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: T (PG-13). I did it, something naughtier! Hopefully now I can graduate to 'M'.
Spoilers: Season Two episode 7-12
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 One is ep 1-6. Illustrating each scene is a quotation from that episode.
The scene for 'Something Borrowed' refused to turn out fluffy, so I apologise in advance. Also, feedback is especially appreciated for the scene for 'Adrift', which I found a challenge extraordinaire. With regard to that scene, much gratitude to Lady Snowflake, who neither writes slash, nor watches Torchwood, but kindly let me use her as a sounding board and gave me great suggestions.
There is no scene for 'Exit Wounds', as I don't want to spoil my fluff with sadness. The story ends at the morning of 'Fragments'. I'm in firm denial. :) 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 keep getting redirected…
Ianto settled his head on Jack's chest, just below his lover's chin, the place he'd claimed for himself ever since Jack had come back. Jack's arm came around him, and Ianto allowed himself a measure of indulgence and snuggled, ever so slightly. He heard and felt Jack's amused chuckle at that.
"Hmmph," Ianto murmured.
"That's not what you said a minute ago," Jack said with a grin. Ianto could hear the grin, though he couldn't see it.
They were both silent for a while. After a few minutes, Ianto lifted his head to locate and pull up the blankets. Jack shifted slightly, then said, "Do you think he's okay?"
Ianto shrugged with one shoulder. "I don't know."
"We'll have to keep an eye on him."
"Yes." Ianto was silent, feeling Jack tense against him. After a moment, he added, "You did the right thing."
"Sure?" Jack replied, with a measure of self-incrimination. "What I did-"
"You did the right thing," Ianto repeated more insistently, lifting his head to look Jack in the eye. "We lost Owen, you brought him back."
Jack nodded slowly, as if to assure himself. "Okay."
Ianto lay back down, feeling around under the sheets until he found Jack's hand. Squeezing it slightly, he was pleasantly surprised when Jack linked their fingers together. Like that, he drifted off to sleep.
It isn't like that, me and Jack…
"It isn't like that, me and Jack."
He'd said it because Owen's accusation had stung. But at the same time, as he said it, he wasn't sure what it meant. It wasn't like that, but what was it? It hadn't bothered him before, and it was only in odd, weak moments that it bothered him at all, but sometimes, he needed to know.
Owen had left a while ago, secretly taking a new artefact with him, even though he thought Ianto hadn't noticed. There wasn't much, though, that happened around the hub that Ianto didn't notice. He was nearly done with the night's cleaning, and couldn't decide whether to go up to Jack's office, or to go home to his flat. Owen's comments shouldn't have bothered him this much. He knew that, but lately, in the last couple of weeks, things had been changing. He wasn't sure if things had really changed between himself and Jack, or whether it was his own perception of it that had changed, his own view of their relationship. Last year, whatever it had been, it had been important to him, but it hadn't been critical. Now, it was something that he needed, a lifeline of sorts, a longing to be close to Jack.
Lost in thought, he hadn't heard Jack come out of his office. He looked up to find Jack standing on the walkway, leaning on his hands on the railing. "Nearly finished, Jack," he replied automatically.
"Wanna come up?" Jack asked, an edge to his voice that Ianto knew all too well.
He looked up at Jack, testing his own resolve. What did it matter what they called it, if they called it anything at all? He had Jack in his life, which for now would be sufficient. What tomorrow will bring, they couldn't know. He dropped the rubbish bags at his feet, thinking he could finish in the morning. He made his way around the desks and walked up the stairs towards Jack.
Jack raised his eyebrows at this uncharacteristic behaviour. "Can't resist?" he asked playfully.
Ianto shrugged, arriving at the top of the stairs. "Sometimes being a good employee is all about prioritising," he replied with a smile.
Jack grinned. "Oh really?"
Ianto put a hand on Jack's shoulder and pulled him slowly closer. "Shut up," he said in a low voice, silencing both Jack and his mind.
The problem seems to be an American with no sense of timing or fashion…
Gwen was on her honeymoon, and Jack couldn't shut up about her. The wedding had been eventful to say the least, but now that it was over, Gwen, through no fault of her own, was the last person Ianto wanted to see for a while. It is what it is, he'd said to Jack, when he'd asked not so long ago. But -- that was then, and this was now. And imperceptibly, over the last month, things had changed for Ianto. He still refused to lay a claim to Jack, because he knew that such a relationship would be impossible, and would make him lose Jack. Yet he wanted something, something tangible, something that would be a sign that he meant more to Jack then -- what was the word Owen'd used? A part-time shag.
So it didn't help, when, only a day later, all Jack seemed to be able to talk about was the wedding, and Gwen. Ianto still felt slightly hung-over from the late night of ret-conning people and telling them cover stories that had started to sound increasingly unconvincing to his ears, and his tolerance was wearing thin.
Uncharacteristically, it was Toshiko who made him snap.
The request had been innocent enough. Something about an artefact in the bowels of the hub, something she wanted from the archives she could reach herself, but it would be easier to get him to do it because he knew the place so well. Perhaps it had been that Owen had asked for coffee five times already that day, it certainly hadn't helped that Jack had managed to engage him in conversation about the wedding, or Gwen, every one of those five times that he'd also gone up to serve Jack his coffee. Nonetheless, Toshiko's request made him snap.
"Do I look like I only fetch and carry around here?" he said to her, raising his voice. "You people think that's all I'm good for? 'We'll let Ianto get it'," he parroted, "'he has nothing better to do'. I'm busy," he almost yelled. "I have things to do!"
Owen surfaced from the autopsy bay, looking startled to hear Ianto shout. Toshiko looked at Owen, and then back at Ianto, like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Ianto looked from one to the other. "Well?" he inquired sarcastically.
"Ianto, mate," Owen started carefully.
Ianto rounded on him, opening his mouth to give Owen a piece of his mind. That was when he heard footsteps on the stairs, cautious footsteps, Jack making his way down into the centre of the hub. Ianto didn't need to turn around to see the look of bewilderment on Jack's face.
"Ianto?" Jack said tentatively.
Ianto turned on him, staring him down. "You!" he spat angrily. "You're worst of all!"
Jack held up his hands as if in defence, pausing halfway down the stairs and looking slightly shocked. "Ianto," Jack started again, his tone cautious as well.
Ianto's eyes flashed, and he opened his mouth to give Jack a piece of his mind, too.
Owen interrupted before they could really get out of hand. "Oy, you need to get some sleep," he said. Ianto was ready to turn on Owen again, but Toshiko took the wind out of his sails by saying, "Ianto," in small voice, "maybe he's right."
He stared from one to the other, trying to come up with a good reason why they were wrong. Tosh got up from her seat, taking his arm and tugging him along. "Come on," she said quietly, glancing at Jack and Owen, who mercifully stayed where they were. "You should lie down a moment."
Ianto let himself be led to the sofa, trying not to feel as if the conversation had suddenly got away from him. Yesterday, was it only yesterday?, he'd danced with Jack, in public, so out of character for him that he'd even surprised himself, but it had been necessary, because he couldn't let happen what had been happening. He couldn't let Jack dance with Gwen, for the world to see, on her wedding day, and know that whatever it was that was passing between them was more than just friendship. He'd broken it up for that reason, and now he was yelling at his co-workers over what in essence had been an innocent enough request. Maybe getting a little rest wasn't such a bad idea. He let Toshiko lead him to the sofa, not looking at either Jack or Owen again.
Where's Ianto? He'd know…
Jack found him when he was on his way out of the hub. Everything was finished, the reels of film destroyed, the flask filed in the archives. There was no reason for Ianto to stay and the events of the day had left him feeling empty, in spite of the fact that they managed to save one life.
"Are you leaving?"
Ianto stopped and turned, two steps away from the rolling cog door. He looked at Jack standing in the middle of the hub, and said, "I'm on my way out, yes."
Jack looked hesitant. "I thought you might want to stay a while."
That was an uncharacteristically demure way for Jack to put it, Ianto thought. He said, "No need."
Now Jack looked hurt. He masked it well, smoothing his features before the emotion could reach his eyes. "Are you alright, Ianto?" he asked, his voice candid.
"I'm fine," Ianto insisted, feeling that he would be, soon.
Jack crossed the floor of the hub, coming towards him. He drew level with Ianto at the door, putting a hand on his shoulder. For a moment, it looked like he would speak. Then he didn't, leaning in and kissing Ianto insistently.
Ianto responded without thinking, as he was prone to do these days. He slid into Jack's embrace, bringing his own arms around Jack's body and stepping closer. After a full minute, they came apart.
"Jack, if you want me to stay, you could just ask."
Jack smiled indulgently. "I'm not asking," he said. Surprising Ianto, he continued, "If you want to stay, you're welcome to it. I was just making sure you were okay."
"I'm all right," Ianto replied, his resolve faltering slightly. "I will be."
"'Will be' is not the same as 'all right', Ianto," Jack said gently. "And it's okay to be upset about today."
Ianto wasn't sure what to reply. In fact, he all of a sudden wasn't sure he could trust his voice if he spoke, so instead he did what he was doing more and more these days; he went with his gut instinct and against his better judgement, stepping closer to Jack so their bodies were touching, and laying his head on Jack's shoulder, feeling Jack's arms come around him. Sheltered in the embrace, he breathed deeply, willing the events of the day far from his mind.
"It will be okay, Ianto," Jack said, close to his ear.
After a moment, Ianto stepped back, self-conscious, and Jack let him go reluctantly. "I know it will be okay. All we ever do is make it okay."
"Ianto," Jack said, almost melancholy.
"It is what it is, Jack," Ianto replied, suddenly reminded of the last time he'd spoken those words.
Jack's eyes flashed for a brief moment, revealing that he'd thought of the same memory. "We're not like that."
Whatever was going on, they couldn't be having that conversation tonight. Ianto could neither stay at the hub nor go home with that conversation taking place, and be comfortable tonight. Instead, he did the only thing he knew was guaranteed to distract Jack. He stepped closer, back into Jack's embrace, kissing him, hard, ignoring all the things that were left unsaid between them.
I'll talk with him…
"Coming back in? Work to do!"
"Yep." What else would he do? It was no contest; he wanted to be with Jack, and Gwen interrupting them didn't change that. He turned back to the hothouse, but stopped by the door. Looking back at Gwen, he said, making a final decision, "There's a package for you, on your desk." She looked at him suspiciously, but didn't say anything, instead she turned and headed back down. He pushed the door to the hothouse open and went back inside. Jack had taken his shirt off again, Ianto let his eyes roam freely over Jack's chest. They had unfinished business.
Jack grinned at his look. "Now, where were we?"
The memory of Gwen interrupting them still fresh in his mind, Ianto blushed slightly. Jack's grin widened when he noticed. "Don't go shy on me, Ianto."
He came over to Ianto, who was still standing by the door, grabbed hold of his shirt and yanked him close. "Too many clothes," he muttered in a low voice.
A moment later, Ianto's mouth was crushed in a plundering kiss. He gave back as good as he got, sliding his hands into Jack's neck and moving closer. Jack was impatiently yanking his dress shirt out of his slacks, and fearing for the shirt, Ianto allowed a measure of space between them again for Jack to unbutton the shirt. Somewhere in the distance, he heard the door alarm blaring. Gwen was leaving, but he didn't want to think about her right now. What he'd just done would not put him on Jack's good side, but he'd had no choice.
"Ianto," Jack snapped commandingly, suggesting he'd said Ianto's name once before.
"Huh?" Ianto replied ineloquently, distracted by the way Jack's fingers were tugging at his belt.
"Pay attention," Jack ordered. "Unless," he added with a grin, "you're still thinking about Gwen."
That was closer to the truth than Jack would know, but Ianto wasn't going there. Jack was insufferable enough already. "Thank you, but no."
Jack started kissing his neck, his mouth too busy to reply for the moment. Ianto felt rather than heard him laugh at his answer. Jack kissed his way up Ianto's jaw line and Ianto intercepted him for another searing kiss. Jack pulled away long enough to reply, "Well, if you're not thinking about Gwen, then you better be thinking about me. And what I'm going to be doing to you."
Ianto shuddered, the comment evoking all kinds of images in his head.
Jack grinned predatorily, feeling Ianto's physical reaction, and undid Ianto's belt with a swift motion. "I'm going to keep you up tonight," he said, his eyes fixed on Ianto's, gauging his reaction. "I'm going to make you forget your own name."
Ianto focused on breathing deeply, trying not forget his own name already in anticipation. Right now, of all the places in the world, where else would he want to be but in Jack's bed?
Jones. Ianto Jones.
Jack's arm came around his waist, pulling Ianto back down to the bed, and Jack shifted closer behind him. Ianto resisted, saying, "I've got to get up. I have to feed Myfanwy."
"Stay," Jack repeated, pressing a kiss to the back of Ianto's neck.
For a moment, Ianto stopped resisting, letting Jack kiss him and enjoying the contact. Lately, these were his favourite moments of the day, waking up in Jack's bed, early in the morning when the hub was still quiet, sharing time with Jack before the others came in. Jack's hand was sliding down to his hip, and Ianto stopped it before things got out of hand. Jack made a small sound of protest, licking a spot just below Ianto's left ear that he knew drove Ianto wild.
"Stop it, Jack. You don't want an irate pterodactyl on your hands," Ianto reminded him.
"If I recall correctly, she can be placated with chocolate," Jack said.
"And if I remember correctly, she took you for a spin afterward, so I'm not sure how placatable she is." Ianto sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Behind him, he felt the bed move as Jack sat up as well, a hand on his back.
"Come back to bed when you're done," Jack said, not asking.
Ianto felt a shiver of anticipation crawl up his spine, as he always did when Jack used that tone of voice. "I'll be right back. Do you want coffee?"
"Always. I never forget the first taste of your coffee."
Ianto look over his shoulder at Jack, half sitting up on the bed. "I was trying to seduce you into hiring me, " he said, remembering, smiling slightly.
Jack smiled his hundred-watt smile back. "You didn't do your homework. You would have known that seducing me with coffee wasn't the best way to go."
Ianto laughed. "It didn't matter. You hired me in the end."
"Never regretted it," Jack said, his blue eyes trained on Ianto's face, the tone of his voice signalling he was serious. Ianto smiled again, this time tinged with a little sadness. Jack sat up fully, saying, "Ianto..."
Ianto quickly reassured him. "I'm fine with things, Jack. What happened is done. I want to live in the here and now."
"Good," Jack replied, sliding a hand into Ianto's neck and leaning in for a kiss. For a moment, Ianto let go of all thoughts of feeding Myfanwy and starting the morning routine of the hub, and indulged. In Torchwood, you had to take what you could get sometimes, because you never knew when you would get another one of these stolen moments. The universe promptly affirmed the truthfulness of that thought, as above them in the hub, an alarm began to blare. With a curse, Jack let go, swinging his legs out of bed and grabbing some clothes of the floor before climbing up the ladder into his office. Ianto dressed more sedately, following close behind.
"Alien life forms," Jack said, looking up from his computer. "An abandoned factory, not far out of town."
"Anything we can handle ourselves?" Ianto asked.
Jack shook his head, meeting Ianto's eyes over the desk, professional mask back in place. "No, better call the others in."
Ianto nodded, moving toward the hub. Jack called him back. "Better put some clothes on first, Ianto."
Ianto looked down at the boxers and T-shirt that he'd thrown on in the spur of the moment. He blushed slightly, and smiled, a small, private smile. "Yep."
finis. I hope you all enjoyed this one! Please review!