AN : This popped in to my head as I was on the bus today, so I thought I might as well write it down and see what people thought. Anyway, here we go…
The faded photograph shook in his grip as a single tear fell on to the surface . Ianto knew he shouldn't but he allowed his mind to wonder. Back to that horrible day that would forever be etched onto his memory.
He swore blind that if his mother straightened his tie once more he may have screamed at her. Was that really all she could think about? Keeping up appearances? A day like today, and all she could think about was achieving a perfect knot in her teenage son's dark tie?
When she stood back, he offered her a sympathetic smile, despite the voice inside of him screaming that he had lost someone important as well. He had spent the last five days and 13 hours, precisely, staring blankly in to the distance, a feeling of uncontrollable numb creeping over him, infecting his bones and poisoning his bloodstream to a point where he thought he would be better off joining his beloved father.
He examined the rows of people, all turned out in black, one of his dad's least favourite colours, "Only dull people where such a dull colour." He could just imagine the look on the man's face if he could see the gathering. This should be a celebration of the jolly, colourful man, his work and all he did for his family. Instead it was a solemn occasion, hardly a soul uttering a sound, aside from a quiet clearing of a throat, and sniffing as the tears continued to fall from his mother's red-rimmed eyes. His dad would laugh at the sight, tell them all to 'Stop being such arseholes and get on with it.' But that was his dad. Everything could be turned into a positive experience, a failure turned into a roaring success, a death turned into a celebration of life.
As he rose slowly to his feet, the black polished shoes scuffing along the worn, old carpet, the tattered old thing barely covering the church floorboards, he couldn't help but wonder what he would think when looking back on this day? How ridiculous he looked in his stiff, ill fitting suit? How ridiculous everyone else looked in their drab clothing? Or maybe it would be the constant feeling, the gnawing at his insides that it should be him, cold and lifeless in the simple wooden coffin.
Now he was older, Ianto Jones, Torchwood Three Employee, lover of a 51st century immortal, and chasing aliens on a daily basis for a living, he still couldn't describe that feeling as he stood in front of a gathering of people and really let the pent up emotions of the previous days out in the open. He knew it was almost as intense a feeling as when he had thought Jack was dead for good. Almost. And that one word, that one simple yet complex little word, made him hate himself. He also knew it was a more intense feeling than that of the day he finally realised that his Lisa was gone. And he didn't know how to feel about that.
But maybe he didn't have to understand. Their were many feelings he had no name for. Like that first moment of total ecstasy when Jack's lips meet his. Or the unsettling emotion that crept through his entire body when watching Toshiko's goodbye video. Or the feeling of complete pride, but so much stronger, when Jack takes his hand when walking along the street.
There was a long list of unidentified emotions floating about Ianto Jones head, but when Jack joined him on the sofa in his flat, carefully taking the photo from his trembling hands, wiping away his salty tears with the pad of his thumb, and pulled the young Welshman against him, not saying a word just cradling him and letting him grieve, he knew exactly the name to put to the emotion that seeped through his veins and sent a jolt through his body.
A kind of love that he had never experienced before, a completely different sub-category of the all consuming feeling.
"Do you want to talk?"
Ianto nodded against Jack's chest, the older man's hand running through his hair, before he leant down and placed a kiss on the crown of his head, waiting patiently for him to begin.
"Don't leave me Jack. Don't ever leave me. Too many people have gone. I don't need another to leave. Please."
"I won't. I promise."
A few moments of quiet, then Ianto shifted position, sitting up straighter and draping his legs over Jack's lap. That lost little boy look was still about him, but he looked some what at peace. Calmer.
"You would have liked him. He was a great man. I always remember him being the first one to scrutinise any girls I brought home, either not pretty enough, not enough personality, not genuine enough. If there was one imperfection, he would find it."
Jack chuckled, reaching for Ianto's hand, and resting their entwined fingers on his lap.
"Of course, he wouldn't have been able to find anything wrong with you."
"I can think of a few things. One big one in particular."
Ianto smiled, a small, half smile, barely reaching his eyes as he looked straight at Jack. It was one of Jack's favourite things about Ianto, his impeccable eye contact, the way he made sure that you knew he was addressing you when he was talking.
"Yeah, if only more people had that one big problem."