Warnings: Reference to death, including future character death.
Summary: Ianto doesn't ask questions, doesn't dig too deep. It's not really to do with sparing Jack's feelings, it's more to do with protecting his own.
AN: This was written for the sixth challenge of the first round of thejack_ianto_las "And then suddenly I'm naked again."
Questions and Answers
"And then suddenly," Jack sniggers, his mouth full of partly chewed pizza, "I'm naked again, right. And William is standing there, the bloody device pointed right at me and, cool as you please, says-"
"'Well I didn't get to make the most of it the first time!'"
They all – except Gwen, the only one hearing this for anything close to the first time – join in for the punch-line and Ianto tries to make his part of the laughter sound unforced but, from the sharp look Jack gives him, he is unsuccessful. Trust Jack to be able to hear something off with his laughter, but completely ignore him when told that cleaning needs to be done.
Hours later, when everyone has left, Ianto finally works up the courage to say, "You know I don't think I've ever asked how you knew William."
He knows he hadn't exactly managed casual disinterest, but Jack doesn't call him on it, simply smiles and says, "Oh, you know, the usual with Torchwood personnel round then. Back when I was freelance. They'd call me in for something and introduce me to the newbies while they were at it, nothing too exciting. Well, not as exciting as a pterodactyl anyway."
Jack is looking at him too closely and, as on edge as he is right now, Ianto feels his face beginning to flush, even after all this time together. He turns to hide, fussing with some of the piles of paperwork, and makes that humming noise that is well known as the universal sign of polite interest. He tries not to remember that the last William to work for Torchwood Three was in the 1930s, because there are things he just doesn't want to think about.
"Or are you asking how well I knew William?" Jack has come up behind him, pressing his body against Ianto's and leaning into his ear to whisper, "Very well indeed," in that lust-soaked tone of his and what is wrong with Ianto that he can feel himself responding to Jack talking about having sex with a man who probably bled out in Jack's arms before Ianto's dad was born? Then again, just Jack's proximity
is enough to arouse him most days.
He turns around in Jack's arms and stares into his eyes and wonders if today is the day he will be brave enough to ask what this means, how long it will be after Ianto dies that he will become the punch-line to a joke everyone's heard so many times it almost stops being funny. "Have I told you the one about when the teaboy-?"
He leans into Jack's embrace and pulls him closer for a passionate kiss, ripping open his shirt. He doesn't want to finish that thought. He doesn't want to know that not only is his time almost up – he knows the statistics about those who work for Torchwood and, most staggeringly, those who sleep with Captain Jack Harkness – but that if he is remembered it won't be for bravery or skill or how hard
he loved, but instead as an object of humour and the answer to an off-colour sex joke. And most of all he doesn't want to ask the questions.
He knows he won't like the answers.