AN: Just a short angst piece, because it's what I felt like writing. Reviews as always are loved! Xx
The room was almost silent, eerily so. In fact, you could most likely hear a pin drop. Or in this case, a zip being pulled up and a man clearing his throat awkwardly.
"So, coffee, sir?"
Jack noticeably flinched at the use of 'sir'. Ianto had gradually slipped back to niceties in these past few days, and Jack hated that they were reverting back to their old ways. Dropping their trousers, relieving the stresses of the day, propped over the desk as the room is peppered with throaty moans and guttural cries, before tidying themselves up, and reverting back to their 'employer-employee' relationship.
Jack had already lost two valued members of his team, his friends. He didn't want to lose another.
"Um, no, actually. Can we talk instead?"
Ianto eyed him suspiciously. He could see the blatant hurt in Jack's eyes. The confusion and the despair. All because of what Ianto was doing. He knew he was distancing himself, and he knew it hurt Jack. It hurt them both, but he couldn't help it. His world was gradually deteriorating, and from past experiences he knew it only got worse. If he could stop himself from falling any further in love with Jack, maybe it wouldn't be as devastating when it ended. As devastating as it was with Lisa.
But Ianto knew he had fallen too far this time. It was too late, so he wanted to hurt Jack. Because maybe then Jack would hate him as much as he hated himself.
Only a year ago his girlfriend had died. The woman he had sacrificed everything for, and he was already in another relationship. What kind of person was he?
"Talk? What about?"
Jack lifted his eyes from their spot fixating on the thread hanging from his shirt button, meeting Ianto's stormy blue eyes and holding his gaze. He knew what Ianto was up to. He had used the same tactics himself many times. Hurt the person you love, so it doesn't scar you both as much in the long run.
But he didn't understand why Ianto was doing it.
"What's changed, Ianto?"
Ianto rest both hands on the cold, smooth surface of the old desk. His blunt nails scraping along the polished wood as he clenched his eyes shut and took a deep breath.
"I don't love you anymore, Jack."
They both knew he was lying. It was the way his voice shook, and the fact that he didn't raise his eyes. The trembling of his fingers as he continued running patterns on desk, and the fact that Jack knew Ianto. He knew when he was lying. When he was crawling back into his shell. When he was confident, or when he just felt like curling into a ball and forgetting all the realities of a life with Torchwood.
He knew every aspect of Ianto's personality, and that's why he knew exactly how to react. Two can play at this game.
"I don't think I've ever loved you. I cared for you very much, but never love.
Jack hated himself for being the one to cause the look of absolute dejection that clouded the young Welshman's face and darkened his features. But he knew that he had to keep hurting Ianto if he wanted him to see exactly what he was doing to Jack. To them.
"I thought…After you came back…But…I'll just go."
Jack reached out a hand to the younger man, his fingers splaying across the fabric of the deep red shirt covering his bicep. The jolt of electricity was felt by both, and Ianto turned to his leader. His Captain. His friend. His lover. His eyes were shining in the dim light of the office, the unshed tears clouding his vision as Jack spoke.
"I didn't mean it. I just wanted you to feel the way I've been feeling. I miss you, Ianto."
"I've not been anywhere."
"You haven't been here."
Jack's hand travelled down Ianto's arm, reaching his hand where he entwined their fingers. Ianto looked down at their joined hands, and back up to Jack. He didn't know what to say. This was exactly what he was trying to avoid - looking into the captivating eyes and being overcome with an emotion that he couldn't bring himself to put a name to.
As their lips met, Ianto's head swam with images of Lisa, cold and lifeless as she lay on a bed of cold, hard steel, and he felt sick. How could he do this to her, when he had promised so much. Especially on the anniversary of her death.
He pulled back, attempting to slip his hand from Jack's grasp, but to avail. The older man looked straight into his eyes. Into his very soul, and it unnerved Ianto to no end that Jack could see right through him. Every defence mechanism Ianto had taken years to master was knocked down with one look from Jack.
"Don't you dare even think about leaving me now, Ianto Jones."
"But, I just can't Jack. Lisa…Today was…"
Jack pulled Ianto to him, the Welshman resisting for a few seconds before submitting to the hold, the calming hands running through his hair and up and down his back. The sound of Jack's breathing against his ear, and the steady beating of his heart as they stood impossibly close together were like music to his ears and he relished the fact that whilst they were surrounded with death and destruction, they were still here. Together.
"I know. How could I forget?"
Jack could feel the hot, wet patch forming on his shirt and soaking through the fabric, and he realised he didn't care. How many shirts had he ruined from numerous deaths, from fighting aliens or even from 'other activities'? So what were a few tears.
"I miss her, Jack. So much. And when Tosh and Owen…It just reminded me."
"I know you do. And I know I may not be much of a replacement, but I'm here now. And despite what I said earlier, I do love you. Just not when you're distant."
"I love you too. And don't ever think of yourself as a replacement. You're an entirely different person, and you mean as much, if not more, to me as Lisa did."
They stood like that for a few minutes, as the room once again descended into silence. The faint cry of Myfanway could be heard as she soared around the hub, and the only other noise was the muted hum of Jack's computer. They held onto each other, content in the other's warmth. But after not long, Jack could feel Ianto yawn against his chest, and the younger man relax further into his arms.
"Let's go to bed."