Pairings: Jack/Ianto, references to past Ianto/Lisa
Disclaimer: If I was the one who owned Torchwood, you think I'd admit it now?
Spoilers: Some information and events from s1,2. None for s3.
Summary: Lisa is gone, and Ianto is starting to move on with his life, but it isn't always as easy as it sounds.
Author's Note: Sequel to Guilt and Turning Point.
Thanks to: My sister angelzbabe1989 for stepping in as beta, morbid_sparks for all of her support and idea bouncing through the writing of this, and pinkfairy727 for cheerleading even when she doesn't know what happens.
For previous chapters see Master list for this fic
It was approaching lunchtime when Ianto tripped into the Hub, still slightly tired after the long day before. Jack was nowhere to be seen which, while far from unusual, was a little frustrating.
Ianto vaguely recalled being invited out to dinner – a proper date, a voice in his head said a little incredulously – shortly before he’d left to go home. If it had been real, he was absolutely certain in the agreement he’d given, but the trouble was, those last few minutes before leaving were somewhat fuzzy in his memory.
He wasn’t entirely sure the invitation wasn’t something he’d just dreamed up. And Jack didn’t seem to be here to ask.
While he waited, he fell back on the familiar, preparing the coffee machine so he could start it going as soon as anyone else appeared, and digging in the back of a cupboard to see if they still had some biscuits left.
He nearly cracked his head on the top of the cupboard when the alarms alerted him to the opening of the cog door; with an alacrity which felt vaguely embarrassing when he thought about it a moment later, he straightened and rounded the corner from the kitchen area so he could see the door. The rush felt yet more foolish when the figure that stepped through was Tosh, and not Jack.
“Morning, Tosh,” he called anyway. “Or, afternoon, just,” he added after a glance at his watch. “I was just about to start the coffee.”
‘Coffee’, it appeared, was the magic word, as Jack appeared moments later from… somewhere. It looked like he’d been almost underneath a section of the Rift manipulator, which seemed unlikely. Although not impossible.
He grinned at Ianto. “I hadn’t realised you’d come in,” he said, wiping his hands on his rather grubby looking T-shirt. “Or I’d have come to find you already.”
“Well, I’ve only been here ten minutes,” Ianto shrugged, making light of his own disappointment at the lack of Jack when he’d come in. “And Tosh literally just arrived.”
“Nevertheless,” Jack replied, rubbing at a smudge on his cheek.
Ianto nodded and stepped back into the kitchen, flicking the switch to start the coffee machine’s process. “Should be ready in a few more minutes,” he informed Tosh and Jack as they approached. “In the meantime.” He looked pointedly at the smears of grime across Jack’s clothing that became more obvious as he neared. “What have you been doing?”
Jack looked down at himself as if just noticing the state of his clothes. “Oh, well, I couldn’t sleep. So I thought I’d make a start on some of the more fiddly annual maintenance jobs that were needing done.”
Ianto leant forwards on his toes slowly. “Underneath the Rift manipulator,” he said, looking for confirmation.
“Yes, underneath the manipulator,” Jack responded, using a corner of his T-shirt to rub at a smudge just above his wrist. Ianto repressed the urge to hand him a cloth instead; the T-shirt would probably have to be tossed out anyway. There was no way some of those stains would come out properly.
“Anyway,” Jack continued, stopping closer. “Good morning.” He came closer still and Ianto could easily intuit his intentions.
“Afternoon, actually,” he said, taking a step back. “And you’re not coming anywhere near my clean suit until you’ve cleaned up.”
Jack frowned petulantly but dutifully backed away. Ianto looked back at the coffee machine; it still had at least another minute or two left to run before he’d be ready to dispense coffees. “Look, why don’t you go do that now.” He turned to Tosh. “And I’ll bring coffee down to both of your desks when it’s ready.”
Tosh grinned and bounded forward to hug him lightly – shooting a teasing smirk at Jack as she pulled back. “That would be great, Ianto, thanks.”
With that, they left him alone to finish sorting out the coffee. Looking again at his watch, he decided to skip looking for the biscuits – it would be time for lunch before they knew it anyway.
Neither Gwen nor Owen had appeared by the time he had finished pouring coffee into three mugs for himself, Tosh and Jack. A quick lean over a railing told him that Jack hadn’t quite managed to clean up and get back to his desk yet, but he put his mug on a tray with the other two anyway.
He could always chat to Tosh while he waited for Jack to reappear, after all.
Tosh smiled up at him as he rested on the edge of her desk, putting her coffee down beside him and glancing at the screen. It was covered in numbers and symbols, none of which meant all that much to him.
“Getting anywhere?” he asked mildly.
Tosh shrugged one shoulder and took a sip of her coffee. “It’s an update on my predictor program. I think it might almost be giving believable predictions, finally. Hopefully if what I’m doing now works, it will be a bit more reliable.”
Ianto nodded along, understanding her aim if not the details shown on her monitor. A thought struck him.
“So,” he said, forcing his tone to remain casual. “Ignoring the update for the moment… what is it predicting for this evening?”
Tosh smirked at him instead of answering. “Got special plans for this evening, then?” she asked mischievously.
“Yes, he does,” Jack answered, appearing at Ianto’s shoulder. “Unless he’s changed his mind.”
A brief look at Jack’s face told Ianto that, despite the flippant tone, Jack was actually genuinely unsure that Ianto wouldn’t have backed down on his agreement from the night before.
“If you’re still asking,” he assured him, twisting to face him a little more fully. “Then I’m still saying yes.”
The tension drained from Jack’s face, leaving only a smile which twinkled in his eyes. “Oh, I’m still asking,” he responded, a wicked gleam emerging in his eyes. “I’m definitely still asking.”
Ianto couldn’t help but smile back. “Good.” Suddenly remembering the third mug from the tray, he reached behind him and grasped it, holding it out to Jack without breaking gaze once.
“So,” Tosh said pointedly. Ianto blinked; he’d almost forgotten she was still there. “What are these mystery plans you have then?” She grinned. “Or is it some big secret and you can’t tell me?”
“No big secret,” Jack told her, pausing to take a long sip from his mug. “Just dinner. In an actual restaurant rather than takeaway in the Hub, for a change.” He shrugged one shoulder. “Rift permitting, of course.”
Tosh was beaming. “An actual date, you mean? You two?”
Ianto nodded, watching covertly to check that Jack was also making affirmative motions. “Yes.”
“So is this making it official?” Tosh continued. “Are you going public, or…?” She didn’t complete the sentence, but Ianto knew exactly what she meant. Unfortunately he wasn’t entirely sure of the answer.
“Erm…” he hesitated, scratching at the back of his neck with his free hand. “I don’t know if we’re really at the stage to…”
“It’s whatever Ianto wants it to be,” Jack said over the top of him, cutting him off.
Ianto stared at him in surprise. “But… don’t…?”
Jack blew out a breath. “Honestly, if it was just me… I’d be up on a rooftop shouting it to the world.”
Ianto half-chuckled. “You do like a good rooftop,” he murmured.
“But I’m happy with whatever you’re comfortable with,” Jack continued, giving no indication if he’d actually heard Ianto or not. “If you want to keep it quiet, just between the two – well, three of us, then that’s fine with me.”
Ianto wasn’t sure what to say. He didn’t really know what he felt. There was a part of him that just wanted it out there, that wanted to tell the masses. But there was also a part, no less vocal than the other, that was terrified of the idea of opening up their fledgling relationship to outside scrutiny.
He knew he wanted to be with Jack, he just wasn’t sure he was ready to hear some people’s opinions on that fact.
“I don’t know,” he eventually said quietly. “I think… Maybe not quite yet. I still need to… sort some things in my head.”
Jack smiled and nodded. “Okay.” He turned back to Tosh. “So… any predictions for whether the Rift will actually let us go on our date this evening?”
“Just give me a minute,” Tosh told him, turning back to her computer and bringing up a new window on a different monitor. Ianto stood up off the desk and turned around so he could watch what she was doing better.
The faintly wiggly lines she brought up a few moments later were vaguely familiar – they’d used somewhat similar data traces back when he and Tosh had been correlating Weevil incidents and patterns in Rift activity, a couple of months ago now – but didn’t really tell him much.
“Well, bearing in mind that this is still very much in the testing phase,” Tosh started after perusing the screen for a few moments, “I can tell you that the prediction is saying it should stay quite quiet.”
Ianto’s mind immediately started reminding him of all the weird things they’d faced recently that weren’t directly connected to the Rift at all. Its very presence seemed to attract alien attention to Cardiff – and very rarely those of species not bent on destruction.
“And if something else comes up,” Tosh went on before he even had a chance to voice his concerns, “then Gwen, Owen and I will handle it.” She shrugged. “Well, unless something unexpectedly huge comes up.”
“How will you…?” Ianto started, only to have Tosh anticipate his question once more and interrupt with the answer.
“I’ll think of something. How I explain to Owen and Gwen that we’re not calling either of you in is for me to worry about, not you.”
“No,” Tosh said firmly. “The only thing either of you will be worrying about is having a good time together, okay?”
Ianto resisted the urge to take a step backwards. Tosh could be quite fierce when she put her mind to it.
“Okay,” he capitulated, knowing even as he said it that it was at least partially a lie; he was fairly sure the thought would be there in the very back of his mind all evening no matter how much he ignored it.
He spent the rest of the afternoon in the archives, getting back on track with their organisation, trying not to worry about the possibility of the Rift spitting out something horrible between that moment and eight o’clock. Or of something particularly nasty showing up later that evening and cutting short the date he hadn’t known until that morning he wanted so much.
If it occurred to him that he was fretting about what the Rift might do to distract himself from agonising over the fact that was actually going on a date with Jack, he quickly dismissed the thought. The only thing that could possibly go wrong that evening was an alien attack, and that was how it was going to stay.
So lost was he in his musings and in the methodical sorting of file folders that it wasn’t until his phone buzzed in his pocket that he realised how much time had passed.
“What’s wrong?” he said, answering it. Wondering what had happened that Jack was phoning him from just upstairs.
“Nothing,” Jack replied, sounding a little bemused. “What makes you think something’s wrong?”
“Well, you phoning me, for one.”
“I’m only phoning because someone forgot to take his comms. down to the archives with him,” Jack said. Ianto could almost see the smirk on Jack’s face as he spoke. He swept a glance over his worktable and realised that Jack was right: he hadn’t brought his earpiece with him.
“So if nothing’s wrong, what do you want me for?” he asked.
“There are so many ways I could answer that,” Jack responded instantly, a hint of a tease in his tone. “But I’m actually calling because it’s nearly five o’clock and everything’s still quiet.”
Ianto cocked his head to the side. This was undoubtedly a good thing, but he still wasn’t sure why it warranted a phone call. “So?”
“So I’m sending you home to… do whatever it is that Ianto Jones does before a date.”
“Won’t that…?” Ianto started, only to be interrupted mid-question for the countless time that day; perhaps his lingering fatigue from the late night was making him too predictable.
“I’m sending everyone home, not just you. Tosh has rerouted the Rift alarm to her mobile, just in case.”
“Right,” Ianto breathed, clamping down firmly on the butterflies that had appeared in his belly. “I’ll just finish up here then and go home to… get ready.”
“Just see that you do,” Jack said, his tone light but his words clearly only partially in jest. “I’ll be picking you up at half past seven, and I don’t want to find you still here.”
“I promise, just a couple more folders to finish this drawer and I’ll go. Now leave me alone to finish this and go get ready yourself.”
Resolutely, he hung up and set about sorting the last few folders from this particular drawer – there really were, just as he’d told Jack, only a couple left.
He glanced at his watch as he shrugged his suit jacket back on on the way out of the archives. Five o’clock. Just two and a half hours to go.
Ianto paced his living room, trying desperately to calm his nerves. Logically, he knew there was no reason to suspect anything would go wrong. Yes, it had been over half a decade since he’d last been on a first date, but this wasn’t really a first date in the traditional sense of the word. He and Jack had already kissed – had already done a lot more than that, even. They already knew so much about each other.
None of it stopped his stomach from trying to climb its way into his throat as he waited. Another look at his watch told him it was still only 7.24. Barely a minute since the last time he’d checked.
He rather wished now that something had come up that afternoon – nothing big enough to actually derail their plans for tonight, of course. Just… something that would have taken up some time, something that would have made him later home. Something that would have left him less time to work himself into a nervous frenzy.
At 7.28 (and 36 seconds, not that Ianto had been checking obsessively or anything) his doorbell finally rang. Ianto closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, trying to compose himself enough to at least project a calm exterior.
Jack was shifting his weight from foot to foot when Ianto opened the door, a slightly tremulous smile on his face that said so much more than any of his usual grins. The clear display that Jack was just as apprehensive about tonight as he was soothed something inside him, and his heart hammered slightly more gently in his chest.
“Shall we go, then?” he asked after a few moments wherein Jack seemed to have fallen into a reverie staring at him.
Jack blinked and shook himself out of it. “Yes, yes,” he replied. “Let’s go.”
The drive to the restaurant was thankfully short and uncomfortably quiet. Ianto wanted to ask where they were going, but couldn’t push the words out through the oppressive silence.
Jack jumped out almost the moment he pulled into a space at the side of the road in front of a small, slightly faded, Italian restaurant. Ianto shook his shoulders and followed him, determined to shake off the awkwardness. There was no reason for it – he and Jack knew each other better than that – and he wasn’t going to let it carry on.
Actually following through on his resolve was harder than it seemed, however.
Jack, evidently, had made reservations, and they’d been shown immediately to a quiet table near the back of the restaurant. Ianto fiddled with the edges of his menu as he tried to think of something to say to break the tension.
He stole a glance at Jack over the top edge of the menu; he wasn’t looking at the menu at all, but instead seemed to be staring at a patch of floor just to the right of their table.
“This is ridiculous,” he blurted.
Jack frowned at him. “What is?”
Ianto dropped the menu to the table and waved between them. “This. Us. We’re acting like we’re suddenly strangers just because we’re on a date. We never usually have trouble finding something to talk about.” Just saying the words out loud felt freeing, a tight lump in his chest dissolving.
Jack chuckled wryly. “It’s been a long time since I was actually on a date. I think I’ve forgotten how to do it.”
Ianto didn’t want to think too hard about the last time he himself had been on a date; it had been longer ago than he’d like. He and Lisa had always meant to do them more often, but Torchwood had happened, and they’d put them off again and again. There’d be plenty of time later, they’d told themselves – how very wrong they’d been.
He looked across at the man on the other side of the table; he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. Jack had forever, but he didn’t, and he wasn’t going to waste what time he had left.
“I haven’t exactly been on the circuit myself for quite a while,” he eventually said. “If you get something wrong, I probably won’t even know it.”
“Depends how wrong I manage to get it,” Jack responded, but the light was back in his eyes, telling Ianto that he was just teasing now.
“Hmm…” Ianto tilted his head to the side and pretended to give the comment serious consideration. “You know, you may have a point there.” He smiled. “I’ve seen your interpersonal skills. You could make a real mess of this.”
Jack let his menu fall and pressed a hand to his throat, mouth open in mock affront. “Says the man tossing out insults on a first date.” The wide-eyed outrage fell away, leaving behind only a mischievous gleam. “And I’ll have you know that my interpersonal skills have never been found at fault.”
Ianto resisted rolling his eyes at the obvious response. Although he had to admit – to himself if not aloud – that going on his own experiences so far, Jack probably wasn’t lying. “If you say so,” he said, instead, picking up his menu again and turning his attention to the choices.
“Oh I most definitely say so.”
Ianto wondered, as Jack got out of the other side of the SUV back at his flat, if Jack knew already that Ianto had no intentions of letting him walk away that night with just a kiss at the door, or if he’d actually have to say something.
He’d already had to battle to get Jack to let him pay his share at the restaurant – it had taken a reminder that Jack was the one who’d pointed out not so long ago that Ianto wasn’t broke anymore before he’d relented. And even then it had clearly been reluctantly – it had made Ianto wonder for a moment just how long it had been since Jack had done the ‘dating’ thing.
Jack paused a couple of feet away as Ianto dug his keys from his pocket and unlocked the front door to his building. When he didn’t immediately follow Ianto through it, Ianto turned and leaned against the door, with what he hoped was an inviting look on his face.
It took a moment, but the smile that cracked across Jack’s face told Ianto that if he hadn’t known before, he definitely knew now, and Jack crowded behind him as they climbed the stairs to Ianto’s flat.
“You claimed your ‘interpersonal’ skills were faultless,” Ianto murmured as he pushed Jack back against the just-closed door. “I think I’m going to need a demonstration to prove it.”
Jack strained forward against Ianto’s grip, tugging on his bottom lip with his teeth until Ianto fell into the kiss. Ianto let his eyes close as the liplock turned heated, higher brain functions beginning to shut down as they melted together.
“How’s that for proof?” Jack said throatily as they broke for air, his eyes dark with desire.
“I don’t know…” Ianto breathed. “It’s a good start, but I think I’m going to need a little more.”
Almost before his next breath, Ianto found himself hustled backwards across the room, Jack growling in his ear between kisses. “Oh I can definitely do more.”
Fingers itching for skin, Ianto pushed at Jack’s shoulders, dislodging the coat but not by far; he batted at Jack’s hands until he lowered them enough to let the coat fall to the floor at their feet, pushing his braces out of the way while he was at it.
Distracted by working the buttons of Jack’s dark silky shirt, he barely noticed his own shirt being unbuttoned until smooth fingertips stroked down his chest, leaving trails of heat behind them.
His hands stalled on the button they’d been fighting as he swayed a little with the sensations. He drifted a little hazily until Jack caught his side, eliciting an unexpected snort of laughter as he brushed over a ticklish spot.
Their eyes met as Ianto recovered, and Ianto was caught by the sheer intensity in Jack’s gaze. “Bed,” he choked out, breaking away to walk backwards towards the bedroom door, shedding his own shirt as he went.
Following his example, Jack had finished unbuttoning his shirt and had pulled his T-shirt off too by the time he reached Ianto just inside the bedroom.
Not trusting his trembling hands with any further attempts to undress Jack, Ianto started in on his own trousers, toeing off his shoes as he did so.
He shuffled carefully backwards, eyes locked on Jack, trying not to trip over anything (including his own feet) as Jack unselfconsciously shed all of his remaining clothes. Ianto gorged on the view, heat pooling in his belly as he perched on the edge and tossed away the last of his underwear.
If the speed at which Jack made it across the room after that was anything to go on, Jack was as turned on by the view as Ianto was.
He didn’t have long to savour it, but the feel of Jack’s skin all along his own as they crashed back together onto the bed more than made up for it. Hands trailed across any patch of skin they could reach, and the kisses grew wilder and sloppier as the passion rose.
The increasingly frantic grind proving not enough, Ianto wriggled until he could flip them over, pinning Jack back into the mattress. Jack put up a token struggle, but Ianto could tell he wasn’t really protesting the change.
Pulling back a little, he indulged a fantasy he’d had for longer than he’d like to admit even to himself, tasting his way down Jack’s neck and to his chest, alternating nibbling kisses with soothing licks. The salty taste of sweat and Jack tingled on his tongue, and Jack’s soft whimpers of pleasure rushed in his ears.
He slid lower on the bed, only one target in his mind, but was halted when Jack gripped his shoulder before he could reach his destination.
“Are you sure you want to?” Jack rasped.
Ianto raised his head and stared at him incredulously. “Do I look unsure?”
Jack frowned as if the question was taxing him – if his brain was as hazy as Ianto’s, then he figured that it could be. “Well, no,” he conceded. “But I don’t want you to have regrets. The first time you…”
“Jack,” Ianto interrupted, grinning. “I thought I told you the other day but maybe not. There are a few things – well, a lot of things, really – that I haven’t done with another man, but this? This is not one of them, so shut up and enjoy it.”
Much to Ianto’s pleased amazement, he did.
As always, comments and concrit are loved!