The café was warm, homely and strangely comforting as they slipped themselves into an available booth. Two mugs of hot, freshly brewed coffee steaming silently before them as they sat, looking everywhere else but at each other.
“You’ll understand if I don’t thank you?” Ianto spoke softly, moving his hands to cup at his mug, as if the warmth would help to banish the chill that still clung to him.
Peter blinked up at him, surprised to hear the Welshman initiating a conversation. He’d been unnaturally quite since sharing with Peter his name atop the Millennium Centre, choosing to calmly and methodically pull on his socks and his shoes instead of hurling abuse or bombarding Peter with the questions he knew the man must have.
It had been eerie watching Ianto going about the gathering of his belongings. A sense of surrealism falling over the whole situation as the Welshman had subsequently and silently gestured for Peter to follow him off the roof. They’d ended up in one of the only open café’s along the bay not long after- the silence still as awkward and heavy between them, until now.
Peter jerked his head slightly, a sharp and awkward nod in response to Ianto’s words. He lifted his mug and took a gulp of the milky-brown liquid, wondering why he hadn’t left already. Wondering why he’d even followed the Welshman into this café in the first place.
“What happened?” Ianto spoke again. Peter swallowed heavily, sitting his mug down with a muted thud.
“What do you mean?” He asked slowly, reaching up to thread his fingers through his hair. The gesture was a nervous one and immediately caught the other man’s attention. Peter dropped his hands to his lap, meeting the swirling depths of Ianto’s eyes as steadily as he could.
“Up on the roof.” Ianto began, “I jumped. I know I jumped. But…” Peter saw his eyes narrow. “But then you were there and I was back on top of the roof.”
“I caught you.” Peter said, the words thick and heavy upon his tongue.
“Just… before you jumped. I grabbed you back and we fell.”
“You’re lying.” Ianto said calmly. Peter felt his heart skip a beat.
“I felt the wind speeding past me, saw the ground rushing up to meet me…” Ianto shook his head, a wistful frown upon his face as he drifted off into thought for a long minute.
“You- you flew.” He breathed suddenly, looking confused and not a little unsure of the words he spoke.
“That’s impossible.” Peter replied quickly, praying for Ianto to believe his words. The Welshman frowned, his mouth thinning as he turned away to stare out the window and across the overcast bay.
Peter followed his gaze, grimacing as he saw the first droplets of rain begin to fall. A few early-risers were rushing along their way, holding newspapers and jackets over their heads as they fought against the wind and the rain to reach their destinations.
It seemed fitting somehow. Peter mused. For it to be another miserable day in what was fast becoming a miserable country to him.
When Peter turned away from the gloomy view, it was to find Ianto watching him. The man was sipping from his coffee mug, an entirely too nonchalant look upon his face considering the topic of their conversation. Peter found himself shifting slightly in his seat, Ianto’s almost-empty expression sending a shiver of disturbance through him.
“Why’d you do it?” Peter asked impulsively, the words slipping past his lips before he could think to bite them back. He felt his cheeks heat slightly as Ianto tilted his head in acknowledgement of the question. He watched the Welshman shrug his shoulders a little, flicking his eyes away then back again.
“I have nothing to live for.” Ianto said, wetting his lips. His face paling a shade further, as if he couldn’t quite believe he’d answered that question.
“Nothing?” Peter blurted, frowning. Ianto pushed his coffee away.
“No. Nothing.” He answered, moving to fiddle with his shirt cuffs.
Ianto’s face tightened, a spark of something flashing across the winters of his eyes as he pushed himself suddenly to his feet.
“I’m sorry.” He bit out, reaching for his wallet and fishing out a couple notes, “I don’t know you. And you don’t know me. Don’t presume to just because you saved me.”
He threw the notes to the table before turning and leaving without another word.
Peter slumped in his seat, releasing a long whoosh of air as he rubbed a hand across his face. A sudden bone-weary tiredness seemed to settle over him in that moment. He watched, through the rain-spattered windows as Ianto Jones left the café, walking across the bay as if ignorant of the steadily falling rain.
Fleetingly, he wondered if he’d ever see the man again. Wondering if his actions would halt any further attempts, or if they had merely delayed the inevitable. Peter knew he hadn’t offered any words of wisdom, nor given the stranger any reason to keep on living. He kind of hoped, though, that his intervening would give the Welshman something to think about. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe there was a reason he’d been around to save him…
Peter smiled sadly, suppressing a yawn with the back of his hand as he felt his eyes grow heavy.
- - -