Title: Never The Same Again
Chapter: 1/17
Fandom: Torchwood
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, mentions of Jack/OMC (Past), Martha/Tom, Gwen/Rhys
Rating: FRAO
Summary: In the wake of Ianto's admission, Jack discovers that their lives are never going to be the same again...
Warning: Not advisable for Gwen fans.
Spoilers: All of Torchwood season 2 (including Exit Wounds 2x13).
Author's note: This is the sequel to Memories Are Made Of This. Did you really think I was going to leave it there?

x

Wind whipped violently around him as he gazed up at the night sky and the stars above. He was cold, his hands were actually red raw from the temperature; but being so high off the ground and that much closer to the galaxies he had once spent his time exploring, made him feel at ease.

Until his brain reminded him of why he had been driven to the roof in the first place.

During the past year – the year that never was – Jack thought he had reached a point in his life where he was ready to admit to the world that he was ready for commitment. He was ready to settle down with Ianto and make things official.

In the wake of Ianto's announcement, a whole swarm of emotions had darted through Jack's mind. Ranging from horror right through to fear in the time it took for him to blink. There were so many questions running around his head; so many new terrors drawn up in his mind's eye.

Rain began to fall from the sky, but Jack didn't move from his spot. After all he had been through during his time with Saxon, a little water wouldn't hurt him.

Even thoughts of Saxon brought a fresh wave of anger and humiliation to Jack's being. He refused to think of the crazy Time Lord as 'the Master'; the word itself carried connotations that Jack wasn't willing to even begin to consider.

So many things had been done to him in the past year that he wished he could take a pill to forget. He had been killed so many times; humiliated in front of the Doctor more times than he wished to recall. Chained up and bound in front of the aged Time Lord, Jack had been murdered time and time again, purely to see the look of anguish on the Doctor's face as he repeatedly lost his companion, only to have him return to Hell a few moments later.

If he could afford to take the Retcon, Jack would happily take the whole jar. For the past hundred and fifty years, Jack wished he could erase the memory of his past deeds. With Retcon he knew he could do that; he also knew that without his knowledge of different aliens species and technology, he was a danger to the people he cared about most.

Part of Jack wished the Doctor hadn't brought him back at all. If he had stayed travelling, he wouldn't have had to come back and face the angry, betrayed looks from his team.

The more sensible side of him, knew that he belonged in Cardiff, with Torchwood and especially with Ianto.

x

The spray from the shower was hot and painful as the water pelted down against his back. But Ianto didn't care about the pain he was feeling, or how sore his flesh was going to be pretty soon. The dull ache he had been feeling in the pit of his stomach since Jack left with the Doctor, had been increasing in intensity and it had reached a point when he couldn't stand it anymore that he realised what he was feeling. Having Jack back made the feeling disappear slightly, although after the other man's hasty exit, the feeling had been replaced by fear and dread.

Eventually the water pressure became too much and Ianto blindly reached out and pressed the power button; shutting the shower off completely.

It took a while for him to adjust to the steamy bathroom after having his eyes closed for so long, but when he did, he opened the shower door and carefully stepped onto the mat lying on the floor. The towel felt rough against his skin and he vaguely made a mental note that he needed to buy some more fabric softener before he did the washing next.

After fixing the towel securely around his waist, Ianto opened the door, shivering at the change in temperature as he stepped into the hallway; compared to the sauna-like humidity of the bathroom, the rest of the apartment was almost freezing.

Ianto was almost at the bedroom door when he heard a key in the door and the lock click open. He turned slightly and watched in silence as the door slowly opened; he wasn't alarmed, only one person had a key to the apartment, so it couldn't really be any one else.

Jack entered the apartment, his body language cautious and tentative. After their brief conversation earlier, followed by Jack's rash exit, he wasn't entirely sure how welcomed his presence would be.

The younger Time Agent's gaze met Jack's as he stated, "You came back, then."

TBC