his is stupid.” Ianto protested, feeling his face heat up as Jack watched him hungrily from across the room.
“Why is it stupid?” Jack asked, cocking his head slightly. His voice was a low rumble, a purr of a sound that sent Ianto’s breath hitching with want. He looked away under the scrutiny of Jack’s intense stare.
“It just is.” He replied, somewhat petulantly, tensing as Jack stepped towards him. He backed up a pace or two, feeling the cool rungs of the ladder that led back up into Jack’s office press against his back.
“Jack…?” Ianto couldn’t quite meet the Captain’s eyes as Jack stopped just in front of him, his hands reaching out to rest upon the ladder just above his head, cocooning Ianto in place.
“Why is it stupid?” Jack asked again, leaning in to purr his words across Ianto’s turned cheek. He felt the heat of Ianto’s face as his blush continued to burn across his normally pale skin. Jack smiled gently, pressing soft kisses across Ianto’s cheekbone till he reached the younger man’s temple and paused, touching their faces together. He heard Ianto sigh quietly and felt as the tension thrumming through him lessened somewhat as they just stood together.
“Ianto…” Jack drawled his name out after a moment. He didn’t adjust their positions however, leaving Ianto trapped between him and the ladder.
“Sir?” Ianto answered, suddenly sounding the epitome of the professional young man that drove him absolutely crazy throughout most of the day.
“None of that now, Ianto,” Jack started, wanting Ianto to keep the honorific for the impromptu groping sessions they shared down in the archives or for the kinky office sex Ianto pretended he didn’t want to know about despite the fact he’d drop to his knees and slip under Jack’s desk if so much as a whisper of want glazed Jack’s eyes.
“Just tell me why you’re so against this idea?” He pulled his head away from Ianto’s, giving them enough space to be able to look one another in the eye if either so wished. Ianto, of course, was staring resolutely at anything other than Jack.
“I’m not comfortable with it.” Ianto replied tightly, his hands slipping behind him to grip tightly at the ladder. His hands were slick with sweat- nervousness and desire crashing through him as Jack continued to watch him.
“It’s not any different from most of the other stuff we’ve done,” Jack said, his voice softer, more coaxing now. “In fact, I’d go so far as to say that aside from that altered version of the missionary position, this has to be the least outrageous thing we’ve tried.” Jack dipped his head to whisper into Ianto’s ear, “And you’re the one who started us off with the Stopwatch, remember?”
Ianto’s eyes flickered upwards to stare at Jack from beneath dark lashes. “That was completely different.”
“Was it?” Jack asked; a hand dropping from the rung above Ianto’s head to catch at the younger man’s face when he tried to turn away again. Jack stroked his thumb across Ianto’s jaw line. Ianto gave a slight nod of the head in response to Jack’s question.
“That was just… this isn’t…” Ianto felt his face heating again with his own incoherency and let his eyes drift closed. He whimpered softly when Jack’s lips suddenly touched against his, the contact fleeting but persistent, teasing Ianto into reaction.
Ianto tried kissing back, tried catching Jack’s lips with his own but Jack just chuckled kindly and avoided his mouth- daring to press kisses to the tip of his nose, his cheek and forehead, even to his eyelids which remained resolutely closed.
“Jack, please…” Ianto breathed, his eyes flickering open. His mouth remained parted with his entreaty as he stared up at Jack pleadingly. Jack smiled at him, kissing briefly at his mouth once again before stepping away entirely. Ianto frowned, confused at the sudden space between them.
“New plan then,” Jack said, his smile growing a little as he walked backwards till he was stood where he’d been stood before Ianto’s first protests. “You do what I do, when I do it, okay?”
Ianto frowned at him.
“So, if I take off my shirt, you’ll also take off your shirt.”
Ianto bit at his lip. “How is this any different from me giving you a striptease? I told you I’m not comfortable-,”
“It’s different,” Jack interrupted, “because even though I’ll be watching you, you’ll be watching me. You don’t have to take the lead here, just undress when I do. Think you can do that?”
“Can’t we just have our make out session followed immediately by us ripping the clothes from each other?” Ianto tried. Jack laughed and shook his head against the idea.
“One other thing…” Jack began, his voice deepening and his smile turning to something that sent a spike of lust coursing through Ianto’s body.
“When I touch myself… you touch yourself too.”
If Ianto’s face could have burned any brighter he was sure it would have as he watched Jack’s hand trail down his own chest, fingers dragging their way towards the bulge visibly tenting his trousers. Ianto forgot how to breathe for a moment as he watched Jack cup himself through his trousers, his fingers massaging his erection with confidence. Ianto swallowed thickly against a dry mouth as he watched, entranced.
“Touch yourself.” Jack commanded, huskily.
Ianto’s eyes shot upwards, away from Jack’s hand to look into the intense grey-blue of his stare. He nodded jerkily, his body trembling slightly as he forced himself to unclench his hands from their grip upon the ladder. He drew one hand forward, trying desperately to quell its shaking as he touched his fingers to his shirt.
He tried to look away from Jack, tried to tear his eyes from the stare that held him more effectively in place than Jack’s own body would have, but he found himself unable to. It was only when Jack’s own eyes slipped from Ianto’s own that he realised the Captain was just as enraptured by his own actions as Ianto had been by Jack’s.
His fingers were just slipping over his belt before he realised what he was doing, and instead of stopping, instead of turning tail and fleeing back up the ladder and away from this voyeurism, Ianto found himself suddenly wanting Jack to watch him- to stare at him as if he were the only creature in the world- in the universe- that he would ever want.
Ianto forced himself to breath, his eyes fluttering as he pressed the palm of his hand flat against his own erection, massaging the straining flesh expertly through the fabric of his trousers. He curled his long fingers slightly, rubbing himself, teasing himself to a further, straining hardness. And through every minute of it, he watched Jack- watched as Jack rubbed himself back whilst staring with undisguised want at Ianto.
“Stop,” Jack said after a while, his voice hitching as he pressed his hand flat against his thigh as that would stop himself. Ianto halted, his hand still cupping himself. Jack smiled at him without his ever present cockiness and Ianto found himself even more entranced. There was a light sheen of sweat now coating Jack’s brow, and a hue of colour to his cheeks that Ianto hadn’t noticed before now.
Jack grinned again, a laugh catching in his throat. “Do you have any idea how gorgeous you look right now?” He asked, his fingers digging into his thigh as he resisted the urge to finish himself right then and there. “How much I want you?”
Ianto looked immediately away, pulling his hand from his pants and planting it firmly against his thigh in mimic of Jack’s own pose.
“You don’t look half bad yourself, sir.” Ianto replied, the hand behind his back gripping more tightly at the ladder.
Jack frowned a little but said nothing. Keeping one hand against his thigh he moved the other back up to his chest with the intention of undoing the buttons of his shirt. Ianto copied his actions exactly though Jack noted the younger man was careful not to once look up into his face. The buttons of his shirt came undone easily, parting to reveal the white t-shirt he always wore beneath. He slid the material from his shoulders and dropped it to the floor at his side. His braces were already hanging down, thanks to their initial beginnings this evening.
Ianto’s own shirt soon followed Jack’s, along with his waistcoat. His suit jacket and tie, like Jack’s braces had already been removed prior to Jack’s bright idea of having Ianto strip for him. Jack stopped then and so Ianto stopped too.
“Ianto,” Jack called and Ianto inclined his head to show he was listening. He didn’t look up.
“Ianto, look at me.”
Ianto cleared his throat, his eyes flickering briefly up then away. “Sir?” he questioned and Jack found himself with his hands on his hips and wondering just what the hell had gone wrong in the space of a few minutes.
“What’s wrong?” Jack asked.
“Wrong, sir?” Ianto asked back.
“Ianto,” Jack stepped forward, watching as the hand on Ianto’s thigh immediately slipped behind himself to grip at the ladder. Jack moved closer, taking Ianto’s face in his hands and forcing Ianto to look at him.
“What’s wrong, Ianto?” Jack urged.
“No-nothing, sir.” Ianto stuttered slightly, trying to pull his face away.
“Don’t call me that.” Jack growled.
“Jack-,” Ianto slumped slightly, not looking for a fight.
“Don’t, Ianto. Just… what’s just happened here?”
“I’m not sure-,”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about.” Jack interrupted. “Does the idea of being intimate really scare you that much?”
“I’d hardly call this intimate,” Ianto tried, consciously having to swallow back the ‘sir’ he’d usually have tacked to the end of that sentence.
“No? What would you call it then?”
“Voyeurism?” He tried, forcing a smile. Jack frowned at him. “No? How about mutual masturbation? If you like, I could always time how long it’ll take us to- Jack?”
Jack stared at him with a look Ianto hadn’t before seen on the Captain’s face. All trace of desire seemed suddenly expelled from the other man as he pulled his hands from Ianto’s face and stepped away with a shake of his head.
“Why do you always have to do that?” Jack began, looking honestly hurt. Ianto felt a lump catch in his throat, instinctively knowing that the look of sadness darkening Jack’s eyes now was his fault.
“Do what?” He swallowed heavily, trying now to catch Jack’s eye when the Captain stubbornly refused to look at him. “Jack, please, what have I done?”
Jack shook his head with a dry laugh. He turned and walked over towards his bunk where he dropped down onto the mattress, falling back to stare unseeing up at the concrete scrape of his ceiling.
“You always do this. You use sex as a way to distance yourself from intimacy.”
“I thought having sex was synonymous with intimacy.” Ianto replied and Jack laughed again without humour.
“Our first time, Ianto, involved a stopwatch. It was hard, fast and dirty and exactly what we both needed. Every time since it’s been the same. The moment I try to change things you clam up. Or you use some dirty trick to make me forget that I’m trying to make things different with you.”
“Why do you want to change what works?” Ianto whispered, turning slightly to look at Jack.
“God, Ianto…” Jack shook his head, still staring straight upwards. “That you even have to ask.”
Ianto closed his eyes, twisting fully so that he could press his forehead against the ladder also. The desire to just climb up and away from this moment had grown strong within him. And yet, at the same time, something deep within told him to stay and see it through, warning him that if he walked away now he may as well walk away forever.
“You scare me, Jack.” Ianto eventually whispered. Even with his eyes still closed he knew Jack was looking at him now. “I don’t want to change things because I’m scared of what will happen if they do.”
He took a shaky breath. “I’m scared that I’ll let you change things only to have you leave again. Or have you decide it’s not worth it. And I know it’s only a goddamned striptease, but it makes me feel vulnerable and I’m not used to giving myself up like that. You’re right, you know. I have been distancing myself when we’re together. I just… I can’t help it. I don’t want to be hurt and…” He laughed, “God, I sound pathetic, don’t I?” He shook his head against the rung.
“You don’t sound pathetic.” Jack’s voice sounded from behind him. Ianto spun quickly, not having heard Jack move from the bed. He met Jack’s eyes for a second before dropping his head. His hands made to reach behind him again, looking to grip onto the ladder as if it would help anchor him in this moment, help keep his panic from cresting and ruining everything that existed between them. Jack’s hands caught his own, tugging them between them. He entwined their fingers together and squeezed gently.
The lump was back in Ianto’s throat.
“I can’t promise you that this will last forever.” Jack began with a sincerity Ianto hardly saw from the other man. “I can’t promise that it’ll be easy or smooth or even worth it in the end. I can’t promise that I won’t hurt you, Ianto, as much as I’ll try my hardest not to. But I can promise that I won’t leave, not like I did, and I can promise that I want this- wholly and unequivocally- that I want you. I want us. I didn’t ask you out on that date to soften you up for more sex. I really want to try with you, Ianto, because while I was away you were the one person that kept me strong, kept me living day after day when all I really wanted was to die and stay dead. I came back for you, Ianto Jones. I came back hoping for an us.”
Ianto was silent, staring up at Jack with an expressionless look on his face. Jack shook his head, closing his eyes.
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
“Oh Jack,” Ianto breathed, pulling his hands from Jack’s only to fling his arms about the Captain’s neck, hugging him close and pressing his face into the crook of Jack’s neck, hiding the tell-tale signs that he was on the verge of tears from Jack’s all seeing eyes. He laughed softly against Jack’s skin, his arms tightening as Jack’s own arms slipped about his waist, holding him closely.
“I do. I believe you. Oh god, I want to believe you so much.”
“Then believe me.” Jack urged him, moving his hand to the back of Ianto’s head. “Believe that I’ll do my damn hardest to make this work.” He stroked his fingers through Ianto’s hair. “We’ll do our hardest to make this work.”
Ianto squeezed his eyes closed, nodding his head as best he could as he held Jack even tighter. “Yes,” he breathed, it was the only agreement he could voice.
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