No Questions Asked

by Sigyn [Reviews - 9]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Introspection, Romance, Slash, Standalone, Vignette

Author's Notes:
Sorry about the format and the blasted asterisks. I have no idea how to make italics work given this system. These are text tricks I would never try and play with in any other kind of writing, but fanfic gives you so much leeway.

“When did you last ask me anything about my life?”
Ianto Jones.


***


Ianto stood on a ladder in the lower archives, filing alien artefacts. Coins, snack bar wrappers, koltag cups, strange biros, receipts in exotic languages. Sometimes Ianto thought that the Rift was really the universe’s back pocket, or the floor of the car, perhaps behind the settee, where all the refuse and detritus and the stuff that no one cared enough about to keep track of slowly piled up until it leaked out into Cardiff. Where the maid had to clean it up.

*And that’s me. I’m just the maid.*

“Could you hand me up that box, sir?”

*Are you even listening?*

Jack stood below him, glancing at the files that had just been updated. “What? Oh, sure.” He picked up the file box of koltag cups - ranging from nipikin to big gulp size — and handed it up to Ianto.

#Those suit trousers are awfully tight. Why do you have to wear that suit all the time? It’s distracting! It’s not as if Torchwood has a dress code. Look at Owyn, all holey jeans and bad football shirts under that white coat. Of course, this wouldn’t be so distracting if your ass wasn’t exactly at eye level. And if you didn’t look great enough be modeling that suit on a runway in the first place.#

Ianto pulled himself down the ladder and made a file note on the clipboard. “There we are, sir. That makes five koltag cups though the Rift in the last four days.”

*Why are you always standing so close to me? I can feel your heat even through my jacket. You’ve done this since the first day. Sometimes it feels like you’re my shadow, you’re so close.*

“Must be finals week on Aldebaran.”

#You’re so formal all the time. I wonder what your father was like. Did he demand you call him sir? Did you ever really grow up, or are you just following the rules like a good boy?#

“Sir?”

*If you have to stand so close, can you at least try and make sense? It’s hard enough to focus when you do.*

“Koltag’s a little like coffee. Tastes a bit like molasses without the sweet. Keeps you awake. Good for a long night’s work.”


#Like a series of long, slow... I could do some stuff with molasses and you. I don’t suppose you’d ever let me. Would you like such a thing?#

“Perhaps I should learn how to make it.”

*You’re looking at me again. Those eyes are like green lanterns, I swear sometimes I see them glowing when you stare at me like that. You’ll burn holes through my skin. Can you see right through me?*

“If a bag of the flowers ever pops through the rift, I’ll teach you.”

#I could teach you so much. And you’re so damned stiff and formal, and then you look at me, and if I can’t recognize the look of someone who wants to touch me by now, I’m not worthy of my name. Why won’t you touch me?#

“I take it some popped through before?”

*Oh, I wish you’d stand back. You smell too good. If you could bottle that scent, it would sell out in a week. Have you any idea how hard it is to take your clothes to the dry cleaners? I bundle them into the bag and the scent gets on my hands, and I don’t want to wash them. How sick is that?*

“I used to drink it all the time.”

#Quit asking me questions, Ianto. I can’t tell you I spent four weeks on Aldebaran Prime in the forty-second century, trying to chase down a renegade from the eighty-fifth! Don’t you realize you’re hot enough that when you ask me questions I want to answer, just to see your face change?#

Ianto pushed past him and out of the storage vault, heading back to the entrance. “Speaking of which, we’re out of French Roast.”

*There. Back to life. Now could you let me get back to my work and stop making me think about things I don’t want to think about?*

Jack followed him and walked at pace beside him. “What do you want me to do about it?”

#Damn. The last time I heard someone say that was my wife. You’re such a domestic, Ianto! Ah, but you’d make a good wife. Want a new job?#

“Just making conversation, sir.”

*You can be such a jerk. I was trying to warn you I’d be using a different blend. You don’t see through me. Do you see me at all?*

“Good. ‘Cause I have no idea how you find that stuff. It’s brilliant.”

#Did I just hurt your feelings? You got all stiff and formal again.# Jack couldn’t help looking. #Not stiff enough, unfortunately.#

“I do my best, sir.”

*Now you’re defiantly looking at me. Don’t you understand, it hurts? I’m not gay. I’m not single. I’m lonely, but I don’t want you. I don’t. I can’t. I won’t. Damn it, I won’t.*

“Well, a little coffee magic’s always appreciated.”

#There. Does that help? Sometimes you look so sad, I just want to pick you up and cuddle you. What are you so sad about, Ianto?#

“Is that a hint, sir?”

*I can do that for you. I can get coffee for you and make you smile. Sometimes it disgusts me how happy I am when you just smile at me. It’s that smile, you know. It’s wicked. Wicked and bewitching. Sometimes I wonder what those lips would taste like. Dear god, what am I thinking?*

“Maybe in a bit.”

#Don’t look at me like that. Are you and Gwen in a conspiracy? You both keep doing this to me. I can’t let myself love anyone again. It hurts too much, watching you die. Even when you don’t die, you all leave. You leave me behind. You age, and I don’t, and you leave me behind. I’ve got to stop this. I have got to distract myself.#

Jack indicated the computer. “Any more Rift activity?”

#Please! Find me an alien to chase so I can get you out of my head!#

“I can check.” Ianto turned to the computer and drew up the map.

*Or you could look yourself. Have to keep me busy, is that it?*

Jack snuck up behind him, and peered over his shoulder. “What have we got?”

#If I want to distract myself from you, why am I leaning over you and breathing in the scent of your hair? How do you do this to me, Ianto?#

Jack intentionally turned away.

Ianto’s eye caught on a warning beacon in the corner of the screen. Keeping his face impassive, he started typing up a bypass. “Pretty quiet.”

*Ah, hell! I thought I’d taken care of these power surges. This one goes another four notches, it’ll set off the alarm! Lisa, you have to stop this! You have to stop draining power when the pain gets too bad. You’ll get found out. Oh, God, Jack, what would you do if you found out? You’d kill her in a second. Would you kill me too?*

“Good. If five cups of koltag and a dead werryn is all that pops through the rift this week, we should count ourselves lucky.”

#This is terrible. When I don’t have something to do I start thinking. I start missing people. I start wanting people. I don’t want to want people. I don’t want to want you, Ianto. Ah, hell, it’s too late, though. I watch you. I know you want me. I’m here. I’m open. I shouldn’t, but I leave myself open. All you’d have to do is reach out and take me. Do you know I’m already yours?#

“Tell that to the housewife the werryn fell on.”

*Lucky. Lucky, when Torchwood drew me up from nothing, gave me Lisa, made me believe I was something, and then dragged it all into hell. Jack, stop looking at me! I can feel your eyes on me! Why don’t you ask me what’s wrong? Can’t you see the sweat beading on my brow, can’t you hear my heart fluttering? You never ask me, thank god. Thank god, because I’d tell you. I want to tell you. You’re the only friend I have left in the world, and you scare me more than anything, and we never say a word to each other. Not really. And I want to tell you! I want help! I don’t want to stand alone in this hell anymore!*

“I will grant you, being surprised in the bathtub by the exoskeleton of a five foot waspish thing is probably not the most relaxing way to end the day. Unless it’s already bought you dinner.”

#Would you let me buy you dinner, Ianto? Would you let me smooth those lines from your forehead? How can you be so young with eyes so old? Maybe that’s why I like you. You remind me of me.#

“Sounds uncomfortable.”

*I’m so scared, Jack. My lover is downstairs and I think she’s dying. I’m all alone, and I don’t have anyone I can tell about it. I get so lonely at night lying in bed without her beside me and the pain of it is a constant weight, I keep dragging around this place. Sometimes my only comfort is the scent of your clothes on my hands. And then you stand so close and I start you think you care, and I’m so afraid of what that’ll mean for me and Lisa. But you don’t care, and you don’t ask, and that hurts too.*

“Hey, I’ve had some wonderful evenings with insectoid life forms. But check your biology first. Some of them can take a man’s head off during mating. ‘Course, I’ve known some women who’ll do that too.”

#And men. And Time Lords. And everyone you let near you. I can’t let myself love, Ianto. Do you realize that? Is that why you won’t touch me? Because you know for all this eternal life, I’m dead inside?#

“If that’ll be all, sir?”

*I have to get away from you. I’m going to tell you any minute. Why should I trust you? Give me one reason to trust you, and I’ll pour my heart at your feet.*

“Yeah, I think that’s it, Ianto. See you tomorrow.”

#And the next day. And the next. I have to see you every day, Ianto. It’s one of the few things that makes me feel happy. Which probably means it’s already too late for me. You think I’m hopeless? You’re right, if you do. All the armor in the world, and my heart might as well be on my sleeve to a gorgeous, sad eyed youth like you. You may have already plucked it, and we’ve never even kissed. How can you do this to me?#

“In the morning, sir.”

*I don’t understand what’s happening to me. You scare me to death, Jack. You’re like a massive sun, gravitating me towards you. I pull away, but I can always feel where you are. Even through layers and walls and rooms, it’s as if you were always moving in the corner of my eye. You’ve thrown my life into a bigger chaos than I ever thought possible. How can you do this to me?*

Ianto nodded as he left, and Jack waved slightly. All the unspoken questions fell unanswered into the water.