Authors: technosage and poisontaster
Warnings: implications of past D/s play, bondage, nostalgia, romance, and alphabet soup.
Spoilers: On the safe side, for all of s. 1, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and "Fragments," plus Doctor Who "Utopia," "Sound of Drums," and "Last of the Time Lords."
Summary: During The Year That Never Was, Ianto becomes Jack's touchstone. Alphabetically.
A/N: This started out as a game. We liked it, so we're showing it to you.
A is for arse. Perhaps it's not the most imaginative association, but Jack misses that pert arse – firm muscle in his hands, pale skin taut between his teeth, hole quivering around his fingers and trembling under his tongue. Ianto wouldn't blame him for thinking of his arse at a time like this. It makes him smile -- even grin--and that really pisses off The Master. But, really, what else is he to think of, trussed like he'd like to have Ianto or let Ianto truss him – exposed, spread, helpless against the intimate assault of fingers, tongue, and cock, minus the filth and beatings, naturally.
B for bollocks of course, because it's been weeks, for pity's sake and Jack hasn't be celibate since he hit puberty. There's torture and then there's torture. Jack much prefers Ianto's methods; the way he'd mouth and lick Jack's balls for hours, humming contentedly to himself and never straying any further than a teasing and accidental rub against the base of Jack's cock no matter how much Jack begged... Now that was torture.
C is for coffee, no question. Ianto buys the best, brews it perfectly, and fixes it exactly how Jack likes it. He knows precisely when Jack will want cream and sugar and when he'll want black; knows to offer mocha or shift to cocoa -- another C --after the aggravation of a day in the field. C is not Ianto's Cyberwoman, because what's forgiven is best forgotten. It's not for cock, though it could be, especially sucking it because Ianto's as good at that as he is at making coffee.
D for dutiful, though that makes Jack frown. He doesn't like to think of Ianto fucking him as a duty...though there's a definite appeal to Ianto going dutifully to his knees at the lift of Jack's finger. Perhaps daring, then. Not a word anyone else would associate with Ianto, likely, but none of them have had Ianto sucking them off under the desk while having to conduct the normal business of the office with everyone traipsing in and out like they own the place. Or...they better not have.
E for the elegance of Ianto in a charcoal suit with dove grey braces and necktie over a pale plum shirt. Or maybe for the eccentricity of a man in love with the past, romanticizing a simpler age of stopwatches and sepia tones. Jack could tell him it wasn't better, kinder, or gentler. People weren't any less cruel. But it harms nothing and Jack feels closer to him because of it. So, maybe E for ears, since Ianto turns the prettiest shade of pink when Jack purrs filth in them, especially while they're at the office, and squirms in his lap when Jack nips at the lobes.
F is for fuck, of course…
Orgasm may be the petit mort, but Jack would rather not actually die while having sex or even contemplating it. The Master's killed him three days running for not paying proper attention to his torments, so he gives up thinking about F and moves on to G.
Jack thinks garters, the kind that hold up Ianto's dress socks, lovingly cupping skinny calves. Jack thinks Ianto blushes harder from having those removed than from having his shorts done. Jack likes to kiss the little red marks where they've bit into the skin, little hurts it's within Jack's power to soothe away.
H. Hm. H might be hummers, especially first thing in the morning. Sunrise over Cardiff and Ianto's brought him coffee. Before he lets Jack drink it, though, Ianto sets it on the desk then settles between Jack's knees, blowing him while humming the reveille and the Welsh national anthem. Or better still, H for hands, because, fuck, if Ianto doesn't have the silkiest palms, heaven on Jack's cock, or his arse, and maybe even better on his neck and shoulders when Ianto thinks – rightly – that he's tense.
I is for ink. Ianto's hands forever smell of the paper and ink of the really old archives and just going into a library is sometimes enough to make Jack hard. Jack imagines he can identify every one of Ianto's pens by taste, for as much time as he's spent sucking on those elegant fingers.
J, Jack thinks, ought to be for Jack. Captain Jack Harkness, to be exact. Ianto would agree, but then, he might roll his eyes like he does when Jack compliments his suits, or when he names things. That always makes Jack want to kiss him, to lick at the seam of his mouth until the corners turn up, so maybe it's not the worst thing. Still, Jack may be Ianto's J, but he's not quite arrogant enough – yes he is, who is he kidding alone in the dark? – to name himself his J for remembering Ianto.
So J is for the "Jones, Ianto Jones," of Ianto's first introduction. It should've set off warning bells, but Jack had been too busy appreciating his pluck and his rent-boy eyes to hear them. Afterwards, when he'd looked Ianto up, he'd merely wondered which Bond he preferred. Sean Connery, Ianto'd told him in no uncertain terms: What do you – Roger Moore?! He's a Brit! Sean Connery is James Bond. Mostly, Jack agrees, but when this is over, he plans to teach Jones, Ianto Jones, a proper appreciation for Daniel Craig in a swimsuit.
K is for those kisses, of course. In all his many lovers, Jack can't remember anyone who kisses like Ianto, with that same sense of deep concentration and trembling want, the sudden wickedness of his tongue dispelling any mistaken notions of innocence.
L is for lips, first of all, because he's still stuck on those kisses and the way Ianto can't hide from him in them.
And for lust, next. Jack remembers that first night with the Weevil, Ianto's throat ringed with that stupid silver necklace. Stupid because it didn't suit him at all. Except that it made Jack want to mark him up or replace it with that godawful studded belt, and hold the end while he fucked Ianto senseless. But even more, lust is Ianto's wide need-stained eyes staring up at him, want, fear and fragile hope all mingled together while he clings to Jack's shoulders and begs: Harder. More.
Finally, L is for lapels, the ones Jack will grab Ianto by and shove him against the wall when he sees him next - he will see him again - then smooth down after he's said I'm alive. Did you miss me? Hey.
Mouth is too obvious a prompt for M, so Jack chooses moans. The different tones and notes of Ianto's moans, each a different time, a different mood.
There are the tight, stifled moans when Jack presses him into a dark corner and Ianto is afraid one of the others might walk by and see them, Jack's hand 'round Ianto's cock, stroking each little noise out of him like the golden notes of a harpsichord.
There are the full-throated desperate ones, mixed liberally with Jack's gasped name, when Ianto's inside him, hammering Jack into the mattress, holding him, clinging to him like he's afraid to let go for an instant, and falling apart even as he does it.
There are the sleepy, sated but not at all unwilling moans when Jack rouses him for another go, licking the musk of his own sweat, his own spunk from Ianto's skin in rough, cat-like laps, rolling their mingled taste over his tongue, savoring it like the fine liquor it is.
N could be for necktie. Ianto has many and he's inventive with them. Wrapping the pink one around Jack's cock and stroking him through it, too lightly to get him off, until Jack's panting and sweating, fingers cramped around fistfuls of bedsheets. Jack's fond of the pinstriped navy. Ianto let Jack bind his wrists behind his back with it, then knelt, for Jack to fuck his mouth.
But Jack's just watched Martha's dad caress his wife's cheek and his chest's tight with their renewed affection.
So N is for necking like he and Ianto haven't done yet, or not properly anyway. When he gets home, he'll take Ianto to the rooftop with a blanket, thread his fingers through Ianto's hair, and kiss him in the wash of light from the Millennium Centre until Ianto's lips swell shiny and red. Suck bruises into his pulse points and in a red and purple necklace while Ianto gives up a chorus of moans and ruts greedily against Jack's hip. But no sex, no coming. Not then. He wants to neck like there's nothing else to do for hours, because there won't be. Jack'll make sure of it.
O is for open. The way Ianto looks at him, wide-eyed and brimming, all his emotions there for anyone to look at, if only they take the time. Open is also Ianto's heart, giving far more than it ever receives in return, giving such naked abundance that it makes Jack squirm under its weight sometimes. He is not used to responsibility, even after all this time and a person's heart—Ianto's heart--is so much more fragile and so much more complicated than being Captain Jack Harkness, Fearless Leader.
O is also for the circle of Ianto's mouth, transformed by pleasure. Ianto always looks faintly shocked when Jack makes him come, as if he can't imagine how anything so good can come from inside himself. And that's when Jack turns into the O, trying to encircle all that Ianto is and keep it only for himself, selfish to the core.
P is for the pterodactyl. She shits on his desk, screeches on the rare occasion he actually sleeps, and most days she's more nuisance than pet. But without her, Jack wouldn't have seen Ianto. His cleverness, bravery and that dry, dry wit. He most certainly wouldn't have discovered Ianto will cushion his falls, even if he can't prevent them - though God knows he'll try.
P is also for please. The word trembles on Ianto's lips and shapes the soft rounding of his shoulders; it's written in his low-slung hips and fragile smiles. If Ianto were a word, he would be please - take me in, care for me, let me be for you, please. And that other, almost silent, unasked: love me, please.
Q is for quills. The quills of the Skellar that came through the Rift, poisoned darts that Jack pulled from Ianto's reddening skin one by one, with each careful tug, a whispered prayer and promise: Be okay. You're okay.. Quills for the countless feathers he's trailed down the lightly furred line of Ianto's torso, down that pretty, perfect cock, watching it twitch for him. The ones with which he's tortured the arched bottoms of Ianto's feet, ticklish to an extreme.
Q is the way that Ianto quivers at Jack's every touch, great and small. That tiny tremor he cannot hide, even when he's angry. A shiver, as though even the brush of Jack's fingertips across his has him instantaneously at the limit of orgasm. It pleases Jack to touch Ianto as often as he can, to arouse him, madden him, torment him with a thousand tiny, unsatisfying touches until the quiver becomes a tremble, until that first quavering "Jack..." comes hissing from Ianto's lips, annoyed and pleading all at once.
R is for ravish, which Jack does to Ianto whenever he can. Pressing him up against the shelves in the archives and grinding against him until Ianto cries out, then catching that cry with his mouth and biting, sucking out more, louder whimpering moans. Behind Ianto in the lavatory mirror, hand down his trousers and whispering filth into his pink-flushed ears. On top of the information desk, or Jack's desk, or face pressed to the glass looking down from the aerie, or best still, in Jack's bed, with Ianto spread and open to him, eager to be had.
And R is also for remember. Not only this, his remembrance of Ianto, but the way Ianto makes it his purpose to remember everything about Jack: from how hot is too hot for his coffee to exactly which spot inside Jack's thigh makes him whine when bitten and precisely how hard to bite. How he remembers everything for Jack: his appointments, the location of his extra cufflinks which he never needs because Ianto always knows where he took off the regimental studs, people they've spoken to, species they've found, and -- when in the heat of play Jack forgets – that he never likes blindfolding Ianto as much as he thinks he will. He wonders if Ianto knows it's because he needs to see the desire and acceptance in his eyes.
Mostly, though, Jack hopes that Ianto will remember him and need him still, when he returns.
S is for saved. Jack understands now, in a way he couldn't then, how much of Ianto's come-on was a plea. Help me. Save me. Not all of Jack's anger at the time had been for Ianto's betrayal. Jack had been angry at himself. For being too blind, too shallowly satisfied to see what was in front of him--under him--the whole time. For failing to hear that desperate call.
But more than that, deeper than that, is the way that Ianto has saved him. Jack can't remember the last time he let himself care about someone this much. Maybe The Doctor, maybe not. Standing too close to The Doctor is like flying too close to the sun, one ends up blinded and burned. Suns don't need the love of those sustained on their light and the love spent on them only becomes part of that huge, frightening glow, impersonal, remote. But Ianto...Ianto is delicately, terrifyingly mortal and his love is a real thing, something that can be given and taken. Jack can see now how Ianto brought him up from the numbed fog of service at Torchwood. He sees how Ianto is saving him right now, this very moment, by being here in his mind, vivid and present and real and Jack has to believe that he'll get back there, that he'll get the chance to say even a little bit of how much he needed Ianto, to get him through this, to survive. To live.
T is for tea-boy, his. And for tears, also his, in the rare moments he is alone and can't fight his despair. Tears shed for his team, the world, Martha, The Doctor -- and for Ianto whom he promised to protect and has failed. Tears for the forgiveness Ianto will grant, for being failed, for being left, because Jack needs him to, and Ianto has made himself what Jack most needs.
T is also for truth, the one that holds him together: I am his Captain.
The others will adapt, follow Gwen, in his absence. Ianto will, because he will know Jack wishes it, but in Ianto's heart Gwen will never be their captain, only Jack. He holds onto that and onto Ianto because he needs it. Needs Ianto's truth to shape him, and soothe away his fear of The Master's vision of forever.
Ubiquitous for U, Jack thinks. If ever there was a word made specifically for Mr. Ianto Jones, it would be ubiquitous. Any hour of the day or night, it seems like he can turn around and Ianto is there, with more coffee, sweetened just so, or badgering him to eat something, he's nothing but skin and bones, or commanding him sternly to hold still, for the love of God, or he's going to get his cock bitten off with all that writhing. He knows academically that Ianto has a flat somewhere in Cardiff that he goes to, if only to change clothes, but Jack can't hardly imagine Ianto anywhere but in the Hub, a half-step, an arms-length away.
If not for the razor keen awareness of what The Master would do to Ianto, Jack doesn't know that there's anything in the world he'd like as much to have Ianto right there again, with that perfect cup of coffee and that sly tilt of his eyebrow asking, What today, Captain?
More than anything, Jack has to hang on to the belief that he'll get to see it again.
U is for Umami, the restaurant he's going to take Ianto to, when all of this is over. A real and proper date. Just the two of them.
V could be for many things. Velvet cords around his wrists, for example. But Jack is tired, angry, and bruised. The V he wants most is Ianto's voice. His soft Welsh vowels and gentle tones.
Most people think of Ianto's voice as bland, but they're not listening. Ianto speaks with careful modulation. Quiet and unassuming so not to call attention to himself or Torchwood when he's at the information desk. Decisive when asked a question to which he knows the answer. Dry when he teases, and lilting when he wants. Raw when he needs, and soft when he's fucked out and content.
What he wouldn't give to hear Ianto's voice now. Offering him coffee, or cajoling him to interest in something he's found in the archives. Calling him Captain.
Calling him Jack.
Today was especially bad; though the pain fades, the memory of it lurks and lingers like a Weevil in dark corners, sniffing for the least bit of weakness. At first, those are the only W's he can summon up: Weevil, weakness, weak, weep. But those aren't the words he needs, they aren't the ones that will get him through this.
Willpower. There. That's a W. Jack exerts his will to shove away the darkness now that there's no Ianto to do it for him. His willpower is a weak thing when compared to Ianto's, though. Jack has a lot of bark, but he doesn't always have the bite to back it. Ianto's will is like that of The Doctor, able to move planets by sheer belief, by sheer whim. And that, that's another W. They start to come faster now.
Wales. The land that birthed Ianto, the place Jack has come to call home, a word he thought he'd lost forever. His whimsical Wales; he is wistful for it, wanting, wanton in his desperation.
Jack falls into dozing and dreams of Wales and Ianto there, waiting for him. Always waiting for him.
Wait for me.
X, X. X marks the spot, Jack thinks, exhausted. Exhausted has an X, but he doesn't want to remember Ianto that way, bruised crescents under blue eyes leached of brightness, shoulders slumped with pain. The only good thing about days like those is that Ianto's too tired to fuss over him and lets Jack hold on, breathe him, and be glad he's alive.
Ianto here, alive and safe, warm and clean, oh God, clean, sounds like heaven.
But Ianto deserves better than a second-letter X, and finding another will pass the time. There's Xerox, because Jack always has wanted to photocopy Ianto's arse and his strong, kind hands. That's cheating, though, because their copier isn't Xerox.
His head's killing him, and his fingers ache. The Master broke them all in three places to see how long they'd take to heal. It's fast, but not instantaneous, and it hurts like hell. Still, it's not as bad as when Torchwood dragged him naked through shards of glass. Not quite.
Jack runs another alphabet, searching his memories for something other than cheats. Later, much later, when his fingers have straightened themselves again, Jack remembers the Rosetta Stone. A smooth gray river-stone like so many others, but when Ianto held it, he spoke Antaro. And Chimeran. And Zychari, and a hundred other languages he'd never even heard of, let alone been taught.
They'd had fun with that. Tormenting Owen, verbal foreplay right under the team's noses. But the best part had been at night, while Ianto drove deep into him, hearing him moan praises in the long lost and never yet spoken language of home.
The stone's gone, requisitioned by UNIT, but the memories remain.
X is for xenoglossia, literally the speaking of language never studied, but to Jack, it will always mean hearing Ianto say yours and I need you, Welsh lilt wrapped awkwardly but beautifully around the sounds of the Boeshane.
By the time Jack rolls around to Y, he lacks the capacity for cleverness.
Y is for year, of course. The year that separates him from his life, his real life. The life he will go back to, once all this is unwound, once he gets his chance to smash the motherless hell out of that damned paradox machine.
Y is for yearn. Yearning for Ianto's endless kindness to him, even when he deserves it least. Yearning for soft touches and gentle kisses, yearning after skin on skin contact meant in friendship, in partnership, in affection. He thinks that's almost worse than the pain, the endless banality of the torture; that no one touches him anymore. That no one really has in the longest, most wretched year of his life...and that includes being trapped with John.
When this is over, when it is done, he'll go back and worship those busy, clever hands, let them touch him all over, soothing away hurts Jack will never, ever tell him about.
It will happen. The Doctor, Martha...he trusts them. He believes in them. A year. He can wait a year.
Z is for itself. Zed. A small black zigzag in Ianto's hand. Precise on official documents, crisp, and sporting barbs when Jack's in trouble with Ianto. Fluid, even playful in Ianto's diary that, yes, he's read.
Zed, the end. Of the alphabetical Ianto, but not of the man.
Of the man, so much more than just his tea-boy, Jack swears this is only the beginning.
Because Z is also for the number the Americans call zero. The first, before one. A pregnant oval. Nothing, from which commences everything. The Big Bang, the infinite point.
Zero. The number of times he's told Ianto that he gives Jack strength with his faith in him. That he is the Captain because Ianto wills it so. Also the number of times he's told Ianto he is loved, and the number of minutes that will pass before Jack thinks it again.
More importantly, zero is the number of days that will pass between the zed of all of this and the zero of his return: to arms that can bear the weight of his grief without needing to know the reasons, to eyes that see him as he is and not as they wish him to be. To Ianto.
Zed is for Ianto, at the end of all this, and the beginning of what will be.
When he sees Ianto – his Ianto – with his gun trained on the Blowfish, it begins again. This time, Jack knows better.
A is not for arse, but for ask. As in ask Ianto on a proper date. Which he does, as soon as he gets Ianto alone.
Ianto says yes, and Jack smiles. He'll take Ianto to Umami, just like he imagined. And thank him properly for getting him through The Year That Never Was.