Title: Second Chances
Characters: Ianto, Jack
Spoilers: For most of the show, specifically Cyberwoman, They Keep Killing Suzie, Reset, Adrift, Fragments, Exit Wounds, CoE and The House of the Dead radio play.
Summary: Jack and Ianto get more than their share of second chances.
Word Count: 704
Written For: juliet316’s prompt ‘Torchwood, Jack/Ianto, second chances.’ at fic_promptly.
Warnings: Temporary character deaths.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
A/N: A slight AU of Through Time and Space, written last year when I was just getting started with writing my epic.
After the Cyberwoman debacle (he can’t call it Lisa anymore; whatever it had been in the end, it definitely hadn’t been the woman he’d loved), Ianto fully expects to be retconned, or more likely executed. It’s no more than he deserves for hiding a monster in Torchwood’s secret base. It chills him to the bone to think of what could have happened if it had got loose. It would have been Canary Wharf all over again, with the entire world at stake, all because he couldn’t bring himself to let go of someone who was already gone.
What he doesn’t expect is to be given a second chance. He gets a month-long suspension first, but he uses the time wisely, to grieve for the love he lost and to put his life back in order, as much as is possible. It’s hard, and he’s still grieving, still guilt-ridden when he returns to work. There are days when it’s all he can do just to get out of bed, dress, and go to work, but he does it anyway. Second chances don’t come along that often, it would be stupid to throw away the one he’s been given and he needs to prove that he deserves it. Gradually, his teammates stop treating him with suspicion and he begins to feel like part of the team once more.
Getting a second chance with Jack himself is even more unexpected. It takes a while for the flirting to start up again, but when it does it’s like coming home. Now he really feels like he’s been forgiven and when he propositions Jack over Suzie’s body and isn’t turned down, his heart feels lighter than it’s been in months.
When Jack returns from the Year That Never Was, the shoe is on the other foot. He’s nervous and fumbling, like a boy with his first crush. After leaving the way he did without a word of explanation or even a goodbye, it’s no surprise that Ianto is angry and distant. Jack knows he deserves that, and more, but he’s hoping that he can persuade the other man to give him another chance.
Jack’s determined it will be different this time; he’ll woo his lover, do things right. All he has to do is get Ianto to agree to a date so that he can prove he’s sincere, a changed man. It’s touch and go for a while, especially with John Hart showing up and putting a spanner in the works, but Ianto is still willing to take a leap of faith, despite the way Jack hurt him in the past.
One date leads to a second and a third, everything is going well between them, despite a few glitches. No relationship is perfect all the time, but they’re not expecting it to be and when things get a little rocky, they simply try harder. It works, and they come through the rough patches (Owen’s death and un-life, Flat Holm, losing both Tosh and Owen at the same time) stronger than they were before. Having each other to lean on helps more than anything.
Then the 456 come and everything changes again. Losing both Steven and Ianto almost destroys Jack and he finds he can’t stay on earth. The memories are everywhere; he needs to get away before they drive him insane. Before he leaves earth, he goes to the House of the Dead, intent on stopping a threat and closing the Rift for good. The last thing he expects is to see Ianto there; and it really is Ianto, not an illusion, a ghost or a shade but a flesh-and-blood man. Another chance for them to be together, only Ianto tricks him; he never was one to shirk responsibility, choosing to stay and do the job properly.
Jack heads out among the stars. There’s nothing left to keep him on earth, no more second chances to be had.
Until, many years in the future, he runs into a familiar if incongruous figure, a certain young Welshman with a TARDIS, of all things. It seems the Universe still has plans for them, and for the first time in a very long time, Jack knows he’s found where he belongs.