Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Summary: Jack does as he promised Tosh and goes to explain things to Ianto.
Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to BBC and RTD
A/N: This is the sequel to ‘Why ?’ which can be found here: http://zorell.livejournal.com/6972.html#cutid1
Would advise reading 'Why?' first, though you could probably read this ok without doing so, – what you need to know is that after ‘that’ scene near the end of ‘Meat’ Tosh confronted Jack about his actions and this fic is what happened afterwards.
A/N 2: Did try to find the name of Jack’s wife’s, but couldn’t so just made one up. If anyone knows it, feel free to let me know and I’ll change it. Also usual apologies for mistakes, bad grammar, dodgy plot etc.
Thanks for reading, hope you like it.
Ianto placed his hands on the tiles for support and leant forward under the shower, letting the hot water run over his aching body, - and boy did he ache. His body was battered and sore, but it wasn’t the bruised ribs or the rope burns that hurt the most, it was the pain in his heart. How ironic, he thought, that the wound causing the most agony was the one that was self inflicted. After all, it was he, Ianto Jones, who had allowed the Captain into his heart, and he alone who had fallen in love with him. Now it was he alone who had to face and deal with the consequences, not just of his own actions but also those of the Captain.
He had thought he meant something to the immortal. Oh, he knew he wasn’t first choice, that being the Doctor of course. He wasn’t even second pick, that was Gwen. But he was the one who shared Jack’s bed. He was one who held him through the nightmares, particularly after his time away. The one Jack turned to and who listened when he needed to unburden his soul. It had been him that supported Jack even when the others didn’t agree with the Captain’s decisions. He was always there giving everything both emotionally, and physically to the man he loved. Ianto wasn’t a fool, he knew Jack didn’t love him, but he had honestly believed that he meant something to the man, hell, he’d thought the team meant something to the immortal. It had been made blatantly obvious though, by today’s events that none of them, except Gwen of course, meant anything to the Captain. Would Jack even notice if he left ? He very much doubted it. He was replaceable. After all there were plenty of places Jack could get coffee and sex. Ianto began to shake. Whether due to the cold water now falling on his body, or delayed shock setting in, the Welshman wasn’t sure, but he knew he needed to get out of the shower and warm up.
As Ianto dried himself and searched for some warm and loose fitting clothes, he found himself thinking of the future. He could of course stay where he was at Torchwood Three. Carry on as if nothing had happened, but he’d have to suffer Gwen rubbing his nose in it, knowing that everyone knew exactly what Gwen meant to Jack, and how little he and the rest of them did. He could leave. Take retcon. But in all honesty the amount he would need to take to erase not just his time in Cardiff, but also his time at Torchwood One in London, would probably do serious damage to his mind. Not only that, he doubted the retcon would hold. There was the risk of too many possible triggers, and Ianto knew, however good the cover story was for the missing years, that he would have nagging doubts and questions that he would pursue. No, retcon wasn’t the answer. He could transfer to Torchwood Two. Archie could do with the help, and there was plenty of work to be done in the archives up there. The problem with that option was that technically as Head of Torchwood, answerable only to Her Majesty, Jack would still be his overall Boss, and could make life difficult for him. Though with him out of the way, and Jack’s feelings for Gwen having been made so evident, Ianto doubted the Captain would worry about what his former part time shag was up to in Scotland. There was of course the final option. It wasn’t like he wasn’t wanted. Every time he had contact with Major Turner, the UNIT officer tried get him to leave Torchwood and become his assistant. The Major had said it was an open offer, and regularly sent emails to try and get the Welshman to join his team, telling him to call when he ‘saw the light’. Right now that offer was looking extremely tempting.
Ianto, now dressed in sweatpants and a baggie hoodie, had made his way slowly to the kitchen and was starting to prepare some hot chocolate. As much as he wanted coffee, it wasn’t a good idea if he was indeed suffering from even mild shock, also hot chocolate would warm him up better. However he was interrupted in his task by the knocking on his front door. He could really do without visitors, and was inclined to ignore it, but his neighbour Mrs Llewellyn had seen him arrive home, and would have known he hadn’t left again, she would continue to knock until he answered. Sighing, Ianto cautiously walked to the door and opened it, instantly cursing himself for not looking through the spyhole first.
“ What are you doing here, Sir ?” Jack was one of the two people he least wanted to see right now.
“ I wanted to make sure you were alright, and ho...” Jack was cut off mid sentence.
“ Why wouldn’t I be ?” Ianto was still blocking the entrance to his flat.
“ You were bound, held at gun point, fought with an armed man who then pointed a gun straight at you and pulled the trigger.”
“ You noticed then.” Ianto said sarcastically.
“ Please could we talk inside Ianto ?” Jack really didn’t want to continue this conversation standing on Ianto’s door step, where the ‘world’ could hear. He had already said too much in the ‘open’ and the rest of what he wanted, and needed to say was for the Welshman’s ears only.
Ianto was reluctant to let Jack in, but he knew if they stayed where they were Mrs Llewellyn would be out checking if everything was alright, and he really could do without that right now. Stepping aside he motioned for Jack to enter, shutting the door behind the Captain and stealing himself for whatever was about to come. Jack waited for the door to be shut, let Ianto pass him, and then followed the young man towards the kitchen area of the open plan living space of the flat.
“ I take it Gwen didn’t return once she had settled Rhys back at home, so you decided to call on your faithful third choice.” Ianto wasn’t sure where that had come from, and right now he wasn’t sure he really cared.
Jack was shocked at how bitter and hurt Ianto’s voice was. It reminded the Captain of how his lover had sounded when on suspension after the Cyberwoman incident, when he had been so ‘lost’ and ‘broken’.
“ Is that what you think ?” Jack’s voice was quiet, and not angry and argumentative as Ianto had expected it to be. Jack knew, thanks to Tosh, that Ianto saw himself as his third choice, but hearing it come from the man himself seemed to make it more real, and it hurt that he was the reason Ianto thought like that about himself. It had Jack realising how much he had truly hurt the man he loved, and wondering just how was he going to make it right, as he had promised both himself and Tosh he would.
“ What else am I supposed to think. You’d follow your Doctor through Hell and back, infact you did, and even though he calls you wrong, and can’t look at you without feeling out of sorts, you would still go with him at the drop of a hat if he asked. Then there’s Gwen. If any of us had made half the mistakes she has, or questioned your authority the way she does, we would have been out on our ear and retconed, and yes I know she broke through the retcon once, but you still could have got rid of her if you wanted to. But you don’t want to do you ? You made it perfectly clear earlier, as if we didn’t already know, where we all stand, where your feelings lie. After all you did everything but say the words. Why didn’t you by the way ? We could all see you wanted to, and that she wanted to hear you say them, and after that whole ‘I’d know the difference’ scene why hold back ?... I may be the one to warm your bed Jack, but I’m only there because choices one and two are unavailable.” Ianto continued to face the Captain, though he had surreptitiously moved so he could lean back against the work surface for support. The pain killers he had ‘liberated’ from Owen’s desk were beginning to wear off, and the pain, particularly from his ribs, was reasserting itself. He could do with sitting, no lying down, but that wasn’t an option right now.
“ If you truly believe your third choice why stay with me ? Why put up with everything ? You’re amazing, intelligent, gorgeous, and could have anyone you want, so why ?”
Ianto couldn’t help the faint blush that tinged his cheeks at Jack’s words.
“ Because even third choice with the man I love, even though he doesn’t love me, is better than first choice with anyone else.”
“ And what if he does love you ? What if you’re not third choice, but the only choice ?” Jack had moved closer to Ianto as he spoke, he wanted to hold his lovers face in his hands but fear of rejection, of Ianto pulling back, stopped him. Instead he desperately hoped the unbroken gaze between the two was conveying the truth of his words, and the true love he felt for the Welshman. Jack knew he needed to explain to Ianto, just as he had to Tosh, exactly what this ‘thing’ with Gwen was about. He had to address Ianto’s questions first though. “ You asked about what happened earlier, why I let Gwen get away with things, why I didn’t say what you all thought I wanted to, and about me knowing the difference if she left. Well, the truth is I would know the difference if she left, just as I would if Tosh and Owen left...”
“ But not me,” murmured Ianto, his gaze leaving Jacks eyes and drifting to the floor.
“ ...if you left...” Jack put his finger under Ianto’s chin and lifted his head so their eyes were level, though Ianto still focused on the floor. “...look at me please Ianto...” The Welshman did as he was asked, seemingly unable to refuse the quiet request. “...if you left I would lose my heart and soul. I would be devastated. I didn’t say the words to Gwen because I’m not in love with her. I do love her but in the same way I love Tosh and Owen. She isn’t the one I want to be with, that is you, and it is you I’m in love with.”
Ianto desperately wanted to believe what Jack was saying, but if it was true, what was it with the Captain and Gwen. “ If that really is the case, why do you favour Gwen above, and at the expense of, everyone else on the team ?”
“ Because of Sarah.”
“ Sarah ?” Ianto was confused.
“ Sarah was my wife...We married in the early 1900’s. She was pretty. Into everyone’s business, wouldn’t give up until she had the answers she was looking for, always saw the best in people, and boy, was she spirited. We’d only been married a few years when she died during the flu epidemic. Sarah could have been so much more than she had the chance to be, both because of her early death, and also the time in which she lived. When I saw Gwen she reminded me so much of Sarah, it was like having a part of ‘her’ back, and I wanted to give ‘her’ more time, a chance to reach, or at least, try to reach ‘her’ potential. I projected what I had hoped for Sarah onto Gwen. I didn’t see the damage I was, and still am, doing to the whole team, and especially you. My actions towards Gwen have been misinterpreted and her ‘hero’ view of me hasn’t helped. But I promise you that I’m not in love her, and my only interest is a misguided attempt to lessen my guilt over something I had no control over in the past.” Jack knew he probably didn’t make any sense, but he desperately hoped Ianto would understand what he was trying to explain and say.
Ianto really needed to at least sit down. The pain throughout his body was now joined by a raging headache brought on by trying to process what Jack had just said. Jack had been married. Gwen reminded him of his late wife, and that was why he treated Gwen he way he did. And Jack didn’t love Gwen, well not like that anyway, because Jack was in love with him.
“ I’m so sorry for everything Ianto. I’m sorry for making you feel like you were third choice. Sorry for treating you so badly and taking you for granted. Sorry for the whole thing with Gwen, for letting that take precedence over everything else, when I should have been making sure everyone, and especially you were alright after the events of today.” Jack looked at his lover hoping he would be forgiven, but as he took in the beautiful face, concern crossed his own.
“ Ianto ?...Ianto, are you alright ?” Jack asked worry filling his voice. The Welshman looked pale and ill.
“ Ribs are abit battered and bruised, and my wrists are sore, but I’ll survive....Jack what you’ve told me about your wife, your reason for treating Gwen the way you do...”
“ That’s going to stop by the way.” Jack interrupted
“ Thank you, it would be appreciated if you could manage to treat us all equally.” Ianto gave Jack a small smile before continuing, “ I can understand your reasoning behind this ‘thing’ with Gwen. Thank you for explaining it and for the apology, but it hasn’t just affected me...”
“ I know, and I plan on talking to everyone tomorrow, to clear the air, and let everyone know what’s going on and where they stand. Right now I’m more concerned with how you are.” Jack looked pointedly at his pale and tired looking lover.
“ I’ll be fine, could do with my bed though.” Ianto yawned as if to confirm his tired state.
As Jack helped a tired and hurting Ianto to his bedroom, he thought over the day’s events, and just how lucky he had been. Twice he had come close to losing the man he loved, once at the end of a gun, and once through his own stupidity. Jack just thanked whichever God that had been looking over Ianto in the warehouse, and the Goddess known as Toshiko Sato who had ‘knocked’ some sense into an idiot immortal former time agent.