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Title: The Sea After a Storm, Chapter 88

Rating: R

Warnings: Some bad language and a little mature audiences only moment

Spoilers: Season Two thru A Day in the Death (2x08)

Pairings: Jack/Ianto

Disclaimer: Torchwood, Doctor Who and all their wonderfulness belong to the Mighty Beeb and He Who Must Not Be Named. All ©'s to Andy Goddard for situations and dialogue borrowed from A Day in the Death. No infringement, only worship intended!

Summary: In which Jack and Ianto finally have a little talk...

Notes: Hello and Happy Devil's Night! Hope y'all have a happy and safe Halloween tomorrow. Enjoy! You can find all the previous chapters of The Sea After a Storm here. This is a sequel to Vizzini’s Rule and To The Pain. Thanks again and forever to my amazing beta and wonderful friend [personal profile] thraceadams  for all the help and support and beta work; any mistakes are mine!


The Sea After a Storm: Chapter Eighty-Eight
Previously on The Sea After a Storm: The alien artefact didn't blow up Owen, the city, or anything else, Martha returned to UNIT and everything returned to normal...sort of...

When Ianto made his way back to the Hub after tidying up and restocking the SUV, the rest of the team was gathered around Tosh's workstation inspecting Owen's artefact.

"I'm telling you it sang," Owen insisted. "And there were lights!"

Jack poked the artefact. "It looks like a rock," he said sceptically.

"More like a shell," Gwen offered.

"Piss off," Owen muttered. He snatched up the artefact and held it against his chest, ignoring the cries of dismay from Gwen and Tosh.

A moment later, the artefact began to glow.

"Owen! The readings are spiking again," Tosh warned with a glance at her monitors.

"It's fine."

"Owen..."

"You'll see, it'll... there! See!"

Small tendrils of light began to reach out from the artefact, waving like a kind of above-water sea anemone. A few seconds later, the faint hum coming from the object coalesced into a kind of song. There was nothing recognisable about the melody, even the pitch and metre sounded alien, but there was no question it was music.

"Oh my god, I know what it is," Jack said quietly.

Everyone looked at him expectantly, still listening to the music.

"It's a probe. Intelligent life forms have been sending things like this out into the galaxy for centuries. Sort of a 'hey, we're here, we're friendly' kind of thing."

"Like the American's Voyager?" Ianto asked, moving closer to the group.

"Exactly." Jack nodded slowly but he didn't take his eyes off the artefact to look at Ianto.

"So it's not dangerous, just like I said?" Owen looked more at peace holding the probe than Ianto had seen him in days.

Jack shook his head and then blinked hard, snapping out of his contemplation of the probe. "Well, mystery solved. Give it to Ianto and he can get this logged into the archives and stored."

Of course, Ianto thought sourly, who needs sleep?

Owen and Tosh said 'no !' at the same moment whilst Gwen's response was typically more long-winded.

"Surely not tonight, Jack. If it's not dangerous, then there's no rush. I think we could all use a break after the last few days."

"And I want to run some tests on it!" Tosh added.

Owen didn't say anything more, but he did clutch the probe a little more tightly causing the tendrils of light to intensify around him.

Jack threw up his hands. "Fine. Everyone can stay here and play with the probe or go home and or do whatever they want. Better?"

Gwen nodded and smiled happily. "And when do we need to come back?"

Jack muttered under his breath and then said, "As long as there are no emergencies, take the rest of the week."

With a high pitched squeal, Gwen gave Jack a quick hug and then hurried to her workstation where she started gathering up her things, thanking Jack profusely for the extra time off since she desperately needed to get some wedding plans under control and start her Christmas shopping.

Jack just shook his head while she nattered, and walked slowly to his office. Ianto took two steps towards Jack and then stopped. He shoved his hands in his pockets and tried to work up the courage to follow Jack. Tosh saw him dithering, and raised an eyebrow at him. He grimaced at her, making her scowl in return. She jerked her head at Jack's office. Before Ianto could make himself move, Jack came back out into the Hub, wearing his coat.

"Last one out, set the alarms," he called as he stepped onto the invisible lift platform and engaged the machinery.

There was a long moment of surprised silence from everyone as the lift ascended to the Plass. Ianto took advantage of the distraction to slip back out the door he'd come in, making his way to the garage and then out into the cold night. He couldn't take any more of Gwen's supercilious sympathy or Tosh's disappointment that he hadn't stepped up and talked to Jack yet.

He was disappointed in himself enough for both of them.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Ianto was dreaming.

It was a singularly pleasant dream. He was lying in bed with Jack spooned behind him, slowly running his hand over Ianto's chest. He moaned quietly and pushed back into Jack, the warm hardness of his body soothing the ache in Ianto's heart. The hand on his chest dipped lower and lower until Jack slipped past the waist of his flannel pyjama bottoms. The dream felt so real... Ianto could swear Jack was actually there. Jack's hand closed around Ianto's balls and squeezed gently.

"Ianto," he whispered.

Ianto felt Jack's breath on the back of his neck... and sprang out of the bed with a shout, smacking the wall several times before he found the light switch and flipped it on.

"Jesus Christ, Ianto," Jack complained, raising his hand to shield his eyes from the sudden brightness.

"Bloody fucking hell, Jack!" Ianto exclaimed at the same moment. "What the fuck are you doing?"

"I thought that was pretty obvious," Jack said, blinking a few times and then lowering his hand.

"I mean, what are you doing here. How did you even get in?"

"I used the spare key that you keep at the Hub." Jack sat up and crossed his arms defensively over his bare chest. "What?"

"What? You broke into my flat!"

"I hardly broke in. I used a key. I wanted to see you now that everything's okay again."

Ianto gaped at Jack, speechless.

"What?" Jack asked again.

Ianto shook his head and rubbed his hands over his face, trying to dispel the last vestiges of sleep that were making him feel slow and stupid. He strode over to the dressing table and pulled out a thick sweatshirt. After he had it on, he turned back to the bed to find Jack watching him with a wary expression on his face. Ianto leant against the table and struggled with what to say next for a long, uncomfortable minute.

"What do you mean everything's okay now?" Ianto finally asked.

Jack looked confused. "I fixed it."

"You fixed what?"

"You were angry about everything with Owen. He's back on the team and everything's back to normal."

"Does anything about this feel normal?"

"Well it would if you'd get back into bed," Jack grumbled.

"Are you fucking kidding me, Jack? You think one good fuck and I'll forget all about you lying to me and calling me useless and ignoring me for days, not to mention going out of your way to try to make me look incompetent in front of the rest of the team?"

Jack looked angry now. "It's not like you picked up a phone either, Ianto."

"I didn't have anything to apologise for," Ianto said through clenched teeth.

"Excuse me?" Jack's raised his eyebrows in surprise. "You started the whole damn thing!"

Ianto pushed off of the dressing table and started pacing as he shook his head. "I asked you legitimate questions about why you brought Owen back. You were the one who lied to all of us and then kept lying to me even when we were alone."

Jack rolled his eyes. "Oh for god's sake, I'm sorry I didn't feel like getting all touchy feely in the middle of the night."

"I wasn't asking you to bare your soul, Jack, I was just asking for the simple courtesy of a little honesty!"

"Look..." Jack took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his face. "We both said some things that we regret that night. Let's just forget it. Put it behind us and move on."

"What if I don't regret it?" Ianto asked quietly, looking at the floor.

There was a long pause.

"What?" Jack asked in clipped tones.

Ianto raised his eyes to Jack's. "I don't regret it. I admit, we were both too tired to have that conversation at that point, and well, I do regret that I lost my temper, but... I stand by what I said."

"I don't understand what you want from me, Ianto. You want me to say sorry for making a decision you don't agree with? Well, I won't say it to you any more than I would to Gwen or Tosh or Owen. I'm the boss. I have to make the tough calls and I'm the one who has to live with them."

"I understand that," Ianto said in a low voice. He took a deep breath, consciously keeping himself from reacting to being lumped together with the rest of the team, as if what they shared between them meant nothing. "What I don't understand is how you could be so reckless with that glove when we were all begging you to stop and think about what could happen. I don't understand how you could lie to Owen about why you brought him back and I really don't understand how you could lie to me about it after you promised."

"Promised what?"

Ianto shook his head, trying not to let the pain from Jack's words show on his face. He clasped his hands to hide their shaking. "The night we brought Suzi back with the first damned glove. You promised me then that you wouldn't ever lie to me. Maybe it makes me a fool, but I believed you."

Jack threw the covers off and stood up. He jerked on his trousers and began fastening his belt.

"Am I a fool?" Ianto pressed. "Was I just some naive git to believe you?"

"No!" Jack dropped his shirt and a reached out to grab Ianto by the arms. "I've never lied to you since that night, Ianto. I've told you things... I shared more of myself with you than anyone else in my entire life and that's a long damn time and you know it. That night, I just... It's complicated and it can't be undone so why do we need to waste time dwelling on it?"

"Because it matters! It mattered so much to you that you broke your word. It feels like you just threw away everything we have together."

"Christ," Jack muttered. He let Ianto go, and stepped back, his hands on his hips. "So all of this is really just about your little hurt feelings, is that it?"

"That's not what I'm saying at all!" Ianto shouted. He took another deep breath and added, more quietly, "I'm saying..."

"What? What are you saying? Spit it out." Jack needled him as he grabbed his shirt off the floor and pulled it over his head.

"You know what? Fuck you, Jack. That's what I'm saying," Ianto spat, his patience worn thin.

"Eloquent," Jack sneered. He headed for the front door where he stamped his feet into his boots and tore his coat out of the closet, making the hangers rattle. He pulled the door open and then paused on the threshold. "You know, I told you this would happen. I told you I would hurt you," Jack said softly.

"Congratulations," Ianto replied bitterly.

Jack hunched his shoulders and then slammed the door behind him.

"You were right," Ianto whispered to his empty flat.

TBC...
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