Disclamer: Nope, I still don't own anything remotly resembling Torchwood. It sucks to be me :P
AN: Wow. Can you believe it? I've reached the last chapter of this story. And it's all thanks to you out there. Did you honestly think that I would end the story with Jack dying? Well, to be honest I though about it for a moment or two. But my muse hit me and threatened to quit if I did. So I decided to end it properly.
Before you start to read I would love to thank all of you who reviews this story. I love you all for sharing your thoughts with me.
And thank you all who silently stalks me and reads. I hope that I make your day a little brighter.
And the hugest thanks to TheWeddingFairy for her amazing beta. And for just being you. Love you hun :)
He left the darkness behind him and became aware of his body once more. But how could he be? Doctor Jane had told him that he was mortal, just a normal human. There was a soft beep somewhere beside him and he could hear muffled voices. He felt pressure on his left hand, like someone was holding it. Maybe he hadn't succeeded.
Slowly he opened his eyes and was met by the blue ones that he loved. Ianto smiled back at him.
"Am I dead?" Jack whispered.
"No," Ianto softly said, stroking his cheek. "You're very much alive."
Jack blinked a few times, not able to understand what was going on. He turned his head to the other side and saw Owen standing there with a scanner in his hand looking serious. Behind Owen he could see Gwen looking shyly at him. By the looks of it she'd been crying. He heard soft footsteps and raised his head a little and saw Tosh running down the stairs with a smile on her lips and some papers in her hand.
Jack let his head fall back down and he closed his eyes once more. Was this real? For weeks he'd been told that this life wasn't real, and now he was here. And Ianto was there with him, alive, holding his hand. Everything was back to normal, but he couldn't decide if it was real or not. He didn't understand. He wanted to cry.
"What happened?" he asked trying to keep his voice steady.
"You were shot," Owen explained. "You didn't die, though. Just went into a coma. It's been three days now."
"Three days?" Jack couldn't believe it. It had been weeks, months - not days.
"Yes," Owen continued. "We brought you back here, thought that you would wake up. But you didn't. So we've been monitoring you, not knowing what to do. We thought about killing you to bring you back, but didn't know if it would work. I was all up for trying, but tea-boy here wasn't. He took all the guns, so we just had to wait."
"Well, you died about half an hour ago. And we've been waiting. You gave us quite a scare."
Jack opened his eyes again, looking at his team. It all seemed possible, and everything felt real. But how could he know for sure?
"And the alien?" he asked.
This time Tosh answered.
"After it shot you Ianto killed it. It was a Synthorox from the Frozzbarry galaxy. We found an old entry in the files dating back to the early eighteen hundreds when they came through the rift the first time. Apparently they're pacifists. Doesn't believe in weapons."
"I got shot. By a weapon."
"I know. I did some scans on it and found out what kind of gun it was."
"It's a psychic gun. As they don't believe in weapons and killing they've made their own defence gun. It kind of traps you inside you own mind, making you live through your worst nightmare."
"So it was all in my head?"
"Yes. If we'd been on their home planet they could have saved you. 'Cause they have another gun that takes you out of your mind. You see, living your worst nightmare makes people kill themselves in the end."
"Really?" Jack said, his voice dripping of sarcasm. "I didn't know that."
"So we just had to wait…" Tosh finished with a small voice.
"Ianto never left your side," Owen said and looked down at Jack.
Jack turned to Ianto and gave him a quick smile before he turned back to Owen.
"Am I okay now?"
"I think so," Owen slowly nodded as he looked at his scanner.
Jack blinked a few times before he sat up. The world spun around him for a few seconds and his body ached. It all felt real, and he was almost convinced that it was. But Jane's words still rang through him. He couldn't shake them off. And mixed with them were the last words John had whispered to him. The words that made him take the last step. This is all in your head. Six small words that were nothing more than a whisper to him. And apparently John had been right.
Carefully Jack set his feet down on the ground and slowly got up. He took a few steps and headed for the stairs before turning around to his team.
"I guess I have some paperwork to do since I've been out for days. I'll be in my office. Get back to work."
They all looked at him with different levels of confusion.
As Jack made his way up to his office he could hear them all talking behind him, all trying to figure out what was going on. And they were not the only ones. Jack himself was unsure of what was going on. He was back in the Hub, back in his office, back with his team. He was once again Captain Jack Harkness, the man who can't die. But the things he'd been through in his head all felt so real. All the memories that they had tried to change. Trying to make him into someone else.
He sat down in his chair and closed his eyes again, rubbing his temples. Tosh had said that he'd been trapped inside his worst nightmare. And he had to agree. All alone, being lost, everyone thinking he was crazy, being told that everything he thought was reality wasn't true, being taken advantage off, losing his friends, losing Ianto. Everything that he was most afraid of. And he'd lived through it all. He knew that this was his real life, and that all of this was real. He just had a hard time believing that he finally figured everything out. That was what felt most unreal.
He was interrupted in his thoughts by a careful knock on the door. He looked up and saw Ianto standing there with coffee in his hands.
"I thought you needed some coffee, sir," he said with a concerned smile.
"I think I do," Jack answered and looked away.
He could hear Ianto stepping up to the desk and he heard the cup connect with the wood. But he couldn't make himself look up. He couldn't even put a smile on his lips. All his emotions ran through him, and he couldn't make sense out of them. Ianto's soft gaze burned through him. He knew that Ianto wanted some kind of reaction from him. He wanted something. And Jack wasn't sure that he could give it to him.
"How are you, Jack?" the words were soft and caring.
Jack wanted to be touched by the sweetness and softness in those words. But they made him feel like a monster. All he could think of was those last moments he'd spent with Ianto in that other world. Those moments of death.
"I'm fine," Jack whispered. That was the biggest lie he'd told yet. He was far from fine. And he knew it. Ianto also knew it.
"Jack. You're not fine. I know it."
"I said: I'm fine."
Jack felt tears gathering in his eyes. He didn't want to cry. Not now. Instead he got angry.
"You can talk to me, Jack."
Jack looked up with fury in his eyes.
"I said I'm fine!" he almost screamed.
The look on Ianto's face was impossible to read. But Jack saw the hurt flash through his eyes.
"If you say so, sir."
Ianto turned his back on Jack and left the room.
Jack looked after him. He wanted to call him back. He didn't want Ianto to leave. Not to walk out on him. Not again.
"Oh, what drama."
Jack heard the words from the door and looked up. Owen stood there with a crooked smile on his lips. And Jack felt like punching him.
"Not now, Owen." Jack said and left the chair. He made his way through the door trying to follow Ianto, but Owen took hold of his arm.
"You need to be examined, Jack."
"I thought you said I was fine," Jack spat back and gave Owen an annoyed look.
"I said you looked okay. But I need to be sure. There may be some effects that I haven't accounted for."
"Not now. I'm fine." And with that he broke free and hurried down the stairs. Owen was close after him.
"Jack…" he began, but was soon interrupted.
"Go home, Owen. Leave. I'm fine. Take the girls with you."
"For once in your life listen to me. Go home."
"Fine," Owen hissed. "But if anything happens, and I mean anything, call me right away."
Jack continued down the stairs. He wanted to find Ianto. Wanted to take him in his arms and never let go. He hadn't see where Ianto went, but he knew Ianto. Knew that whenever he got upset he hid down in the Archives. So without hesitation, Jack went straight there.
When Jack got down to the lower levels he stopped in the doorway. Ianto was sitting by his desk, head buried in his hands. His whole appearance told Jack that he was sad, on the verge of tears. And suddenly Jack didn't know what to do. He didn't know if he should just leave and let things be, or if he should go inside and make everything okay.
"I'm sorry," he said without even realising that he'd opened his mouth.
Ianto lifted his head a little.
"I'm so sorry, Ianto. You're right. I'm not fine."
Ianto looked up at him and their eyes met. And the last defence that Jack had against his emotions broke. He couldn't stop himself anymore.
"It was horrible. So real. They said I was crazy. You thought I was crazy. Everyone did. And I was locked away behind walls. And they tried to cure me. And they - they…oh God, the things they did."
Memories of Adam flashed before him and every feeling slammed into his body threatening to tear him apart. He began to cry.
"All that kept me sane was the thoughts of seeing you again. And you left. I had to do something. I had to. But I didn't mean it. I swear I didn't. It's just…I…I…I don't want to lose you, Ianto…and it was all my fault."
Without realising it he'd sunken down to his knees. Ianto had made his way over to him. But Jack didn't see it. All he could see was all that he'd been through. Everything flashed through his mind.
"What did you do?" The request was unsure, like Ianto didn't know if he really wanted to hear it or not.
"I didn't mean to, I swear. I shot you. I killed you. It was my fault. I didn't know the gun was loaded. And I didn't mean for you to get in the way. I swear. I would never…"
Jack felt strong arms around him.
"I know you didn't, cariad. I know you would never do that."
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
"It wasn't real, Jack."
"But it felt so real."
Jack buried his head in Ianto's shirt. The streaming tears quickly dampened it. But Ianto didn't seem to care. Instead he stroked Jack's hair and whispered soothing words to him.
"It wasn't real, cariad. I'm here."
Jack didn't seem to notice. So Ianto took Jack's head in his hands and made him look up.
"Look at me. I'm here. This is real."
Jack looked at him through tear filled eyes.
"Are you sure?" he had to ask. He still wasn't sure if this was real or not.
"Yes." Ianto whispered.
Then he leaned in closer to Jack and brushed his lips against his. Immediately Jack calmed down. He didn't have time to respond before Ianto's lips were gone again.
"Did you feel that?" Ianto asked.
Jack slowly nodded.
"Was it real?"
This time Jack hesitated a fraction of a second before he nodded again. He still wasn't sure, but it felt real. More real than anything had for some time.
Ianto smiled at him before leaning in for another soft kiss. This time Jack was ready. As Ianto's lips brushed against his, he placed his hand in Ianto's hair and gently held him there. He didn't want to lose the feeling of holding Ianto so close. Not again.
The action didn't surprise Ianto. But the feeling did. Always when they kissed, Jack put his hands in Ianto's hair. But there was always some light pressure. A feeling of possession, want, need and love always streamed from Jack's hands throughout Ianto's body. But not this time. If Ianto didn't know better he would say that Jack was nervous, scared almost. There were so many feelings that Jack transferred to Ianto, but fear was the greatest one. Ianto's heart hurt. What had Jack been through that made him act like this? He knew that it was up to him to get Jack calm and safe again.
Gently Ianto leaned in closer to Jack, closing the space between their bodies. He let his tongue sweep across Jack's lips. There was a moment of hesitation before Jack finally got where he was going and parted his lips. Slowly, Ianto let his tongue pass Jack's teeth and soon he was devouring Jack's entire mouth, exploring it with slow motions.
Jack couldn't help but moan. To feel Ianto so close was almost more than he could take. And to taste him again…it was like heaven. He'd missed it so much. Missed everything about Ianto. He let his free hand slowly feel its way down Ianto's back. Feel the warmth that beamed from his body. He felt Ianto's strong hand on his own back and in his hair. It seemed as if Ianto had missed him too.
Suddenly Ianto pulled away. Jack opened his eyes. He knew that Ianto could see the fear in his eyes. The fear that this was just another dream.
And Ianto saw the fear. He smiled and kissed Jack gently on the nose.
"Not here. Not like this," he whispered.
He took Jack's hand and pulled him up.
Jack looked at him and didn't know what to believe. He didn't know what Ianto had in mind. Then Ianto let his free hand gently caress Jack's cheek and Jack leaned into the touch.
"I'm not leaving, cariad," Ianto softly said. "Follow me."
And he left the Archives with Jack's hand in his. Jack still didn't know where they were headed, but as long as he could feel Ianto he didn't mind.
They entered the main Hub and Ianto looked around, trying to find the others.
"I sent them home," Jack said.
Ianto just smiled and squeezed his hand in appreciation. He then made his way up towards Jack's office, and finally Jack knew where they were going.
Jack was first down the ladder to his bedroom. While Ianto made his way down Jack looked around. It looked just like he remembered it. The only difference was that it felt so small. He felt trapped. If he held out both of his arms he could almost touch both walls at the same time. He swallowed hard. Feelings of restraint washed over him. But then he'd been in a big room and hadn't been able to move. Now it was the opposite. A small room with ability to move. This was his room. The one room he'd lived in for so many years. And never had it felt more threatening than now. His skin was itching. He needed to get out of here. But Ianto blocked the ladder. Blocked the only way out. His breaths became fast, and shallow. He tried to focus. Tried to think that this was real. He was not trapped. He was not in restraints. He was free to do anything. But it didn't help. Numbness spread throughout his body. His hands were shaking.
He heard Ianto's voice. But could he be sure that it really was Ianto, and not just his mind making it up? He had to get out, but he couldn't move.
"Jack! Calm down."
Jack wanted to calm down. But he couldn't. Black dots intruded on his vision.
"Jack. Cariad. Look at me."
Jack could feel Ianto's hands on his face. With some struggle he soon found Ianto's eyes with his own. The concern in Ianto's looks was clear. Jack tried to calm down.
"Listen to my voice, Jack. You have to calm down. Breathe. Slowly."
Jack heard the words, and he did his best to obey. He concentrated on his breath. He took deeper breaths. Filling his lungs with air, he could feel calm spreading throughout his body.
"There you go. You don't have to panic, Jack. This is real. I promise you. You are safe. I'll protect you."
The dots that danced through Jack's vision faded away. Calmness overpowered him, and he could breathe normally. Gone were the feelings of restraints. Gone were threatening atmosphere in the room. It was only him and Ianto now.
Jack blinked a few time before smiling at Ianto. Ianto smiled back and let go of his face. Instead he moved in closer and held Jack close. For a moment Jack just let himself be held. Still trying to fit every piece of his mind back together it felt good to be held. It felt safe. Soon he leaned his head closer to Ianto and buried his face in the crook of Ianto's neck. The scent of Ianto filled his mind and he couldn't stop a few tears from falling. This was home. This was what he'd been looking for. And now he'd found it. Ianto stroked his hair and whispered nonsense in Jack's ear, and he felt like he was in heaven.
Slowly, almost unnoticeably, Ianto moved closer to the bed. As his legs connected with the wood Ianto let go of Jack for a few seconds, just in order to sit down. Jack didn't want to be alone so he sat down next to Ianto. They sat close. The heat from their bodies mixing together. And Jack suddenly realised that he was nervous. He was never nervous around Ianto. Never. But somehow this felt new. He knew that Ianto could sense all of his running thoughts, because he felt a soft hand on his thigh. Jack looked up and flashed an insecure smile towards Ianto. And the smile he got in return made its way straight to his heart. It was filled with so much emotions and so much security. Jack knew that he was safe.
Ianto leaned in and kissed him. Jack didn't hesitate. He parted his lips almost immediately to grant Ianto access. The kiss was filled with all the things they'd never told each other. All the feelings they'd never showed. All the things they'd almost lost.
Without breaking the kiss, Jack let himself be guided down on the bed. Soon he could feel the pillow underneath his head, and Ianto's arm behind his neck. He let his own hands find their way to Ianto's back, pulling him close. Never wanting to let go.
Soon they were both naked. Their clothes lay thrown across the small room. And their lips had never parted.
Jack was still unsure of how to react, of what to do. His hands lay on Ianto's back, holding him close. And Ianto's hands roamed Jack's body, sending sparks throughout him.
Then Ianto broke the kiss. He pulled back and Jack moaned at the loss of Ianto's lips and taste. And he moaned in fear, thinking that something was wrong. But Ianto just gave him a calming smile and kissed his forehead. Ianto bent down towards Jack's legs, and he looked like he was looking for something. He gave away a small triumphant cheer as he found what he was looking for. Jack didn't look down, but suddenly he felt Ianto pull up the covers. Then he lay down close to Jack. He placed an arm under Jack's neck again and Jack snuggled closer. He lay his head on Ianto's chest. The feeling of Ianto's heart beating against his ear sent shivers down his body. This was real. It was Ianto laying there beside him. A living, breathing Ianto. Jack closed his eyes. This was what it felt like to be normal. He wondered if this was what his life had been like in that other world before he got ill. According to what he'd read this was what he's life had been like. The feeling of Ianto's breath against the top of his head. The sound of Ianto's beating heart. The warmth from Ianto's body.
Jack snuggled even closer. He wanted to feel as much of Ianto as he possibly could. Ianto was the stability he needed in life. And as he lay there with Ianto's strong arms around him, Jack felt like he'd been given a second chance. He'd been showed a life where he was Jack. Not Captain. Not head of Torchwood. Just Jack. And within his heart he knew that he could do it. If Ianto was with him, then he could be just Jack.
He lifted his head and looked up at Ianto. The other man had noticed the movement and was looking back down at him. Their eyes met, and Ianto smiled. He smiled that smile that Jack had seen not too long ago on a picture. It was the same emotions. The same love. And right then and there, he made a promise to himself that one day soon he would take Ianto with him to Paris.