Title: More Than Flesh and Bone
Warning: No spoilers. Pre-series.
Rating: Adult content: sex
Summary: Everyone has one night that changed their lives forever. Ianto’s got a few.
Notes:The title is from “Take It With Me” by Tom Waits.
On his first Saturday night home his mates insisted on dragging him out, so Ianto stood uncomfortably in an overcrowded, smoky club while his mates bought drinks and chatted up girls. His old girlfriend Moira attached herself to his side and looked up at him, starry-eyed, but he couldn’t bring himself to ask her to dance. He didn’t even want to put his arm around her shoulders. It felt dishonest.
The strange part about being home, even just for the summer holidays, was that everything else seemed the same, but Ianto felt he was different. Inexplicably, subtly, different. Not just because he was a student now, not just a schoolboy; not just because he was taller and broader than when he’d left; and not just because he had new ideas about himself and the world and people in general that he’d never imagined before he left Cardiff for Cambridge.
After an hour or two, Ianto finished his drink and excused himself from the group. Moira grabbed his arm and said, “You’re not leaving already, are you?”
He shrugged and said, “Yeah, but I’ll call you tomorrow,” and she let him go.
He left the club and walked up the street. It was Saturday night and the sidewalks were busy: people on pub crawls, families shopping, and kids like himself wandering aimlessly. Two blokes were walking in front of him, their hands brushing–and as he watched one took hold of the wrist of the other and yanked him off the walk, into the nearest alley.
Ianto stopped walking and looked into the alley, feeling his face flush and his breath stutter. Two blokes, going into an alley to–to snog, to shag, God, they were going to shag—
He wanted to follow. He wanted–he wanted–that—
“Don’t,” someone said, catching his arm as he started to veer into the alley, and Ianto blinked at him, startled. A man in a military-looking greatcoat had a hold on him; he was tall, Ianto’s height or a little more, and muscular, solidly built–not a waifish boy like most of Ianto’s mates but a man, a man grown and handsome and looking at him with a frown.
“What?” Ianto said, breathless.
“Don’t go in there. It’s not safe.”
The man pointed at his feet and said, “Stay right there,” sternly, and ducked into the alley after them. Ianto swallowed hard and waited as he’d been told. After a few minutes he heard an odd sort of whine and saw a blue flash, and the two blokes came running out of the alley, their faces pale and their eyes wide. They ran past him without giving him a glance, and certainly no time to ask what had happened to the man in the greatcoat.
Ianto waited a moment more, and heard a shrill squawk, a fleshy sort of thump and a groan. Ianto took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went cautiously into the alley. He had nothing to use as any kind of weapon–and what had that man meant by ‘it wasn’t safe’, anyway?–but he’d have to improvise, if it came to that.
He said, “Sir?” and squinted in the darkness, hoping his eyes would adjust. “Sir, are you hurt?”
He heard another squawk and covered his face as something large and leathery scrambled past him. There was a great whoosh of air and a long, high cry, and the creature was gone. Ianto looked up at the night sky–it had to be his imagination, it was flying–what could be flying?
Ianto said in a shaking voice, “Sir?” and felt his way down the dark alley until he touched wool. He knelt, his pulse racing, and pressed his fingers to the man’s neck, not sure what he was feeling for, exactly. He nearly yelped when the man gasped and jerked and grabbed his hand. “It’s just me,” Ianto said quickly.
“Where did it go?”
“Er–well–” He pointed with his free hand. “Up.”
“Damn it,” the man said and let go of his wrist. “Did those other two get away?”
“Yes. They ran for it.”
“All right.” He sighed. His voice was deep and melodic, his accent American. He pulled his coat closed and said, “It was brave of you, coming in here like that.”
“It sounded like you were hurt,” Ianto said and felt his face get hot. “You were hurt, weren’t you?”
“No,” the man said and started to push himself to his feet, holding Ianto’s shoulder. He didn’t get very far–he inhaled with a hiss and fell against the rough bricks. “Just give me a moment.”
“You are hurt,” Ianto said and pulled the man’s arm over his shoulders. “I can call emergency services, I have a mobile phone–”
“No. No hospital.”
Ianto frowned, then said, “All right. My brother has a flat nearby. We’ll go there.”
“It’s not necessary,” the man said even as Ianto stood, hauling the man up with him. They began to stumble up the alley, back to the well-lit sidewalk. “I’ll be fine.”
Ianto swallowed hard, “I can’t just leave you.” He didn’t want to, either, even if the man hadn’t been hurt: he smelled of wool and leather and earth, and his large hand was warm on Ianto’s waist. “It wouldn’t be right.”
“What’s your name?”
“Ianto Jones, sir.”
“How old are you?”
“Stop calling me sir,” the man said in a soft voice, and Ianto thought he would even call the tone teasing. “It makes me feel old.”
“What’s your name, then?” Ianto challenged him, and the man laughed and lightly squeezed him around his waist.
“Captain Jack Harkness,” he said. “And I’d be honored if you’d look after me tonight.”
* * *
Griffen had made a big fuss when he gave Ianto the spare key to his flat, saying with a wink, “Guess you’ll be using it as a shag pad, eh, little brother?” But Ianto mostly had used the spare room to study when home got too noisy, and had only been there once since coming home, to say hello to Griffen and his girlfriend, Tegan.
He knew they’d be out tonight until late. He could take care of Captain Harkness in peace–certainly more peace than he’d get at home. And by the time Griff and Tegan got home, maybe he’d think of a story to tell them about who this man was and why he was bleeding on their couch.
“You live here?” Jack said, wincing as he took off his greatcoat.
“No–I just use it sometimes. Griff–my brother–he trusts me.” He hung on the coat on the coat rack and got a bowl of water and a tea towel from the kitchen, and a bottle of witch hazel and a rolled bandage from the loo. “Let’s have a look at you.” Jack unbuttoned his shirt, watching Ianto, and pulled it off, still wincing. He wore a white undershirt beneath it, which was torn and bloody across the stomach. Ianto bit his lip and knelt in front of Jack, carefully pushing up the t-shirt as Jack leaned back.
“Are you pre-med?” Jack asked quietly. His hands rested on his thighs.
“I’m studying engineering,” Ianto said absently as he began cleaning away the blood. “We’re all into sport in my family. I can bandage scraped knees and sprained ankles in my sleep.” He frowned. “These aren’t very deep but there’s a lot of blood . . .”
“What sport?” Jack said.
“Name one and I promise one of us has played it. Captain Harkness, is all this blood yours? Was someone else hurt?”
“No one else was there.” Ianto wiped the towel across Jack’s stomach and opened the bottle of witch hazel. The captain inhaled as Ianto poured some onto the towel, and then chuckled dryly. “That never changes . . .”
“Would you prefer I used something else?”
“That’s fine.” He grunted quietly and looked away when Ianto dabbed at his cuts with the towel. “It stings.”
“That means it’s working.” He glanced up at Jack. “What are you a captain of?”
He was watching Ianto with sharp blue eyes. “No. British. I’ve lived here a long time.”
“You don’t sound very Welsh. Or English.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Jack said. “It’s very complicated.”
“Right,” Ianto said, frowning. He went into the loo for a rolled bandage and brought it back out. Jack had made himself comfortable on the couch, and he was still watching Ianto, thoughtful, speculative. “We’re ready to wrap you up, I think.”
“All right.” He sat up straight, knees apart so that Ianto could kneel in front of him again. Ianto unrolled the bandage slowly around his body, covering the wounds.
Ianto said quietly, “At least you’ll live.”
Jack chuckled dryly. “Yes. One thing I can always count on is that I’ll live. Do you have a girlfriend?”
Ianto barked a laugh and said, “No. We broke up before I started school.”
“No school girlfriend?”
“No.” He concentrated on wrapping the bandage properly.
Jack said softly, “Boyfriend.”
Ianto stopped a moment and glanced up at him. “No.” He went back to work, pinning the bandage closed. “We were never that serious.”
“That’s what I thought.” He shifted on the couch, moving a little closer to Ianto. “Tell me about him.”
“Are you serious?”
Ianto took a shivering breath and said, “All right. His name is Christian, he’s English, and–and so fucking beautiful,” he said with a nervous laugh. “Curly black hair and big brown eyes and the most perfect body I’ve ever seen . . .” Jack laughed softly and Ianto smiled. “He knocked me off my feet. I never–every time I looked at him I just–it was like every part of me lit up. Nothing really happened but snogging and blowjobs, but it was so nice for a while, having someone. And then he said–he said–” He frowned and Jack put a hand on his shoulder and drew him close.
“It’s all right,” he said softly. “It’s okay, Ianto.” He kissed Ianto’s hair and Ianto closed his eyes, relaxing against him. “Do you miss him?”
“No–he was a wanker.” Ianto breathed in the scent of Jack’s neck. He was so warm. . . “He didn’t love me.” Jack was breathing evenly, and Ianto realized he was breathing to his rhythm. “You surprise me, Captain Harkness. I thought you’d be . . . I don’t know. Offended.”
“No. Not offended. I know my kind.”
He bit his lip as understanding blossomed. “Your kind?”
Jack smiled and touched Ianto’s cheek, sliding his fingers down Ianto’s jaw. “My kind.” He tilted Ianto’s face up and kissed him.
It was a gentle kiss, soft and exploratory. Ianto put his hands on Jack’s knees and opened his mouth, gasping with surprise and a thrill of lust at the sudden slick heat of Jack’s tongue. Jack held his face and scooted forward on the couch to wrap his legs around Ianto, crossing his ankles behind Ianto’s back. Ianto slid his hands up Jack’s legs, feeling the muscles in his thighs and the heat of his skin. His slid his hands up higher, to Jack’s stomach, and brushed his fingers over ribs and muscles and astonishingly smooth skin. He moaned into Jack’s mouth.
“Ianto?” Jack whispered and slid his other hand into Ianto’s hair.
Ianto shivered all over and whispered, “Yes, Jack,” and froze when he heard the key in the lock. “Shite,” he said and got hastily to his feet as Griff and Tegan stumbled into the flat.
They stopped kissing each other and stared at him. “Oh,” Griff said, “Ianto, you’re here.” His eyes flicked to Jack. “With a friend.”
“This is Jack Harkness,” Ianto said. “Jack, meet my brother Griffen and his girlfriend Tegan.”
“Hello,” Jack said, still half-sprawled on the couch, perfectly comfortable despite the bandage wrapped around his torso and the bloody t-shirt bunched up under his arms.
“It’s all right, isn’t it?” Ianto said, and Griff dragged his gaze away from Jack.
“Er. Yes. Of course, it’s always all right–we just didn’t expect you tonight.”
“I’ll make some coffee,” said Tegan, unwinding herself from Griff’s arms. “Do you take coffee, Jack?”
“Absolutely,” Jack said. “Do you want help?” He got smoothly to his feet and pulled down his shirt.
“Yes, please, very kind of you,” Tegan said, “and let’s get you one of Griff’s spare shirts,” and they both went into the kitchen.
Griff whirled on Ianto and began yelling at him in Welsh. “Ianto! When I said you could have sex here I never thought you’d be having blokes over! Does Mum know?”
“Calm down,” Ianto replied in kind. “He was hurt earlier so I brought him here–”
“I don’t think he’s hurt, Ianto! I think he’s far, far too healthy!”
“I’m a grown man, Griffen! I know what I’m doing.”
“You’re seventeen and he’s got to be twice your age, and since when are you gay?”
Ianto sighed and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. “I’m not,” he said into his hands. “I’m just–he’s just–”
“Does Mum know? Tell me Mum doesn’t know because it will kill her to know.”
“She knows,” Ianto said wearily. “Remember she came to get me for Christmas? She met the bloke I was dating.”
“The bloke . . . what about Moira?”
“We were never serious.”
“Oh, my god,” Griff said. “My brother’s gay.”
Ianto sighed and fidgeted. “Do you hate me now?” he said quietly, and Griff rolled his eyes.
“Of course not,” he said and awkwardly hugged him. “Don’t be daft. Only, when I said you could use this place for a shag pad I never thought you’d be shagging blokes.”
Ianto smiled into his shoulder, and Tegan, coming out of the kitchen with the coffee, said, “Oh, family moment,” with laughter in her voice.
* * *
The flat had a tiny garden in the back. Ianto turned on the back light and they all drank their coffee and talked for a while. Once Griff and Tegan said good night and went inside, he and Jack sat on a stone bench beneath the fruit trees, listening to the night.
“You speak Welsh,” Jack said finally.
“We spoke it at home. We still do, most of the time.”
“It’s pretty. It’s a pretty language. I like the vowels.”
“We like them, too.” He sipped the cooling dregs of his coffee. “What were you chasing tonight?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Try me,” Ianto said.
Jack looked at him a moment, then said, “A pterodactyl.”
Ianto stared at him. “How could a pterodactyl get here?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you that, either.”
“It’s not that I don’t believe you,” Ianto said. “I just need more facts.”
Jack looked at him, then laughed. “Okay. What if I told you there’s a rip in time and space that runs through Cardiff, and things–creatures, people, objects–make their way through it all the time.”
“And that’s how the pterodactyl got here.”
Ianto thought it over. He laughed and said, “You’re right. I don’t believe you.”
“I didn’t think so.” He drank his coffee. “Ianto. I’m not expecting anything. I suspect part of your brother’s objections is that I’m too old for you . . . which is true.”
“Griff doesn’t know anything,” Ianto muttered. “And you’re not too old.”
Jack smiled at him. His hair fell into his eyes and Ianto wanted to brush it back. “Maybe you’re too young.”
“Oh,” Ianto said. He fidgeted with his coffee cup. “So, what, then–we meet up in ten years and see what happens? You’ll still be older than me.”
“I always will be,” Jack said, and there was a little regret in his voice.
“I want you tonight,” Ianto said and looked away, swallowing hard. He could feel Jack’s gaze on him, patient and alert. “Is that wrong?”
“No,” Jack said. “I don’t think it ever is.” He put his hand on Ianto’s back. “But I don’t want to push you into something you’re not ready for.”
“If I want to–if I really, really want to–doesn’t that mean I’m ready? And I want you, Jack, I want–”
Jack kissed him, sliding his hand down Ianto’s spine to the small of his back. Ianto turned into his arms and threw his legs over Jack’s, wrapped his arms around Jack’s neck, not letting their mouths part.
Ianto felt like a match ready to strike–like all it would take was one perfect touch and he would blaze into flame. He wanted to touch Jack–he wanted Jack to touch him–he didn’t want to stop kissing him. “Jack,” he groaned as Jack sucked a bite of skin on his neck, and his whole body shivered. “Jack, please–”
“Here?” Jack whispered. “Here on the grass, Ianto?” Ianto nodded and pulled off his shirt, and Jack chuckled deeply and smoothed his palms over Ianto’s chest. “Oh, you’re lovely . . .”
Ianto watched Jack touch him–fingers through his sparse chest hair and rubbing over his nipples, following the lines of his lean runner’s muscles–and then pulled up Jack’s head and kissed him, tasting him to the depths of his mouth. He tasted like coffee, like night air, like the sea.
Jack lifted Ianto from his lap and lowered them both onto the grass, and stayed kneeling above him while he pulled off the t-shirt of Griff’s Tegan had given him to replace the torn and bloody one. He laid himself on top of Ianto and cupped his head in both hands to resume kissing him. Ianto squirmed under him, rubbing their hips together blatantly, and slid his hands down Jack’s back to clutch his ass. Jack chuckled again, low in his chest, and thrust in response so that Ianto could feel him, hard through his trousers.
Ianto growled and pushed Jack over onto his back, smiling faintly when Jack looked up at him with wide eyes. Ianto was thin but wiry, and he flexed his arms a little to remind Jack the muscles weren’t just for show. Jack tilted up his chin at him and then laughed aloud when Ianto tackled him, kissing his face and squirming to touch as much of Jack’s body as he could. Jack’s skin was hot and smooth, and he smelled of things adult and delicious, scotch and leather and sex.
Ianto undid Jack’s trousers with shaking hands as he said, “Let me–I want to–can I–” and his heart pounded hard enough in his chest, so loud he was sure Jack could hear it.
“Yes, yes,” Jack said and thrust his hand into Ianto’s hair. Ianto kissed his mouth and his chest, and Jack arched up as Ianto tugged his trousers and boxer shorts down to his thighs. He took Jack’s cock into his mouth without hesitating–he knew how to do this, he wanted to do this–and Jack’s fingers flexed in his hair as he moaned.
Ianto sucked him slowly, holding Jack’s thighs. His own prick felt painfully hard, and he let go of Jack to rub himself through his jeans with the heel of his hand. Jack’s hips jerked beneath him, and Jack made small, rough noises, his fingers twisting into Ianto’s hair.
He finally pushed on Ianto’s shoulder and said, his voice gruff, “Stop,” and Ianto pulled off reluctantly. He licked his lips, his hand still slowly rubbing himself, until Jack pulled it away and kissed his palm. “C’mere,” he said. “Let me take care of you.”
Ianto rolled into Jack’s arms and kissed him, and Jack undid his jeans and worked them down his hips. Jack moved down his body, kissing him here and nibbling him there, and gave his cock a long, slow lick. The look he gave Ianto was mischievous and hungry. “Please,” Ianto said and there was a hint of a whine in his voice. “Please, Jack.”
Jack kissed beside his navel, and then slowly slid his mouth down onto Ianto’s cock. He sucked Ianto steadily, working him into his throat to a depth Ianto had never experienced: Christian had preferred using his hands instead of his mouth. Ianto gripped his head, groaning, and when Jack encouraged his hips to thrust with gentle movements of his hands Ianto let go: let his body move, let his mind empty, let himself relish the feeling of Jack’s throat around him, let himself let go.
Jack held himself over him as Ianto lay panting on the grass, and gently kissed his mouth, tasting of salt and skin. Ianto wrapped his arms around his neck and kissed him back, sweeping his tongue around Jack’s mouth. Jack was laughing again, quietly, happily, and Ianto squeezed his pectoral muscles and said, “We’re not done yet, are we? Say we’re not done yet.”
“We’re not done yet.” He sat back on his heels and gathered Ianto to him, and Ianto folded his legs beneath him so he could rest on Jack’s thighs. “This is what you want, Ianto?”
“Oh yes,” Ianto said. “Oh, yes.”
Jack kissed him, holding the back of his head, and felt around in his trouser pockets a moment. “Here we go,” he said softly and tore open a condom wrapper. Ianto shivered and rested his head against Jack’s neck, and put his hand on top of Jack’s to feel him roll on the condom.
He could feel the quick steady rhythm of Jack’s heart, how it sped up at his touch, and he kissed Jack’s neck and whispered, “This is what I want.”
“One more thing.” Jack wiped a little lubricant off the condom with his fingers and pressed them into Ianto, which made him gasp and shiver. He bit hard on his bottom lip to keep from crying out.
Once more Jack laid him on the grass and pushed his knees apart, kissed his mouth and slowly pushed into him.
Ianto lost his breath. He clutched at Jack’s arms and tilted back his head, lifted his legs higher and tried to remember to breathe. It was pleasure and pain at the same time, scorching heat and a slow rhythm that hit something inside him that made sparks fly in his brain. He felt Jack’s lips on his and opened his eyes. He watched Jack move over him, and it seemed like the stars were in his hair and his eyes and his skin.
He began to rock in response, laughing breathlessly when it made Jack shudder. “Jack,” he whispered and Jack kissed him, cupped Ianto’s forehead in his palm and kissed him again and again.
Jack grunted, “Okay?” and Ianto nodded, unable to say anything more, because it was good and it was terrifying and it was more than he could stand and he wanted it to never end and Jack was kissing him and whispering that he was such a lovely boy–and Ianto was coming again and Jack was desperate and beautiful above him, and when Jack groaned and fell onto him Ianto wrapped his arms and legs around him and thought, vague and sleepy, This is what I want.
* * *
The bed in the spare room was small but there was room enough for two. Ianto couldn’t stop looking at Jack, which he supposed was weird, but Jack didn’t seem to mind. Of course, he seemed to be asleep, so maybe he didn’t notice that Ianto was watching him with his chin on his hand.
“Ianto,” he said softly and opened his eyes just enough to tease him with a glint of blue.
“Can I keep you?” Ianto said. “Will you stay with me and be my pet?”
Jack laughed and said regretfully, “No, though I know you’d take very good care of me.”
“Damn straight I would.” He sighed and laid his head on Jack’s shoulder.
“I can’t stay much longer,” Jack said, stroking his hair. “I have to get back to work.”
“That’s right. You’ve got a pterodactyl to find.”
“Exactly.” He kissed Ianto’s forehead and sighed. “Ianto.”
“You like saying my name, don’t you?”
“I really do. I like the way it feels in my mouth.” He paused and kissed the top of Ianto’s head. “Ianto. Do you need some water? It’s easy to get dehydrated during sex.”
“No.” He stretched and resettled himself against Jack’s side. “I’m fine.”
“Hm.” He was still stroking Ianto’s hair. He said quietly, much more serious than Ianto expected, “There’s something I should do, for your sake–but I don’t want to and it’s for entirely selfish reasons.” Ianto raised his head and looked at him, and Jack smiled in a self-deprecating way. “I am remarkably selfish at times, Ianto.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Don’t concern yourself. Really. I just . . .” He combed his hand through Ianto’s hair, pushing it back from his face. “I want to always be your first.”
“You will be–of course you’ll be,” Ianto said, confused.
“Not if I do what I should do, which I’m not doing, because as I said I’m a selfish bastard.”
“I still don’t understand,” Ianto said and Jack kissed him.
“You won’t. It’s not important. But this is.” He held Ianto’s face and looked into his eyes. “We can’t see each other again. Not for a long time, anyway.”
Ianto swallowed. “God,” he said. “When Christian dumped me at least we both were dressed.”
“Hey. I am not dumping you. I’m putting things on pause for a while, because you are .. .” He shook his head and sighed. “Because you are too young and too innocent and too untouched to deal with the life I lead, and I can’t bring you into it until you’re ready.”
Ianto looked at him under lowered brows. “You just fucked me blind and you think I’m innocent?”
“I’m not talking about sex,” Jack said, rubbing Ianto’s arm to soothe him. “I’m talking about life. Your life. Your life is just starting and you can’t be part of mine right now.”
Ianto turned away and reached for his abandoned jeans. “I see,” he said, and hated the way his voice was shaking.
Jack wrapped his arms around Ianto and hauled him back. “No pouting, no sulking, no wandering the streets tomorrow thinking that you’re never going to be loved again because you are, you’re beautiful and brilliant and kind and wonderful and people are going to fall over themselves to be yours.”
“Shut up,” Ianto said, pleased.
“So,” Jack said, kissing his neck, “this is what we’re going to do. I’m going to get dressed and leave and I’m going to miss you. And you–you have a wonderful summer and go back to school and fall in love with someone who’s going to be good for you. And when you’re done with school someone is going to find you, and they’re going to say a word to you, and when that person says this to you I want you to go with them. Okay?”
Ianto frowned but said, “Okay. What’s the word?”
Jack said, “Torchwood.”
“Torchwood,” Ianto repeated.
“Torchwood.” He kissed Ianto’s neck again. “And I’ll find you.”
Ianto leaned back against him and sighed. “That’s a long time to wait, Jack. That’s practically forever.”
“It’s an eyeblink, Ianto.” He turned back Ianto’s head so he could kiss his mouth. Ianto clung to him and kissed him hard, not letting go until Jack pulled away. “I have to go.”
Ianto watched him get out of bed and begin to dress. He said, “What if something happens to you? What if you die? What if you forget about me?”
Jack bent and held his face as he kissed him. “I won’t,” he said simply, and Ianto held onto his wrist as Jack rested his forehead on his own. “Please believe me. I won’t.”
Ianto sighed and nodded, and pulled on his jeans to see Jack out of the flat once he’d helped Jack into his greatcoat. He kissed Jack goodbye one more time and managed a smile when Jack patted his cheek, then closed the door behind him and locked the door. He sighed, leaned against the door and almost hit it with his fist.
Jack was right, even if Ianto hated it. He had to work this summer, and he had to go back to school–get his degree, get ready for life. Maybe he would fall in love, maybe he wouldn’t. He couldn’t imagine wanting anyone else as much as he wanted Jack right now.
It was near dawn, gray and cloudy outside. Ianto went out to the garden to get his shirt, and picked up the one Jack had worn for an hour. He sat down on the back steps, twisted the shirt in his hands and held it to his face–yes, it had that warm, earthy scent, now mixed with grass and dew.
He whispered, “Jack,” and buried his head in his arms.
The back door opened and Ianto raised his head, hastily wiping his face, as Griff sat down on the step with him, wrapped in his dressing gown. “I thought I heard voices,” Griff said and put an arm over his shoulders.
“And you’re crying.”
“Am not,” Ianto muttered and wiped his face again with the back of his hand.
Griff exhaled and looked up at the clouds. “Did you get his number?”
“No. We’re not going to see each other again.”
“Ianto,” Griff said sternly, “did he hurt you?”
“No! No, he didn’t do anything bad. It was fine, Griffen, it was–”
Griff held up his hands. “Please don’t go into detail. I’m still wrapping my mind around this.”
“He just said–he said–” He wiped his face again. “He said I’m not ready to be in his life.”
“Bollocks,” Griff said.
“Do you think so?” Ianto said quietly. “Or maybe he’s right. I should date people my own age and grow up for a while. He said he’d find me when I’m ready.”
“Still sounds like bollocks to me.” He rubbed Ianto’s back. “If I ever see him again do I lump him one for breaking my brother’s heart?”
“Don’t be stupid. It’s fine. I’m fine. I just met a bloke, that’s all.”
“Met a bloke,” Griff said and shook his head, looking up at the clouds again. “It’s going to take a while for me to get used to that.”
“It’s not a big deal, really,” Ianto said. “I’m still me.”
“True,” Griff said. He patted Ianto’s back and got to his feet. “What do you fancy for breakfast?”
“I don’t care. Coffee?”
“Coffee,” Griff said and opened the door.
“Hey, Griff, do you mind if I–” He held up the shirt.
“Keep it,” Griff said and went into the flat.
“Thanks,” Ianto murmured and folded the shirt into a neat square. He’d live his life. He’d study, he’d date, he’d do what he would have done anyway.
And he almost believed that someday, someone would say “Torchwood” to him and he’d see Jack Harkness again.