move on, either. Gwen refused to move into Jack's office, refused to accept UNIT's insistence that she be made Torchwood Three's official leader. Owen ducked out of all responsibility altogether, unable to deal with the rejection. Toshiko retreated back into herself, no matter how hard they all tried to include her.
He was moving on without realising it. The new girl at the specialist coffee place hit on him, and he responded. Not by much, not enough for anything to come of it, but enough to know that he was really beginning to look forward. That scared him enough to send him scuttling back into the memories that he clung to in the moments he missed Jack too much. And found that they weren't as strong as they used to be. For a while, that scared him even more, but then he realised it was part of the grieving process, and he would still never forget.
They laughed more at work. Joked around, had useless nights eating pizza in the hub and having silly contests that normally would have been started by Jack's larger-than-life posturing. Now Owen began them, sliding into that role without realising it.
Hey, kids, did you miss me? All the things he'd believed up till that point, about moving on, about dealing, about wanting, about loving, all that, even that, got turned upside down in the space of mere seconds. And he found a whole series of emotions replacing it, anger, fear, jealousy, where had that come from?, but also relief, desire, gratitude. And eagerness, too, a little too much, when pressed for an answer.
The date never happened, lost in the melee of work and aliens and threats, but Jack tried, and that earned him more points than he would ever know. And yet Ianto struggled with accepting Jack's return, with his own emotions. One day, he would flirt, thinking they could get back on track by starting where they'd started all those months ago, the next, he would find himself get angry with Jack over the smallest thing.
It all turned out to be irrelevant. Every emotion he'd had, every bit of fear and anger and jealousy. Only love mattered, and it was Jack who said it, without ever knowing why it mattered. And something inside Ianto said, let go. And he knew, that the how and the why and the because, and most of all, does he?, didn't matter. What mattered was that they were here now, as always, together. What the morning would bring, let it come.
tbc (if you want…).