01 January 2007 @ 01:22 am
Game Over (Torchwood)  
Title: Game Over
Author: Lilith ([info]lilithilien)
Characters: Jack/Ianto
Summary: Ianto wants to forget. Jack makes sure he remembers.
Rated: PG
Disclaimer: Ianto Jones belongs to Russell T Davies and the Torchwood franchise.
Notes: A short little tag to events in Countrycide, just to get a feel for characters more than anything. Contains spoilers up to and including that episode. This was written for FiveAlive who's generously fed my Gareth David-Lloyd obsession.

"It's my turn, is it? It was Lisa."

Right. That put an end to their silly game, didn't it? But even as he says it, he knows it's not the truth. There's been a kiss since then, he's sure of it, he just...can't remember. Which sounds daft, he knows, but he blames it on that day. (That terrible day. His brain had already started shutting off vital systems when he left Lisa alone with that predator; it went into full lockdown when he saw what she'd done to that poor girl...)

There was something else from that night, though, and it wasn't Lisa. Since the "upgrade" (and god how he hates that word) the remnants of her human self had felt stone cold. This other kiss, the one he half-remembers, was searing heat, blue like an acetylene torch, cascading dangerously through his body and reigniting his cells one by one. (Afterwards he'd scoured his skin for burns, and once back in Torchwood he'd hunted for even a smidgeon of ash, but there was nothing. He can't explain it and he still can't remember. He's been reading about post-traumatic stress disorder. He's putting it down to false memories. It's the explanation that makes the most sense. And Ianto Jones is all about things making sense, even if he does work for Torchwood.)

"Ianto, I'm sorry." Of course it's Gwen that offers; none of the others would ever do.

"You forgot."

(Even as his words spill out, Ianto feels their sharp rebuke: You're the one who forgot.)

The party, such as it is, breaks up then. Gwen and Owen head off to track down firewood, Tosh to sync her instruments. But Jack...Jack just stares at him.

(...warm lips, moist living breath, broad hands cradling his head...)

Uncomfortable under his boss' gaze, Ianto looks away.

* * * * *

It's just before dawn when they arrive back in Cardiff, more damaged than any of them could have imagined the day before. There are no games on the way back, just heavy silence and quiet groans when someone's elbow knocks against someone else's purpling bruise. Ianto parks the SUV, then joins the others doing whatever it is they usually do while waiting for him to make coffee. He doesn't offer though, he's not doing anything that'll make them linger, and soon they give up and trail off back to their lives. Owen and Gwen first, separate but together, and Ianto spots that easily enough because it's how he and Lisa were, in the beginning. (And doesn't that thought make the bump on his forehead ache just that much more?) Toshiko's next. She doesn't look like she's enjoying herself now; Ianto feels a twinge of guilt for baiting her earlier.

Jack parks himself at his desk; from the way his face is buried in his hands, it doesn't look like he's going anywhere either.

From habit more than appetite, Ianto finally gives in and puts on the kettle. He knows Jack prefers coffee; he feels a stir of rebellion as he drops three teabags into the pot. ("A high from the danger," he'd accused, before Tosh saw him fall apart. "Who protects us?" he'd shouted.) And there it is again, that phantom kiss against his open mouth, that pressure that's more than from the steaming kettle. It ghosts across his lips, and if he really tries he can capture it this time...

"Any chance of a coffee?"

Ianto nearly jumps through his skin at his boss' voice. He lets his eyes close for half a second to regain his composure. Then, licking the bead of moisture from his top lip, he turns with a complacent smile. "Tea all right, sir? It seems more fitting for the night we've had."

Despite his overly calm voice, for an instant Ianto's sure he's angered him. Jack's eyes narrow suspiciously and dart down his body (grimy jacket, ripped shirt, bloody collar). Frowning, he steps forward like he wants a closer look (ugly forehead bump, gashed chin, busted lip). Ianto's instincts kick in and he sways backward without taking a step. He idly wonders whether he'll fight or flee when the time comes.

"Are you all right, Ianto?"

Not exactly the question he expected, but Ianto knows better than to be surprised anymore. Not in this place, not after this night. "Of course, sir, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"

A hard expression masks Jack's face. "Who knew you were such a liar, Ianto Jones?" Ianto's protest rises in his throat but withers as Jack steps closer. "You kept a cyberwoman here, right under our noses! Now that took some skill. And even though I'm no doctor..." Jack's less than an arm's length away, definitely invading his personal space, and Ianto's getting ready to make some quip about sexual harassment except just then Jack's hand reaches up, and his thumb tracing Ianto's cut cheek should hurt, but Jack's touch is so gentle and so unexpected that Ianto forgets all about the pain. "...I'd guess that after what you've just been through, you're anything but fine."

Ianto can't confirm or deny this; it's all he can do to clamp his lips tight to hold back a helpless mewing noise. But Jack's litany of lies won't wait. "And as for your last kiss, well...it sure wasn't Lisa."

When Jack's lips close on Ianto's he remembers everything—the sheer dark void and the burning blue light, the jolt from nothingness into panic and pain. A forceful tongue worms its way between Ianto's (not clamped) lips. And that's just … surprising, really. Not the kiss itself, although if he lets go of the tight grip he's holding on his mind he knows he'll start sorting through the available data to figure out how they got from there to here. Instead he thinks of pulling a quilt up to his chin, how at first it feels cool and smooth against his skin, and he doesn't even notice how warm it's gotten until he has to kick it off his feet. His aches are fading just like that chill feeling does, and he wonders if his bruises will be gone when he opens his eyes. Ianto's had his fair share of kisses, but he doesn't remember that ever happening before.

He looks up at Jack, hoping the wonder in his eyes doesn't betray the cool he so desperately wants to hang onto. "How did you..."

"Pretty amazing, isn't it? And we're just getting started." Jack looks so smug—and fair enough, he's got a right to be after that. Ianto reaches up (scabbed knuckles, rope-burned wrists, bruises not gone then) and fists the captain's t-shirt, pulling him back and kissing that grin from his face. No chance of forgetting this time, Ianto tells himself. Last time he was fighting his way back from the cusp of oblivion; now he's completely present and accounted for. Fireworks crackle across Ianto's skin as Jack works across it. He gasps at the wet mouth sliding along the line of his jaw, at the gust of breath tickling his sideburn.

"When I imagined this, I always figured I'd have to loosen your tie first," Jack says against his ear. Ianto first registers Jack's long fingers unbuttoning his shirt, pushing it over his shoulders, and next, when I imagined this ...?

"I'll make sure to wear a waistcoat next time, sir."

Ianto bites down on his lip so hard it starts bleeding again, but there's not time to stop his flippant comment, no way to access and delete it. Jack freezes (shit), then pulls back (shit, shit, shit) and studies him with those damned inscrutable eyes. Ianto wishes the pterodactyl would swoop down right this minute and put him out of his misery.

But then something in Jack's face relaxes and he leans in close enough that Ianto feels the words on his own lips. "Next time maybe you won't call me 'sir'."

"Maybe not, sir," Ianto says, and when he starts breathing again it's his turn to smile smugly.

This time he's not going to forget.