TITLE: Love You Anyway
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
RATING: R (for language)
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is property of the BBC.
GENRE: Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Fluff
SUMMARY: Ianto finds it unbelievably hard to love Jack. Jack also finds it unbelievably hard to love Ianto. The problem is neither of them can walk away, and neither of them can stop loving each other.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is a pick-me-up fic for all the wonderful people on my flist that are having a hard time at the moment. You know who you guys are and I love you all. *squishes* Although may I say that it's not cracky or entirely happy... whoops?!

Day After Jack Returns

"What do you want from me?" Jack almost pleaded as he continued to watch Ianto pacing up and down his office. Jack had known somehow that when he came back from the 'Year That Never Was' Ianto wouldn't just be waiting for him. But here he was, willing to let Jack Harkness back into his life, back into his heart, and Jack vowed that this time he would do things right.

"What do I want from you?" Ianto repeated, as he wheeled round to regard Jack, an incredulous laugh escaping his lips as he gratefully stopped his pacing for a moment. He gave Jack a contemptuous look.

"Yes, Ianto," Jack answered straight-faced, regarding him seriously. "What do you want from me?" Jack paused, waiting for Ianto to answer, but he didn't look like he was thinking about it, in fact Jack wasn't sure Ianto was thinking at all.

"I would like an explanation," Ianto paused just long enough for Jack to open his mouth, forming an excuse. "But we both know that's not going to happen."

Ianto had hated the way Jack had left him dangling like that after that kiss in front of the team. He couldn't have made it more clear to them unless he had pissed on Ianto's leg. He watched Jack as the wheels turned and Ianto was already sighing before Jack even opened his mouth. If Ianto had a penny for every time he wished he knew what was going on in Jack's head he'd be able to refurbish the Millennium Stadium.

"I can't," Jack sighed. "Not now. Not yet." Jack looked up at Ianto, giving him a meaningful look. Someday he hoped that he could share everything with Ianto, but today wasn't that day.

"What else?" Jack asked again, continuing to watch Ianto. "Think of me as Santa if it helps." Jack continued, trying to lighten the situation. It didn't help, in fact if anything it made things worse.

"Are you being serious?" Ianto scoffed, eyebrows shooting up into his hairline.

"I couldn't be more serious. I've been away, and I want to do this right, so I want to know what you want from me," Jack repeated. Ianto let out another hysterical laugh that was more a cough.

"You can't just," Ianto paused, throwing his hands up in frustration before he resumed his pacing.

"Why not?" Jack asked calmly. "I'm asking you what you want from me Ianto."

Ianto closed his eyes, mentally counting backwards from ten but all he could see were images of Jack's naked body writhing beneath him, causing him to bite his lip in frustration.

"You're impossible."

Ianto turned on his heel and left Jack's office. Jack blinked in confusion as he watched Ianto's retreating back for a moment before he looked down at the floor in front of him.

He glanced back up when he heard footsteps coming back towards his office and he really hoped it wasn't Gwen come to have words. He was surprised to see Ianto returning though, purpose in his stride as he came in the office, crossing over to Jack and pulling him up from the desk by the front of his shirt. Ianto's mouth pressed firmly against Jack's lips, a harshness as his tongue sought entry into Jack's mouth that told him Ianto was still angry, still frustrated. But there was tenderness in his whispered words.

"I don't want anything from you. I just want you."

Day After Tosh and Owen... Leave

"You asked me once what I wanted from you Jack," Ianto said, tears in his eyes as he watched his lover, friend, partner? sitting hunched over his desk, Tosh and Owen's death certificate's in his hands that he was signing.

"I just wanted you to let me in," Ianto said softly. He waited a moment, hoping Jack would say something, but he didn't even look up from the papers in his hands.

Ianto turned from Jack's office, leaving him to wallow in his grief. Ianto picked up his coat and left to do the same in the comfort of his own home.

It was a couple hours later when Jack let himself into Ianto's flat without knocking. He found the young man sat at his kitchen table, a bottle of whisky open on the top, a half drunk tumbler cradled in his hands.

"I didn't give you a key," Ianto said softly, without looking up to check if it was in actual fact Jack who had let himself into the flat and not some crazed murderer. At the moment though Ianto found he didn't much care.

"You kinda did," Jack replied just as quietly, coming round the table to sit opposite Ianto, giving him a meaningful look.

"Fuck, Jack, why don't you just say what you're thinking instead of giving me meaningful looks or lacing it with innuendo? It won't fucking kill you to just come out and say what's on your mind." Ianto all but yelled, throwing back the remainder of the tumbler of whisky. "It drives me crazy," he whispered harshly before he refilled his glass.

There were tears prickling at the corner of Ianto's eyes as he continued to watch Jack, willing him to say something, to say anything that was remotely meaningful but Jack just continued to watch Ianto, an impassive look on his face.

"What do you want from me?" Jack asked that infuriating question again and Ianto nearly snapped.

"I already told you," Ianto yelled, pushing his chair back from the table and lurching to his feet. "Just let me in sometimes Jack, is that so much to ask?"

"I don't know, you tell me," Jack said calmly, watching Ianto through the mask of alcohol he was wearing.

"What?" Ianto asked, momentarily confused as he reached out to grasp for the work surface.

"What makes you think I don't want the same thing from you Ianto?" Jack asked, his voice rising now as he too stood up from the table. He watched as Ianto clung onto the sink for some kind of support, both emotional and physical.

"You never let me in Ianto, never. You never told me how much I hurt you when I left. You lie to me all the time about how you feel. You've walked around with that mask on your face for so long that I think you've forgotten that it comes off," Jack railed, getting into the swing of things as Ianto shrunk back against the sink, a pained look on his face. Jack closed his eyes in frustration, turning away from Ianto slightly, rubbing tiredly at his eyelids.

"What is this between us then Ianto?" Jack asked, gesturing a hand back and forth between them like their lives were laid out before them.

"Are we back to just sex? Fuck buddies? Is that what we are? Fuck buddies who work together, go on dates together but never actually talk about how they feel about each other?" Jack asked, almost rhetorically as Ianto stood there doing a goldfish impression.

"God, it's just too hard," Jack shot at Ianto before turning on his heel and disappearing out the kitchen, left with the image of Ianto leaning pathetically against the sink looking somewhat shell-shocked.

Jack slammed Ianto's front door behind him, moving down the garden path. He reached the garden gate, hand on it as he looked back over his shoulder, hesitating before he started forward again. He paused at the end of the street again but didn't look back this time, turning the corner.

He ended up walking in a full circle round the block before walking back up Ianto's garden path and in through the front door. Ianto was still stood in the kitchen leaning against the sink when Jack approached him. Ianto's eyes were downcast to the kitchen tiles, but he raised his head, misty blue eyes reflecting in Jack's.

"I don't get it," Jack said sharply, but the anger in his voice had dissipated to sheer emotion now.

"Don't get what?" Ianto asked, sniffing slightly as he wiped his nose with the sleeve of his jumper.

Jack just shook his head in reply. "You make it so hard for me to love you some days Ianto Jones," Jack whispered instead of replying to the question.

Ianto's head shot up to regard Jack who was now stepping into his personal space, arms wrapping round Ianto's waist and pulling him close. Ianto hesitated for a moment before he moved his own arms round Jack's back, pulling him closer and burying his nose in the collar of Jack's coat.

Jack pressed a kiss to Ianto's forehead, no hesitation when he spoke again, "But I love you anyway."