AN: So here is the final chapter of this story. I hope you all like it! Again thanks to all of you who have shown an interest in this story, especially those who have sent a review! They make my day and made me want to post more stories more often! The reviewers make all the hard work worth it, and the hit rate brings a smile to my face!
So go forth, read, enjoy and REVIEW! Please :oD
Ianto sat slumped down on his lounge. He couldn't make himself move any further. He was tired, but it was more than that.
He was empty.
He hadn't thought that anything could hurt him as much as loosing Lisa, but again he'd been proven wrong.
That was happening a lot tonight, being wrong that is.
He thought he should go to bed, or at least get changed. But he just couldn't bring himself to care. He needed this time alone to fall the pieces, to start rebuilding his defences, to reaffirm his resolve.
And ok so he hadn't spent a night a lone for a couple of months now, he could do it. He was after all a grown man. He'd seen horrors that would make most men fall to their knees. And he was still standing.
Ok so maybe not standing right at this moment. But give him a few hours, and some sleep and he would be fine. In a couple of hours he'd go back to the Hub. He'd make coffee for everyone. He'd do the filing. He'd take care of the archives. And he'd survive.
But right now, right this minute he felt dead.
He had no idea how long he'd been sitting there staring at nothing when he heard someone banging on his front door.
No, not someone. It could only be one person at this time.
He sighed. He was not going to answer the door. He was not going to open himself up to any more pain than he already had.
The banging came again, this time followed by Jack calling him. And still he didn't move to open the door. The most he could muster up was to turn his head around to look at his door.
"Ianto, come on I know you're in there. Open up."
He could do this, he could hold strong. If he didn't answer, didn't open the door then hopefully Jack would get the picture and leave him alone. He couldn't do this anymore, he couldn't be second best, he couldn't allow himself to love someone who could not love him the same way he loved them.
God he was tired.
The banging had finally stopped and he could no longer hear Jack calling out to him.
He sighed and closed his eyes. It had worked. Jack had gone.
He let himself drift, remembering Lisa. Remembering his first meeting with Jack. He'd been surprised at the pull that he'd felt with that first meeting, but at the time he'd pushed it out of his mind. He'd had other things to think about. But then Lisa had been gone, really gone this time and no coming back. And Jack had been there. Jack had somehow managed to creep in under all of his defences, had been there to help him grow strong again.
Only to tear him down again.
So here he sat, alone in his flat. He felt a tear fall but he made no move to wipe it away. And then he felt a finger wipe it away for him. He should have been surprised, but he wasn't.
"Oh Yan, what am I going to do with you?"
Deep down, he had hoped that Jack wouldn't give up that easily. But everything he'd seen yesterday, everything he'd been told in the past had given him little hope. He was after all just the Teaboy, the part time shag, the one that cleaned up all the shit that they dealt with every day.
He felt the lounge dip next to and Jack's warm arms gather him close. He didn't fight it, couldn't fight it. Every fibre of his being was saying how right this felt. He was too tired to fight it anymore. Being with Jack just felt right to him. No matter how much it hurt.
Again time had ceased to mean anything to him. As it often did when he and Jack were alone together. Maybe, just maybe for now he could soak up Jack's warmth, his scent, him. For just a while longer. Or maybe for as long as Jack would let him.
But no. He needed to take a stand. He couldn't keep going on like this. It would kill him if he did.
Ianto pulled away from Jack, reluctantly.
"Why are you here?"
He turned to face Jack, if he was going to ruin everything by asking where he stood with Jack then he wanted to do it head on and be able to see it. To see his world truly ending.
"I wanted to share something with you."
Ianto couldn't stop himself from snorting at that. He could just imagine what it was that Jack wanted to share with him.
"I'm too tired Jack, now if that's all you wanted you can see yourself out. I'll see you at work after I get a couple of hours sleep."
At first Jack wasn't sure what Ianto was talking about, and then he was just stunned. Ok so their relationship was a very physical one, but that wasn't all that there was. At least as far as he was concerned.
"Wait, that's not what I meant Ianto." He reached out for his lover. He'd thought that Ianto understood that he was more than just a 'part time shag' like Owen had called him. Hell it had been his memories and thoughts of Ianto that had helped him survive the Master's torture. Yes he'd believed in the Doctor, but it had been Ianto who he'd thought about when the pain and death began to get too much for him. It was Ianto who kept him sane, and it was ultimately Ianto who he had come back for. The Doctor had offered to take him anywhere in time and space that he'd wanted to go, had even offered to take him with him on his travels. But after a week of recuperating he'd been anxious to see Ianto again, to reconnect with him, to reassure himself that his lover was still alive.
And ok, so it hadn't been a smooth return. What with the blowfish and then John turning up like that. But he'd been making a special effort since then, their first date had been fantastic. Even if he did say so himself. And they'd seemed to grow closer since his return. Yes he'd had other lovers, lots of lovers. But he rarely let himself care so deeply about another, he'd tried to keep himself from getting attached to people because ultimately they died and he was left alone again.
There had been something about Ianto, something that had called out to him from their first meeting. Something that, try as he might, he just couldn't ignore. And something which he no longer wanted to ignore, he wanted to embrace it fully.
But the road they had travelled had been rocky, and his natural tendencies to flirt and play things down had been, at times a big problem. But he'd thought that he'd made progress with Ianto, that Ianto truly understood him and how he felt.
Jack sighed. He guessed that he still had some work to do. He gently pulled Ianto back down beside him.
"Not that, not that I would have said no to that. But I actually wanted to share something with you." He said as he reached for the box he'd brought with him. "I wanted to share some of my past with you."
Ianto was stunned. He couldn't have heard correctly. Jack never shared his past. With anyone. Maybe this was just Jack's way of letting him down easy. Share a little bit of his past and explain to him just why they couldn't work as anything more but a bit of fun on the side.
"Look Jack, I know that today was hard for you, watching Gwen get married to Rhys. But you don't need to explain anything to me. I understand. But I just can't do it tonight, I'm sorry Jack." Ianto said as he tried to steel his heart.
Jack was truly shaken by Ianto's words and cold eyes. He wondered how he'd missed this before, how he'd let things get so out of control. But at least now he thought he had an idea of what his lover was thinking. And he didn't like it. Not one bit.
"Wait, Ianto. Just listen to me." He waited until he saw he had Ianto's full attention. And for the first time noticed just how tired the younger man looked. He berated himself for not noticing sooner, he sometimes forgot that most people needed a lot more sleep than he did. And today had been a very long and tiring day. But he couldn't let this go without setting Ianto straight on a few things. Because he knew that if he didn't, then he would lose the younger man forever. And he couldn't face that. Not now. Not any time soon.
"Yes I was sad when Gwen was saying her vows. But not for the reason that you seem to think." He paused to let his words sink in. "I was sad because I was remembering when I got married. Watching Gwen getting married brought back a lot of memories for me. But at no time was I sad because Gwen was getting married. She made the right choice Ianto. She may be attracted to me and she may flirt with me all the time. But I don't love her like that. I never have."
Ianto shook his head. Not quite believing what he was hearing, he wanted to. He really wanted to. But he didn't want to because that way lay pain and loneliness when Jack got tired of him and moved onto someone younger and prettier than him.
Jack wanted to scream and yell, anything to make Ianto believe what he was saying. He could see the war that was going on in him. But the fact that he was still there listening to what Jack had to say was a good thing. It meant that Jack hadn't lost him yet. He knew that he still might, if he didn't get this just right. But he had to try.
"Yes I flirted with her, had some fun. But it was never physical. I do love her, but it's the same way that I love Tosh and Owen and even Susie. But Gwen never stood a chance. My heart was already taken long before Gwen crossed our path. My attention had been caught by this amazing young Welshman who looked damn sexy in his suit. Someone who is incredibly brave and has lived through more horrors than anyone should have to. Who's coffee is enough to make everyone who tastes it orgasm with every sip that they have. Who looks after everyone around him, without ever asking for anything back. My heart belongs to someone who isn't afraid to stand up to me and tell me I'm a monster, who knows what I want even before I know at times and who has the biggest heart I have ever seen."
Jack reached out and gently caressed Ianto's face. He wiped away the tear from his cheek as it fell. Finally he could see he was getting through to his lover.
"You had my attention from the first time we met in the park while I was capturing that weevil. Something about you pulled at me. Did you know that I went back to the hub and as soon as I got the weevil in a cell I started researching you? The more I found out about you the more I wanted to find out. Then you turned up outside the office a couple of days later. I watched you for half an hour before I worked up the nerve to come out and see you. To try and run you off."
Ianto was shocked. He'd never realised that Jack had been that interested in him. He'd always thought that he'd finally just worn Jack down about working for him, that he was offered the job so that he'd finally get some peace.
"I was so close to offering you a job that first morning, but I knew that if I did it would almost be torture for me. Everything in your history told me that you were straight, not even a little interest in guys when you were a teenager. I knew that having you so close but not being able to touch you. But then we caught Myfanwy, and I knew that you felt the something as well. And yes I still made some protests about hiring you, but I knew that it was only a matter of time before I caved on that one."
Jack smiled as he remembered the night they had caught Myfanwy. He saw the small smile cross Ianto's face as well as he too remembered that night.
"When I came back after I went away with the Doctor I told you that for me I was gone longer than for you. What I didn't tell you was that during that time the Doctor and I were both tortured, continually. But what kept me going was thoughts of you. I thought of all of you, true. But it was you that kept me sane. You that kept me fighting. You that gave me strength. The Doctor offered to take me anywhere I wanted to go. But the only place I wanted to go was back here, to you. I needed to see you again."
"Why?" He'd never heard Jack talk so much, especially about his feelings and his past. This day had been so full of surprises and epiphanies. "You could have gone anywhere, why come back here."
Jack leaned in and gently kissed Ianto's temple.
"I wanted to come home. I needed to go back to where my heart was. I told you earlier that Gwen didn't stand a chance. My heart already belonged to you Ianto. I needed to come back so I could spend whatever time I could with you."
Jack chuckled. To see his lover practically speechless was a rarity. His cracking whit and snarkiness was one of the many things that had drawn his attention in the first place. And it was something that he always looked forward too.
"I saw you during the wedding. When Gwen said I do, I saw the pain in your eyes. I watched you dancing with her at the reception, you looked so good together. So right."
Jack stopped him.
"Yes I was sad. But not for the reason you thought. I promise you. It brought back so many memories. But also I was sad that you and I may not get the chance to have a wedding together. What with what we do and our lives." He smiled. "I was waiting for you back at the hub. I wanted to show you something and I admit that I got a little caught up in what I was doing. It took me far longer than it should have to realise that you had gone Ianto. I panicked when I realised that you hadn't come back, I'm sorry it took me so long."
Ianto smiled and relaxed a little. Maybe, just maybe he wasn't second best. Maybe he'd miss read the situation.
"So you wanted to show me something?"
Jack smiled and felt his heart start to unclench. He pulled Ianto into a hug as he pulled his box out for them to look at. It was time to share some of his past with his future. Time to let Ianto into the parts of him that he had kept closed off since he'd married. It was time to embrace the future, and create new memories that he would treasure for all eternity.