Word Count: 1,500
Summary: As Ianto danced with Jack at the wedding, he knew that whatever happened, when he was with the man he loved he didn't regret a thing.
Rating: PG-13, I suppose
Spoilers and/or Warnings: Refers indirectly to elements of The Dead Line and Children of Earth, but no plot spoilers. Also draws on an 'email from the team logs' in the Series 2 website supporting material.
Original story: Five 'dances' that Jack never had, and one that he did by ceindreadh
Notes: Thanks to such_heights for looking at this and pointing out some problems.
Ianto almost didn't shag Jack. Oh, he'd fancied him -- ever since he landed on top of him while they were capturing Myfanawy, actually -- but the whole idea of doing it with a man was quite ... unsettling, however handsome he was.
Although he was handsome ....
Not that it mattered. He had far more important things to think about than random shags with people he -- well, all right, to be fair, did actually fancy, yes, but most definitely didn't love. Things like the careful construction of yet another façade to hide his secrets, except that this one was so much more. This time the terrible secret was not solely his to conceal or reveal; it was the secret of the person he did love, and whose only chance of survival involved Ianto getting access to the facilities of Torchwood Three.
So he'd conned his way into Jack's team and into Jack's Hub, and taken Jack's sexual harassment in his stride, cheerfully returning his banter but never daring to let it drift into the realms of serious suggestion. It had been months before he realized that Jack's flirting and innuendo was just his usual pattern, the one he used on practically everyone in possession of a pulse. For all he knew, maybe even that wasn't absolutely necessary as far as Jack was concerned and somewhere in his past there was a steamy affair with an android. Ianto was content not to ask. Not that he wasn't intensely curious about what Jack might be hiding -- as Owen complained on a regular basis, there were a lot of basic things about the Hub he'd never told them about, and as they found out later he hadn't actually mentioned the minor matter of his not being able to die -- but fair enough, Ianto had his own secrets and was in no position to complain.
He couldn't help but notice a certain ... sexual tension between them, but that seemed to be pretty much something that went with the job when you were working for Torchwood, whether it was version One or Three. Perhaps the danger level was a turn-on. Or maybe it was just Jack giving off some weird evolved pheromones from wherever or whenever he was really from. If so, it seemed to affect everyone, it was nearly as bad as that bloody purple gas. Owen would probably have matched Jack shag for shag if the line "Hi, Dr Owen Harper" had been as effective as "Hi, Captain Jack Harkness". Which was a bit hard on poor Tosh, but then, if she kept falling for men she couldn't have there was nothing Ianto could do about it. Gwen's head was clearly a mess as she tried to reconcile the two lives she was living -- something seemed to be going on between her and Owen, but it was obvious that Jack could have her instead if he played his cards right.
But even though Jack clearly didn't have many rules when it came to shagging and flirted outrageously with both Gwen and Ianto every day, even he seemed to draw the line at shagging two colleagues at the same time. Er, he didn't exactly mean that the way it sounded, although the thought had clearly crossed Jack's mind ...
The really unsettling thing was that the thought of letting the banter become a serious suggestion, of actually, you know, responding to it, had crossed Ianto's mind. Quite a lot, actually. Clearly, it must be the pheromones. Or sub-deltoid alien vibrations from the Rift. Or ... or something, anyway. Still, if things had been different, he would probably have been up for changing Jack's 'never shagged' status to 'shagged', maybe even to 'would shag again given another chance'.
And then things ... became different.
Getting help from the experts to put Lisa back together again had seemed like such a good plan at the time. The plan did turn out to have a few flaws in it, though. True, it wasn't the first time one of the team had messed up and got people killed -- not by a long way -- but it was pretty much a first for Ianto. Lisa's discovery and execution -- how he wished he'd never told Jack about that bloody pterodactyl in the first place! -- was absolute torment. But even worse than that was the subsequent heartbreaking realisation that all the King's horses and all the King's men, or even all the Queen's alien artefacts, couldn't put Lisa together again. In truth, the woman he had loved had been long gone, and with that, the whole carefully constructed façade came crashing down about him.
He had no credible excuses. He wouldn't have blamed Jack if he'd just retconned him and thrown him out on the streets of Cardiff -- not that he would have remembered enough to blame Jack if that had happened, of course, but he'd have deserved it. But Jack had given him a chance to atone for his mistakes, and although Ianto didn't know why (or rather, he had a crude idea why, but preferred to hope there was more to it than that, some recognition of qualities in Ianto that were worth Jack's time) he intended to make the most of this second chance. And to see what might happen if he responded to the flirting and let the banter actually become a serious suggestion. Or failing that, to make a serious suggestion himself.
Maybe it was just a new façade, simply another way of keeping his place in the Hub.
Or maybe it wasn't ...
It turned out that possession of a pulse was necessary, or at least highly preferable, as far as shagging Jack was concerned. And that gauging reactions to certain actions by measuring its rate with a stopwatch could be quite ... interesting. Yes, definitely interesting. You might even say ... avant-garde.
It wasn't an affair, exactly. But it was what he needed. And as Jack's status moved from 'never shagged' to 'shagged' to 'shagging on a regular basis whenever the Rift wasn't causing problems and getting in the way', in his gratitude it took him a while to realise that whatever Owen said, it wasn't just a random shag for him any more. He'd begun to actually care for Jack. And that, more than anything, wasn't just unsettling, it was out and out terrifying. How could a man like Jack care for a passing fancy, a blip in time, like himself?
Even if he did finally ask him out on a date ... Which was not going to be in an office. No. Definitely not. Ianto was going to put his foot down on that one. But when Jack had got around to asking him it was in the middle of the Captain John affair, something none of them had expected, and on the whole was a reminder of just how much Jack was hiding. Oh, he would tell Ianto things, would gleefully recount anecdotes of past adventures with Torchwood One or with this mysterious alien and his blue time machine (Tosh had discovered a huge file on this 'Doctor' when hacking into the UNIT archives, and he would really have to find the time to crack its security code and have a browse) -- but nothing really personal. Nothing that went below the surface.
He'd never even mentioned the name 'Grey' -- or 'Gray'? 'Grai'? 'Greigh'? He didn't even know how it was spelt! -- which had seemed to be, well, not exactly insignificant to him when that nutter threw it out. What hope did Ianto ever have of getting below the surface, of cracking the façade?
But maybe ... maybe he didn't need to.
The look of anguish in Jack's face when John said the name had been a familiar one. Far too familiar. He'd seen it in his own mirror, oh so many times, as Lisa had been slowly lost to him. It was the look of a tortured soul. Anything that hit Jack that hard had to be hidden deep and he probably wasn't used to sharing it with anyone, and Ianto had some experience with that. He was prepared to respect it, and to accept it, and even if Jack never did tell him -- well, he wasn't going to dwell on that and let it affect what they had. Even for a potentially immortal being, time could be too short to miss chances. Maybe one day he would learn more, and even if he never did, it would be enough if Jack actually did come to care for him.
And as the months went by, and their dates became increasingly regular (when the Rift allowed, of course), and went from a less than serious adjunct to their sex life to something seriously intimate, it seemed that just maybe -- he had.
So as they danced in public for the first time at Gwen and Rhys's wedding, Ianto bore the odd looks he was getting from old acquaintances with unconcern. This wasn't the 1940s. It was what it was, and Ianto knew that whatever happened ... when he was with the man he loved, he didn't regret a thing.