sorry seems to be the hardest word;
U-Rated, 1112 words, coda: 2.09 Something Borrowed,
sequel to: it sounded like goodbye, Jack tries to explain;
for hab318princess who wanted a happy ending <33.
It took Jack a couple of hours before he was ready to admit, to himself, that Ianto was right in his opinions of him. Or at least, he was right to make the assumptions he’d made that day in regards to Jack and his feelings for Gwen. Truthfully, Jack wasn’t sure what he wanted from her. She was a reminder to a past Jack longed to rekindle, not necessarily because of who she was, but more for the memory of what he once had.
He thought back to her wedding and the dance they had shared, the deeply intense look they’d given one another as they’d slowly rotated on the dance floor and Jack pressed his fingers to tired eyes as he realised that, yes, he’d been seconds away from kissing her- right there in front of the entire wedding party- and only Ianto’s timely interruption had forced the pair of them to separate.
He remembered, even now, staring longingly after her as she’s made her way back to Rhys, all smiles of joy and happiness and he tried to ignore the clench of guilt he felt as he recalled the wanton look she’d shot his way as he’d taken Ianto into his arms.
Ianto who wouldn’t talk to him throughout their dance, who’d remained stiff and awkward in his arms, all signs which Jack had put down to Ianto being nervous about displaying his relationship with Jack in public, but which in reality had been Ianto setting himself up for ridicule and shame because- as Ianto had so angrily told him- people had begun to notice.
Ah, Ianto. Jack smiled fondly, sadly, at the thought of the other man even as he reached into his desk and removed a box of aging photographs, flicking through until he found the one particular one he’d been searching for. He stroked a finger over the black and white image, his thoughts turned inwards for a moment only before he firmed his resolve and stood, tucking the photograph into his breast pocket as he grabbed his coat and made his way out of the hub.
He was in the SUV and on his way to Ianto’s house before he realised that it was still considered an inappropriate time of the morning to be up and about and he knew that Ianto would be in his bed, fast asleep, with seeing Jack the last thing on his mind.
His hesitancy on waking Ianto after their parting lasted only until he’d pulled up onto Ianto’s street and fetched the spare key Ianto had once given him. He needed to do this, he justified, he needed to make this right.
- - -
“Ianto,” Jack called softly, careful not to scare Ianto into wakefulness even as he entered his bedroom and perched himself on the bed beside Ianto’s sleeping form, his hand gently nudging as he touched Ianto’s shoulder. “Ianto, wake up.”
“Jack?” Ianto breathed, sleepily, blinking tired eyes open as he peered up at Jack through the darkness of his room.
“Hey,” Jack whispered, stroking a hand over Ianto’s cheek.
“Is it time to go to work?” Ianto mumbled, his eyes slipping closed. Jack chuckled and nudged at Ianto again.
“No, there’s no work today, Ianto.”
“No work?” Ianto’s eyes opened again and he peered at Jack with a sudden clarity. Jack smiled nervously at him, shifting away as Ianto shimmied up into a seated position, scrubbing his hands over his face before looking at Jack once more.
“What are you doing here?” Ianto asked, his voice rough from sleep and a renewed anger. “I believe I made it very clear that you weren’t welcome here tonight.”
“I know, I just- I was thinking, and… and I wanted to apologise.”
Ianto raised an eyebrow, “Go on.”
“I thought about what you said,” he continued, reaching out to cup at Ianto’s face, noting how even as Ianto tensed he did not pull away, “I realised… I realised that I do love Gwen,”
Ianto smacked his hand away suddenly, moving as far back from Jack as he was able considering their proximity. “Excuse me?” Ianto hissed, interrupting, “What the hell are you doing here then? This couldn’t have waited until-,”
“No, wait, I’m here for you!” Jack blurted, his hands held up.
“I won’t settle for being second best, Jack.”
“That’s not what I’m saying, Ianto, just…” Jack reached out slowly and gripped at Ianto’s shoulders, holding the other man still. “I just- please, just let me explain?” He stared imploringly at Ianto who eyed him defensively but nodded despite himself.
“I was trying to tell you, yes I do love Gwen, but not in that way. I love- I love the idea of her. I love that she’s not so tainted by Torchwood that she’s resigned herself to having no life outside of it, but I’m not in love with her.” He moved his hands from Ianto’s shoulders to his face, “I love you, Ianto,” he said, trying to inflict as much honesty and conviction into the words as he could.
Ianto dropped his gaze at the words, reaching up to take Jack’s hands and pull them from his face. He didn’t respond to the words, he wasn’t entirely sure how to follow on from that, after everything else Jack had just said.
“This really couldn’t have waited till later?” Ianto said instead, squeezing at Jack’s hands.
Jack smiled, slipping one hand free and reaching into this breast pocket for a photograph he passed to Ianto.
“What-,” Ianto began, squinting against the sudden brightness as Jack reached over to turn on his bedside lamp. He blinked at the picture in his hand, his eyes widening fractionally as he took in what he was seeing.
“That’s you,” he said, looking up to see Jack’s sad smile. “And your… wife?” he asked hesitantly.
Jack nodded. “It was a long time ago,” he said, still smiling as touched the back of the photo with trembling fingers. “Today I was reminiscing about what Gwen had that I’d lost. I didn’t mean to imply anything else. You were right today and I’m sorry you had to be.”
Ianto stared at him a long moment before sighing and lifting the hand he still held to his lips, kissing at Jack’s knuckles. “I hate that I can’t stay upset with you.”
Jack laughed a little, leaning in to kiss at Ianto’s forehead.
“Will you tell me about her?” Ianto asked, pressing his cheek to Jack’s as they held onto each other. Jack pulled away a little, smiling again as he nodded. Ianto smiled back, shifting over and beckoning for Jack to join him in bed.
[ end. ]