Title: The Hint of a Spark
Series: Lovers in a Dangerous Time
Warning: Spoilers through "Out of Time"
Word Count: 4800
Rating: Adult Content: sex
Summary: "I would die for you. And I don’t even know who you are."
Thanks to , my enabler.
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
‘I’ll Follow You Into the Dark,’ Death Cab For Cutie
Something was buzzing against Ianto’s hip. He blinked in confusion a few times, and then realized that the buzzing was his mobile, that he had fallen asleep on Jack’s bed, that Jack was not in bed with him and that he was still wearing his tie.
He yanked the tie loose and took out his mobile, frowned when he saw the time and pressed Talk. "Ianto Jones." He rubbed his eyes, willing himself to wake up.
"Where are you?" Jack’s voice, sounding more tired than Ianto had ever heard him.
"Your bed, sir."
"Any other morning I’d say stay there, but I need you elsewhere. Can you meet me in the garage in about ten minutes?"
"Of course." Ianto sat up, completely awake. "Are you all right?"
"Yes. Bring a body bag."
"Jack," Ianto began, but Jack had already rung off.
Ten minutes later, tie straightened, hair combed and jacket on, Ianto stood waiting in the garage. He had the stretcher and body bag, and he supposed there would be no point in asking what had happened. Jack had arrived too late to stop John. As for why it had taken him until morning to get John’s body back to Torchwood, Ianto supposed Jack would tell him in his own time.
The garage door opened and his car pulled in. Ianto stepped back, pushing back the stretcher with his foot, and pressed his lips together when he saw Jack’s weary and defeated face. He came around the car and waited for Jack to get out, and put his arms around Jack the moment that he could. Jack slumped against him. "Why didn’t you go home?"
"You have my car."
"Oh," Jack said and frowned.
Ianto cupped Jack’s face in his hands and looked into his eyes. There were deep circles under them and his pupils were dilated, his skin was clammy, his complexion ashen. "Do you need to be in hospital?" he said quietly.
Jack shook his head. "I’m just so tired."
"Can you make it into the Hub on your own?" Jack nodded and Ianto kissed him lightly. His mouth tasted strangely metallic and his scent was not like Jack, no leather and spice. He stroked Jack’s cheek, down his neck. "You look horrible."
"I don’t feel that great, either."
"Go lie down. I’ll be along shortly." He kissed Jack again and let him go, and watched him make his slow way into the Hub. He took a deep breath and brought the stretcher around to the passenger side of the car.
He opened the car door and had to turn away a moment: the car reeked of death and despair. He carefully lifted the body from the seat and onto the stretcher, and arranged John’s limbs inside the body bag. "Be at peace," he said quietly and zipped the bag shut.
Once the body was safely stowed in the morgue, Ianto washed up and went back to find Jack. He wasn’t in his office or even in his bedroom–Ianto finally found him slumped on the sofa by Tosh’s workstation, still huddled in his coat, his head tilted back, his eyes closed.
Ianto had to take another deep breath to center himself and said, "It’s done."
"I’ll pay for the detailing," Jack said without opening his eyes.
"Do you need to be in hospital?"
"Are you certain or are you just saying that?"
Jack lifted his head. Some of the color had returned to his face but his eyes still had a haunted, disoriented look, and Ianto ached for him. "I can’t go to a hospital. I just need to rest." His voice got smaller. "Will you help me to bed?"
"Of course." He pulled Jack’s arm over his shoulder and helped him to his feet.
"Where is everyone?"
"Home, Jack," Ianto said, frowning again. "It’s Christmas Day."
"Oh." He didn’t say anything for a few steps. "Why didn’t you go home?"
"Again," Ianto said, "you had my car. Are you certain you don’t need a hospital? Just to be looked over?"
"No hospitals. Just you."
Ianto smiled and kissed him. It took some effort to get Jack down to his quarters–it was a wonder he’d managed to drive back to the Hub safely. Ianto pulled off Jack’s coat and braces, unlaced his boots and put them aside, pulled off his socks. Jack wiggled his bare toes. "What are you planning, Ianto?"
"To warm you up, mostly. I think you’re in shock."
Jack nodded, visibly shivering. "Can’t get warm."
"We could get you under the shower."
"I’d rather have body heat." His eyes met Ianto’s.
"Nothing’s happening until you’ve rested," Ianto said, trying to sound stern, and Jack smiled and tugged on the knot in Ianto’s tie.
"Yes, sir," he said softly and Ianto shivered when Jack’s fingers brushed his adams apple as he pulled his tie from his collar. "Come here and warm me."
Ianto leaned up and kissed him, got onto the bed with him and covered him with the blankets. Jack unbuttoned his shirt so he could slip his arms inside and held tight to him. He was still shivering, and Ianto kept his arms around him and rested his chin on Jack’s head.
"It’s no good," Jack said after a few minutes. "This works better when we’re both naked."
Ianto pulled off his shirt completely as Jack lay back and watched him. He allowed Ianto to undress him without comment, lifting his arms over his head when Ianto pulled off his shirt and twisting out of his trousers. His eyes were half-closed as Ianto took off his own clothes, and he sighed deeply when Ianto climbed back under the covers with him and pulled them tight around them.
"Is this better?"
"Much. You’re so warm." He rested his forehead in the crook of Ianto’s neck. "And you smell good."
"I bathe," Ianto said with a tiny smile. He combed his hand through Jack’s hair and buried his nose in it. Jack still smelled off–and it took Ianto a moment to realize where he knew that scent. He frowned and looked down at Jack, who was breathing evenly but watching him through half-closed eyes. Ianto said quietly, "You smell like exhaust."
Jack shifted in his arms and looked back at him, expressionless. "It’s from the garage."
"Right." Just from the garage. Ianto kissed him and said, "Get some rest. I’ll wake you in a few hours."
"And then what will we do?"
"I don’t know. I was planning on Christmas dinner with my family but I really don’t want to be in my car today."
Jack rubbed his back. "I’m sorry."
Ianto shook his head. "Maybe the cleaning will be enough. Otherwise, perhaps it’s time for a new one. I’ve had my eye on a Mini Cooper . . ." Jack smiled again, distant, and Ianto kissed his forehead and said, "Sleep."
Jack lay back, eyes blinking slowly, and tightened his arms around Ianto. "Don’t leave."
"I won’t," Ianto said, and didn’t.
* * *
His phone buzzed again a few hours later. Ianto climbed over Jack to get it from his jacket pocket, and sighed when he saw his mother’s number in the window. "Good morning, Mum," he said in Welsh.
"Ianto, where are you? We expected you hours ago."
"Go ahead without me. Something’s come up at work–I’m needed."
He could picture her shaking her head as she tsked. "That job will wear you out," she said.
"Quite possibly," Ianto said, looking at Jack–his beautiful, exasperating lover. "I’ll come see you tomorrow. Give the kids kisses from Uncle Ianto, won’t you?"
"Of course, sweetheart. Happy Christmas."
"Happy Christmas," Ianto said and rang off. He put the phone away in his jacket and watched Jack. His eyes were still closed but his body was too alert to be sleeping anymore, and it was only a matter of time before he spoke.
"Who were you speaking Welsh to, Ianto?" Jack murmured and his smile was sleepy and teasing.
"My mother." He crawled back into bed and wrapped himself around Jack. "Nothing salacious was going on."
Jack made a disappointed sound and started stroking the back of his neck. "Another hope dashed."
Ianto smiled and kissed his collar bone, and wondered if he should translate the things he said to Jack more often than he actually did. One of these days Jack might say something dirty and not know it until he got slapped.
"I’m feeling a lot better," Jack said, fingers playing with the hair at the back of Ianto’s neck. "I told you I just needed to rest. Maybe you should go–go be with your family."
"I’d rather not leave you alone," Ianto said and Jack’s fingers paused.
"I can manage a day on my own, Ianto," he said dryly.
"It’s Christmas. I want to be with you. I’d drag you along to the family supper if I thought I had a chance of getting you out the door. Though how I’d explain you, I have no idea." Jack chuckled dryly and Ianto smiled. "We can do a fine Christmas here. I’ll make you some–" He ran over the contents of the kitchen in his mind. Nothing too promising there. "–toast and we could, um–"
"I didn’t think to stock a turkey."
"Go be with your family, Ianto," said Jack and moved into his back, pulling up the covers. "I’ll see you tomorrow."
Ianto sat up but didn’t get out of bed. He bit his lip, put his hand on Jack’s chest and said quietly, "Fi cusanch, Jack."
Jack arched his eyebrows and looked at him through his lashes. "Don’t try your wicked Welsh wiles on me, Jones."
"Fy hardd Jack i." He leaned down and kissed Jack’s chest, and glanced up quickly to see what reaction he was getting. Jack’s breathing was even but his stomach trembled when Ianto kissed it. "Fy palff i."
Jack inhaled shakily. "I try to get you to do the right thing and this is how you repay me: seducing me with your language."
"You’re not exactly mysterious about which buttons I should push," Ianto said softly, tracing circles around Jack’s navel. "I know exactly how to seduce you–with my tongue." He laughed–he couldn’t help himself.
"You’re going to pay for that pun." Jack’s tone was affectionate.
"When I least expect it, I’m sure." He leaned his head on his hand. "Let me take you to the A&E."
"I don’t want to spend the rest of the day in a waiting room and have the doctor tell me what I already know." He studied Ianto. "You’re not seducing me into hospital."
"It was worth a try. Do you think you could eat something?"
"Yes. Toast sounds delicious."
"Toast and coffee, at the very least," Ianto said and climbed out of bed. He picked up his trousers and pulled them on, wrinkling his nose–he needed to bring some fresh clothes in for situations just like this. "And I think we have some pot noodle . . ." Jack folded his hand behind his head, looking at Ianto with an expression Ianto couldn’t name, and he said, "What?"
Jack shook his head, faintly smiling. "Always my practical Ianto–feeding me, keeping me grounded."
Ianto paused, and then got onto the bed again and kissed Jack, holding himself over him. "I’m only here to keep you from floating away," he said and went up to find them something to eat.
* * *
Their Christmas breakfast ended up being toast (with honey), coffee (with brandy), and oranges (with nothing, but they were tangy, fresh and juicy.) They ate in the conference room, sitting on the floor with their backs against the windows. They both had put on jumpers to keep warm, and Ianto kept taking stealthy sniffs of his–it smelled so much like Jack that he wanted to take it home with him.
It didn’t change the truth that Ianto felt was staring him in the face. There was so much that Jack wasn’t telling him, and he supposed he knew why. Jack didn’t want to worry him–the problem being, of course, that Ianto worried anyway.
He didn’t like the way things were adding up.
"So then," Jack said and slurped his coffee, "it comes swooping down again–and this thing’s got a wingspan of at least twenty feet, right? So it comes swooping down, claws extended, and I’m thinking, Jack, this is the last time you’re accepting a written invitation to a noblewoman’s bedchamber, and . . ." He paused, looking at Ianto, and added, "And of course all I’ve got to defend myself is a paperclip and a copy of Sweatin’ to the Oldies."
"Mm," said Ianto.
"Am I boring you, Ianto?"
"I’m listening. You were sweating?"
"That’s not what I said at all, but never mind." He reached over to scrub his fingernails over Ianto’s scalp. "What’s got you preoccupied?"
"Jack," Ianto said and Jack looked at him patiently.
"The time line doesn’t work."
"Which one?" Jack said casually and drank more coffee, his gaze elsewhere.
"Last night’s. This morning’s. There’s no reason why it should have taken you twelve hours to get his body back here, so something must have happened in the interim."
"Do you have any more of that brandy?" Jack said, reaching for the coffee pot.
Ianto frowned and handed him the bottle. "I’m not stupid, you know."
"I have never thought that about you."
"You weren’t too late," Ianto said, surprised at how calm his voice was. "You were there. That’s why it took you all night. You were with him."
Jack said nothing, focusing on preparing his coffee. Ianto was used to this–Jack usually just ignored questions he didn’t want to answer–but this was one time Ianto couldn’t let silence be his answer. He rubbed his forehead while he tried to make sense of what he was thinking.
"You were with him. You sat with him in the car while he killed himself. That’s what was wrong with you this morning, it wasn’t shock–you had carbon monoxide poisoning. Oh, God–I don’t know why I didn’t see it right away. You were with him."
Jack sighed, drank a mouthful, and said simply, "Yes."
Ianto inhaled, feeling his chest constrict. "You know," he said, his voice still calm, "when you tell someone you love them, there’s an implicit promise that you won’t go out of your way to die."
"It wasn’t like that, Ianto."
"Then what was it like? You could have died! How could you take a risk like that? How could you be so careless with yourself?"
"It wasn’t about me!" Jack said, losing patience. "John–his entire world was gone. His family, his livelihood, everything he knew. And I know how that feels."
"Because your entire world is gone."
"You have no idea, Ianto."
"Then tell me!"
They were glaring at each other and Ianto wanted to shake him, hit him, do something, anything, to make him understand. He said, "I would die for you. And I don’t even know who you are."
Jack let out a breath and sat back against the glass, pulling up his legs to rest his arms on his knees. There was a long pause before he spoke in a quiet, measured voice. "You’re right. I was there. I held his hand and watched him die. I told him–I told him everything I know about what comes after but he didn’t care. I told him he could start over, have a family, build a new life, but he said he already had. Maybe there was more I could have said–maybe I could have been more convincing, been firmer. Convinced him there’s enough to live for. But it’s hard, sometimes, it’s hard to remember what is it I’m living for myself. I’ve lost more friends than I can name. Everything familiar to me is far away. Sometimes I feel so disconnected . . . I feel like . . ." He sighed and looked away.
Ianto took Jack’s hand in both of his own and began stroking it, the back and the palm and Jack’s long beautiful fingers. "Like what?"
"Like I’m just marking time," Jack said. "I don’t know why I’m here or what I’m supposed to do." Ianto looked down at his hand, traced the lines in his palm. Jack whispered, "I told him there was nothing but dark and he didn’t care."
Ianto’s fingers paused a moment. He wanted to ask Jack how he knew, but it would probably be best to deal with one issue at a time. "Then how do you explain Eugene?"
"I can’t explain Eugene."
"I see." He resumed stroking. This felt like familiar ground–it felt like something he could deal with. "We have evidence–perhaps not the most indisputable, but we weren’t prepared to record the occurrence–that something of the self lingers after death. This is popularly called the soul."
"And then what happens?" Jack said softly.
"I don’t know. Heaven, nothingness, vibrating purple light . . ."
"Something moving in the dark."
"No. No." He kissed Jack’s palm. "A monster in the dark, coming for you–that sounds like hell to me. You’re not destined for hell. Suzie killed people."
"So have I."
"And you’ve saved them. If there is a hell, it’s not the place for you."
Jack met his eyes and faintly smiled. "Today I’m going to believe you." He held out his arms and Ianto went into them without question. He sighed as Jack brushed his fingers through his hair, and closed his eyes–opening them again when Jack said, "By the way. I don’t ever want to hear you say you’d die for me again."
"Why not?" Ianto said quietly. "I would."
"No. Don’t you ever, ever put yourself in danger for my sake. Promise me."
Ianto rubbed his forehead against Jack’s neck and said, "I can’t promise that." Jack started to speak and Ianto said, keeping his voice as steady as he could, "What I can promise is that if there’s something waiting in the dark for you, it’s waiting for me, too."
"Yes, Jack. I’d follow you anywhere, fight anything that crossed our path . . . It doesn’t even occur to you, does it?" He raised his head to look into Jack’s eyes. "You’d do anything for me but you’ve never realized I’d do anything for you."
Jack tugged his head closer, a hand on the back of Ianto’s neck. "No," he whispered against Ianto’s lips. "I know you would."
His mouth tasted of coffee and oranges. Ianto wrapped his arms around Jack’s neck and moved to kneel between his legs, wondering if he could kiss some sense into Jack if speaking wouldn’t do the trick. Jack held his head and then slid his hands down to support his back. He kneaded the muscles of Ianto’s back as they kissed, and when Ianto pressed his body completely against Jack, silently begging for more touch, more skin, just more, Jack slipped his hands under the soft wool and cotton to warm them against Ianto’s skin.
Ianto looked down at him, his breathing heavy and his face flushed, and pressed his trembling hands against Jack’s cheeks. He gave Jack’s forehead a chaste kiss, and Jack looked at him through half-closed eyes. "Is that a no, Ianto?"
"No. . . it’s an ‘I adore you and you almost died today.’"
"But I didn’t."
"You could have."
"But I didn’t." He looked at Ianto in that odd way he had, turning his head slightly aside while his eyes held Ianto’s gaze directly. Ianto wondered if it was meant to be deflection or just because Jack knew his best side. "And I’m not going to anytime soon."
Ianto studied him. "Promise me." He kissed Jack’s neck. "Promise me, promise me."
Jack chuckled and lightly kissed Ianto’s mouth. "I promise. I promise."
* * *
They knelt on Jack’s bed, naked, Jack gripping the back of Ianto’s neck as they kissed. Ianto touched him slowly, ears, shoulders, ribcage, ass, thighs. Jack lay back slowly and pulled Ianto to him, and Ianto wrapped himself around Jack’s body as he had earlier that day. He kissed Jack’s throat and across his chest as Jack raked his hand through Ianto’s hair and arched under him.
"Not exactly how you expected to spend your Christmas, I assume," Jack whispered and tilted up Ianto’s head. His thumb brushed Ianto’s cheekbone.
"No, not exactly. My brothers and I don’t wrestle much anymore." He grinned and nuzzled his face against Jack’s. Jack’s tongue darted out and touched his lips, and Ianto laughed and wrapped his arms around Jack’s neck to lick deep inside his mouth. Jack hummed happily, kissing him, and rubbed his hands up and down Ianto’s back.
"Would you rather wrestle?"
"No–I just want to touch you for a while." He ran his tongue up Jack’s throat, kissed Jack’s mouth and brushed his palm over Jack’s face.
"Why are you hesitating?" Jack said softly, looking at Ianto through his eyelashes.
"What do you mean?"
"What do you want, Ianto?" Jack said even more softly.
"I’m doing what I want."
Jack raised his eyebrows. His hands were loose on Ianto’s hips, and he rubbed a thigh between Ianto’s legs. "I do like the touching . . . but what do you want, Ianto?"
He licked his lips and shook his head. "I want you . . . to believe you’re not alone." Jack frowned at his, shifting under him, and Ianto said, "Everything you know may be far away, but you’ve got us. You’ve got me."
Jack studied him, then smiled and said, "All right," and kissed him, cupping the back of his head in his palm. "I’ve got you, my beautiful boy."
Ianto kissed him, kissed his throat and his heartbeat and his belly, kissed the head of his cock and the creases between his thighs. Jack moaned quietly beneath him, his touch tender, hands in Ianto’s hair or gripping his shoulders.
Ianto slid his mouth down Jack’s cock, and Jack nearly purred in anticipation. He hooked his legs over Ianto’s shoulders and settled comfortably beneath him. Ianto adjusted himself, trying to get the best angle to take Jack deeper than he’d managed yet, his arms under Jack’s body to tilt up his hips.
Whatever had driven Jack to take such a risk with himself, Ianto wished he could kiss it out of him, suck it out, fuck it out. He was not so naïve to believe that sex cured all sorrows, but if nothing else he could distract Jack for a while–he could show him there was someone who desired him without limits and loved him without questions.
He sucked Jack slowly, breathing through his nose, slipping Jack’s cock past the back of his mouth and into his throat–at this Jack writhed, his fingers digging into Ianto’s shoulders. "Ianto–Ianto–" and he pushed on Ianto’s shoulders as if to push him away. Ianto moaned around his cock and Jack hissed between his teeth, let go of Ianto’s shoulders to prop himself up so he could watch. "You have," he panted, "the most–urg–beautiful–mouth–" His head fell back and he groaned, and Ianto quickly slid up his cock so he could catch Jack’s come on the back of his tongue. He swallowed as Jack thrust roughly into his mouth, and when Jack’s body went slack in his arms Ianto pulled off completely, licking Jack’s cock as he went. He lay against Jack’s side, and Jack held his neck and kissed him deep.
"You look very pleased with yourself," he remarked when he had kissed Ianto to his satisfaction.
"I am," Ianto said and shivered when Jack wrapped his hand around his cock. "Mm, Jack–"
"Mm, Ianto." He grinned and Ianto flopped onto his back and spread his legs wide, offering himself to Jack completely, his eyes closed, his neck arched.
Jack feasted on him, fingers and lips and tongue, lingering nowhere so that everywhere his mouth touched lit a spark in Ianto’s nerves. Every time Ianto tried to grab him, make him stay, Jack laughed and slithered out of his grip, whispering "Not yet." If he intended to make Ianto beg he was doing a very good job of it–he soon had Ianto shaking, desperate, cursing him in Welsh and English and a few other languages as well.
"What was that last one?" Jack said, a smug expression on his face and his fingers scissoring inside Ianto.
"It means you’re a bastard," Ianto said, panting, clinging white-knuckled to the sides of the camp bed. "It means let me fucking come already."
"Oh, I guess I can do that," Jack said and blew a breath of air over the head of Ianto’s cock, which was enough to make Ianto jerk and groan. Jack chuckled and lowered his head, his tongue slick on Ianto’s skin. He kept his fingers moving inside Ianto as he sucked him, and Ianto moaned with abandon, Jack’s name on his lips when he finally, blissfully, came.
Jack pulled back, grinning at him, and opened one of the many bottles of water scattered around. He took a long drink and bent to kiss Ianto, his mouth cool. Ianto nipped at his lips and Jack laughed. "What was that for?"
"Because you’re a bastard."
"Oh, you love me," Jack said with maddening assurance, his tone teasing and sing-songy. "You like to kiss me. You think I’m cute."
"You’re gloating again."
"I can’t help it," he said, laughing, and then handed Ianto the water bottle. Ianto took it and sat up to drink, submitting without comment to Jack’s caressing hand. "I love you, you know," he said quietly, serious now.
"I know," Ianto said and gave back the bottle.
"So what’s that look for?"
"Today’s been very educational."
Jack groaned. "Oh, don’t start with that again."
"Need I remind you that you almost died today?"
"Okay," Jack said, holding up a finger to stop Ianto’s tirade before it began. "I did not almost die today. I came nowhere near it."
"Promise me you’re not going to do anything stupid."
"I’m not going to do anything stupid." He drank some water. "Unless I have no other option."
Ianto shoved him and got off the bed. "I’m going home."
"Ianto. . ." Jack wheedled. "Ianto. Come back here."
Ianto pulled on his boxer shorts and his shirt. "I’m not wearing the same clothes tomorrow that I wore yesterday, and I’ve got too much to do to leave it all off any longer. Oh, Lord, I told my mum I’d come see her tomorrow . .." He sighed.
"Take the SUV," Jack said. "I’ll take care of your car."
Ianto paused in his buttoning. "Thank you."
"Any time." He fidgeted with the water bottle. "Are you really that upset with me?"
"I don’t know what I am right now. I love you and you can’t even promise me you’ll look after yourself."
Jack took a deep breath. "Nothing is going to happen to me. You’ve just got to trust me about that."
"I don’t want to bury you!"
"You won’t. You’ll freeze me."
"Don’t joke about it, Jack, for God’s sake."
Jack got off the bed and kissed Ianto, hands on his shoulders. "You won’t have to bury me. I won’t do anything stupid. And I’ll take care of your car."
Ianto sighed and leaned his forehead against Jack’s. "This scares me sometimes, you know."
"I know. It’s just the way you love, Ianto."
"It’s wretched. I’d rather feel nothing."
"No, you wouldn’t." He kissed Ianto, sweeter than usual, gentler. "Go on home. I’ll see you tomorrow."
"It won’t be until later. Probably around two."
"All right." He kissed Ianto again and said with a half-smile, "I’ll try not to miss you too much."
"You’ll manage, I’m sure." He took himself from Jack’s hands to pull on his shoes and jacket, and rolled up his tie to put it in his pocket. He started to climb up the hatch, then turned back and said, "Unless you’d like to come over tonight."
Jack’s face broke into a slow smile. "I’d like that."
"All right," Ianto said and climbed up the ladder.
Mini-vocab. (I think. My language-fu is not strong.)
Fi cusanch. Kiss me.
Fy hardd. Jack i My beautiful Jack.
Fy palff i. My lovely man.