sariagray: (TW: Ianto and Some Clouds)
[personal profile] sariagray
Title: Whispered in the Dark
Author: [livejournal.com profile] sariagray
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Mentions of Ianto/Lisa, Team
Word Count: ~1600
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Countrycide
Warnings: Language
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood, its characters, or its environs, nor do I receive any monetary gain.
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] analineblue <3
Summary: In which Ianto thinks, Jack prevaricates, Gwen prods, and then cannibals happen.
Author's Note: [livejournal.com profile] beesandbrews posted that she really wanted to read “an internal monologue….From Ianto: "What do I do if he says me?"” from the “Who did you last snog?” moment in Countrycide. This…may have gone a little off-track, but here it is. Finally.

Whispered in the Dark


Ianto digs his toe under the corner of a rock and nudges until it flips over, revealing dark, wet soil. He shifts it a little, back and forth, and watches the way the dirt falls off the uneven surface of the stone. He kicks at it until it creates a good sized divot, the grass and earth coming up in a perfect misshapen clump.

No one notices. Or if they do, they don’t seem to care.

It’s not too cold yet, but it’s windy and the wind brings a chill that gnaws right through his jacket. Well. It’s not even his jacket, but Jack’s. At least, he thinks it is. Jack had thrown it at him as they were leaving. “Gets cold up there,” he’d said. Maybe it belonged to some one-night stand lost to the annals of time, and he hates the way that thought makes him shiver more than the wind.

Jack’s in the SUV now, separate and superior sitting on plush leather seats while the rest of them grab respite on camp beds and mismatched crates. Perhaps he feels disconnected. Ianto thinks of joining him, of taking away some of that loneliness that the Captain seems to wrap around himself like a security blanket, but that’s a line he’s not ready to cross. Besides, Ianto’d feel just as out of place there as he does here and walking over requires an effort he’s far too tired to make.

Ianto likes the scent of grass and earth and stone, the cool freshness of it, and the way it reminds him of centuries. Time had threaded itself into these mountains like the bands and seams of the rocks themselves. It wouldn’t appeal to someone like Owen, he knows, or even Toshiko, but he’d seen Gwen’s eyes light up at the sight of the rolling green hills as they rode up here, and Jack had looked around like he was greeting something familiar.

It doesn’t matter, though. He stamps on the rock, shoving it back into the ground, and glances up. There is a tension to the air that he hadn’t noticed before and he listens for a moment. Their voices compete with the whine of wind in his ears, all meaningless and petty and full of faux-grief. His stomach clenches painfully.

“It was complicated,” Gwen says and fixes Owen with a look.

Ianto puts two and two together rather quickly, and then remembers why they were all gathered around in the first place. His stomach clenches again.

In normal circumstances, he wouldn’t mind. Sure, the “last person you snogged” game is childish, but it’s relatively harmless and silly (and Torchwood could certainly do with a bit of both now and then). Until you start kissing the man, your boss, who killed your girlfriend, just weeks after, of course. Well, fuck. Then it just becomes some Freudian horror show.

And if they’re all shocked and uncomfortable at Owen’s revelation…well, he’s just glad that Jack prevaricates so well. Ask the man what he had for breakfast, and he’d probably misdirect you, no matter how innocuous. The problem is, Ianto knows perfectly well that he’s the last person Jack kissed.

As kisses go, it was fairly innocent. They had all been tentative and chaste lately, ever since his suspension ended; a soft press of lips here and there that led nowhere. Neither of them seemed to know what they wanted from each other, but they wanted all the same. That morning had found Ianto in the Hub even earlier than usual, pulling boxes and bags from storage and sorting through each to make sure they contained functional equipment. When he was almost finished, Jack had bounded in to do his own thorough check, ever the considerate leader. Upon finding everything in order, he’d pressed a hand to Ianto’s shoulder in gratitude and, at the last second, leaned forward and kissed him.

That was seven hours ago, maybe a little more, and while Jack may have kissed someone else since then, there were only three other options. Three other people who had already answered the question with names other than “Jack.” He’s a little surprised at how relieved he feels.

There’s a war inside him, too. Ianto needs Jack to deny, to misdirect, to put a stop to this completely. But what he wants is, as usual, an entirely different thing. There’s a part of him, small and contrary and dangerous, that wants Jack to claim him. It’s the bloody fool romantic part of him, he knows, only exacerbated by being on a cloudy windswept mountain.

That part of him, tiny and inconsequential, is willing to risk the blowout that would follow such an admission. His sensible self is decidedly not. He watches Jack take a seat with them, near Owen.

“Jack?” Owen asks.

Ianto can tell that the question is meant to relieve some of the building pressure, and it would have been wildly successful if it didn’t create an anxiety of its own. The wind has slowed down a bit, as though it has a vested interest in hearing Jack’s answer, too. His heart beats rapidly, and he wants to tear it out of his chest as punishment for its betrayal.

“Are we including non-human life forms?”

It’s hard not to laugh, at least a little, at the complete innocent expression on Jack’s face. It may not even be a misdirection; for all Ianto knows, Jack kissed a hearty oak or ash or roan an hour ago. He’s grateful, he really is, for how discrete Jack can be. It’s good, a very good thing, and he’s grateful.

He has to look down, though, away from Jack, because for some reason, his stomach seems to have plummeted. And it fucking hurts, which bothers him more than the hurt itself. Jack laughs, and Ianto knows that if he looks up, their eyes will meet. He doesn’t look up, though, afraid of what he’ll see there. Instead, he starts by speaking to the ground.

“It’s my turn, is it?” he asks.

He can still feel the laughter in the air, its willingness to bubble over again at the slightest provocation. Killing it feels like the most wonderful idea. He looks at Gwen and Toshiko, because it’s easier, and if he looks at Owen, he’ll see Jack, too.

“It was Lisa.”

It wasn’t meant to be quite so vindictive, but a thrill of pleasure travels through him at the venom in his own voice. It feels good, soothing and exhilarating at the same time, like the addictive feeling of letting rage take over.

Gwen’s eyes go wide. “Ianto, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry she’s dead or sorry you mentioned it?”

“I just didn’t think.”

“You forgot.”

And he smiles, because he’s almost glad she forgot. They all have, really, and that’s the strongest sign of forgiveness that he’s ever going to get.

Gwen and Owen get up to collect firewood (which Ianto’s fairly sure is euphemistic) and Ianto’s resistance to Jack’s stare finally crumbles. He meets his eyes and has to brace himself against the anger and the pain. As if Jack has a right to feel either of those things. He glares back and then turns away, because that damned piece of him wants to cross over, grab Jack’s hands, and kiss apologies into his skin. Which is a bit stupid and a lot ridiculous and completely unnecessary, anyway.

****

It’s dark when he’s finally lain out on his own bed, the mattress soft against his battered body. He’s not sure if it’s night, or if the curtains are drawn, or if it even matters. It’s dark, and he’s being urged to rest, and it just feels so good.

His muscles aren’t working properly, heavy with both abuse and deliciously numbing medicine. He attempts to raise his head and gives up, letting it drop back down onto the pillow.

“Don’t you want to change?”

Ianto closes his eyes defiantly.

“Let me take off your shoes, at least.”

Ianto would shrug if he had the energy, but he doesn’t, so he grunts. He wonders, briefly, what Jack is still doing in his bedroom. He feels his leg lift a bit, but it’s hazy and insubstantial. He opens his eyes and, once they adjust, he sees that Jack is carefully undoing his laces. That shouldn’t make him as happy as it does; he blames the pills Owen shoved down his throat.

“You’re an idiot,” Jack says and rubs his foot lightly. Ianto can’t feel it quite as well as he wishes he could. “I was trying to protect you.”

“You did. Saved the day.” His mouth aches.

Jack shakes his head. “No, when…forget it. Get some sleep.” He stands and crosses the room, then pauses at the doorway. “Do you want me to stay?”

Ianto tries to smile. Jack probably has equity in his sofa at this point. He’d spent enough time there during Ianto’s suspension that the cushions are possibly permanently Jack-shaped. He chuckles a hacking cough and manages a nod. Being alone now is not something he even wants to contemplate. Maybe it’s weak, but he doesn’t much care. And maybe it’s weaker to pretend that he doesn’t need the company.

Jack smiles and goes to close the door as Ianto closes his eyes. The door doesn’t shut, though, and instead he hears the creak of the loose floorboard close to his bed. Jack’s hand strokes his forehead tentatively and Ianto opens his eyes again.

Bending down, Jack kisses his mouth. It’s soft and sweet and completely chaste, and Ianto smiles despite the uncomfortable tug of his lips, and the sharp pain in his jaw.

“Who was the last person you kissed, Ianto?” Jack whispers.

“You.”

The End
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