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Past, Present, Future

Word Count: 1.740
Summary: Someone cleared their throat and they turned towards the door, where Ianto was standing in his bathrobe with his arms crossed and a tired face. “What is going on here?“
Characters: Jack Harkness, John Hart, Ianto Jones
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Jack/John, John/Ianto (hinted)
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Exit Wounds
after Exit Wounds
Language, mention of canon character deaths
Author's Note: Written for redisourcolor  challenge #14 Kitchen. Using the words condign, shower gel and expell and the phrase "Look. A map of Cardiff. Isn't it brilliant?". I really like John Hart and I was always a bit sad for him at the end of Exit Wounds. So I tried to fix it with this, at least a bit.
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.


Jack had always been able to just know when John Hart was around, as if they were linked and whenever John got close – too close for comfort –, Jack could feel it.

That's why he wasn't surprised – not really – when he entered Ianto's kitchen one very early morning, three months after Gray, bombs and death, and John was sitting on the counter, eating Chinese takeaway he'd apparently helped himself to from the fridge. There was duffle bag on the kitchen table and John wasn't wearing his uniform, but tight dark-blue jeans and a white t-shirt. A black leather jacket was draped over one of the kitchen chairs. He looked like an ordinary 21st century guy.

Jack stopped in the door and John froze for a second, looking at him attentively, as if he wanted to read his mood. Then the moment of tension vanished and Jack fetched himself a bottle of beer from the fridge, while John continued eating. “Eye candy has a beautiful home,“ he said.

“How did you find me?“ Jack asked. John tapped his chopsticks against his vortex manipulator, then pointed to Jack's. Jack sipped his beer and leaned against the counter near John. The window was cracked open, and the cool night air caused goose bumps to rise on his bare chest. He rubbed one of his naked feet against the soft cloth of his pyjama pants to warm it and wished he'd though of putting on socks.

“So, had a good trip?“ Jack asked.

John nodded. “Wonderful planet. So many pretty places to be and people to fuck.“

“You're leaving?“

“Yeah,“ John said. “I've seen enough.“

Jack couldn't help but expel a relieved sigh. “Why are you here, then?“

“To say goodbye,“ John answered. “I thought I'd drop by, maybe hang out with you a bit, but what do I find? You and Eye Candy being all cuddly in bed. Such a cute couple, you are.“

“I hate the word couple.“

“Don't I know it,“ John answered and rolled his eyes. “So I thought I'd have a snack and wait 'til you'd wake up.“

“I did,“ Jack said. “Say what you wanted to say.“

“Won't Eye Candy be joining us?“ John asked, seeming a bit disappointed by Jack's cold behavior.

Jack couldn't care less. He thought that John deserved much less after what he'd done. “He's sleeping.“

The last few weeks had been exhausting. They were still getting used to the new team structure and the Rift had been busy.

John said, “One might think you don't want me near him.“ Carelessly, he tossed the empty container into the sink.

“I don't,“ Jack said and put his bottle down. He picked up the container and disposed of it in the bin.

“Why's that?“ John asked.

“You telling me to destroy everything I care about might have something to with it,“ Jack answered, trying desperately to keep his fury in check. Fury would lead to loud words, to an argument, and then to a fight. A fight would wake Ianto, and he didn't want that.

John rolled his eyes. “Come on, we've been over this. I was forced to do these things.“

“Yeah, well, that's the reason I didn't shoot you as soon as I entered the kitchen,“ Jack said, “but those words ...“ He stared at John intently, searchingly. “They were true, right? Some small part of you wanted to do it, because it would be a condign punishment for me leaving you.“

John looked shocked. “No.“

“That's a lie.“

“It isn't. Jack, why would I want to destroy your life?“ He smiled sadly. “I love you.“

“And I'm here, I chose Earth over you, I chose my team – Ianto – over you.“

“That hurt,“ John admitted with a small nod, “but in case you haven't noticed, I like your team.“

“Tell that to Tosh and Owen,“ Jack hissed and his hands fisted John's shirt, pushing him against the wall.

John scrabbled at Jack's hands, trying to dislodge them and ease the pressure that was put on his back by being squashed against the wall. “I'm sorry they died.“

“The hell you are!“

“I am!“ John yelled. He used his elevated position on the counter to his advantage and folded his legs to push his feet against Jack's chest, sending him stumbling backwards into the table. “I never wanted to attack this city! Gray forced me to set up those bombs! He forced me to activate them! I did my best to convince him that this wasn't the way to get revenge. I tried to minimize the damage, but he wouldn't let me. He was completely gone! What am I supposed to say to someone who burns holes in a piece of paper and says, 'Look. A map of Cardiff. Isn't it brilliant?'?“ He slid from the counter and turned away, brushing a hand through his hair. “Damn it!“

Someone cleared their throat and they turned towards the door, where Ianto was standing in his bathrobe with his arms crossed and a tired face. “What is going on here?“

Jack noticed John's eyes raking up and down Ianto's body and went to shield him from sight by stepping in front of him and putting a hand on his cheek. “It's nothing.“

He heard John snort and Ianto gave him the incredulous eyebrow.

Jack said, “Really. Let me handle this.“

Ianto made a step to the side to look at John.

“Hello there, Eye Candy.“

“Hello,“ Ianto answered.

“Looking good,“ John said and Jack could just imagine his leer. He turned around to frown at him. He'd never liked the way John looked at Ianto – or any of his team.

Ianto shook his head. “I'm going to take a shower. We could go and get an early breakfast as soon as you're done here.“

Jack nodded and Ianto left the kitchen with a last mistrustful glance in John's direction.

John called after him, “Don't I get a kiss goodbye?“

Jack turned around to him, his face set in determination. “Leave,“ he said.

John's mouth thinned – Jack knew it wasn't a sign of anger, but a clear sign that he was giving up – and he picked up his bag. He slung it over his shoulder, headed for the door, but he stopped and raised his eyes to look up at Jack, a new determination showing on his face. “Let me … I would like to stay for a while.“

“I thought you've seen enough from this planet.“

“I mean at Torchwood. Let me help you out. Just until you've found someone to replace the cutie and the doctor.“

Jack's hands balled and he worked hard at suppressing his anger. “Their names were Toshiko and Owen. And no, I'm not letting you near my team.“

John nodded. “You've always been a possessive bastard, Jack.“

“This is not about being possessive. It's about being careful. I just lost two wonderful and brave friends, I won't let you ...“ He turned away to hide how much Owen and Tosh's deaths were still affecting him. “I won't let you take Ianto and Gwen away from me, too.“

“Don't you trust me anymore?“

“No!“ Jack could tell by John's silence that he'd hurt him and he turned back around, relenting, “Yes. I know … I know you were forced to do all these things, but you're a reminder. I don't want you here. Not yet.“

John ducked his head. “You know it wasn't your fault, right?“

It was disturbing sometimes how well John knew him. Jack didn't answer.

John sighed deeply. “Well … I guess I should leave.“

“Yes,“ Jack said, relieved.

John put a hand on Jack's cheek. “I mean it. I love you.“

Jack just stared at the floor. He'd never been able to resist John when he was looking at him with those eyes of his.

John chuckled, again apparently reading his mind, and said softly, “Give Ianto something from me, would you?“

Jack looked back up at John. “What now?“ he asked, irritated.

John smiled tenderly. “This.“ He leaned forwards and pressed his lips to Jack's, his tongue sneaking into Jack's mouth. Jack let out a shuddering breath and returned the kiss for a moment, just leaning towards John and putting his hand on John's bend of the neck, his thumb under John's chin. John pulled back and grabbed his leather jacket from the chair.

Jack felt a smile tugging at his lips. “This is for Ianto?“

“What can I say?“ John answered. “He's cute and I'm envious. He must be really good in bed if you're choosing him over me.“

Jack chuckled. “You have no idea.“

John turned towards the door, stopping just before leaving the kitchen. “It's not just about the sex, though, right?“

Jack swallowed thickly. “No,“ he said.

“Did I ever mean more to you than sex?“

The question caught Jack off-guard and he crossed his arms again, feeling too vulnerable in just his pyjama bottoms and without his gun.

“Right,“ John said and headed for the door.

“John,“ Jack called.

John paused, his hand on the doorknob.

Jack stepped closer. “You did.“ He saw John's shoulders relax and his head duck. Then he left.

Jack sighed deeply and walked to the bathroom. When he opened the door, the hot air inside expelled, carrying the scent of Ianto's shower gel into the small hallway. He stepped inside and closed the door, removed his pants and stepped into the shower.

Ianto turned around to him, his face worried. “Is he gone?“

“Yeah,“ Jack answered, pulling Ianto closer by the hips and aligning their wet bodies.

“He's not that bad a guy.“

“He's my past,“ Jack said. “I don't want him here.“

Ianto's fingers brushed through Jack's wet hair and caught in the longer strands. “I'll be your past one day, too.“

Jack felt like he'd been slapped.

Ianto continued, “Will you cut me out of your life just as easily?“

“That's different.“

“Different how?“ Ianto asked. “One day, you'll leave this planet. Don't tell me you won't get tired of it. Not with the universe at your disposal.“

There was no way Jack could negate this. He could just tell the truth. “I will leave one day,“ he said with a nod, “but not before you and Gwen are gone.“

“You say that now,“ Ianto answered.

“'Now' is all we have,“ Jack answered. He looked at Ianto earnestly. “Isn't it?“


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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
I enjoyed this story a lot. I like the quiet tone, the bit of desperation in both John and Jack and the ever so calm Ianto. Crazy as he is, its got to be hard for John to see Jack with a new lover, and Ianto's keen perception that he'll someday be the ex-lover was heart-aching.
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I always felt a bit sorry for John. I don't know why.
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
“I'll be your past one day, too.“

Ooh, Ianto! You do know how to twist the knife!

Still, it is different. John represents a past that Jack regrets. I don't think Jack will ever regret Ianto.
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
I think you're right with that. :)
Apr. 26th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)

I really enjoyed this, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. It says a lot about how dangerous and unstable I think John Hart is, and how much I don't trust him, that I didn't feel at all comforted (that Ianto was safe) when John left in such an agreeable way. But otherwise, really nicely written :)
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Apr. 26th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
A very powerful scene with a lot of conflicting emotions. Wonderful.
Apr. 27th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Apr. 28th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
This was good. You write a nicely creepy John Hart.
May. 1st, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Apr. 28th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. I like your take on John here, especially, how's he's sort of seeking forgiveness, but at the same time being his usual self, and hoping to tempt Jack into letting him stay. I thought Jack's reactions were spot-on, too, and the end broke my heart a little. Jack tries so hard, sometimes, but you always have to wonder if it's really enough. ;__;
May. 1st, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And I'm completely with you on that. He tries very hard and it never seems to be enough, from his point of view, even though he really does everything he can.
Apr. 29th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Liked this, for lots of the reasons already cited. But this -

He was completely gone! What am I supposed to say to someone who burns holes in a piece of paper and says, 'Look. A map of Cardiff. Isn't it brilliant?'?“

was brilliant. However the voting comes out, you deserve an award for best use of a prompt. Ever. That's an amazing twist, and just perfect.
May. 1st, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) And I wasn't sure it would work out. I didn't know what to do about that phrase.
Apr. 29th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
May. 1st, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
May. 11th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Loved Ianto's sanguinity here :D
May. 11th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
I had to look up sanguinity. A new word learned. :)

Thank you.
May. 11th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
sorry... but yeah, I occasionally still have to do that too (i recommend leo.org)
May. 11th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
I'm using that, it's genius. And don't worry. I love to learn new words.
May. 11th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
I've lived her 19 years... I should not be surprised anymore (well aside from medical terms at work...)
May. 11th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
a wonderful missing scene! Tbh, I've lost my heart to Hart ;)
May. 12th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) He's something, right? I quite like him.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )