Five Times Ianto Jones Could Have Died (and one time he did)

Notes: CoE-compliant. This is on the dark side for me, so be warned. A combination of some fic ideas I've had that were never written and an attempt to reconcile CoE.

Pairing: Jack/Ianto

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Torchwood and its characters are the property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies. I make no profit from this fanfic.

1. When his father pushes him so hard he goes flying off the swing, Ianto has a moment of feeling utterly free, unclaimed by earth or proprietary parental hands. Then his head cracks off the concrete edge of the playground. He never hears his father's horrified shout.

Five days later, his parents stand at the edge of the small grave and weep; an uncomprehending Rhiannon stares at the coffin, wondering how her little brother could suddenly just be gone.

2. The horrible thing about the Cybermen was that right up until they invaded, everyone thought the ghost shifts were some kind of good thing. Ianto didn't trust them, but Lisa would squeeze his hand and tell him he was being paranoid, a side effect of working for Torchwood.

When the battle opened up, the unlikely Cybermen and the equally improbable Daleks carelessly slaughtering everything (including each other) in their paths, Ianto went in search of Lisa. She'd been on one of the upper floors, delivering some reports, when the Cybermen came through. He took the emergency stairs and peered through the glass window of the door on each storey to orient himself.

On the fifty-second floor, a steel hand shoved the door open and dragged him through. Ianto screamed and fought against the Cyberman's grip to no avail. He thought he'd never seen anything so horrifying as the automated blades descending from the ceiling to the metal frame onto which he'd been strapped. That was before he saw his own skin and blood being cut away from him.

By the time Lisa found him, amid screams and smoke and the pitched battle that had drawn the Cybermen elsewhere, Ianto Jones was already dead. The Cyberman he had become begged her to save him, to keep him alive, and she believed the lie.

3. No matter how Jack kisses him, Ianto stays dead on the stone-cold Hub floor. What's the fucking point of all this life, Jack thinks to himself in anger as he sets Ianto's body gently down, if I can't do a goddamned thing with it? Reeling with fury, he storms after the Cyberwoman to expend his rage on her.

4. Jack burst triumphantly through the back wall of the abattoir with the tractor he'd found parked outside the tavern. It might not have been his most glorious rescue, but it got the job done. Only after he'd put bullets in kneecaps and brought down the entire village (apparently all of whom were perfectly comfortable hanging out in their own stinking slaughterhouse) did he realise that he'd been seconds too late to prevent Ianto's throat from being slit. The burly leader had succeeded in drawing the cleaver before anyone could stop him, and Ianto bled to death while Jack was subduing the village of cannibals.

Jack sat for hours with Ianto's body, shaking. Ianto was too young. Too young.

5. The girl lets out an unexpected scream and Ianto fires. The shot goes wide, shattering the plate-glass window behind the blowfish, and everything goes to hell at once. The blowfish whirls, pushing the girl away from him (she goes skidding to the floor, hands and knees lacerated by shards of glass, and Tosh darts forward to help her away), and shoots at Ianto. Owen's yelling and pushing up from the floor, grabbing at his gun--

Then a shot rings out from behind Ianto, startling him even more than the dull pain numbing his shoulder. The blowfish's brains spurt out the back of his head and fly back through the empty window. As the body collapses, Ianto turns. Jack stands there, the Webley still raised. He lowers it, grin fading when he sees Ianto. "Can't let you kids go anywhere, can I," he quips, and that's when Ianto's knees go out from under him.

"No," Jack gasps. He catches Ianto before he falls to the floor. "Ianto, no, stay with me, I've got you."

Owen's there in an instant, his hands still bloody from the other man's chest. "Where'd it get him," Owen is saying, pulling open Ianto's shirt. Ianto wants to tell him to stop getting blood all over his good suit, but he has a feeling it's a lost cause. Oh. There's quite a lot of blood. Apparently it wasn't his shoulder shot, then.

He's already starting to feel cold. Jack sucks in a sharp breath. "Come on, Ianto," he says, but his voice is shaking. "This is nothing. Just hold on until the ambulance gets here."

"Yeah, 999," he hears Gwen shouting in the background. "We've got two gunshot wounds to the chest, one is severe, the other stable, Grangetown--" Her voice, rattling off the address, grows fainter.

"S-severe," he says.

"You're gonna be fine," Jack tells him. "Just fine, Ianto."

"He needs blood," Owen says over Jack. "He's losing it fast. This has to be patched up now--"

His life is running out of him. Ianto doesn't mind. He got to see Jack again; that's all he really could have hoped for.

"Come on, Ianto," he hears Jack imploring him, his voice low. "Come on. I can't lose you. Not now."

"Sorry," he whispers. His hands are cold -- all of him is cold -- but he manages to touch Jack's cheek. Even if he can't feel it, he can see Jack does. Wetness slips down over Ianto's fingers. "Wanted to. Wanted to welcome you back properly."

Everything goes grey except for Jack's shining, tortured eyes. Then it's all gone to black.

6. Dying isn't so bad, Ianto thought, laid half over Jack's lap, cradled in his arms. It's almost like falling asleep. He has a hard time catching his breath, but that's all. He doesn't want to go, of course he wanted more: but he never had an unrealistic view of his life expectancy working for Torchwood, and at least he had a couple of good years with Jack. When the blackness finally claims him, he feels Jack's lips soft on his and knows that, even if Jack didn't say the words, he was loved.

Everything's black around him; there's nothing to touch, no sensation, no feeling of time passing. But Ianto is, still, somehow, and he understands now what Susie said when she said there was nothing beyond death. It's as if he's floating on water at night, but without the soothing motion of waves carrying him along. He's mildly comforted by the fact that he still exists, and that he can't sense anything moving with him in the darkness. Though he's never been religious (church never quite took with him), he'd never quite been able to embrace the concept of simply dissipating after death, losing consciousness, the unique spark of his own existence melting away.

The other presence, when he senses it, surprises him. Ianto doesn't have form anymore, not like what he's used to, but he reaches out as he would have with a hand and brushes it. There's a sense of startlement and then, even more unexpected, he's -- engulfed, for lack of a better word, by a warmth and familiar emotion that can only be...

"Jack," he says, or maybe just thinks it. Whatever he does, he feels Jack's smile. He can almost see Jack, if he concentrates on visualising him.

"Ianto." Jack's 'voice' is ragged. "Ah, God, Ianto. You're here."

"Not my first choice," Ianto says drily, and Jack's laugh rings out in the emptiness.

They can't embrace, not in the strictest physical sense, but Ianto thinks the image of a hug at Jack. It earns him another laugh, and he seems to feel the gentle press of Jack's lips, a kiss on the forehead.

"I can't stay," Jack murmurs. "I'm not really here now."

"I know," Ianto says. He tucks himself against Jack's presence nonetheless. "You're just visiting."

"At least I can still tak to you," Jack whispers.

"Jack." Ianto wishes he could swallow. Physical form always helped him deal with emotion. "You have to promise me something."

"Anything, Ianto," Jack says recklessly.

"You won't die needlessly just to see me here."

Jack's quiet for a long time. Ianto gives him a little mental nudge and Jack gives the equivalent of a sigh. "Jack," he says.

"I won't," Jack says. "I promise."

They stay together, floating together in the darkness, entangled as comfortably as they once lay after sex, until Jack gives a little unhappy shudder. "Going back," he mutters. "Can't stay."

"Go," Ianto whispers. He doesn't need to say more. He knows if he could see Jack, he'd be smiling ruefully. (And maybe they'll figure that out, someday, how to visualise form and body. To touch again--) "Love you," he adds, though it's unnecessary; it's still good to be able to say it and have it heard.

"I love you, too," Jack says, maybe for the same reason, and floats away from him.

Here, there is no time. Ianto is patient in the darkness.

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this page last updated on 9 september 2009