Disclaimer: Not mine, belongs to RTD and BBC. I just like to play with them.
Notes/spoilers: Story is set between "Cyberwoman" and "Small worlds".
Summary: Ianto is struggling with the loss of his girlfriend.
Beta: Many thanks to the fantastic help of veritas6_5
Word count: 2050
Warning! Serious Warning! This part may be triggery for panic attacs and might also be seen as offensive if you are catholic. That is why I decided to post both chapter 6 and 7 together.
It´s geting really grim so grab a teddybear and hold on tight.
Ianto rushed back to his flat and he was almost there when it came to him.
It was Father Mulligan. Ianto had been home alone, his sister was out with friends, and dad was at the pub just across the street. The priest had come around and he was friendly, as always. He asked Ianto to show him his room. And then, as he usually did, he let Ianto sit in his lap as they talked. It was a hot summer day and Father Mulligan told Ianto it would be okay to take his T-shirt off, and that’s when his dad had walked in. He had looked upset but Ianto didn’t know why. He told him to go outside and play because he needed to speak to the priest alone. Father Mulligan never came back after that. Ianto had never thought about it, but now the memories suddenly flooded back, and now he understood precisely what it had all been about.
He felt sick. And then it was as if something hit him in the chest like a sledgehammer. His heart was racing. He staggered as he reached for the wall to avoid falling, but it was too late. He sank to his knees and struggled to catch his breath one moment, and started hyperventilating the next.
A woman appeared, asking him all sorts of questions. His heart and his head felt like they were exploding all at once and he couldn’t understand what she was saying. A while later there where others, men dressed in bright yellow vests that helped him lie down on a gurney. He lost the concept of time and couldn’t control his muscles, they were twitching and cramping, and he could feel strong hands trying to push his shoulders and arms down. He was taken to an ambulance and driven to a hospital. Everything seemed to happen to someone else, he thought, as if it wasn’t him in his own body. Every fiber of his being was just panicking, and suddenly his head appeared to be filling up with fluffy clouds and he felt like he was falling deeper and deeper into them.
When he woke up, he found himself in a strange bed in a small room. But the walls weren’t walls at all, but curtains, or rather drapes. And then he noticed a familiar figure sitting in a chair, reading a newspaper. It was Jack. He cleared his throat and Jack looked up and a big smile came over his face.
“You´re awake.” he said.
“Jack! Where am I? What happened?” Ianto tried to sit up.
“Easy there,” he said, and gently pressed his hand against Ianto’s chest. “Relax. You’re in the hospital. The doctors say you had a severe panic attack. You’ve been given some meds and you’ll be fine. They did some tests just to rule out heart attack and stroke and… well… you just need to rest.”
“But… what are you doing here?”
“Remember that we installed a facial recognition program for the CCTV cameras? In case any member of the Torchwood team ever got in trouble, you know. I hadn’t gotten around to deleting yours, so I got a signal,” he pointed to his wrist strap, “on this, and that’s how I came to see you on screen as they carried you into an ambulance.”
“Oh… I see.” Ianto was actually thankful that he hadn’t woken up alone. “I’m glad you’re here,” he said. “I’ve got something I want to say to you.”
“Shh… it’s not necessary,” Jack touched Ianto’s cheek with his fingertips and smiled.
“But I want to,” Ianto persisted. “I need you to know… it wasn’t all an act. It may have started that way, but… I… I…”
“Ianto!” Jack interrupted him. “You’re on drugs right now so perhaps you should save it till another time?”
“No! Damn it, Jack! I’ve made such a mess of everything. So many bad choices. It’s all gone to hell. The only thing I really know for sure is this. I want to be with you!”
Just then Jacks phone rang. He made an excusing gesture at Ianto and answered. It was Gwen. Some report of a disturbance had come in and Jacks presence was needed.
“I´ll be right there.” he said and then he turned to Ianto.
“I have to go.” he smiled apologetically and headed for the door.
“Jack! Just tell me. Will you let me come back to Torchwood?”
“As far as I´m concerned you’ve just been on sick leave. Of course you can come back but I want you to take it easy to begin with. Half shifts. If you want to start tomorrow then don’t come in before noon. And that’s an order.” He tried to look stern but his smile was shining through.
“Got it.” Ianto nodded “Thank you Jack.”
“It´ll be good to have you back.”
Jack winked at him before he left. Ianto thought that was probably as close as Jack would ever come to say he´d been missing him. He wondered how things would be between them from now on. Their affair had been a deception and a fraud but somehow Jack had got under Ianto’s skin and even found a way into his heart. He wondered if Jack would take him back just as an employee or let him into his bed again. He couldn’t help hoping for the latter.
Ianto had to talk to a psychiatrist for an hour before the hospital would release him. He explained as best he could. About the loss of his girlfriend, the change of career, the need to talk to someone that had led him to the church and the old memory that had surfaced after going there. The psychiatrist said that it wasn’t at all strange that he’d suffered a panic attack. He suggested that Ianto should probably see a counselor for a while, and Ianto accepted. It seemed like the sensible thing to do after all.
At exactly twelve o´clock Ianto walked through the cogwheel door. Toshiko was the first to see him. She jumped up from her chair and rushed to meet him with a big hug.
“Ianto!” she said “Jack told us you´d be coming back! I´m so glad to see you!”
“Thank you Tosh. I´m glad to see you too.”
Owen came up behind her, smiled and slapped his upper arm.
“Hey you! Nice to have you back! Don’t say I told you but Jack has been in a foul mood ever since you left. I think he needs your…” he made a short pause and winked “…special brand of industrial strength coffee!”
“Right!” said Ianto and nodded “and where is our fearless leader then?”
“Conference room. Let´s go up.” said Tosh and sneaking her arm under his, she led him upstairs.
Gwen and Jack had just finished setting the table with nice plates, colorful napkins and even a bunch of flowers. Jack stood with his hands in his pockets but didn’t make a move to greet Ianto with anything other than his broad smile. Gwen however ran to Ianto and greeted him with a big hug.
“Ianto! I have baked a cake!”
“Well, no, actually, I bought it from the bakery, but it´s a very nice cake! Welcome back, Ianto. You have been missed!”
“I´ll second that” said Jack, and pulled out a chair for Ianto. “Come on everyone, dig in!”
Ianto was surprised and touched by the warm welcome he´d been given and once they had all settled down a bit he cleared his throat.
“I have something to say to all of you. I did something very bad. I lied and deceived you all, and put your lives at risk, and I don’t know what I have done to deserve all this,” he gestured over the table, “but I want you all to know that I am really, really sorry for everything.” Toshiko was just about to interrupt him, but he held up a hand and pressed on “It sounds terribly inadequate, but I hope you will be able to trust me again one day, and believe me when I say that I will never…”
“That´s enough, Ianto” said Owen. “I think we´re all aware of just how insane a person can get when one loses a loved one. I for one definitely do. But I think it´d be a best if we can all just put this issue behind us.”
“Well said, Owen!” Tosh, who was sitting closest to Ianto, took his hand. “It´s in the past. Now we move forward.”
Ianto glanced at Jack only to find him looking around the table at his team like a proud father.
“We are Torchwood,” he said. “there will be danger and trouble ahead but from now on we trust each other and we do whatever we can to deserve that trust.”
Once the little party was over every one went back to work. Jack reminded Ianto about a project he´d been working on with the database, and he spent the afternoon getting back into that. By six, Jack stuck his head out of his upstairs office, and told everyone to go home and they all did. Except Ianto. He had always loved staying in the hub after the others had gone. The stillness soothed him and he felt he needed some time to get familiar with the place again, alone, with nothing but the dull buzzing of the various machines. Jack seemed to have disappeared. Ianto thought about searching him out but he decided against it. Perhaps Jack needed to be alone; maybe he needed to make it clear to Ianto that things wouldn’t be the same between them. Whatever the reason, this was not the right time to make a move, Ianto thought.
Hours passed, and Ianto busied himself, checking on reports of strange weather patterns. All of sudden, Jack was just there. Ianto’s heart did a double flip at the sight of him. He´d taken his shirt off and was standing there in just his white T-shirt, braces hanging from his trousers.
“You shouldn’t be here.” Jack said.
Ianto struggled to keep a casual tone as he replied.
“Neither should you.”
The tension was almost unbearable, Ianto turned away to the computer so he wouldn’t have to bear Jack´s gaze, and that’s when it happened. Jack put his hand on Ianto’s shoulder. He felt like he´d been struck by lightning, and it took all of his effort to maintain his balance.
“What have you got there?” Jack asked and Ianto explained briefly. Then, with all the strength he could muster, he turned to face Jack.
“Are you all right sir?”
“Better, now that you’re here.” Jack let his hand rest on Ianto´s shoulder and took a tentative step closer.
“How about you?” his voice was a sibilant whisper.
“I´m…I´m…” Ianto stuttered. His mouth went dry as he looked into Jack´s eyes. They stood like that for what felt like an eternity, but wasn’t actually more than a few seconds and Ianto couldn’t take it anymore. He closed the gap between them and kissed Jack softly on the lips. He reached his arms around Jack´s waist and pulled him closer. The kiss deepened as their lips parted and Jack placed a hand on Ianto’s neck. Ianto´s heart was beating so hard he wondered if perhaps Jack could hear it.
“I´ve missed you, Jack,” he said. “I´ve missed us.” Jack nodded slowly and considered Ianto´s words.
“I don´t know if there is an_ “us”_ here yet, but let´s go out and get some dinner, shall we? Good enough for you?”
“Yeah!” said Ianto.
“And when we get back,” Jack continued, while moving his hands lower until he cupped Ianto´s arse “we might want to investigate some other things, like how much you used to enjoy this…”
“Yes, sir.” Ianto replied, carefully pressing his lips against Jack´s neck “or how much you used to enjoy this…”
He knew Jack, knew what he needed and what he wanted. He also knew they had plenty of time to find out what they were to one another. And he knew what was in his own heart, and he had to follow where it led him. Right back into Jack´s arms.