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Torchwood: Destined (Fanfiction)

Destined

Word Count: 3.383
Summary: ”Maybe you and Gwen are destined to be together and I'm just … an obstacle.”
Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Jack/Gwen UST (hinted)
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Meat, Something Borrowed
Setting:
after Something Borrowed
Warnings:
Language
Author's Note: Written for redisourcolor  #13: Fate/Destiny. Using the words doff, dexterous and escalator and the sentence: “If you look closely, you'll be able to see a pattern.” I wasn't going to take part in this challenge. Lately, I had too much on my mind to sit down and take part in redisourcolor. Then they showed Serendipity on the telly and I love that movie so much that I had to watch it again. And thus, this story was born. Anyone who hasn't watched Serendipity, yet: It's such a beautiful movie and I can only recommend it.
Beta: czarina_kitty, thank you for a fast and detailed beta.
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Torchwood and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

***
***


The quiet in the SUV was oppressive.

Ianto kept staring out the passenger window, his chin propped up on one hand, to avoid looking at Jack at the wheel. Jack, who was a dark and suffocating presence.

Tosh and Owen were driving back home in Tosh's car and Gwen and Rhys were staying at the hotel to catch some sleep. In their world, all was well. Tosh and Owen would come to work tomorrow, Tosh a bit tired but smiling, Owen fresh-faced and wide awake. Gwen and Rhys would embark on their honeymoon first thing in the morning, hung-over but happy beyond belief.

Ianto had an indistinct feeling that Jack and he wouldn't be happy or fresh-faced or smiling for quite some time. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Judging by the death-grip Jack had on the wheel, he wouldn't have to wait for very long. The memory of Jack and Gwen dancing so intimately for all to see hurt. Rhys didn't seem to be bothered, but then again, he'd been busy dancing with Gwen's aunt. In fact, nobody had given Jack and Gwen strange or confused looks, causing Ianto to think that he'd imagined things. That he'd just imagined them looking deep into each other's eyes, smiling softly, dancing so closely … even though that had hurt, Ianto really wished he'd never taken the initiative and interrupted them. Everything that came after hurt so much more than five minutes of watching Jack trying to hide his sorrow about Gwen's life-long commitment to another man. The way they hadn't even heard Ianto, lost in their own little world, the way they had been so reluctant to break away from each other and ... the gesture had been so small, almost unnoticeable, but when Ianto had stepped between them, he'd seen the beginnings of Jack rolling his eyes. He'd managed to suppress it, though, and maybe he thought that Ianto hadn't noticed it. By that time, Ianto had already wished he hadn't interrupted them.

Jack pulled into Ianto's street and parked the car.

”Thanks,” Ianto muttered and unbuckled the seat belt.

”You invited me to stay over tonight,” Jack said, his voice was absolutely without emotion. He was obviously angry but trying not to show it. Ianto hesitated for a fraction of a second. If he said no, Jack would most likely make a quip about jealousy that would cut just a bit too deep. If he said yes, then they would tip-toe around each other before having rough and angry sex that wouldn't make Ianto feel better at all. He should send Jack away.

”I did,” Ianto said instead and hated himself for his weakness. ”I didn't think you'd want to stay over, though.”

”Do I have a reason not to?” Jack asked, and Ianto looked at him for the first time since they'd left the hotel. His face was blank. He really was angry.

”I suppose not.”

***

Jack watched Ianto doff his suit with the precise commitment that he adored about him. Usually. At the moment, he was just angry at him. It wasn't that Ianto had made him angry intentionally. Not even unintentionally. It was that Ianto had confused the hell out of him these past few weeks, and Jack had never been able to handle confusion in a rational manner. Because of that, he tried not to let his anger show. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt Ianto in a thoughtless bout of frustration. Ianto was a strong and reliable man, capable of handling himself in a fight and loyal to a fault, but oh so vulnerable when it came to emotions and their not-quite-a-relationship arrangement.

Ianto put on his pyjama pants and went into the bathroom to get ready for bed. Jack had been faster than him and was already in bed, sitting propped up against the headboard with his outstretched legs clad in ratty tracksuit bottoms under the covers. He wasn't really convinced that he wanted to be here in the first place. He didn't know why he hadn't taken the simple way out that Ianto had given him in the SUV. Something was off, different, between them. Ianto was different. Jack couldn't quite put his finger on it, but something was troubling him, something that was just between him and Jack, but he didn't talk about it, and Jack hated to push – it would only make Ianto clam up even more. For Jack, it all came down to Ianto not trusting him, and now he spent half his time wondering when the other shoe would drop – he had an indistinct feeling it would end with either Ianto telling him he didn't want to share his bed anymore or Ianto confessing that he'd fallen in love with him. Both were bad. He didn't want to lose Ianto. He adored him from the top of his head down to the tips of his toes, from his loyalty to the little idiosyncrasies that drove him mad sometimes, but love would be almost worse, because he couldn't love Ianto back. He refused to. It would hurt too much when that day came. He wasn't stupid. He knew that he couldn't exactly refuse to fall in love, it happened whether or not you wanted it to, but he could at least refuse to let it show, to let the other person think that this between them was it. The gruesome and cruel truth was that Jack would never be able to have it. Not with this wrongness inside of him.

He heard Ianto brushing his teeth, such a domestic thing to hear, and sighed deeply. He hated not knowing what Ianto was thinking and feeling. He did all kinds of things that made Jack even more confused and thus, angry. Interrupting that dance for instance … Jack had no clue where Ianto had gotten that idea from, but he hadn't wanted to make a fuss in a room full of people he didn't know. The wedding had been enough of a mess without 'the gays', as Gwen's mother had put it, ending the evening with a hissy fit. What Ianto had done had been a childish display of possession. Jack had gotten the message alright, in case Ianto was wondering.

Ianto slid into bed beside him and laid down. Jack switched off the lamp on the bedside table. He didn't need to look at Ianto to know what he was doing. He was getting comfortable, lying in his back, head turned to the side, sighing deeply and pulling the covers up to his chest. Jack had been looking forward to this moment since Ianto had asked him to stay over this morning … he'd imagined himself leaning towards Ianto and kissing him deeply, sliding his hands underneath the worn cloth of his pyjamas and pulling him closer. It would have been tender and hot and passionate …

”Aren't you tired?” Ianto asked softly and one of his hands touched Jack's thigh, its warmth seeping through the trousers.

”Not really,” Jack answered.

”The last time you slept was three days ago,” Ianto said. His fingers traced a soothing circle on Jack's thigh.

”I'm not tired.”

”So, you're just going to sit there all night?” Ianto asked.

”Well, the evening didn't exactly go as I wanted it to. I was planning a different ending, but I'm really not in the mood anymore,” Jack answered.

Ianto's hand stilled. The sheets rustled and out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw Ianto sitting up in the faint light of the street lamps. ”I'm not forcing you to stay. You can leave any time, you know.”

Jack turned his head to look at Ianto and could just make out the features of his face, the eyes darting away from Jack's, afraid to make contact. Jack nodded slowly. ”Maybe I will.”

Ianto's hand slid away and he laid back down, his back turned to Jack, the duvet pulled up right to his neck. ”Lock the door if you do.”

Jack didn't move. He hadn't made up his mind yet. About a year ago, he would never have come up to Ianto's flat in the first place when it was obvious that they weren't going to have sex. He'd never stayed over without sleeping with Ianto, except when Ianto had been injured or sick. About a year ago, they'd fucked. Jack was sure that Ianto would use a prettier word for their arrangement, but that didn't change the fact that sex had been their stress relief, their way to ground themselves after a bad mission, their way to extend a friendship to the bedroom. It didn't matter that among all the rough and urgent sex, there had been tender nights devoted to exploring each other's bodies. It had never been more than an office affair. Thrilling, passionate and wonderful.

Now they dated, but everything else stayed the same. Dinner and a movie always turned out to be dinner, a movie, and sex. They talked more about their pasts and they spent lazy hours in bed just cuddling when the Rift stayed quiet, but there was always sex.

This – staying over without sleeping together – was new and needed to be pondered. Jack didn't want to send the wrong signals. He didn't want Ianto to think that he was just a shag, because he wasn't and he had never been, but he also didn't want to turn their thing into a relationship. He was comfortable with what they were right now. Relationships tended not to end well for him.

Sheets rustled, Jack refused to look at Ianto, staring at the beige curtains instead, where the street lamps were painting orange smudges on the cloth.

Ianto asked, ”Do you think two people are destined to be together?”

Jack didn't answer.

Ianto seemed to think that he had to elaborate. ”Like it's destiny, you know. They meet and no matter what stands in their way, they'll end up with each other. Like in Serendipity.”

”Never watched that movie.”

”You should,” Ianto said, ”but that's beside the point.”

Jack huffed out an irritated sigh. ”I don't believe in destiny,” he said, ”and I really don't know why you're asking me such a stupid question.” He didn't want to hurt Ianto, but his frustration was reaching a boiling point.

”Maybe you and Gwen are destined to be together and I'm just … an obstacle.”

Jack got out of the bed. ”I really don't have to listen to this. This is childish, Ianto.” He left the bedroom and closed the door, loudly. Then he remembered that all his clothes were on the chair next to the dresser. It would be kind of embarrassing to go back in there after the way he left, so shook his head and made for the kitchen.

The night had some hours left and he could really use a beer.

***

Ianto stared at the ceiling, trying to calm his breathing. He could hear Jack in the kitchen, looking for something in several drawers until he seemed to find it.

Only a minute later, the door to the living room closed, softer this time, and it was quiet. He wished he had never spoken now, but it was too late. His exhaustion was still there, but he felt restless and he knew that there was no way he could go to sleep now. He switched on the lamp on the bedside table and got out of bed. He made a detour to the en-suite to get his robe and followed Jack. When he stopped just in front of the living room door, he could hear faint music playing inside. Moonlight Serenade. That meant Jack was either in an exceptional good mood, nostalgic, or mad. He said that the song raised his spirits, calmed him down, made him remember what he called “good times” and what Ianto knew were days spent with Rose and the Doctor. At the moment, Ianto went with Jack being mad and needing to calm down.

He opened the door and entered hesitantly. Jack was sitting on his couch, sipping beer out of a bottle. Since he was facing the door, Jack could see Ianto enter. His only reaction was to sit up a little straighter and to prop his chin up on one hand. He put the bottle on the table and his now free hand settled on his thigh. Ianto considered apologizing, but just when the words formed to leave his mouth, he realized that it wouldn't do them any good. It was time to talk about it.

”If you look closely, you'll be able to see a pattern,” he said softly.

Jack raised one eyebrow.

Ianto explained, ”It's you and Gwen, Jack.”

”It's you I'm coming home to.”

Ianto's eyes slid to the floor at that. ”Right.”

For a minute, the only sound was the music playing, the song ending and then starting anew. Ianto had given Jack the CD with the song when his old record player had given up on him. Jack was especially fond of the Repeat button on Ianto's stereo. Sometimes he spent hours playing the same song over and over again while he cooked, cleaned up, did the dishes, and shagged Ianto on the couch.

Jack asked, ”What kind of pattern?”

Ianto met his eyes and saw something give way in Jack's eyes. A chance to state his feelings. ”Whenever she gets closer to Rhys, you do everything in your might to get closer to her.”

”So this is about her?”

”No.” Ianto shook his head. ”It's not about her. It has never been about her. It's about you.” He swallowed. ”You're leading her on.”

Jack bristled. ”I'm not leading her on. I never promised her anything.”

”You never do so in general.” Ianto crossed his arms. ”It's just that you're giving her these sorrowful eyes and that smile and that whole 'I wish you were mine' demeanor. What is she supposed to think? It's as if you're just waiting for her to give you a sign. I sometimes wonder what will happen if she does.”

Jack got up. ”That's not fair, Ianto.”

”You're bloody right it isn't!” Ianto said. ”It's not fair to her, it's not fair to me. I mean, she threatens to leave Torchwood and you practically make a declaration of love to her in front of everyone.”

”That was hardly a declaration of love, Ianto. Is this why you've been so difficult the last few weeks?”

”Difficult?”

”You want me to tell you what I told her, right?” Jack asked and stepped closer. ”You want me to buy you red roses and tell you that you're everything to me and that it would make a damn difference to me if you left Torchwood!” He pointed a finger at Ianto. ”This is not how it works between us, Ianto.”

”Why not?” Ianto asked.

”You are not Gwen!”

***

As soon as the words had left Jack's mouth, he felt like the biggest bastard on the whole planet. Ianto was staring at him, aghast and a little bit teary-eyed, but Jack could also see his determination not to cry. He couldn't even apologize, because it would be a lie. He meant what he'd said. Differently than Ianto thought, though.

”Right,” Ianto said, ”I'm just the guy you shag. Far be it from me to ask for more! To ask for you to agree that we should make it official, because no one knows about us, Jack. Tosh and Owen think that we're all sad singles – all of us except Gwen. And Gwen thinks that it's cold and lonely for us out there, because we don't have a partner. Because you don't want them to know about us. I wonder why I ever agreed to that!”

Jack ducked his head, turned away, and brushed a hand through his hair.

”I want you to leave,” Ianto said.

Jack's heart skipped a beat and he turned around to face him. ”Ianto-”

”I'm breaking up with you,” Ianto said, then he laughed helplessly. ”Imagine that. I'm ending something that never existed in the first place.”

”May I say something? I'll leave if you want me to, but I want to explain ...” Jack paused, unsure about how to finish.

Ianto nodded.

Jack breathed a sigh of relief. ”You got it all wrong,” he said, ”and that's my fault.” He cleared his throat. Coming clean was something he'd never been good at. All his lovers could confirm that. ”I didn't want them to know,” he said slowly, ”because I was scared of screwing up, and then, you know, I'd be the bad guy for them – rightly – and being the bad guy and the boss never mixes very well.”

Ianto gave him his famous 'You can't be serious' eyebrow.

”I know,” Jack said. ”I wanted to tell them as soon as we were exclusive, but … keeping it a secret was thrilling, somehow. I liked it back then and now, with meeting up in restaurants and the cinema, it's even more thrilling.” He could see that Ianto wasn't impressed and added, ”Plus, it was great. Separate from Torchwood. Our own little safe haven. I didn't want Owen to make jokes about it or Gwen to suggest double dates or Tosh to threaten me to treat you right.”

Ianto sighed. ”They know. Even before tonight, they found out. Owen figured it out somehow, after he died. I think he told the others. Still … they think it's a dirty little secret. A shag.”

”That's why you invited me to dance tonight?” Jack asked. ”To show them it's more than that?”

”Is it?” Ianto asked.

”Of course,” Jack answered. ”Don't be silly, Ianto.”

”Then why?” Ianto asked. ”Why do you keep hanging on to Gwen?”

”She means a lot to me, Ianto, but that doesn't mean that you don't.” He sighed in frustration. ”I realize that I'm coming on to her a bit too strong. I can't help myself, alright? I tell her to stay with Rhys, though. I'd never … I'd never start something with her, because I can't give her what she needs. She may think that I'm what she wants, but I'm really not.”

”So what am I, then?” Ianto asked. ”The consolation prize?”

”God, no.” Jack cupped Ianto's face. ”You are not the consolation prize, or anything along those lines.” He sighed. ”Everything I told Gwen is also true for you and I've told you a hundred times already.”

Ianto looked at him questioningly.

Jack smiled. He kissed Ianto's lips and started translating, ”You're wonderful.” His hand slid to Ianto's back, pulling him closer. ”I need you.” His hand strayed down to Ianto's arse. ”I want you.” He nuzzled Ianto's cheek. ”I don't know what I'd do without you.” He kissed his forehead. ”Thank you.” Then he took Ianto's hand to cradle it against his chest before he started to move in time to the music. ”Let me stay.” He smiled sadly. “I didn't think I needed words to tell you all these things.”

Ianto's free hand came to rest on Jack's bare shoulder in the traditional dance pose and he sighed deeply. ”Smooth-talker.”

Jack grinned. ”You love it.”

”We have to stop being a secret,” Ianto said. He followed Jack's lead when he made a dexterous turn to the right and caught Jack's eyes. ”It was good, but it's time to let it go.”

”Alright,” Jack said, ”but you have to start to trust me.”

”I do.”

”You don't. Not really. Not where it counts.”

Ianto swallowed thickly and said softly, ”It's just that … sometimes, being with you feels like I'm running up an escalator that goes down and … I don't even know if you'll be waiting for me at the top.”

”I'm not,” Jack said. ”I'm not waiting. I'm reaching down a hand to help you up.”

Ianto smiled and Jack kissed him deeply, pulling him closer.

After a few minutes, Ianto stopped the kiss reluctantly and leaned his forehead against Jack's, closing his eyes. ”I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep but now I'm exhausted,” he said.

Jack stopped dancing and wrapped both his arms around Ianto. ”Long day,” he whispered.

”Oh, yes,” Ianto answered.

”You should go to sleep,” Jack suggested.

”Sleep,” Ianto said slowly, as if he was already half-way there, ”that sounds heavenly.” His hands rubbed up and down Jack's back shortly, then he tipped his head back to look at Jack. ”Will you stay?”

Jack swallowed hesitantly. He wanted to, but it would be one step further away from what they had been – from his comfort zone. One step closer to a relationship and thus, to Ianto realizing that he couldn't be with Jack. Or rather, with Jack's curse.

But then he looked at Ianto and saw his eyes flit away from Jack's, felt his hands settle on Jack's waist, ready to pull away, and realized that Ianto had already left his own comfort zone by even asking him. It would only be fair to return the favor, so he nodded. ”Yes. Sleep sounds good.”


END
04/11

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Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
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aviv_b
Apr. 13th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Lovely story! Love all the wrong assumptions they both make and how their relationship doesn't fit into all those nice tidy boxes we have for them. Great use of the prompts!
jolinarjackson
Apr. 13th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
(Deleted comment)
jolinarjackson
Apr. 13th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading. Your icon really made me giggle. Brilliant. :)
usakiwigirl
Apr. 13th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Great look at Jack & Ianto's relationship. A great use of the prompts as well. Once again, I don't know how you do it, going from German to English, with no translation issues.

BTW, you had me worried there for a moment - I really thought Ianto was actually going to succeed in tossing Jack out on his arse!
jolinarjackson
Apr. 13th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)

Actually, when I wrote that part, I paused for about an hour and thought about how to continue. I didn't know if he was going to throw him out, either.
pinkmandy07
Apr. 13th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
more i like this sequel
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
marzipan77
Apr. 13th, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written. I haven't read much that has dealt with Jack's almost eye-roll and stiff posture during that dance with Ianto. Fantastic take on what was happening in each of their minds.
iolo1234
Apr. 13th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Great story and strangely Serendipity is on BBC3 tonight so I've put it on to record.
(no subject) - jolinarjackson - Apr. 14th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jolinarjackson - Apr. 14th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
manikineko
Apr. 13th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
I can't tell you how much I disliked that scene at the end of "Something borrowed" But you made it up to me by writing this brilliant little story! <3 Very well written, very nice characterisation of Ianto and Jack, to me they were totally in character and everything made sense. I shall go to sleep with the picture of them dancing in Ianto's living room now =)
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
pharlap1
Apr. 14th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
love the story
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
(Deleted comment)
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Re: nice
Thank you. :)
rexluscus
Apr. 14th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
Oh man, heartwrenching. Ianto is just one big exposed nerve, contrary to all appearances, isn't he? I loved his escalator metaphor.
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I think that Ianto hides a lot of himself most of the time. That makes him so interesting. And I thought, that metaphor was utter crap. I had to build the escalator into the story somehow but I didn't know how. So I'm really glad you liked it.
lone_star_woman
Apr. 14th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
Is it terrible that I wanted Ianto to actually toss Jack out of the flat for the "this is childish" comment? Yeah, I admit, that I didn't want it to be so easy for Jack. But I think they cleared the air.

Great story. Very true to character, even those exasperating bits.
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you. "Exasperating" is in their job description. ;)
reddevilpoes
Apr. 14th, 2011 08:13 am (UTC)
Loved the story!
I love the movie Serendipity...
To be honest.."serendipity" is my favourite word in the english language!
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) It is a pretty beautiful word. And a lovely movie.
footprint_23
Apr. 14th, 2011 08:18 am (UTC)
That was perfect - I wish we could have seen it on the show!
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
mcparrot
Apr. 14th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Gorgeous. I wasn't sure how or even if you were going to be able to get them out of that mess, but you pulled it off nicely.

Lovely story. Nice romantic ending.
jolinarjackson
Apr. 14th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
burning_nova
Apr. 15th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
Love it. Although I have to admit it had me a bit weepy. I really like how you write and I love your stories.
jolinarjackson
Apr. 16th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
angelsmile1
Apr. 15th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
A very quietly beautiful story. I like the fact that there is a lot going on emotionally, but it's portrayed in a subdued manner. The characterization is true to how Jack and Ianto interact.Great writing. Thanks for sharing.
jolinarjackson
Apr. 16th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading. :)
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