Title: It Will Get Better
Ratings: Teen - language
Spoilers: Series 1
Summary: Jack visits Ianto during his suspension.
Disclaimers: I own nothing!
Notes: Comments please!
The days of Ianto’s suspension slid into themselves. He slept, sort of, on his couch. He sat for hours staring at photos of Lisa or just into space. He thought about eating but didn’t. And every day, without fail, Jack came round.
At first, Ianto raged at him but in a few days, that was too much effort. Everything was too much effort, even living.
Four days in and Ianto was lying on his couch, lights off and curtains drawn, when Jack arrived. It was early afternoon but Ianto hadn’t washed and hadn’t eaten. The stubble on his chin was growing thick now but he didn’t care.
Jack knocked but received no answer. Ianto heard him let himself in and waited for the moment. Jack opened the living room door and Ianto felt his eyes on him.
“I can see you haven’t slept or washed. Have you eaten?” Jack said. His voice wasn’t hard but it was vaguely stern.
Ianto didn’t answer. Jack sighed. “I’ll take that as a no. I’ll fix you something.” He began to move away.
“I don’t want anything,” Ianto said.
“Tough,” said Jack. “You didn’t eat at all yesterday.”
Ianto listened to the sounds of Jack going through his kitchen. “You’ve hardly even got any food here.”
Ianto sat up. “I told you, I don’t want anything.”
Jack appeared back at the door. “Yeah and I’ve told you, Jones, you’re eating.” He disappeared again and, in less than five minutes, reappeared with a dish of baked beans.
He placed it in front of Ianto. “There you go. Would’ve done you some toast but you don’t have any bread.”
Ianto sat and looked at the bowl of baked beans. Jack stood watching him.
Ianto sat back. “I’m not hungry.”
Jack folded his arms tightly across his chest. “When I offered you the option to end it all, you turned it down. So why you trying to starve yourself now?”
Ianto gave Jack a dark look. “I’m not trying to kill myself,” he growled.
“Prove it and eat.”
Ianto scoffed. “I don’t care if you think I’m trying to kill myself.”
“If you don’t eat, I’ll decide you are suicidal and I’ll place you in protective custody back at the hub.”
Ianto scowled. “Fuck you.”
Jack grinned. “Maybe later.”
Ianto’s scowl deepened. “Funny, Harkness.”
Jack gave Ianto a stern look. “You’ve got three seconds to start eating.” His face softened. “Just a few spoonfuls, okay?”
Ianto sighed and looked at the baked beans. He was grateful there was no toast. At least there would be minimal chewing involved. He would try to eat a little, then maybe Jack would leave him alone.
He picked up the spoon and scooped up a small amount of beans. He raised it to his mouth, took a deep breath, then put the spoon in his mouth. He gagged. He hadn’t eaten anything for two days. He forced himself to swallow.
Jack sat down next to him. “So how come you haven’t been eating?” he asked casually.
Ianto choked down another spoonful. “Dunno. What’s the point?”
“Heh, to generally stay alive, have a life, all of that.”
Ianto didn’t respond. He didn’t even know what the point to living was. He thought that maybe he’d only decided not to take either of Jack’s pills was that he was too much of a coward to decide to kill himself. He wished Jack had shot him. He should have killed him for what he did.
“Does it hurt, Ianto?”
Ianto’s gaze snapped to Jack. “What?”
Jack’s expression was calm but concerned. “When you don’t eat, does it hurt?”
Ianto swallowed and shrugged.
Jack shifted a bit closer and looked into Ianto’s face. “I think you hurt so much right now, that the pain of grief is so much that you’ll take any other pain just to push it aside for a few seconds.”
Ianto scowled. Jack’s words cut close. “I’m not pushing her away.”
“Of course not but no one can stand pain like that constantly. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t find some way to escape from it for a little while.”
Ianto turned his head away. “I don’t…”
Jack placed a hand on his knee. It wasn’t sexual, more sort of…paternal. It was strange. “It will get better, I promise.”
Ianto looked at him.
Jack met his eyes evenly. “The pain, Ianto, it does…fade.”
“I don’t want…”
“You’ll always have your memories. You’ll always love her but the pain of grief will fade, Ianto. I promise. It does.” Tears wetted Jack’s eyes for just a moment, before he blinked them away.
This time it was Jack who turned his head away. Ianto kept looking for a moment, startled out of himself for just a few seconds, long enough to recognise, however briefly, that there was understanding there. Jack understood him, understood this. For a moment, he wondered what was in Jack’s past, how much pain there was there.
But then he pushed it away. He remembered how Jack hadn’t even tried to save Lisa, how he had ordered Ianto to shoot her, how Jack had shot her himself. Jack didn’t understand, he never would.
Ianto turned his head away. He pushed the bean dish away from him and stood up. He walked away from Jack.
“I’d like you to leave now, Captain.”
Jack stood up. “Okay. I’ll come back tomorrow. I suggest you try and get some sleep.”
Ianto didn’t reply. He didn’t accompany Jack to the hall. He just sat there and waited to be left alone.
When the door shut behind Jack, Ianto stood and peeked out from the gap in his curtains. He watched Jack striding down the front path and he noticed how tightly the Captain’s fists were clenched. He did understand. He hurt too.
Ianto sat back down on his couch and frowned. He absently ate a bean and wondered how soon Jack would be coming back to see him again. He ate one more spoon of beans then lay down and pulled his blanket over himself. He kept his eyes on the place where Jack had been until he fell into a deep sleep for the first time in months.