Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Jack/CJH
Notes/Warning: DARK!FIC, No schmoop, no fluff. I got the idea of what might have really happened to CJH and it wouldn't let go, because I'm eeeeeeevil. I know my vision of J/I gets Jossed tomorrow, so call it AU if you have to. Thanks to beta_goddess for her usual brilliance in helping me polish this.
Summary: Ianto can't fool himself anymore. Owen makes it worse.
“Why are you doing this?”
Ianto stared over Owen’s head at the computer screen. Owen hadn’t bothered to conceal his search criteria. It was all there for Ianto or anyone else to see. He was looking for dirt -- or information, as he would put it -- on Jack.
Ianto gripped the edges of the tray, mentally cursing Toshiko and her big mouth. Owen had never made any secret of his unwholesome curiosity about every aspect of their boss, from his sexuality to his past, all of which were apparently hidden in the same firmly closed book. As far as Ianto knew, Owen had hit a brick wall, no doubt several, and given up the quest, limiting himself to grilling the new employee, who seemed to know even less than the rest of them.
That was before the whole Rift incident. Tosh would not shut up about the “beauty” of what she’d seen in 1941. It was hard enough for Ianto to hear over and over about the romantic, star-crossed meeting between two Captain Jacks, but the worst part was that in between hand-holding and dancing, their Captain Jack had shared significant parts of his history with Tosh and she’d repeated them to Owen, giving him a new set of names and clues to work with.
“It’s none of our business,” he reminded Owen, who proceeded to reach back for his coffee without looking around.
“Given what he’s put us through, I’d say we’ve got a right to a few more facts about Captain Whoever He Really Is.”
“But he forgave you,” Ianto practically whispered through clenched teeth, not wanting to remember how the kiss, his kiss, the public acknowledgement of Jack’s feelings for him, had been curtailed so that Jack could give absolution to the cretin who’d nearly gotten them all killed trying to chase a woman through time.
“Don’t mean I’ve forgiven him. Takes more than a kiss and a cuddle. For some of us, anyway,” he replied acidly
“I could tell Jack.”
“Be my guest. Run in and tattle to the schoolmaster what the naughty children are up to. If you can get his attention for five minutes.”
Owen was insufferable in his conviction that Ianto wouldn’t rat him out to Jack. Actually Ianto found Owen insufferable, period. While his computer skills were no match for Toshiko’s, he was good, not to mention vindictive and tenacious. He’d find something, all right. The only questions were how long it would take and what he’d do with it.
The answers turned out to be: forty-eight hours and the single most sadistic thing possible. He gave it to Ianto.
Jack had been home for a few weeks, but in no way could he be said to be truly back. Ianto could feel the difference.
Of course, Jack had always been slightly distant, except when actually making love, and Ianto had been willing to give in to Jack’s ever-changing sexual moods, including some fairly rough episodes following Lisa’s death, to achieve the feeling that Jack was fully paying attention to him. He cherished those moments, even though he could feel Jack’s attention recede within minutes, sometimes seconds.
Now he wondered if Jack even knew he was there while they were…he couldn’t fool himself anymore. This was sex. Maybe even fucking. He winced at the harshness of the term in his own head. Even when he’d been on his knees, doing penance with each of Jack’s thrusts into his mouth, or being told to bend over and grab his ankles because Jack was feeling playful, he’d still felt singular, as though Jack knew who he was. This time, Jack felt far away, even when he was inside him, telling Ianto how good he felt, how hot, how much he’d missed him. The once-delightful obscenities sounded rehearsed and hollow. Nauseating, actually. He knew exactly what was happening and whom Jack was really thinking of.
Weeks of Jack being gone and nothing to do but talk about him. Telling the same stories as if they would give them the clue they needed to find Jack and bring him home, even though there was no indication he hadn’t left of his own accord. Gwen had her romantic sop about Estelle. Owen, the humorous talk of Jack’s pub exploits. Ianto kept his peace, unwilling to share the intimate details of his relationship with Jack. The kiss had been public vindication, but the details were his and his alone. That left Tosh to repeat the tale of Jack and Jack as though she were the Ancient Mariner, dancing, kissing and all.
Ianto lay next to Jack with the sweat drying on both their skins, and he could practically hear that damn song playing in Jack’s head, taking him farther away from Ianto every time.
He couldn’t stand it anymore.
“You killed him,” he blurted out, his chest aching with the pain of knowing he was losing Jack to a ghost and the horror of what he was about to reveal.
“What?” Jack replied, his lazy, post-coital haze rapidly giving way to a sleepy-eyed confusion, then a serious look. Ianto knew he should stop, shut the hell up, pretend he was on about something else, but he’d fallen into Owen’s trap and there was no turning back.
“Your precious Captain Jack. The one you’ve been thinking about. It’s your fault he’s dead.”
Jack was wide awake now, and extremely present, but not very happy.
“Training exercise. They were surprised by the Germans,” he insisted.
“No. There were no Germans. He was killed by one of his own men.”
“Where are you getting this?” Jack was up and getting dressed, pulling back on the identity of the man he’d destroyed.
“Owen found it.” Jack’s mouth tightened in anger. Good. So much for that absolution. “Turns out that a Wing Commander George Cavendish was court-martialed in 1943. He killed a GI in a bar fight in London claiming that the man had been approaching him in a lewd and lascivious way.”
“So? That has nothing to do with me, or him.”
“Oh, but it does, sir. Cavendish received a prison sentence in return for a full confession. His statement was suppressed, but never purged. It includes his account of what actually happened to Captain Jack Harkness in 1941. He was shot down because they couldn’t have, and I quote, ‘a deviant American leading decent Englishmen into battle’. The entire squadron covered it up. It seems the "good old days" weren't as amenable to that sort of behaviour as we are now. You let him fall in love with you and then you left him behind to face the consequences, because that’s what you do, isn’t it Jack? You leave people.”
Please he thought, let me not be crying right now, but it seemed a hopeless wish, like so many others. Then he realized his own eyes were dry, but Jack’s tears were flowing, silently.
“How long have you known?”
Jack’s expression was a mixture of revulsion and self-hatred. He’d never forgive Ianto so there was no reason not to deliver the full dose of anger and resentment he’d been carrying.
“Then why now?” he demanded.
“Because you won’t stop thinking about him. Haven’t stopped since you got back here. What’s the point of this?” He gestured at the bed, where his own nudity was now making him feeling self-conscious. “How can I be with you when you’re still with the man you got killed?”
Jack actually had the nerve to look surprised.
“Oh, Ianto,” he said sadly, as if he were the victim here. He shook his head with a sigh, and turned around. Ianto was too morose to appreciate the view. He’d lost his lover, if Jack had ever truly been that, and wondered if his job and his memories were next in line.
“What are you going to do to Owen?” he asked, hoping to deflect some of the anger toward the man who really deserved it.
“Tell him it was a good job of research and if I ever catch him doing anything like that again, he’ll end up on the side of the M65 in a place that begins with M and no idea who he is or how he got there.”
A pleasant thought. Something to take momentary comfort in, until he looked at Jack’s face. The tears had stopped, but the sorrow was evident and it was he who had put it there.
“And what about me, sir?”
“I don’t know,” he replied absently, running a hand through his hair. The movement caused him to catch sight of the black leather on his wrist. He stared at for a moment before continuing. “I know this much. You’re right. I've been thinking of someone else, and that's not fair to you. I’m sorry.”
The confirmation of his worst fears shouldn’t have been quite so gratifying under the circumstances, but he’d always taken what he could get from Jack. Nothing new there.
“Thank you. I appreciate that.”
“There's something else. I’m glad you told me. I needed to know. But you didn’t have to do this. Not now, anyway.”
“I wasn’t thinking about him.”