What Cannot Be Expressed
"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul."
Characters/Pairings: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Jack/Ianto
Warnings: Angsty sex, quite a few swears.
Summary: After 2,000 years buried under Cardiff, Jack Harkness crumbles; all Ianto can do is remind him what it means feel.
A/N: This is a song called "Kryptonite" by a band called 3 Doors Down, and just seemed to fit the character of Jack that I am trying to write. I never felt Jack's experiences during Exit Wounds were properly explored, so this is my attempt at digging a little deeper. I had also grown a little tired of Jack being the experienced one, the one teaching Ianto, and really wanted to switch that and put Ianto in control. This story has been niggling at me for several weeks now, but it was only with this series, and being able to base its roots in the song, that I finally gathered up the courage to write it. I almost didn't post it, because writing sex-scenes scares me; I never want it to feel unnatural or gratuitous, so I hope this serves the right purpose and gets across what I wanted to get across.
"If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?"
There was a reason why Ianto brought Jack back to his flat that night.
Maybe it was something to do with the deadened look in the Immortal's eyes and the flecks of dirt still clinging to his hair. Maybe it was the red grazing on his knuckles, the skin decimated by the pressure of scouring Tosh's blood off the floor. Or maybe it was the gunshot that echoed throughout the Hub, the blood pooling on the floor of Jack's office and discarded pistols still smouldering in his cold fingers.
When they arrived at his flat, Jack sank lifelessly onto the sofa whilst Ianto busied himself making a coffee. To be honest, he would have preferred a stiff alcoholic drink, but something told him that getting drunk tonight was not the right thing to do; not the right thing for him or for Jack. He cast a quick glance in the direction of the sofa, catching a glimpse of Jack perched uncomfortably on the battered furniture, his shoulder blades hunched to his chin and his fingers tangling in his hair.
Ianto had never been particularly good at comforting. It had been one of the most painful things to tug at his heart when he was still hiding Lisa – watching her scream and cry, try to fight the monstrosity inside her, and unable to do or say anything to make it feel better. If she had had someone else, he had thought, maybe they could have alleviated the pain with their words, with their touch. Maybe, he had often told himself, she would have survived, would have been able to fight the cyber-technology successfully if only she had had someone who knew the right words.
But there was something about the sight of Jack before him, crumpled and broken, that urged him to leave the coffee-making – which had, admittedly, been an excuse to brush away the problem – and sit beside him with some trepidation.
"Jack…" he raised his hand tentatively to rest on Jack's shoulder. His fingers trailed gently over the rumpled material of his shirt, smoothing out the creases in the vain hope that that would make a difference. Jack remained silent, his head buried in his hands, pulling so hard at his hair that Ianto could see the skin at the roots reddening. The younger man licked his lips, waiting quietly.
Finally, Jack raised his head to look at Ianto, his gaze ricocheting from his eyes to his cheekbones, unwilling or unable to meet his gaze. Ianto felt his stomach plummet at the coldness in those eyes, the weight of a thousand years tugging on the irises; it seemed as though his eyes were drowning in themselves, their famous glimmer sunk beneath the waves of pain.
"Jack…" he repeated, all too aware of the uselessness of his words. He had told himself that he could handle Jack; flirtatious Jack, bastard Jack, guilty Jack; he could deal with them all, knew how to deflect the personalities and meet them head on. But this was very different, in that it didn't seem like Jack he was dealing with. Sometime, during those millennia buried beneath the soil of Cardiff, Jack's – Jackness – had escaped into the soil. He felt a sharp pain fight in the back of his throat, stirred by a slight, irrational anger:
You went once, you will NOT go again.
Suddenly, as if he had read the words pooling in his eyes, Ianto felt Jack's hand on the back of his neck, his mouth forced onto the cold lips of his lover with a relentless urgency. Ianto closed his eyes and let Jack kiss him, allowing him to reacquaint himself with whatever it was he needed to reacquaint himself with. It had, after all, been two thousand years since Jack had last kissed him, something that it had been easy to forget amidst the grief that had suddenly descended on their lives. Ianto was surprised Jack had even been able to remember his name, let alone having any memory of the sketchy details surrounding whatever kind of connection they had forged.
Jack's kiss was clumsy, unnatural, as if he couldn't quite remember what he should be doing. Ianto felt his shoulders tense, sensing his obvious frustration and trepidation. Fearful that Jack was slipping away, he moved his hand from Jack's arm to his face, cupping his cheek and brushing a thumb gently over the jaw. Jack pulled back, an expression on his face that was impossible to read; Ianto smiled what he hoped was a reassuring smile, and leant forward to capture Jack's lips slowly in his own, hoping that Jack would trust him to take control.
Feeling little response, but also little resistance, he tentatively ran his tongue along Jack's bottom lip, questions and uncertainties thrumming in the slightly awkward movement. The bottom of his stomach lifted a little as he felt Jack's mouth open slightly, allowing his tongue to brush in and over his teeth, keeping the movement as gentle as possible until he felt Jack's own tongue responding to his guidance.
"Ianto…" Jack murmured softly against his lips, obviously testing the vowels, rolling them on his tongue like some sort of foreign language. Ianto was struck by the suddenness of this change in the man – when Jack had freed them from the cells, he had seemed no different to the Jack they had left behind. He realised that somewhere, in between Tosh's death and Ianto finding him sprawled on the floor, blood pooling from the gunshot wound in his forehead, something in Jack's mind had snapped. All those millennia alone, suffocating and reviving, the weight of six feet of earth pressing down on his lungs, had caught up with him once the immediate danger was over. The moment Jack the Hero had no longer been needed (the moment Gwen had left the Hub – she still viewed him as a heroic figure, after all), Jack the Human had taken over.
Jack the Human was broken.
"Ianto…" Jack tried again, his voice more forceful than it had been before, as if the name was the key to something in his brain. "I need…I don't remember…" He scrambled for words, obviously missing something. Ianto, knowing that he himself was not much of a talker, waited patiently, his hand still framing Jack's cheek comfortably.
"I want…I need…but I can't remember how…" Jack's voice was pitiful, vulnerable, barely more than a whisper and cracking with invisible tears. He flicked his eyes to meet Ianto's, his hand tentatively reaching up to the long fingers caressing his face and travelling along the length of his arm; the uncertainty was almost unbearable, as if Jack expected either himself or Ianto to shatter into a million pieces. The immortal man had never been one who was good at expressing himself with words, and Ianto had quickly learnt the art of deciphering Jack just through his touches. And he understood.
Gripping his wrist, he stood up and drew Jack with him. Jack complied, his limbs pliable, like jelly almost. The Welshman took a step backwards, and then another, keeping his eyes intently fixed on Jack's face.
"Tell me what you want Jack," he whispered, barely noticing as his back grazed the doorframe of his tiny bedroom. "I need you to tell me what you want me to do."
Jack's eyes flickered from Ianto's face to the bed, his eyes pleading with Ianto. He closed his eyes and breathed in, gripping Ianto's sleeve with a vice-like grip. Ianto held his breath along with Jack, hoping that he was doing the right thing – hoping that he hadn't misinterpreted what it was that Jack wanted, what Jack needed. In a selfish part of Ianto's brain, there was a slight flicker at the thought that Jack needed him…
Watching intently as Jack opened his eyes again, he began to unbutton Jack's shirt and ease it slowly from his body, letting his fingers caress as gently as he could over the newly exposed skin of his arms and shoulder blades. When Jack didn't protest, he hooked his fingers under his white – now greyish brown – undershirt and inched it up, just enough so that he could run his the pads of his fingers gently over Jack's stomach. The Captain's eyes slid closed again gently as Ianto hand wandered along the waistline of his trouser, carding through the smattering of hair that grew from his naval downwards.
Ianto took this as a good sign, ghosting his fingers over the button of his trousers, sliding it through to loosen the garment from Jack's body. He moved slightly closer, pressing his cheek against Jack's, feeling a slight swelling against his thigh as Jack's pulse grew more frenetic.
"I need to know if this is what you want, Jack".
Jack's eyes opened, his hand inching to Ianto's own waist, un-tucking Ianto's shirt from his suit trouser and mimicking the actions of the younger man.
"I need to feel," he whispered firmly into Ianto's ear. "I need to know you."
Keeping his hands as steady as he possibly could with the weight of responsibility he felt on his shoulders, Ianto stripped Jack of the rest of his clothes, letting Jack help him remove his own before leading Jack to the bed and encouraging him to lie on his side. Jack's body tensed slightly as Ianto slipped behind him, looping an arm around his waist and pulling his back flush against his chest. Jack's breathing was catching, the lack of familiarity and his inability to remember by turns frustrating and terrifying him. Ianto was used to being the one taught by Jack, the one with the least comparative experience, and now those roles were completely reversed – it was a heavy responsibility, almost like taking Jack's virginity, a thought that would have seemed absurd if the weight of it wasn't so real.
Leaning to the bedside cabinet, he scrabbled around for the tube of lubricant he and Jack had stashed away for the rare and often unplanned moments when they decided to ditch the Hub for the modesty of his flat. Finding it beneath his fingers, he warmed it in his palm, pressing his nose into Jack's hair briefly and breathing in his scent. The familiar Jack smell was still there, masked slightly by the layer of dirt, and Ianto took some comfort in the familiarity that ran through his body as Jack's pheromones seemed to set his senses on fire. But he ignored his body's natural reaction, stopping himself.
"Are you sure?"
"Will you just shut up and fuck me?"
Ianto felt a small smile quirk the side of his mouth at the glimpse of the Jack that he knew, the Jack whose seemingly-perpetual sexual frustration created an almost childish impatience when it came to the bedroom. Jack was still in there, and that thought spurred him on as he gently slid a slick finger into Jack's entrance. Jack tensed around the digit, a hiss escaping his mouth as he was breached for the first time in a hundred lifetimes. He was incredibly tight, and his discomfort was clear – he hadn't had human contact for nearly two thousand years, a thought that even Ianto, who had spent a lot of his life avoiding intimacy in all its forms, could not bare to think about more than absolutely necessary. Even with this knowledge, the frown that appeared on Jack's face almost encouraged Ianto to stop, to pull out, to just lie there and hold him as tightly as possible. It would have been simpler, but the older man reached around, gripping his wrist to keep his hand in place and grunting softly:
"Keep going…I need this".
Sliding in another finger, Ianto pressed a gentle kiss against the back of Jack's neck, inwardly apologising for the discomfort he was causing, silently promising that it would get better, that it wouldn't hurt, that he just had to wait, to relax, to let him in. Jack seemed to pick up on Ianto's subliminal message, both in its physical and emotional meanings, doing his best to relax his body, letting the muscles around Ianto's fingers go slack and dropping his head back onto Ianto's shoulder. Continuing to stretch Jack as gently as he possibly could, Ianto inched forward to ghost his lips over Jack's, letting him respond in his own time, on his own terms, smiling softly around Jack's lips as he felt an exploratory tongue force its way into his mouth.
For a moment after realising that he had prepared Jack as much as he needed to, Ianto hesitated, a thousand thoughts flitting through his already overloaded brain. The loss that they had suffered washed over him, the grief crashing in his brain; his worry for his surviving teammates; for Gwen and her destroyed belief in goodness; for Jack and his crumbling mind trapped in a indomitable body; and, alongside them, the comparatively trivial question of whether he should be considering using a condom. Just how did you judge that kind of the thing in the impossible situation he was presented with? No sex-education counsellor had ever offered advice on safe sex with an immortal man - Ianto supposed he would just have to work it out for himself, something he was well used to doing. Jack had been buried for over two thousand years, had died countless times, there was no chance that there was any danger. And, anyway, he wanted Jack to really feel him inside of him.
With this thought in mind, he quickly slicked himself up and positioned himself behind Jack, his hand steadying Jack's hips and tilting him gently to make it as comfortable angle as possible for his lover, who was now fisting the bedclothes with a trembling hand. Easing himself in, he kept his other hand entwined in Jack's hair, stroking gently through the locks in what he hoped was a reassuring, calming measure. Jack himself kept his eyes squeezed shut as Ianto pushed into him, his face tense and a bead of sweat forming on his brow as his younger lover breached his body.
The moment he was completely filling Jack, Ianto stilled in him, waiting for some sense that he should continue. Jack held his breath for what appeared to Ianto to be an eternity, clenching uncomfortably around Ianto's cock. All Ianto wanted to do at that moment was move, to feel Jack against him, to alleviate the building pressure in his groin; but he was stronger than that, he told himself, and he was in control now. He remembered how careful Jack had been with him on their first encounter, how aware he was of his injuries sustained in the countryside, and yet at the same time willing to fulfil that desperate need to be held and touched and fucked into the mattress. Now that the impossible situation had arisen, that Ianto found himself in Jack's shoes, he knew he was willing to wait for as long as it took.
Finally, Jack moved his hand to slide over the fingers at his waist, gripping tightly onto Ianto's wrist and pushing his hips back into Ianto's groin. Pressing his lips once more into the short hair behind Jack's ear, Ianto began to move his hips, sliding his cock in and out of Jack as gently as was humanly possible. Jack's fingers laced with Ianto's on his hip as his breath hitched, the frown on his forehead contracting and tightening as Ianto filled him, before changing from pain to surprise as Ianto finally hit the right spot.
Hearing the gasp of surprise escape from Jack's lips, Ianto buried his face into his lover's neck and began to pick up his pace, hooking an arm around Jack's waist to fist around his cock. His movements around Jack contrasted to his movements within Jack; he couldn't find the right rhythm, instead opting for a random mix of thrust-stroke movement that nonetheless encouraged just the right noises from Jack's lips.
He knew that any psychologist would warn against this. The notion that sex could heal wasn't one that he had ever really bought into; it hadn't been the sex that healed him following Lisa's death, following the pain and the grief and then the abominably unsuccessful team-bonding session to the country. That physical connection had helped, he had no doubt, but Ianto had had one night stands and casual fucks before. He knew that they didn't alleviate the pain - they cured the present problem, allowed him to forget for that moment, but the effects were fleeting. No, he could conclusively say that sex didn't work as therapy. But sex with Jack was different. Jack was a being stuck in a time that didn't understand him, a man who tossed aside the restrictions of labels and categories in favour of unconditional connections. He was rooted in the sensual, and every single encounter, sexual or none, was deeply intimate. Ianto had needed to be touched, to connect, to feel some sort of intimacy, and that was what Jack had offered.
Ianto wanted to give Jack exactly what Jack had given him; to remind him that, although he was lonely and isolated and broken beyond belief, he wasn't completely alone.
Jack tensed against him, reaching back to dig his nails into Ianto's thigh, his harsh, raspy breath an obvious sign that he wasn't going to last much longer. With one last thrust of his cock into Ianto's hand, Jack found his release with a resigned sigh, succumbing completely to the sheer physicality chasing away the screaming in his brain. Feeling the muscles of Jack's body relax completely for the first time that evening, Ianto propped himself up slightly on his elbow, pulling Jack towards him to lift his hips ever so slightly, eager to join Jack as quickly as possible in his completion. With a few more frantic thrusts into Jack's pliant body, he felt the tightness coiling in his stomach build and release, muffling the low groan in Jack's hair as a he was hit by a crushing wave of pleasure-pain-grief.
The sound of their breathing gradually slowing was the only sound that filled the air as they came down, Ianto reluctantly pulling out of Jack and resting his cheek against his shoulder. An incredible stillness filled the air, a relaxed aura the emanated from both the men as they lay as still and as close as possible; there was no doubt that something had been gained, something had been learned, but they were at a loss to accurately describe what that something was. As it always had between them, Ianto noted, the silence spoke louder than any shallow words could possibly have done.
Finally Ianto managed to summon enough energy to work his limbs properly, rolling out from their tangled limbs and heading to the bathroom. Emerging with a towel, he quickly cleaned them both up before sliding back into the bed, rearranging their limbs so they were more comfortable. Jack lay still with his eyes closed, hardly responding to Ianto's touch as the younger man curled around him, waiting patiently, but worriedly, for some sort of response.
Eventually the young Welshman felt calloused fingers curl around the hand that was rested on Jack's stomach. It wasn't much in the way of movement or communication, but it reassured him that Jack wasn't gone, that they hadn't made the wrong decision in trying to reconnect in this way.
"Ianto," the word sounded more familiar now, rolling nicely off the tongue, the vowels lilted in just the way that made Ianto feel known. "I think I need your help."
Ianto felt one side of his mouth pull upwards in a small smile as he gripped Jack's arms gently, turning him around so that the Captain was sprawled floppily against his chest.
"Y'know, someone once told me that you can't be helped unless your help yourself."
Jack tilted his head, a mischievous look flickering in his eyes. The last time Ianto had seen that look had been this morning, just before they got the news that alien life had been detected in an abandoned building. That look that was both enticing and playful, that look that had been thrown at him as he brought the coffee to Jack, just before everything went to hell and their lives had been turned upside down.
Ianto rubbed small circles into Jack's back, ghosting his fingers over the now relaxed muscles of his spine in a soothing movement. His eyes were still fixed intently on Jack's face, registering every twitch of his muscles, ever flicker in his eye. He knew that this wasn't the end, wasn't the solution; he hadn't fixed Jack by fucking him. Maybe he'd helped, but there was still a long way to go. The process of rebuilding was a long one. Ianto knew how much it had taken to drag himself back to some semblance of sanity, even if it was hard to compare his loss with the thousand losses that Jack mourned, all those millions of losses that had yet to happen.
For now, though, Jack was here, in body and in spirit. There were still flecks of dirt clinging to his hair and skin, still a dullness dragging his eyes downwards, signalling that there was a constant force tugging at his lucidity; Jack was clinging desperately to the edge of his mental soundness, and the memories were stamping relentlessly on his fingers, trying to loosen his grip. But he was definitely here. Ianto tightened his arms around Jack, feeling the other man rest his cheek over his heart, the rhythm almost like a lullaby, reminding him that Ianto was still here.
This was Jack as human as he could possibly be. But, even so, he would always be a hero. Even if he lost his mind, his memories, his sanity, the sacrifices he made daily in order to try and protect the people of this city, in a time that didn't even take the time to try and understand him, would always mean he was a hero. Even if he was just a hero to Ianto, to Gwen, to the memories of Tosh and Owen, then he was more of a hero than anyone else Ianto knew.
Jack was a hero because he was so damned human and yet he always kept going.
This man with his head rested above Ianto's heart, clinging desperately to him as if he were a drowning man in need of oxygen, this man who had forgotten what it was like to be touched, this man who had been stretched to the very brink of his strength and had snapped.
Even when he crumbled, Jack Harkness was still a hero in the eyes of those that loved him most.
And he always would be.
*Is cowering in fear because she just posted a sex scene*
Thank you once again for reading, commenting, or both! All mistakes are mine, as are any cliches, bad characterisation or basic crapness.