Stimulus: Dream

Spoilers: Children Of Earth (how evil was that?! I cried so much!)

POV: Jack

Dedication: To Gareth David-Lloyd. (In love with this man… there was NOT enough Ianto until COE, and then what do they do? Kill him off. Talk about unfair!)

Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood. We all know that if I did I'd do a hell of a lot better than RTD and his gang of little murderers… and yet we love him so much. Sucks, right?

AN: This one… I tried to make it like it seemed in my head, but I don't think it succeeded. (It's probably for the best. If anyone ever gets a glimpse into the inner workings of Me, I'll have a lot of therapist bills to fork out for) Think… that scene in Ugly Betty, the one after Betty's sister's boyfriend died (I'm so crap with names).


It was one of those things that could have been a dream. The creature in the glass tank – strange, how something they had trapped so easily could have had so much control – just a blurry nightmare, now. The man dying in his arms an echo of what could have been. What would have been.

"I love you, Jack," he whispers. It is cruel how the first time should be their last… like a game that they were losing, the tables had turned on their affair and transformed it into… Jack didn't even know. He did know, though, that he would refuse to play. Not by someone else's rules.

"Don't. No. Stay with me," he sobs.


That isn't part of the dream.


How dare this person interrupt their final moment?

"Jack. Wake up."

No, he wants to say. Give me a moment… I have to say goodbye…

Then he's gasping because the dream has fallen away as soon as it had come, leaving nothing but the half formed scars that Jack can't understand yet. All that is left is the dark… and warmth. Warm hands on his face… warmcoffeesoftgentledream hands.


"I'm here."

He smiles, then, like he's never smiled before. Ianto. Just a dream. "Can you turn a light on? It's so dark in here."

As soon as he says it, it's as if the darkness never existed. He can't identify a source, but the light is so bright it's almost… heavenly. Ianto is sat smiling by his side.



Ianto shifts uncomfortably, then, moving away. Jack frowns and grasps at his waist. "Not yet."

Ianto frowns. "Jack…"

"I know. Just… not yet, ok?"

What? What does he know? It's buried deep underneath the rubble of old lives, long gone. He can't quite recall…

"You have to go."

There it is. The rubble has shifted slightly and there he can see a remnant of what he used to be. What he still is. He has to go. He can feel something pulling at him through the darkness – dragging him away. He fights it even now. Work can wait.

"I'm not leaving you, Ianto." He points to his head and pouts. "You see this grey hair? This little hair is called 'Ianto almost died'."

Ianto's eyes are filled with sudden tears – tears that most of Jack can't understand, but the rest of him doesn't want to. "Hey…"

"I love you."

The sudden announcement is not as shocking as the recognition that follows. He's heard that from these lips once before. It had been a bad dream, but a dream all the same.

Wasn't it?

Ianto's lips touch his – hungrysatedhappysad. If this is a dream, it is a good one. But is it a dream? He grasps at Ianto, and his fingers are reassured with the comforting reality of soft flesh.

"You have to go. Work to do."


The word strikes an odd chord against his being. No. He won't go. He won't leave. Not again. It scares him to know that he must leave, and it scares him even more to know that he's scared. What is there to be scared of?

"You have to go, Jack."

"Fine, fine…" he grumbles. Ianto smiles. It doesn't reach his eyes. Jack pauses. "You know I love you, right?"

"Right." Ianto smiles again. Real smiles this time. Jack grins, sated, and turns away to get dressed. "Jack…" Ianto pauses, and when he speaks the words are choked and it's like all the love he has for Jack is trying to climb out of his mouth all at once, forming a lump in his constricting throat. "I'll miss you."

The words stick in his throat – he wants to cry out where are you going? Or maybe goodbye or maybe just I love you but then it all falls apart yet again.

Air – too cold, too warm – races into Jack's lungs like… he doesn't know. Like something, anyway. It feels, for a moment, like being dragged across a bed of nails. And the worst part is that when the nails have gone the pain is still there, located somewhere to his left.

He gasps because the dream has fallen away too soon, leaving behind scars that will never go away.