AN: This is the companion piece to "and maybe i'm in love" but from Ianto's POV but it turned out very different. Maybe one day I'll rewrite it with a gentler tone.
Just a last note to say that I'd like to thank the anonymous reviewer Geroffomey () who left such an awesome review that encouraged me to write this...
Ianto's nervous because the moment that Jack steps into the bathroom, he remembers he left the writing on the mirror. Writing that he meant to rub off, but forgot to, because he spent too long in the shower and ran out in a hurry to let Jack use it.
Ianto Jones knew he was born to be ordinary.
He'd always thought that he'd go to university, get a good job, meet a nice girl, and buy a nice house. Get married, kids, family cars and golf on Sundays—the whole package.
But life doesn't always go the way it's planned (even if such a plan is very vague, minimal and leaves a lot of other room for other variables, contingencies, impossibilities and shit like that), as Ianto discovers.
Step One: University. Check.
Life is good, no hiccups whatsoever. University is one long party for Ianto and he begins to believe that his life will turn out alright.
So when the very official-looking government representative approaches him, James Bond is the first thing on his mind and aliens are the (very) last. He imagines girls and villains, skiing down mountains in cello cases and-
Aliens? Bugger me with a broomstick, he thinks and he's glad he's sitting down.
Step Two: Good job. Check.
Step Three: Nice girl. Check.
Ianto doesn't want to watch his world shred, burn and die.
He doesn't want to watch as the love of his life dies slowly in front of him.
And he certainly doesn't want to pack Lisa or himself up and move back home to Cardiff, looking like a complete and utter failure, but it's either try to get Lisa better or let her die.
The latter option would be cruel and merciless and cold hearted and Ianto doesn't have it in him to do that. To either of them.
Life is black and white for months after Lisa's death. No colour, no room for happiness; he's quite happy to go about in a sorrowful state, mourning Lisa for what seems like an eternity.
But then it all changes. From present to past in a matter of seconds.
(And it's Jack's fault really. If he'd never given Ianto the "trial period" or allowed him to join Torchwood, none of this would have ever happened.)
Because Ianto nearly dies.
His life doesn't flash in front of his eyes, so maybe it wasn't really a close encounter with Death, but on the other hand, he very nearly shits himself, so he figures that must count for something.
Lying on the floor of that slaughter room with the sack on his head changes Ianto. Not in the sense that he's suddenly enlightened or that he realises his true purpose in life, because he feels that fighting aliens is a full time job (with mandatory over-time) and if he had to do that as well as completing his life mission, not only would he feel overworked, but a lot like Angel out of Angel (tall, dark and broody in essence). Minus the whole Vampire thing.
He faces death. And comes out stronger.
Jack's help here is immeasurable; Ianto knows that Jack saved him, literally and metaphorically. Saved him from two kinds of death.
Jack opens his eyes and sets his world ablaze again.
But that's all it is. Jack helping him. Nothing more, and Ianto refuses to accept more than that.
It's a forty degree day, and nothing's happened that's good; nor has anything happened that's bad. Even so, Ianto's tired since he didn't sleep well the night before and he's not concentrating. Consequently, he walks straight into Jack.
And it's full body contact from head to toe and everything in-between. It's a shock to Ianto because arousal spikes through him and there's an instant, palpable tension between them.
They've never touched before. Jack moves and Ianto mirrors him. Ianto moves and Jack mirrors him, both of them moving together so that they shift, pulled by the unmistakable tension between them, not quite unlike magnets.
Ianto blinks. Jack blinks. And the spell is broken. If anything, Ianto is glad they're alone, because judging by the way Jack's licking his lips and how his pupils have dilated, he's feeling the same thing too.
They're in Jack's office, a place that Ianto has been avoiding for weeks since its small and the smell of Jack is overwhelming.
Ianto doesn't remember where he puts Jack's coffee mug down or when they move from the door to Jack's desk. He doesn't remember either of them getting naked, just the feel of Jack against him.
He does remember the after, though: Jack cleaning him up after they finish, Jack wrapping around him and pressing soft kisses to any part of his body within reach, and he remembers feeling loved.
Jack, Ianto finds, is good at that. Making Ianto feel loved without displaying it to the world; he respects Ianto's privacy and Ianto gets the feeling that he's toned everything down just for him.
Which makes him love him even more.
Jack isn't the most romantic of lovers, but he's passionate—Ianto could never deny that. The man adds fuel to the fire that's in Ianto, but he doesn't do walks in the dead of the night or picnics on rooftops.
Being with Jack is… complicated and Ianto wouldn't have it any other way.
Most of the time, they're good together. Fuck that, they're brilliant. Jack is more alive than anything Ianto has known. And he loves it—even though he gets burnt.
Jack is the Robusta bean to his Arabica one.
Arabica beans. Best served fresh and roasted at just below burning point.
A bit like Ianto.
Ianto's always felt just below boiling point and perhaps that's why he gets burnt so easily by Jack.
But it's worth it. Jack burns Ianto in good ways, bad ways and confusing ways. Each time, Ianto changes and he's burnt clean, fresh, anew and so that he barely recognises himself.
And he likes it.
What he doesn't understand is why it's Jack. A man, his boss, immortal, and why couldn't he have fallen in love with Annie, the nice girl who lives in his block of flats and smiles at him every morning on his way to work?
And it's another forty degree day. Not quite a change in direction, but it's getting there. Ianto doesn't want to analyse his feelings because he's afraid of what he'll find.
And he's right. Because there really is a thin line between love and hate, though that doesn't bother him. It's a matter of when the hate turned to love, not just lust.
Well, Ianto thinks its love, but he's not sure because he's never felt this way about anyone. Never knew he could feel this way about anyone. Ever.
And Ianto doesn't want to fall in love. Ever again.
Not like last time. No. Especially not after last time.
But Jack is a fantastic lover. Mind-bendingly so, in fact, and this doesn't surprise Ianto at all.
Jack's not all sex and flirting, however much he likes others to think so, however much he likes to think so. He's so much more than that, and that's what surprises Ianto: Jack is fragile.
And Ianto learns that sometimes two broken people can fix each other. It's nothing short of a miracle because generally, one broken person plus another broken person does not equal two fixed people. And Jack generally isn't the type to let himself be fixed.
He doesn't intentionally set out to fix Jack, and maybe that's why Jack lets himself be fixed. Because he doesn't want to change Jack, it just happens. Gradually, and so slowly that it's almost indiscernible. Heneeds Jack, and Jack needs him.
Ianto didn't plan for his life to be like this.
But he's as glad as fuck it turned out this way.