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Character study of Ianto, unbetaed so the mistakes are all my fault

Jack/Ianto, humor, angst, bossyIanto

Completed 6 hours before Cyberwoman aired.

Rating: PG with implied sex (I can't write sex scenes. Sorry.)

Word count: lots

Disclaimer: These guys belong to much better writers. I'm just practicing.

He had thanked Gwen, but she wasn't ready to forgive him. Ianto had worked with Captain Jack Harkness for many years, taking care of maintenance for the team and after Suzy began working on the glove shouldering many of her administrative duties. He knew how to make Jack efficient, productive, and on time. He knew how to scan the news sources for suspicious activity. He knew how to get their team where they needed to be with what they needed to have before the really bad problems emerged. He knew how to keep Owen in line and keep Tosh on task. He knew how to balance the books and how to cover their tracks. He knew how to protect Jack and the others from the attention of the local authorities and the more dangerous attention of Torchwood London. He knew where to file every scrap of paperwork and every inch of equipment. He knew the best places to get takeaway and the best places to dispose of the bodies. He knew how to manage the cover business so it raised no questions and even made a profit. But the one thing he had never figured out was how to make Jack Harkness more human. Gwen had shown him how to do that, and he was grateful for it.

It turned out the way to make Jack more human was to use exactly the opposite approach to what worked for every other Jack-related problem. Usually the way to handle Jack's troubles was to smooth all the obstacles out of Jack's way and let him hit it with a full head of steam and the appropriate tool. But to make Jack more human you had to be an obstacle in his path and push him to behave properly. That's the way Gwen did it, anyway. She pushed, Jack got real quiet and thoughtful for a while, and then wonder of wonders Jack Harkness changed his actions. Ianto didn't break stride with his coffee-serving, but he filed that tidbit under "Useful Things to Know".

At the time he was too busy with Lisa's medical problems to think about it much. Generations of miners had gifted him with a large body, a cool head, and a bone-deep loyalty. Ianto's mother had taught him to always get the best of anything he could find and to take care of it so it would last a lifetime. Ianto had taken that advice with a single-minded, methodical efficiency that nonplussed even her. There was no question in his mind that Lisa was the best girl in the world, and no question of him doing whatever he could do to save her life.

It would have been nice if his ancestors had gifted him with a bit more brains, he thought glumly. But there was no point in blaming them for his screwups. On reflection, using Cybertechnology to try to fix Lisa up had been a terrible idea. He had gotten in way over his head, and lost the trust of Jack and the team. Lisa had still died, and her death had been made more cruel by his meddling. Worse still, other people who trusted him had died. Ianto had killed before in the course of duty, even done it with his bare hands a couple of times. But he'd never had the blood of innocents on those hands before. He never wanted that to happen again.

He thought of resigning and rejected it as cowardice. This was his mess, he'd do what it took to clean it up and take whatever punishment was coming to him. Jack's scorn had been less than Ianto deserved in his opinion. The way Jack had closed up his face and bit off his words, like he wouldn't sully his mouth with the phrases he was thinking, hurt far worse than what he said out loud.

He wasn't surprised when Gwen wanted to counsel him. She'd had that victim counseling training after all, and its not like he could talk about it to an outsider. He was surprised when she pushed Jack to talk to him. "You'd know more about it than anyone else," she'd said, looking at the jar on Owen's desk. Jack's face had closed up some more. He'd got as quiet as a statue, then nodded.

Oh, thought Ianto. Maybe Jack would understand. Why had that never occurred to him?

Strictly speaking it wasn't counseling. They began talking on the sofa every night after the others went home. Ianto would bring himself a beer and Jack a glass of water, and they would chat as if they were down at a pub, provided that pub had a security clearance. Jack never talked about the jar. He referred to his life before Torchwood seldom and obliquely, but he said more and listened more patiently than Ianto would have credited.

It was nice to sit and talk. Jack was a great storyteller as well as a compulsive flirt. The flirting had thrown Ianto off at first, he supposed it was an American thing. The others who had been there before him assured him it was "just Jack". Ianto had been slipped a copy of the infamous "pph chart", sworn to be an infallible indicator of the Captain's mood based on the number of passes he made per hour. These days it was his job to give a copy to newbies.

After a while he started enjoying the attention. He never said that out loud of course, but Jack picked up on it and began directing more of his charm Ianto's way.

Jack only looked a few years older than Ianto, but Ianto always thought of him as his father's age. There was a seam of compressed anger and grief running deep though Jack's soul that he had seen in laid-off miners of his father's generation. At some time in the past someone had taken the life Jack loved away from him, and he had never completely got over it.

Weeks passed as the two men slowly rebuilt their friendship. One night Jack stared at the wall and told of being left for dead on a pile of corpses in the aftermath of a botched mission. Ianto guessed it must have happened when he was with the CIA. "If they'd come back for my body they would have found me alive. They never came back." His face was hard and unreadable.

Ianto didn't know what to say. He put his arm around the smaller man's shoulders. After a while he said, "I'm sorry sir. I won't betray you a second time."

Jack reached up for his hand and held it. His lips quirked. "I knew I could count on you to watch my ass."

"Always," Ianto grinned. Then he stopped grinning when he realized he meant it, and meant it in more than one way. He became acutely aware of the strong, lithe figure under his arm.

Well, why not? Regardless of what the others did, Ianto had no intention of living his life alone. He had never thought about a man before, but he had always valued quality over the label and "drop-dead gorgeous" was definitely Quality. His body was making no objections; quite the opposite in fact. And six years of flirting surely meant Jack was interested in him, didn't it?

He hadn't the skills for loving a man, but Jack did and Ianto was a quick study. Not to mention Jack was funny, smart, brave, loyal, hard working, kind when he remembered it, and a good friend who had saved Ianto's life many times. He had a temper, but he usually got over it quick. He could be distant, but Gwen had shown Ianto how to deal with that. This could work.

Gwen. If Ianto wanted Jack he better go on and make his move, before Gwen worked up the nerve to cheat on her boyfriend. He needed to give Jack some kind of push, but he wasn't sure what kind. Jack flirted constantly, but Ianto didn't have his skill with words. And Jack didn't seem to expect anyone to take him up on the flirting anyway, so Ianto wasn't sure what words Jack would take seriously.

Ah, well. There's nothing like the direct approach. Ianto leaned down and kissed him.

Jack pulled back, puzzled.

"So, are you going to put your lips where your mouth is?" Ianto asked. Too late he saw that Jack's eyes were still focusing and realized the older man had slipped back down into the pit of his memories. It probably wasn't a good idea to come on to a man remembering a charnel house. "I'm sorry," he apoligized as he tried to move away. "I didn't realize you were -- thinking."

Jack didn't let go of his hand. "No, I'm fine. Ianto, are you drunk?"

"No sir, not even buzzed. Why do you ask? Do you think I have to be drunk to kiss you?" That came out with more heat than he intended. "I'm sorry sir."

"That's all right." Jack smiled and took Ianto's face in his hands. "But you'll want to remember this." He pulled Ianto toward him and gently kissed his lips. The kiss invited Ianto to open his mouth and soon their tongues were winding around each other. Ianto hadn't realized anyone could taste so sweet. His arms tightened around Jack and there was no question who his body wanted. No question about Jack's body either.

A distant part of his mind noted that he didn't go all glowey like Owen said that girl Carys had when Jack kissed her. He couldn't complain about a lack of fireworks though. He felt like a string of crackers on Chinese New Year.

They paused to breathe. Ianto leaned forward to kiss Jack again. Jack held him back. "Why?" Jack asked neutrally.

Ianto stared at him stupidly, trying to remember how to talk. Trying to remember how to think. "Why what? Don't you like this?"

"Oh, I'm having fun. You're sexy and smart, and if I'd just met you in a bar we'd be heading for the door. But I've known you for six years, Ianto. You're too serious for a one-night stand. What are you looking for?"

Good question. Ianto tried to gather his thoughts, a task made almost impossible by Jack's first words. Jack thinks he's fun to kiss? And sexy? And wants to shag him? Why did Jack have to say that and then ask him a serious question? Did the man have any idea what effect it was having on Ianto? What kind of sadistic bastard would do that to someone?

Ianto's boss.


Ianto took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, sir. Did I cross the line?"

Jack chuckled. "Of course not. We're off duty. I just want to make sure we're on the same page. If we didn't work together it wouldn't be a problem, but we're too close to risk a misunderstanding. Look, stop calling me 'sir' after hours. It's just 'Jack'."

Ianto smiled. "Okay, Jack."

"That's better. Now back to my question. I can tell you want me, but why now?" The silence stretched on. "Are you trying to replace Lisa?"

Ianto pursed his lips. "There is an element of that, yes. You know me, Jack. You know I'm a one -- one-person man. I'm not looking to replace Lisa, I could never do that. But I am ready to move on. It happens that the loveliest person I know, the one who's been coming on to me for six years, is also the one I trust the most. I thought you were interested in me. Are you?"

Jack looked at him without speaking.

"I'm not asking you for an exclusive commitment. I know that's not your style, and I won't try to change you --"

"There's a helluva lot you don't know about me, Ianto." Jack's voice was hard, but not as hard as his eyes. "There's a lot I can't tell you, and a lot I can't explain. Can you live with that?"

Ianto sighed in exasperation. "Oh, such as the fact that you've worked here for over 45 years and you haven't aged a day?"

Jack's face went still in the way that only someone who had known him for a while would call "dumbfounded". Ianto laughed. "Jack, I'm the archivist! Of course I've read through the archives. I know whose initials those are on the files from 1960, and who is in the old photographs. If you didn't think I could keep your secrets you shouldn't have given me the job."

Jack laughed and shook his head ruefully. "I didn't think of that one. Most people don't bother, by the way. But there's a lot of stuff that isn't in the archives."

"I figured that out for myself, yeah. Now as I was saying before I was interrupted I'm not asking you to settle down. But I am the type who has a one-and-only, and right now I'd like that one to be you. Well?"

"You stabbed me in the back not too long ago."

"Yes I did. For my lover."

Jack stared at him a long moment, then grinned. "Ianto, you're amazing. Thank you, I accept. But there's some ground rules. We keep our private life and our business life strictly seperate. No playing around on the job. No asking me questions I can't answer. No calling me "sir" off the clock." Jack smirked. "Except under special circumstances. Oh, and can I have your coffee recipe?"

'Special circumstances', huh? Ianto smirked back, "You might earn it. Now, are we going to talk all night or is there something you should be showing me? That is," he loomed slightly over Jack, lowered his voice, and gave his best roguish smile, "if you think you can handle me."

Jack laughed and returned a much more sophisticated and sexier version of the same smile. "Ianto Jones, you are so in over your head. Again."

"Good thing I've got you to look after my head for me."


"Do you want to tell the others?"

"That lot? Boasting about their superior detective skills when they can't find their own arse without a database? Let them figure it out for themselves."



Jack grew noticably happier after that. Ianto had to add a new level to the "pph chart". The others guessed he'd found a lover, but Owen and Toshiko couldn't even agree if it was a man or a woman.

"We'll know when we see him with a hicky."


"From the size, Tosh."

Ianto nearly lost it at that point.

Gwen figured it out almost immediately, but aside from giving Ianto a long look she didn't let it show. She seemed a bit upset. Ianto told her, "Thank you," when they were alone. She nodded and offered a rueful "Congratulations."


"'Toy boy'? 'Office honey'? 'Main squeeze'?"

"Don't be daft. 'Social secretary'."

"O-kay. So what's on the calendar?

"Lots of sex."

"Oooo, my favorite agenda."


It wasn't smooth sailing. Ianto found that while Jack was an incredible lover, he usually had to be the one who dragged Jack away from work and off to bed. At first he thought this was simply inertia, but he soon guessed that Jack enjoyed letting someone else be in charge for a while. That would have worked better if Jack wasn't so much more skillful than he was. "Teach me all the ways to make you happy," he told Jack. He got quite an education. And who would have thought Jack Harkness could be so good at obeying orders?

Jack still got dark moods, and now Ianto caught the brunt of them from sheer proximity. And then there was the insomnia, the obsessive behaviors, and the sheer weight of all the things Jack couldn't or wouldn't talk about.

But there was also Jack himself with all his charms as well as his monsters, now closer to Ianto than Ianto suspected Jack had let himself get to anyone for a long time. A slightly happier, slightly saner Jack, as if some of the poison inside him was being leeched out. So Ianto kept chipping away at the dark seam in Jack's head. He had no illusions about his ability to reach the buried wounds Jack carried deep down, but he persisted anyway. Single-minded. Methodical. Efficient.

"Ah, you're so Welsh."

"Damn straight."



Nov. 7th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Ianto has to have some sass under that quiet exterior. You see it peeking out in 'Day One'.