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, although it takes place pre-S1.
Summary: Why didn't you tell us? We could have helped you. - Well, what if he did?
This chapter: Will Ianto open up to Jack about his past?
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 Note: Look! An actual final number of chapters! The reason for this is that, as of earlier today, this fic is actually complete. Given that, I have a question for all my lovely readers: Do you want me to keep posting just 2 chapters per week, or up that to 3 or 4? Note that if you vote for more chapters per week, there will be a MUCH longer gap between the end of this fic and the start of the sequel. Let me know in the comments, and I'll go with whatever the majority want.
Fic starts here
Previous chapters at my master list
With no information coming to him from his recollection of Ianto’s file, Jack wanted to ask for more details, but knew that if he pushed, there was a strong possibility Ianto would clam up and not say anything more. Instead, he stayed silent, trying his level best to look open and sympathetic; someone Ianto could talk to about this, if he needed to.
For several long moments, it looked like Ianto wasn’t going to elaborate on his statement anyway.
When his voice finally sounded in the quiet room again, it was soft, almost tentative. “He…uh… died… when I was fourteen.”
Jack no longer needed to expend any effort to look sympathetic; the expression was completely genuine. He knew all too well what it was like to be in that situation. “Yeah?”
Ianto nodded absently. “He…he was in the hospital for a while first. We went to visit him every day, but all I can remember now from the visits is being in the hospital. The sounds, the smells, just the feel of the place. I hated it, but I couldn’t not go.”
His looked away, his eyes fixing on the window at the other side of the room. “Every day, we hoped they would have good news for us; that we’d go in and they’d say he was getting better and could go home soon. But he wasn’t… he just kept getting worse until…” His voice broke off and he stifled a sniffle.
Jack placed a warm palm on Ianto’s forearm, hoping Ianto could take some small comfort from the contact.
He started to cough a little when he attempted to take a deep calming breath, his remaining chest injuries making themselves known.
Jack rubbed Ianto’s arm soothingly. “It’s okay, Ianto. Just calm down, you’ll be alright.”
Ianto looked at him gratefully as he began to get his breath back. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to fall apart on you there, I just…”
“Ianto, stop,” Jack interrupted. “You don’t need to apologise for getting upset sometimes, especially not about something like that. I know how hard it is to lose a parent like that, and you haven’t even…”
“How old were you?” Ianto cut in abruptly. For a few seconds, Jack was confused – how old was he when what? – but then it dawned on him.
He vacillated for a very long moment over whether to tell Ianto the truth – tell him the story (or an edited version of it anyway). He hadn’t told anyone any truly significant personal details or life experiences for such a long time.
Ianto was the first person in decades that’d even been told when he was from, and even that had been somewhat obliquely. Jack wasn’t even sure if Ianto remembered it, or believed it if he did.
“Thirteen,” he answered eventually, almost absently, his gaze drifting away from Ianto. His mind had taken him back to that fateful day - the invasion that had come over so suddenly, running, running. Losing Gray. A wave of shame swept over him as he realised how long it had been since he’d truly thought of the fate of his brother. Finding his father, back at the house…
“There was a war,” he said quietly. “The attack that day came so suddenly, and then there was nothing to be done. He was gone.”
He felt a supportive squeeze around his hand; lost in memory, he hadn’t even noticed Ianto sliding his arm out from under his palm. The grip was weak, but the sentiment was strong. Jack stifled an exclamation at the thought that Ianto was still trying to take care of everyone else, even in his current situation.
“It was a long time ago,” he told the younger man, turning his hand over to squeeze back very gently in acknowledgement of the offered support. “A very long time, actually, and I probably wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t happened. Everything changed for me after that day, and it set me on the path that eventually led me to Torchwood.”
Ianto attempted a humourless laugh, but it only resulted in another minor spluttering fit.
“Yes,” he breathed, when he had recovered. “Mine too.”
All comments and concrit welcomed! (Comments = Love <3)