Notes: The full oneshot for #104 and #105 from 'Snapshots of Smiles'. Short and sweet. Requested by DarqueQueen7 and laal ratty.
A Love Affair of Mysteries
Jack and Ianto, for all their intimacies, knew very little about each other.
The reasoning was logical and emotional at the same time. Jack had, for the first time in his long life, found a lover who kept his cards as close to his chest as Jack did, and Jack finally came to realise why ordinary people got frustrated with him.
Because, frankly, Jack wanted to know all about Ianto. He wanted to know his history and his background and hear stories of when he was a kid and a teenager and all the things that he must have gotten up to in his twenty-five years. And Ianto simply refused to let him in. He would drop tiny hints, little morsels that just made Jack itch for more, but refused point-blank to expand on it.
They had argued, once, when Jack's frustration with it boiled over.
"You don't let me in!" he'd accused, and Ianto had pinned him like an insect with an icy glare.
"And you do?" he'd demanded. "You have an even longer life to pick your stories from, but you don't tell me anything either!"
And there was the crux of it. Jack would have to resort to hypocrisy to find out what he wanted to know.
In the end, Jack never learned the things that he wanted to. Ianto had died before he could break down those defences entirely, and then Jack had fled. By the time he returned, Rhiannon had buried her brother's memory and refused to let Jack in on the man that she wanted - for a reason Jack didn't understand - to forget.
But Jack could make his own guesses, and they were tragic enough in their own right.
Simply looking at Rhiannon and her family, Jack knew that Ianto must have been very out of the ordinary, and it probably had been difficult to deal with. Ianto was used to being rejected, it seemed, and became invisible to handle the pressure. But even an invisible man desires to be seen, and Ianto had wanted someone to love him, going through a string of partners before settling on Lisa.
But Jack had taken Lisa away.
The question that Jack couldn't settle in his own mind was whether Ianto would always have stayed, or whether he would have eventually moved on to find someone else. Could Jack give him that visibility that Lisa somehow had?
"He loved you," Gwen had told him earnestly, the only time he'd asked, and he'd shaken his head.
"Maybe, but not enough," he'd said. "He didn't...let me in. I didn't really know who he was."
"And Ianto wasn't in the same position?" Gwen had asked gently, and the conversation had died.
Some hundred years later, a friend of Jack's had, upon hearing one too many drunken nights of his fractured speech about Ianto and their affair, had coined an interesting turn of phrase about them.
"It's like," she'd said, "two mysteries in a love affair. Maybe more, because if he was half as mysterious as you..."
Jack had laughed, and then cried.
It was a mystery he had never cracked, and as time passed and his hindsight grew, he wondered if he ever could. The workings of Ianto's mind had been convoluted and strange, and sometimes Jack felt that he simply wasn't meant to understand.
But that didn't mean he hadn't loved him.