Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine. No matter how much I sometimes wish it was.
Spoilers: Better say everything through s2, just to be sure. Begins pre-S1.
Summary: Can Jack help Ianto deal with things? And how can Tosh help?
Thanks to: My beta cazmalfoy for all her wonderful work, and my cheerleaders angelzbabe1989 and piper08 for putting up with me when I whine about being stuck.
Author's Notes: Voting closes soon at Children Of Time - Brokeback Manor is nominated in the AU category - go vote for your faves!
Fic starts here
Previous chapters at my master list
That evening, Jack found Ianto in much the same position he’d been on that night three weeks ago – although it felt like a lot longer ago than that.
On anyone else, Jack would have called the pose – slumped shoulders, tense neck and unseeing stare – utterly defeated, but, as he’d seen in the weeks since he’d first met the young Welshman, Ianto was made of tougher stuff than that.
That didn’t mean, however, that he mightn’t need help. Remembering his previous offer to talk – hoping Ianto did too, if he needed it – he sat down on the other end of the sofa. For a long moment, it didn’t seem like Ianto had even registered his presence, but then his head turned, his gaze falling momentarily on Jack before dropping to fix on the grating beneath their feet again.
There was another long silence before Jack spoke.
“How are you, Ianto?”
At first Jack wasn’t sure he’d even been heard, as no answer seemed to be forthcoming. Several minutes later, however, Ianto spoke, answering the question as if no time had passed at all since its asking.
“I’m ok, sir.”
Jack raised a sceptical eyebrow, but chose not to argue, simply stating. “Jack.”
“I’m ok, Jack,” Ianto dutifully repeated, his voice tired and emotionless.
Jack sighed almost imperceptibly and tried a slightly different tack. “And Lisa?”
Ianto took a steadying breath, and paused before answering, as if considering how much to give away. “Sleeping, for now.”
Jack waited, sensing that Ianto was teetering on the edge of saying something more.
When the words finally reached his ears, Ianto was still locked in a staring competition with the floor, and his voice was quiet and faraway.
“I couldn’t talk to her about it, I can’t.”
Jack shifted fractionally closer, his head tilting to look at Ianto. “About what, Ianto?” His voice was soft, but Ianto still startled a little as he realised he’d spoken aloud. He lifted his head and met Jack’s concerned gaze. Jack could see the indecision in his eyes as he considered whether to answer.
“About how worried I was during the operation. How scared I was when she wasn’t breathing. How scared I am all the time that she’s not going to make it.” Ianto’s words came out in a torrent as he finally released some of the tension that had been building inside him for days, weeks, even months.
Jack edged a little closer again. Not so close as to crowd him, but close enough to just be there.
Ianto’s eyes, which had dropped to the sofa between them as his rushed words came to an end, met his again. “I just couldn’t, Jack, couldn’t do that to her.”
“Couldn’t do what?” Jack prompted gently, hoping it would help Ianto to get it all off his chest.
Ianto’s eyes were blazing as they remained fixed on him. “I couldn’t burden her with that. Not when she has so much more to worry about. She doesn’t need to add worrying about upsetting me.”
He scoffed at himself a little. “I mean, look at me. Compared to Lisa, what problems do I have, really? Everything I’m worried about involves her problems, and she doesn’t need me bloody whining about that to her.”
Jack, for once, sat silently, just letting Ianto rant. Letting him vent. He knew now that he’d been right all those weeks ago. Ianto needed someone to talk to, and he didn’t know how he’d survived this long without someone.
As if he had read his mind, Ianto’s next words answered his question. “Before, I’d been talking to her when she was asleep, or unconscious. When she couldn’t really hear what I was telling her. I got so used to it, and I even managed to rationalise it to myself when I realised I liked it. But I can’t do that now, not anymore.”
He sighed and looked away, staring across the Hub. When he spoke again, it was if the words were forcing their way out against his will. “I think I might have come to rely on those talks though, one-sided as they were. I just don’t know…”
Jack placed a hand on his shoulder and waited for Ianto to turn back to him.
“You can talk to me.” He meant the words with every fibre of his being. “Anytime you need to, whatever it is, wherever I am, you can talk to me.”
* * *
Ianto sighed as they moved onto the next person on the list. Lisa was sleeping, the Rift was quiet, and he and Tosh were continuing their search for someone who might be able to give them a little more expert guidance on Lisa’s treatment.
He was trying not to, but Ianto was beginning to lose hope.
They’d already worked through a significant portion of the list during the two weeks between the scan and Tosh remembering the artefact, and so far, nothing had come of it.
Tosh tapped the next name into a few different searches and, as they’d done with every previous name, they perused the results together.
It only took about ten minutes to realise that, although the woman in question had looked hopeful at first, she wasn’t going to be any more help than the growing list they had already discarded.
“This is hopeless,” he mumbled, dropping the list onto Tosh’s desk. “We’re never going to find someone.”
Tosh spun in her chair to face him. “Don’t say that, Ianto. Keep the faith.”
Her expression was earnest as she patted him a little awkwardly on the arm and picked up the discarded list. “The next name could be the one we’re looking for, you never know. You can’t give up.”
Bowing to the pressure, Ianto accepted the list back and scored out the name of the last person they’d checked.
“So, who’s next?” Tosh asked, her fingers poised again on the keyboard.
“A Dr. Tanizaki, from Japan.”
All comments and concrit welcomed! (Comments = Love <3)