Ianto breaks down in front of him. His calmness, his smile, just dissolve away as he crumples to the floor. Jack Harkness hesitates.then he goes down on his knees and drags him into his arms. “What is it? What’s wrong?”.
Ianto won’t look at him, just buries his face in Jack’s chest and clings to him . Jack runs his fingers over Ianto’s scalp, trying to soothe him, trying to stop this awful, awful emotion. “Don’t Ianto, please don’t cry, please don’t.” And Jack hurts because he wonders if he is the cause of this, if he has destroyed this man again, without even knowing why.
“Don’t leave me,” Ianto says.
“I’m not going anywhere, sweetheart. I’m right here.” Jack runs over in his mind, over what he could have said or done. Everyone else was gone, he’d called Ianto over and asked if he wanted a drink, told him not to look so worried, this wasn’t a ‘little talk’ or even a big talk, just a drink. And Ianto had smiled, and agreed, and they made foolish chat about weevils in woolly hats. And one drink became two, and three and more.
“I’m sorry,” says Ianto. He wipes his face with his hand, and tries to hide his blotchy eyes from Jack. Jack ever so gently tips his chin so he is looking up at him.
And then he remembers, Ianto taking the family picture out of his wallet, and the happy sunlit picture of Lisa that fell beside it. It sat there for a moment, both men looking at it. And Jack had said “I’m sorry.”
“I think you’re the last person I should be crying at.”
“I deserve it, Ianto. I deserve it because all that ever happens around me is people get hurt.”
“I don’t think you quite understand me,” says Ianto.
Hell, thinks Jack. Who understands any of it? “Why don’t you tell me?”
“Show you,” Ianto says. And he moves his head , kissing Jack’s fingers
Jack moves his hand so he is gently stroking Ianto’s cheek with his thumb. “Oh, Ianto. No. Not me.”
“Hated you,” he said. “Wanted to see you die because I didn’t like how I felt. Didn’t want to look at you and want you, not then.”
He’s seen it happen before. Seen hate turn to love and love to hate. Seen rage become desire, and just as quickly return. “You should go home,” he says. But he makes no move to release Ianto, nor does Ianto want to move. Jack knows if he is to stop it, he will have to really want to. The fact he doesn’t worries him.
“Its okay,” Ianto says. “I know you don’t feel the same. But do me a favour, please. Stop flirting with me. I can’t bear it.”
He wants to say…I keep thinking about kissing you, but he knows he shouldn’t. Instead he says. “That’s fair.”
Ianto nods. “I’ll move in a minute.”
“Take your time.”
He can’t help but stroke Ianto’s hair again “You’re creasing your suit.”
“I apologise for my shocking lack of attention to dress standards,” Ianto says, and manages a chuckle. Jack can feel his laugh, right against his heart. He smiles, resting his chin on the top of Ianto’s head, and holding him close.
“That’s not helping,” says Ianto, who moves in just such a way that Jack is left without a shadow of a doubt as to the effect he is having.
“No?” Jack says. “No. I see. Should I give you an order to leave, then?”
“I think that might be for the best, Sir.”
“Ianto Jones,” Jack says. “Get up and go home this instant.”
For a moment it looks that Ianto will comply, but he seems to think better of it.
“Ianto, that’s not a polite request.” Goddamnit Ianto, will you please go before I can’t help but take you right here and right now.
The Welshman lets go of Jack, and sits back, stretching out his legs. “Rightio,” he says, as he gets to his feet. “I’ll be off now then.”
Jack stands up too, sitting on the end of the table, wrapping his fingers round an empty glass. “See you tomorrow,” he says, as without ceremony, Ianto leaves the room. He turns and pours himself another glass, then stands in the doorway, looking at the spot Ianto just left.
He smiles sadly, shakes his head and turns out the lights.
Jack Harkness waits, distantly aware that the glass will slip through his scotch numbed fingers. He knows it will shatter, spreading shards on the floor like so much wasted life. Like John, out of time and unable to overcome the emptiness. Like Owen, so bitter he wanted to throw his life away in a cage of weevil. Like Suzie, driven mad by this place, as, he supposed, they all would be. But John’s death, because he sat there and held his hand as he died, haunted him somehow more than the others. Holding death, trying to know it, but only serving to make life more hollow. Tears cloud his eyes as the glass falls, but it never reaches the ground. The hand that catches it places it on the table, then gently rests on his forearm.
Jack blinks, and Ianto is kneeling in front of him, his expression unpenetrable. “I’ll get some coffee,” he says.
As Ianto gets to his feet Jack grabs his sleeve. “I don’t need coffee.”
“Is there anything you need that I can get for you?”
Jack looks up. Only you… “No.”
Ianto looks at him. “I don’t suppose you want to talk about it?”
Ianto picks up the bottle. “I’ll lock this away, though,” he says.
As Ianto turns to leave, something inside Jack forces him to speak, words forming and being spoken before he can stop them. “Have you ever been so lonely that it feels theres a sheet of glass between you and everything you see.”
“Yes,” says Ianto. He won’t meet Jack’s eyes. “It feels like it’s been that way my whole life.”
Jack slowly shakes his head. “Longer,”he says. “Longer when everything I touch turns to dust, when everything living in my life is dead. Most of them by my hand.”
Jack fights the warmth that floods his fingers as Ianto rests his hand over his and smiles “I may be pale, but I’m not dead yet.”
“No thanks to me.”
“Actually sir,” Ianto says. “I’m pretty sure I would be dead by now if it wasn’t for you. Dead or worse.”
He moves to sit beside Jack, who suddenly realises how warm the young man is. A slight hint of colour rises in Ianto’s cheeks. Jack remembers holding Ianto, holding as the façade cracked and the young man’s pain came flooding out through the gaps. He remembers the soft brush of Ianto’s lips on his fingers and fighting so hard not to invite those lips to his. He remembers a flirtatious promise made over Suzies’ body that never came to anything, what with Myfanwy’s sudden illness and the retconning of the reptile expert from Cardiff zoo. Before that he remembers finding Ianto on the verge of death, kissing him as if sheer will would bring him back, finding that somehow it had worked. All that life in my kiss and yet I feel none of it.
Ianto rubs Jack’s shoulder . “I’ll be around all night. I’ve been having car trouble and I don’t really want to walk home. And getting a cab down here at this time is a little unlikely.”
And Jack knows that the truth is Ianto hasn’t used his car since Jack let John kill himself in it, and wonders that really they should get him a new one, because frankly its probably a bit much to ask, even of Ianto. “If there is anything you need,” Ianto says, “Shout.”
And Jack wants to scream, yes Ianto, yes.I want to hold you because you are alive, and I want to fuck you so hard we both forget who we are, but he says “Thank you.”
Ianto gets up, and as he walks away, he turns, looking over his shoulder. “Anything,” he says, softly and then carries on.
Jack finds Ianto boxing files, and watches him for a moment. Then he moves up to him, resting his arm across his back as he peers into the boxes. “Anthing interesting?”
“Receipts, mostly,” Ianto says.
“Ah,” says Jack, and then he reaches up to slide Ianto’s suit jacket over his shoulders.
“Sir?” says Ianto, quietly, questioning. Jack likes to fancy it has a bit of hope in it too.
Jack slides his arms round Ianto and rests his cheek against the welshman’s shoulder. Ianto is warm, muscle moving beneath skin, beneath fabric. “Tell me to go,” Jack says. “Before I use you.”
“What do you want, Jack?” Ianto says.
“I need to touch life,” Jack says. “But I can’t give anything in return…”
“I’m a big boy now, sir,” Ianto says. “I won’t tell you to go.”
“Jack softly kisses the back of Ianto’s neck,unfastening the shirt that is keeping his fingers from touching skin. “Turn round,” he says.
Ianto turns, and Jack presses him back against the desk, one hand on his back, and one on his chest. Honest but awkward, Ianto slides his arm round Jack’s waist as Jack draws Ianto to his mouth, brushing his lips softly against Ianto’s mouth. The kiss deepens as Ianto’s tongue dances against his. Jack unfastens the tie, and for a moment he steps back to look at the gorgeous sight before him. Ianto’s tie is hanging undone, framing the open shirt and the smooth skin of his chest.
“You may look good in a suit, but you look better half out of it,” Jack says. “And stop calling me sir. It’s a bit…”
“I was going to say formal,” says Jack. He’s not losing this to witty retorts, he needs this too much.
Ianto smiles, and Jack falls on him like a man possessed, kissing hard, biting at the younger man’s neck, pulling his firm warm body against him. “Touch me, Ianto,” he says, breathing hard. “Touch me.”
Ianto’s hands are on him, getting him naked, fingers on his skin, melting through the frozen pain. Jack unfastens Ianto’s trousers as Ianto goes for Jack’s belt. Jack slides his hand into the warmth between Ianto’s thighs, and they lean into each other, fumbling. All Jack can think about is how incredible it feels as Ianto wraps his fingers round Jack’s cock. Ianto’s other hand is at the back of his neck, holding him into the kiss, his moan hot in Jack’s mouth as Jack grips Ianto’s cock and runs his thumb over the head of it. Jack wants to bury himself in him, give into the heat of Ianto, wrap himself in life.
“I want to be inside you,” Jack growls at Ianto’s ear.
“Anything,” Ianto’s reply is breathless. “Oh God, anything.”
Jack takes Ianto’s hand, and starts to pull him towards his office, getting three paces before he can’t bear not to have his mouth on his. He presses Ianto against the wall and explores Ianto’s mouth again, his hand on his chest and his fingers rolling over Ianto’s nipple. Another three paces, and this time it’s Ianto who presses Jack against the handrail, his fingers seeking out Jack’s cock again. “Office,” Jack manages to say. “Stuff.”
“Minute,” Ianto replies, his tongue tracing patterns on Jack’s throat.
Jack drags Ianto as far as the doorframe, where Ianto drops to his knees and looks up at him. Jack isn’t sure where the devil in those eyes comes from, or if its always been there and he’s just been too wrapped up in something else to notice.
“Shit,” Jack says, as Ianto’s mouth finds its way to his balls, and from there his tongue makes one smooth pass along his cock. Jack cups the back of Ianto’s head, and slumps backwards, moaning. He didn’t expect this…
Ianto’s tongue travels up,up Jack’s abdomen, his chest, pausing to circle his nipples, before hitting his mouth. And then Ianto stops, and looks at him. There’s something wonderful in those eyes now, and Jack doesn’t want to examine it too closely. He points vaguely at his desk, leading Ianto there with both hands now, as much to stop Ianto breaking him too early. Too soon. I want to be inside you, he thinks. Have to be inside you when I come.
He backs Ianto up against the desk, finding the lube in the second drawer down. Ianto is shaking as Jack slides his fingers between Ianto’s thighs and finds the hot, tight space waiting for him. As Jack slips a finger inside him, Ianto moans, dropping backwards onto the desk. Jack pulls himself on top of him, balancing on the edge with Ianto’s thighs across his knees. He can see Ianto spread out in front of him, and he wants what he sees. He works Ianto more, until Ianto pulls him down, and whispers “why me?”
“I need it,” Jack says. “I need you Ianto.”
And Ianto whispers something that could have been ‘good enough’, but Jack isn’t sure. Ianto moves, slightly, and Jack knows what that movement means. He edges his cock inside Ianto, pressing past the resistance and Ianto grips at his arms as he does so, the pain of the young man’s fingernails counterpointing the wonderful heat that’s consuming him. Ianto twists beneath him, making a noise that screams passion to Jack. “God you’re so hot,”Jack growls. “So fucking hot.”
He feels Ianto’s skin against his, drenched with sweat, blinks that same sweat from his eyes and his hair. He places his hand on Ianto’s chest and feels the heart beating there, racing as Ianto closes his eyes, his head turned to the side. Ianto clutches at Jack’s thighs, Jack laces his fingers with Ianto’s, feeling the grip tighten as he buries himself in the man,-into the life- beneath him again and again.This feels so good. You feel so good. Ianto mutters breathless expletives, only some in English, arching his back and trembling. Jack feels his thighs start to ache, an ache that’s spreading up through his hips and turning into something else completely. Jack lets go, feels the sweat, the pressure, the slick, hot, tight sensation. Yes, oh God. So close now. He looks up when he hears Ianto cry out - somewhere in the heat between them Ianto comes and Jack hears his name. God you are beautiful when you come, Ianto. And with me inside you. Oh, god.. Heat, and heartbeats, and tightness and Jack thrusts one last time, coming deep and hard. Head spinning he collapses forward, catching himself on his arms and turning Ianto to face him, kissing him as the last moment of his orgasm fades.
It’s only when Ianto brushes the side of Jack’s face with his fingers, and looks at him with something like concern in his eyes, that Jack realises there are tears there, mixed in with the sweat. Ianto wipes them away, and wraps his arms round Jack.
“Can’t stay here all night,” Ianto says, as Jack is struggling to get his breath back.
“You can’t?” Jack hopes there isn’t too much disappointment in his voice.
“No. Your art deco letter rack is poking me in the right kidney.”
“Oh,” says Jack. He feels the laugh creep up on him, and Ianto is laughing with him, jostling to avoid the letter rack, holding him...
For one split second before the world comes back, Jack Harkness feels alive.