Characters: Ianto, Jack.
Spoilers: Nada. Set in my Ghost of a Chance ‘Verse.
Summary: A horrifying event on a frontier world leads to an amazing revelation for Jack and Ianto.
Word Count: 1246
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, Jack/Ianto, How Forever Feels,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“So you’re saying I’m immortal like you now?”
It was so typical of Ianto to want to make sure he had all the facts straight first. Jack wanted to smile, or maybe to laugh out loud again and do an outrageous Happy Dance, but he didn’t know yet how Ianto was going to feel about his new circumstances and didn’t think it wise to celebrate prematurely, so all he said was, “I can’t be certain, but it looks that way.”
“Huh.” Ianto plucked at his bloodstained shirt, peered through the hole in it to the unblemished skin beneath. Jack could almost see the cogs turning in his lover’s head as he thought over recent events, giving them the careful contemplation such life-changing experiences deserved.
He was still sitting on the ground, right where he’d died before miraculously gasping back into life, and Jack was still on his knees beside him. A few short minutes ago Jack had been feeling the devastating weight of all-consuming grief, and now his heart felt as light as a feather. Ianto had been dead, shot through the heart by an alien intent on stealing their spaceship, but now miraculously he was alive again, and something Jack hadn’t dared hope for, even after finding a way to restore his lover to life after his death in Thames House, has come to pass. He wasn’t completely sure how, but it must have been something to do with the device he’d used to put Ianto’s wandering soul back into his body, because the attachment appeared to be permanent.
“How do you feel?” Jack asked tentatively.
His lover gave the question due consideration. “Can’t say that was a pleasant experience, either the dying part or the coming back, although at least it wasn’t a lingering death. I have to say it’s no easier dying than it is being the one left waiting and wondering. On the plus side, apart from being a bit shaky I feel more or less the way I did before that whatever it was shot me.”
Ianto pulled back, looking at Jack a little warily. “Excuse me?”
“That’s what shot you. A Gah’kn’ss’uk.”
“Oh, right. Thought for a moment there you were coughing up a hairball. What happened to the… what you said?”
“Gah’kn’ss’uk,” Jack repeated.
“I killed it.”
“And it’s dead dead? I mean, completely dead, not just a bit dead like I was?”
“It’s about as dead as anything can get,” Jack assured him. “I made sure of that.”
“Good, because I’d rather not have it shooting me again. One death and resurrection is quite enough for today, thank you very much. In fact I’d rather not have to go through that again anytime soon.” He paused to look speculatively at Jack. “Does it get easier with practice?”
Jack would have liked to reassure Ianto that it would, in fact, get easier, but he wasn’t about to lie. Better that Ianto should know the unvarnished truth from the start, because if he really was like Jack now, chances were this wouldn’t be the last time he’d die and come back to life.
“No, not noticeably.”
“Didn’t think so. I’ve seen you die and revive often enough to figure that out for myself, but I thought it was worth asking anyway.”
“You’ll learn not to dwell on it, push it to the back of your mind as soon as you can think straight. Just takes time.”
“Well, apparently I’ll have plenty of that now. One thing in its favour; at least I won’t have to worry about going grey or losing my hair.”
“Not permanently anyway. You’ll always look as good as you do right now,” Jack promised. “Which, in my admittedly biased opinion, is pretty damned perfect.”
“You’re right, you’re biased, but I guess I can live with that. Not that I have a choice.” Ianto looked down at his bloody clothes and grimaced. “Dried blood itches; that’s something nobody ever tells you. I need a shower, and a change of clothes, preferably some that only have the regulation number of holes in them.” Sighing, he made to get up and Jack jumped to his feet in order to offer him a helping hand, which he gratefully accepted. The weak shakiness he’d felt immediately upon reviving had mostly passed, but he still felt a bit lightheaded, and he wasn’t sure whether that was down to blood loss, shock, or something else entirely. “Thanks.”
He spared a brief glance for the body of the Gah’kn’ss’uk, lying a short distance away. Jack hadn’t lied about it being dead, Ianto couldn’t see how it could get much deader. Clearly his lover hadn’t held back when taking his revenge; it wasn’t a pretty sight. Not that it had been pretty to look at beforehand, but now… It wasn’t much more than a smear on the ground. It hadn’t died pleasantly.
Ianto might have felt sorry for it, if not for the fact that it had killed him in cold blood, but he could remember taking his rage and grief out on a number of creatures that had killed Jack back in Cardiff, and on those occasions he’d known Jack would revive. Probably. Jack would have had no idea Ianto’s death wasn’t permanent, so it was hardly surprising he’d reacted badly, especially since the two of them had only been travelling around the universe together for a few months. All those years Jack had spent finding a way to get Ianto back after he’d died from the 456 virus, or poison gas, or whatever that had been, only to lose him again so senselessly…
But Jack hadn’t lost him; Ianto was alive and well, and looked set to stay that way for a very long time. Still holding hands, because Jack seemed unwilling to let go of him and Ianto himself had no objections to being held on to, they made their way across the poorly lit landing field of the frontier world they were on, heading towards where their ship, the Happy Wanderer, stood. Jack lowered the access ramp by pressing buttons on his VM and they boarded, the ramp lifting again behind them, sealing them safely inside.
“Home sweet home,” Jack said with slightly forced cheer. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.” He steered Ianto towards the shower they could only use when they were hooked up to the utilities on a planet or a space station, real water instead of the usual sonics, and after stripping them both, took his time washing Ianto and examining him very thoroughly to make certain he was really alright. Ianto had done that often enough on occasions when Jack had been killed so he understood Jack’s need to see for himself that his lover was completely healed, all his parts in full working order.
Later, as they lay in the huge bed in their quarters relaxing after some very vigorous and life-affirming lovemaking, with Jack’s head resting on Ianto’s chest as he listened to the reassuring sound of his lover’s heartbeat, Ianto finally spoke, his voice slow and thoughtful. “So, this is how forever feels, is it?”
Jack didn’t reply, knowing Ianto wasn’t expecting him to. Silence fell again and for a long while they simply lay there, enjoying the closeness and the warmth and solidity of each other’s body.
Finally, just when Jack thought Ianto must have fallen asleep, his lover spoke again. “You know, I think I like it.”