Author: louie x
Rating: Implied sex, slash
Spoilers: All of season one
Summary: Post-End of Days, Ianto finds a way to deal with the lack of his captain in his life. For sol_se. x-posted to jackxianto, sorry for repeats!
Notes: As I said, this is for sol_se, who's video to the Snow Patrol (Featuring Martha Wainwright) song 'Set Fire to the Third Bar' continues to break me to this day everytime I watch it. Title is from the lyrics of said song as well, so no credit to me there. Please go and download it/watch it if you haven't yet! Here! Fixed the link, html at 4 am is not my strongest point! I hope the fic is enjoyed all around, thank you~
It was a modest collection in all honesty, maps tacked up to the glass satellite display in a neat order that didn't hide its purpose in anyway. Not that the others would linger near it; Gwen would often come by and track the little colored dots upon the maps with her eyes or perhaps touching the few near the Cardiff area but only when she thought I wasn't looking.
Now they were out, gone for the night and I could look over my meager findings in peace. I was tired but it didn't matter, there were things to do and this was just one of them.
The display consisted of a world map, taking up a large portion of the glass wall along the top and left, while a more focused one of the UK was pressed to the right. In between and where ever else fit were printouts of sightings, witness statements to magic blue police boxes or anything that fit the sound the sensors caught the day Jack left.
Left, not gone, as even through damaged lenses of the cameras they caught the smile and how he quickly ran offscreen towards this mysterious object.
My eyes flicked back to the maps, one hand traced a line along the dots that indicated sightings. Red for a blue police box with a young man and a young woman, either blonde or a spiky-haired. Blue for the box and three people, an older man with short hair, a blonde woman, and a man that was without a doubt Jack. Green was miscellaneous sightings, consisting of various older gentlemen and young companions, ranging from several women of various ages and appearances, as well as young men (one of whom was sighted several times in a traditional kilt and sporran).I had every dot marked on the pages that were hung up as well, dates and how long of a stay.
Efficiency was still something to take pride in, I suppose.
The blue dots were familiar, I could find them with my eyes closed and then trace them with my fingers to drag the distance back to Cardiff; back to the Hub where Jack left us all. Such a short distance with a slide of my finger, an easy roll of mere inches but in reality they were miles apart. But I realized that to them, to this Doctor and his magic box -which in all honesty, sounded like a children's program, 'Come see the alien and his magic time traveling box! Saturday mornings on the BBC!'- that could travel through time it was just a stroke of one's fingers to get from place to place.
Good old Queen Victoria would not be amused to think that the reason Torchwood was founded, rather more of the inspiration than anything, was behind the loss of one of its leaders. True, Jack wasn't the end all be all of leaders but he took care of them, tried to keep them sane when this job just sucked the life out of you. Funny then, an immortal man would have such a mortality taxing job; he would be the only one to properly survive it.
Still it wasn't what I was here to do, not just now when I finally had the Hub quiet with everyone gone and nothing but the slow rush of water down the tower as company. I went back to Jack's desk, slid off my jacket and threw it over the back of his chair -just as he would and took a moment to pause, wondering just how pathetic I was at unconsciously doing that- before reaching for what I really shouldn't be playing with.
Been about four months now since Jack left and every week or so, I'd have to do this, get a quick fix in order to shoulder past what an ass he was for leaving without any thought to the rest of us. I wanted to remember Jack for the good things he did, for how great he could make us all feel, not the self-centered bastard who hid himself away and then rushed off into a blue bloody box without any hesitation.
I remember Gwen talking about this, how it worked on emotions and the first time I did it was muddled and intense. The Ghost machine, as Tosh liked to call it, locked away in secure archives because when the two halves were slipped together it saw the future. Clever Bernie then, breaking it so that he could just see the echoes which were far less frightening than what we all shouldn't know. For while truth is a blessing, knowledge can be the most dangerous of all things. A hard lesson learned but I know it now.
That still left me with one half of a secure artifact in my hand, the lights going mad until my thumb finally pressed the button on the top. First time I did this, there was a sea of ghosts running through the Hub, a veritable army of memories wanting to be heard. Took a while to figure how to focus it but finally I got it set on 'Jack' mode and here I was again, watching leftover impressions of the man as I leaned on the edge of his desk.
Watching him laugh with Suzie over drinks while both told the filthiest jokes they knew.
Watching him stalk around alone, no one here with his hands in his pockets and humming soft songs to himself or maybe even singing aloud until Mwfanwy would squawk down at him from her roost above, but that would only make him smile and sing louder. A fan at last, I suppose.
Watching him work with the others, people that I only knew from death certificates or notes filed away in the archives.
Watching him die. Those were always the worst, seeing Lisa in all of her metallic glory delete him not once but twice barely feet from my own body. He would fall after the second time, the crisp scent of lightning in the air which I would remember his hair and clothes were filled with that as he... he kissed me.
To this day, I don't know why he did that. It most certainly was not because I happened to look irresistible, I was half soaked in run off water and my head flopped back at an awkward angle. As egotistical as that sounds, I could have seen that as a reason because well... it was Jack, 'anything that's gorgeous enough'.
I let go of the button and the visions went away, the echoes faded and the hub turned away from that night that what I thought was Lisa died. My chest hurt, it always did after this, an ache right in my heart that the first time it happened had me laughing until I wept. Either all of this reminiscing was slowly killing me, I was growing a tumor in my heart, or this was physically manifesting into an actual pain and those songs on the radio made sense suddenly.
Just one more time, I told myself, just once more and maybe I'll go get some rest. Already my thumb was on the button, pressing it in much to the delight of the machine. This time it behaved, a nicer echo of the past as I looked to my right and saw Jack and myself as we played with that damn stopwatch. It was so childish, so very ridiculous but it was a step in the more physical direction considering the more recent events of our past.
Currently he was being timed for how fast he could knot a tie on another person, with a windsor knot of course.
'You sure you remember how do it, sir? Without the skinny end sticking out this time?' He was laughing at that, standing so close to me that I remember feeling the heat from his body and damn this little machine if I couldn't feel it all over again. Jack would scold me then--despite the smirk on his face or the roll of his eyes-- tell me I should have more faith in him as he flipped the collar of my shirt up and smoothed down the back of the tie before grasping the smooth silk and finally meeting my gaze.
God, the world just crashed to a halt then, I could barely breathe and he probably knew it which is why he stood so close to me. Just to make me ache to finally press up against him, like some pining teenage girl who wanted to press against the fabulous Captain Jack Harkness.
I shut my eyes, knowing by heart what was happening next and feeling the echoes of it across my body. He would smile, that devilish grin as he told me to start the clock which of course my hand twitched without hesitation and the familiar clicking filled the room. Then he dragged me in for a kiss, fingers still wrapped up in my tie before his hands spread out along my shoulders. It was only slightly voyeuristic to watch our first real "make out" session, such a detached sensation to see and feel at the same time. Part of me wants to be disgusted with myself, the other has been fetal in a corner weeping like a child, while yet another just sighs and thinks I need more sleep.
My eyes open when it stops, when we speak again but I can feel his breath on my face and his hands undoing the buttons on my shirt. 'I'm still counting, captain. You've yet to tie a proper knot.', I say to him with some cocky tone that he always brought out of me in moments like this, like I had to prove to the alpha dog that I could be just as flirty and deviant as he was. Jack just raised an eyebrow, a flash of teeth as he grinned, those large hands putting both the stop watch and my tie aside.
There were his hands on my face, those icy eyes boring into me and my heart was racing so hard that I'm positive he felt it through my surely -no, I can see it, I was as pink as a schoolgirl- flushed cheeks. His voice was low and still makes me shiver, 'Then I'm obviously not doing this right...'.
What happens next I know would be clothing thrown all about his office and my getting very closely acquainted with his desk (twice), the wall (next to that odd 'coughs and sneezes spread diseases' sign), then finally in his bed. Probably best not to watch that, that's a borderline Owen activity and my narcissism really was fine where it was. The wise little machine seemed to pick up on this, the echoes fading despite my thumb aching from holding the button down for so long. Of course I looked around, wondering where Jack would be because I wasn't done just yet. I found him down in his rooms, peering through the circular hatch with a twist in my gut because he was watching me sleep.
I had never seen this echo before.
Down the little ladder with the ghost machine still in hand, trying not to fall as I watch him watch the echo of myself in that tiny bed of his. It wasn't often that we would sleep together here, while our relationship had lots of 'sleeping' in it, he either wouldn't stay or I would regretfully have to leave to my flat. But here we were, those thin sheets just barely keeping us decent and him propped up on his hand on his side to watch me laid out on my back. I never knew he watched me sleep, ordinarily I would instinctually tease him to say it was off or creepy just to get him to smile but now it felt good.
He stroked my hip with his free hand, fingers walking over a cluster of freckles that happened to live there as if he was attempting to make a picture with a constellation of stars. I could feel it under my clothes and it caught the breath in my throat while my hands shook slightly at my sides. I couldn't let this one go, not yet, no matter how much my hand or my heart hurt now.
The foolish sentimentalist that I happen to be, I climbed into bed over my echo and it felt like putting on a loose glove over my entire body. Now I could feel him more acutely, felt his fingers trace up my hip to cup my jaw lightly, his thumb moved over my lower lip until my body shifted closer towards his warmth.
I knew I was crying, warm heavy streaks that ran down the side of my face into my hair as I watched this moment I wasn't meant to see. Knowledge, damn it to hell, a terrible burden to bear.
'Whatever will I do with you, Ianto Jones?', a gentle sigh of words before he smiled and let his fingers trail through my hair, leaning forward to kiss my brow as he settled in close with half-closed eyes. I couldn't help it, I cried like I hadn't since Lisa died and tried to reach out for what wasn't there anymore.
Accepting he was gone was easy, I had no control over his life or his actions. Moving on was harder, thusly this seeming addiction I had to torturing myself. But now, now I felt the loss like never before and wanted so badly just to be held in his arms again. I don't care if he doesn't look at me the same way I look at him, I need him and it was a revelation that hurt more than eased any of this sudden wash of misery.
He stroked my cheek, never feeling the man who wept without him, only the man who slept soundly in his arms. To be that man again, to be that oblivious to what I would all too soon lose. I fell asleep then, dreaming of the mysterious captain from the forties that Tosh told me about. She spoke of him and Jack getting along like they were the latest supermarket novella, a romance born in a moment of pain and sheer pure love. I dreamt that I could be like him, be someone that Jack would see and hold with the words that Tosh used to describe those moments in the dance hall.
I would die tomorrow if it meant to be loved like that, to be in his arms with that kind of passion for one more night.