Title: Linear Coping
Fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Tosh
AN: next instalment in the Lines verse, takes place after Drunken Induced
Summary: Jack is back
Jack comes back. Jack goes back.
He's left the Doctor for his team, his family. The home he's been fighting for so long to keep. He loves the Doctor – knows he won't ever stop – but he hasn't forgiven him yet.
And Jack needs to find forgiveness first. He left Torchwood without saying goodbye. He needs to find forgiveness first.
Ianto and Tosh don't talk about Jack but then Jack is back and they don't dare talk about them. They don't feel guilt or shame for how they coped. Perhaps it wasn't a step in any direction but at least they were moving. No longer sinking or swimming with Gwen the only life line they could find, but coping. Jack had abandoned them and he doesn't deserve being explained to, but they still don't dare talk about them.
They don't feel guilt.
Jack doesn't need to know.
Jack pretends everything is all right, more than all right and he asks Ianto out on a date. Nothing has changed. Everything has changed. Everything and anything and Ianto swallows down the anger and guilt and absolutely does not think about Captain John Hart.
Jack followed the Doctor, loved him and left him. For Ianto. Jack came back for him – them – for Ianto. He had to leave – swears he had to leave. The Doctor had answers Jack needed to know. Answers that were daggers the more he got them, but Jack asked the questions and he had to deal with the consequences of knowing the truth.
They go on that date and Jack tells Ianto everything. No more lying, no more running away or hiding behind the brooding. Jack tells Ianto everything. Things he couldn't before. Truths and daggers and Rose. Jack tells Ianto about Rose and the Doctor and barrage balloons. Dancing on a space ship in the middle of the London Blitz, fires and explosions like fireworks in the distance. He tells Ianto about conning and sacrifices, being abandoned and loved and tortured. The Master and the Doctor, the year that never was and all their fates erased from time.
For two centuries Captain Jack Harkness had become a master of obfuscating the truth and avoidance. This is Jack; honest, truthful and very raw, Jack.
He couldn't have told Ianto sooner. He knows he should have but he couldn't. Jack had forgiven Ianto for Lisa eventually, but Ianto had still used his unmistakable and grateful trust. He'd used him and almost ended up destroying everything. Yes, Jack had certainly forgiven Ianto – he even understood why why Ianto did it – but he didn't trust him anymore. And he absolutely didn't trust himself around Ianto back then. Not then.
He didn't think so, at least, but then he was chained to a wall for a year, made to see things he'll have nightmares about and the one thing he wanted so desperately wasn't for it all to end – yes, of course he wanted it al to end, but he knew there was a plan. He just wanted to be home. For the first time in a long while Jack had managed to have and keep a home. A real home and a family that stayed and wouldn't just leave him behind. Domesticity. A concept the Doctor would never grasp. Jack wanted to be home, his home. His Ianto.
He changed that year, so much and all he wanted was to sit on the couch and watch telly with Ianto snuggled against him, making sarcastic comments to what happened on the screen. The Master found out and then destroyed the hub and everyone in it, but Jack never stopped wishing. Because they had a plan and afterwards, Jack was going home.
He loves the Doctor, will always love him, but Jack couldn't stay. Not anymore.
He's changed, so much and he hopes Ianto can see that. He will do everything he can to make Ianto see that.
Ianto swallows down a painful lump and tells Jack he's been sleeping with Tosh. He tells Jack about the coping and the drowning and how Jack just left them with nothing. Discarded pawns of a broken unit until Gwen became their life line, a leader giving them a direction, but they didn't find solace, because solace was Jack and Jack had left them. He'd given them meaning and then just left!
Jack goes quiet but listens. Ianto deserves to vent. He deserves to yell and scream and beat Jack into a bloody pulp for what he did. What most, Ianto deserves to find comfort where he can. Jack wants Ianto the lay his claim on him, but he knows he has no claim over Ianto. Not anymore, if he ever did.
Jack doesn't blame him and Ianto goes quiet. Jack has reasons and explanations, truth and daggers and consequences. He understands. He left them on their own, didn't even think twice about rushing after the Doctor. Didn't at all consider what it would do to them and he hopes, one day, they might forgive him for it, but he had no reservations about how they would cope. He knew they would and Jack's glad Ianto and Tosh found it with each other. He'd be more worried if they hadn't. He has a lot to make up for, to all of them, but most to both Tosh and Ianto. He gave them purpose and a life, when they should have either been dead or in prison, and then he just left.
He will get their trust back. He has to get their trust back. He hopes to.
Ianto tells him he's well on his way.
Jack wants Ianto to lay claim on him but he won't force him. Jack has no right. He is back, he's staying and hopes to be taken back, but he won't force anyone.
Ianto tells Tosh that Jack knows everything.
Tosh cries, because she fears anger and hurt and thinks Jack would feel betrayed but he doesn't. He hugs her, kisses her and promises that he doesn't. He never will because he owns no one.
Despite the reassurance, Tosh and Ianto go to the guilty looks and twitchy movements. Jack notices and tries to reassure, but they can't stop. They don't dare talk about them, but they know everyone notices. They have to notice. Jack leaves them to their own pace. Tries to stay away far enough because he knows he's causing the looks and twitches.
Tommy stops the guilt and Jack can't be gladder. He fears hurt and more guilt from Ianto, but he just smiles. He notices a conversation with tears and promises and successfully resists from listening. Ianto kisses Tosh and they both smile. No more looks, no more twitches. Jack sighs gratefully.
He rushes back to his office when both Tosh and Ianto turn to look at him.
He pretends working while he secretly watches Ianto clear the hub of the daily collection of trash and empty coffee cups. And then Ianto is standing in his office and asks him if would ever want to go back home.
Home isn't where he was born. Not anymore. It's not the Tardis either. He's loved people he never would have known and wouldn't ever change that for the world.
Ianto kisses him hard. Months of nothing, weeks of walking on egg shells and days of trying to stay clear and now Ianto is kissing him. Hard and deep and Jack loses himself more in that one electrifyingly strong and blissfully grey connection than he's had in such a long time.
Hard lines, a different kind of familiar, press against him, pushing and pulling him in.
He wakes up, his brown spiky hair tickling Ianto's chest, still slightly damp from recent activities and smiles.
He's been forgiven.
Ianto pulls him closer and tells him he forgave him a while ago.