TITLE: Blessed Are They
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Ianto/Lisa
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is property of the BBC.
GENRE: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, AU
SUMMARY: Ianto lit five candles in church that day. One for his Mam. One for Lisa. One for Tosh. One for Owen. And one that once he'd lit he suddenly decided the lost soul didn't need a guiding light; he already had one.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is set a year after my story "Family Matters". I don't think you need to read it to understand the story, but I think it helps in some bits to understand some of the characters reactions. Also set post "Exit Wounds".
"We were worried about you." Gwen's voice was harsh in the relative quiet of the church as she sat down on the front pew beside Ianto.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to worry you, I did say I would be back." Ianto replied softly, still watching the rows of candles at the front of the church, flickering quietly.
"That was four hours ago Ianto." Gwen replied, only half teasing as he felt her eyes on him. He blinked a couple of times, looking down at his watch as if to check for himself, but he honestly couldn't remember what time it had been when he had left the hub, never mind when he had arrived at the church.
"Are you alright?" Gwen must of realised it was a stupid question the minute it was out her mouth because she placed a hand over Ianto's, babbling on. "Jack told me, well reminded me, that it had been a year since your Mam," Gwen paused, it seemed that being a police officer and working for Torchwood and made it no less hard for her to say the words.
Ianto squeezed her hand in reassurance, for whom though he was not sure.
"We tried your phone but it was switched off."
"Battery died." Ianto replied forlornly. He had listened to it's bleeping death on the way to the church and when he had reached into his pocket to turn it off it had given it's last chirrup of life on the threshold of the church before going blank.
"Did your Mam go to church?" Gwen inquired after a long silence.
"This was her church." Ianto replied after a pause, "She used to sit where you're sitting now, every Sunday morning without fail. She used to drag me and my sisters along as well. Dad refused to go. Then we'd go home and have Sunday lunch." Ianto let out a breathy sigh and Gwen didn't know what to say. She just sat there holding his hand, pretending to study the décor of the pulpit.
"I went with her the week before she died." Ianto continued after a lengthy pause, "She kept asking me to come with her. I'd stopped going well before I went to London to work, told her I didn't believe anymore. She said that was fine, said she understood. But she asked me to come with her again when I came back, said even if I didn't believe anymore I might find some solace after what happened at Canary Wharf." He paused to catch his breath, eyes misty with unshed tears as he glanced down at the prayer mat at his feet.
"I don't know why I went with her that weekend, but I can remember the sermon." He seemed to gather himself before he continued and Gwen was worried that she would have to recall her bible knowledge. Her only knowledge of the bible was from when her and Rhys had stayed in that bloody awful hotel in Malaga and when Rhys' got sunstroke and the airport lost their bags she had been that bored stuck in the room she had started reading the bible.
"It was on Matthew 5:1-12."
Gwen racked her brains. She couldn't even vaguely remember what happened in Matthew let alone recall that particular passage. Ianto provided though.
"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Ianto paused for a moment, letting the words sink in as Gwen remembered that Ianto's Mam had died not long after everything had happened with Lisa and not long after the events in the countryside. She felt sick as her hand tightened in Ianto's.
"I cried in church that day. My Mam didn't know what to do with me." Ianto let out a half laugh, "I don't think she'd seen me cry since I'd fallen out the tree in the back garden and broken my leg when I was twelve."
Gwen could believe that. She'd only ever seen Ianto cry twice. Once when Lisa had died, great heaving sobs of despair coming from him; once when he had had a cleaver held to his throat, tears of relief and terror as Gwen clung onto him, rocking him.
"She just pulled me to my feet mid sermon and walked me out the church, not apologising to anyone, not even the vicar. She wasn't ashamed of me, she was just worried. The minute we got outside the church she sat down me down on the steps, hugged me and made me tell her everything." Ianto smiled fondly at the memory.
"I couldn't lie to my Mam, Gwen." Ianto turned to look at Gwen now, and she was smiling sadly back at him. She knew how he felt, she could still remember her wedding even though her parents didn't.
"Anyway," Ianto took a deep breath, trying to clear the melancholy spirit that was hanging about now, "I just want to do something before we leave." Ianto squeezed her hand one last time before he got up and crossed the marble floor, his footsteps echoing in the small church. He stopped in front of the candles, his eyes watering slightly through tiredness and the ache of the dim glow of the candles that lit the church.
He lit the first one with great care, watching as it flared and burned brightly; the smell of lavender invaded him, the comforting smell of hot chocolate, the warm feeling of arms encircling him, kissing it better and tucking him in at night. He felt loved without the need to do anything. He was just loved unequivocally, without question or reason.
The second one sputtered slightly before it lit, reminding him of days in the park, champagne bubbles up his nose, kissing in the rain and falling off the front doorstep. It also stirred in him things he didn't want to think about, things he had put past him. He didn't think the church had enough candles anyhow.
The third and fourth candles were lit simultaneously, one spark jumping to the next in a fit of passion. He could hear quick witted lines and amusing banter flitting about, terse "Thank you"'s and curt apologies intermingling. He tried to drown out the sound of gunshots with a cough. He felt pride and warmth swell up in him, drowned by a deep sorrow he was not willing to give up; not yet.
Gwen watched as Ianto lit the fifth candle, she could easily figure out who the other four were for but her mind strained to work out who the last one could belong to.
"Whose that for?" Gwen inquired, watching as Ianto picked up the candle, looking at it long and hard.
"No one." He replied as he blew it out and put it back on the shelf, "Shall we go?" He turned to her in one swift movement, holding out his hand towards her and forcing a smile onto his face. She watched the now smouldering candle for a moment before looking back at Ianto.
"Yeah, I should phone Jack, tell him I've found you." Gwen watched as the candlelight sparkled in Ianto's eyes for a moment, full of unshed tears and unspoken words, and she suddenly knew who that candle was for, knew why Ianto had lit it then promptly blown it out.
Jack was waiting for them outside the church, stood beside the SUV with his hands in his pockets. He didn't rush to them, didn't throw his arms around Ianto to reassure himself that Ianto was alright, he didn't even ask Ianto if he was okay.
"We thought you'd got lost." There was a teasing tone to Jack's voice as Gwen peeled her hand away from Ianto's, expecting Jack to replace her but he didn't move.
"Nope, not lost. Just misplaced myself for a bit." Ianto replied cheerily, holding Jack's gaze for a moment before moving round to the passenger seat of the SUV and climbing in.
"There's a weevil report off Cambridge Street." Jack swirled round, pulling open the drivers door. And with that the moment was over, if there had even been a moment.
"They've been doing construction down there, maybe disturbed a nest by accident." Ianto replied, all business like as Gwen blinked in confusion, climbing into the back as Jack sped off into the centre of town.
Gwen found Jack later on trying to sort through the pile of folders that was littering his desk; Ianto obviously hadn't been in there today.
"You could have said something to him." Gwen started without warning, coming into the room and sitting down on the chair on the other side of Jack's desk. Jack looked up from the report he had been engrossed in, an expectant look on his face, waiting for her to continue her tirade, but she just sat waiting.
"Like what?" Jack asked, shrugging his shoulders slightly.
Gwen let out an indignant noise. "'Are you okay?' would've been a good place to start. Maybe a hug, or that might have been pushing it for your emotional range." Gwen ground out between gritted teeth as Jack sighed, putting the files down and folding his hands over the top of them, a look of refined patience on his face as he addressed Gwen.
"He would have just have said he was fine if I had asked him outright. He always does." Jack watched as Gwen opened her mouth to protest again but Jack held a hand up to stop her. "Look Gwen, I know you're worried about him, I am as well but I'm not going to ask him about it, he'll talk about it if he wants to and I'll be there to listen, or if he just wants to cry I'll be there as well, but there is no point forcing it out of him. He's a grown man, he'll ask when he feels ready."
"Will he?" Gwen looked concerned, she had never known Ianto to want for anything, and certainly never to ask for it.
"Yes," Jack smiled encouragingly, "I know he may not seem it but Ianto Jones can be very demanding when he wants to be."
"Jack, I've not even seen him cry over Toshiko and Owen though. I'm just worried he's bottling it all up inside." Gwen leant forward in her chair so she was closer to Jack, looking at him intently, trying to convey just how worried she was about Ianto.
"He's not. Trust me." Jack met her intense gaze with one of his own. "I presume he told you something in the church today that's made you more worried about him than you already were?" Jack questioned, finally cottoning on to where all this was coming from. Gwen seemed to consider this for a long moment before replying.
"Not something he told me, something he did." She leant back in the chair again, looking down at her hands. "He lit a candle." Her gaze moved up to Jack's. "For you." She frowned, looking down at her hands again. "At least I think it was for you, he wouldn't say. He lit it and then blew it back out again. I'm just," She looked back up at Jack, searching his face for some kind of answer that was not forth coming. "Do you know he loves you?"
"Do you know I love him?" Jack replied without hesitation, finally understanding where Gwen was coming from. She was worried that Jack was stringing him along in his emotional state. That was how it had started though, raw emotions and comfort for both of them that had just been sex to start with. Jack had had a lot of time to think over the year that never was though, and he realised that what he had with Ianto, what he wanted to have with Ianto, was something he hadn't had in a very long time and he missed it. He missed Ianto.
"I didn't, I thought that," Words seemed to be failing Gwen as she floundered about in her chair like a fish out of water. "I just thought that it was sex." She whispered the last word as if she was a child, afraid her parents would hear.
Jack let out a sharp laugh, he couldn't help himself. It wasn't really any of Gwen's business what was between him and Ianto but he suspected she had been speculating for a good long while now, especially after she had interrupted them in the hothouse.
"Once upon a time it was." Jack replied after a moment, "Things changed." He didn't want to go into details but he could see Gwen needed some more reassurance on the matter. He sighed.
"Gwen, if it makes you feel any better, tonight I'm going to take him home to his flat, cook him some dinner, make him call his sister because she won't stop calling me to check he's alright, then possibly make him sit through 'Guys and Dolls' since he made me sit through 'The X-Files' movie last week."
Gwen let out a laugh, relaxing in the chair slightly.
"It does." She smiled. "I suppose I just never realised that you two were so," She seemed to struggle for the right word, "Involved."
"You're just jealous 'cause you and Rhys aren't the hot new couple on the block anymore." Jack grinned cheekily at her now the conversation had taken a lighter turn. Gwen pulled herself to her feet, laughing again.
"No, but we are still the newly weds." She flashed him a grin, heading towards his office door.
"Damn, I'll have to propose to Ianto this weekend then." Jack teased, but as Gwen looked back at him still smiling, she could see a flash of seriousness on his face, like he truly would consider it if it made Ianto happy.
"You alright love?" Rhys was looking at Gwen over the table, chewing on a mouth full of lettuce, a look of concern on his face.
"Sorry, miles away." Gwen shook herself slightly, looking back down at her nearly full plate before she took a large gulp of wine.
"Thinking about Tosh and Owen?" Rhys inquired, his words coming out carefully like he was waiting for Gwen to burst into tears at any moment.
"No," she replied, "well sort of. I was thinking about Ianto actually. I'm worried about him."
"Oh aye?" Rhys was watching her while he continued to chew on the remains of dinner.
"Yeah, he lost his Mam this time last year, and his girlfriend not long before that, and now Tosh and Owen." She glanced down at her glass, swirling the wine round it for a moment before she took another sip.
"Bloody hell, he doesn't have much luck does he." Rhys replied sadly.
"I'm just worried that he's not got anyone to talk to about it." Gwen sighed, picking at her dinner with her fork.
"He's got Jack ain't he?" Rhys was frowning, a questioning look on his face.
"Has he?" Gwen looked up at Rhys, a frown on her own features now.
"Well you should know shouldn't you," Rhys gestured towards her with his fork before he took another mouthful, "You work with them."
"I dunno, I just thought they were sleeping together at first." Gwen shrugged.
"Really? I thought they were always a couple." Rhys shrugged again.
"When did you get that impression?" Gwen's voice was full of curiosity and slightly annoyed that apparently even Rhys knew there was more to Jack and Ianto than just shagging.
"Ianto was asking me at the wedding if I knew anyone that had spare tickets to the Wales Scotland game at the weekend. He said Jack had never been to the rugby, wanted to rectify it." Rhys seemed to consider this for a moment as he put his fork down on his plate. "Bloody outrage if you ask me. Imagine living in Cardiff all this time and never once going to the rugby. He was telling me the other week that he didn't even manage to teach Jack the basic rules, was too busy staring at Gavin Henson's arse for most of the match." Rhys let out a chuckle of laughter as he looked over at his wife who was just blinking back at him.
"When did you see Ianto last week?" She questioned him, like she was sure all three men in her life were conspiring against her.
"He was in the pub when me, Daff and Banana went to watch the football. Met him at the bar."
"Ianto was in the pub?" Gwen's eyebrows had disappeared from sight into her fringe.
Rhys burst into laughter, seeming to find this highly amusing.
"Are you sure you work with those two love?"
Gwen was starting to doubt that she actually did work with them. Jack and Ianto were in a relationship it seemed, an actual functional working relationship. And they loved each other.
"Here." Jack handed Ianto a full glass of wine before he sat down beside him on the sofa.
"Thanks." Ianto smiled wanly at Jack, taking a large gulp from the glass before resting it on his knee. He curled and uncurled his toes, feeling the softness of the rug beneath his bare feet. He sighed, relaxing back into the sofa, mirroring Jack's reclined position before his head slipped sideways so it was leaning on Jack's shoulder. Jack turned and planted a kiss in Ianto's hair, moving an arm round him to pull him closer.
"Did you get Ria?" Jack questioned, taking a sip of his own wine as he stared at the muted television, it was on a soap of some kind, a couple arguing over something.
"Yeah, she was just putting Finn to bed. She wants me to go to Sunday lunch this weekend." Ianto sighed.
"I'll come with you if you want." Jack replied without hesitation, a hand in Ianto's hair now, stroking it.
"I'm not going Jack, I don't want to go, and I'm not going to be guilt tripped into it by my sister." Ianto's tone was indignant, but Jack could tell there were tears in his eyes now.
"Hey, no one is forcing you." Jack placed another kiss in Ianto's hair, "No one is forcing you to do anything you don't want to do."
Ianto let out a tired breath, pulling his feet up onto the sofa and leaning further into Jack.
"Thanks Jack." Ianto whispered into Jack's shoulder.
"For just," Ianto sighed again. "For just being you."
Jack laughed, "I don't think that merits a thank you Ianto, in fact I've known people to curse me for just being me."
"Well they obviously don't see this side of you." Ianto replied, poking Jack in the side of the ribs.
"Don't you start going around telling people I'm soft." Jack's voice was full of mock indignation as Ianto let out a chuckle.
"I lit a candle for you today." Ianto said after a long moment in which the credits for Eastenders rolled and adverts for next weeks storyline started flashing up on screen. Jack didn't say anything, just waited for Ianto to continue.
"I presume Gwen told you." Ianto tilted his head slightly so he could see Jack.
"She guessed that it was for me, and then she went off on a tangent asking if I knew that you loved me."
"What did you say?" Jack didn't miss the hint of curiosity in Ianto's voice.
"I asked her if she knew that I loved you." Jack paused, "Then there was a lot of flailing about for words on her part. She had the distinct impression I was only after you for your body." Jack smiled to himself. "Although,"
Ianto's hand smacked him lightly in the shoulder and Jack let out a chuckle.
"I think she was just worried I was stringing you along with my charm."
"She wasn't worried I was stringing you along?" Ianto teased.
"I'm sure she'll get to that thought next week when she's stopped worrying about you and moved on to me." Jack replied, trying to sound serious. Ianto huffed out a laugh.
"So you were saying about lighting a candle for me? Didn't realise I was dead." Jack said, only half teasing.
"Not at the moment." Ianto replied, too quickly. "But you do die, too many times Jack, and I worry. I worry that one time you're not going to find your way back out of the darkness."
"But I do Ianto," Jack nuzzled Ianto's hair, pulling Ianto close to him again. "I always find my way back to you. I've already got my light in the dark."
Ianto shifted on the sofa so that he was looking up at Jack, tears sparkling in his doe eyes before he was reaching up to plant a kiss firmly on his lovers lips.
"That's why I blew it out."