"Jack? Jack, what have you done?"
Jack didn't look up. He was still staring in shock at the flowing blood: the blood from his hand; the unhealed cut.
"I just..." his voice trailed off. He could only just raise his face to look at Ianto. "If I said I did it for you, would I get more attention tonight?"
Ianto knelt, taking Jack's face in his hands. "You tell me what you've done, and you tell me now."
This is unfair, Jack thought. He always does that thing with his eyes, that pleading stare... I'd do anything for him...
And I have.
"I did it for you," Jack said, bringing up his hand to cup Ianto's cheek.
Ianto felt the warm, sticky liquid dribble down his skin, and he met Jack's red-rimmed eyes. "Oh god, Jack..."
"For you." Jack kissed the hand closest to his mouth, a tender peck. "And maybe I don't want immortality without that wonderful coffee of yours... waking up without that, day after day, year after year, I just can't imagine it. I don't want to imagine it. So this is me, taking the easy way out." He flashed a cheeky grin, but it got lost in the seriousness and concern coming from his beloved. "Nothing unusual there, eh?" Jack tried
Ianto had no words. He couldn't even blink.
"Er, Ianto, you do realise the coffee thing was like a metaphor for—"
"Yes," the Welshman managed to say. "I realised."
Jack waited. For something. For anything.
Ianto waited. For answers. For an explanation. Was he in shock? Was that was the feeling in the bottom of his stomach was?
And then it hit him: full realisation of the truth of what Jack had done hit Ianto like a punch-bag and sent him reeling backward to the floor.
He stared at the ceiling.
"Ianto?" he heard Jack whisper. Such concern in his voice. Why would Jack be concerned? Shouldn't it be the other way round?
Jack's head floated into view and Ianto looked at him. Just looked, and looked, and looked.
Then Jack smiled and Ianto forgot everything. He could hear their ragged breathing, he could feel the drying blood on his cheek; he could see Jack's wonderful smile and nothing else mattered.
They... they could grow old together. That was if they survived this job, mind, but there was always that chance now, that possibility.
The possibility that made Ianto's heart soar.
"Say something, Ianto. Please."
Jack begging. He'd never liked that sound. A man like Jack Harkness should never have to beg. Unless he wanted to, of course.
"You..." Ianto started to say. He had to break the tension somehow. "You impossible man, you."
Jack chuckled, holding Ianto's wide-eyed gaze. "Oh, 'cause I've never heard that one before," he said, a twinkle in his eye. Slowly, he lowered his head till their lips brushed.
Ianto couldn't breathe again.
"Good impossible, or bad impossible?" Jack whispered.
Ianto's muscles twitched, an involuntary reaction. "I'd say you were impossible impossible."
"Is that even a real definition?"
"Don't know. Don't care," Ianto said. "But if you don't kiss me right now, you'll regret it."
Jack drew back; pulled Ianto up with him, holding him so that the shorter – and ultimately dizzier man – would not fall again. "Is that a promise?"
Ianto managed to lift his spinning head to Jack's ear. "It's a guarantee," he breathed. Ianto felt Jack shudder and delighted in the sensation. He tried it again. "Why did you do it, Jack?" Another shudder; another small, thrilled smile. "Tell me why..."
The other man growled. Actually growled. Ianto couldn't help but give a shudder of his own in response.
Jack did not reply, though.
Ianto decided to push it.
"Tell me, Captain Harkness," Ianto said into the curve of Jack's neck. "Tell me why you gave up on immortality."
Fine, Ianto thought. Be like that.
"I will be getting an answer, you know." Ianto let his teeth graze the sensitive skin of other man's neck as he spoke. "We're equals now—"
Strong hands wove around Ianto's arms; lifted him so they both stood. The hands then pushed him backwards and up against the rough brick walls of Jack's office. Ianto felt the breath forced out of his chest at the impact.
"You want the answer?" Jack practically snarled, copying Ianto's tactics and claiming the shorter man's neck for his own. "You really wanna know why?"
Ianto's eyes rolled back into his head. When he answered, his words were nothing more than a whisper. "Yes. Unequivocally, yes."
"Because immortality is empty. It's meaningless. Nothing to fear and everything to lose, right?" It wasn't a question. "And I can't face it alone anymore. I can't do it without you, and I can't sit and watch you grow old, or have you die in my arms without knowing there's a way out for me as well."
"Ianto," Jack countered. "I want you and I need you. Happy?"
It was Ianto's turn not to reply; Jack drew back, letting him go and watching him with wary eyes.
"Not really," Ianto said. "No."
Shock flashed across Jack's face. Seeing this, Ianto continued, "My mind doesn't seem to be working properly right at the minute, but if you'd like to leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as I can."
Jack smiled a slow, cool smile.
"Do you think less of me?"
Straight to the point, that was Jack, Ianto thought. "No," he said, "If anything you're more to me than ever."
The smile turned warm and Ianto felt his knees go weak again. Jack caught him before he could even slump.
"You'll be the death of me, you will," Ianto said.
Author note: we can all just pretend Children of Earth was a big bad dream, right? Right?! Anyways, first ever Torchwood fanfic one-shot, hope you liked it, feel free to comment!
Author note 2: extreme apologies to people if I gave anything away with my previous summary, have changed it now :)