Characters: Ianto, Jack
Spoilers: Small ones for Cyberwoman, Small Worlds, End of Days, maybe KKBB.
Summary: Jack is a very tactile person who likes to be close to people.
Word Count: 500
Written For: Prompt # 447 – Personal Space, at slashthedrabble.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
After careful consideration, Ianto had come to the conclusion that the words ‘Jack’ and ‘personal space’ were mutually exclusive. Jack was a very tactile person and liked being close to other people, the closer the better. He was the only person Ianto had ever met who enjoyed being crammed into a lift with thirty complete strangers. Of course, Jack being Jack, all charm and fifty-first century pheromones, by the time everyone disembarked, they weren’t exactly strangers anymore. He was usually on first-name terms with most of them.
When Ianto first started work at Torchwood Three it was a bit disconcerting the way that even in the vastness of the Hub, Jack tended to stand as close to him as possible. He would have wondered if his new boss harboured suspicions about him except that Jack behaved exactly the same with other members of the team, so he endured it until somewhere along the way, he started to enjoy it. Jack was warm and smelled good, while Lisa was mostly cold and had lost the fragrance he’d once associated with her.
Inevitably, Jack and Ianto had become lovers, which seemed to encourage even more familiarity on Jack’s part. The touches on arm, shoulder, or back had evolved into an arm draped companionably around him, a pat on the butt, a hug from behind, a hand reaching to hold his…
After the Lisa incident, Jack backed off, steering clear of Ianto, leaving more than enough space between them, and the touching stopped completely, even though Jack still touched the others with his usual over-familiarity. Already grieving for Lisa, Ianto was made to feel even more lost and alone each time Jack skirted around him, hands in his pockets, as if afraid that touching Ianto would somehow contaminate him.
It was only when the touching started again that Ianto finally felt Jack had forgiven him. When Jack rested his hand lightly between Ianto’s shoulder blades and asked why he was still at the Hub so late, it had been all Ianto could do not to burst into tears out of sheer relief. That the simple touch he’d once found annoying had come to mean so much to him was something Ianto never would have imagined. It was the beginning of a new stage in their relationship, so when Jack suddenly disappeared a few months later, Ianto felt almost like he’d lost a limb.
Now Jack was back from his travels with the Doctor, and though he put on a good act for the team, Ianto could tell it hadn’t been the fun-filled jaunt the others assumed. Jack seemed different, haunted somehow, and this time Ianto was the one who ignored Jack’s personal space, reassuring him with gentle touches, hugging him, letting their shoulders brush as they walked, holding hands… Jack seemed so grateful for every touch.
Ianto didn’t know what had happened to Jack, but he’d willingly do whatever it took to heal his lover, just the way Jack had once healed him.