Rating: This part R but will eventually be NC-17
Timeline: Post COE.
Summary: After losing Ianto and knowing where he belongs, Jack awakens to find himself back to the day the 456 took Ianto's life. He finds Ianto very much alive, and no evidence of the 456 ever existing. Along with many other things...Now Jack must choose between setting things back right or living in a world with the one thing that ever made him feel real-Ianto.
A/N: It's been a long time since I have written some Jack/Ianto. But its time. Hope you follow along for the ride.
“It’s beautiful here, isn’t it?”
Jack glances slightly at the Doctor and gives him a small nod. “Quite.”
“You could stay.”
Jack smirks, looking down at the odd texture of the planet. “Nah. You know this planet is too small for me.”
“What will you do now?” The Doctor cocks his head slightly, listening intently to every syllable that escapes Jack’s lips.
Jack can actually hear the stars shining from here. That soft buzz from each individual star makes an orchestra that radiates its own symphony. It’s beautiful. But Jack knows it’s true. This planet is too small. Just like earth was. Just like most places will be now. Cause no matter where he goes now, he cannot escape it. His mistake. His faults. His loss.
He cannot escape him.
“I’m not quite sure. Any ideas?”
The Doctor can see the pain. He can feel it radiating off Jack in the most tragic of ways. Leave it to Jack to still joke and smile. But he knows Jack has no idea where he is going. And he will continue to wander, planet after planet, until he finally settles somewhere. And settle he will. For another boy. Or perhaps a woman this time. Or a mission. But that’s all he will do. Settle. Because anything that really mattered to Jack was now gone.
The Doctor smiles at his friend and reaches out for his shoulder. “I can think of one.”
Air rushes into Jack’s lungs and he gasps for it, coughing, gripping at his chest and flying forward to the upright position. He looks around to find himself in a room he knows all too well.
His eyes slowly rise to the large glass panel in front of him. There is no movement behind it. He hears no gurgling of life. In fact, it’s empty. The room is silent. And dark.
There is no 456. There is nothing in this room but the familiar stench of death. And regret.
“You going to sit there all day, Sir?”
Jack’s heart literally stops beating for a moment. With his palms flat on the cold floor he turns his body half way around. He can feel the pull of the muscles in his side and lower back. As his eyes adjust in the darkness they make out the figure standing in the doorway. He’d know the shape of that body anywhere. He’d know that voice. He can already smell him.
“I would have sworn you’d be used to this dying and coming back thing by now.” Ianto’s hand extends toward Jack as he takes a few long steps toward him. Ianto’s face becomes clearer as he moves toward him and Jack’s neck begin to also ache as he looks up at him in awe. His eyes lower down to Ianto’s extended fingers and every so gently with severe hesitation, Jack caresses his fingers into his.
Ianto’s firm hand reaches up underneath Jack’s armpit, hoisting him up onto his wobbly feet. Jack stumbles and one shaky hand finds Ianto’s shoulder, the other his hip. Their eyes, making their own color on the spectrum, meet in a wave of anticipation.
“You’re alive.” Jack whispers.
Ianto smiles. “Come on. Let’s get you out of here.”
Ianto sighs heavily and picks up the lukewarm mug that sits in front of Jack. “This is the 3rd cup you’ve wasted. Don’t want my coffee now all of a sudden?”
Jack just stares at the man in front of him. Alive. Breathing. The tiny cut on his cheek still healing like nothing had ever happened. Still dapper in his suit. Still so proper and full of wonder at the world around him. And still with that look in his eye Jack knows he only has for him.
“What do you remember?”
Ianto’s forehead creases in confusion. “About what?”
“About what happened in that room. With the 456.”
Ianto pulls out the chair across from Jack at the table. He places his palms flat on the wood and wiggles his fingers toward Jack’s. Jack’s pointer finger grazes Ianto’s and a spark as bright and strong as a bolt of lightening in a sky on the verge of eruption ignites inside him.
“Jack, I have to say, I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.”
Jack’s eyes flutter open and he can immediately feel the warmth beside him. Inside him. His head rolls across the soft cotton pillow and his nose grazes Ianto’s cheek. Ianto’s chest heaves in a soft out rush of breath and he rubs his feet together 3 times.
Just like he always did.
“Ianto…” Jack almost doesn’t recognize the sound of his own voice.
“Hmmm.” Ianto’s head presses against Jack’s and he licks his lips; the smacking sound cutting the silence in his quiet bedroom.
“How did I die this time?”
Ianto’s eyes flutter open and he cranes his neck so he can look at Jack’s face. “I…I’m actually not quite sure.” He blinks. “Does it matter?”
Jack studies the outline of Ianto’s jaw. How perfect the bones in his cheeks are. How the light coming in from the windows reflects off his skin and makes it almost glow. How full his bottom lip is separated from his top. His nose; perfectly aligned with the rest of his features.
“No.” Jack answers, reaching out to cup Ianto’s cheek. “Not right now.”
Jack steps out onto the fire escape and looks down into the ally below Ianto’s apartment. How is any of this real?
He has to be in some sort of time rift where the 456 never happened. Never came to earth. Never killed him and Ianto.
In a normal situation Jack knows he would need to find what happened and fix it. Time rifts cannot be altered. They cannot be toyed with. But this…
Jack closes his eyes and can still feel Ianto’s fingers on his skin. He can still smell his scent on him. He grips the railing, his knuckles turning white in the hopes that the pain will bring some sort of answers. Some sort of decision.
“Hey.” The softness in his voice always soothes him in ways that cannot be from this world. “You alright? It’s cold out here.”
“I like it.” Jack answers, looking over his shoulder, smiling.
Ianto nods and snakes his arms around Jack’s waist from behind. “But my bed is so warm.”
Jack turns in Ianto’s arms and wraps himself in him. He tightens his grip on him, breathing in his scent and burying his face deep into the crook of Ianto’s neck.
“Sometimes I wish I knew what was going on inside that head of yours.” Ianto whispers.
Ianto pulls back, his eyes darting back and forth, up and down Jack’s face searching. “What?”
“This isn’t real. None of it. Somehow time went backwards.”
“Jack you aren’t making any sense.”
Jack pulls back, cupping Ianto’s face in his hands, looking so deep into the waves of blue he can almost feel himself getting lost. “Ianto, where’s Gwen?”
Ianto cocks his head in Jack’s hands and his eyes soften. “I think you just need some sleep.”
“NO. Answer the question. Where is Gwen, Ianto?”
Ianto’s hands reach up and he intertwines his fingers in Jack’s, still wrapped around the curve of his jaw line and neck. He gives his lover a tiny smile and pushes their hands down together in front of their chests.
“Jack…” Ianto whispers. “Who’s Gwen?”