A/N: So, I was weirdly inspired to write this story while reading Janto fiction and listening to the OBCR of "Shrek: The Musical." I wrote this before CoE aired, but am I proud that I thought of something that apparently became canon. I know that's vague, but I don't want to spoil anyone. People who have seen the show probably know what I'm talking about. Maybe.
There aren't any season 3 spoilers, but it's set between "A Day in the Death" and "Adrift" so there are spoilers for any episodes up to those.
A special thanks to my betas, astuta and shamazipan on LiveJournal! They made this fic 100 times better!
Diclaimer: Torchwood and Jack and Ianto do not belong to me. If they did, let's just say season 3 would be a lot different. No copyright infringement intended.
It was Gwen's fault, really. She brought up the subject, though she blamed the alien obsessed with acting out medieval fairytales. It tried to slay the dragon, otherwise known as a lorry fortunate enough to break down near the Hub. But Gwen wouldn't let it go even though they had finished their job.
"Do they have fairytales where you're from, Jack?" She had asked. They were all sitting around the couch, not really ready to go home but not wanting to do any actual work. Pizza boxes, empty save for the odd crust, sat on the low table. Three empty beer bottles and one empty water glass accompanied them, and the girls each held another beer in their hands.
Jack stiffened slightly, more out of habit than actual hesitation, before slapping on a trademark Harkness grin. He was trying to be better about talking about his past, but as he had confided in Ianto, it was still very difficult.
"You know how stories and even historical events get distorted through time?" They all gave a sign of affirmative. "Well, that's how it was with your fairytales. Some things stayed the same, others changed with the times. Like Cinderella, for example. Instead of being the slave, she has to take care of the Ood." They all gave Jack a strange look and he waved his hands impatiently at them. "Slave race, rather helpful, or so I'm told."
Gwen and Tosh laughed, Ianto shook his head and Owen rolled his eyes as he crossed his arms in front of his chest, careful of the broken bones and ripped flesh that would never heal.
"I never liked fairy tales," Ianto said as the girls' laughter died down but Jack was still smiling. "Too much pressure."
"What?" Gwen giggled.
"Well, think about it. Most of these princes have to assume the throne and find a wife in the matter of days. So not only does he have to figure out how to run the country, but he's got to find his 'one true love.'" Ianto was not above using air quotes. "So that's fine for the kids who want to be a hero," he stole a glance at Jack, whose smile had slid and was now studying Ianto in away that he knew they'd be talking about this later. "But what about the ones who don't?"
Gwen gave Ianto her patented wide-eyed sympathy look while Tosh looked torn between embarrassment and understanding and Owen muttered an exasperated "Jonesy." A thick silence followed and Ianto found he couldn't look at any of them so he stared at his shoes.
Jack broke the tension with a joke, as always, and the banter continued. It took a while for Ianto to join in but his comments were soon forgotten. Almost.
Eventually the rest left, Ianto glad Owen gave Tosh a lift home and insisting on a cab for Gwen as he counted the empty bottles he threw away. He had just started on the pizza boxes and paper plates when a warm hand on his back stilled his movements.
Ianto turned to see Jack standing close with a small smile and concerned look. Apparently they were going to talk about it now.
"What was that all about?" Jack asked softly, not removing his hand, but not applying pressure.
"What was what?" Ianto returned as he tried to resume his cleaning. Jack's firm grip on the rubbish bag forced Ianto to stay put.
"Earlier, about the fairy tales." Ianto shrugged as an answer, twisting the black plastic between his fingers, resolutely keeping his eyes on the floor. "Ianto," Jack said softly, gently. He pulled on Ianto's chin to look him in the eye. "You can trust me."
Ianto wanted to tell him it wasn't about trust, but those ice-blue eyes forced other words out. "I think my father was disappointed in me as a child." He blurted. "I didn't want to pretend to slay dragons or fly spaceships. I wanted to sew clothes for my sister's dolls."
"But your father was a tailor." Jacks' hands slid down to Ianto's wrists and gently led them both to the musty couch. Ianto still gripped the bag.
"Yes, and he always struggled to put food on the table. He wanted a better life for me. He always bought me toy tool sets and play armor, even a play bank set once, but all I wanted was to sew. To be like him." He grinned, a bit bitter on the edges. "When I was accepted to university you would have thought I'd been crowned king. When I got the job at Torchwood, Mum said he was telling everyone that his son was a government official and couldn't be prouder. That's what I told them I was doing, part of a research team for the government." He explained at Jack's confused look. "But neither of us had the heart to tell him I was just an archivist. He thought I was doing something great and important."
Jack opened his mouth to tell Ianto there was nothing wrong with being an archivist, that Ianto was brilliant and more than deserving of his father's pride when Ianto finally looked at him. He looked just like the man sitting in a dark flat just after his co-workers had killed his girlfriend. So very lost and ashamed and it broke Jack's heart. He wasn't sure how to help, how to make this pain go away so, he acted on instict: he leaned forward and kissed Ianto.
It was soft, undemanding and full of the love Jack had a hard time expressing. They parted for air and Jack gently pulled Ianto to him, his back flush to Jack's chest, the captain's arms locked around his waist. Ianto shifted and placed his ear over Jack's heart, letting the sound sooth away some of the tension.
They sat in silence for a while until Jack felt something wet on his shirt. He looked down to see tears glistening on Ianto's cheek.
"Come on," Jack said suddenly, detangling their bodies, but not letting go.
"What?" Ianto sniffed.
"Just come on," Jack insisted with a small smile. He led Ianto below his office to the small cot he called home before removing Ianto's suit jacket, slipping off his own braces and removing their shoes. But instead of going any further, he simply tucked them both in bed and held Ianto tightly to him.
"You have every right to feel like a hero, Ianto," he said quietly into the darkness. Ianto just scoffed. "No, really. Think about it. You saved Tosh from cannibals, you stopped Vic from shooting anyone else in that warehouse and you save us all from mediocre cofffe." Jack thought he saw an outline of a grin on Ianto's face in the the dim light. "Plus you saved a captain –so much better than a damsel- in distress from a dragon-like creature. More importantly you saved him from himself. You're Ianto Jones, Defender of Torchwood."
"I think you're stretching it a bit there, Jack," was all Ianto said.
"Ianto." Jack said his name so softly and full of emotion that Ianto had no choice but to lean up on his elbow to look at him. "You are my hero, in so many ways." His voice choked a little, but he managed to give one of those rare smiles Ianto cherished. Not the one full of teeth and hidden pain, but a genuine smile.
Ianto couldn't answer, there was nothing to say that would not sound cheap compared to that statement. There was so much more to what Jack actually said, I love you among them. Ianto just returned the smile before they kissed, soft and full of everything they wanted to say to one another but never seemed able to.
They didn't go any further until Ianto eventually pulled away and laid down again, pulling Jack to him. Jack rested his hand over Ianto's heart and slipped into rare sleep. As Ianto felt himself slipping away, a familiar phrase ran through his head.
And they lived happily ever after.
Please let me know what you think! I do love it when people favorite me or my stories, but reading reviews really helps me want to write more and I try to keep in mind all the constructive criticsm so I can become a better writer. Thank you for reading and in advance for reviewing!