Title: There Is Nothing Like Losing a Battle
Warnings: Temporary character death
Spoilers: Set after the s2 finale, so no CoE spoilers whatsoever.
Disclaimer: All that is Torchwood is property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies; no copyright infringement intended. I own nothing, not even the key board I’m typing on.
Summary: "Jack has put the world upon his own shoulders, and somehow, Ianto can feel the weight too. Then he sees Jack swallow it down, fighting it, winning, and when Jack flashes him a smile, Ianto wishes that he could teach him how to win too."
A/N: This fic just came to me from nowhere. It’s kind of a character study of Ianto.
He is wearing a pendant.
Ianto sees it on a Friday, the golden chain hanging low on his chest, the oval pendant weighing it down. He is slouching on the sofa, and Ianto puts the beer bottle down on the concrete floor of the hub before joining him. He puts his arm around Ianto’s shoulders. They don’t speak, because, frankly, words are not always needed.
He doesn’t dream.
Ianto keeps telling himself that the trashing beside him in the bed is not from someone fighting against real ghosts. Dreams, they must be dreams. Made up from the unconscious; they were never real, will never be. Then he hears Jack moaning his name and then you can’t die and somehow, Ianto knows that he is not dreaming. He turns away, facing the wall, letting the memories consume Jack. If he was a better man, he would ask him about it in the morning. But he isn’t, because there are burdens he doesn’t have the strength to share.
He is bleeding.
Ianto knows that the tears are irrelevant, as is the screaming and the calling out for justice. It’s just that he’s sitting propped up against an alley wall with Jack dying in his arms. There is blood, of course, because his hands have been pierced and there is a deep cut along his side. He shouldn’t cry, he knows that Jack will come back, but there is something about the injustice of his death that makes Ianto’s heart crumble. His vision is blurry, and when the light reaches them, Ianto thinks for a moment that it’s God that has come and that Jack really was Jesus after all. Then he hears Gwen’s voice and he laughs. He doesn’t stop as Jack dies, because, frankly, he should know by now that there is no such thing as God.
He has made himself a crown of thorns.
Ianto sees that he is hurting again, the pain returning when the Rift is quiet and he has time to think. He is blaming himself for every lost life. Jack has put the world upon his own shoulders, and somehow, Ianto can feel the weight too. Then he sees Jack swallow it down, fighting it, winning, and when Jack flashes him a smile, Ianto wishes that he could teach him how to win too.
He is the Jack of hearts.
“It’s acacia.” Jack says as he catches Ianto staring at his pendant. Then he takes Ianto’s hand in his, letting them rest upon the carved piece of wood guarding Jack’s heart. Ianto steps closer, not taking his eyes off the hands on Jack’s chest. A dull beating, a constant rhythm is playing beneath and he loses himself in it. They fall together, into each other’s arms, and salvation has never seemed so close as when the rhythm changes into a crushing tattoo of emotions. The next day, Ianto wakes up alone, with the pendant made of acacia in his right hand. Only then does he realise that it has the shape of a cross carved into it.
He believes in him.
“Do you believe in him?” Ianto asks and he can tell that Jack doesn’t understand what he’s really asking. He sighs and leans on Jack’s desk. “In God,” he clarifies, “do you believe in God?”
Jack smiles at him, and then puts his hand on Ianto’s knee.
“I don’t.” he tells him, and Ianto frowns.
“Do you want me to believe in him?” Ianto says, letting his eyes rest on Jack’s.
“Then why give me that cross?” The confusion is evident in Ianto’s voice, and Jack’s hand moves away from his knee and grabs his hand instead.
“Because,” he says, “it’s not about you believing in anything or anyone. It is about you knowing that someone believes in you.”
There is nothing like losing a battle.
Ianto used to believe in God. Then his life happened, and now he thinks of himself as molecules and atoms and quarks. There is no reason behind his existence; he was not created by a higher power. But now, he is wearing a cross close to his heart. It’s like he has lost a battle somehow, but still, he doesn’t feel defeated. Winning isn’t always about beating, or punching, or crushing something until it breaks. Ianto knows that winning can also be falling hard and picking yourself up again.
He is wearing a pendant.
Jack sees it on a Monday, the golden chain hanging low on his chest, the oval pendant weighing it down. And Ianto can feel the trust etching in to his very heart, the one guarded by the acacia cross.
Ianto used to believe in someone.
Now, someone believes in him.
A/N2: Disconnected in some places, yes, but I still hope that I managed to pull it all together in the end. Love it, loathe it? Please drop a comment!