sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 11:25 am
Entry tags:

Naked; Torchwood, PG-13

Title: Naked
Rating: PG-13, for...naked, I guess. :D
Summary: Jack thinks this is all about him (Jack would). That's okay.
Authors' Notes: This is a sort of sequel, sort of coda to Dresser. I was hesitant to post it because I love Dresser and it stands so well on its own, but there it was, waiting to be written. I've done a little tiny bit of handwaving in the last section, but only to correct a random canonical plot hole. :D
Warnings: None.

Originally posted 5.31.08

Now available at AO3.

***

IANTO: His own time. Would you go back to yours? If you could?
JACK: Why, would you miss me?


Ianto thinks a lot about Jack's immortality.

Mainly, he thinks, the universe is lucky that Jack Harkness was chosen to be everlasting, because he's read a lot of science fiction and he knows what happens when humans live for too long. They get cold and arrogant, and they stop believing they even are human, and that's when the trouble begins.

But Jack...Ianto doesn't delude himself like Gwen does that Jack is an ounce less intimate with them than a mortal would be, for all his lies of omission. Jack opens himself readily to anyone willing to show him affection, and if it isn't with his real name or his past -- well, that hardly matters, does it?

Jack will keep falling in lust and in love and he'll keep being hurt, which is terrible of course, he'll keep grieving and losing, but that's human. Jack is his own salvation. Jack will find someone after Ianto is gone, and love him or her fiercely, and lose and find again, and that will keep him from becoming the monster Ianto used to think he was.

What Ianto is most happy about, when he thinks of Jack, is that he has given Jack something that nobody else ever did. A way to put the fear and grief aside and section it off for the right time and place. Above anyone else, Ianto is a man who knows the value of this.

He returns from torching the warehouse where the space whale was kept, smelling of gasoline and kerosene and a unique alien compound without which they couldn't actually burn all that steel and flesh, some kind of space-napalm that does the job with much-appreciated efficiency.

"Where's Jack?" he asks Owen, who is too hollow-eyed today to bother with cruelty.

"Police station. Dealin' with the brothers grim," he says. "I'm done, and I'm going home."

"I'll pass on the reports," Ianto offers, holding out his hand. Quaint that they still keep paper copies, but Jack likes to read from paper more than from a screen and it's good to have backups. Owen's report is still warm from the printer. "Tosh?"

"It's on the desk," Tosh says.

"You can go, if you like," he offers. She nods and picks up her coat, following Owen out the rolldoor.

Gwen's already long gone; her report is shortest, and he knows she wanted to go home to Rhys. Ianto writes his own, tersely, leaving out what he said to the man when he stunned him, which isn't really relevant anyway. At some point while he's collating the others' reports Jack returns, takes his off the printer and stands behind his chair, reading it. Ianto sets the reports down and looks up at him, backwards.

"Bad day's work," Jack says. He looks tired.

"Perhaps," Ianto allows, and takes his own printout from Jack, putting it at the bottom of the pile. He stands and offers his hands; Jack's still in his coat, and Ianto still has a few things left to do before all is right with the world for the evening.

Jack has told him that he had a dresser during the first world war, and Ianto would very much like to have known him, because he trained him well. He doesn't even have to ask Jack to turn around, and there's no uncertainty or nervous dancing-around the subject. Jack simply turns and lets him take the coat from his shoulders. It's an intimate gesture, but it's not always about sex, whatever Jack thinks.

"You were good today," Jack says, rolling his shoulders to help ease the wool off them.

"Thank you," Ianto answers, slinging the coat over his arm. Jack twists without moving his firm-planted feet, looks at him a little too casually.

"This report...what did I turn you into?" he asks quietly.

Ianto smiles.

"You, turn me into?" he asks.

Puzzlement crosses Jack's face, and then he smiles; turns fully to kiss Ianto once, all the better for being such an everyday kiss as it is.

"Hang it up on your way out," he says gently.

"Of course," Ianto replies. He makes sure the coat is clean, hangs it on the stand near Jack's office, and goes home.

He sleeps well; he hopes Jack does, if he sleeps at all.

***

IANTO: Coming here gave me meaning again...you.

The restaurant is warm, after the cold of Cardiff in October. Ianto doesn't think twice about taking Jack's coat off and hanging it up on the hook near the door, before he takes off his own and hangs it next to it.

This is where Jack brought him, the first time, the time Ianto didn't actually think would happen. Dinner -- a date. He'd have been okay without it but Jack said to him, "I want you to know that I can be classy when I try," and took him here, to old wood and plush seats and expensive food, and made him eat the best steak he's ever tasted.

The waitstaff know them now and harbour no illusions about what Jack Harkness is doing here with a pretty young man. They might have the wrong idea, Ianto doesn't know, but even that is sort of a thrill. It means Ianto seems to them to be chosen, and he likes that.

Their shoes are muddy and Ianto has bloody knuckles from Weevil-hunting, but they're presentable enough, and Jack tips well so they always have a good table. Even so, Jack looks at him strangely as they sit down.

"You don't have to do that, you know," he says, accepting a menu from the host, who pours their water and disappears. "In public, I mean."

"Do what?" Ianto asks, vaguely mystified.

"With..." Jack gestures. "The coat."

"But it's better in public," Ianto says, before he even thinks about it, and Jack gets a confused look that tells him he may have just walked into a minefield. He thinks about backpedaling, but he can't really find a good way.

"Better?" Jack asks.

"It's -- " Ianto struggles for the word. "Subtle. It says you're -- " mine " -- that we're..." together. Aren't we? "It's just a coat, Jack."

But of course it isn't just a coat, and comprehension is dawning in Jack's face, and oh shit what's this going to turn into?

He starts to panic right before Jack half-rises and leans across the table and kisses him.

A couple of the other diners bend their heads together and whisper; the waiter in the corner smiles indulgently. Jack settles back into his seat and picks up his menu, studies it.

"Do it, if you want," he says, not looking at Ianto, who is still trying to catch his breath. "If it makes you happy. I want you to have what you want."

He can't help himself. "Good," he says with a smile, and watches Jack's eyes flick up to him, and then Jack laughs and it's okay, this is okay.

***

GWEN: What will you do while I'm gone?
JACK: Oh, the usual. Pizza. Ianto. Save the world a couple of times.


Ianto loves his flat.

He's been to Tosh's and Owen's, Gwen's, even Suzie's, once, when she forgot something at the Hub and asked him to drop it by on his way home (Ianto and Suzie never really got on, though he'd die before admitting that to Jack, who really did love her despite -- perhaps because of -- her utter insanity). They're all modern apartment-block places with buzzers on the doors and traditional layouts, plaster walls. The rest of Torchwood came from somewhere else, but Ianto grew up in Cardiff and knew what he wanted when he came home again.

Here it is: three floors up in a converted row-house, high angled ceilings, red brick, exposed pipes, terrible plumbing, tall windows and a tremendous view of Cardiff. Ianto spends his days underground, mostly, and wants height and air and light and old comfortable things when he can get them. The stairwell door is always unlocked, because otherwise the children on the ground floor perpetually lock themselves out; this neighborhood is just poor enough not to be a target for thieves, and just wealthy enough not to have any. He still locks his door, of course, but --

His door. His open door. Just slightly open. The door he locked when he went out to buy groceries.

He didn't get much sleep the night before, seeing as they had to clean up Gwen's wedding and clear all the mobiles and check all the digital cameras and get all the guests to their rooms (or someone's room, anyway) and call someone about the broken windows and the weird stains on the carpets. It's been a long fucking day, actually, and he's hauled his groceries up two flights of stairs, but if the rift is going to throw something at him right now, well, Ianto has a lot of repressed rage for a man his age and he's willing to go a few rounds with whatever's behind the door. He sets the bags down and makes a great sound of fumbling for his keys with his left hand, drawing his gun with his right.

Then a voice from inside says, "It's me."

The gun goes back in its holster, and Ianto pushes the door open. Jack is standing in one of the long slivers of light through the windows (he always finds the most dramatic place).

"Picked the lock," Jack says.

Ianto gathers up his groceries and brings them inside, sets them on the counter of the narrow kitchen.

"I take it," he says, as he puts the milk and eggs away, "that this isn't a matter of life and death, or you would have called my mobile."

"It absolutely is," Jack says solemnly, and of course Jack would have explored his kitchen while he was out; he opens a drawer confidently, takes out a spoon, and proceeds to liberate the ice cream from the grocery bag. "I was bored and you weren't there."

"Yes, well, occasionally I do require sustenance other than coffee and take-away," Ianto replies, noting the gleeful look in Jack's eyes as he puts away the cold cereal, which to his deep and continuing disgrace has a frolicking cartoon character on the front and little marshmallow bits inside.

He shoves the bags into a carton under the sink (in his line of work you simply can't have too many plastic bags) and straightens, resting his hands on his hips.

Jack still has his coat on. And he has the ice cream open and the spoon in his mouth and is watching Ianto with a mixture of wariness and hopefulness that is strange to see. Because normally Jack just asks for what he wants, and usually he gets it. Not just with Ianto, with -- everyone, with the world.

Oh -- a spark of pleasure runs up between his shoulderblades.

Jack wasn't bored.

Jack was lonely.

There is even the distant possibility that Jack missed him.

He takes the ice cream carton and the spoon away and puts a hand on Jack's chest, pushing him back into the living room gently. Circles around, rests his hands on Jack's shoulders.

"Can't have you bored," he says, as the edge of the coat brushes the floor before he hangs it up.

It is such a relief to know, to have one sure thing in the world. Jack isn't exactly his sure thing, that's a little romantic given who they are and what they do. It's what Jack needs from him, what Jack needed before he even knew he needed it. The fact that Jack understands the ritual which Ianto learned in his father's shop as a child -- the ritual exists, and another person knows it, and they don't have to talk about it.

Ianto doesn't know how long he'll live, or how long he'll have Jack. What he knows is that as long as he does live he'll have had this, and Jack will have it forever, because Jack is forever. And that's a rare thing.

On the other hand there's a time and place for ritual, and once he's hung up the coat Jack apparently isn't interested in deep meaningful connections as much as he is in wrapping an arm around Ianto's waist from behind, biting his earlobe, and groping him extensively.

Which, of course, is also extremely nice.

"You're incredibly inappropriate," he murmurs.

"You love it," Jack whispers, and turns and pushes him against the wall. "You like that I break the rules."

The air is warm on his skin as Jack flicks open the first two buttons of his shirt and he has hands everywhere and their eyes are dead level, locked on each other, and yes. Ianto does.

The ice cream is melted and ruined by the time he remembers it. Ask Ianto how much he cares.

***

IANTO: Building maintenance, food and drink, dry cleaning even. That coat of yours must take a battering. Like a butler, I could be a butler.

Jack thinks this is all about him (Jack would). That's okay.

Ianto comes from a long line of servants; until the turn of the last century his ancestors were valets and butlers, cooks, upstairs maids, people who worked hard and took pride in being quietly -- but absolutely -- necessary. His grandfather drove a limousine, his father was a tailor for rich men; he thought he'd bucked all that when he moved to London, but it's in his blood and it has its rewards.

They aren't like that, him and Jack. He's not Jack's valet and he's certainly not his submissive, though that's a fun game now and again. At work he is a member of the team just like Gwen and Owen and Tosh, and outside of work they're equals.

There is a liminal space between the two, where for just a moment he is the product of his lineage, but in that place he knows better than Jack how much the master owns and how much the servant does.

Ianto pleases himself to take Jack's coat and to dress him. It sets him apart and, being honest with himself, it turns him on.

Jack doesn't have to know that it's not about him.

***

GWEN: You left me that package, didn't you?
IANTO: I don't know what you mean.


Jack asks him to stay late after the others have gone, and to come to his office when he's done with the day's work; Ianto has no illusions about it, not with Jack's eyes so cold-blue and his lips in a thin line.

When he reaches the office, Jack's nowhere to be seen; he stoops and peers into the open ring in the floor that leads to Jack's rather sad little bedroom, with its small bed and simple dresser and close, looming metal girders. He can see Jack, sitting on the bed, studying something in his hands.

When he reaches the bottom of the ladder he can't help himself; he turns to face Jack and cocks his arm, curling his fingers around the back of his own neck. It's a physical tell, and he knows it, but it's comforting too.

Jack has every right to be angry. He has every right to take Ianto down, to shout at him, to punish him as an employee for betraying his confidence. And he'll take it.

But he needs some little comfort, and the skin on the back of the neck warms his cold, trembling hand.

"You've seen Gwen on the island," he says quietly, because there's no use prevaricating. "I'm sorry, Jack, but I had -- "

"That's not it," Jack interrupts, spreading his hands slightly. The thing in his hands is the GPS tracker Gwen returned to him silently -- Ianto saw them, though he doesn't think they noticed him watching. Jack's expression is hurt, almost hapless, which he didn't expect. "Okay. It is, but that's not why...I'm not angry," he says.

Ianto's fingers loosen on his skin. He knows what Jack will see if he looks; small red crescents paling out on the tendons of his neck, evidence of his tension.

"All right," Ianto replies.

"It was the right decision." Jack is still looking down. Ianto hesitates, lets his hand fall away.

"I didn't expect you to admit it," he says, because he betrayed Jack's confidence but -- but he wasn't wrong.

Ianto knows he's the only one Jack never picked for this team. Even Gwen was studied and tested and accepted with conscious decision. Ianto simply battled his way in, desperately, and was never meant to be a part of this Torchwood. He knows he's stubborn and near-fatally inflexible sometimes, but London taught him the difference between right and easy, and Cardiff taught him that he can survive the one over the other.

"I'm not used to being wrong," Jack says, raising his head. Ianto gives him a dry look. "Not about people."

"Gwen is different," Ianto replies. "For all of us, she's different."

Jack frowns. "For you too?"

"She's Gwen," Ianto shrugs. "You brought her to us for that reason. She learns from us, we learn from her. Or did you forget you still have things to learn?" he asks, but he smiles as he says it, gentle, teasing.

"I did," Jack murmurs. For just a moment he looks his age, shoulders slumped, mouth an unhappy twisting line, the yellow lamplight turning his hair dusky and pale. He seems to come to a decision, though, and he stands and shifts his shoulders back slightly, and Ianto sees what he must have looked like leading an infantry charge, eighty, ninety years ago.

"I shouldn't have put you and Gwen in that position," he said. "I had to tell you -- "

"I never said you didn't -- "

"But it was wrong not to tell Gwen when she started to ask. At least then when everything went to hell I would have known I'd been honest. I should have listened to you. I'm sorry."

It cuts Jack's pride like hell to admit that, he knows. And he didn't have to say it, not for Ianto anyway.

"I try not to think about the screaming," Jack continues, closing the distance between them, near enough for them to share body heat. "It just -- goes on. Twenty, twenty-two hours a day."

Ianto knows this. He also knows that Jack might not even be aware that he's talking --

And then Jack is sliding a hand into his, up over his wrist, fingers hooking briefly in the cuff of his jacket. Ianto tries not to move.

"Without sleep, without food, without rest. If his vocal cords give out, he'll stand in that little room with his mouth open, silent. That'll be worse -- so much worse -- "

Jack's hand is on his elbow now, fingers drifting over his biceps, his other hand already curled around the open lapel of the jacket.

"So much pain, so completely random, so unnecessary," Jack says, and then inhales. "You smell like soap."

Ianto almost laughs, but he knows what Jack is doing. Jack is a creature of tangible sensation. When the bad things come, he loses himself in his senses.

"Detergent -- coffee," Jack inhales again, and his hands push Ianto's jacket off his shoulders, gripping the collar and slinging it over the open drawer of his dresser. "Cotton. Skin."

He doesn't stop touching, but he does move, circling, body eventually pressed against Ianto's back as he undoes the buttons on his waistcoat, his shirt-cuffs, his shirt, pulls them both off together.

"I wanted to protect her," he says against Ianto's neck, pulling the shirt away, leaving part of it still caught between their bodies. "She's so defiant, she's so blind sometimes but it's what makes her beautiful. She could have seen that and survived but I didn't want her to have to. You should have seen her face when she saw me on Flat Holm. She hated me. She thought I was -- "

" -- a monster," Ianto whispers with him, but Jack's beyond hearing, forehead pressed to Ianto's neck, hands sliding down his ribcage. It shouldn't be like this, all that misery mingled with the pleasure of Jack's broad hands, but it is, and it's what has to be.

"The last time she looked at me like that was the day she came to Torchwood. She couldn't believe we could just stand by. I used to look at people like that -- long ago. They used to execute people."

Ianto inhales sharply. Jack's hands unbuckle his belt, pull it through the loops. It occurs to him that Jack is sometimes cheaply bought; he'll trade his forgiveness for a few hours' comfort, trade the punishment Ianto probably deserves for the joy he can provide.

But why shouldn't he, anyway? They have too little time to waste it in holding grudges.

"If someone came through -- alien, even a child, they did it to a child once, even a human if they'd been too far changed. Executed them, locked them up, left them to die..."

Jack bends to lift his foot, and Ianto smiles just a little because Jack has learned; he grasps his ankle, eases his shoulder against his leg to steady him. Left foot; right foot.

"But I changed that," he says. Ianto shuts his eyes. He's standing, Jack resting against his right leg, cheek brushing the outside of his thigh. "And I should have been more proud. It shouldn't have been a secret."

He straightens and wraps his arms around Ianto's waist, locking his hands together, holding him.

"And then there's you," he says, and kisses Ianto's neck.

"Do you need -- "

"Just," Jack says, and that's all.

There won't be any shouting. There won't be any anger, not now, not ever. This is done with, locked up in Jack's mind with all the thousands of other times and places and people.

They stay that way a long time, standing, until Jack huffs a small laugh against his skin and pulls him towards the bed.

***

CAPTAIN'S BLOG: Every time, you think this one won’t hurt as much as the last, but it does, it gets harder every time....Ianto, I know you’re reading this over my shoulder, pretending to fix that damn shelf. So get over here and take me out somewhere.

There is a subtle wrongness about Jack, and Ianto doesn't know what it is for nearly two days.

He hasn't dared go too near him, not since Tosh and Owen died. Gwen did, of course, barged past Jack's defences and touched him, stood with him, but then that's Gwen, and for a copper sometimes she's not very observant. On the other hand, Ianto is glad that of all of them, she survived with him -- he feels guilty about that, but Gwen is what Jack needs sometimes, and nobody else would have done what she's done. Maybe Gwen doesn't see anything wrong with Jack, and maybe Ianto's the paranoid one.

He's survived worse than this; he lost all his friends in London, because one constant of Torchwood is that those outside don't understand, can't ever understand, so you make friends inside, you find lovers inside. Ianto isn't worried about grieving for Tosh and Owen; this he can do.

There is grief, Jack's grieving, but that isn't what's wrong (it's actually pretty right, and very reassuring). And Jack hasn't gone mad, though god knows anyone else would be after what was done to him. There's nothing mentally the matter with Jack any more than there ever is.

But there's still something wrong.

So he hasn't touched Jack much, hasn't really known how, he just watches and waits as they clean the Hub, as they work through the night and the day to try and fix it. It takes Jack explicitly asking him for him to know that it's all right. Jack asks him to take him away from the Hub, so he does.

The cinema, which Ianto likes and Jack seems to like too, is right out. Neither of them feel very hungry, either, and everywhere they could go would hold memories that can't be faced yet. Besides, half the city's still trying to recover its wits after the bombings. He takes Jack home instead, to the bare-brick flat above Cardiff, and he thinks if he can just --

Which is when he realises what's wrong, of course, the minute he reaches for Jack's coat and Jack shrugs out of it before he can touch him, letting it drop to the ground.

Ianto stares at it, confused, and then looks, really looks, at the shirt Jack's wearing, the braces and trousers he hasn't changed out of since the night Tosh and Owen died.

He puts his hand out and lifts one strap of the braces and there's no elastic snap to it at all.

He circles around, pulls both of the wrong wrong wrong braces off Jack's shoulders. Reaches for the buttons on his shirt from behind and feels the too-rough shirt, stiff under his fingers, and the buttons that aren't plastic but cheap metal discs. The seams are uneven and badly finished. The shirt underneath is stiff too, with no give, and the fabric is thick like muslin.

Jack is prey-still, muscles tense, still moving with the motions of his undressing but nothing more. As if he's containing himself and just barely managing to do it.

Ianto drops both shirts to the floor. Moves to kneel in front of Jack. His boots have leather laces, thick leather soles. Knit wool-yarn socks.

There's no zip on the trousers. And, as much as he's considered suggesting the concept of boxers to Jack, they're not what Jack wears --

Except now they are.

He sits back on his heels, lifts his face. The only movement in Jack's entire body is where the corner of his bottom lip is caught between his teeth, and Jack isn't looking at him.

Ianto is a patient man. He can wait.

"Two thousand years," Jack says, finally, finally. It doesn't actually make any sense in context, but then he adds, "Clothing rots. Two thousand years. I was naked when they pulled me up."

Ianto sucks in a tight breath.

"They gave me clothing. I -- they wrapped me in a coat. Not mine," he adds, voice breaking. "Close enough but not -- "

Ianto straightens and pulls him close before he can continue because it hurts, Jack should stop talking now before they both go straight to pieces.

Jack presses his face into Ianto's throat, breath gasping and cold on his skin.

"It's wrong, none of it's right," he says. "Everything -- it wasn't -- it's wrong -- "

He cups Jack's head with one hand, holds his shoulders with the other. Some small part of his mind is already working on the problem; he can buy shirts and trousers and braces and socks and shoes, a new belt, none of that is a problem. The cufflinks might be difficult but surely there are enough military memorabilia nuts out there on e-bay, and that will probably put him onto the scent of a new (old) RAF coat. They can burn the clothing he just took off Jack, put him in some of Ianto's clothes for tomorrow.

The clothing isn't the problem, he'd be a fool to think this is why Jack is breaking apart, but it will help, he knows it will. This is Jack, hiding hot tears for Tosh and Owen and Grey, but he can bring him the right things and remake some part of him into the Captain and if it isn't perfect at least it will hold his Captain together for the times they need him to lead.

All that can come tomorrow, though. Tonight...it's Jack.

Ianto hums, little tuneless notes, and it doesn't take that long at all for Jack to lean into him more, let him take his weight. One hand gripping his shirt tightly just above his belt, the other holding his collar, Jack lets out a shuddering gasp and shifts his head.

"Bed," Ianto says softly, and Jack nods against his skin.

He goes to the windows, pulling the blinds up so that the streetlamps below and the lights of Cardiff flood into the room before he puts out the lights. He'll be able to sleep with this much darkness, and hopefully Jack won't panic with this much light.

Jack waits for him, watches dully as he shrugs out of his shirt and carelessly strips off the rest of his clothing, pulling the blankets back. They curl together on the cool sheets until they're warm enough for comfort, Jack's breathing slow and even now.

When Ianto finally sleeps it's mostly drifting, half-dreaming, and he isn't sure if Jack sleeps at all. He's been stripped out of his protection, had his people taken from him, lost his brother and paid out his penance. What matters is that Jack is here, and Jack has someone to care for him.

And if he doesn't realise Ianto's awake when Jack leans over him and whispers, "I think you should know that I love you," that's all right.

Ianto knows.

END

[identity profile] tintop-lizzy.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 12:33 am (UTC)(link)
Deeply thought out angst. Reasoned, then eloquently and sparely explained against a backdrop of character development. I may have to marry you....

[identity profile] starpaint.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 12:39 am (UTC)(link)
Sure, Dresser works well standing alone, but I'm very, very glad that didn't deprive us of the sequel. Very, very glad. The last bit had me squeaking, which is actually kind of frightening. So gold star for you.

[identity profile] quinn222.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 12:41 am (UTC)(link)
I wish I could come up with some really coherent comments for your fics but I never can. I'm always thrilled to see you've posted something new because I know it will be perfect. This one had such lovely pacing and deep emotion without being overdone and maudlin.

[identity profile] itcamefromjapan.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 12:44 am (UTC)(link)
Oh.
That...was not quite how I was expecting that to go. I don't even know what I was expecting, but that wasn't it.
And that's okay, because it was really, really lovely.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 02:34 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you liked it! And deeply intrigued by your statement about how you were expecting it to go :D
lilyleia78: Close up of a lily in black and white (Jack and Ianto)

[personal profile] lilyleia78 2008-06-01 12:53 am (UTC)(link)
Multiple fics all at once! Is it my birthday? Early Christmas? This was just lovely and stands really well with Dresser. So glad you shared it with us.

[identity profile] sophie-spence.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
I read this sequel-of-sorts, my dear Sam, because I loved Dresser so much. Lovely bits of description throughout, although of course I was lost much of the time. Because I believe you care about such things: you missed an extra word (Ianto seems to to them to be chosen) and one typo (limnal). You are one of only three writers I have followed into unknown fandoms for the sheer pleasure of reading your writing whether I followed the story completely or not.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 01:35 am (UTC)(link)
Hee! Sorry you're lost, but I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway :D

Thanks for catching the to-to typo -- but I just googled and limnal is the right spelling, unless I'm using the wrong word...
ext_13504: Kara Thrace, Starbuck, BSG (Default)

[identity profile] unicornvamp3z.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 02:00 am (UTC)(link)
"It's -- " Ianto struggles for the word. "Subtle. It says you're -- " mine " -- that we're..." together. Aren't we? "It's just a coat, Jack."
<3 Perfect Ianto voice
*huggles Jack* "I think you should know that I love you" just... awwww
*thumbs up*
it's a great sort of sequel!

[identity profile] lil-1337.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 02:44 am (UTC)(link)
That was really intense, but shows the relationship well. I like the way you have them fitting together, needing and wanting each other, but still aware of the differences and the fact this is never going to be a hand holding mushy love of the ages.

[identity profile] jazmin-firewing.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
This was very ... intense. That's the best word I can think of. It's strong, dark, and heartwarming all at the same time.
Have I mentioned how much I love your Ianto? Or how very very exhausted and brain-dead 5 hours of work leaves me? ^_^;;

[identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
This is really lovely. Beautiful, beautiful pictures of Ianto and Jack's dealings with the places and times they're in.

[identity profile] moony-luna.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 03:58 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, I have to admit that I like this better than Dresser, and I definitely wasn't expecting to say that. All the angst has made me embarrassingly emotional (in a good way!). Brilliant!

[identity profile] happi-feet.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:02 am (UTC)(link)
My first thought is to comment on how long it seemed, although I can tell that it wasn't, but I don't want you to get the wrong impression. Long, in this case, was a good thing. There just kept on being more, and it was all good. I twas like when I used to sit and drink coffee for hours while reading a book, and the waitress kept refilling my cup so that there was always more coffee...

Good times...

[identity profile] j00j.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
This was lovely. I loved "Dresser" as well.

[identity profile] onyxtwilight.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 05:52 am (UTC)(link)
Magnifique.

[identity profile] slushlily.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 06:22 am (UTC)(link)
This is really lovely (as everyone else, too, is telling you). I like 'Dresser' well enough, but this surpasses it in many ways for me personally-- I'm not sure why, exactly, though it feels a bit more thoughtful and tightly written to me, so maybe that's it. Anyway, I'm really glad you did end up deciding to post this-- thank you.

[identity profile] kiera-the-thief.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 07:36 am (UTC)(link)
Of course the clothes were wrong.........!
You brought back all the emotions from the last episode - making me feel them all over again.
Beautifully written, and I am very glad I shamelessly friended you.:)

[identity profile] justinej.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 09:47 am (UTC)(link)
You are utterly extraordinary. I love you!

[identity profile] jo02.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 10:14 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you've called this a sort-of sequel to Dresser, because that's exactly what it feels like; more of a stand-alone story that just happens to come after Dresser.

It's a wonderful, sad, almost stately story, and I worried for a bit that Jack was going to drift too far away in his pain for Ianto to reach and gather back in. Thank you for giving them a happy-ish ending to this.

And I have to mention, that I love the dignity that you give Ianto with his inbuilt rituals of a more elegant time - I loved Ianto's explanation in the restaurant of why it was even better to attend to Jack in public than in private. It was a very intense and revealing moment.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 05:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yes -- I'm all about the happy endings :)

I do think that Ianto's very much steeped in little rituals, the product of another time, which is why he and Jack fit together so well.
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (tw: jack looking down)

[personal profile] such_heights 2008-06-01 10:29 am (UTC)(link)
Absolutely beautiful, the whole thing, the richness and detail and quiet understanding of it.

[identity profile] katestamps.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 02:18 pm (UTC)(link)
This is beautiful. I agree with jo02, this is less a sequel and more a companion piece. I love how you use the ritual to demonstrate their relationship with each other. Their relationship is so full of grace, supported with the weight of history and the elegance of the details. I love seeing Ianto's side of the relationship and the bit at the end with Jack's replacement clothes just broke my heart.
Lovely.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:26 pm (UTC)(link)
This actually couldn't have existed if it wasn't Ianto's pov -- I've been working on it for weeks, but the other version was all Jack's point-of-view and it wasn't till I realised that I needed to tell Ianto's side that it came together :)

There's like...*looks* five or six paragraphs of the other version in this :D Stupid fanfics!

[identity profile] rm.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 02:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I love these stories (this and Dresse) for what you understand about the small rituals of possession and service. They don't always mean what other people think they do, and it's so nice to see that brought to life.

I'm very interested in Jack's transition away from humanity because of that whole eventual Face of Boe thing, but this fic convinces me it may well take longer than I think.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm still skeptical that he actually is the Face of Boe and it's not just a coincidence :D I know the writers have said somewhere that they just threw it in as a joke and didn't intend (at least at the time) for it to be any kind of foreshadowing.
ext_2496: (Default)

[identity profile] aelfgyfu-mead.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:04 pm (UTC)(link)
"Exit Wounds" broke my heart, but the ending you've given here gives me some hope.

I love what you've done, here and in "Dresser," with Ianto's habit of taking off Jack's coat. The final segment, with its revelation of what's "wrong" with Jack, has an incredible punch for something that should be so minor--but by now clothes stand in for far more.

I like how you can present Gwen's limitations without making her the bad guy, or an enemy to Ianto.

I like how you imagine Ianto's flat: I'm afraid to give it too much thought, because I'm sure if I try to write about it I'll get jossed, but it seems very right, very appropriate to Ianto. I hope if they ever do show his flat on the show it will be just as you've presented it.

I love that in your hands, Ianto isn't fragile or overwrought or insecure, even though he thinks and feels deeply.

Wonderful stories, and it's such a gift to be able to read them in the off-season, when I'm feeling withdrawal for the show and want stories that fit canon and my view of it, but give me more than we get in the short seasons!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:23 pm (UTC)(link)
They'll have to show Ianto's flat sooner or later, it's the only one we haven't seen. :D

I don't always like Gwen, but I've mellowed about it, and whether I like her or not I do think she and Ianto get on well -- he respects her abilities and she treats him pretty decently. I think we'll see them a lot closer next season, too. They've been through a lot together.

And I don't think a man who's been through what Ianto has could possibly be fragile or insecure about everyday life, especially after Fragments. :D He reacts strongly, but that's just more evidence that he would have had to learn a lot of self-control.

[identity profile] marginaliana.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Ahhhhhhh, so good. Heartbreaking and beautiful and bittersweet and perfect.

And hysterical - in his line of work you simply can't have too many plastic bags - so true!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:20 pm (UTC)(link)
It's like plastic cups when you're a painter. :D

[identity profile] ladyoflisquill.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
God, when Ianto started taking the wrong clothes off him I was holding my breath the whole time.

[identity profile] songspinner9.livejournal.com 2008-06-01 05:34 pm (UTC)(link)
And I was just thinking the other day that I was hoping to see one of your fics soon...this definitely lived up to that expectation. I liked the progression of images and in their relationship. It flowed well, and made me a bit teary-eyed more than once with the beautiful dialogue and gorgeous descriptive details.

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