- Dark Themes
- Death-Major Character
- Death-Minor Character
- Episode Related
- Science Fiction
It was just a blink of the eyes and they found themselves back in Jack’s office, as if they had not moved at all, as if they had never been somewhere else. Ianto met Jack’s gaze, the other man’s hand still on his cheek and his own hands buried in Jack’s shirt. He could feel the same confusion and uncertainty in Jack that overcame him.
“That was…” Jack frowned. “Was that real?”
“You mean the young blond woman talking about being time and making me immortal?”, Ianto asked. He could not put in words how much he hoped it had actually been real, at least the part about him being like Jack. Now that the bond started to settle between them he could not fathom the thought that someday he would have to leave Jack behind.
Jack swallowed. “So, we did see and hear the same thing. Doesn’t mean it was real.”
“Only one way to find out.”
“No!” Jack’s eyes widened. “Don’t you dare…”
“I’m not talking about killing myself”, Ianto interrupted him and rolled his eyes. “Obviously! But small injuries heal fast for you, don’t they? A small cut should suffice to see if it is the same for me.”
Jack shook his head. “I don’t like this.”
Ianto smiled. “I know. But I don’t want to wait and wonder about it until I suffer a major injury, do you?”
“Okay.” Jack closed his eyes. “There is a knife in my desk.”
“I know.” Ianto pressed a quick kiss against Jack’s lips, before he let go of the other man and went around the desk. He did not miss the fact, that Jack kept his place in front of the door, as if there was still the possibility of Ianto leaving. As if there had ever been the possibility that he would actually leave.
Ianto found the folding knife where it should be and did not hesitate to cut himself in the side of his palm. Jack was beside him and taking the knife out of his hand before Ianto could even lift it from his skin, and that was exactly the reason why Ianto had not allowed himself to hesitate. If he had, Jack would have probably tried to stop him.
“This feels weird”, Ianto stated, while he watched the cut heal in a matter of seconds. He knew he was unable to mask his relief and joy even one bit.
Jack let the knife fall back into the still open drawer and took Ianto’s hand in both of his. “I’m sorry”, he whispered as he brushed his thumb over the unscathed skinned were the cut had been. He raised Ianto’s hand to his mouth and pressed his lips against the palm.
Ianto sighed. “One more time, Jack, and then we will never have this discussion again: This was my choice. Nothing you said or did pressured me into this.”
“I made you my Guide”, Jack muttered against his palm.
Ianto snickered. “I think, I made you my Sentinel. I could have just as easily gone and left you a letter with the list of my possible replacements as soon as our new additions had arrived.”
It was clearly written all over Jack’s face that he was absolutely horrified by that idea.
“And if I had in any way agreed with your arguments I would have done exactly that”, Ianto continued. “Just to spare both of us this very hurtful confrontation. But I had hoped if I confronted you with the prospect of me leaving it would change your mind. And it did.”
“You sneaky bastard.” In spite of his words Jack was grinning as he pulled Ianto into his arms. “I still regret this change for you. And I think it will be a long time before I can stop regretting it.”
Ianto buried his face in Jack’s neck. “I’ll never be as alone as you were. I’ll never be confronted with the doubts over my own existence that you carried with you for more than a century. And whatever happens, you’ll never be alone again, too!”
“There happened a lot of bad things to me because of my immortality that had nothing to do with those things”, Jack muttered.
Ianto hummed, not sure if these things had really not influenced Jack’s situation in such a way, that they had ultimately played into anything Jack had experienced. But that was a discussion that would keep for later, when they had found a balance in their new relationship.
Ianto asked instead: “Do you think we can justify to disappear in your bunker for a while, so we won’t be disturbed by co-workers storming into your office because they don’t know how to knock?”
Jack laughed quietly. “I’m the boss around here, I can justify anything I want!”
He took Ianto’s hand and pulled him to the ladder, letting the Guide climb down before he followed. Ianto prodded Jack to the bed until he sat down on it and Ianto could straddle his lap. He felt as if he needed to maintain physical contact with Jack for the moment and Jack seemed to feel the same.
“So, you made me your Sentinel, hu?”
“Yes.” Ianto buried his fingers in Jack’s hair. “And just so we are clear, you are my Sentinel, not the Sentinel of … whoever that was. – And how strange is our life that we are not even questioning this … vision?”
“I’m very glad to be yours.” Jack smiled warmly. “And for you to be mine. As for Bad Wolf, I think she was more referring to her part in creating what I am than laying any kind of claim to me. – And I believe what she said, that she is some kind of personification of Time. It felt … I witnessed the opening of the heart of the TARDIS once and the energy I felt then was the same I felt earlier.”
“So, Time is a sentient and sapient being?”
Jack shrugged. “In the era I was born to, it was a widely accept fact that Time was intelligent and adaptable. The Timeagency may have been a fairly young organization, but time travel wasn’t new at all. There was a lot of evidence that some things could be changed and time would adapt and other things would happen no matter what.”
“That would be fixed points, I assume?”, Ianto asked.
Jack nodded. “Yes. Every time travel device would detect them and warn appropriately and not to heed the warning was heavily fined. I never bothered to learn the science behind it. To travel through time was just a tool for me, nothing more. I wasn’t very interested in learning more than I had to.”
“And we thought you knew everything about any object thrown at us through the rift!”, Ianto exclaimed in mocked shock.
Jack grinned widely. “I never understood where you lot got that idea from!”
Ianto snickered. “Right, because you haven’t actively conned us all.”
“At one time that was my job description”, Jack confessed. “I guess it’s hard to leave behind.”
Ianto frowned. “I don’t even know your real name.”
“Javic Piotr Thane, that’s the name my parents gave me. But I have gone so long by Jack Harkness that it has become who I am.”
“Javic”, Ianto sounded out.
Jack kissed him. “I don’t think I should ever use this name again”, he whispered against his lips. “But it can be something just between us.”
“Whatever you’re more comfortable with”, Ianto replied quietly. He could detect sorrow in Jack and even though he did not know were this feeling was coming from, he would probably not use the name he had just learned so he would not stir up whatever sad memories Jack associated with it.
“It’s really not who I am any more. Javic Thane was a very naive boy who had not yet learned to handle his grief and desperation and who made very foolish decisions because of it.” Jack sighed.
“We all do at some point or another”, Ianto replied. “And some of us endanger the whole damn planet with it. – I’m so glad I could change your mind. I have no idea how I could have actually accomplished it to leave. It broke my heart when you said you would never be able to bond. Because what I wanted the most since you became more than my sounding board, was to drive away your loneliness.”
“To lose everyone around you again and again will become unbearable. It was easier to keep my distance, even if it was lonely. It was a difficult decision to let you in. – I regretted leaving after just a few hours. I wished I had stayed to give this relationship that had started to grow between us a chance long before it all went to hell. But prior to that … until the moment I left I was terrified of the things that were growing between us. It had been such a long time…”
Ianto leaned his forehead against Jack’s. “I’m not going anywhere. Never. You are not alone in this any more.” He frowned when he felt Jack shudder and not in a good way. “Are you alright?”
“I … It’s nothing. Just a bad memory.”
Ianto leaned back and eyed him worried. “Tell me about it.”
Jack shook his head vehemently.
“You are an open book to me emphatically”, Ianto reminded quietly. “Something I just said made you be overcome by fear!” He sighed when Jack remained silent. “You were wrong earlier, you know? When you said your emotional wounds were another reason to not bond, because they would burden me. I’m quite adapt to work through any emotional input, especially such which is potentially traumatic. I need to be able to do that to function as a Guide. What will become a burden is you keeping me out. When every little thing could be triggering for you that for me seems unassuming.”
Jack pulled Ianto against him and buried his face in his chest. “It was the phrase…” Jack inhaled deeply. “I mean, all of it was already happening of course, but we only learned about it because of that phrase.”
Ianto rubbed his hands in soothing circles over Jack’s back. “What phrase?”
“The Doctor is presumably the last Time Lord. But someone told him a little while ago that he was not alone.” Jack swallowed. “And when I chased him down … where we landed there was a professor and we helped him to finish what we thought would be a rescue space-ship. But this man was not a human but a Time Lord who couldn’t remember that. He started to remember and the Doctor and Martha realized they had been warned about this man at the same time. He called himself Yana – You are not alone.”
Ianto blinked surprised and confused. He understood only half of what Jack had told him, but then he also suspected that Jack had left out a lot. But he got enough out of it to understand that he had triggered the memory of the beginning of the year Jack was so reluctant to talk about. “Was this Yana person responsible for your imprisonment?”
Jack took a shuddering breath. “He was called the Master had he used the Doctor’s TARDIS to disguise himself as Harold Saxon, all so he could enslave humankind and make Earth into a weapons-platform and make war with the whole universe.”
Ianto rolled his eyes about the pretentious names the Time Lords seemed to prefer, glad Jack would not see it. “You said earlier that there was a paradox machine you destroyed.”
“He made the TARDIS into a paradox machine to maintain the timeline when he used the descendants of Earth to enslave the population and kill anyone who dared to stand up against him. – You won’t let this go, will you?”
“I won’t”, Ianto confirmed. “I’m not looking forward to hear you talk about being tortured for a whole fucking year. But I need to know, so I won’t make it worse. And to be able to help you.”
Without saying a word Jack prodded him to lie down on the bed until Jack lay spooned behind him, his hand pushed under Ianto’s shirt and lying flat on his chest right over his heart. Ianto recognized the whole posture as Jack seeking comfort, as him tacking the comfort he needed.
“He was fascinated with my immortality”, Jack eventually began. “Not the first time someone was fascinated with it, but in the past it had always been a fascination born out of scientific curiosity. And somehow that had made it easier to bear. … He just wanted to see me die because he loved to kill and torture. He had found in me the toy that would just never entirely break.”
Ianto listened, lying still and horrified by the way Jack was talking about these events and by the events themselves. Jack kept away from the details, but Ianto knew that it would not be the last time they would breach this topic and sooner or later he would learn all the gruesome details which chased Jack in his nightmares.
It was a beginning and Ianto was relieved about it, even so they had a long way to go, in healing, in getting to know each other, in finding themselves as Sentinel and Guide. But Ianto felt that he was where he was supposed to be, where he belonged. He had felt adrift since he had come online and had been confused that Jack’s presence had lessened this feeling from the very beginning. He had understood after Jack had come online.
Ianto would have never been able to walk away and he had felt that from the start, but luckily Jack hat not called his bluff and instead bought right into it.