Hello! Thanks for giving this fic a try. I've had it written for a few years, only now I've decided to sit down and get some of it online. Hope you enjoy it, and that it makes sense.

LJ

Chapter One

Jack sat and stared. Stared far into the distance beyond the space and time that was Cardiff. He sat on the beat up, saggy leather office chair, behind his equally beat up sturdy, mahogany desk that had been his since he'd taken charge of Torchwood three, years before.

It was at moments like this when Jack took a step back from what was going on in the present to reminisce about the past. When nostalgia like this happened it took a while to come to an end, because there was so much of the past to think back on. At this particular time Jack was thinking about his team. Okay, he was being dishonest with himself. He was thinking about Ianto. In fact, when he thought about it, his thoughts had become very circular, centring only around Ianto recently. Ianto Jones, Assistant to Torchwood 3. 'Teaboy' as Owen had so elegantly put it. Ianto, a member of Jack's team, Jack's lover and friend, in that order. Ianto, one of the only two people left on the planet that meant so much to him.

Jack was really hurting. To find out Owen and then Toshiko had died through mindless acts of war, initiated by Gray, the brother Jack had thought lost so many years before. It was unforgivable. Two young lives, not fully lived, gone with a careless act of malice. But it was forgiven, it had to be; for Gray's sake, for Jack's own sanity. It didn't stop the hurting, as a small, salty tear slid, unnoticed from the corner of Jack's eye, running a silvery trail down his cheek.

This small interlude brought him back to Ianto Jones. Through all the pain, John Hart's deception and Gray's betrayal, Cardiff's destruction, the Doctor; Ianto had been there. He had offered a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen – not that Jack needed an ear as he tended to keep things to himself. Ianto meant everything to Jack. In fact, Jack couldn't really think of a time without him. And when he did there was no joy or love there. Yes, Jack was in love. All the armour he had built around his heart and soul over the decades no longer matter, and however much Jack kept to himself, never sharing himself wholly with one person, he had somewhere down the line, fallen for the Welshman. The only trouble Jack seemed to be having was putting these thoughts and feelings into words. Putting them into gestures wasn't as difficult. Every time Jack had Ianto alone, all to himself he showed him how he felt and what he thought, physically. Words were a completely separate issue.

Jack had spent a lot of time deciding how to go about telling Ianto. It wasn't just a simple matter of "I love you". Simple had never suited Jack. He wanted Ianto to forever remember his declaration, and he wanted to be able to always look back, when Ianto was gone, and know it was one of the best moments of his life.

As that thought drifted away, Jack heard a noise in the hub, waking him from his revere; the sound of the cog door opening, then closing. Looking at his beaten old pocket watch hidden in the depths of his waistcoat it shows 0430 in the morning. The only person that would even think about coming to the Hub that early was Ianto. If Gwen was restless and couldn't sleep she would always wake Rhys and talk things through. Especially now that he knew pretty much all there was to know about Torchwood. If Jack hadn't been so weak to Gwen's reasoning about the retcon, and his romantic side hadn't won out his internal argument then he didn't think Gwen would have been able to cope with all the violence that had come to pass, but Ianto, like himself had no one else to rely on.

Sounds of someone pottering around the kitchen area of the Hub echoed around the cavernous underground building. There was a sound of grounding coffee beans followed by the harsh whoosh of steam. Ianto always knew what Jack wanted before Jack knew he wanted it.

Coffee mugs in hand, Ianto climbed up the metal steps to Jack's office, dressed in one of his usual impeccably smart, tailored three pieced suit. Jack smiled to himself as he realised he'd been waiting for Ianto to come to him since he left the hub last night. God, how he'd missed him. Just thinking of what shirt and tie he would have on today made Jack's smile widen. May today it was –

"Jack?" Ianto's head popped around the door to the office.

"Morning Ianto. Couldn't sleep?"

"No, Sir," Ianto replied as he opened the door further and crossed the office, placing the coffee mug in front of Jack on the desk.

Jack's hand reached out to stop Ianto's from returning to his side. For a moment neither one moved, then Ianto said "Jack?" in a quizzical tone.

"Ianto," Jack replied. There was a long pause.

"Yes?"

"Are you ok?" Jack asked.

"Yes, Sir"

"It's 4.30 in the morning, you can drop the Sir. You know that."

Ianto sighed and gently removed his hand from Jack's grip while manoeuvring into the chair on the other side of Jack's desk.

"I feel asleep last night and had a nightmare. Then I started thinking about Owen and Tosh and… and…," Ianto's eyes started to glisten with unshed tears, and his breathing became a little harsher and shorter.

"Yan, it's ok," Jack knelt down at the side of the chair, "I know it's hard. I miss them too. Probably more than they'd ever have guessed. It's not as if we've really had time to grieve what with putting Cardiff back together, and all the work we need to cover, finding replacements. We need some down time. Some time alone."

Jack reached over to Ianto's thigh to grasp and tangle his fingers with Ianto's. With a squeeze of his hand Jack smiled slightly, more to himself than Ianto.

"It's not just that Jack. Its other things," Ianto said quietly.

"What other things Yan?" questioned Jack.

"It's just –"Ianto stopped and turned his face to look at Jack. The look on Jack's face urged Ianto to say more but he was hesitant, not really wanting to discuss the issue at this time in the morning.

"It's just…," Ianto tried again, "it's just that lately since the day… the day Tosh and Owen…well I've felt that-that we haven't… spent time together. Today's the first time you've held my hand since… and made any indication that you want to be with me apart from sex. I'm feeling-,".

"Ianto I'm so sorry," Jack cut in before Ianto could finish. A wave of shame nearly overwhelmed him. Jack felt so stupid. He had spent so much time working to try to avoid his feelings that Ianto had thought Jack disinterested, instead of just pondering how to confess his love.

"God I'm sorry. I'm so stupid. This has hit us all really hard. I didn't realise..."

Ianto looked Jack straight in the eyes and said "This is a terrible time to question any of this, but… what are we Jack? Can you give me an honest question?"

Still grasping Ianto's hand Jack tugged Ianto until he stood. He pulled Ianto the rest of the way around the table to sit on the edge in front of him. Once Ianto was seated where Jack wanted him he took hold of Ianto's other hand and gently brought both hands to his lips, one by one placing a sweet kiss on the top of each knuckle. Moving his hands back to Ianto's thighs, but still holding his hands Jack started to speak.

"Ianto. All this time, since there's been just the three of us I've been thinking, really hard. You know how much effort that takes," Ianto laughed softly, his watery eyes shining a little but it didn't respond.

Jack continued "Ianto, I've been trying to figure out a way to describe some things I've been feeling. But I haven't found a way to put it in the way I'd like."

A fearful look entered Ianto's eyes "Just tell me Sir, I'd rather know now than-, "

"Ianto," Jack said sharply, "Stop babbling and let me finish!"

"But Jack-,"

"No, Ianto! I've thought of a hundred ways to say what I want and a million ways in which to say them," Jack took a deep breath.

"Ianto what I'm trying to say is…I-I love you, I'm mean I'm in love with you."

The look on Ianto's face nearly broke Jack's heart so he pushed ahead. "Like I said I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I'd tell you, but nothing seemed quite right. I-,"

Jack looked at Ianto, disentangled his hands and stood in front of him. "Say something Ianto. Please!" Jack pleaded, "I need to hear you say something. Even if its 'I never want to see you again' or 'I just want to be friends'. Please let-,".

"I love you too," Ianto responded quietly.

Ianto watched Jack carefully. He watched the emotions cross Jack's face in a way he'd never seen before, and doubted he ever would again. Fear, shocked disbelief, pleasure, excitement and last of all love. All the emotions he'd hoped for so long to see.

Jack reached out, gripped Ianto's shoulder through his suit and pulled him into the curve of his body. Ianto's arms crossed around Jack's waist and his head rested on Jack's shoulder. There they stood holding each other. It didn't matter how much time had passed, it only mattered that they were together.

A sigh released from Ianto's lips and Jack smiled fondly. This was how he should have said it. Pure and simple had always been the best tried and tested method. All the time Jack had spent thinking, and Ianto had been hurting, as he had been trying to deal with his feelings on Tosh and Owen and his love for Ianto and – it should have been like this. Just because Jack didn't do simple didn't mean it didn't suit Ianto. Jack would always remember this moment for all his lifetimes. The feel of Ianto's body against his, his head on Jack's shoulder, arms tightly gripping Jack's back as if, if he let go Jack would disappear. This was perfection, and Jack knew then that Ianto would remember this forever.

Jack placed a tender kiss on Ianto's temple, his hairline, the side of his throat. Not in a sexual way, but in a loving way. Ianto growled a little in pleasure. He loosened his grip on Jack's waist and looked into Jack's eyes.

"Jack?"

"Yes, Ianto?"

"Thank you," and Ianto snuggled back into Jack's blue cotton shirt.

Several minutes passed and still there was silence, both revelling in each other. Then Jack released Ianto's arms from his waist and pulled back, out of the embrace. He had other things he needed to say.

"Ianto, I'm truly sorry I didn't say anything before. I was so concerned about how to tell you, I didn't think that I should just tell you. I'm sorry I let you think that I was pulling away from you – from us. I wouldn't do that!"

Ianto smiled freely and lifted his hand to trail softly down the side of his cheek, where the silent tear had fallen.

"Jack. What matters is you told me."

Jack captured Ianto's hand and turned his very charming but cheeky grin on Ianto.

"Does this mean we're officially a couple then?"

"I believe it does, Sir," Ianto stoically replied, with a beaming smile.