Brown Eyed Monster
10th Doctor, Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness
Post-Waters of Mars, pre-Children of Earth
Jealousy, Ianto Jones had been taught, was a green-eyed monster. It could destroy perfectly good relationships and was to be avoided if possible. This advice seemed a bit useless, however, in the face of Jack's relationship with his Doctor. His Doctor. His precious fucking Doctor.
Which is why Ianto couldn't help falling into a perfectly foul mood whenever the skinny little git showed up. Ever so often, (and far too frequently, here lately) he would pop in unannounced and spirit Jack away, saying he needed his help for this, that or the other thing. And Jack, like a bull with a ring in his nose, would always go—no matter what.
Ianto winced inwardly when he heard it: the curious grinding, wheezing noise that Jack had once pronounced the most beautiful sound in the universe. (Oh, please!) The Doctor had gotten quite good (far too good) at materializing the TARDIS in the storage area closest to Jack's quarters. Ianto sighed and put on the kettle, knowing already that Jack would expect tea for his Doctor. His precious little Doctor. Alien little shit. Why couldn't he get another companion and leave Jack alone?
He could hear the Doctor and Jack joyously greet each other as if they hadn't seen each other for years, could hear the Doctor's voice, sounding muffled, probably against Jack's chest as the immortal no doubt had captured the lithe form in his arms and pulled him into a tender hug. And Lately Jack had taken to picking him up and spinning him around, eliciting a childish giggle from the Time Lord. Ianto seethed at the mental image, hearing said giggle echoing throughout the hub.
When Ianto had tea and coffee ready he took the tray to the area just above Jack's man-cave, as the Doctor called it. Man-cave. Wasn't that just so fucking cute.
Jack and the Doctor sat side by side on a ratty old sofa talking companionably, Jack's arm looped loosely around the alien's skinny shoulders. Inwardly Ianto was rehearsing a cool greeting and a downright cold exit. So when he set the tray down on a nearby table, he was caught completely by surprise when the Time Lord, with a wide grin and an effervescent "Ianto! Ianto Jones!" leapt up and hurled himself at Ianto, hugging him tightly around his chest. Ianto found his traitorous arms simply curling around the slender frame in an automatic response before he had time to even think about it.
"And how are you doing?" The Doctor rocked and bounced in his scruffy trainers, completely sure Ianto was as happy to see him as Jack was. Like some goofy, geeky little alien…puppy! Well, jealousy might be a green-eyed monster, but this particular little monster had big, soft, brown puppy eyes. And Ianto would like, no, not like…love…to punch him in one of them. And give him a kick in the bottom to boot. It didn't help that it was a perfectly adorable little bottom, which Ianto knew Jack had long admired.
Look at him. Just look at him. What did Jack see in his bony arse anyway? But who was Ianto kidding, himself? Jack had said the skinny little fucker had a habit of charming his companions; most of them fell in love with him to one degree or other. A serial heart-breaker, the little shit. Was that so surprising, really? He had to admit, skinny or not—really look at the little son of a bitch... The Doctor was far too thin for Ianto's tastes, but the whippet-like body did suit the bony little alien bastard. He did have a certain appeal.
The bottom encased in close-cut pinstripes setting off a surprisingly sweet under-curve. Add to that those big brown eyes that looked so ancient, set in a boyishly handsome face graced with a generous sprinkling of charming freckles. And dimples. Why did the little shit have to have dimples, and that sweetly child-like grin? The little bastard with his lanky body and big eyes looking for all the world like fucking Bambi, for God's sake!
To add salt to the wound, there was the incessant chatter lending yet more charm, the cheeky humor, and the bubbly personality that was merely a façade for a heart…or rather hearts…that knew too much pain too long and too deeply, according to Jack.
The sadness in the alien made him all the more a threat to Ianto because he knew Jack would move heaven and earth to wipe that sadness away. How could Ianto compete with that?
As much as Ianto despised the Doctor, he had to admit the little bastard was nothing if not adorable—adorable and broken and lonely and in need of affection and acceptance. And brave and loyal and so, so intelligent and practically made of sweetly innocent charm. Altogether, the package presented a creature with an almost magical appeal, like something out of a child's story—a wisp of a mysterious creature which spirited one away from a dull little life into mystery and adventure and romance.
How the hell was Ianto not to stack up as woefully inadequate compared to that? All the more reason to hate him. Ianto deliberately let the time between the Doctor's greeting and his response carry on a bit too long, just to make the little alien fucker uncomfortable. Make him squirm.
Apparently, much to Ianto's chagrin, this tactic had been ignored or not noticed by Jack's precious little shit. "Taking good care of my Jack, I see!" the Doctor chirped cheerily.
My Jack? Cheeky, brazen, interfering son of a bitch!
"I do my best, sir," Ianto replied. Cold. Composed. Aloof.
"You're brilliant at it," the Doctor said, a smile dimpling his face. "And please, don't call me sir."
"All right s… Doctor."
"Believe it or not," Jack said, "The Doctor isn't here because the universe is falling apart yet again." Jack stood and embraced his Time Lord from behind, an indulgent and besotted grin on his handsome face. "He's here because—"
Here it comes. Jack is finally doing it. He's finally dumping me for the little bastard.
Ianto's heart sank and seethed at once.
"—he wants to take us both on a little day trip, to thank us for all my help and all the patience he's gotten from the team, especially you. Gwen's is here, Mickey is on his way and if they need to, they can call Martha. I don't think anything will happen though, the rift is practically flat-lining. So! It's you, me and the Doctor, Ianto. It's all set up, Gwen's in charge. Let's go."
And with that Jack grabbed his hand and, one arm around the Doctor and Ianto's hand in an iron grip that would brook no refusal, Ianto found himself dragged into the TARDIS before he could stammer out a reason why he didn't want to go.
Ianto had to admit it. The TARDIS was brilliant. The Doctor, grinning his most manic grin and practically bouncing off the walls insisted on showing Ianto around. And Ianto tried, truly he did, to dislike the whole situation. But there it was, right in his face: a wonderland. The Doctor had even opened the doors and dragged Ianto over to see the Crab Nebulae up close and personal. The look of unadulterated wonder on the Time Lord's face lent him a look of dreaminess, diffusing the sharp features into a soft beauty, making the Doctor's face look unspeakably old and eternally young at once. And how could Ianto ever, ever compete with this beautiful man in his beautiful machine? It was hopeless. He could see right away how the Time Lord kept Jack on the tips of his toes, ready to come along at the crook of a finger.
The planet he had taken them to was completely uninhabited. The sky was as blue as any on Earth, the sand a sparkling pink and the sea a gorgeous emerald green and crystal clear. Jack's mood was high. He'd made Ianto strip and they had gone swimming in a sea the perfect temperature. As they treaded water, Jack gazed back to the shore. The Doctor sat in a deck chair, his trainers off and toes dug into the sand. He wore Elvis-type sunglasses, shedding his coat, jacket, vest and shirt, soaking in the rays in a tee shirt and his pinstripe trousers. He loosely held a bottle of water in his hand, smiling softly at Jack and Ianto, apparently pleased that he had picked the perfect place.
Jack laughed. "Look at him," he said to Ianto. "Running wild. As close as he'll ever get to it, anyway, unless he's running for his life. My prim, proper Doctor."
They ate sandwiches and drank beer for lunch. Jack took Ianto for a long walk on the beach. Ianto had rarely seen Jack so content, so happy. "Glad we did this with him," he had said with a fond look at the Doctor, a look tinged with…was that sadness?
Later that evening Jack had dragged a barbeque grill out of the TARDIS and took it on himself to make dinner for them: steaks and salad. The Doctor plopped down in the sand next to Ianto.
"I hope you've had a nice time," he said.
Ianto had to admit that he had.
"He's changed so much since we first met," the Doctor continued. "I'm very proud of him and very happy for him. Especially because he has Torchwood…and you now."
"You mean you and Jack aren't…"
The Doctor snorted. "No. I mean, we are close, and Jack is very handsome. Romantic, even. And he does love me so. But no."
"Don't you think he has enough people who only want him for his body, Ianto? Jack is worth so much more than that to me. So no, I could never. I want our love for each other to be above anything carnal. I just love being with him, that's all. I mean…he's…Jack!" The Doctor spread his fingers, raising both hands palm up, as if that explained everything.
"But I thought the two of you…"
"Oh, I know how he feels. That's just Jack being Jack. Honestly, I'm sure that if I crawled into bed naked with him it would scare him half to death, though he'd never admit it. So I let him flirt with me, and I flirt a little back, because for him, that's fun. And it's nice for me to know someone thinks I'm desirable. But, no."
Stunned, Ianto sat in silence, just watching the Doctor. A look of deep sadness flitted across his face, his eyes suddenly wide and old and full of pain. "If something happens to me, you'll be there for him, won't you? He'll need someone." The Doctor swallowed hard. "If something happens."
"There was a prophecy," the Doctor said. "I'm going to die soon, I think. Jack knows. That's why we've been spending so much time together. He's scared, Ianto. I'm depending on you to look after him."
"But… No! You can't! Jack will be crushed!"
"I know. I'm sorry. I'm really very sorry."
Oh, God. Oh, Doctor. What will the universe be without you?
"But…you'll regenerate. Right? You'll come back!"
"Not if I'm really dead first. Then it'll be too late. I'll just be dead. But even if I do, it feels like dying. I'll die, and some…stranger…will walk away, some stranger taking off with my life like a stolen car. And I'll be forgotten. Gone. Dead. He'll have my memories. But me? My personality, everything that I am? All gone. Dead." The Doctor shivered.
Ianto put an arm around his shoulders and pulled him close. "It's not fair," he said. "That's just so wrong, for you and for Jack and for Martha and everyone. For me too. I'm so sorry."
The Doctor inhaled deeply and scrubbed at his face with his palms. "But!" he grinned suddenly, so very mercurial. So immutable. So enigmatic. "What a brilliant day we've had today, yeah? Don't you think…it was…brilliant?" The Doctor's expression was brave, but his voice and eyes told a different story in spite of the boyish grin.
Ianto struggled with the urge to pull the Doctor into an embrace so close as to keep him safe from all harm. "Not as brilliant as you," he found himself saying. Saying it—and meaning it, too.
Back at the hub, they settled in after everyone was gone. Ianto went to make tea for the Doctor and coffee for himself and Jack. Setting the tray on the table, he glanced over at Jack and the Doctor, once again sitting side by side on the sofa. They really did seem like two sides of the same coin. He found himself smiling inwardly at the pair of them.
Jack had insisted the Doctor stay the night, and the Doctor had finally relented. He sat curled up next to Jack in pyjamas and robe, his head cradled on Jack's shoulder. He had just had a bath and had that scubbed-pink dewy look of a child fresh from the bath. He was wearing his glasses, which had slid down his nose, lending his face a look that was frankly endearing. His eyes were closed,; his long, thick lashes lay on his cheeks, lending an angelic look to his contented face. His unruly hair stuck out as though attempting to escape his head. Jack's arm curled gently around his shoulders as a wall built to keep out all hurt. Ianto found himself smiling inwardly at the pair of them, snuggled together like a pair of puppies.
Jack softly kissed the Doctor on the cheek. "Tea's ready, Doc. Wanna watch a movie with me and Ianto?"
The Doctor opened drowsy eyes. "Yeah, that would be great," he said. He rubbed his eyes and yawned.
Ianto picked out a movie, something funny, one of those silly bromance comedies. He settled on the sofa on the other side of the Doctor and draped an arm around the Doctor's shoulders, handing him his tea. The Doctor smiled gratefully and Ianto resisted the urge once more to pull him into a protective embrace.
By the time the movie ended, the Doctor sat curled up like a kitten between Ianto and Jack, long legs tucked under his bum and sleeping contentedly. He looked unbelievably young. Jack and Ianto sat there just holding him silently until he woke up enough to stumble off to sleep on the sofa in Jack's man-cave, where Ianto and Jack took the bed.
Just before Jack turned off the lamp, Ianto said, "Look at him. He looks almost like a little angel."
Jack looked at the Doctor for a few moments, and Ianto saw a look of purest affection tinged with melancholy on his handsome features, making Jack look suddenly young and vulnerable. "He is," Jack said decisively, and turned off the lamp. "So are you."