Characters: Jack, Ianto
Word Count: 934
Summary: Jack keeps letting himself get killed for no good reason and Ianto’s finally reached breaking point.
Spoilers: Nothing specific.
Written For: Shiva Vixen, who some time ago asked if I would write about someone calling Jack out on dying unnecessarily; it took me a while, but I finally wrote it!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters.
Jack couldn’t understand what was wrong with Ianto; he’d been quiet and moody all the way back to the Hub following the Weevil hunt. Granted, it had been a rough one, they’d got caught between two rather aggressive males and Jack’s coat was now sporting bloodstains that would need removing, but still…
“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong or just keep giving me the silent treatment?” Jack finally asked as he locked the cell door behind the second Weevil.
“The fact that you have to ask speaks volumes.” Ianto turned to glare at Jack, the first time he’d looked him in the eye since Jack had revived. He looked tired, strained, defeated. “You died, Jack.”
“I know; I was there. I do that quite a lot, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Jack shrugged casually.
“And that’s just it. You threw yourself at that Weevil without a second thought, knowing it would most likely kill you.”
“I wanted to buy you time to deal with the other one.”
“It wasn’t necessary! I almost had my Weevil under control, you could see that, but instead of just fending yours off, you sacrificed yourself. Do you want to die that badly?”
“What? No, of course not!”
“Then why do you just let yourself be killed without first exhausting all the alternatives? You treat your life like it’s meaningless, just because you always come back, but I’ve seen the pain you go through every time you die. God, Jack, I’ve had to watch that over and over, and yes, sometimes it’s been unavoidable, sometimes you’ve had no other way of saving innocent lives, but other times, like tonight… It wasn’t necessary!” he repeated, trying to drive home the point. “You put yourself through the pain of dying for no good reason! Have you any idea what that does to me?”
“I always come back!”
“That is SO not the point! I’m there every time you revive; I know that coming back hurts you at least as much as dying does! And when you hurt, so do I! When I have to watch you die and come back in agony, it destroys me every single time. I know the others just shrug it off, but I can’t; I’m the one who sees the way you suffer, sometimes for hours afterwards. Maybe you’ve learned to be cavalier about your deaths, and maybe that’s because no one else ever really gave a damn until now, but don’t you dare expect me to dismiss your pain so lightly, because I can’t. I love you, Jack. D’you think it’s fun for me sitting in a pool of your blood, holding your dead body in my arms, hoping and praying that this won’t be the time your luck runs out?”
Jack floundered, taken aback by Ianto’s tirade, by the tears in his lover’s eyes and the raw anguish in his voice. “It’s not luck, Ianto; the Doctor says I’m a fixed point, that I literally can’t stay dead, the universe won’t allow it.”
“Do you really believe that makes any difference to me when you’re dead? When you’re cold and still, not breathing, covered in blood and torn apart? It doesn’t matter that I know in here,” he tapped his head, “that you’ll come back. My heart always feels like it’s being torn from my chest. Forget about your masochistic tendencies for a moment, causing yourself suffering for no good reason. If you care about me at all, why would you put me through that hell any more that you absolutely have to? Or do my feelings not matter to you at all?”
“Ianto…” Jack walked towards his lover on suddenly shaky legs. Why had he never thought about what his dying did to the young Welshman? Perhaps because Ianto was usually so contained, hiding his feelings behind a mask just the way Jack himself so often did. “Ianto, I’m so sorry, I just never thought… I’ve grown so used to people treating my deaths as nothing more than a brief inconvenience, my revivals as a clever trick; no one’s ever really cared about how much it hurts me so I’ve grown used to pretending that it’s nothing.” Jack reached for Ianto, pulling him close and holding on tight. “I never meant to hurt you.”
Ianto hugged him back, resting his head on Jack’s shoulder. “I know, but Jack, it’s got to stop. I know you can’t completely avoid dying, just please, death should be the last resort, not your go-to option. I can understand when there’s no other way, but at least try not to die so often, if not for yourself then for me.”
“I promise I’ll try my best.”
“That’s all I’m asking, that you try.”
They stood there in silence, holding each other, for several minutes, until Jack finally cleared his throat. “So, are we okay now?”
Ianto nodded against his shoulder. “Yeah, you’re forgiven.” He drew a deep breath and reluctantly pulled away from Jack, rubbing his eyes. “Come on, we should get cleaned up, wash the blood away. Besides, I know you often ache after reviving, the hot water should help with that.”
“Always thinking of me; I don’t deserve you.”
“True, but you’re stuck with me anyway so we’ll both just have to make the best of it.” Ianto smiled wryly.
Ianto raised an eyebrow in question. “For what?”
“For caring enough to get angry with me. I’m not used to that.”
“Well, you’d better start getting used to it.”
Jack smiled and turned to follow Ianto to the showers. “Whatever you say.”