Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness.
Rating/Warnings: Adult – dark themes, sexual references, mentions of suicide and child abuse
Spoilers: Exit Wounds; Cyberwoman; The Twilight Streets (Novel)
Summary: Organisation, control and meticulous planning rule every aspect of Ianto's life. Jack will learn, the hard way, just how deep these compulsions go - and just what it is that his young lover needs.
A/N: This is a story I have had in my head for a while. It's been so ingrained on my consciousness that I'm not really sure what to think of it now that it is down on paper. Should this have remained as an idea and never made it to this point? I'm not sure – you'll have to decide that. A quick note: this Ianto is very out of character, but this is deliberate. If I were writing the character as sober, he definitely would not sound like this; this is Ianto with his anger stoked and his emotional boundaries destroyed. (It is also based on my own canon for Ianto's childhood – see Author's Notes at the end of the piece.)
There was a heavy greyness hanging in the air, stifling the atmosphere in that damp, clinging way that could only exist on a summer afternoon in Wales. Intermittent raindrops brushed through the whistling wind, catching on the tips of Jack's hair as he hovered on the edge of the stretch of green, his hands buried in his pockets to protect them from the stinging cold.
In the distance he could make out a lone figure draped in a long grey coat, the dullness of the material disguising him against the backdrop of withered headstones. Jack swallowed ever so slightly, tossing his head to shake out the rain drop that had caught on his fringe. He could see the grey figure sway in the breeze, leaning to the side like a reed hanging with great fragility to the side of a bank; the movement was uncomfortable, unsteady, and Jack took a hesitant step forward.
The angle of the silent man sharpened gently. With each degree he tilted towards the ground, Jack took another step, creeping forward slowly until he found himself standing mere feet away. Close enough to the see the wind rustling at the slightly unkempt hair; close enough to see the wispy clouds as his warm breath hit the freezing air; close enough to see the gentle tremor running along the length of his body.
"Why are you here?" the voice, vowels slurred and fighting against the wind, broke the silence. The sound was so sharp that Jack could almost feel the atmosphere shattering, the pieces scattering in the frosty air.
"Nice day for a stroll…" Jack kept his voice level, rocking backwards onto his heels and craning his head questioningly. The figure remained still, arms crossed beneath his coat for warmth…or for comfort, as if he were holding himself together.
"How did you know I'd be here?"
Jack willed him to turn, biting his lips softly as he waited for that pale face to emerge from beneath the turned up collar. Eventually, he saw the head tilt towards him, those eyes fixing onto his own with a withdrawn laziness that Jack hadn't seen before. There was something that was panging ever so slightly in Jack's chest; some niggle in his mind that he couldn't quite put his finger on. The eyelids blinked once, clearing raindrops from eyelashes; and suddenly, Jack saw it, that thing that was troubling him.
At the best of times, it was difficult to discern whether Ianto's eyes were grey or blue. Most of the time, they verged on a dull blue tinge, the colour of a rainy sky; blue, but with a hint of grey.
But right now they were most definitely grey.
"I said…" Ianto flicked a strand of hair from his eyes, droplets of rain running down his neck from his collar and causing him to shiver. "How…did you know…I was here?"
Jack rocked on one foot, contemplating whether to step forward. Eventually, he planted both feet on the ground, keeping the distance between the two of them open.
"Because, Ianto Jones…" he let his voice ring out between them, trying desperately to fill the void. "You don't take time off. You don't even have weekends. All you asked for was one day a month, always on the Eleventh; no contact with Torchwood personnel, no interaction with the institute as a whole. And I gave it to you…only, thing is, I don't really like mysteries."
"No, of course you don't," there was a biting tone to Ianto's voice, the deep vowels shaking minutely. "Because you have to know everything, about everyone. You can't let anything go. Ever."
"I've known this is where you come for a while now," Jack could feel impatience creeping into his words, and he tried to push it away. "It's no different than what you did for me, in Tretarri…"
"It's completely and utterly different, Jack!" Ianto spun around, his eyes blazing and his cheeks flushed a deep crimson. "That was just you being stubborn. Being an arse who wouldn't open up about anything…this is different. This is something I need."
He swayed ever so slightly, the flush creeping into his eyes. Jack reached forward as if to catch him, but Ianto batted the hand away furiously, struggling to focus his gaze.
"You know now. Are you happy about that, Jack? Is this what you wanted to see?"
"It's better to know," Jack kept the firm tone to his voice. "I needed to know whether…"
"What, whether I was hiding another alien girlfriend in the basement?" Ianto ran a shaking hand through his hair. There was water on his cheeks, tracing along the length of his jaw. Jack decided, for the sake of the moment, that it was merely the rain striking at his face.
"Well, I'm not. Hallelujah! Is that better? Are you reassured?"
Ianto turned unsteadily back towards the wilted headstone, falling softly to his knees and running the tips of his gloved fingers along the jagged writing. A sound of frustration escaped his lips and he tore the glove from his hand, the skin visibly prickling in the cold as he traced the indent of the letters with his nail.
Jack swallowed hard, torn between stepping forward and respecting the field of anger Ianto had drawn around himself.
"This is what I do. I take the day off…one day, every month…I get pissed, I come here, I wallow in self pity, and then I move on. Once a month. No trouble to anyone. Not like you – you drown in self-loathing every second of every day. Do you know hard that is, for all of us? No, of course you don't - you think you hide it so well. At least I have the decency to do it somewhere else, to keep it to myself."
Ianto's fingers pressed harshly against the stone, his nails scratching at the moss to leave a blank trail in its wake. Jack followed the almost hypnotic movement, his mouth dry as he watched the tottering, angry figure of Ianto Jones swaying dangerously on his knees. He hadn't seen Ianto drunk since the days of his suspension, those dark days when Ianto had flitted threateningly between madness and the person he had eventually become. At that point, however, he'd put so much of the alcohol into his system that he was verging on paralytic. This Ianto was very different – not drunk enough to have lost his bearings, but intoxicated enough to break down the defences he had so carefully built up around his emotions.
Jack buried his hands in his pockets, leaning forward so that Ianto could hear his voice over the gathering roar of the wind.
"I know who's buried here," he said, as softly as he could.
"How perceptive of you," there was a slight tremor in Ianto's voice which negated the usual bite of his sarcasm. "Was it the fact that the word "Jones" is inscribed across the stone?"
Jack's mouth snapped shut, his eyes hypnotised by the steady, rhythmic motion of Ianto's fingers against the grey rock.
"You know why I come here?" Ianto flattened his palm against the wet stone, raising his head ever so slightly towards Jack. "Of course you do. Torchwood has everything on record – from my first word to my first fuck."
"I know," Jack dropped his voice to a low whisper, daring to take a step forward. "But I'd rather hear it from you."
"What's the point, Jack? You tell me…go on, show me how much you know."
Looking Ianto in the eye – as he best he could with the Welshman gently swaying in the wind – Jack gnawed painfully at his lip. Ianto shifted on his knees, hardly noticing as he ground the wet grass further into the denim of his trousers. His eyes focused harshly on the immortal; both challenging him and willing him to talk. Jack felt his throat constrict as he swallowed, closing his eyes briefly against the rain before his eyelids shot open, determination flowing through him.
"11th November, 1986," he recited, keeping his voice level and his gaze fixed on the kneeling man. "Catrin Jones committed suicide in her Cardiff apartment whilst her husband and children attended a Remembrance Service at the local church. Medical reports stated this was as a result of prolonged, untreated post-natal depression, following on from the birth of her son. The son…" he faltered, shuddering as Ianto's gaze remained fixed and unchanged, the lack of emotion biting more sharply than the sadness Jack had expected.
"The son…the son discovered his mother's body on the kitchen floor. He was offered counselling, but it was turned down…turned down by the father…"
He stopped suddenly as Ianto jerked away from him, his hand flying to his head and scrabbling frantically at his hair. The other hand remained flat at the headstone, the nails cracking painfully against the stone as they scraped through the moss and dust that had gathered there.
"My dad," he whispered, barely noticing as Jack crouched down next to him. "But he always was more her husband, I guess, than he was my dad."
Jack lifted his hand, gently brushing a strand of hair away from Ianto's bloodshot eyes. The young man didn't flinch as the calloused fingertips brushed against his temple, barely moving from the spot as he fixed his eyes on the words inscribed on the stone.
"Your dad, the master tailor?" Jack said softly, leaning in towards the crouching figure. "Ianto…?"
"Yeah," Ianto let out a soft laugh, the air curling from his lips as the sound failed to reach his eyes. "That's it. My dad, the master tailor. Just like I said."
His hand fell from the stone, resting on the grass and playing idly with the blades; just as Jack suspected he had as a child. He raised his hand, dropping it to rest lightly on Ianto's shoulder, the heavy coat keeping a wide space between their skins. Ianto tensed slightly at the touch, his eyes squeezing shut before he reached up and covered Jack's knuckles with his fingers.
"Jack…" Jack had to lean forward in order to hear the words, the tiny sound in danger of being swallowed by the harsh conditions. "I don't want you to bury me here. I know that we gave Tosh and Owen proper burials, but I don't want it. Please, Jack. Promise me that."
Jack dug his fingers into Ianto's shoulder, his jaw tensing.
"I don't want it, Jack!" Ianto's eyes flared wildly as he pulled away from Jack, scrambling inelegantly to his feet. "I already assigned myself a drawer in the morgue; that's what I want."
Pulling himself to a standing position, Jack took a step forward and rested his hands on Ianto's shoulders, their equal heights letting him look the man square in the eye.
"Ianto, I want you to think about this…"
"I have. I already have," Ianto laughed, stepping away from Jack's hold. "That's all I think about."
"There's more to you than Torchwood, Ianto, believe me."
"You think that's the reason?" Ianto's eyes searched his, a little humour leaking into the depths of the irises. "They always called you Captain Ego at Torchwood One, you know that? Of course you do. But, no, that's not the reason."
Ianto flicked his gaze to the headstone, taking a tentative step away. A shudder shot through him, the flash of fear in his eyes uncontrolled and unmasked as his emotions raged free.
"He always said that I wasn't worth her. Did you know that? Is that in your file? He always said that I had nothing on her, that her death wasn't worth my life. If someone tells you something enough, you start to believe it," Ianto's eyes glazed as they flicked towards Jack, the grey irises fading in and out as he tried to focus on the face of his…his what? His boss? His friend? His lover?
"You see now? I can't be buried here. I don't want it. I can't have it."
A shiver ran through him again, his eyelids drooping and head ducking down as he blinked away at something in his eye. Jack moved forward, testing the waters of Ianto's reaction before sliding his hands up Ianto's arms and pulling the younger man towards him. His hands roved in small circles on Ianto's back, feeling the tension in his spine relaxing under the gentle rotation; arms came slowly around him, gripping onto the material of his great coat and pulling him as close as possible.
The wind rustled gently through Ianto's hair, his body feeding off the eternal warmth radiating from Jack's core as he clenched tighter, seeking and searching for more of that heat. Pulling away from Jack's shoulder, he leant in to cover his lips with his own, his hand snaking behind Jack's head and twisting his fingers in his hair. Jack responded almost immediately, fingers gripping at Ianto's shoulders, retaining that closeness between them even as the younger man caught his bottom lip between his lip, slicing at the skin and drawing blood.
A gasp fled Jack's lips as the sudden pain hit him, the exhalation obviously spurring Ianto on; he felt skilled, yet shaking, fingers fumbling uncomfortably with his belt, pulling the leather aside and forcing there way beneath the waistband of his trouser. Cold digits gripped at his flesh, and Jack cursed his body's natural reactions to the touch as Ianto pressed his palm rhythmically against his swelling cock. His breath caught against his windpipe as he mustered enough strength to tighten his grip on Ianto's wrist, easing it out of his open flies.
"I'm not," he whispered gently against Ianto's lips. "Doing this here."
There was a puff of air against his lips as Ianto scoffed, drawing his face back and staring disbelievingly at Jack.
"I thought you did it anywhere," he hissed, fighting against Jack's hold on his wrist. "So why not here?"
He pushed forward again, mashing their lips together in a mess of teeth and tongue, the hand at the back of his head twisting painfully in Jack's hair, tearing it from the roots. Jack struggled to keep his loosening grip of Ianto's wrist steady, leaning back as far as he could to break the contact between them.
"I am not," he tried again, flattening his palm against Ianto's chest to fend him off. "Doing this with you here…not on your parents' graves, Ianto…"
Ianto stopped his frantic forward movements, his hand falling limp in Jack's grip as he sank back, leaning his full weight onto the arm at his shoulder.
"So you'd do it on someone else's grave?" Ianto laughed quietly, his body rocking against Jack. "Why are they so special? A mother I never knew and a dad who hated my guts. What's wrong with here? It's what I want. It's not like I care, anyway. I'm the cold one, remember? The one who doesn't feel emotions; the one who is unaffected by death."
He leant forward, brushing his lips clumsily against Jack's.
"I don't know what you mean…" Jack whispered, keeping his hand as a barrier between them.
"Don't pull that one, Jack, you know," Ianto blinked hurriedly, raising his hand and pushing his knuckles lamely, angrily against Jack's chest. "I read your reports, your Captain's Logs or whatever the hell you call them nowadays. I archive them, or did you forget that that's my job? I actually do have a job besides making you coffee and sucking your cock."
"I know that, Ianto."
"And there was a gem," Ianto continued, his hand curling into a fist and slamming pathetically against Jack's sternum. "I can recite it for you, if your memory really is that bad. We still miss Tosh and Owen, you said, Gwen especially. Ianto's fine, as usual, because his fucking heart just isn't big enough."
Jack groaned, resting his forehead against Ianto's.
"I didn't mean…"
"Oh, sorry, you meant Gwen misses Tosh and Owen more than Ianto in a nice way," there were tears gathering in the corners of Ianto's eyes, dripping down his cheeks and mingling with the streaks of rain that peppered his jaw. "You just meant that it's only reasonable that Ianto doesn't feel as affected by his friends' deaths because he's had to deal with all that before. It's just a walk in the park for him. It's so much fucking easier for him because he's used to all that death and shit, and poor Gwen is at such a disadvantage because she's lived such a charmed life. Poor Gwen and her charmed life."
"Ianto, look at me…" Jack gripped the back of his neck, forcing the temples together so that he could look directly into Ianto's tear-stained eyes. "That's not what I meant, and you know it. This isn't you."
"What if it is?" Ianto gulped, closing his eyes as a heavy sobbed racked his body. "I try so hard, to hide it, to be strong, and everybody just thinks I'm cold. Just because I don't show it, Jack, doesn't mean that I don't…"
"I know," Jack held onto him tightly as he stumbled, moving gently with him as he fell to his knees. "I know. Don't think I don't know, because I do."
"I miss them."
"I miss them so much," Ianto's body shuddered with the force of the sob that shot through him; he gripped Jack's shoulders, burying his face in the older man's chest. Jack rocked him slowly, letting him soak the material of his shirt as he held onto him as tightly as possible. The rain began to subside ever so slightly, the harsh beams of water receding in their ferocity until they were like tiny footsteps, dancing lightly on the skin of the two men who huddled beneath the shadow of the grave.
The rain may have subsided, but the wind picked up, howling as if to try and out do the loud sobbing of the intoxicated Welshman. Jack could feel the cold air stinging at his cheeks, biting down with a harsh sharpness against his flesh. He felt a tremor that wasn't grief run through Ianto's spine, the cold eating into him despite the warmth of Jack's body.
"Come on," he pulled away as he felt the sobs engulfing Ianto's body lessen, morphing into a silent stream of tears. "Let's get you out of the cold."
In the weeks and months that followed, Jack wouldn't be able to remember exactly how he managed to get Ianto away from the grave yard and into the car. The alcohol ebbing through the young man's veins was beginning to seep into his muscles, loosening his limbs and disrupting his balance. Jack hooked his arms beneath Ianto's armpits, encouraging him gently to walk; supporting him against the limpness of his legs and the slippery wetness of the grass. By the time they had pulled up outside his tiny, barely-lived-in flat, his head was lolling against the window of the SUV, completely reliant on Jack to help him to the door and to open the lock using his own spare key.
Finally managing to get him to the bedroom, Jack set Ianto down gently on the bed before heading for the kitchen. He worked as quickly and as quietly as possible, finding himself a mug and filling it with water. Quickly pulling a pill from his pocket, he dropped it into the cup and watched it gently dissolving it into the cool liquid. Once the last remnants of the pill had disappeared into the swirling water, Jack walked with soft steps back to the bedroom.
Ianto was sat on the edge of the mattress, his shoes kicked haphazardly into the corner. He was supporting his weight dangerously on shaking arms, his body swaying slightly to the side with each breath that he took.
Jack sat beside him, placing a steadying hand on his back and putting the mug to his lips.
Ianto's eyes shot open, his head turning away from the mug defiantly.
"Don't want…" he struggled to string his vowels together, his vocal cords slack beneath the weight of the drink. "No Retcon…"
"It's not Retcon, I promise," Jack moved his hands in small circles on Ianto's back, his voice low and reassuring. "I wouldn't do that to you. It's for hangovers; it'll help you in the morning. One of Owen's finest."
Ianto fixed him with a sharp gaze, searching his eyes intently before he nodded, letting Jack lift the cup to his lips and coax the liquid down his throat. His hand continued its lazy rotations on Ianto's back, keeping the gentle, reassuring pressure in motion until the younger man had managed to swallow the entire contents of the glass. When he was sure that the healing concoction was flowing freely through Ianto's veins, he placed the cup at the side of the bed and began to gently undress him; first sliding the coat from his shoulders and then pulling the T shirt over his head, ridding him of his damp clothes.
As soon as his top half was bare, Jack helped him to stretch out comfortably on the bed, his body pliant and trusting. Jack felt something painful catching in his throat as he watched Ianto complying obediently, placing himself in his hands with the innocent trust of a child. He'd never have expected to see Ianto like this – the young man very rarely showed his weaknesses; very rarely let the mask slip; even in those moments when they were at their most intimate. He was one of the strongest people Jack knew, and to see him like this…his mask down, the façade cracked, everything laid bare and vulnerable…
He gently slipped the belt from Ianto's trousers, pulling the soaking denim down his legs and manoeuvring it under and away from his feet. Finally freeing his limbs from the cold material, Jack threw it to the floor and moved up Ianto's body, bringing the duvet with him as he travelled up the length of the bed. When he reached Ianto's back, however, he stopped.
Tucking the duvet snugly around Ianto's waist, Jack propped himself up on one elbow and traced his little finger along the length of the tiny, white line etched into the pale skin of Ianto's back.
"Jack?" Ianto whispered, turning to crane his head. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing much…" Jack murmured, the tip of his finger still running tenderly along the scar. "Just making sure you're okay, that's all."
Ianto nodded slightly, turning his head back and shoving one of his hands under the pillow to draw it towards him. Taking one last glance at the raised line cut into Ianto's skin, Jack took a firm hold of the duvet and flattened it snugly over Ianto's shivering body. The eyelids of the young man fluttered closed, his body curling into a foetal position beneath the warmth of the covers as his breathing evened, coming in long, comfortable waves.
With a small sigh, Jack crawled from the bed, gathering Ianto's discarded clothes and folding them tenderly in the corner of the room. He knew that, as out-of-it as Ianto was now, he would still have a "thing" about folded clothes – in fact, Jack had lost count of the amount of times that Ianto had stopped mid-sex to gather and fold the clothes that Jack had thrown uncaringly from his body. It was something Ianto readily admitted; he liked order, organisation and control.
Jack straightened up, hanging the heavy coat on the back of the door before turning to face the now-snoring man on the bed. He supposed that that same love of order and organisation extended deeper into Ianto's life…even into his grief. Ianto couldn't hate himself or mourn as he and Gwen had done; he couldn't fall into guilt at inopportune moments, because that would break that shell of control he'd so carefully built up around himself. Even his pain had to be ordered, controlled and meticulously timed.
A stab of guilt crept up at him as he realised that his presence had shattered that organisation. If only he'd had the decency to give Ianto his one day a month without question, then Ianto would have struggled through, carrying on as he always had done. He'd have been fine, without Jack.
But, as always, he hadn't been able to let it go. He'd had to know.
With one hand rested on the handle of the bedroom door, Jack came to a decision. Quickly unlacing his boots and kicking them off, he shucked his greatcoat to the side and pulled the braces from his arms. When he was down to his trousers and undershirt – his blue shirt thrown unceremoniously into a heap that Ianto would not be happy about – he shut the door quietly and crawled onto the bed, flinging an arm across the tangle of duvet and Welshman, drawing them both his chest.
He cast one last glance towards his abandoned clothes, a small smile creeping onto his face as the bundle in his arms twitched slightly, emitting a low noise and squirming further into his heat. He knew that, even if he did sleep, he'd be awake long before Ianto. He'd have plenty of time to pick up the clothes and put them away, without Ianto even realising.
Ianto's sense of organisation and control would not be broken again. Jack promised himself that; when morning came, he was going to do everything in his power to ensure that the young man could fulfil every single one of his nuances and quirks.
And then he was going to go and declare the eleventh of each month as Ianto's official day off – no contact and no visits. Not even from him, unless Ianto specifically asked for it.
One day of solitude. One day of remembrance.
It was something Ianto needed. And Jack knew, more than most, just how important that was.
Thank you for reading. If you have anything to say regarding this fiction, please feel free to leave your comments.
A/N: My own canon for Ianto centres basically around his mother, and his relationship with his father. Although his mother is mentioned in some spin-off fiction, as well as in the "Torchwood Archives", she is completely ignored in actually screen-canon. That Ianto mentioned her so little, suggested that, at least in his mind, Ianto didn't really have a mother. I interpreted this as him having lost her at a young age. From that, I took the insinuations that Ianto was abused by his father (Gareth and Katy (Rhiannon) verified at a convention that this was how they played it) and linked the two: i.e. Ianto's mother suffered from post-natal depression, killed herself when he was young, and his father blamed him for it ever since. When it comes to Ianto's canon, there is no right and wrong answers – so this is merely my interpretation.