Title: How to Shoot at Someone Who Outdrew You
Series: Lovers in a Dangerous Time
Warning: Spoilers through “Captain Jack Harkness”
Word Count: 3400
Rating: Adult Content: sex
Summary: "It seems to me when you most want to be alone is when you least ought to be."
Notes: This one carries a very strong angst warning. *passes out the Kleenex in advance*
Ianto woke to the sound of a piano. For a moment or two he lay awake, listening, and then remembered he didn’t have a piano and went out into the flat to investigate.
Jack lay on the floor in the lounge, eyes closed, arm behind his head. He was close to the speakers of Ianto’s stereo, and the volume really wasn’t that loud: it just carried well in the quiet night. An array of CDs were spread out on the floor as well, some stacked one on top of another, some open. Ianto sighed quietly, saying goodbye to their alphabetization, and sat down on the floor as well. Jack took the unspoken invitation and moved his head into Ianto’s lap.
"I’ve heard this song before," Jack remarked after a while. "Not quite the same as this, though."
"There are two variations that I know of." Ianto started stroking his fingers through Jack’s hair. "One’s a bit more bitter than the other. I’m not sure which I like best–the lyrics of both of them are so moving."
"When did you know you liked music?" Jack said softly.
Ianto smiled. "I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music."
"Yes, but you like it a lot. And know things about it. And can discuss it intelligently. While I can pretty much just say ‘Oh, that’s pretty.’" He caught Ianto’s hand and pressed a kiss to his palm.
"I’ve always liked music," Ianto said with a shrug and left his hand in Jack’s. "Come back to bed."
"I can’t sleep and I don’t want to keep you awake."
"Come back to bed anyway. I’ll tell you a story."
Jack chuckled. "Do I get a cookie, too?"
"If you’re very, very good." He brushed his thumb over the side of Jack’s hand. Jack had put his trousers and undershirt on: normally he had no qualms about wandering around the flat nude at all hours, and Ianto supposed his state meant he didn’t intend to stay much longer tonight. He said, "Though I’m sure we can do much better than cookies."
"Why, Ianto, are you coming on to me?"
"Yes," Ianto said and bent to kiss Jack’s mouth. "Stay with me tonight, Jack."
Jack’s mouth followed his as Ianto moved away, and then he lay his head back on Ianto’s thigh and regarded him thoughtfully. "I really should get back."
"You haven’t stayed the night in a while."
"I worry about you not getting enough sleep."
"Worrying is my job."
"Worrying is both our jobs." He sat up and took Ianto’s face in both hands to kiss him firmly. "Go back to bed. We can do another weekend sometime soon, how about that?"
"I’d like that."
"I did want to borrow some CDs, though."
Ianto laughed. "Finally moving on from all Glenn Miller all the time? You’re welcome to whatever you like."
"Thank you." He nodded towards Ianto’s bedroom door. "Go sleep, little Earthling. I’ll keep the volume low."
"If you insist." He was tired–it must have shown. He kissed Jack and went back to his bedroom, and fell asleep to a soft chorus of "hallelujah, hallelujah."
* * *
They were kissing on the invisible lift as it slowly rose to the street, and whenever Ianto tried to move away and check if anyone could see them Jack pulled him back and kissed him with even more hunger. Ianto let him, loving the hint of danger, the heat of Jack’s mouth while the cold night air nipped his skin, Jack’s hand under his coat to hold his hip.
They heard music–the same busker who’d been playing in the Plass the night they first said I love you. Jack smiled at Ianto, and this time it was Ianto who pulled him across the plaza for a dance under the stars.
The computer monitor in Jack’s office was displaying the newspaper article with his photograph–along with Tosh and a few soldiers, all of whom looked far too young to be saving the world, Ianto thought. Jack was looking at it, chin on his hand, though there was something in his expression that said he wasn’t reading it or even studying the photographs.
Ianto knocked on the door. He wasn’t not sure why–he hardly ever bothered with knocking anymore. Jack looked up, smiled in a way that didn’t quite reach his eyes, and gestured for him to come in.
"Coffee?" Ianto said, and it was completely unnecessary because Jack took the mug before Ianto had finished speaking.
"Always." He took a sip. "Perfect."
Ianto smiled. Jack sounded like he wanted to be distracted and Ianto was more than willing to be a distraction. He said, nodding to the monitor, "They misidentified you."
"No." Jack sipped. "They didn’t. That is Captain Jack Harkness."
Ianto gripped Jack’s shoulder and said, "I see," even though it wasn’t a complete surprise. He’d known, and Jack knew he’d known, and it was just one of those things they didn’t talk about. "So . . . are you actually James Harper? Do I call you Jimmy now?"
"No," Jack said and he almost laughed, and Ianto felt that made up for some of the melancholy that wouldn’t l
eave Jack’s eyes. "Not Jimmy. I’ve always preferred Jamie as a nickname. But," he took Ianto’s fingers loosely in his hand, "I am still Jack here. Anything else will be too complicated."
"All right," Ianto said. "They look so young."
"They were." His hand tightened on Ianto’s fingers. "They were just boys." He looked up at Ianto. "Not much older than you."
Ianto had nothing to say to that, and stroked Jack’s hair. "Come over tonight."
Jack looked away again. "Not tonight."
"Look, if you’re angry with me–"
"I’m not." His voice was tired. "Though I remember saying something to you about not doing anything foolish on my behalf."
"I tried to stop him."
"I know, Ianto." He let go of Ianto’s hand. "I need to be alone tonight."
Ianto said quietly, "It seems to me when you most want to be alone is when you least ought to be."
"Ianto. Don’t argue with me." He gave Ianto a tight smile–one that was strained at the edges, one that said he was on the end of his control. "Please."
"Very well, sir," Ianto said and wanted to add You’re always welcome and I love you and Tell me I’m more than a part-time shag, I need to hear it, but he only said, "Good night," and went to his workstation to finish for the night.
There was an IM from Tosh waiting for him, which said everything Jack didn’t.
He was cold. The jacket he brought wasn’t warm enough against the wind coming from the sea, and even though Ianto zipped it up entirely and buried his hands in his pockets, he was cold down to his bones.
From behind him Jack said, "Ianto," and Ianto turned and smiled, though he didn’t stop shivering.
"No sign yet, sir." Supposedly there was a werewolf loose in Splott. Ianto suspected it is a rabid dog or a kid with a grudge, but the moon would be out soon to test either theory.
"You look like you’re freezing. Don’t you have a better coat?"
"Back at the flat I do."
Jack chuckled and said, "Here," and stood behind him. Ianto started to protest, but shut his mouth when Jack took him inside his overcoat and wrapped him up inside layers of Jack-warmth and wool. "Is that better?"
"Much," Ianto murmured and leaned back his head just enough to feel Jack’s cheek against his temple. Jack kissed him and rocked him inside the coat, and Ianto hoped nothing would happen after moonrise so he could enjoy this all night.
When Ianto got home, he opened a bottle of wine he’d been saving for supper and poured a glass. He didn’t keep beer in the flat: he didn’t like the taste of it canned or bottled. But he had wine and brandy and whiskey, and he thought he could get quite solidly drunk if he so desired.
So casual, Tosh’s words over instant messaging, as if she were sharing gossip they could laugh over. Well it turns out that Jack and Jack got on really well. It’s true. Jack’s gay! As if it was news–and if Owen had picked up on his attraction to Jack, there was no way the girls could have missed it even if they didn’t want to acknowledge it. Or if they just didn’t care enough.
Ianto poured himself another glass.
Jack joked about bits of rough, about threesomes and more-somes, but in the end it was only the two of them and Ianto had been happy with that. He didn’t need anyone else, didn’t want anyone else–how could he, when Jack alone was so overwhelming? And they’d been happy, in their way. They’d been loving and affectionate. They’d had fun. They’d had moments of brilliance–times when Ianto felt so connected to Jack that it was like their two bodies truly were one.
But really, he’d been expecting this all along. He’d known, deep down, that one day Jack would need someone new.
Someone rang his bell. Ianto debated about throwing the wine bottle at it, and finally forced himself to his feet when the ringing became insistent.
He was not surprised to see Jack standing there. "Good evening, sir."
"I don’t want to talk," Jack said and took hold of his face and kissed him hard. Ianto pushed the door closed behind him and Jack shoved him against it, tangling their feet together, kissing him still. Ianto wrapped his hands in Jack’s overcoat, meaning to push him away, but–but he couldn’t. It was Jack, his Jack, and no matter how upset Ianto might be with him it was still his Jack.
He pushed off Jack’s coat and Jack let go of him to shake off the sleeves. He touched Ianto, never lingering, hands on his hips and his waist and his back; he squeezed his ass and his prick, which leapt to life at Jack’s touch. Light-headed with desire, Ianto grabbed his forearms to keep himself upright. He had a vague feeling that this was all Jack required of him right now, just to be there.
Jack turned him against the door and nibbled the back of his neck. Ianto braced himself, planting his feet far apart, as Jack pushed his hands up under Ianto’s t-shirt to pull it off, and then down his torso to push his sweatpants down his hips. He wrapped a fist, palm slick with saliva, around Ianto’s cock
and Ianto’s fingers scraped the door as he rocked his hips. He said, "Jack," and Jack bit into his shoulder, stroking him hard. His fingers dug into Ianto’s waist, his prick was hard through his trousers against Ianto’s ass. Ianto clawed at the door, sure that the neighbors could hear him moaning and not caring a whit.
He groaned, "Jack," and Jack’s hand slid to the head of his cock to catch his come as he shuddered and whimpered. He slumped against the door, shuddering again when he felt Jack’s slick fingers lubricating him with his come. He heard Jack’s zipper open and Jack grasped his hips, and Ianto inhaled as Jack slid into him.
Jack fucked him fast and hard, holding his hips. Ianto tried to move with him but Jack’s hands kept him pinned, so he just leaned his head against the door and let Jack do as he pleased, just riding the wave with him. Jack’s breath was hot and harsh against Ianto’s neck, and sometimes his tongue darted out to lick Ianto’s ear. He didn’t say a name–didn’t say a word–and when Ianto reached back to grasp his head Jack nearly growled and his teeth sank into Ianto’s shoulder. Ianto tightened his fingers in Jack’s hair and Jack’s body surged and he groaned something in a language Ianto had never heard and collapsed against him, panting.
They stood there, silent, their breathing harsh.
"Jack," Ianto whispered through dry lips and raked his hand through Jack’s hair.
"I’m sorry," Jack said and moved away from him.
The sun was up, no clouds in the sky for the first time in weeks. Ianto got comfortable in the windowsill and read the paper while he enjoyed the sunlight and morning breeze. He was wearing only jeans, and the sunshine streaming through the window was warm on his skin.
Eventually Jack wandered out of the bedroom. He stopped in the kitchen doorway and stared at Ianto.
"What?" Ianto said.
Jack said softly, "You are so beautiful," and crossed the kitchen to kiss him. Ianto laughed and started to hug him in return, and then pulled his hands away.
"I’ll get newsprint all over you."
"I don’t care." He rubbed Ianto’s hands over his chest. Ianto’s fingers left smudges of ink in their wake. "There. Property of Ianto Jones."
Ianto pulled up his sweatpants and looked around for his t-shirt. His body felt sore from Jack’s rough treatment and the fight with Owen earlier, but he ignored it. "That was . . . interesting," he said quietly. "A bit rougher than usual . . ."
Jack’s gaze was on his stomach. "What happened there?" He touched the bruise Owen’s shoe had left.
"Owen and I had a tussle earlier."
Jack stroked the bruise gently and said, "You should have said something."
"You didn’t want to talk," Ianto pointed out and Jack flushed.
"You could have said at the Hub."
"We were dealing with other matters." He spotted his t-shirt and pulled it on, hiding the bruises. "Like getting you back from the past."
"Yeah," Jack murmured. "I’m going to wash up a little."
Ianto nodded, and while Jack was in the loo Ianto opened a bottle of water and drank. He was going to feel like hell tomorrow, he could tell already.
Jack came back into the kitchen, his shirt buttoned and tucked in, braces in place, perspiration wiped away. Ianto handed him a bottle of water and Jack said, "Thanks, but–um. Thanks."
Ianto drank more and leaned against the counter. "Tosh told me about the other Jack Harkness."
Jack drank some water. "You saw his photograph."
"Yes," Ianto said quietly, "I did. He was very handsome. But she told me about how you hit it off. That he distracted you."
"Is that what she said," Jack murmured and drank a gulp of water.
"Yes. Did you sleep with him?"
Jack looked at him sharply and said, "No."
"But you wanted to."
"Does it matter if I did?"
"Yes, Jack," Ianto said tiredly. "It matters. It explains a few things. Namely, why you came over here with a request not to talk–you, not wanting to talk–and fucked me from behind without hardly a kiss."
Jack twisted the cap back onto the bottle and said, "I wanted you. That’s all."
"Oh, I know exactly who you wanted and it wasn’t me."
Jack narrowed his eyes at him.
"But it didn’t really work, did it? My body is nothing like his."
"Ianto," Jack said in a warning tone.
Ianto looked away, his eyes stinging, and crossed his arms over his chest. "Let me just get the facts straight. You met the man whose identity you took. You liked him. You were attracted to him. And yet–and this is the interesting part
–here you are with me."
"Of course I’m here with you," Jack said wearily. "Where else would I be?"
"Having Jack Harkness against a wall, I suspect."
For a moment he thought Jack was going to hit him, but Jack just fell back against the wall, looking at him with despairing eyes. "What do you want me to say, Ianto? What do you want from me?"
"The truth," Ianto said quietly. "That’s all I’ve ever wanted from you. Unfortunately that’s the hardest thing to get from you."
"I have never lied to you."
"Perhaps not, but you don’t tell me anything, either."
"Nothing happened, Ianto. We talked. We danced. We kissed."
"And he distracted you. How much did he distract you, Jack? Enough to make you forget me?" Jack looked away. "You did. You forgot about me."
"I didn’t forget," Jack said sharply. "I just–"
"Got distracted," Ianto said. "Bilis found the perfect distraction for you, didn’t he? Somebody you couldn’t resist and only one night to enjoy him–so much better than your difficult lover back in 2007."
"You are not that difficult. Though at the moment . . ."
"I think you want the fantasy," Ianto went on as if Jack hadn’t spoken. "You like falling in love, but the being in love . . . that’s too much work."
"That is not fair," Jack said. "I have done everything I could think of to be the kind of boyfriend you want. I’ve done the relationship thing and I’ve been happy about it because it meant I could be with you."
"Until the next pretty face came along." He ran his hand over his face. "You know, I’ve known since the beginning this would happen. I’ve been expecting it. I’ve told myself all along that someday you were going to need somebody more than me–and I thought I’d be fine with it. I thought I could handle it. Well, I can’t."
"It doesn’t mean I love you any less," Jack said.
"To you, maybe."
"I have never been jealous of Lisa and I know you’re still in love with her."
"So is Jack!"
Ianto stared at him, and then slumped against the counter and ran his hand over his face. "I can’t do this," he said, and he couldn’t keep the defeat out of his voice. "I can’t do this anymore, Jack."
"Okay," Jack said, and took Ianto’s shoulders and kissed his forehead. "Okay. It’s been a long and draining day. Let’s get some rest. We’ll talk in the morning. "
"There’s nothing more to talk about," Ianto said.
"You’ve said from the beginning this is only happening because I want it to–that if I said we should stop, we’d stop." He swallowed hard.
"No," Jack whispered, shaking his head. "No, Ianto, don’t, please, don’t."
"I don’t think we should see each other anymore," Ianto said, and somehow managed to keep his eyes fixed on Jack’s.
"I can’t do this, Jack. I can’t wonder where you are at night or who you’re with, I can’t hope you’re telling me the truth when you tell me anything, I can’t keep doubting you."
"Then stop doubting me," Jack said and kissed his forehead again. "Trust me."
"I can’t," Ianto whispered. "If I forgive you this time you’ll keep doing it, and I’ll have to keep forgiving you, and it’ll destroy me, Jack."
For a moment Jack’s fingers dug into Ianto’s shoulders, and then he let him go and moved away. "Right," he said in a hollow voice. "You’re right. I did say that. I even meant it at the time." He shrugged into his overcoat. "Will you be in tomorrow?"
"Maybe," Ianto said.
Tears brimmed in Jack’s eyes, but they disappeared as if he willed them away. "Right," he said and let himself out.
Ianto locked up the door, went to the loo and quietly vomited the water and the wine. He rinsed out his mouth and waited a few minutes, but there was nothing left in his stomach. He’d never got around to supper. He didn’t think he’d want to eat again any time soon.
I did the right thing, he thought as he got ready for bed. It’ll hurt, but it’s the right thing.
He lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and then turned onto his side and curled his body into the smallest ball he could make it.
He woke up just a little–the music was off, the flat was silent, and the bed was dipping as Jack got back in beside him. He was humming as he wrapped hims
elf around Ianto–still dressed, but it didn’t matter, he was holding Ianto close and singing in his ear, ever so soft. "’And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah . . .’"
He sleepily touched Jack’s arm and Jack kissed him and held him close. "Go back to sleep, Ianto. I’ll be here. Go back to sleep."
In the morning the world was falling apart. Their little lives didn’t matter anymore.
Tosh’s IM is from the official BBC Torchwood site.
"Hallelujah" belongs to Leonard Cohen. (There are, in fact, at least two versions, and several dozen covers of each. And they’re all beautiful.)