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Lonely next to me 2/2

Word Count: 5.926
Summary: Since their first date, the relationship between Jack and Ianto seems to be over before it even started – Jack's not talking, Ianto's insecure ... and Tosh is worried.
Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Toshiko Sato
Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Rating: R
Spoiler: The end of days, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang / DW: YTNW
Setting: after Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Author's Notes: Written for the torchwood_fest  Christmas Challenge. This is for blackhemlock . You wanted possessive!Jack, besotted Jack and smart!Ianto. This story has a bit of all three of them. The title's from the song Halt dich an mir fest (Hold on to me) by Revolverheld.
Feedback: Can't breathe without it.
Beta: Vistin, who helped me start writing this to begin with. alt_universe_me  beta'ed.
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.

Part One

***
***


Owen and Gwen called a short goodbye when they left the Hub. Tosh watched them go and then went back to work on her computer screen. She had half an hour left before she had to meet Ianto and she would use it.

"Tosh," Jack said and stopped next to her desk.

She nodded and added some figures to her equations before she raised her head to smile at him. "Hi, Jack."

"Yeah," he answered and held up a pile of folders in his hands. "Could you do an analysis of this Rift data? Those are files UNIT sent over and I think that the Rift is getting bigger. They had activities in London and Swansea and I don't like it. I wanna know if we're dealing with exceptions or if we should think about setting up Torchwood branches there in the next few years."

Tosh looked at the clock hesitantly. "Tomorrow, I could-"

"I need it today."

Tosh frowned. "Jack, that’ll take hours."

He put on a pleading face – the eyebrows raised, the blue eyes looking innocently and a small pout on his lips. Tosh was a goner. "Okay."

He kissed her cheek. "Great," he grinned. With a muffled bang, the files landed on her desk. "You're great."

"I know," she answered with a sigh. Jack returned to his office and Tosh opened the Torchwood IM to give Ianto a rain check.

***

"Dinner for two," Jack said, holding up a pizza box topped by a white plastic bag, when Ianto opened the door.

"Mario's Pizza," Ianto read the label on the bag aloud.

"Yeah," Jack answered. "I brought the lasagne you love so much."

Ianto took the bag from Jack and looked into it. The scent of meat, cheese and sauce permeated the air and he realised just how hungry he was. But ...

"Thank you, really, but I don't eat it anymore," he said carefully.

Jack raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Come again?"

"They changed the recipe. I don't like it anymore."

Disappointment clouded Jack’s eyes and Ianto bit his lip sheepishly. Jack straightened his shoulders. "Since when?"

"A few weeks."

Jack sighed and ducked his head. Ianto took the pizza from him and pulled him into the flat. He dropped a gentle kiss on Jack's lips. "There was no way you could have known."

Jack wrapped an arm around him and pulled him a bit closer for another, more passionate kiss. He held Ianto close after the kiss broke reluctantly. "I calmed down," Jack said softly, caressing Ianto's cheek.

Ianto smiled. "I kinda noticed that."

"You can have my pizza."

Ianto kissed Jack's cheek. "Deal." He didn't like pineapple that much but he wouldn't tell Jack that now. He decided to do what he'd done whenever he'd been at his grandmother's house, faced with her pineapple tortes – he would smile and swallow as fast as possible. He wasn't ready to talk with Jack about their relationship either. The evening was already showing cracks. He didn't want to break it into pieces with such a sensitive subject. Ianto refused to admit that he was just too scared of Jack laughing about the thought of a steady relationship.

Jack put his coat away and smiled. It was a shadow of his usual grin and seemed forced. "Let's dig in."

***

Ianto was woken by a kick, followed by an arm shoving him off the bed. Confused, he sat up and rubbed his sleepy eyes. "Jack?"

"Kai, kai … shahelti ..."

Ianto frowned and sat on the edge of the bed before switching on his bedside lamp. In its muted light, he saw Jack tangled up in the sheets, sweaty and trembling, panting. "Shahelti bahai ..."

Ianto didn't understand him. He doubted that it was a language spoken on Earth. He reached out but he couldn't bring himself to touch Jack. He'd had nightmares before in Ianto's presence. More than once, the attempt to wake Jack had been rewarded with a bruise.

"Jack?" he asked cautiously.

Jack sobbed and his face was showing an agonized frown. "Doctor ..."

Carefully, Ianto put a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Jack, wake up." His hand was grabbed and before he could react, Jack had him pinned to the mattress, one of his arms pressed against Ianto's windpipe, looking at him with murder in his eyes.

But his eyes cleared almost instantly and he let go of him. "Ianto." He sat on the edge of the bed and massaged his forehead. He was still breathing heavily but slowly calming down.

Sitting up, Ianto rubbed his neck. "Jack," he said carefully.

"Sorry," the captain muttered.

"It's okay. It was a dream." He caressed Jack's arm. Jack cupped his hand between his larger ones and settled their entwined fingers on his chest. "You want to talk about it?" Ianto asked hesitantly, sliding closer to Jack. He put one foot on the floor and stretched the other leg out behind him to lean against his flank. Jack's skin was cold. Ianto kissed his shoulder.

Jack shook his head. "Just a nightmare," he said, smiling helplessly. "It never happened."

"Talk about it anyway," Ianto suggested, brushing his free hand through Jack's damp hair.

"Just images ...," Jack answered. The silence stretched and Ianto dropped his head on Jack's shoulder. He closed his eyes and wondered if now would be a good time to ask Jack what had happened during his time away, but Jack was faster, asking softly, "What does an immortal man have to lose?"

Ianto frowned. "What?"

"A question someone asked me ... while I was gone."

"Who?" Ianto asked.

Jack's shoulders shook as if he was holding back a laugh. "Somebody we don't have to worry about anymore."

Ianto squeezed Jack's hand. "What's the answer?"

Jack turned his head away and tightened his grip around Ianto's hand. His eyes were glued to a photograph on Ianto's night stand. Owen, Gwen, Tosh and himself visiting a rugby match a few weeks ago. Jack's answer was barely heard. "The life of the people he loves."

Ianto leaned his forehead against Jack's temple. "What happened, Jack? That wasn't just any nightmare."

"It doesn't matter, Ianto," Jack said.

"It does," he answered. "Jack, please."

The captain kissed him, laying him down on the mattress. They were still naked from the sex a few hours ago and Jack's hand slid down Ianto's chest towards his hip, then around to Ianto's back to settle on his arse to press their bodies together.

"You're distracting me," Ianto gasped when Jack's body dropped between his spread legs and Jack kissed his neck.

Jack froze and raised his head to look at him. Then he said softly, "Yeah."

***

Tosh was a patient woman and she would do everything for Jack, but her patience was slowly running out. She leaned her hip against Jack's desk and sighed in irritation. "Jack ..."

The captain looked at her with his eyebrows raised, again the poster boy for innocence. "Yeah?"

She held up the thick file in her hand. "Is that really necessary?"

"Orders from UNIT."

"Since when are you listening to UNIT?"

Jack crossed his arms and Tosh realised that he was just biding his time until she gave in. The sad truth was that she would if he kept looking at her like that. She put the file on the desk. "It's just ... this is the third evening I have to work longer and Ianto and I wanted to go get dinner together. I'd hate to give him a rain check yet again."

Jack nodded understandingly, got up, took his coat and came around his desk. "Don't worry about Ianto," he said and put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm going to take care that he doesn't get bored." He smiled and left the office. Tosh looked after him, frowning.

***

When Gwen had taken command of Torchwood Three, she'd established an on-call duty. Without Jack, no one had been in the Hub 24/7 anymore. Before he'd left them, he'd been the one on-call whenever a Weevil needed to be caught or space tourists needed directions. After he'd left, the team had decided that at least two of them would stay in the Hub after hours – or at least for the Torchwood equivalent of after hours – to give the other two some free time. When Jack had returned, they'd kept the system. This Sunday evening, Gwen and Owen were on duty in the Hub. Jack and Ianto were in Ianto's flat and had just finished dinner, when Tosh called Ianto. Jack stayed in Ianto's flat while his lover met Tosh in a café.

"You think he's doing it on purpose?" Ianto asked.

Tosh nodded. She looked out the window to the busy street, then back to him. "I know it sounds crazy, but could Jack be trying to keep us apart?"

Ianto laughed, stirring his coffee. "It sounds crazy." Then he sighed and froze. "But not impossible." He rubbed his forehead. "I think he feels neglected. Because we're doing that dancing class and the meetings on Thursdays."

Tosh shook her head. "Yeah, but not this week, since I wasn't able to leave the base before 9 pm for three days in a row. There were always new requests from UNIT coming in. Today's my first free night since then."

Ianto frowned. "I'll talk to him. I'm just ..." He exhaled sharply and looked out the window.

Tosh raised her eyebrows questioningly. "Just what?"

Ianto stirred his coffee and said hesitantly, "Jack changed. I don't know how to best approach him at the moment."

"Did something happen?" Tosh asked, worried.

He stared into his cup. "He doesn't talk to me about it." He raised his head and shrugged. "Whatever he did with the Doctor, it wasn't good. He has nightmares – different ones than before and more of them – and he's so ... sensitive. Closed off."

"Ianto," Tosh said earnestly, "I told you this because I'm worried about him. It's not like him to pile up work on our desks and ask us to do it in our free time."

Ianto sighed. "I know. I'm just a bit insecure at the moment. He's so different. I mean …" He shook his head. Tosh just waited until he continued slowly, "Why ask me in the first place? Why go on that date? Everything's the same as it was before. Why pretend that he wants more?"

"Ianto," Tosh said earnestly and took his hand, "I told you: Don’t do this to yourself. Not again."

"No," he said, shaking his head. He smiled and squeezed her hand. "No. Don't worry. I'll talk to him."

***

"What took so long?" Jack asked when Ianto entered the living room.

Ianto put his keys on the coffee table and draped his jacket over the armrest. "Did you force a bigger workload on Tosh to prevent her from meeting me?" he asked.

Jack's face turned stony. He switched off the television and went into the kitchen. Ianto followed him, watching Jack fetch a bottle of water from the fridge. The young man crossed his arms. "You won't even deny it," he said.

"Why should I? You know already," Jack answered, opening the bottle.

"I suppose you're right about that," Ianto answered with a sigh. He massaged his forehead, feeling tired all of a sudden, and leaned against the door jamb. "Jack ... why are you doing that?"

"Is it wrong that I want to spend some time with you?" Jack asked, irritated.

"No," Ianto answered, "of course not, but, Jack, you can't take it out on Tosh. You could have just asked me."

Jack slammed the bottle on the counter. "Asked you?" he repeated. "Asked you? Are you serious? I've been asking, but you just tell me that you'd rather spend time with her."

"That's not a question of preference, Jack. Tosh's my best friend. And you ..." He exhaled and laughed helplessly. "I don't even know what you are." He turned away and took his jacket from the armrest.

Jack followed him to the hallway. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"That you're a bloody mystery, Jack."

Ianto put the jacket away and headed back to the living room, but Jack grabbed his arm. "Are you asking me to put a label on what we have?"

"No," Ianto answered sarcastically, "I wouldn't dare to force you to do that. Even though the label cheap office affair is quite fitting." He shrugged Jack off and went to the living room.

"It's nothing like that," Jack answered.

Ianto whirled around to him and the frustration of the last few weeks discharged in one angry question, "What is it like then? Enlighten me!"

Jack put his hands on his hips and jutted his chin out. "You tell me – we're dating."

"Dating? We had one date, Jack," Ianto answered. "One date! We sat in a restaurant for one hour before you wanted to leave to catch the movie earlier. And you spent our whole time in the theatre suggesting that we should go and have sex in the last row. Then we went to my flat and had sex. That was our date, Jack. And ever since, every ... date consists of ordering take-out, talking about work and having sex."

"And you don't want to have sex with me?"

"Of course!" Ianto answered, getting more upset by the minute. "God, Jack, you misinterpret my answers on purpose!" He sighed and continued more calmly, "But I don't get the feeling that you want to date me. Everything’s as it was before."

Jack raised his eyebrows. "You never complained before."

"It was okay before," Ianto answered, "because we both knew that it couldn't be anything other than two friends having sex occasionally. You told me it couldn't be more than that and I accepted it. But, Jack ... you were the one asking for a date. And I thought we would change. But we didn't." He smiled helplessly. "And I don't want anything less. I can't be the go-to guy whenever you want to sleep with someone. Not anymore."

Jack brushed both hands through his hair. "I want more," he said desperately. "It's not just about sex."

Ianto answered softly, "Then you have to talk to me. There was a time when you told me everything."

Jack turned away and shook his head. "I told you nothing. Not even half of the things I could have." He turned back to face Ianto again. "You have no idea who I am."

"I'd like to know."

"I don't wanna tell you," Jack answered. Ianto ducked his head and put his hands on his hips. Jack tried to explain, "The things you would think about me, if you knew ..."

Ianto raised his head, his eyes wide. "There is no way that I could hate you because of something that you did in the past."

Jack shook his head. "Ianto ..."

"I can't just scratch the surface, Jack."

"Well, that's all I can offer," the captain answered, looking up at him. Ianto bit his lip and turned away when he felt tears gather in his eyes. It hurt. He would have never guessed just how much. But on the other hand, he'd known for a long time what the true nature of his feelings for Jack were and he knew that it couldn't end well.

He went into the kitchen and leaned against the counter, staring at the reflection of the room behind him in the kitchen window, plain to see against the dark sky and the soft glow of the city. A movement at the edge of the window caught his attention. Jack was standing in the kitchen door, his arms crossed, his eyes downcast. "I want to date you," he said. "It's just hard. Because of the job. Because of me." He shrugged. "And it's not as if you're trying to make it any easier, Ianto. I'm asking you to meet me but you go out with Tosh."

Ianto turned around to him. "I'm sorry. I thought you'd understand."

"What?" Jack asked.

Ianto smiled sadly. "I worked so hard to be part of the team."

"You always were part-"

"Don't interrupt, please," Ianto cut in. "And that's not true, Jack. I was always the one staying behind in the Hub, looking after things. I was rarely in the field. And if I was, it was as your appendage. Background information, research, cleaning up ... those were my duties. And during team nights ... I went if you did and when you left I accompanied you because we were heading back to the Hub or to my place. I was always at your beck and call and I never minded. But when you left ..." He swallowed. "I was nobody."

Jack took a step towards him. Ianto pasted on a smile. "That's how I felt. Fortunately, the others didn't see it that way. I got the chance to prove myself ... in the field. And it was hard. But I was finally part of the team. I was part of Torchwood Three, Jack. I became friends with Gwen and even Owen. And Tosh ..." He shook his head. "We started to see each other away from work and without Owen and Gwen at least once a week. As friends," he said. "That's important to me. I thought you would understand."

"But you can see her during work. Can't you spend the evening with me?"

"That's the problem, Jack. I want to see her away from work, as a friend. I don't want to be your appendage anymore and that means that I can't be there for you 24/7. It's not good for me."

Jack ducked his head and crossed his arms. Ianto smiled tenderly and hooked his fingers around Jack's braces before pressing their foreheads together. "That doesn't mean that I'm rejecting you, Jack. You must know that I couldn't." He kissed him.

Jack's arms wrapped around Ianto to pull him closer. "Are you sure that's a wise choice?"

Ianto laughed softly. "It doesn't matter how complicated you can be. Or how secretive." He bit his lip, then he said, "Just let me see beyond the surface from time to time. I don't want to know everything but ... you have to give me something." He dropped his head to Jack's shoulder and stroked his back.

"We should date ... really date," Jack said and Ianto thought that he could hear tears in his voice. Jack laughed helplessly. "We're pros at fighting already."

Ianto laughed now, too. "Wait 'til the make-up sex." He broke the embrace and kissed Jack firmly. "That'll be great."

"Really?" Jack asked. There were definitely tears in his eyes but he forced them back with a wobbly grin. "And if I can't wait?"

Ianto buried one hand in his hair and pulled him into a deep kiss.

***

Jack was staring from where he was resting in Ianto's bed towards the bedroom window where the city's lights were colouring the open window's curtains orange. Ianto wasn't sleeping. Jack could hear him breathing and he knew that he was just lying there, just lost in thought like himself. He shivered when the cool spring air caressed his sweat damp skin and he turned to face Ianto. His lover was lying on his stomach, his face turned away from Jack. The duvet was pulled up carelessly, showing Ianto's naked body from the waist up. His pale skin was highlighted against the dark sheets. One of Jack's hands settled on Ianto's spine and caressed down to his hip to come to rest between his belly and the bed. Ianto sighed deeply. Jack laid his head between his shoulder blades and kissed his skin, tasting sweat. He slid closer until their legs were touching. It was quiet for a long time. Ianto was still awake.

"We were at the end of the universe," Jack said softly. He felt Ianto tensing up but he didn't speak. "And we befriended a scientist. Big mistake. He came back to this century and became the world's dictator. You know him as Harold Saxon."

"The former prime minister?"

"Yeah."

"He killed the president and was shot by his own wife. Just a few days after the election."

"That's not the whole story," Jack answered. He sighed deeply, "The truth is ... it's just the end."

Ianto turned on his back and took Jack's hand. He entwined their fingers and Jack kissed him gently. Then he dropped his head to rest on Ianto's shoulder. He was quiet for a while, not knowing where to begin, what to tell and what not to tell. Ianto's free hand ghosted through his hair. Lips caressed his forehead.

"Tell me, Jack." He pulled the covers up.

And Jack told him.


END
11/10

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
thebuttonontop
Jan. 9th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
wow. just.... damn. that was amazing. i LOVE how Ianto became his own person, and how he recognizes that he needs to be his own person... Strong!Ianto is amazing.

just... every part of this was amazing... insecure Jack... he would be too. I think this could be real. They're tnder with each other, without being schmoopy... its very realistic.

nicelydone. :)
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
wanda1969
Jan. 9th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
Let's hope this is a new beginning for them.
And clingy!Jack's so sweet, even if poor Tosh is the one who really suffers...
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) Yeah, poor Tosh. If Jack wants something, no one will get in his way. ;)
aviv_b
Jan. 9th, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
An excellent look at the period right after Jack gets back. It always bothered me in canon that Ianto gives in completely to Jack once he gets back. I like that Ianto isn't willing to ignore his friends to be at Jack's back and call.
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
chocolatenianto
Jan. 9th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Wow that was amazing. I love how Ianto doesn't give in easily and has developed a friendship with Tosh, strong!Ianto is amazing. I love how he manages to get Jack to talk eventually, Jack is so vunerable in this, and clingy. They have started a good thing by talking and it can only make their relationship stronger.
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
welsh_scotsman
Jan. 9th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
very nice. different from a lot of other stories dealing with the same subject but in a good way, and in many ways, more plausible as you have ianto being his own person and you have jack being insecure and wanting more but not knowing how to go about it and you have tosh working it out and silently encouraging ianto to be his own person and it was a very interesting perspective that makes a nice change from the stereotyped ianto forgiving jack instantly or not forgiving jack and this was sorto f in the middle=D

keep meaning to say; your english is amazingly good.
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) Especially for the English bit.
(Deleted comment)
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
Re: lovely
*blushes* Thank you.
sbs_01
Jan. 9th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
I read this when it was posted on Torchwood_Fest. I just wanted to let you know how much I loved it.
jolinarjackson
Jan. 10th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
nancybrown
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this. I liked the way Ianto defined the boundaries, and how he stood up for his own need for a friend.
jolinarjackson
Jan. 11th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
ravenja1170
Jan. 13th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
wonderful, very realistic story. I can only second the other commentators ;)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )