Pairing/Characters: Jack, Eleven, Jack/Ianto (Doctor Who crossover)
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for all of TW; takes place post-COE (with flashbacks to S1 and S2); no real DW spoilers
Word Count: ~2,300
Summary: There are some questions that Jack really wishes he didn't want to find out the answers to.
Notes: So this is my first time writing a DW crossover, and my first time writing anything post-COE. *_* No knowledge of New Who is really needed here, btw, there are no spoilers as far as that goes. Written for this week's redisourcolor challenge. Theme = Doctor Who Crossover; other prompts are dogma, incommodious, waltzing and a quote from Shakespeare. I chose "What a piece of work is a man," from Hamlet. :)
Well, no matter how this ends
I'd follow you down any rabbit hole
Come find me when I sleep
And tie anchors 'round my feet
Electric President - Feathers
The lanky man with the bowtie and matching blue braces listens patiently, propped up on a tall stool next to Jack at the bar. His brightly colored drink sits practically untouched at his elbow.
Jack's voice feels loud, abrasive against the white noise of their surroundings, but he soldiers on. He's had plenty of time to edit this particular story, after all; there's no reason this should be difficult, but the words don't come as easily as he would have hoped. He has to take several generous sips from his glass to get through it at all.
(He's drinking something like scotch, these days, though of course they don't call it that here. Not that Jack has bothered to learn the word. It doesn't matter; he comes here so often, all the bartenders recognize him.)
The man's eyes are attentive and sympathetic, maybe even verging on sad, and when he finally speaks, his voice is so quiet that Jack can barely hear him.
“No,” the man says, leaning forward, his eyes darting over Jack's face and finally settling on his eyes. His voice is almost a whisper. He presses one finger to his lips, as if truly considering the proposition, and then shakes his head again. “I’m sorry. But no. I can't help you. I can't bring him back.”
Jack finds himself staring at the man's tie for a good thirty seconds before he's able to meet his eyes again. It's ridiculous. The bowtie, being here, all of it. He brings the glass to his lips and swallows it all up in one go, enjoying the burn of the liquid against his throat.
And for a moment, it feels a bit like something else has been swallowed up, too. Its absence dulls the colors in the room, just a little, drains the sound a bit, too, like they've suddenly been plunged under water.
Jack had felt it just for a second though, bright and warm, familiar, before it disappeared behind this man's eyes, into the tweed folds of his suit jacket.
He thinks, belatedly, as the artificial warmth of alcohol settles in his stomach, that it might have been nice to cling to it a little longer.
Ianto turns to him, his eyes bright and warm - calm, in that way that they so often weren’t, nothing churning behind them, just calm, happy.
“What a piece of work is a man,” Ianto says, as he runs his fingers across Jack’s lower back slowly. Eventually his palm comes to rest on Jack’s hipbone. He sits there, stretched out and languid, resting his weight on his elbow, palm against his chin, with his eyes trained on the line of Jack's body laid out before him.
“Macbeth?” Jack offers, breathing deeply at the touch, at the warmth of Ianto’s hand against his bare skin.
“Hamlet,” Ianto corrects. A hint of color finds its way to his cheeks. “And I apologize.”
Jack just watches him curiously, raising his eyebrows.
Ianto's eyes darken a bit, and he moves his hand, sitting up, and Jack follows suit. “Inappropriate use of our dear friend William’s words.” He turns to face Jack, a slight smirk on his face. “I’m sure he never meant for that line to be used--”
“As a come-on?” Jack offers.
Ianto laughs, deep and honest, and the spontaneity of it sparks something inside Jack; his heart pounds in his chest, harder than it has in months.
“Yeah,” Ianto says softly, and allows Jack to kiss him.
It’s only the second time Jack has experienced the feeling of Ianto’s lips pressed against his, despite the variety of rather compromising positions they seem to find themselves in on a regular basis.
When Ianto parts Jack's lips, and that talented tongue slides into the warm cavity of his mouth, it sends a shiver down Jack’s spine. His bones tingle, aching for more.
This is dangerous, Jack thinks, a bit like waltzing into battle unarmed, unprepared, but he doesn’t stop, just deepens the kiss, solidifies it with both hands on Ianto's neck so that nothing moves except their lips, their tongues. When Ianto groans against his lips a moment later, a low humming noise that builds until he has to pull away from Jack's lips for a second to catch a breath, Jack's heart soars at the tiny victory.
“I’m not sure I understand,” Jack says, gesturing to the bartender for a refill, and he has to lean into the other man's personal space to ensure the words reach him.
His elbows dig into the wooden edge of the bar, and for a second, he thinks maybe he does know this person, but the sensation fades quickly as the man raises an eyebrow at Jack. He hides it well, but Jack sees it flash across his face, clear as day. He's wary. He's been warned, maybe.
The music turns up a notch or two, and Jack settles back into his seat. Breathes.
This place just never stops picking up steam; the music starts as a grinding din, and only gets louder as the night wears on. Colored lights dance across the man's face, yellows that brighten his skin, starkly exposing his features and the depth of his eyes, and then reds and blues that cancel it all out, and plunge them both back into semi-darkness.
He looks out of place, both of them do, but then again, who doesn't in a huge border planet hub like this.
"I'm not sure you're supposed to understand," the man says finally, and gives Jack a tired, empathetic twist of his lips. Then he stands, tips the tall-fluted glass to his lips, downing the bright red liquid quickly, and smiles properly.
"Let's get out of here," he says, eyes wide, full of possibility. "I have something to show you."
Things have been humming along at a sort of status quo for so long that Jack forgets sometimes that Ianto isn't necessarily 100% yet.
That technically, he's still grieving.
He'd wanted to shoot Owen in the foot for opening his mouth, really. Jack had watched the color drain from Ianto's face at the comment (mentioning Lisa by name had been low, even for Owen) and he might have done it, but... Well, by that point he'd been a little distracted by the weevil that had jumped on his back, and hadn't had much time to contemplate anything else.
He'd spent the rest of the day trying to make things up to Ianto, but despite his attempts at charm, and numerous offers of distraction, Ianto hadn't budged an inch. At least he'd agreed to clean up, and to try to get some rest down in Jack's quarters. That their conversation had taken this turn, however, had not been part of his plan.
"It wouldn't kill you to ask for his help, every once in a while, would it?" Ianto says angrily, slumping into the corner of Jack's tiny bed.
"He wouldn't be able to bring her back," Jack says carefully. "It doesn't work that way."
"He brought you back," Ianto mumbles, grumpy, hurt.
"I was different," Jack says simply, and places a steady hand to Ianto's neck.
Ianto leans into the touch for a moment before he lets out a huff of breath and sits up, staring at Jack with eyes that look exhausted, weary, but also a little guilty.
"You know I don't actually want her to..." Ianto offers, staring down at the blanket draped over his knees.
"I know," Jack says, honestly.
And he does; he trusts Ianto. Maybe not implicitly, but enough to know that however deep Ianto's feelings for Lisa had been, at the core, Ianto is okay. He's moved on, developed loyalties that now lie elsewhere.
"Come here," he says, and squeezes next to Ianto in the small space, his shoulder pressed against Ianto's, so close he can smell Ianto's toothpaste, and the fresh scent of his shampoo. It should be uncomfortable - incommodious, Ianto had said the other day after nicking his shin on the corner of the nightstand twice in ten minutes, but tonight it's not. Tonight it's okay.
Tonight Ianto won't go back to his flat, he'll stay here, Jack will make sure of it. Will watch him as he sleeps, staring at those beautiful features pressed against his pillow until dawn if he needs to, and in the morning, things will be better, brighter.
They'll restore the status quo, like always.
"There's a sort of dogma she follows," the Doctor - not Jack's Doctor, but something, still - explains, gesturing to the center of the impossible space Jack has found himself in again.
The Tardis glows brightly, openly. It's larger than Jack remembers. The lights seem brighter too, glowing up from underneath the floor. Jack blinks, wondering if it's possible not to remain in a perpetual state of amazement while inside this spaceship.
"She just won't have it any other way," the Doctor says, and then fixes Jack with a disarming, hollow-eyed look. And then he smiles. "You can ask her yourself, if you'd like?"
Jack stares at the center of the space between them, and sighs. He shifts on his feet. He can't get comfortable, can't shake the feeling that he really shouldn't be here, that maybe this conversation was never meant to happen.
"He wouldn't have died if it wasn't for me," he says anyway, because if he doesn't say it now, to him, he has no idea when he'll have another opportunity. "It wasn't his time."
It's a bit of a last ditch attempt, maybe, though Jack is at a loss as to figuring out what he would even appeal to.
This man in front of him is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger. Beyond the sudden impulse he'd felt to approach the man across the bar, Jack doesn't feel any real affinity, any familiarity. He wishes he did, more than he wants to admit. The feeling lingers, a dull ache behind Jack's temples.
"I know," the Doctor says, and for a moment, he looks genuinely bereft.
"I'm sorry," he says, sincerely, his hand on one of the consoles. "I really am."
Jack watches him, his mannerisms, the way his hand rests on the smooth controls, the nervous energy. Everything feels familiar, but at the same time completely alien, and Jack just can't shake the cold creeping into his skin and his bones the longer he stands here.
"I should go," Jack says quickly, slightly apologetic.
"Yes," the Doctor says absently, nodding, his eyes fixed on the dials in front of him. "I suppose you probably should."
Jack crosses the space quickly, and then turns, his hand against the smooth wooden exit.
"I've been on this planet for over a year, you know. And I never stopped hoping one day you'd walk through that door." Jack smiles, but it feels empty. He widens the grin anyway. "Do you think that'll ever get old?"
"No," the man says quietly. "No, I don't suppose it will."
The gaze that follows Jack out as he closes the wooden door behind him is curious, a little unsure, a little glad to see him go, maybe. To get on with things.
Jack wraps his coat around him - it folds in on itself, pressing against the back of his legs as a strong gust of wind assaults him from all sides. Jack lowers his head, takes a step forward.
The giant complex in front of him is several city blocks wide, and just as long, and it's a maze, really, a world in itself, an oasis in the middle of nowhere. People came here to get lost, for a day, a week, but if you aren’t careful, Jack's pretty sure you could lose yourself in it forever and barely notice.
He thinks he may try his hand at it for a decade or two.
"You know I don't really want..." Jack whispers to the darkness and the silence, guilt weighing against his tongue uncomfortably.
His room is quiet, spare. He rents it out by the week, and has long since lost count of how many payments he's made. Not that any of that matters in the dark, of course.
"I didn't really want him to bring you back," Jack says, infusing the words with a confidence he doesn't quite feel, willing the words to be true, for them to take shape, to guide him.
"I know," Ianto says from inside the darkness, and when he presses his lips to Jack's forehead they're warm, just like he remembers, and when Ianto moves to press his lips to the side of Jack's nose, and then to his mouth, he's deliberate, not hurried, as if they've got all the time in the world.
Jack's insides twist in his chest, and his stomach turns over and over and over again.
"I know," Ianto says again. "I trust you."
Jack closes his eyes. Listens. The accent is thick, resonant, soothing.
I know, the voice says again, and Jack almost believes him.