Just Jack

Ianto ran his fingers through his hair as Jack brushed past him. The confrontation the Captain had had with Gwen still hung in the air. Silent glances were exchanged between Tosh, Owen and himself before the others gathered their things and left the hub.

Ianto turned in the doorway of Jack's office, still leaning against the frame and watched the other man. Jack sat slumped in his chair watching Gwen and Rhys on the Plas via the CCTV. He couldn't see Jack's face, but the tension in his shoulders was clearly visible underneath the blue dress shirt.

Without saying a word, Ianto crossed the office and sat in one of the chairs in front of Jack's desk. He fiddled absentmindedly with the glass in his hands.

"Jack… can I ask you a question?"

Eyes still on the monitor, Jack mumbled something in response.

Not to be deterred, Ianto cleared his throat and spoke again, this time with more authority. "Jack."

Jack sat up in his chair and turned to face Ianto. He still didn't say anything.

Taking another sip from the glass, Ianto looked directly at Jack. "Why me?"

Without missing a beat, Jack spoke. "Simple… you were in the wrong place at the wrong time." He shrugged. "Rhys was too. Things didn't go according to plan."

Ianto sighed and looked directly at Jack. When Jack met his gaze, Ianto raised his left eyebrow slightly. Jack's eyebrows knitted together briefly, then realization dawned in his eyes and the cracks began to appear in the captain's armor.

Ianto leaned forward in the chair, resting his elbows on his knees, still holding the glass. He watched the CCTV footage of Gwen and Rhys walking away from the Plas as Jack shifted some papers on his desk. He paused and looked at Ianto again… then followed the younger man's gaze to the monitors.

Their eyes met again. Neither said a word for a moment.

Finally, Jack found his voice. "It's not like that."

Ianto sat back in the chair, "What's not like what?"

Shuffling some more papers on his desk to give his hands something to do, Jack looked at Ianto. The man radiated calm. "I don't love her… not like that."

Ianto didn't speak, which unnerved Jack even more. He grinned… knowing Ianto would see through it immediately.

Ianto countered the grin with a small smile of his own. "Like what?"

Feeling the sudden need to move around, Jack got up. He didn't need to get anything so after standing he just stood and because he still didn't know what to do with them; he shoved his hands in his pockets.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Then he looked at Ianto who had shifted slightly in the chair to continue facing Jack.

"Like I love you."

Ianto raised his eyebrow a little further.

Jack fidgeted where he stood, almost like a child. "I mean it." He moved to stand in the open doorway, looking out over the empty Hub. Without looking, he knew Ianto's gaze had followed him. "To them I'm Captain Jack Harkness… leader extraordinaire." He said in a deep dramatic voice as he puffed out his chest.

Ianto smiled at the image.

Jack turned back into the office and met Ianto's eyes. "But not to you."

This time the second eyebrow joined the first. "Not to me?"

Crossing the office, Jack stopped in front of where Ianto sat. "You see me…. Jack… a man who is just as scared as everyone else… a man who feels pain even though he can't die… a man who doesn't always know what to do…."

Ianto put his empty glass on Jack's desk and stood up. He put a finger on Jack's lips. "I know who you are." He smiled and pulled Jack into an embrace.

-fin-