Title: Like A Coat From The Cold
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, mentions the team
Word Count: 1052
Summary: On a cold rooftop in the middle of the night, Jack and Ianto talk.
Spoilers: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, very slight End of Days.
Warnings: Extremely vague allusions to canon character torture (Jack). Possible schmoop.
Written For: My cottoncandy_bingo square Lending A Coat In The Cold.
Beta: The wonderful milady_dragon, who took a look at this one on very short notice. Thank you, hon! Much appreciated! I’ve fiddled about with this since it was betaed, so any remaining mistakes are on my head!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
A/N: The title is borrowed from the Guy Clark song that inspired the fic – one of my favourites.
Jack had checked them all into a hotel in order to avoid running into themselves after time looped back on itself. Once in their suite, Owen had patched himself up with Tosh’s help then headed back downstairs to take up residence in the bar while the girls headed for the hotel spa. Ianto had been thinking about taking the opportunity to catch up on some sleep, but as usual, Jack managed to derail his plans.
With the team seeming otherwise occupied, Jack had quietly slipped out the door. He needed time to think, about what Hart had told him among other things, so he made his way to one of his favourite rooftop thinking places. Being up high, looking down on the city, his mind always felt so much clearer. The chilly wind swept away the cobwebs and soothed his raw nerves. Too much had happened in the past few hours, since his return from that Year.
He understood that the team wanted answers; he just didn’t feel up to talking about what had happened while he’d been away. Not just yet and maybe not ever. Some things they were better off not knowing, but he doubted they’d agree, especially not Gwen with her endless questions and demands. He couldn’t deal with that right now.
Breathing deeply, he let go of the tension, willing himself to relax and letting his mind drift. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been standing there before he realised he wasn’t alone, and hadn’t been for quite a while. When he turned away from the view and found Ianto sitting a short distance away with his back to the parapet, sheltering from the wind, he wasn’t even surprised.
“How long have you been sitting there?”
Ianto looked up at him with a slight smile.
Crouching beside him, Jack took Ianto’s hands in his own; they were icy cold.
“Just a bit.”
That was typical Ianto understatement.
“Here.” Jack stood up, tugging his coat off and offering it to Ianto. “Put this on before you catch your death.”
“What about you? If I take your coat, then you’ll be the one freezing your arse off!”
“Ha! You admit you’re cold!”
Ianto just looked at him, stubborn as ever. Jack sighed.
“Ianto, please, take the coat. I don’t feel the cold as much as you do, and even if I did, it’s not like it’ll harm me. I don’t want you catching cold. Please? I’ll beg if I have to.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself, threatening people like that,” Ianto teased, then seeing the expression on Jack’s face he sighed. “Fine, if it’ll make you happy.” Rising to his feet, he let Jack help him into the coat. It was still warm from Jack’s body heat and he wrapped it tightly around himself, shivering a little as it started to warm him.
Jack watched him, concerned.
“What were you thinking anyway, coming up here without a coat?”
“I didn’t have a choice, my coat’s still back at the Hub; I couldn’t go back for it when time looped. Besides, I didn’t think it would matter, wasn’t exactly expecting to need it, but then you had to go swanning off. I figured someone should keep an eye on you.”
“You thought I might leave again?” Jack felt a little hurt that Ianto hadn’t trusted him, though after leaving the way he had before without even saying goodbye, he supposed it was only natural.
“No, it’s not that; you said you wouldn’t and I believe you. I was just worried about you, wanted to make sure you’d be okay after everything. It looked like you had a lot on your mind; I thought you might need a friend. Being alone isn’t always the best thing, Jack, not even for you. Maybe especially not for you. Something bad happened to you while you were away, didn’t it.”
“Yeah, it did. Look, I know you have questions. About why I left, where I’ve been…”
“Of course I do. We all do. But I’m not going to ask them, it’s none of my business. I know you’ll tell us what we need to know, if and when you’re ready. Right now it’s not so important; all that really matters is that you’re here, you came home.”
A weight lifted off Jack’s shoulders.
“Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me. And Ianto?”
“I’m glad to be back. I really have missed you. You, not the team. I mean, I missed the rest of the team too, I just missed you the most.”
Ianto laughed softy.
“I missed you too, Jack, a great deal. I’m glad you chose to come back. I’m not sure I understand why you’d give up all of space and time after waiting for so long, but I guess I don’t need to.”
“That’s one question I can answer.” Jack smiled, tilting Ianto’s chin up so he could look the younger man in the eyes. “Travelling through time and space is amazing, it’s an experience that can’t really be put into words. But as much fun as it is, it wouldn’t have felt right without you beside me. Someday, I’d like to show you what’s out there because I know you’d appreciate it. Despite everything you’ve been though, you’re not jaded; you can still see the wonder and beauty in the simplest things.” He touched the coat wrapped around Ianto. “I can loan you my coat to protect you from the cold, but when I have you beside me, I don’t need a coat; you’re all I need to keep me warm.”
Smiling softly, Ianto wrapped coat-clad arms around his captain.
“Then I’ll stay beside you forever if I can, so you’ll never have to feel the cold again.”
It was a simple promise, made on a midnight rooftop, but perhaps the universe was listening and granted their unspoken wish that night. After all, what else could have made it possible for them to stay together, keeping each other warm with their love until the end of time?
Eternal life is a blessing when you can share it with the other half of your soul, and no two people were ever more blessed than the Captain and his Welshman.