Pairings/Characters: Ianto Jones/Jack Harkness
Contains: Discussion of fidelity, language, flangst
Word count: 1435
Author's notes: Written originally for the prompt: cuddle, but I decided it was a bit angsty for the request.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by the BBC. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Ianto yanked the door shut behind him, the resultant slam making the walls of the Tourist Office shudder and giving Ianto a grim sense of satisfaction. He only wished Jack's bollocks had been in the way.
They'd talked about this, they'd agreed on where to draw the line between harmless flirting and behaviour that hurt them, hurt their relationship, and Jack had not only dipped his toe over the line; he'd spat on it as he took great strides past it.
Ianto rubbed a hand over his face, banishing the stinging in his eyes with sheer willpower. He would not shed one damn tear over Jack bloody Harkness and his wandering eye. Actually, it wasn't his wandering eye so much as his wandering hands that had finally brought Ianto to his senses.
This was never going to work between him and Jack. They wanted different things and, even though they had tried to find a compromise that kept them both happy and sane, Jack had to have his own, fifty-first century, free-loving way. And he couldn't see what he'd done wrong, couldn't see how getting to second base with the waitress in the back of the restaurant while coming back from the loo could possibly upset Ianto...
Had he mentioned they were on a date at the time?
Well, Ianto didn't have to put up with it. Not anymore. And now he'd made a suitably dramatic and noisy exit, he was going home to get completely and utterly rat-arsed so he couldn't remember his own name, let alone Jack Harkness'.
Bright light sliced cruelly through his retinas and Ianto slammed his eyes shut fast, groaning in pain. His head was pounding and his tongue tasted like curdled milk. He scrunched his face up, vaguely recalling drinking an ill-advised glass of Kahlua and milk before bed last night then throwing it up a few seconds later. His stomach churned unpleasantly at the memory, and he wondered if he had time to make it to the toilet, or if the wastepaper basket was a better option.
'Here,' came a quiet voice. 'Take this.'
Ianto cracked an eye open and glared blearily up at his unwelcome visitor. 'Fuck off,' he mumbled, burying his face in his pillow.
A heavy sigh then, 'I will if you take this. I promise it'll make you feel better. It's from Owen's secret stash.'
Ianto reconsidered the offer. Owen frequently staggered into work looking and smelling like he'd crawled out of the gutter but, just half an hour later, was functioning, if not like a normal human being, like himself at least. Ianto knew it wasn't just the mystical power of his coffee that transformed him but, despite a thorough search, he'd never been able to find Owen's private medicine cabinet.
'Gimme,' he ordered as sternly as he could in his delicate state. Face still firmly planted in his pillow, Ianto held out his hand and felt Jack place the oval-shaped pill in his palm, his fingers stroking gently across Ianto's inner wrist before disappearing.
'You'll need some water,' Jack said softly. Ianto heard the swishing sound of the water sloshing around, and his mouth was suddenly unbearably dry. 'You'll have to sit up a little, though. Want a hand?'
Ianto grunted out a negative. He got an elbow underneath his body and managed to push himself up enough to take the pill and guzzle half of the bottle of water Jack had silently handed him. He was panting a little when he was done but, by the time he'd caught his breath, the jackhammer in his skull had packed it in, and his stomach was growling for something hot and greasy. Ianto sighed in relief then opened his eyes cautiously. When the suddenly weaker sunlight didn't burn his eyes out of their sockets, he took the opportunity to send Jack a proper glare.
'Right,' he said, voice rough but stronger than earlier. 'You can do the fucking off bit now. You're good at that, after all.'
Jack flinched, but stayed where he was, crouched beside the bed. 'We need to talk, Ianto.'
'Why?' snapped Ianto, lying down once again and closing his eyes. 'Nothing will change, Jack. You'll tell me what you think I want to hear and I'll believe everything you say until the next time we're out and you see an arse or a set of tits you just can't say no to...'
'It wasn't about sex...'
'I don't care!' Ianto rolled onto his side away from Jack, effectively dismissing the other man. He was tired. He was so tired. 'I just... don't care anymore, Jack. I can't care anymore.'
There was a moment like a held breath between them then the bed dipped behind Ianto and an arm pulled him firmly against a hard chest. 'Jack,' he scowled, fighting the hold, but Jack just gripped him tighter and whispered into the hair behind his ear, 'Please, let me. Let me make it better.'
He was about to retort that sex was Jack's answer to everything and that it was precisely that attitude that was at issue here, when he realised that Jack wasn't hard, not the slightest bit. They were pressed together so closely that not a whiff of air could pass between them, and Jack wasn't aroused at all. Ianto stopped struggling and lay still and tense in Jack's embrace, warily waiting to be let in on the rules of this new game.
'I'm sorry,' Jack said softly, lips brushing against Ianto's nape. 'I'm sorry. I got scared and did something foolish.'
'Why?' Ianto asked, unable to stop himself. Jack's shuddering breath was hot and damp against Ianto's neck, and he tried to squirm away, irritated by his trembling body's visceral reaction to Jack's proximity.
'Yesterday,' Jack said, voice low and hoarse, 'this became the longest relationship I've ever had. Well, apart from John, but it doesn't really count if you can't leave.'
Ianto froze. He frowned and bit the inside of his lip before asking, 'And that... scared you?'
'God, yes,' Jack said, mouth in Ianto's hair. 'Ianto, I haven't done the relationship thing in a long time. I haven't done exclusivity since my marriage and that didn't last as long as we have. I... panicked. A little.'
'A little?' echoed Ianto. 'Your hand was practically in her knickers...'
'I'm sorry,' Jack repeated, hurriedly pressing a flurry of apologetic kisses along the shell of Ianto's ear. 'I panicked a lot.'
Ianto sighed and shook his head, trying to temper the swell of hope in his chest with bald reason. 'Jack, maybe this is for the best. I mean, you said yourself that you aren't terribly good with monogamy, and I'm not prepared to accept anything less anymore...'
'No, Ianto. I know I can do this.' His arms clamped too tight around Ianto's ribs. 'We can do this.'
'So you aren't scared anymore?' Ianto asked quietly.
Jack huffed out a desperate sounding laugh. 'I'm terrified,' he admitted, 'but not of this. You left so angry last night, and I truly thought that it might be the last time, that I'd finally pushed you away, and I was suddenly more scared of losing you, of losing us, than I was of keeping you, of being an us with you.'
Ianto let out the breath he'd been unconsciously holding and closed his eyes. He wanted to be madder. He wanted to tell Jack that he couldn't just latch onto the nearest pretty thing every time he got scared, that he couldn't keep pushing Ianto away with one hand and pulling him back with the other. But he didn't have the time or energy for a fight he knew he would eventually lose anyway. He loved Jack and couldn't imagine life without him, so Ianto decided to cut out the angsty interlude where he sulked and Jack pouted and skip right to the end.
'I need more sleep,' he mumbled, turning his face into the pillow.
Jack hesitated then his embrace loosened as he asked with obvious reluctance, 'Want me to go?'
'Nope,' Ianto said through a yawn. He closed his fingers around Jack's wrist and arranged his arm more comfortably around his chest. 'Stay.'
He felt the flash of Jack's teeth against his skin and a smile twitched at his own lips as Jack curled around him. It wasn't a Mills and Boon love story, it wasn't going to have a happy ending, but it was something, and Ianto resolved that, no matter what, he'd hold onto it for as long as he could.