Prompt Jack confronts Ianto about Ianto's last kiss
Summary: After the incident with the cannibals, Jack keeps Ianto company in hospital
Rating: PG (There’s some flirting, but nothing beyond that)
A/N: I wrote this for torchwood_fest at Halloween, but never got around to posting it anywhere else. We don’t know for sure when the Torchwood team met the cannibals, but this story pretends it was Halloween.
It was somewhat ironic that of all Earth holidays, Captain Jack Harkness enjoyed Halloween the most. There were lots of parties, people were less inhibited than usual, and his unusual clothing didn’t get him stared at. Make-believe witches, devils, and ghosts roamed the streets and the city itself was lit up with eerie lights, turning it into an alien landscape so that he could pretend he was out in space again.
But not this year.
This year his team was battered and bruised from an encounter with real-life monsters of the human sort. Cannibals, killing and eating people apparently for the sheer power and joy it brought them. Worse than any aliens he had ever encountered, actually. Just thinking about it made him shudder and his team had come so close to falling victim to those abominations.
That had led him to his present location, sitting in a room at the A&E, waiting for Ianto Jones to wake up from surgery. He’d suffered the worst of it, badly beaten to “tenderize” him when he pulled his trick to let Tosh escape. Her small, delicate body would not have survived it, but Ianto with his amazing resilience had. Yet another hidden depth to the man that Jack wanted to explore – if they could get past the betrayal. He had forgiven Ianto, but Ianto had yet to forgive himself. Until he did, their relationship, tenuous at best, would remain in limbo.
Jack didn’t want limbo. He wanted them to progress. As angry and hurt he had been by the Cyberwoman incident, he had understood Ianto’s motives. Ianto wasn’t a power-mad despot – he was just a young man who was lost and clinging to the only thing he had left. Jack could understand that all too well.
Ianto moaned and Jack moved the chair closer so that he could take Ianto’s hand. He’d been both relieved and flattered that Ianto had only agreed to the ambulance when Jack had insisted and promised to stay with him. Ianto had spent the ride with Jack’s hand clasped in his own. An oxygen mask to help Ianto’s labored breathing had prevented them from conversing, but Ianto’s eyes had been on Jack’s when they weren’t closed.
Another low moan and Ianto’s eyelashes fluttered for a moment. “Jack?” he whispered.
“Right here.” Jack gave Ianto’s hand a gentle squeeze. “I know it’s a stupid question, but how are you feeling?”
“I… I think it could be summed up by ‘ouch’,” Ianto said, with a hint of his usual snark. His blue eyes regard Jack solemnly. “Thank you for staying. I hate hospitals.”
“Me, too,” Jack agreed. “In this case, though, I’m glad you went. Several cracked ribs have scrambled your insides and it was close. Too close for me to feel relaxed about it. The doctor said you’d probably be stiff for a week or so.”
“What about the others?” Trust Ianto to ask about them. Jack had tried to get through Ianto’s thick head to make him concerned for himself, but he hadn’t managed it yet.
“They’re all okay. Shaken up and Gwen has some bruises from the buckshot. I gave everyone tomorrow off. I’ll watch the Rift. Now, let’s concentrate on you.”
“When can I get out?” Another question that Jack had anticipated. He had the answer ready.
“If no complications develop, and you can keep your food down, tomorrow night. I mention the eating part because I know you haven’t been eating properly for weeks.” Jack grinned down at him to take the edge off the implicit order he was giving. “I’ll stay here tonight. You’ve mentioned you hate hospitals. I’m hoping misery loves company.”
A smile flitted across Ianto’s face. “Well, this misery is definitely enjoying the company. But you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. You have the Rift to monitor.”
“It’s going to this handy gadget on my wrist.” Jack stood and leaned closer. “I want to stay. Besides, you may need protection from the ghosts tonight.”
“What gho… oh, it’s Halloween. I forgot.” Ianto shifted so that he was a little closer to Jack. A small flame of hope danced in Jack’s heart. Ianto continued, “I guess we did meet some nasty beasties today.”
“Is that a Welsh term?”
“No, it’s from an old Scottish saying. My Mam had it on a sampler in our parlor. From Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-Leggedy Beasties and Things that Go Bump in the Night, Good Lord, Deliver Us. After today, I’ll need to change it to ‘Captain Jack, Deliver Us.”
“I’m the Big Damn Hero of this outfit. Delivering you is my job.” Jack took the risk and crossed the inches that separated them. That flame of hope grew brighter when Ianto didn’t reject him and returned the kiss with interest. Jack smiled when the kiss ended. “Consider yourself delivered. Oh, and snogged. In case Gwen asks again and there’s any question in your mind.”
Jack sat back down, enjoying the blush that spread across Ianto’s cheeks. He said, “I doubt she’ll ask again. She didn’t like my answer very much.”
“I can’t say I liked it much either.” Jack remembered the wave of annoyance and, yes, jealousy that he had felt. He and Ianto had actually kissed just before Ianto loaded the SUV. True, he had stolen the kiss, but Ianto hadn’t pulled away.
“I know,” Ianto said softly. “I saw your face. I thought you didn’t want them to know. You didn’t tell them it was me.”
“I… well, I thought you’d be embarrassed. Didn’t want to sic Owen on you with his teasing.” Jack scowled. “Why didn’t you just deflect it like I did? There was no reason to drag up…” Jack still had trouble saying her name. “… That.”
“I know, and I shouldn’t have. Gwen just… ticked me off.” He took a deep breath and winced. “She wasn’t expecting me to answer. Sometimes she doesn’t exactly think ahead. I just wanted to remind her that I’m a person and she shouldn’t forget.”
Jack hadn’t thought of that reason. He’d taken it personally, but Ianto had just said the answer wasn’t directed at him. Ianto had promised no more lies and he certainly sounded sincere. He reached for Ianto’s hand again. “I can understand why that would make you angry, but it was harsh.”
In an instant, Ianto’s walls slammed down. His eyes dulled, his expression blanked, and he said, “I’m sorry, sir. The next time I see her, I will apologize.” He turned his face away and tried to pull his hand loose.
Jack wouldn’t let go. He cursed inwardly; he hadn’t intended for Ianto to go back into hiding. All his careful work was ruined unless he could coax Ianto back out. “Ianto,” he said quietly, “look at me.” Ianto didn’t move. Jack tugged on his hand. “Please, look at me.” Nothing. “Dammit, Ianto, help me understand.”
Ianto’s head turned back, and this time there was fire in his eyes. “Because we can’t forget, Jack! Everything we do, every decision we make can cost people their lives. Unless we remember that our actions have consequences, people will die. I’ve learned that the hard way. Innocent people should not have to pay because we’ve forgotten our mistakes.” Apparently exhausted from this speech, Ianto lay back on the bed, closed his eyes and turned his face away again.
Ianto was doing exactly what Jack had wanted him to do. He wasn’t bottling up his feelings and hiding behind his mask any longer. Even if it wasn’t what Jack wanted to hear, he was proud of Ianto for doing it.
Ianto’s head turned slowly and he opened his eyes. They were still defiant. Jack said. “You may be right. You probably are. I do cut Gwen a lot of slack, but that’s because she challenges me to think about what I’m doing, instead of blundering ahead. And now you’re starting to, which makes it even better. I don’t always know what I’m doing and I make mistakes, too. With you and Gwen calling me on them, we’ll all be better off. I’ll speak to Gwen and remind her about consequences. Are you okay with that?”
Ianto looked at him for a long moment and then nodded. Jack flashed him his big smile. “And the next time someone asks me who I snogged last, I’ll say ‘Ianto.’ And if they ask why, I’ll say ‘Because I like kissing him.’”
Ianto smiled, too. “And I’ll say ‘that Big Damn Hero Captain Jack Harkness.’ And if they ask why, I’ll say, ‘I like it as much, if not more, than he does.’”
The flame in Jack’s heart was growing stronger by the minute. “Now that that’s settled, you should sleep. I’ll be here to keep the ghoulies and ghosties away.”
“What about beasties?”
“Them, too. No more beasties tonight. That’s a promise.”
This entry was originally posted at http://tonjavmoore.dreamwidth.org/13660.html.