blowing smoke-ring halos (smokeringhalos) wrote,
blowing smoke-ring halos

TW: In Service (Jack/Ianto) Adult

Title: In Service
Author: technosage
Fandom: Torchwood
Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Rating: Adult like you wouldn't believe.
Warnings: Emergent D/s relationship. Delayed gratification. Abuse of stopwatch and probably British English.
Words: 9176
Disclaimer: *wrings hands* Not mine.

Summary: The shadows in Jack's eyes prompt Ianto to offer himself and his stopwatch for an evening's distraction. He knows he's servicing Jack's needs and his own, but he has no idea what he's getting himself into.

Notes: This fic wouldn't exist in its current for, or any form really, without poisontaster who is more co-author than beta. Lisa E. did her damnedest to make sure my arse wasn't hanging out with some help from rivers_bend and concernedlily. editorzon checked me on the D/s. And way2busymom suffered my deathless prose to tighten and smooth. More notes at the end, but for now, thank you you all so very much.

Think about it. Lots of things you can do with a stopwatch.

And the Captain will. Think about it, that is. He's probably thinking about it already. Thinking about Ianto, a stopwatch…and shagging.

Ianto checks the time. Eleven seconds. Nine minutes forty-nine, forty-eight, forty-seven, to find out what's on Jack's list. Forty-four, before Ianto signs off on Suzie's death certificate.

Death by Torchwood. (Another.)

Don't think.

By the time he locks her up for good and completes his tasks in the vaults, the stopwatch reads two minutes forty-two seconds. He has used exactly and only one hundred sixty-two of his six hundred seconds before he is due in Jack's office.

Four hundred thirty-seven seconds to kill.

Four hundred thirty-seven more seconds for Jack to list lists, or have fantasies. About him.

That's a cheery thought. Four hundred thirty-six seconds are a creative eternity for the Captain Jack Harkness.

He's half-hard already, thinking about Jack thinking about him.

Be that as it may, Torchwood calls. He makes a circuit of the Hub to clean up the limited detritus of a day spent mostly in the field: a half-empty coffee mug and a newspaper (Gwen's), three energy bar wrappers (Owen's), and a picked-over salad (Tosh's).

No alien artifacts out on desks. No foreign programmes hijacking their terminals. No other anomalies.

Ianto clicks the split-timer. Four forty-seven. Bollocks. Three hundred thirteen still remaining.

All right, he'll update the files on the mainframe. It needs doing and it'll save Jack having to. On the bright side, Jack will most likely message him.

Ten minutes is also an eternity for the Captain to be alone with his thoughts. Ianto knows; it's why he stays. It's always why he stays.

He enters the disposition of the resurrection gauntlet – codename, Risen Mitten – destroyed by Torchwood, gunfire. Then of Suzie Costello – formerly second-in-command – re-deceased, death by Torchwood, gunfire.

The inevitable (welcome) IM1 arrives as Ianto's opening Gwen's file (of course). Jack wants to know if he's still coming up. With a smiley.

He has been thinking about shagging.

…and Ianto.

Ianto lifts both eyebrows, smirking. Fortunately, Jack can't see it. He LOLs at Jack and types in chatspeak that he'll be up in – quick time-check – five minutes, and that he's lkg 4wd 2 it. It's easier to say in 4s and 2s than words.

Master of understatement, Ianto.

While he's entering the details of Gwen's injuries, Jack asks how he's doing. About the glove, Suzie, Lisa. He tells Jack he's fine (he has to be), and that he wouldn't want her back. Not like she was at the end. Not like Suzie.

Jack sends, Good, and then, almost without pause, tells him he looks good in the suit again. When he calls it the Cute Suit, Ianto's lips quirk and he types back, Thank you, sir, but it's probably best you let me do the rhymes.

Up in his aerie, Jack's quite probably snorting at that. Ianto can almost hear Jack's rough laughter over the clack of keys as he types the final line in Gwen's file: un-deceased, resurrection by Torchwood, gunfire.

As if Jack's Messiah complex isn't bad enough.

On my way, he types before signing off. He might go now. Jack's clearly ready for him. But Ianto prides himself on precision in following Jack's orders (except when he doesn't), and they are planning timed sex-play.

Still, one minute fifty-four seconds trying not to think about Jack's mouth hot on his, or Jack's fingers, tugging at his necktie, unbuttoning his shirt, exposing him…

Belly tight, face heating, Ianto ducks into the loo. Putting himself straight will kill the time and keep his hands busy.

It's eleven seconds from the loo to Jack's aerie, but when he's done straightening up, Ianto's still got an extra seventeen on top of that. He forces himself to retie his necktie. Jack'll have it off in jig time, if pattern holds, but either way, Ianto will be sharp until he does.

Quick tuck-in, and it's finally time, but his smile in the mirror looks a bit forced.

Head up, shoulders back. Steady, Ianto. Jack's waiting.

x x x

Precisely eleven seconds later, Ianto depresses the split-timer as he settles at the edge of Jack's desk. Straight-faced, he displays the stopwatch in the open palm of his hand.

Jack glances at it, then up at him. "Ten minutes to the second. I'm impressed." The usual triumphant half-smile seems a bit strained, and the shadows that prompted this mad venture on Ianto's part still cloud Jack's eyes.

Ianto doesn't take it personally. "I know how you appreciate my punctuality, sir." He slides a little closer to the center of the desk, offering…the watch, himself…whatever Jack needs.

That brightens Jack's smile a few watts. A few more when he's finished feeling Ianto up with his gaze. Not that Ianto minds. "It looks good in a suit."

Lips quirking, Ianto lifts an eyebrow. "My punctuality does?"

"Well, all of you, but I've said so already." Jack shrugs, not in the least embarrassed by his shameless flirtations. "I thought I'd try for originality."

Ianto decides not to comment. He's used to it. Bad jokes are part of the Jack Harkness charm, and he's been on a roll about the suits. "Thank you, sir."

"About that, actually." Captain Jack Harkness fades into the softened tone, deepened eyes and hardened carriage of Just Jack. He catches the end of Ianto's necktie between thumb and forefinger, then lets it fall away. "Take off the tie, Ianto."


There's nothing to give away Jack's intentions. Only his impenetrable I'm waiting expression.

A flush of heat takes Ianto's face at the prospect of undressing himself at Jack's command, stripping for him in one garment increments, like a rent-boy or lap dancer. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather do it yourself, sir?"

"The tie, Ianto." It's half-question will you do it? and half-command do it, but the intensity of Jack's gaze says plainly he expects a yes, sir.

It's blindingly hot. No reason it should be; it's not as though Jack being domineering is a revelation, is it? Ianto's tempted to say 'no', but as he'd reckoned on being bare by now anyway…

Ianto's fingers slip a bit on the silk, but he does as he's told, then checks the stopwatch just to see. Hmm. Three minutes longer than average to get him out of it.

He stops the timer for now and gives Jack a small, quick smile. "I hope you don't plan anything untoward with it." Since a week last Tuesday when Jack stroked him off with one very like it, they both know he's lying.

"Give it to me, Ianto." Master of contradictions, Jack manages to wrap impatience (he wants this now) in infinite patience (he'll wait as long as it takes). "Put it in my hand." Jack's eyes have gone struck-flint: hard, demanding, but warmed with interest. Desire. For him.

Yet it's the tone itself that sends a frisson down Ianto's spine.

It's precisely the tone of his understood? in mission briefings where what's understood is that they're not leaving the room until everyone agrees to Jack's plan. Fierce, commanding, and beneath it the absolute assurance he'd cut off his own hand rather than put one of them at unnecessary risk. The promise that he will, always, take care of them.

That does for him.

"Of course, sir." Ianto lays the strip of silk across Jack's outstretched palm.

For a fraction of a second, Jack grins, and it hits Ianto like the first touch of mouth to leaking cock. He manages, barely, not to gasp with the impact.

Without releasing him from the lock of their gazes, Jack rubs his thumb slowly across the aubergine width of his necktie. There's a shocking intimacy to watching his garment fondled in this way. An electric hum over his chest that only intensifies when Jack drapes it over his knee.

It's obscene. Lurid. A swollen-shiny bruise on the soft coffee wool of Jack's favorite trousers that begs his fingers. Ianto can't stop staring at it.

At least, not until the same hand that so recently caressed his necktie closes around his knee. "Ianto?" Jack's voice is rich with warm amusement, but when Ianto's head snaps back up, Jack's wearing the most peculiar expression. Ianto wants to call it confused.

"If you're expecting me to remove it with my teeth, sir, I believe it requires a more formal arrangement—" Jack slides his hand up the inside of Ianto's thigh, and the already feeble quip dies on his lips with a sharp hiss.

Instinctually, he draws his knees together, protecting himself and hiding his hard-on, but Jack presses him open again. "Spread for me. Let me in, Ianto."

Oh God, he can't. Jack hasn't even kissed him. He's hardly touched him and Ianto could come in thirty seconds flat. If he opens his legs, Jack will see every crass pulse and twitch.

Jack is no help at all. Ianto's hand fists around the casing of his watch until the seams imprint his palm and threaten to burst under his harsh treatment; Jack merely watches with pressed-together lips and the edge of his hand resting centimetres from Ianto's traitorous prick.

Spread for me. Jack's sly, seductive tenor - Let me in, Ianto - slips inside him, insinuating itself and prying him apart with a burn as intense as when Jack works dry fingers up his arse.

Sod it. Modesty be damned. Ianto wants to yield to Jack and follow where he leads with this; let Jack catch him up in his passion and take him away. It's why he's here.

Ianto spreads.

Jack blinks slowly and nods in time. "Thank you, Ianto." It should be condescending, but his thumb circles the inside of Ianto's thigh and the pooling dark in his eyes convince Ianto, Jack at least believes himself sincere.

Ianto's cock throbs, grotesque and enormous between his thighs. Everything focuses down to that ache – and the flush that blooms over his face and neck when Jack scoots his chair forward between Ianto's knees, pinning him like a butterfly on black velvet.

Except he's still alive to suffer it.

Don't think.

It only gets worse, and somehow that much better, humiliation and arousal feeding each other in thick, heady cycles, when Jack stretches back in the chair, sprawling like an indolent lord. His gaze travels the length of Ianto's body, slipping down between his legs to cup him, weigh him, know the full measure of his wanting.

Ianto feels like that butterfly. It's unbearably erotic being subjected to Jack's microscopic inspection. A devastating smile overtakes Jack's mouth then, and Ianto's own aches for kissing, lips sluttishly parted around each heating breath.

He chokes back a needy sound, looks past Jack, out into the Hub. Impassive Ianto. Trusted Ianto. Reliable, steady, necessary Ianto. Not this bundle of raw nerve endings and slickening flesh, hungry for touch, for anything that comes from Jack's hand.

"Come on now, Ianto. It's not so bad." Syllables of his name drawn out in appeasement, Jack sounds almost his familiar playful self.

Ianto seizes on it, grabs hold of it like a rail on the bus. "It's a bit…unorthodox, sir."

"Humor your captain, will you? I told you. I like how you look in the suit."

A slow, sweet shiver crawls along his spine. He swallows hard. "Careful, sir, that's harassment."

Jack laughs at the accustomed retort. His eyes blaze, then he leans forward again. Not touching Ianto, but close enough to suck cock if he bends. "I think it's gone well beyond that."

The utter normality of it serves to drive Ianto's position home. Splayed, straddled atop Jack's desk with his cock and balls not only on display but also within easy reach of the sexiest bastard in Cardiff. Who has his black heart set on tormenting him.

Ianto's completely, utterly fucked.

And he's never wanted it so much in his life.

Heart pounding against his ribs, Ianto concedes. "I might ring up Human Resources tomorrow, but as they're closed for the evening, I suppose I'll have to make the best of it."

"Good." Brimming with bright-hot desire, voice somehow light and purring at once, Jack crosses his arms over his chest. As if that isn't bad enough, he hooks his foot under Ianto's right knee, wiggling it to spread him just so. "So, talk to me about that stopwatch of yours."

The urge to cover himself with his hands is strong, but under the heat of Jack's gaze, his body belies it. His hips even now flex forward, as if he'd be so common as to rub off against another man's (the Captain's) foot.

"Watch you don't scuff the desk, Captain." Breathy, but acceptably steady, especially with Captain Jack Harkness on his mettle eyeing him like the Sunday roast. "I won't be polishing until Thursday."

Jack smirks, devil-may-care, and Ianto's beyond fucked. He's doomed. Absolutely, utterly doomed. "What if I were to ask you to polish now?"

What is wrong with him that his body tightens, yearning, at the thought? "I expect I'd tell you to get stuffed, sir."

"Now there's a thought."

Ianto blinks. He can't mean…

Jack waves a hand, dismissing it. "Another time. For now, I want to hear what's on this list of yours."

Ianto wants to crawl under the desk. Or better still, on to Jack's lap where he can get some relief from this ache and hide his face at the same time. "It's rather long. I could show you some of my favourite bits, if you like." He thinks he manages not to sound too hopeful.

Jack curls his hand around his chin and draws a finger over his lips. It looks more like he's having a laugh at Ianto's expense than honestly considering it. Either way, he's calling attention to his mouth, and Ianto burns for it.

"Hit the high points for me, would you, Ianto?" Jack says finally, as though he's speaking of UNIT reports or data summaries rather than an explicit list of sexual activities while Ianto's gagging for him. Afterward, he drops his hand back to his bicep. "I'm in a bit of a mood. I'd like to choose for myself."

A bit of a mood. There's a laugh. He's getting off on this. And he wants Ianto to give him a rundown of how to torture him with his own stopwatch.

Why, exactly, had he thought this a good idea again?

Jack tilts his head and gives Ianto a pretty please look that would be coy on anyone else. On Jack it's pure, unadulterated sin.

Oh. God. That, right there, would be why.

Swallowing hard, Ianto licks his bottom lip. Jack sits a bit straighter, spreads his own thighs and tugs at his inseam.

Ianto smiles grimly at that. At least he's not suffering alone. "I'm assuming you're not interested in sport, sir?"

"Ianto." There's that tone again. Only this time, it's laced with sensual heat that makes it sound not only mandatory - we do this my way, or not at all - but also necessary - I need this.

Something in this matters to Jack. It's not about forcing Ianto to humiliate himself. He needs something from Ianto, and fuck all if Ianto doesn't want to give it to him.

It's what he does.

Ianto exhales unsteadily and focuses on the comforting press of Jack's foot underneath his thigh. On that small, casually intimate contact that no one in the world but Jack would think to allay him with. He sorts through the items on the list, watches Jack's mouth shape that patient-impatient pout, then blurts out, "I suspect you'd fancy timed blow jobs, sir."

"I like how that sounds in theory." Jack's gaze kisses off Ianto's swollen, protruding cock, then takes his mouth, blue eyes dark and avaricious. "But how would it work?"

Bastard. Miserable, wrong on the inside, rotten bastard.

Oh, God, but he's blinding like this. In command of himself and everything around him; controlled passion that shows up Ianto's stoicism for the sham that it is.

He's choking on his desire for him. To get down on his knees and suck Jack's twisted brain out through his cock, to hear his pleas and praises. Instead – because Jack wishes it – he forces a patient, reliable-Ianto sigh that only warbles a little. "It's rather like any other blow job, sir, really. One of us kneels to give head, the other gets off, and we time how long it takes."

"And the object is to see who gets off faster?" Jack's looking at his hard-on again, working his foot just that little bit closer.

Ianto's so tight that even this much, the rasp of wool lifting the fine hair along the underside of his thigh pulls a gasp from him. A soft oh that has Jack smirking, but his fingers curl into his biceps, knuckles whitening.

"I can't imagine it'd be much of a contest now," Jack purrs, and Ianto wants nothing more than to close his eyes and fall into that voice. Into Jack.

No point in gainsaying, he simply offers up the breathless observation: "There are other twists. Setting a time limit for the blow job and switching when it's passed. Or simply stopping, whether or not the recipient's come."

"That's very creative, Ianto. I like that in a partner."

Jack speaks, but the words don't seem to matter nearly as much as Ianto's uneven breaths, the splotches of flush around his collar, his swollen cock. Jack's attention is so intimate, Ianto half-believes Jack can hear his thoughts.

"Now…" Head cocked, watching Ianto from under eyelashes pretty enough to make Ianto ache for the feel of them against his own cheek, Jack rubs the edge of Ianto's necktie with his fingertip. Ianto feels it like Jack tipping his chin up for a kiss. "Who holds the watch?"

It's all Ianto can do not to turn his head to the side, to offer his throat to Jack's perfect mouth. He curls his fingers under, tucks his hands beneath his thighs. He can do this, he can. It's what Jack wants. "Usually whoever's giving head, sir. If he's doing it right, the other won't remember to depress the button at the top."

"Usually. But…" Jack teases, words slipping under Ianto's clothes like an alien mist. Now that he's got him spread, he strokes at secret places, sensitive places no one has touched since…

Don't think.

"It might be part of the game, to see if the recipient can remember."

Want radiates from Jack. Thick and palpable and not entirely sexual. Something in Ianto has caught his attention, stopped the constant whirl of Jack's energy. Now it's focused all on Ianto and holds them transfixed.

"Can you, Ianto?"

The husky softness of Jack's voice pulls truth from Ianto, low, but definite: "Not with you."

Jack lets it sit between them, a surprise kiss under mistletoe or an unexpected touch, midday. And by the time he breaks the moment to smile his quirky gentle I'll take care of you smile, Ianto's so far gone his hands and thighs are shaking.

Jack rocks his foot, booted toe rubbing back and forth as if to soothe a child, but there's no reprieve there. No quarter. It's an expression of intent, a mark of casual possession that only makes him shake that much harder.

"I'll take that as a testament to my skill, then."

Jack. "You do have a way about you." Wincing at the fullness of his balls rolling over Jack's desk, Ianto finally breaks. Asks, "Perhaps we could—"

"Later." It's decisive, but not unkind. There's something new there. A knowing warmth, a confidence that shares as much with Jack's usual cockiness as Owen does with Tosh. "I'm liking the list, Ianto," Jack says, soft again over his name, reeling him in bit by bit. "Needy is a good look on you." Ianto wants to bridle, wants to rear back and resist, but he's betrayed. Everything in him strains toward Jack, waiting on him. "So, what's next?"

He's ready to pass out from anoxia at Jack's brilliant drop-dead sexy smiles, or come inside his trousers. Thinking, listing – even for Ianto who likes lists – it's getting beyond the pale.

"Timed challenges," he offers, glad he doesn't squeak.

But…there. Jack has to clear his throat, and Ianto takes a ridiculous pride in that. So much so that Jack's lifted eyebrow over a thick, "Such as?" has him practically leaping to oblige.

"You give me a task and tell me how long I may have to do it. If I succeed, you reward me. If I don't, you set…punishment."

"What sort of task would I assign you?" All pretense at idle curiosity abandoned, Jack shimmers with intensity.

And Ianto has nowhere to run. "Anything, sir. Really, the task isn't the point, is it?"

"So, if I were to tell you, just for example…" Jack's foot slides from desk, doubtless leaving a streak, but it's given only this brief thought before Ianto's pining for Jack's foot, steady and solid beneath his thigh. "You had two minutes and seven seconds to fetch the bottle off my nightstand, strip down and present yourself over my desk to be fucked, you wouldn't balk?"

Just the idea… Ianto's face heats. He catches underside of his trousers between his knuckles. "Not unless you wanted me to."

Jack pounces on the statement but lands with a whisper. A mere puff of breath: "Ianto." Then, fingers lighting on the outside of Ianto's knee and thumb barely grazing the cap – but fuck, fuck it burns – Jack urges, "You like that, taking my orders. Don't you?"

Ianto's trapped. Caught.

His chest seizes, throat tightens, and arousal vanishes in a haze of oh fuck, what have I done? "I'd be in rather the wrong job if I didn't…sir." It's petty, twisting that sir into Jack, suggesting that tomorrow morning he might find his coffee not to his taste, his needs attended by someone less dutiful than Ianto. Petty, but he has no other means of defence. None at all.

So far from scowling, Jack's expression softens, his desire made blatant in the stroke of his thumb against Ianto's bone. He might as well be pulling Ianto off for the way each subtle push winds the spiral of Ianto's orgasm. "That's not what I mean, and I think you know it."

"How should I know what you mean, sir? I'm just the tea-boy."

Storm eyes lit with a peculiar glow, both fierce and fragile, Jack chafes his forearm. "You know how much sugar I take in my coffee to the last grain." His voice goes quieter, his touch softer as it moves up Ianto's arm to his shoulder. " Tonight, you knew I needed this. You know what I'll ask for before I think it, half the time. Even if my meaning were opaque, you, of everyone, would know what I meant."

No sense fighting what's the God's honest truth, is it? Nor what he wants anyhow. Ianto lets down. Closes his eyes and sags into Jack's strong grip on his shoulder.

"Tell me, Ianto." The words press in against the thin pink shell of flesh, Jack's desire steeping through, dark and urgent. "I want to hear you say it."


Jack pushes open his eyelids, forcing him to see the satisfaction in Jack's face. His once over's deeper than his cock up Ianto's arse, and his voice, though gentle, is also barbed: "Yes, what?"

He can sink his claws in as deep as he likes, so long as he doesn't let go.

"Yes, I like doing as you tell me." Shame floods his cheeks again, heats them until his lips dry and burn.

Reprieve comes in the form of Jack's cool hand against his fevered skin. The soft swipe of his thumb over Ianto's cheekbone and unexpected compassion in his eyes.

"Ian-to." Jack's lips shape a subtle smile, small and intimate, very near to the one Ianto has seen when he pours over old photographs. But his eyes are all for Ianto.

Already this feels like an opiate, intoxicating and addictive, and Ianto's torn between asking why and screaming for him to stop.

But Ianto doesn't ask, and Jack doesn't stop. Rather he leans up to capture Ianto's mouth and sear the moment into memory and body with a kiss altogether too simple for the ragged sound it pulls from Ianto.


The stopwatch falls from his fingers, unattended.

Ianto falls with it, reaching for Jack and wanting to be drawn down over him, to straddle his lap like a two-bit whore and be…handled…like his necktie.

Strong hand on his shoulder, Jack catches him and steadies him. "Did I say we were through?" Jack chides, light and teasing now then urges Ianto back to where he was.

"No, but I had hoped…"

Fingertips to Ianto's still-tingling lips, Jack flashes him the Captain Jack Harkness grin. Only Ianto feels it, deep down, like he never does, never has. The mirth in Jack's eyes, the playful heat, is no sham. It's for him. All for him, and Jack's well pleased.

It's that, nothing else, that keeps him from going absolutely mad when Jack teases, "Good things come in threes, Ianto. Let's hear one more thing." He drags his fingers down Ianto's lips, then steeples his hands together same as every morning when he begs for coffee. "I think, this time, it should be something from my list."

Oh God. "Please, Jack…" It's undignified, piteous, even whinging, but he can't. He simply can't take much more of this. "Please."

"It's not that I don't love hearing that." Jack's expression and tone slide toward that warmer yearning quality from before. "Because I do. I really, really do." Then he crosses his arms again, and his ankle over his thigh. "But consider this…an order."

Maybe Jack expects him to resist, but Ianto merely nods. His body aches, head to toe. His arse feels unnaturally empty. His balls hurt. But there is ease in doing what Jack asks of him. In not thinking.

Jack rolls his fingers across the rich silk of his necktie, carefully not dislodged by any of his movements. Ianto whimpers. "I'm waiting, Ianto."

Being he's half deaf with the blood rushing in his ears, it's not impossible he misunderstood. "Sir?"

"Let's hear one thing off my list."

"But I—"

"Yes, Ianto. I know. It's my list." Jack lifts an eyebrow over a slow, smoldering smirk. "Call it a challenge."

Oh for God's sake. Maybe he can wait it out. Surely Jack wouldn't… He would. "How long—"

"As long as it takes."

Fuck. What Ianto needs is a metre away. All six gorgeous feet of him, and Ianto can't have even another kiss unless he reckons how the gorgeous bastard might want to torment him with a stopwatch.

Think, Ianto.

But then there's no need. Jack's gaze drops to his thigh, where his fingertips still smooth Ianto's necktie over and again. "Bondage," Ianto spits out. "You'd tie me, and then…" He falters and looks to Jack for some sort of direction.

"Come on, Ianto. Use that beautiful brain of yours." He's smiling again; it warms Ianto to his toes and makes his cock leak a sticky wet mess into his pants. "Impress me."

The hell and beauty of it is, he wants to. Impress him. God. He wants to impress the Captain Jack Harkness and make him reel and ache like he does to Ianto.

What would Jack want? What would he do? They've never played like this before, not really. Yet, perhaps that's the key…this.

"You'd tie me, sir, spread for you. And toy with me. Ask me questions and make me tell you what you wanted to hear, and then…" His heart stops, lurches.

"And then? Tell me the rest."

His eyes sting with the sudden salt of tears. He wants to say no, deny this, but Jack's not moving, not even his fingers. They press down into his leg, white-knuckled tension disturbing the smooth surface of his Ianto's necktie and dimpling it.

Jack needs this, Ianto needs him… "Then you'd stop. For as long as you wanted by the clock. And there'd be no knowing when you'd start again or if you would." For the first time since Jack spread him, Ianto deliberately glances down to see the damp stain marring the front of his trousers, then back up, wide-eyed. "Just like this."

When he finishes, Jack nods once, then uncrosses his feet and holds out his hand. Ianto's ready to slide gratefully from the desktop to Jack, relief echoing and pinging all through him, when Jack blinks slowly and Ianto's belly flips over again.

"I'll take the watch now."

He's hard, wet, has needed to come for what feels like hours. And Jack's right there. Close enough to touch if he stretches out his hand. "Jack…?"

But Jack just gives him that promise of a smile, so knowing; he's looked right into Ianto and wants what he sees, if Ianto will only do as he's told.

Ianto's eyelashes feel gummy. They stick together when he blinks, and his fingers feel numb, nerveless, when he closes them around the cool casing of the watch. It's odd, because the rest of him feels like a livewire. He sets the stopwatch in Jack's hand, and his fingers catch fire anew at the simple brush of his fingertips against Jack's palm.

Jack's breath hitches along with Ianto's hiss. He holds Ianto's gaze and rubs too briefly along the heel of Ianto's hand, before pulling away to pocket the watch. "Put your hands on your thighs," Jack says.

And Ianto does.

It earns him a long exhale forced through pursed lips, strange shadows and relief at war in Jack's storm-sea eyes. Jack collects himself; hands running his braces, puts himself straight. Ianto can scarcely think beyond twisting his own fists in them to pull them off Jack's shoulders, open his shirt and bare his skin.

"I want you to sit, just like this. Don't think. Stay here."

Here. In his body. This tight, tense ball of raw nerves and throbbing. By the clock.

Oh God. "For how long?"

"Ten minutes." After laying the damned necktie across Ianto's wrists, Jack stands. He backs away, pulling something in Ianto along with him.

"You'll hold the stopwatch?" His voice quavers, breathy and high, stretched between he and Jack.

"No stopwatch." Jack inclines his head to the monitor behind him, drawing Ianto's gaze to the clock at the bottom of the empty screen. "Time starts when I leave this office."

"No! Please." He tears, words ripped from him before he has thought them. His fingernails dig into the meat of his legs. "I can't."

"You can." Quiet, commanding, reassuring. The same tone Ianto has heard scores of times when he's been uncertain; this time he hears nothing but the steel in it and his own harsh breathing.

"I don't…why?"

Jack falls like a shadow over him, stepping between his knees without touching him or disrupting his silken bondage. The heat from his body and its musk lie heavy, holding down Ianto's ragged edges. Whilst he tries to remember how to breathe, Jack unbuttons Ianto's collar and the top button of his shirt.

Each tug of silk-blend etches hash marks into his throat.

"Because I like seeing you like this. My starched and pressed Ianto, coming utterly undone." Ianto has no need of seeing, can't bear to see smug fondness in Captain Jack Harkness's eyes. He can hear it quite well enough.

Jack slips his hand beneath Ianto's collar, curving it around the side of Ianto's neck and pushing his jaw up so he must see. "And because you like doing as I tell you."

Jack's thumb rides his pulse, steadying him with gentle pressure.

Ianto turns his cheek into Jack's hand. "Ten minutes."

Slowly, blinking his yes, Jack nods.

x x x

Jack leaves and Ianto checks the clock.

Ten minutes. Nine minutes fifty-nine seconds, fifty-eight, fifty-seven.

The ventilated air in the aerie blows cool over the searing trace of Jack's touch on his throat. Cooler over the damp front of his trousers in obscene contrast to the radiating heat from his hard-on.

Full and heavy still, it throbs dully between his legs, the sensation no more and no less erotic than the tingling pulse in his hands and the dry burn of his lips. Knowing it won't help, he licks them nonetheless, and tastes salt over the cold-coffee sweetness of Jack's kiss.

Technically speaking, it hadn't been anything worth going on about. The warm, full press of Jack's lips and the slow sweep of his tongue through Ianto's mouth had nothing on their first – unwanted, unasked for, calling him back to consciousness and insisting he live when he'd wanted to die. He'd lied in the countryside, still bitterly angry at Jack kissing Lisa away, but he'd never forget. It was no match, either, for the second, third and fourth, rough and aggressive, demanding his full, committed loyalty.

But the timing…the timing had been utterly blinding. As brilliant and welcome as a ray of sun after a week of grey.

Here and now, Ianto lets himself sink in to what he'd felt: the safety in his surrender; comfort; need, deep-down and real; and his own complete absorption in that moment. In Jack. And Jack's in kissing him.

He hadn't been thinking of Suzie then. Or Gwen. Nor Ianto of Lisa.

Don't think.

Ianto checks the clock again.

Eight minutes twenty-three seconds, twenty-two, twenty-one.

His low back aches from the strain of his unaccustomed straddle. Where it's not numb, his arse feels bruised.

If not for the near-constant quivering of his stretched-taut thighs serving constant reminder through his overfull sac, it might be the end of a Rugby match watched from the stands.

Though it's not the same, is it, incidental twinges acquired in the ordinary course and presently treated with aspirin? Unwelcome intrusions into proper functioning, where these, he imagines, are rather the point.

Small pains perched at the edge of consciousness to tug him back from the abattoir of memory. Reminders that he sits at Jack's behest and waits on his pleasure as much as the hard-on that persists unabated.

Cautious not to slip his necktie, Ianto stretches his fingers far and flat, then curls the little fingers against the seams of his trousers. It does little for the stress on his forearms and wrists, but the purposeful alignment of his fingertips soothes like Darjeeling steam.

But just as Jack prefers Lapsang Souchong when he's not drinking sugared espresso or Italian roast – he has something against the French that goes well beyond coffee – Ianto's not meant to feel comfort now.

Awareness sweeps over him: of Jack, so present in the precise arrangement of his limbs and his symbolic aubergine bindings; of Jack's desire, remembered in the deliberate brush of his stiff, searing cock along Ianto's knee when he turned to go and the possessive curl of his hand around Ianto's neck; of Jack's attentions, even now, and his exposure to it, in the unsettling openness of his dress shirt and the spread of his thighs.

Jack must surely be monitoring him, though he'd noted the security cameras were "down for routine maintenance" as he shut down his workstation.

The Captain's plaything. By his own design. He might leave at any time – to go where, he won't allow himself to ask – but he, Ianto, chooses to remain. A slow shiver overtakes him and with it he lets slip a soft moan.

Lowering his gaze in deference, Ianto lifts his small fingers high before resting them back on top of his thighs where Jack had approved them, then glances at the clock again.

Five minutes forty seconds, thirty-nine, thirty-eight. Three hundred thirty-seven seconds to wait. Two hundred sixty-four seconds already passed.

Not quite halfway.

The tightness in his belly isn't fear. Fear's there, beating around his thoughts, brushing at his face and shoulders like wings of half-seen ravens. And grief, that too, slithers around his ribcage, a crushing snake waiting to settle.

But the whisper of Jack's instructions - just like this; stay here - drown out black wings. The light weight of his necktie – grounding and branding him – ward the snake and forbid it purchase.

No, the taut warmth in his belly can be nothing but pleasure. Tentative, breath held against the darkness Ianto knows is only exposed by torch-light, fragile like the periwinkle wings of the specimen butterfly he half-resembles, but genuine.

There is satisfaction here. Ease, in doing as Jack's asked of him - I want you to sit here – and knowing it pleases Jack, too.

Servicing Jack's needs, he is; playing the torch-light for a time: look here, see how it shines. He's strung out, mind skipping across the surface of forbidden depths, but he's not so far gone as to miss the irony:

Turn him on, use him, turn him off.

A faint smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. If Jack asks why, maybe he will tell him. Maybe he won't. There are some secrets he may still keep. Taking care of Jack is one.

And Jack has made sure of it, hasn't he, by putting the cameras offline? None of Tosh's business, nor Owen's, nor Gwen's, what he and Jack get up to after hours. No one else's affair, that Captain Jack Harkness fears the dark and Ianto Jones, the light.

Wing-flutter and raven's caw; he's gone too far, too far. Jack's commanding, intimate tenor calls him back. Stay here.

Here. With shaking thighs and flattened arse and too-dry lips. On his Captain's desk. Under his gaze, exposed and open. Vulnerable, but safe under his protection.

His cock, half-softened with faded awareness, stiffens, flexing against his zip, and his resting pulse picks up.


Ianto glances across the Captain's chair to the monitor. Seven minutes forty-seven seconds since Jack left him here.

Two minutes…eleven seconds remaining. Translating time passed to time remaining, usually automatic, takes him an extra second through the haze of fresh arousal. And from minutes to seconds also: one hundred twenty-nine seconds left to wait.

One hundred twenty-eight seconds to Jack, here. One hundred twenty-seven. Will he smile or say Ianto's name? When he imagines them, they both inflame and soothe him no end.

One hundred twenty-two. Jack might do neither. Rather, lean in the doorjamb, arms crossed over his chest and bid Ianto come to him. Jellied legs, cock rubbing unbearably against his trousers, cross from Jack's desk to Jack's door to stand in front of him and...

And what? Jack hadn't said. Of course he wouldn't, but Ianto might guess. Fair chance, Jack would end his torment immediately. Claim his mouth and pull him off right there in the door.

Oh God. Ianto's arsecheeks clench at that thought. Quickly followed by another thought, of himself bent over the desk and taking it up the arse that makes him whimper.

But there's no knowing, is there? Jack might draw it out longer. Tease him up then make him wait again. Please, no.

Worse, he might leave again.

Ianto's fingers curl under. Shutting his eyes, he calls up the safety of Jack's hand around the back of his neck. The possessiveness of my starched and pressed Ianto.

No help for his throbbing cock, but his hands stay loose when he flattens them out. Another time Jack might come and go for hours, but his nod had been a promise. One way or another, this ends in…

His gaze darts to the monitor clock. Nine minutes thirty-six seconds have passed.

In twenty-three seconds, twenty-two, twenty-one, Jack will come for him. Ianto groans and stares through the glass.

Seventeen, sixteen, fifteen. No sign of him yet, but it takes only eleven seconds to get from the Hub to his aerie.

Heated breath rasps over dry lips and sounds shamefully loud in the near-silence of Jack's office. His vision glazes as his pupils dilate.

Should be seven, six and Jack coming into view, but no sign.

Ianto forces his eyes to focus, brain to follow. Four. Three. "Two. One," he whispers over the swell of pride he's always associated with a job well done.

Still no Jack, but Ianto breathes as easy as he can. For a man well-versed in the vagaries of time, punctuality isn't Jack's strong suit.

He'll come. But Ianto double-checks the clock to be sure he hasn't miscalculated. Nine seconds, now ten, since time elapsed.

Perhaps he's meant to signal time's up somehow. "Captain?" he calls out. His voice sounds rough. Disuse, not fear. Jack will come.

"Ian-to." Captain Jack Harkness, at his service, bright and bold as brass over the speakers, and Ianto could laugh at the playful normality of it if only he didn't need to see Jack so badly.

"Captain," he says again for not knowing what else to say. His heart's in his throat.

"Your ten minutes are up, Ianto. You're a free man."

Free? No. No. "Sir, I thought…" This is not… Oh. Jack wants to hear it. Again. Wants him to ask. He can do that. "Please, Jack."

"Please what, Ianto?" For a wonder, there's nothing seductive in his tone. Only that intense, quiet longing evident even over the comms.

Ianto can't breathe. He needs to touch him. Be touched. Jack. "I'm quite undone, sir, as you like me. Please tell me what you want me to do."

There's a pause. Jack's thinking. Sorting. Ianto can almost see his expressions, deciding what he wants, now that Ianto has confirmed.

"Can you walk?"

It feels odd to move after so much stillness. Even odder, to do so at his own direction. He loops his necktie around his neck and gingerly – as well Jack's a man or he'd fear for getting his girl pregnant, his sac's so full – climbs to his feet.

His legs are rubbery and there's no blood at all in his brain, but he can move without falling. "I can manage, sir."

"Good." Another pause. "You have thirty-two seconds to get to the lav." The unmistakable click of his stopwatch timer. "Starting now."

Jellied legs, stiff cock abraded by damp fabric, pounding heart…

It takes him twenty-seven.

x x x

Almost twice again how long it usually takes to get from the aerie to the loo, and he's literally shaking with the effort. Among other things.

He's holding to the counter about to splash cold water on his face, when the door behind him bursts open.

Heart leaping half through his chest, Ianto glances up. It's simple prudence. He and Jack are alone in the building, but they are not alone. But it's Jack's blue eyes that meet his in the mirror, not Janet's beady black ones.

Abruptly his knees go loose again. If he could think past the banging and pounding and knocking his body seems determined to produce, he might resent feeling like the heroine about to be ravished. As it is, he'd simply like the ravishing to begin.

Sooner rather than later would be lovely.

It seems Jack is of a mind with him on that at least. After the initial stutter-step of recognition - you - he moves into Ianto with a will. Hands catching his hips, body driving him forward. Even this rough press of their bodies is a sweet caress as against what his body craves:

For Jack to force him. Demand the surrender Ianto's never wanted so much to give.

His cock brands Ianto's arse. Again and again, rubbing across nerve-dead muscle until it rouses, and aches.

Jack plants his hands on the counter, pinning Ianto in place. It's well he does, as Ianto gave up control of his limbs when their gazes connected in the mirror. His breath is hot, so very hot, against Ianto's neck, but the rolling growl of "Ianto" over the skin raises gooseflesh.

"Look at you, Ianto," Jack urges, praises. He drags a kiss up Ianto's nape, so slow Ianto's fingers curl then spasm against the countertop. In the mirror, Ianto sees nothing but the glittering dark in Jack's eyes when he breathes Ianto, chest rising against his back and pushing. Pushing. "God, look at you."

Dutiful, Ianto looks into the unstreaked glass. And when he pries his eyes off Jack so utterly wanting him, sees: the pale triangle of his neck above his buttons flushed splotchy; his lips chapped pink from pointless rewetting; the fat end of his necktie caught on the handkerchief of his breast pocket and the thin dangling down past his waist; his suit jacket as rumpled as one of Owen's lab coats; and his hair a near match for Owen's as well.

"I look a mess…sir."

Jack grabs his gaze and won't let go. "You look alive." Still gaze-locked, he turns his head to whisper, "Ravenous," over his ear like some sort of filthy secret.

When Jack nudges his gaze back to the mirror, Ianto looks again. Tries to see himself through Jack's eyes. His chest heaves with ragged breath, lips part around a gasp at the firm and sudden press of Jack's palm on his aching cock.

Fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck. Oh. Fuck.

Eyelids fluttering, eyes rolling up at the fierce rush of sensation, Ianto lets his head fall back. Pressure ceases. He flexes forward, seeking, and gets nothing more than the warmth over his hard-on that tells him Jack's hand is still there.

"Eyes on the mirror." Jack pulls his head back, too, and the loss of heat and touch sends Ianto spiraling. Free-falling, so he has to open his eyes or lose his footing.

He finds Jack in the glass, mouth reddened from teasing Ianto's skin, eyes hot and unyielding, and blinks his acquiescence. No question of disobedience or even protest, not even when Jack sets his stopwatch in the soapdish. He couldn't. Wouldn't. Wants what Jack offers him.

"You're going to fly to pieces for me. Arch and cry and spray hot spunk all over my hand, this counter and probably even the mirror."

Spots of red appear over Ianto's cheekbones. His mouth twists in shame.

Jack cups his palm over Ianto's hard-on, and Ianto bucks into it, already half-moaning. Instead of the smug grin he's expecting, Jack presses a soft and simple kiss to Ianto's neck that makes him want to tilt his head and beg. "You're going to be messy and alive, Ianto Jones, and I wouldn't want you to miss something so incredible."

There's no response possible, even if he knew what to say, because Jack's mouth fastens onto his throat, pulling him to his toes on a long, whining moan. Then his fingers, so deft with a weapon or a button or a – God, oh God – cock, open his trousers and free him.

In the glass, his eyes are black. His vision wants to slide and blur into the scrape of Jack's palm, but Jack groans when he draws his hand up Ianto's shaft. He thrusts along Ianto's arsecrack and bites into Ianto's throat, and suddenly Ianto wants to see. See the marks Jack's mouth will leave. See Jack coming undone over having him.

Jack leaves go, only long enough, Ianto's sure, to start the stopwatch he's reaching for, but Ianto grunts at the loss of contact. "Let's see how long before that pretty, polite mouth starts screaming obscenities." He depresses the timer and, for a heartbeat, everything stops.

Everything except his need, deep-down and…ravenous…for Jack's touch.

Their gazes fuse in the mirror again, and there are no more smiles from Captain Jack Harkness. Just Jack, bright blue eyes boring into Ianto, prying him open and rooting around inside. Red mouth sucking at Ianto's pulse, vampiric and again desperate.

Just Ianto, paler blue irises near eclipsed by his pupils at the touch of Jack's hand. Paler lips shaping an 'o' of shock at the quick twist of Jack's wrist that screws his fist in a spiral around Ianto's cock.

The counter's edge crushes skin and muscle in a strip across his thighs. It'll bruise, but he'll probably wank with his fingers on it tomorrow, just to remember how this feels, trapped between Jack's cock and the sinks, his wet strong mouth and wicked fingers. How he looks, framed by Jack's arms and shoulders and devoured by his gaze.

"Jack, oh God, Jack. Please," he pleads, wanting to see how it changes, how they change.

"That's what I like to hear, Ianto." Jack takes possession with his words, claims Ianto's pleasure in the slip-side of knowing fingers as his own. "Don't hold back on me. Not now."

He won't. He can't. Jack needs this as much as he does. "Never, sir." His voice shakes but his gaze remains steady. Level. He's proud of that, with Jack working his cock like he is.

Jack grips his face and drags his chin to the side for a kiss. He covers his mouth so hot and fierce, it robs Ianto of what's left of his breath. It makes it hard to watch, but he keeps his strained eyes open and on the two of them in the glass.

With Jack's mouth eating at his, his mark sucked into Ianto's pulse turning purple to match the binding looped over Ianto's shoulders, he appears:

Sheltered. Wanted. Protected. Debauched. Alive.


His cock lurches through Jack's fingers at that thought, and when Jack releases his chin to rut against his arse while he yanks Ianto off, Ianto's moans contain a stream of pleases and fucks and innovative Welsh curses. Along with a few phrases he hopes never to hear translated, as they amount to take me, use me, have me, yours.

That's how he looks, too, as he sobs them. Jack's: the sheen of sweat on his face, his hair mussed, hollow of his throat a deepening red from the exertion, and all of that encompassed by Jack around and on and against him.

Jack's had him at the edge damned near forever. He's leaking a pretty mess in Jack's hand and on the front of his trousers. He couldn't care less.

And when Jack gives him a hard once over, holds his gaze through several quick strokes, then purrs, "Do you have any idea the things I want to do to you? The things I am going to do to you?" Ianto's hips jackknife.

His spine stiffens and bows, then melts on a high, keening moan. Sweat drips behind his ear and Jack drags his tongue through it.

In the glass, they are twinned. Both needed and needing. It's the jolt of that connection, as much as the insistent jerks of Jack's fist, that unleashes him. He cries out for Jack, and is answered with a soft, "Yes, Ianto, that's it."

With Jack's blessing, Ianto comes.

Fierce pulses radiate into his palms, jammed against the sink facing, and the soles of his feet. His spunk jets through Jack's fingers.

Hard and heady and bloody fucking everywhere.

And still he can't stop watching –

His own eyes dilating. Jack's, glazed and fringed with long lashes. His mouth, open slack. Jack's, red and used. His teeth, flashing white when he inhales and draws back his lips. Jack's, bright and sharp in his smile.

Jack, leaning into him to murmur, "I hate to say I told you so," before lifting his hand to show off his stripes like a military badge.

Himself, mustering a sweat-streaked smile, before panting, "Of course you do, sir."

Jack, smiling back at him, shadows gone from his eyes and the façade that hid them equally so. He reaches around Ianto, with his clean hand, thank God, for the stopwatch they'd both forgotten and depresses the timer. "Well done, Ianto," he says and shows him the time. "Under five minutes. That's a new Hub record."

"I imagine it was more like three minutes and change, sir," he answers, but thinks Well done, indeed at the brightness in Jack's eyes. "But I can't be sure."

"Even better."


Several minutes later, Ianto's leaning heavily against the counter while Jack washes up. He spots a paper towel, fallen out of the rubbish bin onto the top of the towel roll and a bottle of spray cleaner next to it.

He glances at the countertop and the now spunk-splashed mirror. Then at Jack, who still hasn't got off and hasn't made a move to get anything from Ianto. He's still beaming.

"You cleaned?"

Shrugging, Jack dries his hands. "It was panting and moaning, not pissing and moaning I had in mind. I didn't want you thinking about work."

Ianto rolls his eyes. "As if I could," he says to a genuinely pleased sort of smile from Jack, then bends to retrieve the paper toweling.

Jack groans, and it doesn't sound theatrical but hungry. "God, you have the finest arse in this galaxy."

Hiding his flush, Ianto reaches for the cleaning spray and pitches forward. Jack moves in behind to steady him, but Ianto's arse rubbing his cock elicits a harsh moan. "Come up from there, Ianto, or I'll be going about work with a hard-on whenever I see you cleaning."

"Nothing wrong with that, sir." He stands without moving out of the protective circle of Jack's arm around his waist. "Cleanliness is next to godliness, they say, and—"

"Ahem." Jack presses the stopwatch into his hand and closes his fingers around it. "We're not finished. Not by a long shot."

Already he feels the first trickle of adrenaline. "At your service, Captain, sir."

"Good. That's how I want you." There's a husky roughness to Jack's voice that Ianto hasn't heard before. The peculiar urgency of earlier, coupled with a deep-seated possessiveness that sends a new frisson down Ianto's spine. "You'll clean up in here, then go to my cubby. Strip down, slick yourself up using the bottle on my nightstand, then present yourself on hands and knees on my bed to be fucked."

"The cleaning can wait," he finds himself saying, before he can stop it.

"I'm sure it can, Ianto, but I'm asking you to do it now." When Ianto looks up to catch the drift of his intent, a fully restored Captain Jack Harkness grins at him in the mirror. "We should share my new cleaning fetish, don't you think?"

Oh, for God's sake. The miserable, rotten, perfect bastard.

Ianto's content, pleased, even proud to see him his old self again. He did that. By following orders. By needing to. "How long do I have, sir?"

"Four and a half minutes when I leave."

"Yes, sir." He starts dividing the time in his head before Jack gets to the door. Eleven seconds, maybe he'd better give it seventeen all things considered, to get from the loo to the aerie. Another seven from there into Jack's cubby–

Jack glances back over his shoulder as he steps into the corridor. "Oh, and Ianto?" Positively jaunty, he winks. "No counting."

x x x

1 The IM text, including the Cute Suit rhyme and the wonderful line about letting Ianto do the rhymes comes from the Beeb's Torchwood site. It was not, alas, written by me, but I've corrupted it for my purposes. Those looking for these pretty extras can find them at iantos_desktop.

Notes: The last thing this fandom needed was another stopwatch fic. Still, every time I watched that scene, I felt there was something more to say about Ianto in that moment. He's watching Jack so carefully while he tries to articulate his anger, fear, grief and frustration over Suzie but doesn't know how to share or really want to. Ianto recognizes Jack's pain, and shares his losses.

The IM conversation on the Beeb's website between Jack and Ianto after this scene makes an explicit link between Suzie and Lisa via the glove. Both Lisa and Suzie were changed by things that came through the Rift. Damaged. Taken away from the people who loved them (Jack loves all of his people; I'm not implying a relationship between he and Suzie, but she was his second in command before Gwen) owing to their proximity to the Rift and their dedication to Torchwood. This will happen again. It could be Ianto. It can't be Jack.

Additionally, and this is perhaps my own conceit, but the gauntlet is metal that goes over flesh. It is, like the cybernetics that killed Lisa, a metallization of the human form. Beyond that, it makes a connection with the brains and life forces of the wearer/subject. The similarities would, for a Ianto suffering PTSD (please see poisontaster's excellent meta on this subject: Not Just the Tea-boy), be unmistakable. But not just for Ianto, as the gauntlet is also a hand, being used for ambiguous purposes, perhaps not those for which it was intended, cast down through the Rift. And Jack, left behind on Earth by the Doctor, prizes what above all else, sufficient so that he let an alien escape to protect it? The disembodied hand of the Doctor he uses as a Doctor-detector. That glove almost made Suzie immortal – like the Doctor did him – and Jack had to kill her. So in addition to all of his other emotions, the experience will have exacerbated his loneliness.

Back to Ianto. After Lisa's death, he transfers his sense of purpose to Jack. That's more or less explicit in recent episodes (names withheld because some American readers won't have seen them). He has his own emotions he's repressing (clear in Greeks Bearing Gifts) that this incident won't have helped. His job, his function in life as he sees it, is to serve Jack first and Torchwood second. Right now, Jack needs him.

As I've said elsewhere, Ianto's stopwatch is a control device. Ianto's offering to share that with Jack and trusting him with it. That's a significant extension of trust as well as compassion. Ianto may not be consciously aware of what he's doing, but whether you imagine it as I've written it or otherwise, their stopwatch sexplay marks a turning point in their relationship.

When I originally conceived this fic, I thought it would be a couple thousand words of D/s stopwatch PWP. But after discussions with several of my regular ficwives and friends indicated that D/s and powerplay are not well-understood, and that the darker aspects are often emoted to be inconsistent with caring, giving relationships, I realized I owed the idea (and the tea-boy) more than that.

This fic is, for me, the culmination of the themes of codependency, fucked-upness, and the nature of romantic attachments I've been discussing with so many people, but especially poisontaster and kita0610. It's an attempt to show the strength in submission and the gift of good dominance.

I don't know that I've succeeded, but if I haven't, it's through no fault of poisontaster's. She encouraged and checked me every step of the way and then delivered a stunning beta that made this fic so much more than it was. It's also through no fault of editorzon who always reminds me that topping is more than doing to and bottoming more than being done.

way2busymom, as ever, read and cheered, and polished, but for the cheering most of all, I'm grateful.

Lisa E. deserves a medal, or chocolates, or a big sloppy kiss from Jack for her immeasurable patience in crash-schooling me in Anglophilia, Britpicking my deathless prose, and assisting with such critical questions as how to name one's bits and bobs and the naughty business one gets up to with them. At the eleventh hour, she was oh so ably assisted by concernedlily, who also reassured me the fic didn't suck (she might've been lying), and rivers_bend, who always seems to have time for me.

I've gone on about this long enough. I'm sure you've all had a bellyful by now. Thanks to the village that helped write this fic. I hope you're pleased with the results.
Tags: ianto jones, jack harkness, tw
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