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24 November 2009 @ 11:59 pm
Torchwood Fic: Fingertips Touching Reality's Face Part 2  
Written for kink_bigbang Big Bang 2009
Crossposted to torchwoodslash


Title: Fingertips Touching Reality's Face Part 2
Pairing/Characters: Jack/Ianto, Gwen, Owen, Tosh, OCs
Rating: R
Spoilers: Season 1
Summary: Ianto is fascinated by Jack's body's ability to heal wounds without scarring, only Ianto doesn't heal as easily as Jack does
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at kink_bigbang.


Part 1

"Do you have a moment?"

Tosh was characteristically timid when approaching Jack, but he gave her a wide smile to reassure her.

"For you, always." He followed her back to her workstation. "What have you got?"

"Well…" She smiled that tiny curl of the lips that he knew meant she was proud of what she'd done. "I've been thinking about improving our use of the anti-weevil spray. It seems the fundamental flaw in it is that you have to actually be close enough to spray it directly in their faces and - as we all know - if you're that close it's rather dangerous. So I thought, why not use some of the technology we have here to create a better dispersion model." She uncovered an item on her desk and gestured to it. "And that's what I came up with: an anti-weevil grenade."

"A grenade? Made with anti-weevil spray? Tosh, you're brilliant!" He put an arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple, exultant. "Oh, I wish we could clone you."

"Maybe someday," she teased. She picked it up and showed it to Jack. "It has two methods of operation: the standard pin removal, which is good for rolling it into rooms and such and a percussive backup system. If it's dropped from a height or thrown with even a little force it will engage. Now the smoke's less potent than the spray, but the coverage area is better. So while a spray stops one weevil in its tracks, this will seriously slow down as many as a half dozen as long as they're in the plume dispersion range - in the smoke," she simplified, looking a little embarrassed at getting too geeky.

"Sounds perfect. Get the others working on this and see about getting some assembly line production going. We need as many of these as we can get. I want everyone to have at least four minimum each time we go out on a weevil alert."

"Already on it," she told him proudly. "I'm almost done sourcing all the parts I'd need to make multiple ones. I'd have to do the trigger mechanisms myself, of course, but the others could assemble the containers and fill the reservoirs."

Ianto entered the Hub, looking chipper and holding a cardboard box.

"Christmas is early this year!" He paused as he reached Gwen and pulled something out of the box to hand to her. "New top of the line tasers."

Gwen gauged the weight of it in her hand. "They're pretty heavy, a little on the unwieldy side," she protested.

"Ah yes," Ianto said. "But this model holds enough of a charge for four full voltage hits. Our current models only do three."

"More like two regular ones and a half-arsed one that you can't rely on," Owen grumbled, sauntering over to pluck a taser for himself from the box. He brandished it, mocking a James Bond-like pose. "It is rather sexy though, the big gun shape? Rather like a .45."

"You probably wouldn't know a .45 if it bit you on the arse," Gwen scoffed.

Ianto carried the box over and handed a taser to Tosh with a nod of his head.

"Every little bit helps," he told her.

"Thanks." She put the taser beside the grenade and looked down at them. "Let's just hope they're enough."

||

"Readings?"

They piled out of the SUV and headed where Tosh pointed after referring to her handheld scanner.

"Still showing just two weevils - stationary. They haven't moved since the alarm went off at the Hub."

Jack stopped short and when Ianto saw the look on his face a little chill went through him. Jack worried was not a comforting sign, especially when about to engage in battle.

"That's not like them," he pondered. "Weevils generally only come above ground when they're agitated in some way. If they've been above ground all this time and not moved?"

"Maybe they're dead," Owen intoned, already annoyed.

"Or prisoners," Tosh offered. "Perhaps those people who were capturing weevils for their fight club are back in business."

Jack started walking again, the rest of them following close behind. "They'd better not be. I'm not in the mood to deal with amateurs."

"In that alley to the left," Tosh directed before putting the scanner away and pulling out her taser and a grenade. Owen and Gwen did the same, only Ianto hesitated.

"What's bothering you about his?" he asked Jack in a low voice.

"This feels…" Jack shook his head. "It feels wrong somehow. I can't describe it other than that."

"It's too easy?"

"No, because two weevils in a blind alley isn't as easy as it sounds. Small space, less room to maneuver…" Jack stopped just before the alley entrance. "But it doesn't matter what I feel. We're doing this." He hesitated. "Hold on." He opened up his wrist band and punched a few buttons briefly then closed it back up. "All right. Everyone ready?"

Ianto pulled out his taser and prepped a grenade then moved back behind Gwen and Jack, their tactical leaders.

"I'm up for it," Own said, taser gun already raised.

"All set," Tosh echoed.

"Let's do this," Gwen said. "Rhys wants me home for dinner."

"On three…" Jack said. "One, two, three!"

They rounded the corner and rushed into the alley, weapons raised.

Two weevils stood with an array of wooden packing crates in front of them and quickly ducked for cover behind them as the Torchwood team fanned out, looking for a shot.

"Anyone got a clear sight?" Jack called out.

A chorus of people saying "No" was his response.

"I don't like this," Ianto muttered. "You were right," he said to Jack. "This is off, very off."

"They should be attacking us or running away," Jack said, flustered. "Why are they just hiding?"

"Bloody hell…" The coldness in Owen's voice rattled Ianto and he turned to look at Owen to see what was going on. Owen's gaze was behind them so he followed it.

A line of about twenty weevils blocked the exit from the alleyway.

"Jack… Gwen…" Ianto forced out. "It's a trap…"

||

Jack spun around to look. The weevils lined the open space where the alley met the street, forming a formidable barrier to escape.

When he turned back, the two weevils they'd originally tracked emerged, followed by about a half dozen more.

"Damn it!" he swore. "They must have a manhole in the back of the alley."

They edged closer to each other, back to back, forming a united front as the creatures slowly moved in.

"Save your taser charges and use them only when absolutely needed," Jack warned. "The plan is to concentrate the grenades on the side of the alley opening closest to the car in hopes it will break their line and we can get through."

"If you're going to tell me we can't use bullets on these things…" Owen began, but halted when Jack drew his gun and cocked it.

"This is not a capture mission," he told them. "This is kill or be killed."

Owen exchanged his taser for his semi-automatic and Tosh, Gwen and Ianto did the same.

"So we make a run for the car and then what?" Ianto asked. "We've still got a couple dozen brassed off weevils to contend with."

"I'm thinking I'd like another shot to mow them down with a car," Gwen said acidly. "A little belated payback."

"Let's just work on getting us into the car," Jack cautioned. "Focus your attack on the group of weevils closest to the car. We need the absolute fastest route to the SUV and it's through them." He paused a few seconds. "On my mark…" They raised their weapons, all at the ready. "Now!"

Jack, Owen and Gwen opened fire on the end of the line of weevils as Tosh and Ianto both threw grenades at them. Three at the end fell and the others staggered as the grenade smoke overwhelmed them.

"Let's go!"

Ianto threw another grenade behind them as they ran, which kept the second group of weevils from following, Jack and Gwen firing cover for the others to get through the scant gap in the line.

Owen broke the line first and bolted for the car. Tosh, a bit slower, ended up having to shoot a weevil that came at her, not slowed down enough by the smoke.

Jack and Gwen held the opening until Ianto, the furthest one back, made it to them - almost obscured by the smoke.

Milliseconds from freedom, Jack watched in horror as an alien arm reached out and grabbed Ianto, pulling him back into the alley - a look of terror on his face for a split second before the smoke and a mob of weevils enveloped him.

"Ianto!"

||

Pain exploded in Ianto's neck and shoulder as a sensation like knives ripping his flesh screamed through his body.

He heard gunfire and his name being called, but all he could see was smoke and weevils, already starting to lose consciousness - feeling his life drain from him.

Fumbling in his coat pocket - he'd already dropped his gun - he managed to pull out a grenade and used the last of his strength to pound it onto the ground and set it off.

The ensuing smoke choked him, blinded him, but the hands on his body were gone.

His grip on the grenade loosened as his body began to stop obeying his mind. The grenade rolled out of his reach, but stayed close enough to protect him.

Then Jack's face appeared amidst the smoke. Seeing Jack worried had always given him a start since he was careful not to show that emotion visible. But this was a Jack he'd never seen before: panicked.

"Ianto!" He could tell when Jack's eyes alighted on his injury because he could see it in his expression: the pain, the guilt, the frantic alarm. "No, no, no…" he muttered and Ianto struggled to keep his eyes open - the only reassurance he could offer Jack at this point.

"We've got to get him out of here!" Gwen shouted.

They each took an arm and dragged him out of the alley, gunfire clearing their path, though from who Ianto wasn't sure.

When they cleared the alley he managed to lift his head and saw heavily armed soldiers, all wearing the red berets of UNIT.

"We're clear!" he heard Jack yell. "They're all yours."

The gunfire increased so sharply Ianto could no longer tell individual bullets.

He let his head fall down and felt himself being put in the back of the SUV. Someone pressed against his wound and he winced - the added pain enough to keep him conscious a bit longer.

"God, he's losing blood fast. We need to get him to a hospital."

"I'm on it!" Gwen's voice from the driver's seat as the SUV peeled out and sped away from the scene.

Through the slits of his eyes Ianto could see Owen fussing over his gash. That meant the body behind him holding him up had to be Jack's.

Struggling, he tipped his head back enough to catch a glimpse of him. Jack's face was raw, open, grief-stricken. When he saw Ianto looking his eyes filled, watery with apology.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered.

Ianto wanted to say so much, unsure how much time he had left, but the words didn't come. He forced out what little he could manage as his eyes fell shut, drawn down by the gravity of a seductive death.

"I am too…"

||

Gwen screeched up to the door of the A&E and Jack carried Ianto in, Owen alongside, keeping pressure on the wound.

Ianto was limp in his arms, but he was still breathing: there was hope.

"We need help here!" Jack called out once he cleared the doors and a gurney appeared out of nowhere.

"What happened?" someone asked as Jack laid Ianto down.

"Severe lacerations to the neck and shoulder region," Owen replied. "Major blood loss. He needs plasma and an infusion of O neg stat. I'm a doctor and I've treated this man before. I know his blood type, trust me."

They started wheeling Ianto's gurney away and Jack and Owen ran alongside.

"Does he have family?"

"A sister," Jack answered. "I'll contact her."

They turned to take the gurney through a set of double doors. A hand appeared to stop Jack from following.

"I'm sorry, sir. You can't go in there."

A breath taken in preparation for protest caught in Jack's throat as he watched Ianto - too still, too pale - disappear from sight.

Someone took his arm and guided him away: Owen.

"Best to let them do their work," he said, a rare compassion in his voice. "They're good here. I know it. They'll do everything they can for him."

Gwen ran in from having parked the car and Jack saw her and Tosh looking at them expectantly.

"What happened back there?" Gwen asked. "That was UNIT, wasn't it?" When Jack nodded, she continued. "What were they doing there? How did they know to come?"

"I contacted them," Jack explained. "I used a few favors to get a contingent sent to Cardiff in case the weevils got out of hand so they were already local. When I got a bad feeling I sent out an alert on my wristband to let them know they should come just in case."

"Come, sit down," Tosh said kindly, gesturing Jack over to a bank of chairs. He sank into one gratefully and Owen appeared, handing him a towel to wipe his bloody hands on as he did the same.

"UNIT doesn't care about capturing aliens like we do. They're the blunt instrument; they just destroy. But Gwen's attack got me worried that this might get bigger than we could handle, so I asked them to step in with the understanding they weren't to kill without good reason, like possible loss of life."

"I'd say we were looking at that scenario," Gwen said darkly, her eyes going to the double doors they'd taken the gurney through. "Is Ianto going to make it?" she asked, her voice low.

"Hard to say," Owen said. "On the one hand he's lost a lot of blood. On the other hand, they missed the carotid artery so he's got a chance enough blood was flowing to keep his heart and brain alive."

Jack finished wiping his hands just as an orderly appeared, silently offering Owen and Jack warm damp towels to finish the job, taking away the soiled towels with a nod to Owen.

"Ianto's strong," Tosh piped up. "Quiet as he is, I think he's a fighter. He'll pull through."

Tosh's eternal optimism was sweet, encouraging in a time when little encouragement could be found.

Jack managed a little nod in gratitude to her. "He is strong," he agreed. He let his head hang, no longer wanting to meet the faces of the team he'd let down.

Ianto had been strong, even faced him down believing he was right to ask Jack to stop the weevil hunting. He'd done it, but too late.

Ianto hadn't wanted harm to befall any of his co-workers - unwilling to pay that price, he'd said.

Only now he'd paid a far dearer price.

And Jack had paid as well.

||

Ianto woke, woozy and disoriented, head swimming in a morass of heavy drugs. His limbs felt heavy and for a moment he felt as if he couldn't move them.

He finally got his fingers to respond only to feel his hand clasped tight once he did.

As leaden as his eyelids were he fought them and got them open finally.

The colored blur before him coalesced into Jack's concerned face, the white behind him cleared into a hospital room.

He'd survived.

He felt Jack lift his hand and press a kiss to the back of it, their hands still joined tightly.

Ianto tried to speak, but what came out wasn't even a proper mumble.

"Shh…" Jack whispered. "You don't have to talk. Just rest."

Ianto managed what he hoped was enough of a head nod for Jack to tell he'd responded. The lure of sleep was great, but he had to know what happened, if everyone else was okay.

He forced his gaze to meet Jack's eyes, hoping he'd notice the question he couldn't ask.

"You're going to be fine," Jack told him. "You lost a lot of blood, but we got you here in time. Owen, Tosh and Gwen… They're all fine. UNIT took care of the weevils."

He must have been successful at raising an eyebrow, because Jack reacted, looking even more apologetic.

"I contacted them after Gwen's attack. I was worried something big might go down and I wanted back up for us just in case." Jack's hand clenched his so tightly it almost hurt. "I swear I never thought anything of that magnitude would happen." The anguish was clear on his face and Ianto saw something there he'd never seen before: fear, genuine fear - fear of loss. "I wanted something so bad I got greedy. I didn't stop to think of the cost. Ianto, I'm so sorry. I never meant for anyone to get hurt. I never wanted you to…" His voice faltered, near to breaking. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

Ianto, unable to bear seeing his lover in so much pain, forced the words from his mouth, doing his best to say them sincerely.

"I… forgive… you…"

Jack drew a halting breath as he pressed Ianto's hand to his cheek, an unexpected dampness there until he saw a lone tear slip down Jack's other cheek.

"I don't deserve you." Jack's voice was an agonized whisper.

Ianto cleared his throat and the words came a little easier.

"Too bad," he managed to get out. "Stuck with me…"

Jack let out a huff of a laugh - a broken sound half of joy and surprise, half marred by grief.

He rose up and pressed a gentle kiss to Ianto's forehead, just as Ianto started feeling the drugs begin to pull him under again. Not strong enough to fight them, he let the undertow pull him back to the sea of dream.

Jack whispered in his ear as he floated away, or at least it sounded like he did - his voice sounding far away.

"I love you…"

||

Jack covered up the plate of food on the breakfast tray he'd prepared and carried it into Ianto's bedroom.

"Breakfast!" he said cheerily. "How about some lovely cockles, blood pudding and laverbread?"

Ianto just stared at him. "You're joking."

"Yeah, I am," Jack admitted with a grin. "Sorry, eggs, bacon and toast will have to suffice." He waited for Ianto to sit up, which took a bit since he couldn't use his left arm to support himself - his shoulder and neck still heavily bandaged, then placed the tray over his lap. He pulled the cover off the plate for him and set it aside. "See? Seaweed free."

"Eight rashers of bacon?" Ianto raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm an invalid, not in training to be a sumo wrestler."

"Well, I figured you might need help with them." Jack plucked a rasher of bacon from the plate and took a bite of it, watching as Ianto started eating his eggs.

"So, not that I'm not grateful for the personal attention…" Ianto glanced at Jack, question in his eyes. "But who's minding the fort while you're here playing nursemaid?"

"Nurses…" Jack got a happy dazed look in his eye. "That's so much better an idea than pirates."

"Sorry, my appetite for playing doctor is rather spoiled at the moment," Ianto muttered. "Is Gwen…"

Jack interrupted him. "UNIT's on duty for now," he said, all business. "Gwen and Owen are like you, on leave."

"Why? You said they weren't hurt," Ianto asked, perplexed.

"They're on leave so they stay unhurt," Jack stressed. "Until UNIT clears out the remaining weevils they're away from Cardiff where they can't be targeted."

"So that's it? They're just going to kill all the weevils?"

"Some will die, yes," Jack said reluctantly. "I did make a deal with them, though. Those that could be captured safely, without undue risk to the UNIT troops, plus those we already had in cells are going to be transferred to a remote unpopulated island. It's already part of a military protected archipelago so they'll be assured of privacy - no one's allowed to set foot on those islands - and they won't be hunted down there. They'll just live out what remains of their lives."

"Jack…"

"I know," Jack cut him off, "that I shouldn't have sympathy for the creatures that almost killed you, but I can't just wholesale kill them off when their only real sin is having been pulled into the Rift."

"They're not bad, they're just drawn that way?" Ianto joked.

"I don't see how you can make fun of this," Jack said, scowling. "You almost died because I made bad decisions as a leader, decisions that endangered all of your lives!"

"Jack…" Ianto reached out, squeezing Jack's arm. Jack fell silent, still frowning.

"Please don't joke about that," Jack said, his voice barely above a whisper. "You don't know how much it hurt to hold you in my arms and know you were dying."

"Yes, I do," Ianto said. "I feel that way every time you die because I'm convinced that one day your nine lives will run out and you won't come back to me."

"I always come back," Jack protested, finally looking Ianto in the eye. "I'll always come back to you."

"I won't," Ianto said plainly. "So let's make the most of the time I have."

At Jack's weary and pained look Ianto just picked up a rasher of bacon and took a big bite of it.

"Good bacon," he said with a little smirk. "But it'd be even better with coffee."

"Coffee! How could I forget!" Jack got off the bed. "I made it, I just forgot to bring it in." Before he could leave, Ianto grabbed his hand and tugged him back to him.

"You know how after you read the obituaries you're in a bad mood for days afterwards?" Jack didn't even respond to that, just letting his eyes fall. "Well, I'm not dead and I'd like to have my Jack back now rather than a few days from now, if that's all right with you."

Jack managed a tiny smile then bent to place a tender kiss on Ianto's lips.

"One cup of coffee coming up. A new and improved Jack? I'll see what I can do."

He started to the kitchen, only to hear Ianto call after him. "Actually, if there's a choice, I'd rather have the Jack. With cream and sugar of course…"

He couldn't help the smile that came to his face, managing a little chuckle as he went to get the coffee.

Their time might be finite, but it hadn't ended yet. Ianto was right. It didn't make sense to waste precious hours, precious days surrounded by the gloom of what was and what would one day be.

He pulled two mugs out of Ianto's kitchen cupboard and paused, taking a moment to look around his simple bachelor's flat.

So many nights he'd resisted leaving the Hub, so many mornings he could have woken up by Ianto's side. Gone.

For the first time in a long time he was thinking it might be nice to have a place to live above ground - to leave living in the Hub full time.

But that meant taking the step of asking Ianto to officially move in with him.

In the past that idea would have been squashed down. His relationships - no matter how good they were - always ended badly, with breakup or death, often both.

But his problem with immortality wasn't Ianto's problem. He deserved the same amount of love and consideration as if Jack had been a normal mortal human being.

He filled the mugs with coffee, whistling to himself a little. He'd go looking for flats online after Ianto fell asleep for his afternoon nap. And maybe later, perhaps over dinner, he'd give Ianto that new and improved Jack he'd asked for.

||

It felt strange to be back, to be in the tourist office again, to head underground, to walk past everyone's empty workstation at the Hub.

Ianto's fingers grazed over the coffee machine as a wry smile graced his lips. It showed signs of a hasty cleaning as if Jack and probably Tosh had fussed about trying to clean up after everyone before he returned to work on Monday.

Only the sounds of Myfanwy circling above lent any sort of normality, the hustle and bustle of work absent on a Sunday evening.

He hadn't told Jack he was coming and Jack was supposed to be supervising the furniture placement in the new flat so they could move in tomorrow after work, so he was alone, save the pterodactyl overhead.

Without meaning to, he found his feet leading him to the cells.

They were mostly empty, but the odd weevil that had popped up after UNIT ceded control of the city back to them had been captured and caged, awaiting transport four times a year to the island they'd already dropped all the other weevils off on.

Ianto stopped in front of a cell and stared at the weevil within. It growled at him, baring its teeth and Ianto reflexively recoiled - the memory of those razor sharp teeth scraping his tender flesh still horrifyingly clear in his memory.

Yet still he stood, staring, letting the emotions rise as they would until he'd gone through every reaction he could have.

He took a few steps forward and the weevil came up to the clear Plexiglas wall separating them.

It hissed and bared its teeth, but Ianto didn't flinch.

He put one hand on the barrier and then a second, getting so close he could even begin to smell the creature on the other side.

Closing his eyes he let the memory play out in his head over and over, the feel of the arm grabbing him and pulling him back, the teeth tearing away a chunk of his flesh he'd never get back, the sensation of his life's blood escaping his body fast, too fast to stop.

And then he opened his eyes and stared down the weevil, never wavering his gaze.

The creature got riled up and started pounding on the barrier.

"You didn't beat me," Ianto said, his tone firm, not shying away. "I'm still here."

With a feeling of satisfaction he pushed off the Plexiglas and stalked out of the cells, holding his head high.

His walk out of the Hub was far easier, less thoughtful. Now he was looking forward to coming back to work. He might not have come here to fight the good fight, but he stayed for it. The same drive that brought him to Torchwood One - to be someone important, someone more than his father ever could be - wasn't what kept him here. Looking important in the eyes of others was hollow and fleeting. Now that Ianto had saved lives, saved the city, saved the world, he knew he was important. What everyone else thought? Didn't matter anymore.

As he exited the tourist office his mobile rang: Jack.

"Can't decide on a floral for the chintz curtains?" he teased upon answering.

"Very funny," Jack said. "I forgot to ask you if you wanted the bed facing the windows or up against the windows."

"Neither," Ianto answered. "I want it on the wall between them."

"The one closest to the bedroom door or the one furthest?"

"Furthest," Ianto replied, walking towards the water as he talked. "If you stand against that wall you can just see where the sun sets over the bridge and I like that view far better than the view straight on."

"Hey, you guys? Put it up against that wall. Thanks." Jack returned from directing the movers. "So any chance you want to come christen this bed before we move in?"

"Impatient are we?" Ianto teased. He leaned against the railing, gazing out over the city lights reflected in the bay. "No, I say we spend a last night in my flat for nostalgia. I'm going to miss it."

"Really?" Jack sounded incredulous.

"Not at all. I only got that place because it was cheap and close by. I never really liked it. But I don't want to not be able to fall asleep right afterwards."

"Tired?" Jack asked, this time sounding concerned.

"No," Ianto answered honestly. "I just don't want to move once I'm in your arms."

If it was possible to hear a smile over the phone, Ianto heard Jack's.

"I'll pick up dinner on the way to your place," he offered. "How about some curry?"

"Sounds good." He started walking, heading back to his flat for his last night at 'his place' before his first time going home to 'their place.' "Hurry home."

"Why, did you miss me?" Jack taunted. "If so maybe I should stay gone for more than six hours so you can show me just how much you missed me."

"Stay gone too long and I'll be asleep when you get there," Ianto teased. "Or starved to death, a shriveled little shell that could have been spared but for lack of curry."

"In that case I'll see you in a half hour and I'll bring dessert." There was a pause on the line then Jack came back, his voice softer, more subdued. "Love you…"

Ianto stopped at the corner and smiled to himself, still not used to this reformed Jack.

"I love you too."

||

The late afternoon sun played golden over the white sheets and over Ianto's bare body, kissing it with its soft glow.

Jack hovered over him, fingertips grazing his lover's skin, relishing the feel of it warm and alive under his touch. It was almost like magnetism, this draw, this desire for contact whenever Ianto was near. Whether it be his palm splayed low and possessive across Ianto's abdomen, the back of his hand brushing Ianto's cheek in a tender caress or drawing a single teasing finger up his inner thigh, each touch was like food to Jack, feeding his need.

As they lazed in bed together, quietly sated, Jack finally let his fingers drift up to the scar at the junction of Ianto's neck and shoulder. It was vaguely pinkish-white and raised, making it stand out from the rest of Ianto's Welsh pale skin. It felt wrong to his touch and Jack still couldn't look at it without an echo of grief running through him like a tremor.

"I don't feel it anymore," Ianto said, his voice hushed. "At first it hurt, then it just felt off. Now I don't even feel it at all."

"It doesn't bother you when I touch it?" Jack asked.

"It bothers me when you avoid it." Ianto ran a hand up Jack's chest. Once they'd moved in together Jack noticed Ianto touching him more, touching his skin more, and he went out of his way to give him opportunities to do so, realizing it fed a need in him, one that Jack hadn't truly acknowledged that he had as well. He'd kept himself separate for so many years, denied himself this kind of closeness, denied himself a real relationship.

"If I could make it disappear, I would."

"Sorry, not letting Owen experiment with any alien technology just to make me pretty again," Ianto scoffed. "I consider it my badge of honor, my old war wound to complain about when I'm old and gray and fond of complaint."

"So I'll get to use you as a human weathervane in your sixties?" Jack teased. "Is it going to rain? I don't know, let's ask Ianto."

"Old Ianto will tell you to check the bloody weather report," Ianto said with a chortle. "I doubt I will have much patience for inane questions when I'm late for my shuffleboard game at the old folks' home."

Jack took hold of Ianto's hand and pressed a kiss to the palm, lingering there, enjoying the warmth then pressing it to his cheek to soak it in. The heat of life always filled him, renewed him, and while it affected his spirit, not his body, he still craved it.

"You know I'll take care of you," he murmured.

"Til death do us part?" Ianto smiled wistfully. "I know one day I'll be an obituary in the paper for you. I just want you to be the one submitting that obit to the paper on my behalf."

"You know I will," Jack promised. "I'll be there with you until the end."

Ianto stretched, languid, like a cat.

"It's still nice outside. "Fancy a quick swim?"

"Sure." Jack flashed him a bright smile. "Sounds good."

They rose and put on swim suits and sandals, grabbing towels for the brief walk to the shore. There was never anyone around - all the other bungalows were too far away for them to worry about company, Jack having chosen one of the more deserted Greek Isles for their vacation spot.

It had taken some doing to convince UNIT to cover Torchwood's bailiwick for two weeks a year, but selling his soul meant little to a man who couldn't die. The cost of dealing with UNIT and assisting them on projects he found personally distasteful was far less than the risk of losing Ianto again.

He found he was falling behind and Ianto paused, holding out his hand for Jack to take. Jack's fingers curled in his and together they walked down to the impossibly blue sea, its gentle waves lapping at the sandy shore.

"It's really quite lovely here," Ianto murmured.

"A little slice of paradise," Jack agreed. They left their towels and sandals and walked into the surf together. The cool water soothed his overheated skin, the sun shining down hot keeping him from getting too cold.

They swam around for a few minutes, Jack enjoying the feel of the water coursing around his body, the taste of the salty air on his tongue, the peaceful quiet, broken only by the sound of the waves and a few errant bird calls.

Standing about waist deep in the water he beckoned Ianto to him. Ianto walked through the waves to reach him and they automatically reached for each other, hands drinking in wet skin, mouths seeking out their partner.

They kissed in the sea, letting the world spin unheeded around them.

Jack could feel each breath Ianto took, the rise and fall of his chest beneath his hands, the pulse of his heart beating beneath his attentive fingertips.

This was all he needed: Ianto alive and vibrant under his touch, his to have and to hold.

"Thank you for this," Ianto murmured, lips hovering over Jack's, sharing one breath. "I'll always remember that you gave me this memory."

Jack fought back the natural response he had every time he thought about Ianto one day being just a memory. But for now, they had this moment. And if this moment was his gift to Ianto, he was going to do his best to make it perfect.

"Thank you," Jack breathed, kissing him, sinking into the kiss, filling it with every emotion he had before reluctantly letting Ianto go. "I promise: I'll remember too."

|T|
 
 
 
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on November 26th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
Confession
Please see Part 1 for Confession post.
fyreflyfyrefly101 on November 26th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Any review I was going to give is blown apart by Jack's last words. I'm just too tearful to respond. That is a killer, killer last line.

(I do mean everything was good, I just... :'(
see? Tearful.)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on November 26th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!

I was about to cry myself because here I published a big bang and NO ONE COMMENTED! /cries/

So I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. It means a lot to me.

@>-------
fyreflyfyrefly101 on December 1st, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
You've managed to sneak your way into being one of my favourite authors out there. I suspect you could write about boiling socks, and still have me hang on your every word :) But really, I've never managed to see an ep of Torchwood, and I had to do some quick googling to put a little backstory together, but even so. I read this knowing nothing, and it still is incredible.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 4th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's such an incredible vote of confidence. I am completely honored by your willingness to follow into the unknown just for one of my stories. Thank you so much. The words hardly seem sufficient to show gratitude for your praise, but really. Thank you.

Torchwood is a nice Sci Fi fandom. It's not as voluminous as Doctor Who, though it shares a universe with it. It's got canon slash all over the place which is a boon for those who enjoy slash in fic, but wish they could actually see the objects of their stories really kiss on screen. Try the pilot. If you like it, try more. But prepare to get your heart broken. They kill off people like mad so it's hard to get attached to anyone but Jack because everyone is disposable to them. /sigh/ Still, it's wonderful television and there's not that many episodes to catch up on if you're interested. Jack appears in some DW episodes as well, but you don't really need to see them to get into TW.

I had someone tell me recently that reading good fic in a fandom you don't know is a little like reading fiction. You don't know the characters in fiction when you first start the story either, but you trust the storyteller to get you to care about them before you finish it. That's an apex to aspire to. Thanks for showing me I'm on my way.

@>-----
Karen von S.lookninjas on November 28th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
This is brilliant. I loved Ianto's moment with the Weevil: "I'm still here," indeed. The characterizations were amazing.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 4th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's asking a lot for someone to read a full big bang and I appreciate you giving my story your time.
planet_tatersplanet_taters on November 28th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
this was lovely. i enjoyed it very much. thank you.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 4th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to read it! I'm grateful for the opportunity.
Dannidanian on November 28th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
That was *very* nice. Thoughtful and in character - I can just see Jack trying that with the Weevils and I can also see Ianto getting stuck into him :)
Lots of nice touches like: Toshiko thinking up the grenades and sourcing the requirements for making them (I don't think I've ever seen that mentioned before), Owen being happy the tasers were bigger, Owen (again) being realistic at the hospital, UNIT, Jack being unexpectedly sensible but still Jack, the ending.
I really, really liked this.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 4th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really wanted this to feel like the TW universe on more than just a character level so the worldbuilding was important to me. I'm pleased that someone noticed those efforts and appreciated them. Thanks for taking the time to read such a long fic! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
It All Comes Back to the Breath: pic#72414255jo02 on November 29th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
I read this slowly over a couple of days because I was enjoying it so much!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 4th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
That's wonderful to hear! Thank you so much!
Nancynancybrown on December 1st, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
That was just lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on December 4th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment on it! It's much appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
tartan_tartetartan_tarte on February 1st, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
OMG! That was absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. I never wanted it to end! I'm so glad that I found it!
pargolettapargoletta on February 12th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
What a lovely story. If only the show itself were as well written . . .
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 12th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That's quite the compliment.

I've got a second recent fic in a similar vein (though I think this one's better) called The Chill That Steals. If you click on my Torchwood tag it should come right up.

Thanks for taking the time to read a big bang!