Ianto Jones was not a big fan of surprises. In general, he thought, they never turned out well. So he would have been hard pressed to justify to anyone, never mind himself, why he was sneaking into the Hub a whole day before he was expected back from a UNIT seminar in London solely to surprise one Jack Harkness. He stood inside the door, looking around the Hub, he could see a shadow moving in the hot house, found you sir he thought and pulling out his mobile phone he dialled a number.
'Ianto' his lover sounded breathless and a bit distracted. Ianto smiled
'Jack, just called to see what you are up to'
'well, uh, just uh...'
'Jack, are you wanking?'
Jack gave a breathless chuckle, 'well you've been away for three whole days and..uh'
Ianto lowered his tone to a seductive purr and walked slowly and quietly towards the hot house
'I wish I was there with you sir. I'd run my fingers down your gorgeous body, and suck your nipples into my hot mouth to make you groan. Touch your nipples and groan for me now, Jack'
A low moan echoed throughout the hub, amplified by Ianto's phone and his smile broadened. Ianto was standing outside the door of the hothouse and he could tell from the hitch in Jack's breathing that he was close, very close
'Now touch yourself for me' instructed Ianto, quietly opening the door and stepping into the room, 'are you close Jack, are you gonna come soon?'. He froze taking in the scene before him. A naked Jack, eyes tightly closed, was bending over a writhing body thrusting hard; the hand he was using to support himself was firmly gripping his phone as he listened to Ianto's voice, the other working busily in the dripping cunt alongside his cock. Slowly Ianto closed his phone and then, pitching his voice slightly louder he continued, 'what about you Gwen, you gonna come soon?'
Jack's head snapped round and his face showed a strange mixture of joy, horror and guilt. Gwen tightened her legs around Jack possessively to pull him deeper inside and threw a triumphant look at Ianto. Jack was struggling to pull away and out of Gwen's embrace but failing.
'Ianto' he said desperately, 'I wasn't expecting you back until tomorrow'
'Clearly, sir' responded Ianto, 'I apologise for disturbing you.' And he turned on his heel and left, with Jack's anguished yelling of his name echoing around the Hub.
By the time Ianto arrived for work the next morning he had 86 missed call from Jack and his text in-box was full with ignored messages. He entered the hub and went straight to the kitchen to begin the coffee. Within a minute Jack was behind him, slipping his arms around Ianto's waist and planting desperate kisses on his neck and into his hair.
'Ianto' he whispered, 'Please, I'm so, so sorry'
Ianto gently removed Jack's arms from his body and turned to face him. He placed a soft kiss on Jack's lips and looked into his eyes.
'No' he said.
Jack looked terrified 'Yan...I'
'NO' said Ianto loudly, 'I'm talking now and you will listen to me Jack. I love you, gods I love you so much and I have wanted to tell you for months but I was scared.' He gave a sad little laugh, 'I thought if I told you, it would scare you away. As it turns out I shouldn't have worried should I, all it took was me being unavailable for a few days. God Owen was right; I AM just your part time shag aren't I? Well, lucky Gwen! She has wanted you all these years and now she has you, I hope you enjoy each other.' Ianto reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out an envelope with Jack's name on it and held it out to him, 'Here is my resignation, sir. My notice period is three months so I'll spend the time researching my replacement. I have also enclosed a copy of the official secrets act that I signed when I joined Torchwood One so Retcon will not be necessary. Whilst I am working my notice I would be grateful if you would ensure that any interaction between us is strictly professional'
Jack drew a shuddering breath, 'Ianto, please...I...I can't...be...without you'
Ianto gave a sad smile 'you seemed to be managing Ok last night, sir. I'm sure you will be fine' He stepped around Jack and managed to make it down to the archives before he broke down.'
The months of Ianto's period of notice were unpleasant for everyone. Tosh was devastated to be losing her friend, even though Ianto had not given the reason for his leaving Owen had somehow got the story and told Tosh so neither Owen nor Tosh were speaking to Gwen. Gwen did not care – even though Jack was cold and distant at the moment she knew that the balance of power would soon be changing in her favour and looked forward to the day when she could put them both in their place. Ianto was quietly disappearing in the way he had in the dreadful days after Lisa and Jack...Jack was shattered. He rarely came out of his office, he refused to even look at the files of the people Ianto thought might be able to replace him, when out in the field he was reckless and began dying on an almost daily basis. He never spoke to the team about anything other than Torchwood business but his eyes followed Ianto around the Hub all the time. The atmosphere in the hub was tense and threatening like the air before a thunder storm.
The situation came to a head after eight weeks. Ianto was doing the usual afternoon coffee round quietly placing everyone's drink on their desk. Tosh smiled and offered a soft 'thank you' when Ianto placed a packet of her favourite biscuits down along with her tea. Own looked up in surprise when his coffee was accompanied by an advance copy of the next release of his favourite video game. When Gwen got a cooling and half full mug of decaf she looked up and said patronisingly, 'Ianto, don't you think you are being a little childish with the passive-aggressive behaviour?'
Tosh and Owen froze. Ianto raised an eyebrow; Gwen ploughed on, 'I mean, really, gifts for Tosh and Owen and nothing for me? We both knew that Jack would move on to me one day – what on earth did you think was going to happen. That he would tell you he loved you? That you two would set up house together? Laughable that some like you could hope to hold on to a man like Jack Harkness.'
Ianto straightened up, 'I have no gift for you, Gwen Cooper, because you have already taken the most precious thing I ever had. Everything you say is true – I knew Jack would leave me one day, but I loved him anyway. You, you see only the hero but I saw the man, and it was the man that I loved' He looked up and saw Jack standing silently looking down at them all, 'Sir, 'he said formally, 'I have a great deal of outstanding leave which I was going to relinquish but in the interests of harmonious working I think it appropriate if I leave today.' Jack gave a short nod and Ianto turned away to return to the archives. As he left he heard Gwen say, 'Honestly, Jack I think it's a good thing he's going. The sooner the team get used to the fact that we are together, the better it will be for everyone especially you and me'
Jack's reply was low but perfectly audible and froze Ianto in his tracks, 'You bitch, after the mission that day, after those children died, you knew I would need Ianto, need his strength and you...you offered yourself at a time I was vulnerable and lonely. You and I together? If I could I would kill you for what you have taken from me. I never want to speak to you again'
Tosh looked over to where Ianto was standing, 'Ianto?' she said softly.
Ianto twisted and faced the team 'I'll be up in a couple of hours to take the lunch orders' he said coldly, his face impassive then he turned on his heel and walked away.
The rest of the day dragged on and on. The rift was quiet and there was nothing to break the tension. At four o'clock everyone's computer pinged with an e-mail from Jack that said simply 'Go home'. Ianto gave it 30 minutes before he emerged the archives hoping to avoid the others, only to find Tosh and Owen waiting for him in the Hub.
'You didn't think we'd leave without saying "don't come back" to you did you?' said Owen. Ianto rolled his eyes at him. To his surprise Owen pulled him into a hug 'take care of yourself, teaboy'
Tosh sniffed loudly, 'Ianto, he's hurting so much and Gwen is really the bad guy here, won't you reconsider? We need you, he needs you.'
Ianto pulled her into the hug, 'This is for the best, Tosh' he said quietly, 'It's what I always knew would happen. I'll probably be staying in Cardiff for a while so we can still have dinner and hang out' He gave them both a squeeze and released them, stepping back.
'I'll miss you sobbed Tosh as Own put a consoling arm around her.
Ianto's eyes were stinging with tears, 'I'll miss you too...both of you. Please go, I'll call you in a couple of days, we'll get a beer yeah?' Tosh and Owen smiled sadly, hugged Ianto one more time and left hand in hand. Ianto closed down his work station and looked round the Hub for the last time. God everywhere he looked there were memories of him and Jack. The kitchen where Jack stole a kiss and a grope first thing every morning; The hothouse where Gwen had walked in on them; Owen's work station where Jack had given him the blow job of his life; The autopsy bay where they had wanked each other off and Jack had thrust his fingers into Ianto massaging his prostate as he came so hard he passed out; Jack's office where he had fucked Jack for the first time, spread over his desk whimpering and begging. His eyes drifted up to the door and Jack was standing there.
'Ianto' Jack whispered
'Don't, Jack' said Ianto, 'please, just...don't'
Jack walked slowly down into the Hub and up to Ianto. 'So,' he said softly, 'this is it.' Ianto looked into Jack's blue eyes and nodded. Jack pulled him into a tight embrace, his face pressed into Ianto's neck, 'I want you to know that I'll always love you' he said, 'I wish...I wish...'
'I know' said Ianto, 'me too'
For the last time ever, Jack slid his fingers under Ianto's chin tilting his head to capture his mouth in a searing kiss. It was kiss that spoke of regret and love and heartbreak and it shattered what was left of Ianto's heart. What am I doing he thought I love Jack, he loves me, why would I throw all of that away over that tart Gwen Copper
Jack's face was wet against Ianto's cheek, 'I don't know how I'm going to survive without you' he said softly.
Tell him he doesn't have to said the voice in Ianto's head. Tell him you love him too and that you can work this out somehow. Taking a deep breath Ianto raised his head and looked straight into the triumphant face of Gwen Cooper, who was leaning in the doorway of Jack's office wearing nothing but one of Jack's shirts. He pushed Jack away, 'Fuck, Jack' he cried, 'couldn't you even wait until I was out of the building before moving on?' and he ran from the building with Jack's look of heartbroken confusion burnt into his brain.
Perplexed, Jack turned and caught sight of Gwen. 'What the hell do you think you are doing?' he yelled, 'don't you think we have done enough to him?'
Gwen laughed, 'whatever it takes, lover' she smiled, 'He needs to get the message about us.'
Jack rolled his eyes, 'There is no us' he said, 'There was one awful mistake that has already cost me everything. There will never be an us'
Gwen was very close to him, his back was pressed against the stair rail and he had nowhere to go, 'Oh there's an us' she cooed, 'I thought you might take some persuading so I borrowed a little something from John Hart' she lunged forward and captured Jack's mouth in a kiss.
Jack recognised the dizziness and the warm tingle on his lips, 'you bitch' he slurred, 'wha...' his eyes rolled back and he collapsed as Gwen's feet.
It was a subdued Tosh and Owen that walked into the hub at 9.30 the next morning. They exchanged glances when they realised that not only was Gwen in before them, which was unheard of, but she was in Ianto's kitchen making coffee.
'Morning' she sang brightly
'Someone's in early and in a good mood' commented Owen sourly
Gwen ducked her head in a pseudo-shy fashion, 'well...' she purred, 'not so much in early as stayed late' She glanced up to where Jack stood in the doorway of his office and blew a little kiss in his direction.
'Fuck, Jack' shouted Owen, 'all that shit you fed the teaboy and you were tapping this slag all the time!'
'Save it Harkness, I don't wanna hear it' snarked Owen, stamping off towards the autopsy bay.
'She drugged me' yelled Jack
'Yeah right, whatever'
Tosh merely look thoughtful and headed towards her computer.
As it turned out, Ianto didn't leave Cardiff, he had found himself an archivist post with the city council and was happily immersed in cataloguing and conserving the history of his city. He had been out for a couple of drinks with Tosh and Owen in the three months since he had left Torchwood but, by unspoken agreement, Jack was never mentioned, so it was a surprise to Ianto when he literally ran into him in the underground car park of the council buildings. Ianto had been making his way to his car after working late when a weevil shot past him and up the exit ramp. Almost instinctively Ianto began to pursue it when a dishevelled and shaggy man barrelled into him knocking him to the floor.
'Sorry, sorry' said the dishevelled man in a distinctive and much missed American accent as they struggled to disentangle themselves and get up from the concrete
There was a short pause then,
'You're looking good'
'You're not Jack, you look like shit' Ianto reached out intending to run his fingers through Jacks uncombed hair before he realised what he was doing and pulled his hand back
The Captain noticed and gave a weak smile, 'I miss you'
For a moment the two men just stood looking at each other, they were close enough to share breath, then they spoke simultaneously
'Jack, maybe we...'
The moment was broken by the sound of running footsteps and Gwen Cooper rushed into the car park and skidded to a halt next to Jack, she threw her arms around him and covered his face in kisses, 'Oh thank god, sweetheart' she cried' 'you're OK'
Ianto took a step backwards, 'Goodbye, Jack'
Jack was struggling to escape from Gwen's determined embrace, 'Ianto, Ianto...'
But Ianto was gone.
The thought of Jack looking so unkempt and unhappy stayed with Ianto and worried him considerably, so he wasn't entirely surprised a couple of weeks later to get a call from Tosh asking if she and Owen could call round to his flat "for a chat"
Ianto passed a beer to Owen, placed a large glass of chilled Chablis in front of Tosh and raised an enquiring eyebrow. Tosh started,
'We hear you ran into Jack three weeks ago'
Ianto nodded, 'He looked like he wasn't taking very good care of himself' he admitted.
Tosh leant forward and place her hand on Ianto's knee, 'What happened between you two?'
Ianto shifted uncomfortably, 'nothing' he said, 'well, there was a moment but Gwen fucking Cooper turned up and it passed.'
Tosh and Owen exchanged looks, 'What?'
'That must be it' said Owen. Tosh nodded then turned to Ianto,
'Jack is...not good' she said carefully, 'He was broken after you left but this last three weeks, well...'
Owen took up the narrative, 'Jack has been reckless since you left, he's been dying at least once or twice a day. Cooper won't leave him alone, at first we thought that she was trying to be there for him when he revived in the way you used to but then we found out that she had some aphrodisiac lip balm that she got from John Hart. Every time Jack died she'd snog him with it and then enjoy the results when he revived'
Tosh gave a little sob 'We gave Jack a really bad time' she admitted softly, 'we wouldn't believe him when he told us Gwen had drugged him, we just yelled at him for the way he treated you. But then I saw her, I saw her apply the gloss and kiss Jack as he was reviving, I saw Jack try to fight her off but ...'
'He's always weak and disorientated after he revives' interrupted Ianto sadly.
Tosh nodded, 'I found CCTV of her the night you found them in the hot house, she was using the lip balm then. Ianto, he was drugged; he wasn't cheating on you of his own free will.'
Ianto paled and started to get up, Tosh pushed her hand down more firmly on his knee, 'Wait' she said, 'there's more' she looked across at Owen.
'Since he saw you he's been worse.' He said quietly, 'He started shooting himself over and over again. As soon as he revived he killed himself again. He said he didn't want to live if you weren't with him. He had this theory that his immortality was limited and that every death took him closer to the one that would stick'
Ianto looked sick
Owen continued, 'I tried restraining him to a bed in the medical bay but he just, he just' He closed his eyes and swallowed heavily, 'he just battered himself to death against the wall, move the bed , he would bang his head against the bed frame until it killed him. I even tried sedating him but whenever he woke up he would bite whatever he could reach on himself until he bled out'
Ianto jumped up and ran out of the room, Owen and Tosh could hear him throwing up in the bathroom. Tosh gave Owen's hand a comforting squeeze as a red-eyed Ianto re-entered and sat down.
'There's more isn't there?' he asked. Owen nodded
'Fucking Cooper' he snarled, 'Tosh and I had decided that the only thing we could do for Jack was to put him in cryo whilst we tried to think of a way to help him. Christ Ianto, he is in so much agony without you. We were going to do it today but I got into the Hub this morning she had him in down in the vaults chained up. She's got it into her head that all he needs is some kind of behaviour modification to forget you and love her. The code to unlock the vault door is in the secure archives and we don't have access to them God I don't know which one of them is the most psychotic!'
Ianto went cold 'she's got Jack chained up?'
Ianto jumped to his feet 'Fuck! He's gonna get flashbacks from the year'
Tosh and Owen stared at him in incomprehension. Ianto sighed,
'When Jack ...left us... it was much longer for him than for us' he explained hurriedly, 'he was imprisoned and tortured daily for a year by a mad man who knew that Jack wouldn't stay dead. A whole year, of torture, dying day after day and always reviving in chains – what will chaining him now do to him?'
Owen was on his feet too 'psychosis, fugue state, schizophrenia, disassociation ...' he trailed off
Ianto and Tosh were already heading out of the front door.
Jack couldn't understand why he had been moved from the Valiant's engine room to this stone room, nor did he understand why the Master hadn't been near him for almost 24 hours. The Spiteful Woman who had been with him since he revived seemed to focus exclusively on torturing him by taunting him about how badly he had treated Ianto and how little chance there was that he would ever see him again. This confused Jack since he knew team was dead, The Master had taken great delight in showing him the video footage of their deaths over and over again, he had seen their decomposed bodies. Except Ianto, he had been captured alive and the Master had injected him with a powerful anti-coagulant then castrated him and left him to bleed to death at Jack's feet. The Spiteful Woman was trying to make Jack betray Ianto's memory by trying to arouse him; she seemed to get very angry when she failed. Jack thought it very likely she was going to hurt him again so retreated to a favourite place in his head.
It was Sunday morning and Jack was waking up slowly in Ianto's bed. Something was odd about the light in the room. Jack sat up and Ianto was standing at the window, he turned to face Jack with a brilliant smile 'It's snowing, Jack. Come see' Naked, Jack joined his lover and looked out, there was at least 3 feet of snow covering the road outside. 'We're snowed in' Jack realised. He felt Ianto shiver and wrapped his arms around him. The cold clear light was making Ianto's pale skin glow like moonlight, Jack planted a series of soft kisses along Ianto's shoulder 'You are so beautiful by snow light' he said softly as he gently pulled Ianto back to bed. He lay next to the younger man stroking his radiant skin until Ianto was sighing softly. Jack was slowly moving his lips over Ianto's skin, licking and tasting. Jack snuffled into the soft crease of Ianto's thigh. Ianto groaned, 'please Jack' he whispered, 'what are you doing?'
Jack raised his head and looked into Ianto's eyes 'I'm fixing you'
Ianto laughed, 'Am I broken?'
Jack smiled, 'Fixing you in my mind, I want to remember how gorgeous you are in this light, in this moment' he leant forward and swiped his tongue over the weeping head of Ianto's cock making Ianto sob with longing and need. Jack continued, 'I want to remember how much your pre-come looks like quicksilver and that moonlight on snow makes your skin look like alabaster. I want to remember this moment for a hundred, a thousand, a million years' He looked into Ianto's eyes that were sparkling with tears, 'I want to always remember this moment and how much we love each other'
Jack smiled, 'beautiful' he whispered, 'My Ianto, so beautiful' He barely heard The Spiteful Woman screaming his name and slapping him across the face in an effort to get his attention. Jack smiled placidly at her 'you're not Ianto,' he told her, 'I don't want you'. The Spiteful Woman pointed her gun at him, Jack laughed 'Do it' he challenged, 'Maybe I won't come back, if I don't I'll be with Ianto.' A tiny tear squeezed from the corner of his eye 'I love Ianto but I wasn't good enough to keep him.'
The gun was pressed hard against his forehead, the Spiteful Woman was leaning in close, 'you're mine Jack, forget the teaboy, there is nothing left for you with him, he's gone and it's my turn now, my turn'
Jack closed his eyes, blocking out the insane litany of lust and hate being spewed into his face by whispering Ianto's name. Then suddenly the gun and the Spiteful Woman were gone. There was shouting and screaming and Jack was on the floor. Then there were the hands. Soft hands, familiar hands running though his hair stroking his cheek running over his body and a soft Welsh voice whispering his name over and over again.
Ianto burst into the vault to see a blank-eyed Jack chained to the ceiling, his lips moving as he silently mouthed and Gwen Cooper pressing her gun hard to the centre of Jack's forehead. Without a second thought Ianto screamed ' Get away from him you bitch' and grasping Gwen by her long hair, pulled her away from Jack, spun her round and threw her into the wall, there was a sickening crunch and she fell to the ground.
Ianto hastily unchained Jack, running his hands over his face and his body. The blank stare on Jack's face terrified him. He couldn't stop saying Jack's name hoping against hope that he would get a response. Jack was staring into space and silently repeating the same sentence over and over again. Ianto leant in close, trying desperately to work out what Jack was saying; he couldn't believe what he thought he was hearing,
'Don't want you, never wanted you, you're not Ianto'
Ianto ran his fingers through Jack's Hair, 'You need a haircut, Sir' he said softly, 'You hardly look like my Captain at all'
Brilliant blue eyes locked with his, skating over his face, then,
'Ianto? Are you...here for me?'
Ianto pulled Jack even closer, 'Always, Sir, Always'
A weak chuckle sounded from the man in his arms, 'then you're wearing too many clothes.'
'There you are, there's my Jack'
Owen and Tosh crept quietly into the vault. Ianto was seated on the floor cradling Jack in his arms, kissing his face and being kissed in return. Owen moved over to the crumpled body that lay beside the door. He looked up at Tosh and shook his head.
'Bloody Hell,' he whispered, 'She hit that wall with a hell of a smack. Who would have thought the teaboy had it in him'
Tosh looked grim, 'As far as I'm concerned she had it coming'
Six Months Later
Jack Harkness loved surprises; he loved the excitement of planning and keeping secrets and seeing the look on people's faces when the unexpected burst upon them. Which was why he was sneaking into the flat he shared with Ianto Jones solely to surprise his young lover.
'Jack if you want to surprise me you really shouldn't chuckle and mutter to yourself like a pantomime villain like that'
Ianto was leaning in the doorway of the kitchen, tea towel over his shoulder with an amused look on his face as Jack tried to hide his shock.
Jack pulled Ianto into a hug and a passionate kiss
'So I can't do anything to surprise you at all?'
'Nothing at all?'
Ianto pretend to consider, 'put your clothes in the laundry hamper instead of the floor? Stop putting empty milk cartons back in the fridge? Turn down sex?'
Jack pulled an envelope and a small box out of his pocket, 'Complete the forms for a civil partnership and buy the appropriate jewellery?'
Surprise rendered Ianto speechless.