A/N: Ianto's place.

No spoilers

Beta-ed: TattoedLibrarian


For Jack it was like being led into the wonderland. New apartments were like treasure chests for him. They would contain clues and traces of people that lived in them, traces of their lives and connections. Being accepted in someone's home was a step of trust and intimacy Jack had rarely indulged in. That often was a sign of certain expectations from him that he started to behave in a certain way, to visit often and to grow old. Not to disappear and reappear as young as ever pretending to be his own son or grandson hoping that old age would dull their sense and ability to notice his lack of aging. This was whole other perspective with all the cards on the table, no hidden rules.

Jack followed Ianto's lead and pulled off his shoes. The place had nice hardwood floors with a rug in the middle. A big, brown leather couch sat in the middle of the living room. Before that there was a big screen TV surrounded with boxes of DVDs and Hi-Fi system with big speakers. By the side wall there was a big book shelf fully packed with books and beside it a small dresser with three picture frames. One contained what Jack assumed was Ianto's father, and another of Ianto's mother with a small Ianto; they were divided by a picture of a family. Jack assumed it could be his sister because there was a girl in a picture with a father. There was no sign of Lisa.

"Coffee? Tea?" Ianto spoke up moving towards small kitchen area. "Maybe Tea is better, I would like to sleep, something without tea."

"Tea without tea sounds great" Jack crossed his arms behind his back approaching the book shelf.

He stood before the printed books, they always remained a romantic mystery for him, letters on paper that you could touch, it was a wonderful sensation. He rarely read them, for him they were history, something old and outdated, romantic and full of silly beliefs and delusions. More than the books he watched Ianto as he moved around kitchen, it was a view to remember. The kitchen was small with brown wood and white tiles, a long counter that was used as a table, but it was fully packed with kitchenware and supplies that were seen when he opened the cupboards. Ianto lived here. There was even a reading chair, a comfortable looking armchair with tall lamp beside it. On the table beside it there were few books with bookmarks. Everything was neat, so the apartment didn't speak much about Ianto but that was fun too because it was so Ianto, all closed up and out of grasp.

Jack focused on the shelf to see what it said about him. There were all sorts of novels, silly unbelievable fiction and classics. The thing that was out of ordinary was Dickens collected works. The other books were used, read, categorized by some unknown order that was known only to Ianto, but Dickens was new, intact and whole edition from same publisher. Jack pulled out Piccadilly Club. Before he could open it something behind caught his eye. He reached behind and took out bunch of pictures. There was Lisa, pushed behind the unused books but still not in the trash. Jack could see by the darker corners of the pictures that these ones once were in frames displayed around. She was beautiful.

"She didn't offer me to come back" Jack remembered how Ianto explained himself to him on the Valliant "I didn't do it to get her back." It was a world of confession to make. The one that said that he'd moved passed her and was available, that he hadn't betrayed him for her. Ianto had moved to a new place and her pictures were stashed behind. Jack could understand that. He had full box of pictures stashed in the bottom drawer. They weren't the faces he wanted to be reminded of daily, but he wasn't willing to forget them all together, that would be a loss. He put the pictures back in their place in the past.

As he pushed Dickens back in his place Ianto came in with a tray.

"I met Dickens once" Jack said as Ianto raised his eyebrow ironically "just before he died, lively fellow, he told wonderful stories" one about the Doctor that Jack took away with him knowing that it wasn't for publishing nor would it ever be.

Ianto had put a tray on the coffee table and sat on the couch. Jack followed his lead and positioned himself on the opposite corner leaving space between them, he didn't trust his instincts, they were too well trained to attack and seduce. After tonight he wasn't ready to let them lead. He remembered too well person he once was, careless and reckless.

"So, Jack" Ianto said his name thick and strong, leaning back on the arm rest "what story will you tell about your adventures out in space."

Jack opened up his mouth but nothing came out. After moment of silence he closed it.

"No stories" he said finally. Ianto closed his eyes. "There is simply nothing funny to say about it" Jack continued staring at the cup in his hand, it was nice white, porcelain and delicate, it was like nothing he would ever own. Things that were his had to be robust and unbreakable.

"Really?" Ianto's voice sounded angry and Jack had put down his cup ready to go, his welcome would soon run out. "Just as I thought. You just ran off like that all happy and carefree and just threw yourself in world of grief and danger. It just pisses me off that you never think; you just ran and throw yourself before danger no matter how big. Tell me was it worse than Abbadon, because you look like it was. You couldn't stay and play it safe. No, that's not your suit. Any sign of danger and you just dash off don't you?"

Jack watched him with a frown as Ianto yelled at him. His face was all red and eyes small, he was really upset; he didn't even look at Jack as he was talking. Jack remembered the last thing Ianto said to him, that he'd let himself be killed just to punish Jack for being in such trouble. Maybe time had been rewound but Ianto stayed the same as ever, he wanted Jack safe and in sight. Jack smiled feeling all fuzzy inside. It's been ages since somebody worried about him. Sure there were lovers, loves, desires, caring, but worry just never suited him. People just never saw him as somebody that could get hurt, even if they didn't know he couldn't die. Ianto knew he couldn't die and he still worried. He discovered that he liked that, that it was soothing in some way; that Ianto still saw him as human, as breakable. Jack decided that it deserved some compensation, that fear and annoyance that were in Ianto because of him. He moved forward and took the cup from Ianto's hand placing it on the table. Ianto looked at him bewildered but Jack just smiled at him wider knowing it would be enough for him not to push him away.

"What?" Ianto said breathlessly as Jack leaned towards him.

"Just to make us even" Jack whispered as Ianto sank in the couch, Jack didn't back down. "A little thing I owe you" he spoke barely a whisper against his lips "so we can start fresh, counting from zero" with that he closed the gap between their lips and closed his eyes.

He felt Ianto trembling beneath him but his lips had responded and they pressed themselves to Jack granting him access.

It didn't last long. Jack hadn't used his advantage to gain more. It was compensation for a short kiss, not long one, besides he was invited to sleep over nothing more. Jack backed away making himself comfortable on the couch, leaning back turning towards Ianto. Ianto stayed down staring at him stupefied.

"I'm sorry I got myself into trouble" Jack said simply "I just had to get answers. Maybe I should have stayed, it would spare a lot of people grief if I did."

"No" Ianto straightened himself up taking his cup "I don't believe you've caused grief, you just have the misfortune of attracting trouble, that doesn't make you guilty for it."

Jack laughed from relief. Even if he didn't know anything, Ianto still firmly believed that Jack wasn't the one to blame. That was so refreshing. He looked at him with suspicion.

"I'm not laughing at you" Jack hurried to explain himself and didn't even notice that he was doing it "I'm laughing from joy, I love the way you look at things. I've missed that."

Ianto arched his eyebrows holding his breath for a moment.

"Well it's always nice to be appreciated" he took out his polite smile and Jack had let it go drinking a sip of his tea, it tasted divine, warm and sour, he forgot how tasteful drinks and food can be.