Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa, Jack/John
Warning: Spoilers for Children of Earth
Summary: The Agency taught Jack the rules of time travel. Some of them no longer apply.
Note: Thanks to tesserae_ for the awesome beta. I also owe a debt to sapphirekeep for her wonderful Torchwood timeline.
Companion Songvid: Tango: DreamWidth, LiveJournal
Cover: Finally, a huge thanks to Hope, who read, watched and betaed it all until she was heartily sick of this whole 'verse, and then still made the most awesome cover ever. <3 (You can tell her how awesome it is on DreamWidth or LiveJournal.)
Rule 4: The primary purpose of vortex manipulator technology is to deter crime and to assist Time Agents in the protection of the timestream. Vortex manipulators will be used in a professional, ethical and legal manner at all times.
Ianto spotted Jack as soon as he walked into the pub, and waved to attract his attention. Jack grinned and waved back, wending his way through the crowd of jostling rugby colours, and returning occasional shouted greetings from fellow regulars. Ianto couldn't hear what was said, their words drowned out by the blare of televisions, but could tell Jack was barely bothering to flirt despite a pretence at his usual indiscriminate good humour. Jack looked over to him again and their gazes briefly snagged, Jack's eyes glittering with sharp-edged heat.
Downing the last of his drink and abandoning his empty glass on the bar, Ianto headed towards him, meeting him half-way between a table full of Aussies chanting, "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" and a poster-covered column -- a faded Kenny and Dolly peeking out from behind Sophistifuck and Fractured Persona.
"Hey," Jack said, and pulled Ianto into a hug, holding him just slightly too close, too tight, for where they were. "Fancy meeting you here."
"Was in the area," Ianto said, breathing in Jack's scent before giving him a manly thump on the back and stepping away.
"Me too," Jack said easily, and let him go. "Want another drink?"
Ianto nodded, happy to stretch out the warm pangs of anticipation a little longer.
They pushed their way to the bar and Jack waved down the bartender, who started pulling their usual beer and water without needing an order.
Overhead, Australia and England were kicking off at the Stade Vélodrome; there was some jeering and a few peanuts thrown at the screen, and not only at the English side -- the Welsh defeat at Aussie hands was still a fresh wound. As they waited, Ianto lounged against the bar, enjoying the way Jack was undressing him with his eyes.
Once the drinks were plonked in front of them and they'd both taken a mouthful, Jack said, "So. Any suggestions as to how I might fill the evening, as I find myself at loose ends?"
Ianto pretended to think. "You could finish those reports--"
Jack growled his opinion of that, and sidled closer so they were touching, arms and thighs pressing together.
"A spot of weevil hunting, perhaps." Ianto lifted his glass to hide a smile.
"I can think of other ways to get some exercise, Ianto."
Ianto took a drink of beer and licked his lips. "Oh, yes?"
"You should invite me over for a cup of coffee," Jack said with a leer, "and I'll tell you all about it."
"I could..." Ianto paused, and then said pointedly, "if I trusted you not to break my coffee maker. Again." He ignored Jack's very fetching pout at not getting an immediate invitation into Ianto's queen-sized bed.
"You're no fun."
"Oh? That's too bad. Because I had this idea..."
Jack cocked an eyebrow, pout gone and eyes already gleaming with interest.
"As it happens, there are several things I've never done on a roof."
"Is that so?" Jack was smiling now. The barest whiff of a sex game had always been enough to pique his interest, doubly so if it was somewhat perverse.
Ianto nodded. "Lots of things you can do on roofs. So I've heard."
"I can think of a few," Jack said.
Ianto felt Jack's hand come to rest above the curve of his arse, and the tension snapped and sparked between them. They shared a look -- let's go, right behind you -- and without a word, Jack put down his glass and strode off towards the door, coat flapping, people parting to let him through.
Ianto watched, loving the broad lines of Jack's shoulders and back, then gulped down one last mouthful of beer, and followed.
Outside the pub, Ianto scanned the street for Jack. He quickly spotted him several yards away on the other side of the road, leaning against the side of an empty office building, just outside the bright pool of light cast by a street lamp.
It wasn't that late, and the street was still busy. As Ianto waited to cross over, he tucked his hands into his pockets to keep them warm. After the closeness of the pub, there was a distinct nip to the air; it was still the mild chill of autumn, not the deep cold of winter -- just cold enough to make al fresco shagging interesting rather than lethal.
A boisterous group rounded the corner, heading for the pub. They jostled past Ianto, intent on their own pleasure, calling out good-naturedly to each other, "You're such a cow, Cheryl," and "Bunch of poofs, the lot of them. What else do you expect from the English?" as they slowly shuffled through the bottleneck of the pub door.
The traffic finally cleared and Ianto stepped down off the curb and crossed the street. While he'd been distracted, Jack had disappeared from view, but the building he'd been standing against was right next to an old, cobblestone alley, and when Ianto neared it, Jack's arm snaked out and pulled him inside. Ianto went with it easily, using his momentum to push Jack up against the wall and press his nose into Jack's neck, taking in a long, unsteady breath. God, he smelled so good -- always just a little better than Ianto remembered.
Jack's hands clutched convulsively at Ianto's jacket, and then he was reeling Ianto further into the alley, pressing their bodies together from chest to thigh and using Ianto's hair as a handhold so he could angle his mouth for a kiss.
Ianto moaned into it, grabbing Jack's bum and pushing his cock against Jack's hip.
Somehow Jack managed to wriggle a hand down the back of Ianto's skin-tight jeans. "Hmmm, naughty," he murmured when he realised Ianto was going commando. His middle finger stroked between the cheeks of Ianto's arse, the rest of his hand splayed out on either side, hot and possessive.
Voices echoed back from the mouth of the alley as some pub-goers went by on the street, making Ianto shiver at the vague threat of being caught. "Make me come, Jack," Ianto begged. "Right here."
Jack's hips stuttered against Ianto's, and then, with clear reluctance, he peeled himself away, his hand drifting down to Ianto's belt. "What about the roof?"
Ianto hesitated, still on the cusp of wanting it here and now, no waiting.
"I really want to fuck you," Jack added, sounding raw; his fingers tightened on the buckle. "We could... here?"
The warmth in Ianto's belly turned molten; he wanted to be fucked, too. "But not here," he said, not quite that far gone after all. He couldn't afford to be caught here like that, and neither could Jack.
Using the hold on his buckle, Jack pulled him into another kiss, lingering for a moment to nip his bottom lip, before stepping back, taking Ianto's hand and leading him further into the alley. A few minutes later, he got them into the office building through a service entrance, and then into the elderly lift. With a couple of pokes at his wrist-strap, it creaked into motion.
Ianto closed his eyes and pressed the heel of his hand to his hard-on, enjoying the rough press of denim against his skin. When he opened them again, it was to find Jack staring hungrily at his reflection in the mirrored doors.
Jack stepped in close behind him, never shifting his gaze from Ianto's reflection. "Touch yourself. I want to see."
Holding Jack's gaze, Ianto swayed backwards until he was leaning against Jack's chest. Then, slowly, he unhitched his belt buckle, leaving the two ends to hang free. Next, he slowly popped the button of his jeans, not so much making a tease of it as fighting the growing tremble in his hands. Jack sighed against his ear as Ianto eased the zipper down, revealing first the blood-flushed head of his cock and then the rigid length. His jeans were too tight to fall down far, but the zip gaped open enough to show a snatch of pubic hair.
"I always want to taste you," Jack said, sliding one arm around Ianto's chest to hold him steady and resting the other over his navel.
"Feel free," Ianto offered, his voice breathy and desperate.
"Later." Rubbing his cheek against Ianto's, Jack repeated: "Touch yourself."
Ianto carefully touched himself with just two fingers, stroking from root to tip. Then, confident that he wouldn't come too fast, he enclosed his cock in his fist.
"Just like that," Jack said, removing his hand from Ianto's belly, bringing it to his own mouth and sucking for a moment before dropping his spit-slick fingers to hover over the plump head poking out of Ianto's fist.
Ianto watched in the mirror as Jack's fingers briefly brushed over the knuckles of his hand, before drifting up to the slit of his cock. At the first feather-soft touch, Ianto cried out, the sound loud in the enclosed space. Jack kissed his ear as he did it again, warm lips and then a hint of teeth on the lobe, as one finger stroked him repetitively -- back and forth in the mirror, and echoing it, back and forth, warm and slick against Ianto's skin -- and even though Ianto clenched his fist to the point of pain, he came explosively, all over the floor and his own shoe and the mirrored doors. "Fuck," he said, "fuck, fuck," shivering and only held up by Jack's arm around his chest.
The lift jolted to a halt and pinged, the doors faltering open, exposing them to the moonlit roof and letting in a wall of brisk October air.
"Come on," Jack said, and when Ianto's knees threatened to give way, impatiently manhandled him out into the night.
"You're a bastard," Ianto slurred, clinging to Jack's coat and trying not to fall over. "You did that on purpose."
"Oh, yeah," said Jack, looking pleased with himself. He propped Ianto against the side of the lift so that he could tug his coat free of Ianto's grasp. Then he took it off and shook it, making it billow out and drift down, landing spread out and mostly flat on the gravel-covered roof.
Jack turned back to Ianto and grabbed his jeans firmly at the hips, stripping them down to his shoes in a single sharp tug. "Hands and knees or on your back?"
"Hands and knees," Ianto said, his heart doing a weird stutter as it began to speed up again, without ever really slowing down. He looped an arm around Jack's neck as they swung around, and Jack paused like that for a moment -- the two of them frozen in an undanced waltz.
"You look like porn," Jack said, fondly, and kissed him, long and slow and sweet, heat momentarily banked.
"I feel like it," Ianto murmured back. "God, I could fuck you forever."
In the end, they fucked all night, on three separate roofs -- hot, dirty, begging sex, with neither of them wanting to be the first to end it.
"Don't stop," Ianto pleaded, panting, knees aching, "don't stop..." screwing his eyes up tight against the pink light of dawn washing the sky, and came so hard it hurt.
"Wait," Jack gasped, stroking into him, touching him everywhere, "wait--" and then he groaned, the rest of his words cut off by orgasm, leaving that lone command to stand by itself, as though it meant something other than sex talk; as though it meant something else entirely.
Rule 1: The Time Agency shall preserve the established timestream; protect life and property of beings in linear time; detect, arrest and prosecute those who commit offences as defined by the Time Proclamation Statutes; provide protection during temporal emergencies; cooperate with all other law enforcement agencies; and provide training of its members and officers as needed.
"Fuck me," John said, staring at Jack like he'd grown a second head. "You're actually doing it, aren't you? I didn't think even you were that big a masochist, but you are, aren't you?"
Jack threw back another shot of hypervodka. "Fuck off, John. It's none of your business."
"You're going back. Crossing your own timeline. Fucking around with Eye Candy before he pegs it."
Jack ignored him, signalling to the barkeep for another shot.
John sniggered. "The Academy would be so proud if they could see us now. We've broken every rule at least twice over. Although I'll concede you're the expert at loving Linears. Would've thought you'd learnt your lesson after the first time, though. What, with the mind-wipe and all."
When the barkeep arrived, he took one look at Jack's face and set the half-empty bottle down in front of him. "If you puke on the floor, I'll add a cleaning charge to your tab," he said.
"Fair enough." Jack considered the bottle for a moment, then picked it up and splashed a shot into his glass. He shoved the drink over to John, and took his own shot straight from the bottle.
"You sad bastard." John swallowed the shot and held out the glass expectantly.
Jack ignored it, swigging from the bottle again. "I'm not going to stop."
"Colour me shocked." John waggled the glass insistently. "I'm not letting you drink all that on your own. Waste of perfectly good booze, given you can't off yourself via alcohol poisoning."
"Point," Jack said and refilled the glass.
"To Rule Three." John held his drink up in a toast. "Long may you observe it in the breach!"
Jack clinked his bottle to John's glass, and then paused with the bottle halfway to his mouth. "Wait. Rule Three... wasn't that the one about shoes?"
"No, the shoes were Rule... Eight? Nine?"
"Can't be Rule Nine. That's the one about zombies."
"Oh, yeah: 'You shall not bring the dead back to life'. Blah, blah. And Eight's the one about poodles. The shoes must be Six, then."
Jack nodded, satisfied with this logic, and took his drink. "I fucked a zombie once. Did I ever tell you?"
"Please. Would I lie about zombie-fucking?"
Looking long-suffering, John said, "Go on then. You might as well tell me the story."
Jack was in no mood to play that particular game. "No. If you're not interested, you can fuck off back whenever you came from."
"Now, now. Don't be like that." John reached over and groped Jack's knee. "Had lots of practice listening to boring speeches, haven't I? All those years at the Academy. Your zombie sex story can't be any worse."
Jack knocked his hand away. "Don't." The word came out slurred, and he rubbed at his eyes wearily. "Why don't you just go."
"Can't," John said, ruefully, and plucked the bottle out of Jack's lax grip before it could tip over. "We're partners. Always will be. No-one else understands why we are what we are." He took a long swallow, shuddered, and set the bottle down. "Come on then, princess, time for bedibyes."
Ignoring a wordless protest, he lifted Jack's arm and draped it over his own shoulder, steadying Jack as he wobbled off the stool. Together they managed to walk in a more-or-less straight line towards the door. "No amount of hating each other will ever change the fact that I love you. That's just how it is."
Rule 3: Time Agents are prohibited from forming attachments with any and all beings inhabiting linear timestreams. Relationships with linear beings are to be entered into in the performance of duty only.
The Time Academy's latest guest lecturer was a grey-skinned humanoid, who had that fake-young look about hir that came with repeated rejuve treatments. Ze was introduced as Agent Jolie Huon, fresh from a stint undercover in the Sixth Galactic Incursion, but what had the class abuzz was the bright red scar bisecting hir left cheek, barely healed. Hir anti-scarring laser treatment was obviously still at least a week away. It was shocking: only the very poor and homeless were deformed like that, their sad faces a staple of the trashier newsfeeds.
If it was meant to grab their attention, it worked. The class listened attentively at first, hoping for a tale of danger, adventure, something real and hands-on and not the usual dry bullshit the Academy fed them.
"... And I know you all think it'll never happen to you," Agent Huon said, ten minutes in and already duller than death, gamely making meaningful eye contact with the three people still paying attention -- cadet 3582T-Jay, who wasn't one of them, rolled his eyes at 3222B-Haitch -- "but the day will come, believe me, the day will come! And on that day, the mission will be over, your extraction clean, the reports written, case closed, time to move on. But that's not how it'll go. You'll find yourself clinging to the memory of a Linear you left behind, especially those of you in deep cover, with a family, friends and lovers..."
"Reckon ze'd be up for a threesome?" Haitch whispered. Getting in on a threesome was Haitch's latest obsession, ever since the lecture they'd endured on the triads of Rimbuos 7.
Jay raised a speculative eyebrow and murmured back, "Maybe. It would be modelling good casual-relationship behaviour, wouldn't it? No strings attached." Jay was almost as keen on the threesome idea as Haitch; although his number one fantasy was definitely to try out tentacle sex, thanks to the educational holovid on the underwater mating scene in the Chasm of Dendril that they'd been forced to watch.
Haitch nodded and winced as Agent Huon went off on a tangent about leaving behind hir pet meedle. "No strings, and no in-depth conversations."
"In fact, an embargo on all talking." Jay manfully refrained from checking his timepiece.
With a sigh, Haitch said, "But I want to lick hir scar."
"You," Jay replied, "are a pervert." It was said without any heat; he'd been thinking the same thing.
Haitch didn't bother to deny the accusation. They both stared at the scar, twitching provocatively as Agent Huon spoke. "... On average thirteen Agents are memory-wiped each year due to aberrant Linear relationships. You don't want to be one of them..."
"How 'aberrant' do you think ze's talking?" Jay asked, suddenly interested. "Might be worth a bit of mind-wiping if it's kinky enough." A tentacle orgy, for instance.
"I like my mind as it is, thank you," Haitch said, primly, and sat up a little straighter. Haitch wasn't big on permanent body or mind modifications; it was a holdout attitude from an old-fashioned, colony-world childhood.
"Better not fall in love with a Linear, then."
"Wasn't planning on it."
"Glad we got that sorted." Jay slid his hand onto Haitch's knee and gave a quick squeeze. "I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that I'm not Linear."
"Convenient," Haitch replied, flashing a grin, sudden and pleased. "I'll get on with falling in love with you immediately, shall I?"
"Nah." Jay winked. "Not immediately. After lunch will do."
Haitch laughed, earning a reproving glare from their Team Leader; as usual it bounced right off, barely denting Haitch's delight.
Rule 2: No Time Agent shall create, assist in or maintain a temporal paradox, or cause damage to the established timestream in any way. Any such event must be triaged immediately, and forthwith reported to the senior Time Agent on duty, to the Time Agency's administrative office, and an incident form must be completed.
Jack was sitting on a rock near the jetty in Penarth -- a safe distance from the Hub, he'd thought -- when Ianto found him. It was a glorious spring morning, and Jack was watching Felice Varini's team of mountaineers bustling about on the Barrage, gearing up with laser sights and yellow paint, preparing to start work for the day on 3 Ellipses.
"Here," Ianto said, seemingly appearing out of thin air and offering Jack a coffee.
Jack looked up at him and smiled, squinting narrowly into the bright sun. "Thanks." He took the coffee gratefully.
"Rough morning?" Ianto asked. He was looking worn himself -- stretched thin and older than he should; the price of too much stress and too little sleep.
Jack felt a pang of guilt and looked away, back to the ant-like activity over on the Barrage. "Something like that." He took a sip of coffee and sighed, eyes closing in bliss. "But getting better every minute." He shifted over a bit to make room and patted the rock beside him. "Come and watch history with me."
Ianto obediently sat, and they both watched the stick figure of Varini wave his arms like a conductor and shout something that didn't carry to them. Ianto's familiar heat was comforting, almost restful.
"What do you think?" Jack asked, dipping his head towards the half-painted yellow curves.
"Of the art?"
Jack nodded. "Most people seem to think it's a big waste of money."
"Hadn't really thought about it, to be honest. It's not like they're building an alien landing-pad." Ianto paused, suddenly tense with suspicion, but relaxed again when Jack shook his head. Over on the Barrage, one of the painters did a final test on a rope before sliding over the edge to hang suspended inside one of the lochs. "Must be nice to achieve an ambition that takes so much planning."
"You achieve things that need that much planning every day," Jack pointed out. "You run the Hub like clockwork."
"It's not like that's hard, Jack."
"Really? Figuring out what to feed aliens and how to keep them from taking over the world isn't a challenge? Or is it just not exciting enough any more? Are we holding you back from a big adventure, Ianto?" Jack grinned at him, even as he searched Ianto's face for the truth. "What is it? Everest? Opera singing? Tentacle sex?"
"Opera?" Ianto made a disparaging sound.
"There must be something!"
"Well." Ianto hesitated, and Jack elbowed him to jog him along. "I've always fancied a bit of time travel, actually. The Library of Alexandria, or maybe the place that invented that text digitiser."
Jack shook his head, trying to dismiss the temptation to make that wish come true; nothing good could come of it. "I've done a bit of time travel. It's not all it's cracked up to be."
Ianto's expression turned frosty. "Naturally, Sir."
Jack restlessly picked the wax from the curled lip of the paper coffee cup. He noticed that his sleeve had ridden up, showing a flash of his wrist-strap, and surreptitiously tugged it back into place, hiding the shiny new leather, barely aged at all. "Ianto, if I asked you to do something... something I can't explain, would you? No questions asked. Could you keep it a secret?"
"Depends," Ianto said, looking intrigued despite himself. "I've never been all that keen on watersports, and it's not that I don't like al fresco sex -- those rooftops were pretty stellar, I have to say -- but they're a bit hard on the knees, you know." Ianto rubbed his neck, suddenly looking self-conscious. "And this is my favourite suit."
"But I'd trust you to bareback, if that's what you want. I've never tried it. Always wondered what it would be like."
The coffee cup crumpled in Jack's grip. "Never?"
"There's a hotel just over there." Ianto stood up and held out his hand. "No time like the present."
Jack shoved the cup into his pocket and took Ianto's hand.
The hotel room was understated and functional, the bed wide and the sheets clean. Outside the window, Jack could see three interconnected roofs, the view dominated by a boxy, industrial-green air-conditioning unit which blocked out the hinted glimpse of the bay and most of the fading afternoon sky.
Ianto's body was warm and giving against Jack's, a languorous contrast to the crisp linen of the sheets. His mouth was lax and sated, still slightly bitter with Jack's spunk after their third go, but he hummed with pleasure and kissed back when Jack nuzzled into him, still hungry for touch.
Between kisses, Jack gentled the curve of Ianto's reddened lips with his thumb, lingering at the small scar in the dip of the cupid's bow. "You're too smart for your own good, you know."
Perversely, Ianto seemed to take that as a challenge, pushing his tongue out to taste Jack's thumb. "Odd," he murmured, "I could have sworn we just did something very stupid. Several somethings."
Jack snorted a laugh; to his own ears, it came out a bit like a sob. "No, very stupid would be me telling you--"
Ianto jerked Jack's head down by the hair and kissed him hard. Jack resisted, trying to pull away, just wanting to say the words and be rid of them, but Ianto was like a succubus, wrapping his leg around Jack's waist and kissing harder. In the end it was Ianto's hands, going gentle in his hair, that undid him, and Jack gave up trying to speak, falling into Ianto's touch as he always did.
When they broke apart, panting hard, Ianto said, "Don't. It'll change things."
"What? Do you really want to talk about the future, Jack? Because we're Torchwood, and we both know what that means."
"I never realised you were such a nihilist."
Ianto just looked at him, expression bleak. "I'm realist. In the end, there's only one sure thing if you're Torchwood. Even Suzie couldn't outrun it, and I refuse to make her mistake all over again. Not even for you, Jack. Don't ask it of me."
Jack couldn't bite back the wordless sound of distress, and he rolled away to the other side of the bed, covering his eyes with his arm.
After a moment, Ianto followed, inching into Jack's space until they were pressed together again. He lay a hand on Jack's belly, and when Jack didn't shrug him off, he kissed his chest, a careful inch away from his nipple.
Accepting the unspoken apology, Jack swiped at his eyes, and then reached out and brushed Ianto's cheek with his wet knuckles. Ianto favoured him with a sad smile and kissed his hand, before closing his eyes and curling into him, resting his head right above the endless rabbitting of Jack's heart.
Rule 5: No officer of the Time Agency shall be suspended, removed, fined or reduced in rank for any cause other than for incapacity, misconduct or disobedience as provided in the Time Proclamation Statutes.
"Which ones?" Ianto asked, trying to decide between a pair of sneakers and a worn-in pair of head-kicker boots. He held them up, a pair in each hand, so that Lisa could see them more easily in the dim light of the basement.
They were using a condemned building near the bay as a temporary base, and despite the multiple power-leach points Ianto had run out to nearby conduits, the bare overhead globes tended to flicker unless Lisa was in hibernation mode.
With a faint whine of servos, Lisa tilted her head to get a better look at the shoes; the lights flickered again. "Depends. Are you going for rent-boy chic, or tough-guy-of-easy-virtue, a la The Professionals?"
"I was thinking rent-boy," said Ianto, "but with a dash of menace. Tight jeans, studded belt." He held up the boots. "These?"
"Yep," Lisa said. "You'll be dead sexy, Ianto Jones. He won't stand a chance."
Ianto nodded, turning the boots this way and that, checking them out one more time. After a moment his face crumpled. "Oh, God." He dropped both pairs of shoes, and they thudded dully against the cement as they landed. "What the hell are we doing?" He sat down on the edge of Lisa's unit, shoulders hunching.
"What we have to." Lisa held out a hand demandingly. "Come here, love."
Ianto shuffled along, taking Lisa's hand in his own and pressing it to his cheek. "Why haven't they come?" he asked her. "I used the emergency signal, so why haven't they extracted us? Fucking bastards."
"Because we haven't finished the mission yet," Lisa said, gently turning Ianto's head so that he was forced to meet her gaze. "You know how hard it was to establish our cover, Jay. It's not like the Agency can slip just anyone into Torchwood in this era. Not with Yvonne-the-Terrible at One, and especially not with Captain Paranoid at Three."
"But it's so risky to stay," Ianto whispered. "All that temporal theory you have in your head. And it's still three years before we make it to our designated Extraction Point. What if..."
Lisa closed her eyes; her voice wavered as she said, "It's not too late, love. You could still..."
"No! I've already told you, I'm not doing that."
"There aren't any other choices, Jay. You can't take me Forward like this, it's too dangerous to the timestream. We can't just run here in the twenty-first, for the same reason. The Agency clearly won't be dropping by to extract us early."
"What exactly is their definition of 'critical mission failure' anyway?" Ianto said, bitterly.
"It's Torchwood Three or a bullet, Jay. They're our only options." She ran her hand up into his hair. "You know I'd forgive you, if you chose the bullet."
"I can't do that." Ianto leaned forward and kissed her tenderly, then pressed his forehead to hers. "I'd never be able to forgive myself. You're my partner."
Lisa choked out a laugh. "So much for non-Linear lovers being safer, eh? They never covered this in the lectures."
"There were a lot of things they didn't cover in the lectures."
They kissed again, lingering and sweet, until an alarm sounded. Ianto reluctantly pulled away. He checked the power readings and made a few adjustments.
"Ten more minutes, and then you'll need to hibernate again. The mains just can't give us the power we need."
"Well," Lisa said, speculatively, "ten minutes is long enough."
Ianto raised an eyebrow.
"For a fashion show. I want to see your rent-boy chic. It'll give me something nice to dream about while I sleep."
Rolling his eyes, Ianto said, "The things I do for you, Haitch." On his way to get changed, he bent over to pick up the dropped shoes, angling so she'd get an eyeful of his arse.
Rule 6: Agents are required to wear non-anomalous footwear and attire at all times. Only authorised non-chronological artifacts are to be taken into linear timestreams, and must be returned at completion of the mission.
The rain was like a slap to the face when Ianto stepped out onto the roof -- large, heavy drops sheeting straight down, the white noise of it deadening the squeak and clang of the fire door hinging shut behind him.
Jack stood near the edge of the roof, watching the comings and goings on the Plass. As Ianto neared, he could just make out the flashes of colour that were Owen, Tosh and Gwen scurrying along after Linear Jack, heading past the Millennium Centre, all of them buttoning their coats against the rain as they went.
Ianto was about to call out a greeting when Jack spun on his heel and closed the distance between them in three hungry strides. He pulled him into a kiss, fast and frantic -- a hint of teeth, a demanding tongue, his hands skating along the planes of Ianto's body. Ianto kissed back, pleased with the contrast of hot mouths and cold rain, rubbing his cock against Jack's hip, enjoying the tease of all those layers between them.
"Mmmm," Ianto hummed, as Jack trailed kisses up along his right cheek, licking the rainwater from his cheekbone in a quick slick, slick, and then pushing him away, just as suddenly as he'd pulled him close.
"Do you know what the date is today?" Jack asked, turning back to the now-empty Plass.
"Fifteenth of March, 2008." Ianto took a cautious step closer to the edge of the building, all too aware of its derelict state. This was the same building he'd used to harbour Lisa, back before he'd moved her into the Hub. "Why?" he asked, familiar with Jack's conversational non-sequiturs. "Is that significant?
"Do you know why last March was better than this one?"
Ianto shook his head.
Jack's mouth stretched into something that wasn't a smile. "You hated me last March."
"No, I didn't."
"Yes," said Jack, "you did. I killed what was left of Lisa, and you hated me, but you fucked me anyway."
Ianto swallowed the words that rushed to his tongue: It was a mercy, and I've forgiven you.
"If I'd come back to visit you in 2008, you wouldn't have hated me, and I couldn't have borne that, not after the way you died."
"Jack!" Ianto said sharply. "You can't tell me--"
"But you know that already! Don't you? You know I'm from the future; you know I've been coming back to see you. You know because you're from the future too!" Jack finally turned to face him.
At first glance Jack looked pissed-off, but in control: jaw clenched, eyes flashing, face otherwise blank. The way he usually looked when facing down an unknown danger. At second glance, Ianto's gaze was drawn to a vein throbbing in Jack's temple, half hidden beneath the rain-slick mass of his hair. Ianto swallowed and forced himself not to take a step back; he'd only ever seen Jack this angry once before, and he'd nearly died at Jack's hand that day.
"How many rejuve treatments have you had, Ianto? To keep you looking twenty-something? How old are you now?" Jack lifted a hand and let it touch down on Ianto's right cheek, feather light. "Whoever treated the scar did a good job. It's not visible at all."
Ianto's cheekbone itched with the remembered slick, slick of Jack's tongue.
"You know how I finally figured it out?"
Ianto met his gaze, but said nothing.
"You fucked up. The last time I was here, you distracted me with sex, which worked until later when I got to thinking. See, you and I met just over there," Jack pointed towards the Barrage, invisible in the rain, "a year ago today. And you know what you said to me then, Ianto, on the fifteenth of March, 2007? You said you were tired of fucking on roofs with me and you wanted to go to a hotel."
Ianto clenched his fists. He'd known that was a mistake as soon as it had come out of his mouth, a slip-up borne of bone-deep weariness at lying to Jack.
"But here's the funny thing. The only time we've ever fucked on a roof was during the Rugby World Cup, which was held in October 2007. So, Ianto -- is that your name, by the way? You won't mind if I keep calling you that, right? I always did love those Welsh vowels -- so, my point is, Ianto, I asked myself how you could know about our roof-top romp way back in March, if it didn't happen until October. And the only answer that makes sense is that you had sex with me on that roof in October before you met up with me in March. But how could that be? How could you do that, Ianto? That's what I asked myself."
Rain trickled down the back of Ianto's neck and he shivered.
"Say something," Jack demanded.
There didn't seem any point in denial. "I'm with the Agency."
Jack didn't even look surprised. "Of course you are."
"They wanted an inside eye on Torchwood. They got me in at One, and I had a fixed Extraction Point," Ianto hesitated, "at Thames House. If I hadn't taken it, they would have tracked me down and mind-wiped me, Jack, and then I couldn't have--"
"Come back to fuck with my head?" Jack roared. "Bullshit! The Agency's gone! Don't even try that shit--"
"According to John!" Ianto shouted back. "I can't believe you still trust him--"
"--with me. Why the fuck would John lie about that? There's no--"
"--when all he does is lie to you--"
"--gain for him. Pot, kettle, Ianto! How's your father's tailoring lately?"
"My father's making royal gowns in the MaShooti system, thank you. And John said the Agency was gone because they told him to! He's still an active agent, you arse!"
Jack stopped shouting; he stood, breathing hard, like a horse after a hard gallop. Even through the rain, the look of dawning realisation was clear on his face. "John knows I've been coming back to see you."
"What? You told him?"
"No! He sort of... already knew. And he caught me at a bad moment, okay! It was right after I thought you were dead!"
Ianto flinched, but said, "He's been following you, Jack."
"He... might have been," Jack conceded.
Thunder growled through the sky, booming across the rooftop; lightning followed a heartbeat later, bleaching Jack's face into half-drawn lines of loss.
Ianto was still blinking away the flash-blindness when Jack said, "We can't do this any more. It's too dangerous to keep coming back."
"No!" Reaching out in instinctive protest, Ianto took a stumbling half step forward, hand lifting towards Jack; and then he stopped, forced himself to stop, let his hand drop.
Before it had fallen to his side, Jack was there, solid and immovable in front of him, fisting both hands in Ianto's wet hair, and dragging him into a kiss. Ianto gave into it willingly, unable to choke back the desperate sounds that spilled from his throat. He clung to Jack's coat, not wanting to let go; the rain tasting like salt in his mouth.
They stumbled across the roof to the stairwell, Jack's hands sliding down Ianto's back, groping his arse, pulling him close; Ianto working at the buttons of Jack's coat, pushing it aside, fumbling with the damp heat of his pants.
The stairwell door clanged as they slammed into it, Jack letting go of Ianto's arse just long enough to wrench the door open and jostle them through. The door wheezed shut, gradually muffling the sound of the rain, leaving them in musty darkness. The stairs dropped away into a deeper darkness just a few short paces away, but Jack swung them around, pushing Ianto safely up against the cramped wall of the landing, and sucked a hard, bruising kiss onto his throat.
Ianto could hear the echo of their laboured breaths, the distant dum-dum-dum of the rain, his heartbeat, speeding up under Jack's mouth. He shoved his hand down the front of Jack's pants, desperate to feel skin. Jack's cock slicked into his palm, hard and ready, as familiar as his own, and Jack growled, surging into Ianto's touch, kissing him wildly. Ianto fumbled with his own belt, one-handed, desperate to release his hard-on from the trap of his pants. After a moment, Jack helped, ripping off the button and a belt-loop in his haste. As the fabric gave way, Ianto could smell his own arousal; Jack sucked in a loud breath and then yanked his dick free of Ianto's hand, dropping to his knees.
Ianto's own knees buckled when the furnace-heat of Jack's mouth encased his cock. He grabbed Jack's shoulder and the stair rail, hips jerking forward uncontrollably. "Yes," he grunted, knocking his head back against the wall, the pain like an electric arrow straight down to Jack's tongue. Ianto could feel Jack's shoulder jerking rhythmically as he brought himself off, the slap of flesh a counterpoint to each suck of Jack's mouth. Ianto shuddered through flashes of sensation: Jack's spit dribbling on his balls, the too-hard clench of Jack's hand on his thigh, Jack's harsh grunts each time Ianto's cock rammed his throat, and Jack's tongue cupping him sweetly through it all.
Then, with a slow tug on the wrong side of vicious, Jack pulled at his balls and skated along Ianto's length with his teeth. Ianto's hair stood up, skin prickling, heart hammering, and he couldn't hold back another moment.
Orgasm was a lightning strike, everything going white-hot as he curled over Jack, clutching his head, shouting out, wordless and hoarse. Beneath him Jack went rigid, his mouth a warm, unmoving clamp on Ianto's cock as he came too.
Eventually, Jack pulled away, leaving behind a slick mess of spunk and spit; he sat back on his heels, licking his lips and wiping his hand carelessly on the leg of his pants. His face was flushed a hectic red from lack of oxygen, and he looked up at Ianto from beneath his lashes; sly, calculating, deliberately provocative.
Before he could catch his breath, Ianto's legs gave way, slipping out from under him and sending him sliding down the wall. Jack surged forward and caught him, and Ianto found himself sitting in Jack's lap, held tightly in his arms, so close he could feel Jack's breath. They watched each other silently, Jack's face a mask, wariness betrayed only in the fine crinkle of lines around his eyes.
Ianto found it hard to tear his gaze from the familiar invitation of Jack's mouth. "I meant it, you know. What I said that day."
Jack went still.
"It was worth it. All of it." Ianto hesitated before saying the rest. It was harder the second time, and his voice broke in the middle. "I love you."
Jack's jaw clenched, face stony. He gripped Ianto's shoulders and shook him, as though trying to set loose the truth. "You're a liar."
"Not about this."
"I don't trust you."
"You never did."
Jack shook him again, hard enough to make his teeth jar. "Come with me," he said, surprise flickering across his face, there and gone, as though that wasn't what he'd planned to say at all. He didn't take it back, though.
Ianto swallowed the taste of blood. "Come with you, as in dump the Agency, risk getting mind-wiped, and go adventuring through every danger in the galaxy?"
Jack rocked back on his heels, making Ianto slide further into his lap. "It sounds so sexy when you put it like that."
Ianto rolled his eyes and gave up trying to resist Jack's mouth; he closed the gap between them and kissed Jack soundly. He didn't let up even as he trailed his hand down Jack's chest, lingering for a moment over Jack's heart, until Jack shifted and captured him with his own hand, twining their fingers together. "Just a second," Ianto gasped, pulling away, and dug into his waistcoat pocket with his free hand to find his timepiece.
Jack blinked. "You want to time us? Now?"
Sandwiching the stopwatch between Jack's palm and his own, Ianto smirked and said, "Maybe later." Then he pressed the button on the top and leaned in for another kiss, while around them, the swirling golds of the time vortex snatched them up, and the drab Cardiff stairwell faded away.
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/337