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Title: The Sea After a Storm, Chapter 98

Rating: R

Warnings: Nothing really graphic

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. No infringement, only worship intended!

Summary: In which we wrap up the boy's stay at the hotel...

Notes: Hello, all! I'm settling into my new job a bit and hope to start writing again soon! Luckily I have banked a bunch of chappies so you shouldn't notice any delay in posting. Have a great week! 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 Ninety-Eight

Previously on The Sea After a Storm: Jack and Ianto made up for lost time...

Ianto woke sometime later in the darkness of the hotel room. He didn't know whether minutes or hours had passed and it took him a minute to identify what had disturbed him.

He had turned in his sleep and was now spooned against Jack. While this wasn't unusual in itself, Jack's arms were like iron bands around him, holding him so tightly he was surprised he could still breathe. When Jack started muttering, Ianto realised what had awoken him. He couldn't make out what Jack was saying, but the desperation behind his whisper was enough to push Ianto completely into consciousness.

Ianto slid his hand along Jack's hip both as a signal that he was awake and as a soothing gesture. Jack's tortured whisper broke off and Ianto felt a sigh against the back of his neck.

"Sorry I woke you," Jack murmured.

"It's okay... Are you okay? Were you dreaming?"

Jack shook his head. "Couldn't sleep. Was just lying here thanking whatever gods will listen that you gave me another chance."


"And then I started thinking about... that night... when Owen died and... and everything went to shit." Jack's arms tightened almost painfully. "It could have been you, Ianto," he whispered.

"Me? Jack, what –"

"You could have stepped in front of that bullet. I keep seeing you... on the pavement, bleeding, dying and I can't save you."

Ianto clutched at Jack's hip. "I'm still here," he said calmly. "I'm fine."

"But it could've happened. It still can and I..." Jack swallowed audibly. "That's the real reason I brought Owen back," he said so softly Ianto could barely make out the words.

"I understand –"

"No! You don't understand. I was... I was so relieved it was Owen who was dead and not you and I couldn't... I just felt so guilty." The shame in Jack's voice was palpable.

Ianto was at a loss for words. He patted Jack's arms which were still crossed over his chest holding him tight, unable to think of anything comforting to say.

"I had to bring him back. I had to tell him how sorry I was, I... I didn't mean for any of it to happen the way it did. I would trade places with him in a heartbeat if I could."

"I know you would," Ianto said softly, running hand over Jack's arm.

"I lied about the code because it was all I could think of. I wanted to tell you the truth, but I... I don't know... I just couldn't say it out loud. There was this little voice inside my head yelling at me to tell you the truth no matter how ashamed I was but I just kept digging my heels in and sticking to my story and..."

Ianto felt Jack's soft hair brush across his neck as Jack shook his head.

"And the longer it went on, the harder it got to tell you and then I got angry at you because I felt so guilty whenever I saw you and... it all spiralled from there."

There was a long moment of silence whilst Ianto absorbed everything Jack had just told him. Jack sniffed and loosened his hold on Ianto to wipe at his eyes.

"God, Tosh was right," he muttered.

Ianto smiled faintly. "About what?" he asked, although he had a pretty good idea what Jack was going to say.

"About me behaving like a teenager," he said drily.

With a chuckle, Ianto patted the arm Jack still had wrapped around his chest. "I hear it gets better," he teased, sensing the conversation had shifted away from deeper discussions. He had a feeling this would be their pattern over the next few weeks, or even months, since neither of them were particularly skilled in communicating their feelings. There was only so long they could bear to discuss the really important topics in one sitting. Ianto didn't know if it was because they were both men, or if it was their years at Torchwood, or if it was just who they were at their cores, but between Jack's deceptive over sharing of trivial personal information and Ianto's more obvious reserve, neither of them were comfortable being vulnerable.

Ianto drew Jack's hand up so he could place a soft kiss on the inside of Jack's wrist. He felt an echoing touch on the slightly raised skin of the tattoo on his shoulder. Jack's lips followed the swoops and curves of the letters before coming to rest between Ianto's shoulder blades.

"Next time, listen to that little voice in your head," Ianto suggested quietly.

Jack nodded.

"And I'll listen to anything you want to tell me, you know that. No judgement."

This time Jack snorted against Ianto's back, the sound half sob, half laughter. "Really?"

Fighting a blush at Jack's valid scepticism after the last month, Ianto nodded and said sincerely, "Really. I may not agree with you but I promise I'll try to listen without rushing to judgement." After a pause, he added, "Especially if it's something we're discussing at home. Off the clock."

"Mmm, I do love it when you say home." Jack nudged Ianto until he turned in Jack's arms, facing him again. "New rule," Jack said, kissing Ianto softly.

After a few delightful minutes, Jack raised his head and looked at Ianto with a baffled expression. "I was saying something..."

"Were you?" Ianto murmured, taking the opportunity to trace the edge of Jack's ear with his tongue.

"Rules! New rules for how we're going to make this work. Stop that," Jack said sternly.

Ianto lay back and tucked his hands under his head, looking up at Jack. "Rules?" he prompted.

"We need to separate our lives a bit."

"Your life and my life?" Ianto asked, furrowing his brow.

"No, work life and home life. I'm not going to say anything stupid like we can't talk about work outside the Hub or anything, but I think we need to try harder to have personal conversations at... your flat, or at least somewhere away from the rest of the team."

"Sometimes it's hard to realise it is a personal matter in the moment, though."

Jack nodded. "True. We're not gonna get it right all the time, but if we both try to be aware and... and..."

"And no leaving," Ianto added. He reached up and cupped Jack's cheek in his hand. "I am sorry I left. From now on we stay and fight for us, just like we always do for everyone else. No matter what."

"Agreed," Jack said, sealing their bargain with a kiss before wrapping himself around Ianto again, resting his face against Ianto's hair.

Ianto was just drifting off to sleep again when he heard Jack whisper his name.


Jack took a deep breath. "Do you think that maybe someday, if I can actually earn your trust back... maybe we can make the whole... home thing a little more permanent?"

Ianto bit back a smile. "Jack, did you just ask me to move in with you?"

"Well, what I was hoping for was that I could move in with you, but I guess if you really want to live at the Hub, we could make it work – oof!"

Although he couldn't get much leverage in his position, Ianto had managed to jam his elbow into Jack's ribs. He immediately apologised with a kiss as he nodded.

"Sounds good to me."

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The next time Ianto woke, it was from the sun streaming across his face. He squinted, even though his eyes weren't actually open yet, and reached over to turn off his alarm before it could start beeping.


"Sorry!" Ianto apologised to Jack, laughing as he repeatedly kissed Jack's nose – which he had just smacked by accident.

Jack growled and wrapped Ianto in a bruising hug, turning the light kisses into something more. After several minutes of thoroughly enjoyable snogging, Ianto tucked his head under Jack's chin and contemplated their entwined fingers. "I suppose we really have to go back to the real world," he said almost mournfully.

Jack dropped a kiss on the top of Ianto's head and nodded. "Yeah," he agreed. He yawned and snuggled closer to Ianto. "But not 'til noon."

Ianto chuckled as Jack's breathing deepened almost immediately. He closed his eyes and let the sound lull him into a doze.

They'd done little more than sleep, eat, and make love over the last three days. Ianto had a feeling Jack had spent the last month doing even less of the first two than he had himself. He'd slowly begun to lose the shadows under his eyes and, to Ianto's relief, the pinched, closed off expression he'd been wearing for far too long was completely gone, replaced by Jack's easy smile once again.

As for Ianto, he felt better than he had in weeks. Just as he'd predicted, he and Jack had spent most the last few days talking – bouncing between trivial, comfortable chatting and the deeper conversations they clearly needed to have. They had sent their clothes out to be laundered the morning after they'd checked in, spending the day in bed or clad only in the luxurious hotel robes. Ianto wasn't sure if it was the literal "stripping bare" that freed them, but he had to admit that, other than the obvious distractions, they communicated better without clothing. They agreed – with amused grins – that they shouldn't impose on the hotel laundry services again and basically barricaded themselves in their room instead of getting dressed to go out. The days of no interruptions other than room service had been just what they needed and it felt like they'd laid to rest most of the big issues that had sparked their disagreements. It was amazing how much easier it was to talk openly about emotions when you were soaking in a claw foot tub, surrounded by hot water and your lover's arms.

Ianto sighed happily at the memory and made a mental note to wake Jack in time for one more bath before they had to check out.


*Note: I know that the It Gets Better project didn't begin until 2010 (2 years after this story is taking place) but it was just such a perfect line, I couldn't resist. To learn more about the project, please visit: http://www.itgetsbetter.org

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