Prompt: #39 Believe
Disclaimer: not mine, never will be.
Summary: Because sometimes we need a reminder.
Ianto is waiting when Jack arrives back at the hub. Ready with a trolley, a body bag and a concerned expression as Jack gets slowly out of the SUV, the smell of exhaust fumes still clinging to his clothes.
"John’s dead." It’s bleak, unemotional, numb. Jack leans back against the driver’s door, too worn to do or say anything more.
"I know." Ianto puts a hand his shoulder and gives a gentle squeeze, one that Jack knows is meant to reassure him, let him know that everything is going to be all right.
Jack doesn’t question how Ianto knows, there’s just dull relief that he doesn’t need to explain to him what happened.
They move the body down to the morgue. Jack walking slowly a few steps behind Ianto, head bowed, hands pushed in to coat pockets so Ianto will not see they are shaking.
"He looks peaceful." Jack sighs and leans against the cold metal wall. "He never should have had to go through this."
"You envy him don’t you." It’s not a question and Ianto’s voice is sad as he closes the body bag obscuring Mr Ellis' face from view.
"What?" Jack stares at him, confusion then fear playing across his face.
"I heard what you said to him." Ianto closes the drawer and picks up a clipboard.
"Who?" But Jack already knows the answer.
"John. You left your earpiece switched on." Ianto starts filling out the form.
"Oh." the colour draining from Jack’s face, his voice half choked, "I’m sorry. I am so sorry."
Laying down the clipboard Ianto puts a hand on Jacks arm.
"It’s all right, sir." It’s so understanding that Jack can’t look at him, can’t bear to see the compassion in his eyes. He can't believe that he deserves it, not after what he has put Ianto through tonight, letting him hear his death, all the time Ianto knowing that he had used his car to do it. The thought of it makes him feel sick.
"Come on, I’ll make us some coffee. "
Jack allows himself to be led away.
They sit at Jack’s desk drinking coffee.
It is Ianto who breaks the silence that has been in place since they left the morgue. "Why didn’t you tell me?" The tone is sad, rather than angry, as Ianto sits, hands curled round his mug. Jack wishes it was anger, he could have dealt with anger.
"Tell you what? That I’m a time traveller? That I can’t die? That I’ve died to so many times, in so many ways, that I’ve lost count?" It’s as empty as Jack feels. He doesn’t want to do this right now, doesn’t ever want to do this. Saying it out loud makes it all too real and that much harder to bear.
"How you feel." It’s disappointed, concerned and Jack can picture the small, worried frown on Ianto’s face, but he can't look at him. Instead he closes his eyes, certain that he can't deal with this right now, can't cope with anymore understanding, anymore compassion. Afraid that if Ianto stays any longer, if he asks anymore questions, that he may just break.
"You should go home, it’s late." Jack still can’t meet Ianto’s eyes, wonders how he will ever meet them again now that Ianto knows what he is. "I’ll pay for your cab."
"What if I said I didn’t want to?" It’s sad again and Jack knows he’s got to get away.
"I’d say you were an idiot." Jack can't even raise his normal smile as gets up to leave.
Ianto gives a quiet almost laugh and goes to stand by the door, half blocking Jack’s escape. "Maybe I am, sir, but I’m not going to leave you."
"Everybody leaves, Ianto, whether they mean to or not. All we ever are is alone." Jack can't keep the despair out of his voice. He’s heard this too many times, believed it too many times.
Ianto sighs and lays his hand over Jack’s as he starts to open the door. "You don’t have to be alone, sir. It’s Christmas, nobody should have to be alone at Christmas."
"I’d be awful company." Jack looks down at the floor willing Ianto to go, to please leave him alone. "No, you should spend it with your friends, your family, people you want to be with." Jack tries to move his hand away but Ianto grips it tighter, refusing to let him leave.
"There isn’t anyone else to spend it with, or that I’d rather be with." Jack catches a waver in Ianto’s voice that he was sure wasn’t there before.
"You must have someone…" Jack’s voice trails off as he finally meets Ianto’s eyes.
"You’re not the only one who’s all alone in the world Jack. Can’t we be a little bit less alone, together? Even if it is only for tonight." There is sadness in his voice, but also hope as he threads his fingers through Jack’s.
It is a small gesture but it’s too much and Jack can feel tears stinging in his eyes. He wants to tell Ianto everything, to share it all with somebody, not to be alone anymore. But nothing will come out.
Ianto doesn’t speak, instead he releases Jack’s hand and pulls him in to his arms, letting Jack’s head rest against his shoulder.
"You’re not alone." He kisses Jack then, softly, deeply, hands tangling in his hair. Eventually they break the kiss and, a little breathless, Ianto speaks again, looking into Jack’s eyes. "You just need someone to remind you."
Then Ianto smiles, "I want that someone to be me. Because I promise I will keep on reminding you." He kisses Jack again, "until you understand." Another kiss, "that you aren’t alone and that I will never, ever leave you."
Trembling, almost afraid of the intensity in Ianto’s voice, Jack kisses back and dares to believe.