Title: Will Be There Still
Author: Vera Steine
Disclaimer: I don't own any of them, the BBC and RTD do. Oh, they also own the little titles, and Dido owns the lyrics that inspired the title. They can be found on her album, "Life For Rent".
Rating: K+ (PG). One day, I promise, I will write something naughty :)
Spoilers: End Of Days (tiny), Season Two episode 1-6
Author's notes: Small scenes tracking Ianto and Jack's relationship through season 2, one scene per episode. Ianto's POV, fluffy for the most part. Part Two will be ep 7-12. Illustrating each scene is a quotation from that episode.
Readers of my earlier fic, 'Trying To Reconcile', will recognise scene 3, but this can be read completely stand-alone. Unbeta-ed, cuz none of my friends watch Torchwood, so criticism is welcomed! Please review.
Special thank you to the Olympus electronics company, without whose memorecorder this would have never come into existence! And dedicated to GDL, because his acting and amazing interpretation got me hooked on Torchwood, and led me to write this fic. Enjoy!
And when we meet, which I'm sure we will
All that was there, will be there still
I'll let it pass, and hold my tongue
And you will think, that I've moved on
From: "White Flag", by Dido
I was thinking, while I was away...
It felt like his world had been turned on to its side. Ianto watched from the passenger seat of the SUV as Cardiff's familiar landscape slid by, noting with some interest that Jack's driving style hadn't changed. He wasn't sure at this point what he felt, how he felt, about Jack's return, the sudden appearance just hours before, while he was facing down a blowfish who had stolen a sports car. There was no time, had been no time, to examine his emotions in detail before they were off on yet another hunt after aliens. It didn't help that he'd been paired with Jack, who was sitting in the driver's seat, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and generally willing Cardiff's late night traffic out of his way. Abruptly Ianto turned to face Jack, looking at the Captain in profile. Nothing seemed different about him, yet everything seemed different about him, but it was Jack, and that meant that was nothing unusual.
"Like what you see?" Jack said suddenly, breaking into his thoughts and shooting him a lascivious grin.
Ianto was only ever so slightly taken aback, huffing faintly at the innuendo. "That's beside the point," he said with some sarcasm.
" 'Beside the point?' " Jack quoted back at him, one eyebrow raised in surprise.
Ianto bristled. "You know what I mean."
Jack shrugged, weaving out of traffic in a erratic manner that had Ianto grabbing hold of the dashboard, avoiding a slowing truck. "Ianto," Jack started, a different tone to his voice.
Ianto didn't want to hear it, whatever Jack had to say, not yet. Quickly he said, "Turn right here."
He sensed Jack shot him a glance, although he studiously trained his eyes on the windshield.
"I haven't been away from Cardiff that long, you know," Jack replied, his tone betraying something that sounded suspiciously like hurt.
"I don't know how long you've been away," Ianto shot back, then instantly regretted the comment. "Sorry, shouldn't have said that."
Jack was again, appearing to concentrate on his driving, although Ianto wasn't sure that was actually what he was doing. Then Jack said, "I know you have questions."
Again, Ianto interrupted. "You don't have to explain anything, not yet. Let's just get this over with first."
"Okay," Jack replied, with some surprise. Abruptly, he brought the SUV to a skidding halt. "We're here, anyway."
Ianto unbuckled his seatbelt, looking briefly at Jack before he got out of the car. "We'll talk some more later."
Jack opened the driver's side door, meeting Ianto's eyes over his shoulder. "Yeah, we will."
Shivers down my spine…
It hit him abruptly when he saw Jack put on a clean shirt. He'd died again, and he was as cavalier about it now as he had been before he left. Ianto was still none the wiser as to what had happened to Jack, to where Jack had been or whether he'd found his answers.
Jack caught him looking, and turned away, apparently not wanting to deal with whatever was standing between them. It made Ianto angry, and he watched as Jack disappeared into the bowels of the hub. He followed on impulse, wanting... He wasn't sure what he wanted.
"It's nothing, Ianto," Jack said, when he caught up with him in the archives.
"I didn't say there was anything," Ianto shot back, annoyed at Jack's ability to read him so well.
"Then why are you here?" Jack replied, looking straight at him.
Ianto shifted slightly, but held his ground under Jack's gaze. "I wanted- " He broke off. He knew he wasn't going to come up with anything Jack wouldn't see right through. He didn't know what he wanted from Jack. They weren't together, but they weren't apart either, somehow left in limbo, and Ianto knew it was his own doing. Yet he couldn't figure out whether he wanted to go back to where they'd been, whether he wanted Jack back, or whether he wanted to get out of it, and how to get out of whatever it was.
Jack took a step closer to him. "What is it you want?" he said, a small smile gracing his lips.
Ianto didn't want to back up against the wall he knew was just behind him, to let Jack see he was getting to him, and so continued to hold his ground, even if he knew that meant the decision of what to do was soon going to be made for him, if he didn't put a stop to what Jack was doing quickly.
Jack took another step closer. "Well?" he said, a more playful tone to his voice.
Ianto stayed where he was, not moving, not giving any ground. He watched as Jack approached him as if stalking prey, and let it happen. Jack came so close they were nearly touching. He leaned in and Ianto bowed to the inevitable and let it happen. He hadn't kissed Jack since… since, well, since Abaddon, probably. He remembered what it was like, though. He remembered-
Beth's voice rang out through the hub, and the moment was shattered.
I… know you get lonely…
They lay together in Jack's narrow bed, waiting for the morning when they'd have to send Tommy back to 1918. Ianto realised how much he'd missed Jack, how much he'd missed just being together, and how uncomplicated things were when he was under the covers next to Jack's warm body. He also remembered why it had taken him so long to come back to this.
Jack's fingers, running idle patterns over his right arm, stilled. "Hmm?"
"Where were you?"
The query didn't require further explanation. They both knew what he was talking about. Jack shifted slightly, his muscles tensing just a fraction under the blankets. His face was unreadable as ever. His voice, however, betrayed slight emotion when he spoke, a beat too late. "I can't tell you." Ianto nearly snorted at that, but the tone to Jack's voice held him back. A moment later, Jack added, "Not yet. Maybe some day."
There was a world of unspoken hurt in the sound of Jack's voice, in the choice of his words, and in the sudden stiffness of his posture. Ianto wanted to reach out, offer some kind of comfort for something that he didn't even know what it was, and felt woefully inadequate. Something had happened, he knew that. He'd know that since the first night after Jack was back, when he'd sat in his apartment and had analysed the events of the day. Jack's strange behaviour, his eagerness that was a little too eager, even for Jack, who usually prided himself on subtlety when needed. He'd wondered, then, if he should have, could have, reacted differently, but his own emotions had been strong enough to know he couldn't just surrender back into Jack's arms without some serious thought. Still…
"When you're ready," he said now, meaning it. The other members of the team had never understood the need not to press, where Jack was concerned. Ianto understood, if only because the same kind of prying questions had often been directed at him, and he'd been just as reticent to answer them before he was ready. Giving strangers access to your life meant exposing yourself to risk, and you needed to be able to trust someone before doing that. He trusted Jack. Knew that Jack trusted him. Which meant Jack just wasn't ready.
Jack leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, smoothing back his sticky hair. Ianto closed his eyes, feeling exhaustion beginning to set in. Here, with Jack's arm stretched over his chest, in the warm nest of blankets, he could relax, and let sleep claim him.
Hell of a day…
It made it all the harder, the next week, to go home alone. Yet he was angry enough to do it, after what had happened. He also knew that his anger wasn't fair, wasn't something that he could or should burden Jack with. He'd never asked for anything, Jack sure as hell had never offered. Plus, the events of the day had been emotional, nearly getting shot and getting taken hostage was sufficiently shocking to process on your own without throwing a new jealousy into the mix.
The phone call, as he was drifting off, made him search across the floor for his jacket that he, for once, had left lying where it had landed when he took it off. He extracted his mobile, and looked at the display. Jack.
A beat of silence, then Jack said, "Ianto."
"Yep," he replied stoically, unable to keep the emotion from his voice. "Do I need to come in?"
"No," Jack said. "I was just calling…"
Ianto sat up in bed. A social call? Hardly normal behaviour for Jack. "Yes?" he inquired.
Another beat of silence, Jack taking a deep breath. "Are we okay, Ianto?"
Honest question, deserved an honest answer. Ianto thought for a moment, swallowing his initial sarcastic reply of 'what do you think?'. "Yes, we are," he replied. "Jack… It is what it is. We're fine."
"Okay." Jack's answer was tentative, but assured. "Don't suppose I could tempt you-"
"No, Jack," Ianto said firmly. "Good night." He ended the call and smiled into the dark of his bedroom, and put the phone carefully on the nightstand before going back to sleep.
Hey, hey. Come here. Come here…
He woke up shivering, a scream lodged in his throat, the urge to cry close to overwhelming him. A few deep breaths calmed him enough to sit up and untangle his legs from the blankets. A couple of breaths more, and he called tentatively, "Jack?"
"Up here," Jack's voice drifted back through the open hatch.
Ianto fumbled around in the dark for his boxers and shirt, put them on and clambered through the hatch into Jack's office. Jack was sitting at his desk, looking at the CCTV logs.
"Same result either way I try this," he said to Ianto. "I apparently erased the last forty-eight hours and ret-conned us all."
Ianto shrugged. "Maybe we should leave it be, then."
"Yeah." Jack looked at him. "Couldn't sleep?"
"Nightmare," Ianto replied. He didn't hide much of himself from Jack anymore, and certainly not the things that mattered. Part of his new philosophy of take what you can get, started since he and Jack got back together.
Jack's eyes were searching his face and he stood up. Ianto went over to him, stepping into his embrace. Letting out a deep breath, he relaxed against Jack's warmth, Jack's hand sliding into his neck, fingers caressing his hair. "Let's get back to bed," he said softly, a hint of suggestion in his voice.
Ianto smiled in spite of himself. He stepped back and went back to the hatch, climbing down without another word. Jack followed him with a grin.
He made them all coffee, because that was what he did. He handed Martha her cup, and she looked at him, searching his face. "Are you okay, Ianto?"
He'd only just met her, but he instinctively liked her. He gave her a brief smile that he knew didn't reach his eyes, and replied, "Holding up for now."
She knew what he didn't say, he could see the understanding in her face. We'll crash later, when this is all over. Not now. She put a hand on his arm. "Thanks for the coffee."
He nodded, giving her another smile because he didn't have any words right now that wouldn't sound hollow. He turned away, looking for Gwen to give her the tea she'd asked for, but Martha called him back. "Ianto?"
He turned back.
"Maybe I'm out of line here…" She bit her lip. "But Jack's been in his office since we came back… I thought maybe you could- because you two- well, could see if he's all right?"
He gave her another smile, a real one this time. "That's fine, Martha. I'm taking up his coffee in a minute."
She nodded. "Okay."
He went to Gwen next, handing her the tea. She gave him a hollow look, her eyes red-rimmed. He remembered her affair with Owen the previous year, and felt a stab of pity for her. He put a hand on her shoulder and she leaned her head against his arm for a moment. "Thanks, Ianto," she said softly, wrapping her hands around the hot mug.
He squeezed her shoulder before moving to the stairs, Jack's blue and white mug in his hand. Jack was sitting at his desk, staring at Owen's personnel file open on his desk, but not reading anything. Ianto went in and placed the mug on Jack's desk, within his reach. Jack took it automatically, taking a sip of the coffee without even checking the contents first. The taste of the beverage seemed to bring him back from where his mind had been. "Thank you, Ianto."
Ianto stood by the desk for a moment before finding the right words. "Is there anything I can do, Jack?"
Jack shook his head. "Nothing that can be done."
They were both silent for a beat. Then Ianto said, "I'm here, if you need anything."
Jack nodded. Ianto retreated without another word.