A Faithful Companion
The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the Earth was saved. Jack held Martha's hand as they walked away from the T.A.R.D.I.S., laughing and catching up. With the Doctor, it was easy to forget this world. All that ever seemed to matter was staying with him, traveling the universe, and having adventures forever. Even holding Martha's hand, Jack felt a bit of that excitement, because she understood what it meant to be the Doctor's companion.
Jack wanted Martha to come back to Torchwood with him, but she had other places she wanted to be. He noticed the way Mickey touched her hand. He saw the spark between those two, and he stepped back to give them room. After so many centuries, he thought he'd be set in his ways, but things were different now. With the Doctor and the others, he was happy to smile and flirt, but he didn't fantasize about the follow-through anymore, because now, there was someone he wanted to save himself for. Ianto.
Jack was proud of Ianto and wanted to show him off to the Doctor... to everyone. To show that he wasn't an eternal player. Jack had felt so safe surrounded by all of the Doctor's friends, but Jack had friends of his own now, and he'd wished they could have been with him to celebrate the victory over the Daleks. Pulling out his cell phone, he called Ianto.
"Jack! You're alive!" Ianto exclaimed, his voice nearly drowned by the sounds of chaos and the whoosh of a fire extinguisher. Torchwood had been an integral part in the adventure, helping the T.A.R.D.I.S. solidify the tow on Earth. It sounded like the battle wasn't over for them, and Jack felt guilty for not checking in with them sooner.
"Of course I am. Are you?" Jack asked, his shoulders knotting with tension. He fell back a few more paces, letting Martha and Mickey get ahead of him.
"Singed a bit. Putting out fires. The usual," Ianto said dismissively, his dry wit shining through.
"Is that Jack?" he heard Gwen shout in the background. Jack heaved a sigh of relief hearing both their voices. He was glad they were safe and he wished the Doctor could have stayed to say hello to them. Jack hadn't even thought to ask; he was just so grateful to have the Doctor looking at him like a person, and not a stain on the fabric of space-time.
"He's back," came Ianto's muffled reply to Gwen. There was another whoosh from the fire extinguisher, then Ianto asked, in a low, serious voice. "Are you back? Or are you staying with him?"
Ianto was so insecure when it came to the Doctor, and Jack realized he had a right to be. If Jack so much as heard the T.A.R.D.I.S. engines, he'd drop everything and run toward it, like some sort of Pavlovian response.
"The Doctor is already gone. I'm with Martha," Jack assured, rubbing his brow. He'd been planning to escort Martha home to her mother, but now he waffled. He could leave her with Mickey. If he mentioned anything about Torchwood needing help, they'd both come running, but they were part of a different life now.
"Sorry I didn't get to meet him in person," Ianto was saying. "Tell Martha we say hello. We'll have this place cleaned up by the time you get back."
"No rush. You did good today, saving the world," Jack said proudly, his throat getting tight. "Get some rest. Tell Gwen to go home to Rhys. And you-"
"I can be there in-"
"We're handling it-"
"Ianto!" Jack cried, exasperated. The more Ianto spoke, the more Jack wanted to be home. He took a moment to catch his breath, not wanting a fight. "How are you?"
Jack waited. There was silence on the other end. Face to face and in private, he'd get a sincere answer, but by phone, there was no telling. "Ianto?"
"Fine. We're all fine here," Ianto said, tersely. "Get Martha home safe."
It had been nine months since Tosh and Owen died, and Torchwood kept pressing on. Mickey and Martha would have been good additions to the team, but Jack was afraid to ask. They'd had the occasional temp from Unit, but no one seemed to click. It was hard to fit into a tight knit group recovering from such tragic, personal loss. Some days, Jack wanted to leave Torchwood, but he couldn't imagine life without Ianto and Gwen.
Jack got Martha and Mickey to a rail station, and as soon as courtesy allowed, he left them and ran back to the hub. He would have loved to spend the night having drinks with Martha, but he wanted to see Ianto, and he didn't want to pollute that reunion.
The main door was broken and scorched, and hung half open. There was an exploded Dalek in the doorway. If Ianto and Gwen had done any cleaning, it didn't show. The place was a mess. There were broken tea mugs, warped stairs, and piles of ash. The fires had been put out, but the air still smelled of smoke. The hub was deathly silent, save for the whir of the ventilation fan.
Jack did a quick circle and found Ianto passed out on the couch. His vest was unbuttoned and his dark pink shirt stained with sweat and ash, but he still looked dashing. There were cuts and bruises on his skin, but it was scrubbed clean. When Jack had told him to get rest, he'd meant in a bed, away from here.
Squatting next to the couch, Jack brushed his fingertips over Ianto's face and lips. Ianto stirred. When their eyes met, both of them smiled in relief. Ianto touched Jack's lips, and Jack shuddered. It felt like they'd been apart for months.
"Did you die much?" Ianto asked quietly. Ianto seemed to get that dying wasn't easy and it wasn't a gimmick. As terrifying as it was looking into the nothingness of death, there was peace in the ending, and being ripped from it over and over again was hell.
"Just the once. Strategically," Jack said suavely, kissing Ianto's fingertips.
Ianto cradled the back of Jack's head and pulled their lips together, locking them in a kiss. Before Jack knew it, their shirts and pants were undone and they were making love, on a couch that was too small for two. The release was intense, and afterward, everything felt peaceful. Ianto's skin was warm against his, and Jack could feel Ianto's heartbeat, racing at first, then settling into a steady, slow rhythm. Nestling close, Jack rested his ear over Ianto's heart and listened. He enjoyed feeling the rise and fall of Ianto's chest and smiled every time the rhythm of their breathing aligned.
"How are you?" Jack asked. Ever since Lisa, he'd made a point of asking Ianto that question, directly and sincerely, as often as possible. For some reason, Ianto needed the invitation to open up. It felt awkward to ask, but it was worth it every time.
"Better for having you back," Ianto said, combing his fingers through Jack's hair unconsciously. "I've finally seen this Doctor you talk so much about."
"Looks nice, doesn't he?" Jack grinned, moving his thumb in little circles over Ianto's chest.
"Not my type, really," Ianto said disinterestedly. "Surprised he's yours."
"Everyone's my type," Jack teased, though he was hurt by the comment.
Ianto's hands stopped moving through Jack's hair, and an awkward silence fell. Jack had been a different man before he met the Doctor, and he was different again for knowing Ianto. It was strange how much he craved Ianto's approval. He moved his fingers nervously over Ianto's skin and started babbling.
"He was different when I first met him. Different man. Different face."
"How do you mean?" Ianto asked, genuinely curious. They rarely talked about Jack's past. In some ways, it felt like they barely knew each other.
"When a Timelord is close to death, he doesn't die. He regenerates. Takes on a new form. He has all the same memories, but he's a different person," Jack explained. "Then he was more of a tiger and less of a...Tigger."
Jack missed his first Doctor-the man he sassed and teased, danced with and kissed. The man who had made him a hero, then asked him to die as one. The one who had known him as a mortal. His friendship with this new Doctor was more strained. This Doctor had looked him in the eye and told him he'd abandoned him on Utopia. Jack was so wrong, it was difficult for the Doctor to look at him. Jack had an open invite to be a companion again, but he couldn't shake those words. Torchwood was a fresh start for him, and Ianto gave him more than the Doctor ever would.
"Pretty bad-ass to defeat the Daleks, though," Ianto laughed. Jack swelled proudly.
"He had our help," Jack said, shifting his weight to his elbows, getting his lips close to Ianto's. "Your help."
They kissed, and Jack wasn't worried about the Doctor's approval anymore. He had everything he wanted right here. Sitting on Ianto's hips, Jack righted his clothes, then he buttoned Ianto's shirt and tucked him into his pants. Ianto watched, looking too tired to help. Ianto had done this for him once, and Jack remembered how nice it felt to be taken care of.
"Come with me," Jack said.
He took Ianto to the roof. It was still early, and they sat together, watching the sunset, arms around each other. When Earth was stolen, the sky had gone dark, but now that they were home, the streets and rooftops were filled with people watching the sunset. Ianto leaned his head on Jack's shoulder, and wrapped a hand around Jack's waist. His hand slipped under Jack's clothes so that his fingers touched skin, and Jack shivered with delight. He liked the closeness they shared.
"Do you want to order Chinese?" Jack asked, sliding his hand around Ianto's waist, careful not to disturb the way Ianto leaned on him.
"We've just come out of an alien occupation and had our planet towed through space," Ianto pointed out.
"Shops won't be open," Ianto clarified, tiredly. "If you're hungry, there are some rations in the base."
Jack frowned. He wanted to go out for a proper dinner, but Ianto was right. At this point, pretty much everyone would be home to be with their families. They'd just survived the Daleks.
"You have a flat, right?" Jack asked.
"Does it have a kitchen?"
Ianto didn't answer.
Jack leaned his cheek against the top of Ianto's head. Ianto spent very little time at home these days, and Jack had never thought much of it. "Not stocked?"
"It's stocked," Ianto said, his voice tight. His hand twitched lightly against Jack's skin.
Jack fell silent, not wanting to press the matter while they were watching the beautiful sunset. He couldn't blame Ianto for being guarded, but it still stung.
After the sun set, the stars came out, and jubilant cheers of drunken citizens celebrating their freedom from the Daleks filled the street. Even over the noise, Jack could hear Ianto's stomach growling.
"Let's find something to eat," Jack whispered, kissing the top of Ianto's head. Ianto's eyes were closed, and his breathing was heavy. "Ianto?"
"I'm too tired to cook for you," Ianto complained, his fingers closing into a fist, his arm around Jack's waist tightening.
Jack smiled at the implied invitation, and gave Ianto a hug and kiss. "I'll cook for you."
"You can't even work the coffee machine," Ianto complained.
"Do you have eggs? I'm a master at scrambled eggs," Jack said.
"I don't believe you."
Jack didn't want to force the matter. He was disappointed when Ianto retracted his hand, but he figured it was a precursor to leaving.
"There's always the MREs," Jack teased.
"Blech," Ianto complained, sticking out his tongue in the most adorable way. He stood up, rubbed his eyes, turned toward the door, then noticed that Jack still sitting. "Come on, then, Scrambled Egg Master. We'll bring a fire extinguisher."
Delighted, Jack hopped to his feet and threw his arms around Ianto, kissing passionately. He did not care about seeing Ianto's flat, he was just glad to be invited. Suddenly infused with energy, Ianto turned the kisses into playful nips, then shoved his hand down the front of Jack's pants, initiating a handjob. They grappled roughly, inciting yelps and gasps of pleasure. Then Jack went down on his knees.
Ianto laughed, excitedly at first, then he started whispering Jack's name fervently and tugging Jack's hair. It was unusual for him to be rough in that way, but they'd also never done this outside before. Jack looked up at Ianto, and Ianto's eyes were locked on something to the left. Checking, Jack realized they were being watched from a neighboring roof. There was barely enough moonlight to make out a silhouette. Ianto was embarrassed, but Jack decided to make a show of it. Reaching up, he tickled Ianto's chin, making sure Ianto was looking only at him. At times, it felt like they could talk with their eyes. Once he got Ianto's okay, Jack started to play, and they were both laughing hysterically by the time Ianto came.
With the Doctor, Jack escaped into moments of time, pockets of reality, where nothing mattered except staying with the Doctor. And he knew that time wouldn't last. With Ianto, Jack felt the same rush of escape. He felt that same joy, but it was better, because he was not afraid Ianto would leave him. Ianto had always been a faithful companion, and there was no one Jack would have rather shared his time with.
Standing up, Jack hugged Ianto hard, proud as hell that those voyeurs on the neighboring roof saw how much he cared for Ianto. Ianto's skin was flush, either from orgasm or embarrassment... or both. Then Ianto licked Jack's earlobe and whispered an address.
"What's that?" Jack asked, laughing.
"It's where I live. You have to get us there, because I'm going to fall asleep in your arms," Ianto said. The flush faded from his skin, and they rocked foot to foot, like they were slow dancing. They probably should have saved the blowjob for later, but Ianto had started it, and Jack didn't mind celebrating often. Ianto pressed his face to Jack's neck, and Jack felt the flutter of eyelashes against his skin. Ianto's stomach was growling so loud that Jack could feel it, and Jack wished the Doctor hadn't disabled his Vortex manipulator. Jack tried to scoop under Ianto's legs, and Ianto stumbled, clinging to Jack's shirt.
"What the-" Ianto exclaimed, flailing to keep his feet on the ground.
"I'm going to carry you," Jack chuckled, tapping his hand against Ianto's thighs, ready to try again.
"No!" Ianto cried, squealing with laughter, turning their hug into a choke hold. They wrestled playfully, then Ianto jumped on Jack's back and smacked his rear. Howling excitedly, Jack hooked his arms under Ianto's legs, making a beeline for the stairs. He wondered if they could go piggy-back all the way to Ianto's flat, and he loved that they didn't have to be drunk to have this kind of crazy fun. Ianto was the best companion Jack could hope for, and Jack realized now, he was madly in love with Ianto.