Word count: 1310 words
Author’s note: First Torchwood fic, and so very different than my usually longer plotty stories. I hope you enjoy it
He hates Jack.
He loves Jack.
He hates and loves Jack.
Ianto doesn't know how it happened. He is the tea boy whose real job is to watch the Torchwood team, because they might be outside the government, but everyone must be accountable.
Jack is the leader who flirted with everything, but whose heart seems to belong to someone long gone. They should have never gotten together, but between a dead girlfriend and a village of cannibals, he went from hating Jack Harkness to loving him, or at least to wanting to shag him whenever possible. In fact, it started right after their visit to the countryside.
Ianto walked around the Hub, cleaning up the rubbish, when he saw Jack standing at the foot of the stairs, staring at him. Ianto went back to his job, ignoring the surge of anger he felt when he looked at the man in charge. "You should go home, Sir. It's late." He was well aware that Jack had no place to go, and reminding him of the fact filled Ianto with revengeful glee.
"You're the one who's injured. Owen said you should rest," Jack answered, ignoring the jab.
"He also said that I shouldn't fall asleep yet, because I banged my head. More than once. Working keeps me awake." Ianto moved away from Tosh's station, and directed his attention to Gwen's little corner. "She took it hard," he said after a moment.
Jack shrugged. "She takes everything hard; she's human."
Ianto tensed and he stood a little straighter as he looked at Jack. "We are all human, however a little knowledge of history would tell her that men have caused enough destruction without any alien intervention."
Jack smiled. "Not everyone has a fancy public school education."
"You don't need a posh school to know about the Nazi, do you?" Ianto said smiling slightly.
"No, but that's them. It's always 'them' doing things. The Americans dropped the bomb; the Germans caused the Holocaust; the Muslims are terrorists, and it goes on and on. This time, there was not 'them'. It was a quaint little village in the Brecon Becons. It was 'us'."
Ianto's smile got a little bigger. "I beg to differ, Sir. We have much better dental hygiene."
Jack started laughing. "There is that, but I'm not sure Gwen will see it as a vital difference."
"No, I'd rather think not." Ianto went back to the cleaning, but a whisper made him look up. "What is that, Sir?"
"I wanted to kill them," Jack said louder.
"I wanted you to kill them," Ianto confessed as he picked up a coffee stained Styrofoam cup.
"It seems… very unlike you."
Ianto walked away from Gwen's station, and walked toward the office. He stopped when he was standing shoulder to shoulder with Jack, and turned his head to look at him. "Do you mean unlike someone who could hide his girlfriend for months?"
"Don't!" Ianto snapped out. "Don't say she wasn't human. She still felt like my girlfriend; I loved her."
Jack nodded and let it go, but when Ianto moved away, he grabbed Ianto's arm. "I know how hard is to let go of someone."
It was Ianto's turn to nod. He believed Jack, not just because he knew more about Jack that anyone suspected, but because at times he could see the pain in Jack's eyes. "Does it get better?"
"No, it gets… it becomes a dull ache, something that it's there, but you learn to live with it. What isn't as easy to do is to learn to be alone." Jack let go of Ianto's arm, and reached up, his fingers brushing against Ianto's cheek. "It doesn't have to be love, but a way to feel less alone."
Jack took a step, then another until his boots touched Ianto's leather moccasins, and Ianto knew he should step back, keep this professional, but then Jack's lips were on his. The kiss was soft, gentle, but it soon changed. All their anger and all their problems poured out of them and into their kiss, teeth clinking against each other, scraping sensitive skin. There was a fury of movement, hands travelling everywhere, and just like that, their relationship changed.
After that, Ianto's hobbies changed. Instead of playing chess against the computer, he found it more exciting to be bent on a desk, or kneeling on all fours, or even lying down on the cold concrete floor. Jack was inventive; Ianto had to admit that, and Ianto was a quick study, always ready to adapt, and soon a stopwatch was an extremely kinky object.
He loves Jack.
Ianto doesn't know this until Owen shoots Jack. It doesn't matter that he's read the Torchwood files on Jack; it doesn't matter that he knows that Jack can't die. When those bullets penetrate Jack's body, Ianto feels sick. He wants to drop to his knees and beg for forgiveness, but he can't, because Torchwood is about the big picture, and opening the Rift will save the world.
He hates Jack.
Jack can't help but play the hero. It's something else that Ianto knows very well, but as much as he wants to stop Jack from pulling whatever crazy stunt he has in mind, he can't, because it's about the big picture, and if Captain Jack Harkness can stop Abaddon, then Ianto Jones will help.
Ianto walks with him, holds him up as they walk through Cardiff. He's ready to offer all of his support and understanding when Jack turns to Gwen and says, "Just you. Get me to an open space."
Easy, simple, and Ianto is dismissed. Left alone once more without so much of a good bye. He's forced to watch his lover, his lover, trust the woman who has started the end of the world only to save the boyfriend she betrays routinely. In that moment, he hates them both.
He loves Jack.
Ianto finally understands the depth of his love when he knows that this is for real, that Jack isn't coming back this time, that he suddenly open his eyes again.
Gwen stays behind, not giving up hope. It's all your fault, Ianto wants to scream at her, but part of him knows that it's not true. Only part of the fault is hers. They all had a hand in this.
Guilt and despair overwhelm him, but he can't let anyone see it. So Ianto makes coffee and brings Gwen food even though the irrational part of him wants to see her choke on it and nods when Owen talks, no matter how much he wants to punch the guy and when he can't take it anymore, he hides in Jack's office, alone with Jack's coat, and his tears spill into the fabric, before returning to work pretending that his eyes aren't red.
Ianto is helping Tosh when she starts running for no reason. He turns around, and sees Jack, who looks awful, but he's never looked to good. Ianto stands up and runs to Jack, but catches himself and slows down.
Ianto offers a hand, but suddenly he's in Jack's arms, and Jack is kissing him in front of everyone. Finally Ianto is at peace.
He hates Jack.
Jack is gone again. He didn't say anything, didn't warn them. No, he simply left leaving them to figure out what happened, and figure it out they do. They watch the recording over and over again until they memorise the noise the blue police box made, the smile on Jack's face, the grin on the Doctor's face.
Ianto watches and hates the Doctor for taking Jack away, and he hates Jack for leaving him alone. Again.
Ianto watches and hopes. He knows that if Jack comes back, he'll forgive him, because as much as he hates Jack, he loves Jack more.
January 13, 2007