A/N - thanks to those who've read and left comments. It is lovely to know that this first Torchwood fic that I wrote back in 2008 has been enjoyed here. The second part of this chapter contains a fairly explicit love scene - be wary of reading beyond the second line break if you aren't comfortable reading scenes of a sexual nature.
Ianto was glad of the clothing that Tosh had brought over from his place. Although she hadn't actually packed any outdoor wear for him, there was a warm sweater; she knew how cold it could get in the hub. As he walked out of the tourist information office and closed the door behind him he noticed a sign hanging in the window: "Closed due to ill-health", he recognised Tosh's handwriting and smiled, appreciative of the subtle ways in which she cared for him.
He hadn't passed Jack as he left and he thought maybe he'd find him outside, his coat billowing in the breeze. But there was no sign of him. Ianto sighed, it was colder than he thought it would be, but the air smelt good, clean with a hint of rain and sea. He leant against the shabby exterior wall of the Tourist Office and slid down until he was sitting on the ground, his arms resting about his knees that were drawn up close to his body. He hurt, it seemed as if every bone in his body ached, which wasn't surprising as he'd fallen quite heavily down the stairs only a few hours earlier. He closed his eyes and lifted his face to the sky, not caring that there were rain drops hitting his nose and eyelids, the rain was soft and the wet splashes were gentle on his skin.
"You'll catch your death sitting in the rain."
"After the week I've just had I suppose it would be ironic if I died as a result of the weather. Anyway, I'm Welsh – we're immune to rain."
"C'mon. If you were a cat you've just worked your way through about half of your nine lives in the space of that week. That's an unacceptably high rate." Jack's tone was deadly serious as he held out a hand for Ianto, only to find himself tugged downwards until he was sitting on the ground next to Ianto.
"Shut up and kiss me. You're in a foul mood and I don't want to talk to you until you've stopped sulking."
"And you think a kiss will do that?"
"It usually leads on to something that does take your mind off the crap this job throws at you."
Jack wasn't given the opportunity to argue any further as Ianto cupped his head and drew him closer, not in the least bit bothered that they were sitting outdoors, in the pouring rain. Pressing his mouth to Jack's he wasted no time on gentle teasing, he took advantage of the fact that the other man's mouth had been open – about to speak, and pushed his tongue in until he felt Jack respond. Their lips sealed tight, they abandoned all conscious thought and became totally absorbed in the taste of each other and the sensation of tongue against tongue, warm and wet. Jack's hands wormed their way under the edge of Ianto's sweater and Ianto slid his inside Jack's coat, both of them needing to touch skin, not clothing.
"You had enough fresh air yet?" Jack asked breathlessly.
"Nope. I've been cooped up in rooms all bloody week Jack, hotel rooms, creepy farmhouse rooms, your office…I need to see the sky."
"I was going to bring you outside eventually. Really."
"Yep, I know, I just figured that you'd got distracted."
"You think all the promises I make in bed are hollow?"
"I think you make them with the best intentions. It's just what we both do that gets in the way."
"Gwen made it quite clear back there that we all need a night off. Me too. I hate to admit it, but she was right. Owen's not the only one who screwed up – if anything I screwed up more. By the way I've got your stuff."
Ianto saw then that his holdall was on the bench behind Jack and his heart sunk slightly; it would appear that Jack intended to give him a lift home and then do whatever it was that he did on his own. He nodded and allowed himself to be helped to his feet, then followed Jack back towards the Plas where he'd left the SUV, illegally parked yet again.
Jack was pleased to see that Ianto had dropped off to sleep in the car, he'd deliberately turned up the heating in the hope that it would help. Although he'd caught the disappointed look on Ianto's face, he didn't want to let him know yet exactly what he had in mind. He wanted to make sure they were well on their way before he realised. Jack also needed to calm down, the last thing he wanted to do now was to take out either his annoyance with Gwen or his loathing of Gates on Ianto. It was time for him to take a few hours for Ianto, for them.
Jack swore as he had to brake sharply to avoid going into the back of a tractor that pulled out of a concealed farm driveway. The sudden disturbance woke Ianto, who shook his head gently as he peered out of the window.
"Um, Jack – have I moved house and forgotten about it? If not, then this is a route home that I've not got around to trying."
"No. I'm taking you to see something. We're not far now."
"Good, because although it's been a while since I've been home, I definitely don't remember the fields and trees, or the sheep for that matter."
"We're in the Black Mountains."
In fact they were very close to the Brecon Beacons, but Jack thought it prudent not to mention that.
"We're headed for a village about three miles out of Crickhowell."
"I am glad you're not taking me on a day trip to Abergavenny. I would have had to kill you if you did. And for the record it should be pronounced Crug Hywel, table mountain – after the flat topped mountain - "
"Is this an example of you knowing everything or do you just spend too much time in that damn tourist office? I bet you've read all the brochures, haven't you "
"The answers to those questions would all be yes. Which village, Jack?"
"This one." Jack did not want to risk mispronouncing the name in front of Ianto.
As they drove across the old stone bridge over the River Usk, Ianto read out the name of the village from the sign on the road side.
Jack nodded and kept going until he reached the small church. He pulled up on the grass, trying not to block the narrow road with the enormous SUV.
"You've brought me to church?"
Jack couldn't help but smile and shake his head.
"Not quite. This is where I came last week. There's something I want you to see."
They walked along the narrow pathway, edged by old, worn headstones, towards the far corner of the churchyard. There, under an ancient gnarled yew tree, was a grave, recently visited by the looks of the flowers in the vase. There were deep red roses, their heads beginning to droop, and lilies, still white and crisp against the dark green fern leaves, although some petals had been broken off by the rain and lay on the grave like large white teardrops.
Jack reached out for Ianto who was standing back, intending to give Jack the space he needed. They stood together, Jack's arm about Ianto's shoulders as they looked at the gravestone. It was dark slate, intricately carved with intertwining leaves and flowers about the inscription, which bore the name of Emily Harkness, described as the widow of a Captain J. Harkness of Cardiff. The rain dripping from the yew tree branches made the stone gleam in the failing light.
"After Gwen's wedding, later that night, I went back to the hub and looked through my old photos. My conscience was giving me hell for not thinking of Emily in a while. Watching Gwen get married didn't just make me maudlin, it prompted me to come out here and pay my respects."
"You told me on the marshes that you'd led her to believe you'd died." Ianto had slipped one arm inside Jack's coat so that he had the benefit from the warmth and shelter it offered.
"I arranged for her to be told I was dead, lost at sea. I thought that way she could start over – have another chance of happiness. But she never did remarry."
"You're a hard act to follow, Jack." Ianto squeezed Jack's waist to emphasise the point he was trying to make.
"Really? So-" Jack tilted up Ianto's head so that he could read the expression on his face. He wondered if Ianto would find someone else.
"I don't think that replacing you is going to be on the agenda for me, Jack," Ianto said ruefully. "Either I'll die on the job sometime in the next ten years, or if I survive Torchwood, you'll leave me for a younger model, and don't pretend otherwise, I know your libido first hand!"
"Not sure if I could face losing you to either of those options, Ianto." He knew then, at that moment as they stood together next to the grave of a woman who had never known the truth about him, that he'd find it much harder to say goodbye to this man than any of his previous lovers. Because he did know him and accepted him despite that.
"You mean that, don't you?" Sniffing slightly as the cold air made his nose run, Ianto looked as if he was about to tear up.
"Yes, this past week has forced me to face the fact that I really don't want to lose you."
"You're not proposing are you?" Ianto raised an eyebrow gently trying to get Jack to lighten up.
"No." Jack grinned, he knew that he didn't need to follow conventions or make things legal to show Ianto how he felt. "After all, I reckon that 'Till death us do part' is tempting fate in our line of work don't you think?"
"Well, maybe not for you, but it is for the rest of us, and as for 'happily ever after'-"
"Yeah... guaranteed to bring disaster. But 'honour and obey', I could certainly do with more of that."
"Jack, you know that I'd do anything-"
"I know, you showed me that today and it scares me to death, mostly because of what I'm going to have to ask of you one day." Jack frowned, he really didn't want to think of work now, not when he knew what he would need Ianto to do. That would wait until they were back in Cardiff.
"Are we OK, Jack?" Ianto had seen the scowl and was worried that he'd inadvertently upset Jack.
"Oh yes, we're good." Jack kissed him softly on the lips, tasting the rain that ran down his face.
"I suppose we'd better be getting back to Cardiff now ... it's a good hour's drive." Ianto looked at his watch, wishing he could stay enfolded in Jack's coat for a while longer but knowing that they should be on their way.
"We could do ... or we could go to the hotel in Crickhowell where I've booked us a room for the night."
"What about the hub? Someone needs to get back to monitor the rift. Just as well it's been quiet since Nostrovite night."
"Taken care of. Owen had to stay a while to run tests on the blood sample Tosh took from you earlier and he was feeling bad about the armoury door-"
"So you took advantage."
"If I am being forced into taking a break by my second in command, I may as well make the most of the opportunity. I owed you an explanation about where I was last week, when you needed me. I also still need to make up for the fact that I've been taking you for granted recently and that my negligence almost got you killed. So I'd like to treat you, Ianto. I want to show you just how much you mean to me."
It was twilight as they arrived at The Dragon Hotel, the setting sun had finally broken through the clouds and the low rays hit the whitewashed building, making it gleam against the dark green trees that surrounded it. The hotel, situated at the base of the mountain that gave Crickhowell its name, looked as if it had grown up amidst the lush green valley, nestled within the dramatic backdrop of bracken covered slopes lit to a glowing red by the setting sun. Jack stole a glance at Ianto and was pleased to see that the place met his immediate approval. This was the Wales that his companion loved and he wanted to share that with him, that sense of belonging.
The Dragon was a very different hotel than the one they'd stayed at in Llanrhiddian and for that both men were more grateful than they were prepared to admit. Jack had booked in advance before leaving the hub earlier that evening, pleased that there were still rooms available. Despite his anger at Gwen's questioning of his authority, he'd been prompted by Tosh to go after Ianto and look after him. Somehow the idea of taking him for a walk around the bay and then back to his flat didn't seem to be quite enough to make up for the crap he'd suffered in the past week. Hell, he deserved more than that just to make up for the way Jack had behaved at Gwen's wedding.
"Why here, Jack?"
"The truth? I saw this in one of the brochures in your office and it looked like somewhere I thought you'd like."
"Well, it is, except it costs a fucking fortune to stay here – I only recommend it to the wealthier looking tourists. You know, the ones that I suspect are really aliens."
"Americans you mean?"
"Maybe – but why on earth would they be visiting the shabbiest looking tourist office in the whole of Cardiff?"
"I haven't a clue. However, we are staying here – my treat."
Unusually for Jack, he didn't attempt to flirt with the front desk staff, he just confirmed his reservation and took the keys as quickly as he could. It occurred to Ianto that he was just doing this for him and that he'd rather be back at the hub pursuing Gates. He sighed softly and fell in behind Jack as he purposefully walked towards the sweeping staircase.
A huge four-poster bed, of dark oak, with a white coverlet and burgundy red cushions, dominated their room. The posts were thick and intricately carved, as was the ornate headboard. Ianto smiled at Jack. The room was just right, sensuous, yet masculine and not a frilly pillow in sight. After the honeymoon suite they'd been forced to occupy before, this room was perfect. Although there were two oak armchairs placed either side of a wooden side table, both men automatically headed for the bed and sat on the edge, looking at each other expectantly.
Ianto was the first to break the comfortable silence with a loud sneeze.
"I told you that you'd catch your death going outside dressed like that."
"It's just a sneeze. I'm feeling much better, really-"
Jack grabbed hold of Ianto and pulled him close.
"Don't even start – you're wet through and that's gonna make those bruises feel so much better I'm sure."
"You could always take my mind off them."
"Much as I'd love to take you on this bed right now and let you know just how pleased I am that you're not dying, I'm actually going to look after you for a change. First thing is to get you naked and then in a hot bath, then maybe a massage and then something to eat."
"Bath and food ... you know what, that sounds more appealing than sex right now. Shit, that means I'm not completely well yet-"
"Shall I call Owen?"
"No, but I am really hungry." As the adrenaline from the events of the day wore off, Ianto realised that he was starving.
"Yeah, I think I'd better order us something to eat. If Gwen finds out I haven't fed you properly she'll kill me. Any preferences?"
"Whatever will get here quickest."
"Tell you what, you get in the bathroom and start running a bath, I'll go and sort out food."
The bath water had gone cold and Ianto sighed. He'd hoped that Jack would have joined him, but he hadn't seen him since he'd put his head round the door before Ianto had finished filling the tub with water, said he had to go make a call to Owen and that he wouldn't be long.
That was a while ago. Ianto got out of the bath and wrapped a large towel about his waist and draped another around his shoulders, after rubbing his hair to get rid of the excess water. Moving into the bedroom, he was surprised to see Jack sitting in one of the armchairs next to the wooden coffee table. He'd kicked off his boots, thrown his coat over the other chair and had rolled up his shirtsleeves. The signs that all was not well were obvious to Ianto, the way Jack's hands gripped the arms of the chair, the frown that creased his forehead and the set of his jaw. There was a plate of sandwiches on the table, with a bowl of crisps and a jug of orange juice.
"Chef's gone home, all I could get were sandwiches. Sorry."
"Everything alright with Owen?" Ianto sat opposite Jack and took a sandwich. He was hungry.
"Yeah, he said your blood sample showed significant reduction in viral load. Looks like you're going to be OK."
"I see... and what else has he found out? There must be something wrong." He was worried, he wondered what Owen had discovered now. Jack wouldn't look him in the eye so he fiddled with his food, taking the filling from inside the bread and nibbling on it. Jack's sudden mood swing had taken the edge off his appetite.
"Nothing's wrong, the treatment worked. You should eat." Jack tried to smile, yet failed miserably.
"If it worked, what's bothering you?" Ianto put his half eaten sandwich back on the plate.
"Bollocks! You're brooding."
"No I'm not –"
"Liar." Then it dawned on Ianto that Jack brooded when he felt guilty, no doubt he was blaming himself for everything that had happened in the past week. "It wasn't your fault, Jack, you're not to blame-"
"Yes, it was my fault –" Jack yelled vehemently.
Oh yes, that was it, the cork was out of the bottle now, thought Ianto.
"I was careless, I dropped my guard. I wasn't around. If I had have been there-"
"The weevils were dumped where Torchwood would have found them. Gates and Copley targeted us. One way or another they would have got what they wanted, there was nothing you could have done-"
"I nearly got you killed." Jack met Ianto's eyes at last and the look of anguish was unmistakable.
"Oh, for fuck's sake-"
"No, Ianto – "
"Shut up, Jack –" Ianto pulled Jack out of the chair in which he'd taken refuge and kissed him hard on the mouth.
"You're hurt – "
"Bruised. Again. So what?"
"I'll make it worse-"
"I doubt it. Have you ever stopped to consider that I might actually know what I want? I'm not a child, Jack. I want you to stop beating yourself up over this, I want you to live for the present, even if it's only for tonight. Just stop feeling so bloody miserable. You said you wanted to make up to me for the way you've been behaving. Was that true?"
"Of course it was!"
"Then let's go to bed and fuck until you get the anger out of your system and then we can make love until we pass out from exhaustion." Ianto had grabbed hold of the shirt that Jack was wearing and had it bunched up in his fists.
Jack didn't answer with words, they were all spent. He roughly tugged the towel free from Ianto's waist, before pushing him backwards towards the bed. As he fell into the soft mattress, Jack held him in place between his thighs. Pulling off his layers of shirts and throwing them to the floor, Jack then collapsed onto Ianto's chest, holding his arms to the side as he crushed his mouth in a bruising kiss. Breaking off for air, he rolled to one side, shedding his trousers fast, practice over the decades having allowed him to perfect that manoeuvre such that he appeared to have simply slid out of them.
"I hope you meant every word that you just said…" Jack growled softly as he leaned in to gently bite at the soft skin about Ianto's neck. The only answer he got was a nod and a hand clutching his arse pulling his hips closer. That was all it took for both men to let go of their pent up emotions, hands everywhere, mouths, lips and tongues competing for dominance. The sensations of skin on skin were too much for Jack. A week ago he'd taken Ianto without giving his lover a chance to participate, and since then he'd been very much a passive partner, injuries and sickness keeping his passion suppressed. But this time Ianto's sheer desperation to get Jack to snap out of his guilty brooding was enough to overcome his physical weariness. Jack loved it when Ianto fought back in bed, an equal to push against, whose surrender was never easily given, but something to be won. They rolled over one another, struggling for domination, their bodies slick with sweat and aroused beyond tolerance.
Angry sex for Jack never lasted long, and when Ianto was also riled it made it all the more intense. Ianto's eyes shut tight, but his mouth gaped wide, his lips red and slightly swollen from the frantic kisses, he gasped out loud as Jack pushed into him painfully, having barely prepared him with the minimum of lubrication from spit daubed fingers. Thighs forced apart and legs lifted allowed Jack to thrust in hard and fast. Ianto wrapped his arms and legs about Jack's body as he came abruptly inside him and he held on tightly until Jack stopped shaking. The release of his orgasm took with it the vestiges of his anger, as if a safety valve had opened. Panting for breath he fell heavily onto Ianto's sweating body, resting his head on his partner's chest, listening to his heart beating strongly within.
They lay there for a while not speaking, just breathing in each other's scent. The air between them had cleared and Ianto knew better than to break the spell. Sprawled out naked, warm and sweating on the sumptuous double bed, Ianto just smiled as Jack stroked his body gently, kissing the bruises one by one.
"How much are you hurting?" Jack realised he'd not stopped to take into account the fact that Ianto was injured from his fall. There were dark purple bruises on his shoulders and hips, and the red flushed skin on his right arm bore witness to the close miss that he'd survived earlier that day.
"Not too much to make love to you."
"Oh yeah?" Despite any reservations he may have had as to Ianto's state of health, his bruising and the slight anaemia he was still suffering, he wanted Ianto to take him, he wanted desperately to be shoved face first into the mattress while Ianto took him hard and fast. Just thinking of it made his heart beat faster again and his breathing speed up.
"Oh yeah... it's been over a week since I've taken you, Jack ... and I want you so badly…" Ianto whispered into Jack's ear, those vowels that Jack loved so much more seductive when enunciated in husky tones and accompanied by warm breath caressing his neck.
Ianto's hands drifted down, his fingertips skimming Jack's hips.
"You have no idea how much that appeals to me. I want you to take me, Ianto – as hard and fast as you can manage…"
"I had other things in mind, we've done fast, now I get to take you slowly. Roll over for me."
Jack needed this badly, he needed someone else to take the responsibility away from him and he loved it when Ianto took control. There weren't many people he'd ever been able to place his complete and total trust in, but Ianto was one of them. As he rolled onto his stomach he felt a tingle as Ianto kissed his shoulders, working his way down his back.
Ianto leaned over Jack, stroking and kissing the expanse of his back, muscles toned to perfection beneath an unblemished skin that seemed to be almost golden in the light of the room. He always felt almost in awe of Jack's physique, the man was quite beautiful and he adored any opportunity to admire his body.
Jack felt his muscles relax, the tension draining from him as Ianto's hands and lips took it in turns to caress and kiss their way along his spine and into the small of his back. He allowed his mind to shut down to all but the sensations of elation that flooded his senses. Then Ianto's hands moved more purposefully and with greater strength as they lifted him off the bed slightly, a pillow appearing from nowhere tucked under his body as his buttocks were kneaded and then grasped powerfully.
After that he lost the ability to process exactly what Ianto was doing as he felt lips and tongue toying with him, warm breath, wetness and a gentle penetration that sent waves of pleasure up through his body to his barely functioning brain. The moment Ianto pushed into him he was aware of exquisite pain, an arm about his waist holding him firmly to his lover's body as he steadied himself. The sounds of Ianto breathing heavily above him, the drips of sweat that fell on his back made him wish he could see his lover, and a glance to one side into the mirrored wardrobe doors gave him cause to moan out loud. He could see Ianto pulling out slowly before pushing back into his receptive body, concentrating so hard on hitting the right spot that he was biting his lower lip. As Jack moaned softly, Ianto also caught the erotic image of him slowly fucking his lover. Their eyes met in the reflection and both men grinned broadly, noticing how dilated their pupils were, the darkness of lust and desire consuming them.
Jack barely had time to lick his lips as he saw Ianto take his arousal in his hand and begin to slowly stroke it, his pace increasing as did the speed with which he plunged into his body. No longer able to focus, Jack screamed out for more as his earlier fantasy was fulfilled, his face pressed into the mattress as his lover started to pound into him mercilessly. Jack wrapped his hand about Ianto's, desperate to come and just as Ianto felt him approaching his climax, he pushed in as deeply as he could, feeling Jack's muscles squeezing him tight, triggering his own orgasm.
Falling into a heap of non-responding sweaty limbs, Ianto collapsed on top of Jack, who rolled onto his back to lie blissfully content, all negative thoughts currently banished from his mind.
"Oh shit... that was..."
"Oh fuck... yes, it was..."
Neither man could piece together a coherent sentence, both breathless in that euphoric state that follows good sex.
They lay in each other's arms for a while until the shivering of Ianto roused Jack enough to urge him to sit up and get under the down duvet. Both men crawled into the white cocoon and curled around one another, unwilling to break contact.
"Jack? Are you going to be here when I wake up?" Ianto was thinking back to the previous weekend when he'd woken alone in a hotel bed, abandoned by Jack.
"Trust me, you'll have no doubts where I am when you open your eyes."
Ianto was exhausted and it didn't surprise Jack when he began to softly snore.
"I'm not going anywhere tonight. I'm right where I belong." Jack whispered, as he pressed a gentle kiss to the head of his sleeping lover.
TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT STORY - QUEEN TAKES KNIGHT'S PAWN
(as long as there is sufficient demand that is ...)