In memory of the two greatest characters ever to grace BBC's screens.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood.
For the first time in his life, Ianto Cai Jones was happy. Really happy. Consistently happy. He was certain that his life couldn't improve because he had reached his limit of self-fulfillment. At 26 years old, he had an amazing boyfriend who actually acknowledged that they were in a relationship. Jack never shared his secrets, not really. But Ianto did know him. He had memorized the blinding smile that Jack put on when he was trying to charm his way into a restricted area, because every time Ianto saw it, his heart skipped a beat. He knew the mischievous sparkle that was Jack's eye when he started thinking about something particularly clever to do later that night. Whenever Ianto saw that sparkle, it sent a shiver down his spine.
Jack was just insatiable today. Ianto was near the end of his rope. The infuriating boyfriend had been "accidentally" dropping things all afternoon and had somehow gotten Ianto to roll up his sleeves, just to sneak a peak at his forearms. Fine then. If he wants a show, he'll get a show. Jack would definitely come to regret this later. Ianto stood up from where he had been scrubbing coffee off the floor and stretched loudly, groaning in a mix of irritation and stress, a secret smile on his face. He lifted his arms above his head and smirked when he saw Jack staring. Game on.
About an hour later, Jack was going out of his mind. He had already snuck down to his quarters once to take a cold shower and had been trying to avoid Ianto all day, but it was really damn hard. Gwen and Tosh (of course) had no sympathy whatsoever. In fact, they were getting a kick out of his perpetual discomfort. Fifteen minutes after Ianto came in with a refill for his coffee (straddling his lap, a lingering kiss on the mouth and then leaving 30 seconds later), Jack gave up.
He went downstairs, pushed Ianto against the nearest hard surface and pressed a searing kiss to his lips that left both girls panting from five feet away (Owen just ignored them). Jack was sure he had the upper hand...Then Ianto had to move his jaw in just that way, and his head went fuzzy and all he could feel was Ianto, and all he could taste was him. His knees were about to buckle and he couldn't even remember his own name. He remembered Ianto's, of course. Ianto's hands were in his hair and Jack came to his senses somewhat and realized he was moaning loudly in a way that wasn't entirely appropriate for company present. Less than a minute later Ianto was being dragged out of the Hub, a triumphant smile all over his face.
They were both too happy to think about the future.
Jack knew, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he was getting too involved. He knew that one day, Ianto would die...and his heart would break again. His life would shatter, and he wouldn't be able to stay. There wouldn't be anything to stay for. Not if he wasn't...not if he was gone. Jack just tried to forget about it. It was frighteningly easy. Why should he have to suffer the weight of that inevitable truth every day? He was happy-really happy. It had been a long time.
And the best part was, Jack could see that Ianto was content too. There was vitality and trust shining out of the younger man like a beacon. They celebrated together. Those little moments of peace and warmth made every ounce of the pain worth it. Every tear shed, every pained cry-it was worth it.
Ianto was curled up in bed next to him. He had been exhausted by the long day and had still been up making phone calls to the police station when Jack went to bed. Jack stirred from his light sleep when Ianto crawled drowsily into bed with him, seeking out the warmth. Jack smiles sleepily and wrapped his arms around Ianto's slim frame. As he was about to fall asleep, Ianto murmured a few words, beautiful Welsh accent rolling off his tongue as he slurred the native language.
"Cara 'ch cariad."
Jack didn't hear him clearly, but replied softly anyway. "I love you too Yan."
They were still on guard at times. There was uneasiness, a fear that inhabited every member of the team. They all knew that the job was dangerous. They had seen too much of this life not to be wary of what might come swinging their way. That feeling was so deeply imbedded in their consciousness that no amount of inner peace would banish it.
That feeling was in every soldier, everyone who had seen a battle. It was devastating and good at the same time. It was sad, but that sense protected them. It kept them from living in a fantasy. And to Ianto, that sense of tragedy made his relationship with Jack all the more real. Torchwood wasn't just a job, it became your life. And the Torchwood Three team was a family.
The morning was just like every other one for the past two weeks. Quiet. Owen finally gave up on any type of Rift alert sounding, and resorted to playing petty practical jokes on Tosh and Gwen. He left Ianto alone. He didn't dare stop the flow of coffee just yet. That afternoon, right after lunch, Owen piled his paperwork in a trashcan on top of Gwen's desk, and, somewhat vindictively, lit it on fire. At the time, the team didn't know this. All they knew was that about 30 seconds after Gwen let out a piercing shriek; the emergency sprinklers came on, soaking everyone within range.
Ianto figured it out two minutes later, yelling after Owen when he withdrew the soggy remains of a requisition form for medical supplies; but Owen was already stumbling away towards the autopsy bay, laughing hysterically. Ianto went home that night with a smile on his face.
Those small moments of peace and happiness. Ianto started to hope that maybe, just this once, things would turn out alright after all.
Three days later, Toshiko Sato and Owen Harper were killed in the line of duty.
Jack defined tragedies by the first person to move after the devastation. He'd seen too many disasters. So many. They swept in like a hurricane, destroying everything remotely close to their path. After they passed, there was silence. A terrible silence.
The first person to move, reaching out for some other human contact, breaking down...that person was always the one that would have the most trouble recovering. It would have really messesd with Jack's mind, except that whenever a tragedy like that came along, none of his attention was focused on anything other than the situation at hand.
After Tosh...Jack still had nightmares about it. Her body bleeding out on the tiled floor, eyes open, staring right back at his own tear-filled gaze. Ianto was the first one to move.
That scared Jack more than anything else that had happened in the last 24 hours.
Ianto was standing as Tosh took her last breath. He was frozen for a moment, everyone was. He was the first to break down like everyone would. But it was Ianto, strong, loyal Ianto who broke first. Something in him just snapped. Not like Gwen who was still crying. She had already accepted it. It was all too easy to believe. Ianto couldn't let them go yet, and Jack would never blame him for that.
As soon as Ianto became aware of the carnage, while everyone else was just sitting there, he dropped to his knees. He just collapsed, like he couldn't hold himself up anymore. His voice was strangled as he said her name. Her real name. It was a denial, and a plea.
"Tosh...please. No...Tosh. Tosh!" His begging became increasingly frantic, and was interspersed with more and more frequent sobs, until finally he was shaking with the grief and sobbing, gasping out inarticulate pleas for some kind of miracle.
He folded his head in his hands, tears still streaming down his face "Tosh, please please. Oh God. Please no. Please please. Please, don't do this! Tosh-" His voice was broken on her name. He stretched out his hands and cradled her face, framing her eyes. A sense of peace came over him and he stilled somewhat, though he was still shaking. He smoothed back her hair, seeing her for what seemed like the first time. He stayed like that for practically ten minutes, staring at her, still crying.
After ten minutes, Jack looked up. He seemed to have just heard Ianto, and as he saw the younger man, on his knees, his face tear-stained and his frame trembling like a leaf in high wind, his eyes widened in concern and fear. He bolted up and then tries to restrain himself as he gently put his hands on Ianto's shoulders. His voice was soft when he finally spoke. "Ianto." Jack's insistent, but cautious, tone was ignored.
"Ianto, come on."
Eventually, after an immeasurable amount of time, Jack pulled him up, his arms around Ianto in a comforting embrace. They gripped each other, Ianto's head buried in Jack's shoulder, and Jack clinging back just as desperately to Ianto, as if the world would end, or was ending, or had ended. And both were trying to survive the aftermath of the hurricane.
Reveiws would be lovely. *smiles charmingly* Just click that little button down at the bottom of the page.