Shadows, Be Seen By the Sun
Disclaimer: All names and trademarks recognised as "Torchwood" do not belong to me; I've just borrowed the characters for my own purposes. The title is inspired by the John Marsden poem "A Prayer for the Twenty First Century."
Genre: Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Spoilers for Cyberwoman; one mentioned swearword
Summary: "I am not here to kill you." Post-Cyberwoman.
Jack waits after he has knocked on Ianto's door. There is quiet movement from within, but his front door does not open. Jack sighs and braces himself against the door, mentally giving Ianto ten seconds before he lets himself in. More shuffling comes from inside, but no one opens the door. Jack is glad, though, that he can hear movement; hopefully that means Ianto hasn't gone and done something stupid.
(Jack knocks twice on Ianto's door and waits. There is no movement inside and Jack gets no answer. He tries again, another two sharp knocks on the worn-out door. He waits patiently as one, two minutes pass. There is no movement and no answer. He thinks about kicking the door in, but decides it is more trouble than it's worth. Jack shakes his head, pockets the small white pills and walks away.)
This time Jack comes empty handed.
When he receives no answer, Jack skilfully picks the lock and pushes open the door. He crosses the threshold that somehow should signify the fine line between work and home but doesn't, not really. The room is dark and musty, but a thin strip of light streams through a crack in the curtains.
It is enough, though, for Jack to make out the humanoid figure hunched up against a bare and white-washed wall. Ianto's back is to Jack and his hands rest painfully on the wall. His head is bowed and he is silently still.
"Ianto?" Jack says gently as he steps over to the curtains and yanks them open, bathing the lounge room in light for the first time in God knows how long. He gets no answer so he barks again, "Ianto."
"If you are going to do it, sir, could you please do it soon," Ianto replies hoarsely. His words are thick and scratchy, and Jack wonders if he's coming down with something; not that his dank surroundings would have helped much.
"What?" Jack is genuinely confused.
Ianto finally looks at him and like Jack, looks genuinely confused. He is dressed in a pair of track pants and a dark hoddie, his eyes are bloodshot and he has the beginnings of what would otherwise be a very sexy beard.
"Torchwood policy, sir," Ianto grounds out and averts his eyes. "Chapter eight, subsection nineteen, paragraph three, clause fifteen," he quotes. "Any employee of the Torchwood Institute or associate of the Torchwood Institute found to be guilty of treason shall be sentenced to death."
Jack snorts at the absurdity of Ianto's words, or perhaps it is the shock of Ianto's words. Execution? As far as he's aware, Torchwood employees haven't been executed in years, despite the rumours. "You think I'm here to shoot you?" Jack laughs incredulously, shaking his head. "Seriously?"
Ianto frowns. "I'd prefer it if you didn't take the constitution of Torchwood so frivolously." His words, however, only seem to encourage Jack's laughter.
"For a smart guy, you're not very smart," Jack manages to say once his laughter has died away. He notes Ianto's dead serious expression and sobers immediately. "I mean what I said," Jack says firmly. "I am not here to kill you."
"But –" Ianto tries to protest, but Jack waves away his concern with a casual grin and a flippant shrug.
"When I became the head of Torchwood Three," Jack starts, his eyes crinkling as he smiles widely at the memory, "the first thing I did was have a great, big "screw Torchwood" party which basically consists of copious amounts of alcohol, a whole lotta sex and my favourite part – a book burning. In this case, though, a constitution burning." Jack cocks his head to the side. "Did I ever tell you about the time I ended up in bed with twin acrobats?"
Ianto blinks twice and shakes his head, wide-eyed. Jack feels bad for the kid, for actually thinking that loving someone too much calls for a bullet to the head. He's sold out the world for much less, and that makes Ianto forever the better man.
"What are you doing, sir?" Ianto asks. He's resigned and defeated and Jack decides that it does not suit his Ianto at all.
"I came to talk," Jack announces cheerfully, shucking off his coat and draping it over the back of a plastic covered couch. He widens his stance a little and crosses his arms; Owen likes to call it his "fucking superhero pose" and Jack kinda likes it.
"Yeah, you know, the thing where air moves about your lungs and words come out. Heard of it?" Jack remarks flippantly.
"Why?" Ianto is still huddled up against the wall as though Jack is about to launch himself at him any moment (Jack would be lying if he said he hadn't thought about it once or twice before).
Jack frowns and says, "The human race talks, Ianto. We're sociable creatures."
"We don't," comes Ianto's stiff reply.
Jack sighs, exasperated, but there is a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Want to change that, Ianto Jones?"
Ianto shrugs. "Why?" he replies. "It's worked fine before."
"Until you brought a killing machine into my home," Jack corrects, his words coming out harsher than he'd intended. Jack winces and makes an effort to apologise, but Ianto shakes his head.
"Fine," Jack shrugs. "Have it your way." He glances around the lounge room and wrinkles up his nose. "Have you actually done anything since the last time I saw you?" he asks casually. "Gone for a walk? Bought some food?" Jack gives Ianto a sideways look and adds, "Picked up a hooker?" He knows he's asking for a reaction, that he's provoking Ianto, but it works.
Ianto's eyes flash dangerously and a twisted snarl appears on his face. "Don't you dare," he hisses as he backs away from the safety of the wall. "This might all be some kind of joke to you, but Lisa was mine. She was real and she was breathing and she doesn't deserve this." Ianto's advanced so much into Jack's personal space that he can hear Ianto's heavy breathing.
"Exactly," Jack replies, unfazed by the fact Ianto's invaded his personal space. "The real Lisa, the one that died in Canary Wharf, doesn't deserve a self-loathing and depressed shell of a boyfriend. Either blow your brains out, I'm not doing that for you, or get yourself together. You need to start living again, Ianto Jones." Jack gives him a flirtatious and saucy grin. "And life is so worth it."
"You don't get it, do you?" Ianto shouts as his voice cracks just a little bit. "I can't do anything because I can't feel anything in here!" He shoves his hands against Jack's chest, exactly where his heart is.
Jack shifts slightly as Ianto's palms connect with his chest and half of him wants to shake some sense into the boy while the other half wants to kiss things better. Neither would do any good, Jack decides, so he says nothing and waits.
"I'm dead inside, Jack!" Ianto finally bursts out, breathing heavily. "Don't you get it? I don't feel anything!" Ianto's practically clinging to him now and it's Jack's hand around his waist that stops him collapsing to the floor.
Ianto looks up at him with grief-stricken eyes and whispers, "My heart has stopped, Jack. And I don't know how to get it beating again." Ianto leans heavily against Jack's chest and Jack brings his free hand up and gently runs it through Ianto's hair.
"Let me help you," Jack murmurs as he places a kiss on the tips of Ianto's hair. "Believe it or not, I do know what it's like to feel empty inside. It does pass. Slowly, but it does."
"Why don't I believe you?" Ianto's reply is muffled as he presses his face against Jack's chest.
"Because," Jack replies simply, "acknowledging that you have to move on is sometimes harder than grieving."
"I don't want to feel like this," Ianto pleads. "But I don't want to forget either."
"And you won't. People like Lisa, we never forget."
Ianto's legs give way and send the pair sprawling to the ground. Jack bumps his head against the couch, but Ianto is practically straddling his lap so the couch is quickly forgotten. Jack feels something wet seep through his shirt and he realises that Ianto is crying quietly.
"The others," Ianto mutters tearfully, "are never going to forgive me and I don't expect them to. I nearly destroyed the world, Jack, and that is on me. I don't expect you to forgive me either."
Jack sighs sadly and shakes his head. He pushes Ianto back gently, though he's still practically in his lap, and reaches for his hand. Jack places Ianto's hand against his chest and presses a kiss to the back of Ianto's hand.
"That's your heartbeat, Ianto Jones," Jack says softly. "That's you. And no matter how much you think it's empty, I know there is so, so much love in there."
Ianto starts to shake his head as he tries to scrub away his tears, but Jack brings a finger up against his lips and breathes, "I know, Ianto." He cups the back of Ianto's neck, pulling him close, and Jack knows Ianto's tears have started again.
Jack places a kiss on Ianto's temple and runs another hand through Ianto's hair. It's soft, even though it's probably not been washed for awhile. It's dirty and grimy, but there's something . . . nice . . . about it. "Don't ever forget that," he murmurs. "Don't ever forget love. As bad as it may it seem, this is not the end."
"They won't forgive me," Ianto repeats as Jack holds him tight. "And I don't blame them. I'd blame me too."
"No you wouldn't," Jack replies firmly. "And they won't either."
Besides, Ianto needn't have worried; Jack had forgiven Ianto the moment he'd pumped bullets into his girlfriend.