Rating: PG-13, maybe a 15 or a bit more?
Warnings: Language, Mature content, etc.
Spoilers:Erm...for the end of season one, but I'm guessing you've seen that far
Summary: Follows on from 'Waiting for the Rain' - one man's coat is another man's anchor
A/N: Originally written at the request of one doctorinchains, this was the second of two fics I wrote back in 2008 when I was still in the Torchwood fandom. I've since moved on but badly_knitted has been very kind about them and suggested I repost them to an active comm. So thank you,badly_knitted for being so kind, and thank you, jackxianto for having me.
"Weird," Jack muttered.
Ianto looked up from where he stood across from Jack and raised an eyebrow.
"What's that, sir?"
Jack started slightly, and then frowned.
"Jeez, Ianto," he muttered. "Warn me, would you, next time you're lurking."
"Sorry, Sir," Ianto answered, trying not to sound as put out as he felt.
Jack had asked him into his office. The fact that he'd forgotten Ianto was there must also mean he'd forgotten why he was there.
"What's weird, Sir?"
If Jack said something was weird, then it usually was. The things most people described as weird were, after all, pretty much non-events for Jack Harkness.
"Nothing now. But I remembered something. Before I left, my collar was damp. I can't figure out why."
Jack looked at him, expecting to see some sort of shared confusion. Instead, he watched the colour rise in Ianto's cheeks.
Ianto shook his head and turned back to the coffee he was busy making.
"Weird," Ianto answered.
For a few seconds, there was silence and, rather irrationally, Ianto thought that maybe he'd gotten away with it. In fact, it sounded as though Jack had left the office. But when he turned around to see, he found that Jack was toe to toe with him.
"Oh!" he gasped, and tried to step backward, his path blocked by the counter. "I…yes?"
"Ianto, why was my collar damp?"
"I don't know, Sir!" Ianto responded far too quickly.
Jack almost smiled at the expression on Ianto's face, but decided he'd have more fun if he kept up the charade.
He leaned forward and planted his hands either side of Ianto's hips, bringing his face centimeters away from Ianto's.
"Really? Because I'm sure I remembered it being dry when I wore it."
"Maybe there's a leak in here. Let me find out."
He tried, unsuccessfully, to get past Jack.
"It can't be that. Otherwise there'd be other things that feel that way, and it would've happened again."
Ianto looked up at him from under his furrowed brows, and all the fight seemed to leave him.
"Fine. It's my fault. Right?"
Jack raised his own eyebrows and there was no longer a quirk to the corner of Jack's mouth. He seemed to sense the change of atmosphere.
Ianto shrugged. Where were the words?
"I'm sorry. I did it after Abaddon was destroyed."
"I don't get it, Ianto, did what?"
"There were things to do. You know. I came in here while Gwen was sitting with you. Your body. I tidied up your papers. Tucked in your chair. Little things that had to be done. I didn't want anyone else doing them. And then I saw your coat on the stand. And I remembered you."
It seemed childish when he said it openly. Foolish when he explained it. But there was no other way, no other explanation
Jack let go of the counter.
"Not just you, not the way I remembered you from your chair and your papers. But I remembered everything about you. And I knew your coat was all I could find that…I…It smelled like you, Jack. And I was so sure that I was never going to be that close again. It was all I had left of you. So I held onto it and breathed it in. Tried to remember. Tried not to forget."
"You were crying," Jack whispered, eyes wide, the revelation suddenly coming to him.
"You were dead," Ianto replied. "And there was nothing else I could do."
It was still pretty much a secret. If the others found out, especially Owen, they'd have a go at him for years to come. And yet it was a comfort.
"You really like that, don't you?" Jack asked from the bed, one arm under his head and the other across his stomach.
"Of course," Ianto grinned.
"Looks good on you."
Ianto raised one disbelieving eyebrow and looked down at himself. Clad in only the lower half of his striped pajamas and Jack's gray greatcoat, he did not look the picture of elegance and suavity that Jack usually did.
"It looks better on you."
Ianto blushed a little and seemed to forget what he was going to say.
Jack got up from the bed and walked over to him, moving like a cat might stalk a small bird. The fact that Jack had neglected to wear pajamas, of course, was just as distracting as his smile, but Ianto couldn't stop staring at his eyes.
"You'll get cold," he managed as Jack drew him close.
"Then come keep me warm," Jack answered.
"Mind telling me where that came from?" Ianto asked, and Jack at least had the grace to look sheepish when he turned around.
"Good answer," Ianto sad dryly and left the room.
Jack followed him but Ianto shrugged him off.
"Ianto! What's wrong?"
Ianto narrowed his eyes and shook his head.
"Are you serious? Look, Jack, just because you can't die doesn't mean you should waltz into trouble for the fun of it."
And then he left.
Jack watched him go, puzzled, and then he looked over at Gwen. She nodded toward his chest, and he looked down.
Spread across his chest and emanating from his heart, turning the grey material a sticky black, was a huge and unmistakable stain.
"Oh, yeah," Jack muttered.
It was coarse under his fingertips, rough against his lips, but that didn't stop him. He smiled into the arm Jack had slung about his shoulder and reached up to take Jack's hand, enjoying the warm hum of the whiskey they'd had as it moved through his veins.
"It's beautiful up here," he said quietly, and Jack pressed a kiss to his temple.
"Why do you think I spend so much time up here?"
"Sometimes you look like you think you could save the world if you just stared at it for long enough," Ianto answered, shivering slightly.
Jack let go of him, and Ianto was about to complain when he suddenly found himself enveloped from behind in Jack's huge greatcoat.
"Mmmm," Ianto murmured, and leaned back into Jack's chest. "That's better."
"Warmer, too," Jack noted, and smiled against the back of Ianto's neck.
"Really warm," Ianto agreed.
Ianto rested the palms of his hands, which were now both under Jack's coat, on the front of Jack's thighs and smiled languidly.
"So many little lights," he grinned.
"How much have you had?" Jack whispered, deliberately moving his lips against Ianto's ear, and Ianto closed his eyes and let his head loll back against Jack's shoulder with a soft sound of appreciation. "Too much?"
Ianto opened his eyes again and looked at Jack, turning his head to see him better.
"Enough," he answered, and kissed Jack softly. "I like it."
Jack gave him a mock frown.
"I'm not sure you can handle so much. Maybe you should rest."
Ianto ran one finger up the inside seam of Jack's right leg.
"I want to stay here."
He turned in Jack's arms and slung his own arms around Jack's neck to draw him down.
"Okay," Jack agreed.
When Jack got back to the hub late that evening, it looked like everyone had already gone home. All the unneeded lights were off, the coffee machine and the printer were off, and all of the computer screens that weren't monitoring 24/7 were on standby.
Jack sighed and considered going to his office. He wasn't supposed to be back from his undercover mission until tomorrow but he could finish some work.
He was halfway there when he changed his mind. The last thing he wanted to do at this time of night was start working.
Instead, he resolved to listen to some music in his room. He had descended the ladder and worked his way out of the corduroy suit jacket and waistcoat he was wearing when he noticed a shape in the darkness. He immediately went for his gun, but the shape moved and muttered something.
Quietly, Jack made his way over to one of the small wall-lamps and turned it up high enough so that he could see.
Ianto was lying, fast asleep, in Jack's bed, not only fully dressed aside from his shoes but also completely wrapped up in Jack's greatcoat. He had kept Jack's side of the bed clear and wasn't even using a pillow, but he had huddled right down into the coat and was doing his best to take comfort without disrupting anything Jack might want kept as it was.
"Ianto," Jack whispered and sat on the bed beside him, resting a hand on Ianto's shoulder. "Ianto, it's me."
Ianto stirred a little, but did not wake up.
Jack smiled and shook his head.
Then, as gently as he could manage, he shifted and lay down before lifting Ianto into his arms. When Jack slid his hands under the coat, Ianto returned the embrace without waking. Jack kissed the top of his head and settled down. Looking at Ianto now, sleeping in his coat and in his arms, he was reminded of something he had forgotten, once.
"Ianto," he whispered, and Ianto did not wake. "Up on the roof, before I left...I wanted to tell you..."
He brought his lips to Ianto's ear and hesitated, swallowed hard.
Ianto pulled him closer and twined their legs, and Jack held onto him with everything he could.
Tomorrow, no doubt, things would turn frantic again and they would have yet another problem to deal with.
But, until then, this, just the two of them, was enough.