Five Times

Notes: I really thought when I came up with this concept that it'd just be smut. I sort of want to apologize that it isn't. Spoilers through the entire series.

Rating: PG

Pairing: Jack/Ianto

Disclaimer: Torchwood is the property of the BBC. This is a non-profit work of fanfiction.

1. The pterodactyl becomes his responsibility straightaway.

Jack Harkness, Ianto is swiftly coming to learn, is a man of many ideas and even more distractions, as evidenced by the messiness of his office on the brief tour of the Hub Ianto receives on his first day. After said tour, Ianto is dispatched to clean up and restock the Tourist Centre. In between bouts of cleaning and shooing away tourists who take the open door as a hopeful sign that the Centre is actually open, Ianto researches reptiles on the Internet. He has no idea what pterodactyls might subsist on; the dark chocolate was a lucky find, but it can't possibly have any nutritional value.

Once he's decided on both a diet plan and a feeding schedule, he closes up the office and heads down into the Hub. The others have left, even Toshiko, whom Ianto can already tell is a chronic workaholic. "Captain Harkness?" Ianto calls, looking up to the boardroom, across to Harkness's office.

"Up here!" Jack's head emerges from a pipe well above the upper level of the Hub. A rickety ladder, propped on the gantry, must be how he got up there. Ianto shivers a little: better him than me, he thinks.

"What are you doing?" Ianto calls as he starts up the stairs to the upper level.

"Cleaning out a place for her to nest," Jack says. "Hold the ladder, will you? I'm coming down."

Ianto dutifully holds the ladder steady while Jack climbs down; Jack jumps when he's at the third rung from the bottom, making the ladder shudder convulsively. He gives Ianto a grin and reaches to steady the ladder. "You look like you're going to be sick," Jack comments.

"Not a big fan of heights," Ianto admits.

"Well, I don't think you'll have to climb up there to feed her," Jack says. "You have some idea what she'll be eating?"

Ianto wonders if every single keystroke he made was logged. He does his best to keep his reaction to a blank nod. "I've made up a diet plan, sir."

"Good." Jack claps Ianto's shoulder. Ianto feels the heat of Jack's hand there, but does his best to suppress his reaction. It doesn't entirely work; he sees the speculative look Jack gives him. Jack only smiles, though, saying, "Go on and head out of here if you want. I'll order her food."

Ianto shakes his head. "I'll take care of it before I go." Jack quirks an eyebrow at him, but nods, brushing his hands off as he heads back for the stairs. Ianto breathes a relieved sigh, then starts to take the ladder down. If he's going to figure out where to hide Lisa, he needs to know where everything in the Hub goes; no time like the present to start.

As for distracting Jack while he does that, well, that'll be no trouble at all.

2. Ianto likes to come in early. It's not to see Jack, who's always there (well, not only), but because he likes being in the Hub when it's quiet and he's the only one moving aside from the pterodactyl, who acquired the name of Myfanwy a few weeks after her installation. It's only been six weeks since -- since Lisa, that's how he thinks of the end of everything with her. Since his suspension and subsequent return, Ianto cherishes the quiet time more than ever. He can clean, start the coffee brewing, make sure everything's in order.

The coffee became a routine with Jack not long after Ianto started at Torchwood. Ianto had brewed his first pot of the morning and, while it bubbled to itself, went to clean up some files left in a mess all over Owen's desk, when he glanced up and saw Jack emerging from his office, rumpled and sleepy-looking in a plain white t-shirt and what looked like the same trousers from yesterday, only more wrinkled. "Coffee?" Jack asked, sounding young and hopeful. Ianto gave him a completely bland smile and went to get it.

Today, he's got the mug ready on Jack's desk for when he climbs up from what Ianto likes to think of as Jack's underground lair (though he knows it's not much more than a hole with a bed). He takes some folders left on the desk for re-filing and is halfway out the door when he hears Jack say his name. Ianto turns. Jack's standing at his desk in only a pair of striped pyjama bottoms. He holds the mug under his nose and breathes in the rich aroma.

Ianto feels something squeeze tight in his chest. It's not just enjoyment of the way Jack appreciates his coffee. Jack treats the first cup like a sacrament, something to be savoured, worth lingering over.

"Have I ever told you," Jack says quietly, "how much I love your coffee?"

Ianto manages to smile, shaking his head. "Not more than once a day, sir."

"Well, I do." Jack gives him a wolfish grin and inhales, then sips. He's a connoisseur, a true java aficionado. "Someday," Jack comments, "you'll have to tell me how you do it."

Ianto realises that he's been caught staring at Jack. In the dim light from without, Jack's skin is dappled in shadow; only the bright blue hues of his monitor's screensaver illuminate him with any definition. Jack's smile turns predatory.

It hasn't been that long since Lisa: several weeks, three dead bodies, one broken heart. But when Jack holds out a hand to him, Ianto goes willingly.

He will never drink coffee without thinking of Jack's smile again.

3. When Gwen falls asleep sprawled half over Jack's body, Ianto leaves the desk where he's been sitting with an eye on the CCTV to go downstairs. He lifts her up -- she's terribly light -- and carries her back upstairs to lay her down on the couch in what passes for their lounge area.

"I can't leave Jack," she mumbles, as Ianto spreads a blanket over her. "I can't leave him alone."

"He won't be alone," Ianto tells her. He smooths the hair back from her forehead and then retraces his steps downstairs. Tosh and Owen left hours ago. Ianto can't leave; his flat is empty and barren enough, and Jack's ghost would only fill up every corner.

He sits on the vacated stool next to the drawer where Jack's body rests. Jack is slack and pale in death. If he is dead. Gwen's conviction that Jack will return may have failed to possess Owen or Tosh, but Ianto looks at Jack and refuses to believe he's gone. Jack stood up after being shot point-blank tonight. They saw him rise; Ianto felt the blood on his shirt as he helped him out of the exploding Hub. But this is a stillness Jack has never possessed.

Ianto holds Jack's cold hand between both of his and watches him. Jack's face is almost seraphic; only his devilish eyebrows give the lie to that image. Ianto's never seen him so pale. Ianto hardly knows him at all.

He already cried, earlier, while he was attempting to clean up Jack's office. The effort was abandoned as soon as he reached for Jack's coat. Tosh found him in there later, with the coat wrapped around him for comfort, and gently encouraged him to hang it back up and have some tea. Now, Ianto watches Jack with sad but dry eyes. If Jack does wake up again, Ianto doesn't want him to think he's been weeping over him like a schoolgirl.

4. Even though Jack asked him out on a date (what a fucking ridiculous concept, Jack dating, about on par with the man picking up his own clothes or washing a dish), Ianto's not surprised when Jack corners him in the armoury the following night. Ianto's cleaning weapons to put them away; Jack just comes up behind him, body pressing against Ianto's, and whispers in his ear, "So, I was thinking."

"Hope you didn't strain anything, sir," Ianto says. Jack growls, grabs his hips, and gives him a brief backwards pull. The cleaning implements in Ianto's hands clatter to the table. Ianto can feel a familiar hardness pressed into his ass and he makes a little keening sound despite himself.

"I was thinking," Jack repeats, his voice softer but no less intent. "We could get out of here and I could show you a night on the town."

"Dinner and dancing?" Ianto asks. His fingers clutch the edge of the workspace.

"Whatever your heart desires." Jack says it expansively, but the fact that he hasn't let go of Ianto's hips makes his agenda fairly clear. Ianto has a pretty clear image in his head of how things could go. He could turn around, tell Jack that he wants to be formal and take it slow, like they've never had a chance to do. Jack would respect that; he really thinks Jack's capable of that. Or Ianto could just let Jack do what he clearly wants to.

Or both could happen, he thinks with a slow grin. He looks over his shoulder at Jack, his eyes mischievous. "I think you could be doing something other than talking right now," he says.

Jack sucks in a breath and starts stripping. Ianto's never been more glad everyone else is gone.

5. Ianto is well aware that he actually knows very little about Jack. The wild stories and sexcapade boasts are nothing; he can shrug those off without even thinking about it. He's used to friends who regularly come up with varying tales of infamous behaviour, each one less likely than the last. And he doesn't really mind that very few concrete facts about Jack have come to light over the years since his employment with Torchwood Three began. Honestly, it doesn't bother him. (Though he does sometimes wish he knew Jack's real name.)

What gets to him, though, what always reminds him of the distance between them, is the way Jack doesn't sleep. He says casually that he doesn't need to sleep as much anymore, that it's just not necessary for him these days. Still, when Ianto wakes in the small bed under Jack's office and finds himself alone, wrapped around a pillow instead of Jack, the rest of the bed cool and empty, he aches. He misses waking up next to Lisa sometimes, only because she wouldn't get up in the middle of the night and not return.

Sometimes, Ianto tugs on a pair of Jack's boxers and wanders through the Hub until he finds Jack. Jack might be anywhere: doing paperwork in his office, feeding the resident Weevils, going over reports in the morgue. When Ianto locates him, Jack invariably grins, makes a lecherous comment about how much he loves seeing Ianto in his clothes, and abandons whatever activity he's involved in to devote his attention to Ianto.

But Ianto still wakes alone.

5a. John Hart lingers in the Hub entirely too long for Ianto's peace of mind. He tries hard not to hover, but when he hears the voices in the autopsy bay, he quietly edges over to hear the conversation. While he's relieved to hear that Jack doesn't want Hart anywhere near Torchwood, Hart's continued possessiveness toward Jack makes Ianto bridle. Especially when Hart kisses Jack on the cheek again.

Ianto's standing by Jack's office when Hart comes up the stairs from the bay. He tips Ianto a lazy smile. "Don't worry," he says, "I'm not stealing your boyfriend."

Though Ianto fumes, he reins in his tongue. He waits until Hart has left, idly watching the CCTV on Tosh's monitor to be sure Hart has exited the Hub, and then turns to look into the autopsy bay. Jack is still standing by the closed drawer in which he's stored Gray's body.

"Jack?" Ianto says, and Jack looks up at him. His eyes are dark, but his smile seems genuine.

"Can we get out of here?" Jack says. "I don't care where we go, just somewhere that's... not here."

Ianto smiles softly and nods. "Of course."

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this page last updated on 20 april 2009