Ianto Jones paced in front of the door to Jack Harkness' office, careful not to spill the contents of the mug of coffee in his hand. He had to phrase his question just right, or else he would receive an enigmatic answer as he always did. He would get a straight answer out of Jack one day. That day just seemed to have been avoiding Ianto for months. He raised his hand and knocked lightly on the door.

"Come in."

As Ianto opened the door and entered the office, Jack glanced up from the papers he was reading and grinned. "Hello, Ianto."

"Good morning, sir." Ianto set the cup of extra strong coffee before Jack. "I thought you might like something to help you wake up, sir." The glint in Jack's eyes revealed that he was not thinking about the coffee as he nodded. "Uh, sir…" Ianto coughed. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Always," Jack said, taking a sip of coffee. "Ooh, hot!" he exclaimed.

"And will you promise to give me a straight answer?"

Jack looked up at him. "No." Ianto sighed. He opened his mouth to speak, but Jack held up a hand. "Is this about death again?" Ianto moistened his lips and remained silent. "Ianto, I've given you my answer before, but you can choose to believe what you want: heaven, hell, reincarnation, nothingness…"

"That wasn't going to be my question," Ianto interrupted quietly.

Jack blinked. "Oh. Then what?"

Ianto sat down on Jack's desk. "Dying. What's it like?" Jack stared at Ianto unblinkingly. "How does it feel? What do you see?" Jack said nothing. "Does your life flash before your eyes? Do you see a white light? Do you know that you're dying? Does it hurt?"

"I think that this is more than one question," Jack said with a small grin.

"Questions that you seem to be avoiding, sir."

Jack eyed Ianto silently. "You really want to know?" he asked after a moment. Ianto nodded. Jack leaned forward slightly, and Ianto did the same. "We aren't supposed to know," Jack said, his voice low. He leaned back in his chair as Ianto fought the urge to roll his eyes.

"You know."

"True," Jack said under his breath. "But that doesn't mean that I'm supposed to tell you."


"You'll find out one day, Ianto," Jack said, standing and looking down at Ianto as he took Ianto's face gently in his hands. "But I hope that day doesn't come for a long time." Jack lowered his head, closing his eyes as he kissed Ianto.

As Jack pulled away, Ianto whispered, "I'll get a straight answer from you one day, Jack."

Jack chuckled. "Unlikely." Ianto heard the sound of the doors to the Hub opening as another of their team arrived for work. Jack sat down at his desk and took a sip of coffee as Ianto stood to leave. Ianto glanced back at Jack as he left.

"One day, Jack." Ianto straightened his tie. "One day."