By Siobhan Jane
Summary: A little hint on why Jack may have been a bit hard on Ianto during COE.
Ianto stared down at the still-warm phone in his hand. The cold metal step he sat upon was a direct contrast to its soft warmth. He tried to concentrate on the two extremes to keep his mind from running through all the different ways their current situation scared him.
“Going to sit on that cute ass all day?” Jack’s voice boomed as he walked over to the stairway. He placed a trainer-clad foot on the edge of the step and leaned over the railing, hands dangling over the edge. “Work to do.”
The side of Ianto’s mouth quirked ever so slightly at their “secret code,” which wasn’t so secret after Gwen had caught them in the greenhouse. He didn’t look up at Jack. Instead, he continued to stare at the phone he was rubbing between his hands, trying to capture the last remnants of the battery’s heat.
“I told Rhiannon,” he said matter-of-factly.
Jack’s back straightened and he gripped the railing. “You told your sister about what’s going on here? We don’t even know exactly what IS going on. That was very irresponsible of…”
“About us,” Ianto cut Jack off. “I told my sister about us. Well, actually she kind of already knew, but…” Ianto sighed. “I confirmed it.”
Jack’s posture softened a bit as he stared down at Ianto. “Oh.” He leaned on the railing again and sighed. “Oh.”
Ianto nodded. “Oh. Yep. Oh sums it up.” He leaned back and rested his elbows on the step behind him. “I went over there to see if I could borrow one of the kids, and she practically pounced on me. Apparently, we were ‘seen’.”
Jack’s eyes narrowed at the embarrassed and ashamed tone he picked up in Ianto’s voice. He drummed his fingers on the railing, wishing for his coat pockets. “Would have had to happen at some point, I guess.”
“Being seen?” Ianto glanced over at Jack.
Jack met Ianto’s eyes. “Your sister finding out. Unless, of course, you were never planning on telling her.” His tone was accusatory.
They stared at each other for a long minute before Ianto looked away.
Jack’s foot dropped to the floor as he pushed away from the staircase. “No. It really isn’t,” Jack stated as he walked away.
Staring out at the emptiness of the warehouse, Ianto forced himself up, climbed down the stairs, and walked over to the couch where Jack was now sitting. He had Rhiannon’s laptop resting on the tips of his knees.
“You’ll break it,” he said as he grabbed the laptop and closed it, placing it on a makeshift table before sitting down next to Jack. He focused on a torn sign on a wall across the warehouse.
Jack shifted next to him on the couch, somehow managing to close the physical distance between them. H e rubbed his hands against his thighs, the cotton of the sweatpants feeling foreign. He waited.
“All I could think about while I was telling her that, yes, you are very handsome, is what my father would have thought.”
“You told her I was handsome?” Jack’s ego peaked like a Doberman’s ears listening to a siren.
Ianto ignored him. “He would have beaten the shit out of me.”
“Are you sure you’re giving him enough credit?” Jack asked.
“She seemed okay with it, you know? Surprised, but okay. She asked about girls. I didn’t know what to tell her. I mean, what do I say when I don’t have any clue why….”
Jack reached over and rubbed Ianto’s shoulder, sliding his hand to the back of Ianto’s neck and rubbing his thumb on the skin at Ianto’s hairline.
“You didn’t stand a chance. I’m just that handsome,” Jack teased.
Ianto’s eyes closed at the feel of Jack’s thumb. “Funny. That’s sort of how the conversation went. ‘It’s just Jack…it’s not men, just you.”
“Is that true?” Jack asked, his thumb pausing in anticipation.
Jack pulled his hand away and rubbed his eyes. “Is this, us, going to be that much of a problem for you? Because if it is, just tell me now before we adopt a puppy together or something.”
“No dogs, Jack. We’ve discussed this already. A cat, maybe. But with Myfan…” Ianto’s voice caught.
“She made it out. I’m sure she did. Her hatch was open, “ Jack reassured him.
Ianto nodded and then sat up straight, “Where’s Gwen and Rhys?” He looked around.
“Afraid they’ll hear you talking about how handsome I am?” Jack shook his head. “They went outside to find us firewood.”
“Ah.” Ianto stood up, stretched and turned to look down at Jack. “You are incredibly handsome.” He smiled but the smile faded when he realized Jack didn’t look happy.
Looking up at Ianto, Jack’s eyes welled up with a hint of tears. “You came for me.”
“Did you ever doubt I would?” He shoved his hands deep into his pockets with nervous anticipation of what might come next.
“No.” Jack paused, taking time to get the words right. “But you need to get over whatever your problem is with us. Your hang-ups are going to drag us down, and I don’t have any interest in reassuring you every five minutes…”
“This is new for me Jack, “ Ianto interrupted. “You’ve done this before.”
Jack stood up, his face just inches from Ianto’s. “That’s what’s sad, Ianto. Cause you don’t seem to realize that I haven’t done,” he waved his hand back and forth between them, “us before. And you seem to think you’re the only one risking something…the only one scared to feel…”
“Bollocks it’s cold out there. Thought I was going to freeze…well my bollocks off!” Rhys ‘ voice boomed through the warehouse.
Jack’s stormy blue eyes riveted Ianto in place and his pulse rushed in his ears.
“What you two up to then?” Gwen asked as she breezed past them. “Come help us haul this wood in.”
Looking away first, Jack forced a smile. “On it,” he said as he turned and walked away from Ianto.
Ianto’s eyes followed Jack as he walked out the door and into the