Ianto sank onto the sofa in Jack's office and rubbed the heels of his hands into his eyes. He was worried, and scared and nervous; all words for the same thing but meaning very different things. Over the last few months as he'd got to know Jack he'd discovered the depths of pain in his memories. Many times in the dead of night he'd held Jack through floods of agony, wiping away the tears and the pain with his presence, just as Jack had done for him
Now he had seen his best friend, his other best friend, descend into the same dark depths of despair. Jane's memories had come crashing back, because she'd come to help him; that bloody file. He stood and swung himself down into Jack's bunker for the third time since he'd started at Torchwood, and the first time he'd been down there without Jack. This was Jack's private place, his home for the last eight years, until he'd moved in with Ianto. And when Ianto was gone, he would probably come back here. The young man froze in the middle of the room, aware of just how intimate this was, even when Jack was upstairs holding his ex-girlfriend. He wasn't here, but he was.
He took the opportunity to look around the small room and wondered how Jack had coped in here over the years. Jack was larger than life, he would fill this room three times over with his personality, but there was little in the room to indicate that anyone had used it recently, let alone that someone had lived here for eight years; someone who had already lived over a hundred years by that point. There was nothing apart from a book and a couple of alien artefacts on the bedside table. Sighing, he perched on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands and allowed the Captain's presence to swirl around him, half surprised at just how comforting he found it. The small room smelt of him, all fifty-first century pheromones and coffee, cotton and wool. Jack just smelt… right. He'd smelt it properly for the first time in that warehouse when they caught Myfanwy, when he hadn't believed him about the fifty-first century pheromones, and then lying on top of each other, feeling the evidence of Jack's attraction to him… Was that why he'd hired him, because he looked good in a suit?
Did it matter? Really? Jack's reasons for hiring him couldn't have been worse than Ianto's reasons for wanting the job, now he couldn't imagine life without Torchwood Cardiff, without Jack…
But Jack had to face life without him, an eternity of love and loss, and Ianto was just one more. He didn't want to leave him, not ever.
A claxon blared in the Hub and he was upright and halfway up the ladder before his brain had kicked in. Torchwood had that effect, it wired your impulses straight to your reactions without having to bother with thought; he'd once managed to track down and capture a Weevil with Owen whilst drawing up a shopping list of things he had to get on the way home in his mind. Still, he mused as his lover rested a hand on his waist and stood slightly closer than was professional, it wasn't like it didn't have its perks.
"What have we got Ianto?" Jack asked, his eyes flicking between various readouts, maps and reports.
"Alien sighting down on Riverside, sounds like a blowfish."
"Peddling dope." He chuckled, "Atraxet again?"
"Probably." Jack groaned, "I've got it."
"Have you now?" Ianto shot him a glare, "You're not going alone."
"Ianto, we can't…"
"The regulations state that at least two Torchwood operatives must attend every sighting, no one's allowed out alone, not even you. Besides, I've got the SUV keys and you wanted to show Jay life at the pointy end." As Jack showed continued reluctance he rolled his eyes and went to the printer to get the reports, "Sorry sir, the keys are on my desk."
"You are impossible." Jack growled, "Come on then, but I'm driving. It's only Atraxet after all, you up for this Jay?"
The young woman raised an eyebrow, "Does a bear shit in the woods? By the way, you can consider the keys ya-woinked."
Ianto helped him to put his coat on and they followed her to the cog door, "You can't ya-woink the keys! You can't even drive."
"Can too, and I'm insured on all Torchwood owned vehicles, so nuh. And I have to say, as your boss, Ianto has a very good point, you shouldn't be responding to anything on your own."
"It hasn't killed me yet. Why do I get the feeling you two are ganging up on me?"
Ianot grinned as he pulled the back door of the SUV open and got in, "That would be because we are. And we are the first response team for the day, it's our job to come out here with you."
"It's only Atraxet!"
Jay smirked at him as she pulled away and Ianto prodded him in the back of the head, "Yes, and I remember what happened last time you tried to bust him."
The Captain shot a glare over the back of the seat, "Are you just doing this because we're in a relationship, or just 'cos the others aren't here?"
"Just because the others aren't here. Gwen's much better at bollocking you than I am." He replied with a straight face, "The police are round there, do you want me to get rid of them?"
Jack's brain took a second to catch up with the conversation change and resigned himself to professionalism, which was what he wanted. Really it was, but… OK, facing the facts, he'd only been with Ianto properly for one night and he was worried. Worried about the dangers the job presented, even if it was only bloody Atraxet. He'd get used to it, given time.
They pulled up in a quiet car park in Riverside and piled out, "You armed Jazz, sorry Jay?"
"Jazz is OK Jack, I'm back. Whether I want to be or not I think. And yes, always these days." She pulled a gun from her jacket and winked at him
"Yeah, well I had to take care of myself after you died, didn't I? No trigger happy American air force captain to save me." She smiled to take the sting out of her words, "Not that I ever really needed it…"
He stuck his tongue out and glared at her, "He wouldn't be impressed, you were the sweet innocent one."
"With a right hook that could lay out a Sontaran…"
"You never met a Sontaran, did you?" there was worry in his tone
"I'm still alive aren't I?" she nudged Ianto in the ribs and peered over his shoulder at his scanner, "Where are we going?"
He coughed, and looked down the street, "Down that way last sighting, probably in his usual spot, sir?"
Jack blinked and followed his gaze, slipping his Bluetooth into place, "I suspect so, Bluetooth activated?"
"I'm good." Ianto confirmed
"Yarp." Jazz grinned, "Let's prod buttock."
"Yeah Pratchett!" Ianto laughed and cocked his gun, "What's he got to say for himself this time I wonder."
Jack led the way down the brightly lit alley into a central court. In the shadows under a broken light stood a group of teenagers and their target. "Hey, Atraxet! Not impressed." The teenagers turned to study them, equally unimpressed, but the alien broke and ran for one of the other exits. "Oh great!"
They raced after him, ignoring insults and cat calls from the teenagers as they took off. Torchwood spent an awful lot of time running, but still he was too fast for them, gaining ahead of them every second. "Jack?" Jazz asked for permission
"Go." He gasped, slowing up and grabbing Ianto's hand to slow him too. Jazz on the other hand lengthened her stride and sped up, gaining on the blowfish with every stride until they disappeared around the corner. "Bloody hell that girl's got legs."
"Good legs." Ianto commented with a smile, "And don't think I didn't see you looking."
"Yeah, well…" a yell from around the corner got their attention back on the task in hand, "We should…"
They got there to find Jazz glaring at Atraxet, who was handcuffed to a lamp post and struggling to get loose. "Nice of you to join us gents." She smirked, "You're getting slow in your old age Jack. And stop struggling! It's not going to happen."
Jack shook his head and looked askance at the handcuffs, "Do I want to know where you got those?"
"Oh you know me, I always know where to find a set of handcuffs."
Ianto clapped a hand to her shoulder and laughed, "Why do I get the feeling that you've chained him up in some inappropriate places?"
Atraxet snarled at her, but there was no malice in it, "Oh I should have known, you're the Captain's bird. What do you want with me Captain?"
Jack folded his arms, "You know, I'd quite like you to keep your head down and stop selling drugs, especially the drugs bit. You are aware that the existence of aliens is still a secret, right?"
"They're just my mates, they know about me."
"They shouldn't, it's a security risk. We need to wipe their memories."
The alien looked at him with desperation in his eyes, "Oh don't do that, please? They like me, no one else does."
"Well you keep putting the security of the community in danger! It's not the best way to make people like you."
"You keep shooting us!" the alien shot back, but the fight had gone out of him. This had happened a few times to often for him to bother
"Only if I have to. Ianto, will you go for the SUV? I think Atraxet's going to be spending a night with Janet."
When Ianto nodded silently and went back the way they'd come, Atraxet rolled his eyes, "Call me Rax Captain, everyone else does. So do I get to enjoy a night of your delightful company again?"
"Nope," Jack grinned, "I get to enjoy a night of Ianto's delightful company, and possibly Jasmine's if she's coming back with us tonight." Jazz smiled at him and he winked at her, "Oh and for the record, this is Jasmine, the head of Torchwood. And she's not my bird, Ianto is."
The SUV pulled up alongside them with perfect timing and Ianto got out to glare at the Blowfish, his hands on his hips, "Are you going to behave yourself or do we have to put you in the boot like a Weevil?"
"You're kidding right?" he leered, "Pretty girl's not as off limits as I thought, I'll behave… To an extent."
"Oh great." She groaned, unlocking him and shoving him into the back seat before cuffing him to the headrest, "I get to be letched at by a pervy alien, again."
"You love it really." Jack called across to her as she closed the door, earning him a kick when she got close enough
"Just shut up and drive, and stop flirting with me in front of your boyfriend. It's making him laugh."
An hour and a half later, with Rax safely locked in the cells for the night, they were all sitting in the table in Ianto's kitchen, drinking coffee and eating ice cream from the tub. Both men were watching Jasmine carefully, and she seemed to be carefully oblivious.
"How are you doing Jazz?" Jack asked gently
She sucked the ice cream off her spoon and refused to meet his eyes, "I'm coping. Mainly by suppressing it, I admit, but it seems to be working."
He covered her spoonless hand with his own, "If you suppress them, they'll only come back to bite you in the butt."
She turned her hand over to squeeze his gently, "I'm not getting rid of them, just not thinking about them. There's so much there that I don't want to… That I want to move past. Torchwood's given me that opportunity, a chance to start again with a new life. I just want to put the past behind me and concentrate on now."
"Your family think you're dead. I managed to get into the Leaky Cauldron, arranged to meet them there. I couldn't…" he swallowed, tears in his eyes, "I couldn't show them any photos of you, I only had one with me when we left the TARDIS that last time, and that was destroyed sixty years ago now. But they were pleased to hear of what you'd been up to. You'd only been gone a day when I saw them…"
"I should tell them I'm OK."
"Yeah, you should, they'll be glad to know you're safe." He sighed and locked eyes with Ianto, who was looking uncomfortable, "What are your plans then?"
"Erm… dunno. File stuff I suppose." She sighed, "I should probably go home via Scotland, which will be a bit of a round about trip. Sooner rather than later too…" she grunted, "Too much to think about. But it's time I got home really, my work here is done."
"I thought you were her to archive? We've barely started." Ianto raised an eyebrow
"Whatever gave you that idea?" she asked in feigned shock, "My sole purpose in coming here was to hook you two up. Now I've got you two sorted I can set to work on Alicia and the cute UNIT guard who always asks to be put on duty at the tower."
"You came here to get us together?" the young man asked in shock
"Oh yeah, if I'd wanted to do filing I could have stayed in London."
"You're incorrigible." He shook his head, "How long will you stay then?"
She looked at her watch, "I'll go now, if I do that then I can catch up on the paperwork and catch the morning train up to Hogsmead."
"Are you sure?" he stammered out, surprised but not overly upset by it; having his boyfriend's ex around wasn't great for the start of a relationship, even if she was his best friend.
"Yeah, I'm sure." She smiled at him and stood up, "Jack, thank you. I won't forget you again, I promise. And I dare say I'll be back before long, chasing some file or another."
"You don't have to go." Ianto whispered, pulling her into a hug, suddenly reluctant to see her leave
"Yeah I do, I've got a lot of catching up to do, a whole identity to recreate. Besides, you two need to get to know each other without a house guest. Take care of him Ianto."
"I will, take care of yourself, OK? Call me if you need someone to talk to."
"Thanks." She turned to Jack and hugged him too, "Look after him. And I'll see you around."
They went to the door to wave her off. Jack slid his arms around Ianto's waist from behind and gave up trying to figure out the chain of events that had led them here, it was too bizarre and fantastical. As the roar of her Jasmine's bike faded into the distance he felt Ianto turn in his arms. The young man studied him carefully for a moment before leaning in to capture his lips gently; their hands traced sensuous paths down their bodies and then Ianto's slid underneath his undershirt and he gasped into his mouth at the sudden blaze of heat where the young man's hands touched his bare skin. This was all the opportunity Ianto needed to deepen the kiss, his tongue slipping into Jack's mouth to claim him.
Before very long, Jack was aching with need, and he could tell by his tension and the way his lover clung to him that Ianto was in the same state as he was. He lowered the pace slightly by trailing kisses along Ianto's jaw across to his ear, "Take me to bed?" he whispered
The Welshman looked slightly taken aback by his submission, but made no comment as he led Jack up to their room and pushed him gently onto the bed, kneeling beside him to kiss him back into the pillows.
Some time later, Jack lay on Ianto's chest, listening to his heartbeat as it slowed to its normal rate. He felt sleep dragging him away and relaxed, secure in Ianto's arms. "You know," he whispered, not really knowing why he was speaking or what he was saying, "immortality has its advantages."
The young Welshman's accent was even thicker this close to sleep, "Like what?"
Author's note: The End
Thanks everyone who's reviewed, and sorry it's been a bit rambling and helter-skelter towards the end, I blame Jack and Ianto.
Hopefully my updates will be much quicker for my next story... whatever that may be, as I'm trying to get my word count up to 4000 for NaNoWriMo, anyone else doing it this year?
If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it's a challenge to write a novel of 50000 words in one month. Great fun!