Genre: Alternate Universe
Rating: NC-17 overall
Warnings: Abuse, drug use
Summary: Jack and Ianto in prison - with plot, and lots and lots of smut. Sorry, I can't help it.
Disclaimer: If I owned anything in this, I'd be a rich rich rich bitch. However, I am not a rich rich rich bitch so you may all, therefore, assume I own nothing. Which I don't. It all belongs RTD and the BBC, in case any of you didn't know. Now pass the retcon ...
Some things feel so good, they can only be good.
Other things can only feel so good because they're so very bad.
It was hard to tell between the two during occasional moments of lapse, and Ianto Jones was suffering lapses more and more often as the days rolled by.
Today things seemed a little clearer. He stared out of his window as cold sun glared back at him disappointedly – but he didn't care about the disappointment any more, or the disapproval, or the people who stood by and laughed at him after the needle had done its work in his veins. If he did care, he'd go mad. Madder than he already was, anyway.
His tiny companion was stood on the dressing table, arms folded and glaring. Ianto continued to carefully ignore him, concentrating on the vast expanse of pale green that stretched out from beneath his window all the way into the horizon. There was very little to see from his window, really. Just a few pylons, and a church with a square tower and round, stained glass window.
Borrower Jack hadn't spoken to Ianto for nearly a week, and the silence was beginning to get to them both. Ianto couldn't cope with him any more. He wanted Ianto to care, to think about his situation and how he was trapped, and all Ianto wanted to do was curl up in bed and forget it all while he waited for food or a hit: whichever they decided to bring first.
Standing, Ianto pressed his forehead to the window, getting as close to the world outside as he could. He didn't think about how humiliated he was, or how weak and defenceless.
Craning, he tried to see more of the landscape, but only hills with farmhouses dotted amongst them revealed themselves. He had no idea where he was – not that he could do anything about it if he did know where the was being kept. He'd found a routine here, and he found routines so hard to break …
There was a brisk knock on the door, and the woman Ianto thought of as 'the maid' entered with her pen and a postcard, a stamp neatly cut out from its book delicately pinched between her fingers. She put them on the dresser and left without speaking.
Ianto knew the rules. He knew what he was and wasn't to talk about. That they would be reading his card over and over again to make sure he wasn't sending any 'secret messages' to the outside, and that he never signed his real name.
Whether or not the postcards actually got sent, Ianto would probably never know until he was eventually allowed out.
Borrower Jack finally broke his silence. “This one's of Nice,” he said, standing over the postcard and frowning at it. Ianto picked up the pen, opened the wardrobe door and crouched down. On the floor of the wardrobe, underneath the words 'Dumfries & Galloway', 'Branson', 'Hong Kong', 'Sydney' and 'Quebec', he added 'Nice'. A different location per postcard and a postcard for every week.
Returning to the dressing table, he sat down. His eyes examined the photograph of the sunny, far away place wistfully, before he turned it over onto the pre-printed back. Tapping his pen, he wondered what to write.
He stared out of the window, then flicked his gaze back to the postcard. Mindlessly, he began to draw around the printed guide lines for the address and stamp with his finger as he thought, but he couldn't think of what to say.
Things are nice in Nice, he eventually scribbled. The sun is cold at the moment and things could be better. For both of us. Love, John.
Ianto chose the name 'John' because Jack had a friend called John who travelled so he hoped the cards wouldn't be as suspicious. It was also an equivalent of his name in English, so really it wasn't as 'fake' as he pretended it was.
He peeled the adhesive stamp from its little square of paper and stuck it carefully into its designated box, lining it up perfectly and pressing down. Afterwards, he left the pen and his completed card on his dresser and curled up on his bed, Borrower Jack sat close to his head, little hands combing through his hair.
“I've given up, Jack,” Ianto admitted out loud.
“I know, Ianto. I know.”
“I'm so sorry.”
“It's okay. I'm here for you.”
“For how long?”
“However long you need me.”
Ianto was silent a moment, feeling the hands going through his hair comfortingly. “Could you take a message to Jack for me?” he asked.
“No,” replied Borrower Jack.
“Because I'm not real, remember?”
“Oh … Oh yeah.”
They fell quiet again, until the door opened and the maid returned, picked up the postcard, read it, checked both sides then slipped it and the pen in her pocket. She left without saying anything, which Ianto hoped was a good thing, and he finally relaxed a bit. Stretching over to his bedside table, he took the book he had been given out of his drawer. He was only allowed one book every two weeks, so he had to pace himself with great difficulty.
Thousand Splendid Suns was this fortnight's read, and while Ianto was thoroughly enjoying it he did wish they'd have given him something more light-hearted. Maybe they were trying to make him feel better by giving him tales of lives worse than his, he supposed.
That's what Borrower Jack kept reminding him. Things could have been worse.
“Another postcard,” said Owen, and handed it to Jack.
The cell re-shuffle had been a resounding success – from the inmates' point of view, anyway. They'd gathered up their things and switched themselves around during one afternoon, and for once, in a show of solidarity, they stuck together in their insistence of not moving.
The cell Jack and Ianto had shared was now empty and permanently locked. Jack now shared with Owen, and kept the few of Ianto's things he'd managed to keep hold of in a box underneath the bunk beds.
He point blank refused to speak to Harold Saxon, and fired his solicitor in favour of another firm. The Saxon side of the wing avoided him at all costs after the one who had the nerve to call him 'queer' needed re-constructive surgery on his nose and cheekbones, and those who had laughed with him found themselves with one or two cracked ribs.
His status hadn't fallen as much as he feared it would, but he wouldn't have cared either way. He simply didn't talk about it.
“Where's this one from?” Jack asked, not moving from his bottom bunk or tearing his eyes away from the page of Dorian Gray he was reading.
“Nice,” Owen told him. “Things are nice in Nice, he says. The sun is cold at the moment and things could be better. For both of us. Love, John..”
Jack sighed heavily. “I wish he wouldn't use 'John'. Makes me feel weird.”
“Does any of it mean anything, though?” Owen pondered, reading it over a couple more times before trying to get Jack to take it. Jack resolutely ignored him, so he simply left the postcard on the shelf with their growing collection. He pulled himself up onto his bunk to read his own post, flicking through the letters and trying to identify each set of handwriting before opening them.
Jack studiously ignored everything but his book, before finally he had to admit he could no longer concentrate on it until he'd read the postcard over himself. Sharply, he got to his feet and examined the back of it. “His handwriting's getting worse,” he said, “and I still can't find a way to send a message back – and no, I'm not asking Saxon to do it.”
“Ohhh bollocks,” Owen growled, then cleared his throat. “Sorry... Erm … Dr. Sato has decided to extend our counselling sessions.”
Jack set the postcard back down, turning to Owen and folding his arms. “I thought you liked her?”
“I do … It's just that she seems to like me a little 'too much', if you get what I'm saying?”
“So? You said she was sex on legs with added brains. Why's it bad if she likes you?”
“'Cause she's after commitment and cuddles and stuff. I just want a damn good shag.”
Jack's lip curled into the smallest hint of an amused smile. His eyebrow raised slightly, and Owen registered it. “Ohh, no, Harkness. Only you would think of us shagging each other. Again.”
“Just sex, Owen. It's just fun.” He leaned on arm casually on Owen's bunk. “Could be a lotta fun...”
“Is that what you said to Ianto?” Owen asked nonchalantly. He knew it was a low blow before it came out of his mouth, but he said it anyway. 'No' would never suffice with Jack.
Jack was glaring coldly. “What Ianto and I had... You... I... That was... You can't...” he tried, the words forcing their way out in fragments.
Eventually, he just shut his mouth.
“This one's from Ljubljana.”
“Where's that?” Borrower Jack asked.
“Slovenia,” Ianto replied, tapping it rhythmically with his fingers. “What's happened to my hands?” he whined mournfully. “They look like Hallowe'en decorations.”
Borrow Jack didn't say anything, instead sitting cross-legged on the dresser by the pen and postcard, waiting. “We have to think of a way to tell them where we are.”
“How?” asked Ianto, glumly. “They read my postcards a hundred times. If they're suspicious they ask me what something means. They evaluate every one of them until they're sure there's nothing.”
“You can think your way around it, I'm sure,” Borrower Jack smiled, tapping the desk with his knuckles then leaning back on his elbows to stretch out his legs. “You need to write where they can't see.”
“They can see everywhere,” Ianto sighed, picking up the pen to chew the end, his hand shaking. He figured out what he was going to write, and scribbled it hastily. He checked it over, set down his pen and then picked up the stamp. He was half way to sticking it down when he paused. His eyes met Borrower Jack's, and Borrower Jack gave him a shit-eating grin.
“About time you caught up,” he smirked.
“The stamp...” Ianto realised. “They can't see under the stamp. Right... I need to think about this...”
In a couple of minutes, he had the beginnings of a plan fringing in from the edge of his brain. He sat back down at the dresser, and hurriedly did a little doodle well within the confines of the pre-printed 'PLACE STAMP HERE' box. He covered it with the stamp, made sure it was stuck, then bit his lip.
“How do I let Jack know it's there?”
“Think about that for next time,” Borrower Jack decided. “We don't have time. He can always go back through your previous cards.”
Ianto nodded, setting the card down then going to curl up on his bed. “We're a good team,” he decided.
“That we are,” Borrower Jack agreed.
“Slovenia,” tutted Jack, tossing the postcard onto the pile just as a knock sounded from the door behind him. He turned to find PC Cooper stood there.
“Hi,” she said, timidly.
“Hi,” he replied.
“Erm... I've been sent to tell you: you're not reacting well to what happened. They think you should maybe try counselling.”
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Yes, Jack!” she snapped, her hands flying to her hips. She glared at him, and he glared back. “Ianto would be embarrassed if he could see what you're becoming. Seriously? You were vile and manipulative, but never a bully, Jack. Never an outright thug. I'm sorry you lost somebody you cared about so much that it drove you down this spiral, but I will not stand here and do nothing while you slip further and further away and become something that you'd hate.”
Jack stared at her. "Excuse me? Who are you-"
"I'm your friend, Jack," she pleaded. "I just want to help you. Just give Dr. Sato a try. You know the wonders she's done for Owen."
"I don't need a shrink or any of that stupidity. I'm fine."
Gwen folded her arms. "You are going," she told him, her tone brooking no argument, "You are going, and that is final. You'll be notified by post of your appointment timetable." She turned abruptly and left, her shoes beating the walkway as she made her way out of the frying pan and into the flames. Jack listened to her go, then sat down on his bed.
What did Gwen know? She didn't understand. She had no idea.
With a sigh he lay back on his bed, stretching out as best he could. He considered maybe reading through Ianto's postcards again, but there was no use. This 'postcard contact' thing was just a performance, a ruse on Saxon's part to remind Jack of the power he held and how helpless Jack himself was. He hated sitting around doing nothing, especially waiting for post that ultimately told him nothing.
Owen eventually breezed in, cigarettes tucked into his boiler suit that he'd managed to win off other inmates at chess. He spotted the new card. "Lajubjublajana?" he tried, and Jack only rolled his eyes deprecatingly. "Blame it on the sunshine," he read. "Jesus. He's getting beyond even me now." He tossed it back onto its shelf. "You okay?"
"Am I okay?" pondered Jack. "Let's think... No, I'm not. And Super Trooper Cooper wants to put me into counselling with your Dr. Sato."
Owen shrugged. "Maybe she'll do you some good - but don't shag her, 'cause I've already laid claim."
Tutting, Jack sat up. "You're supposed to be supporting me."
"I am, just not in the way you want."
"So you think I should see a shrink? What's happened to you?"
Owen shrugged once again. "I feel better after I've been to see Dr. Sato. Less like I want to murder everyone. From a doctor's perspective, I'd say that's a pretty good thing."
"I don't need a shrink."
"No, but maybe you need to talk to somebody who isn't me. I'm pretty useless all around at this, and Dr. Sato doesn't ... Like ... Sit there and 'mm'. It's just like having a conversation. You forget it's all doctory patienty stuff, and you just chat. Most times I haven't even spoken about Katie."
"As long as she doesn't start analysing my dreams," Jack muttered grimly.
"I'm not even going to ask."
Jack managed his first dirty smile for days. "I promise you're not in all of them."
Outside the window, things were quiet as ever. Cold, disapproving sunshine shining over a cold, disapproving, mint-green lawn, rippling in the cold, disapproving breeze. Ianto listened to the church bells striking three in the afternoon, then pulled the frame shut.
"He's not even realised," he muttered to himself, turning to throw his entire weight down onto the bed.
"Give him a chance," Borrower Jack placated, "He's not as bright as you. You can't expect him to get it on the first one."
"If he's even getting the cards at all," Ianto sulked. "I just want to go home, have a cup of coffee and put my feet up."
"That's a while off yet."
"Yes, and it's Lisa's fault. I can't believe I got into this mess for her - and she hasn't visited. She's allowed to and we haven't seen her since the first night. Why hasn't she come back?"
"Maybe she's busy. It's only been a few weeks."
Ianto sighed heavily. "Too many weeks already, and more to come. I hope they're careful with me. I hope I don't die here."
A little hand tugged at his earlobe. "We'll be fine. We'll be just fine."
Ianto didn't believe him, though mainly because he knew he'd made him say it.
Have 'Under the Sea' stuck in my head. Wish I could stamp it out. John x.
Jack sighed, biting his tongue and setting the latest postcard, from Coney Island, onto the shelf with its predecessors. He leaned his hands on the shelf and hung his head for a moment, squeezing his eyes shut.
Jack spun at the shout, turning to find a very annoyed-looking Officer Cooper glaring at him. “What?” he asked, momentarily perplexed.
“Dr. Sato was supposed to see you this afternoon,” she began accusingly, “but apparently you never showed up.”
“Ah … yeah … That. I was distracted by some very interesting wet paint.”
“Were you now?”
“Yep. It went matte as it dried. Fascinating stuff.”
“Well, now that you're clearly not distracted, Dr. Sato happens to have a slot available right now, if you'd like to come with me?”
Jack tensed. “I would, but I'm busy.” He turned away from her and threw himself down onto his bottom bunk. He pointedly stared at the frame above him and waited for her to react.
“I thought you might be,” Cooper smirked. “Dr. Sato? He's ready to see you now.”
Sitting up sharply, Jack watched as a petite Japanese woman entered his cell, looking not the least bit fazed by the catacalls and wolf-whistles from outside. She gave him a shy but warm smile, and offered her hand for him to shake. “Good afternoon, Captain.”
Jack pressed his lips into a fine line, feeling his teeth grit. “Good afternoon, doctor,” he managed to reply. Gwen clapped her hands victoriously.
“I'll get you locked in,” she smiled. “How long before I should come back, Dr. Sato?”
“Maybe an hour?”
“Excellent. Bye bye, Jack.”
Jack said nothing, glaring at her. Dr. Sato pulled out the chair from underneath the wooden writing desk and settled herself down. With an ominous clang, the lock slid home and Jack was trapped with her.
“I don't need counselling,” he petulantly advised her.
“Oh, that's good,” smiled Dr. Sato. “Though I'm afraid it doesn't look like Officer Cooper will be back soon.” She withdrew a pen from her bag and tapped it on the desk a couple of times. “Well, we should make the most of it,” she decided. “Do you like ice cream?”
Jack blinked. “Erm … yeah.”
“I love ice cream – what's your favourite flavour?”
“Mint chocolate chip.”
Jack sighed, and scratched his chin. This was going to be a long hour.
“Why hasn't he figured it out yet?” Ianto whispered into the dark.
“He'll get there,” Borrower Jack promised. “He will.”
“If he's receiving the cards.”
“We think he is.”
“I know, but there's still a bit of doubt.” Ianto pulled the duvet further around himself, huddling into the warmth. “I can't sleep,” he complained. “I hate insomnia. I'm so tired.”
“You and me both, kid.”
Stretching, Ianto turned over and curled up, closing his eyes and feeling his brow furrowing involuntarily. He couldn't relax. His eyes ached more when they were closed than when they were open. His forearm was beginning to itch and burn and bubble, his mind was refusing to quieten down as thoughts whizzed around endlessly.
Eventually, he gave up, and got out of bed. Crossing to the window, he pushed back the curtain and squinted out at the surrounding stretches of dark grey. By daylight they were a lush green colour, getting greener and greener further and further away. The church with its round window wasn't visible in the dark, but Ianto could just about make out the moonlight bouncing off its stained glass.
He felt the sudden and overwhelming urge to go outside; to feel grass between his toes and the breeze moving through his hair. The night air would be cool, and since he couldn't sleep he figured a short walk might do him good.
His door wasn't locked – it never was, as security, walls and fences weren't what kept him imprisoned here – so it wouldn't be difficult to get outside. He wouldn't even have to go far. Just standing on the grass by the front door would be more than enough.
“What do you think you're doing?” hissed Borrower Jack in his ear.
“Going outside. I need fresh air.”
“They'll kill you!”
“They won't. I'm not going anywhere. Just standing outside for a minute or two. Think about it: what if I see a street sign, or a car registration plate? I could figure out a way to tell Jack.”
“I doubt that you'll see anything. It could all be fake. What if they put a fake street sign up, and the police walk into a trap at the real place? They'll know who sent them there and they'll get you.”
Ianto paused with his fingers hovering over the door handle. “I just want to stand on the grass by the front door. The nearest grass. I'm not doing anything stupid and they'll know I'll come back.”
“Your funeral,” scowled Borrower Jack.
“Indeed,” Ianto agreed, and pulled open the door.
The corridor had cream walls and a soft, pink carpet that stretched its length. Ianto peered up and down it, squinting in the suddenly brightly-lit environment. He left his door open in case he couldn't remember which one was his and headed left – the maid always left his room and went in that direction, so Ianto guessed that's where the rest of the house and possibly the exit was.
Ianto wandered for a couple of minutes, examining a few paintings now and then, feeling like a naughty schoolboy hoping he wouldn't get caught out of bed. He couldn't see any CCTV cameras anywhere, but figured there must be some form of security so tried not to bring attention to himself. Even if they were watching him, it's not like he was about to try and escape.
The pink carpet gave way to polished wood, and then to the marble staircase that Ianto vaguely remembered after being dragged up and out of his grave. He swallowed, spotting the small holes in the floor leading down and below the large slabs of marble.
Ianto wondered if there was anybody below his feet as he headed to the front door, and shuddered. How could these people walk over this floor and not care?
He pushed the handle down, and the door swung open easily. He stuck his head out, and a fresh breeze kissed his face. Leaving the door open a jar, he slipped out and down the steps, hopping and wincing over the gravel of the drive, heading to a circle of grass and a fountain in the middle.
The grass was already dewy and froze his feet deliciously. He wiggled his toes, and grinned. “See? Not so bad.”
“No,” Borrower Jack grudgingly replied, “not yet.”
The house was silent, its glowing windows watching Ianto like accusatory eyes. He shivered into his pyjamas and rubbed his arms. “I think that's enough now,” he decided. “It's bloody cold.”
He must have at least grazed his feet hopping back over the gravel, and the stone steps were no longer pleasantly cool under his feet – they felt more like ice after the cold dew the grass. Ianto closed the front door quietly behind him, his eyes darting around the entrance hall to see if he was being watched. Hurrying back up the stairs, he set off in the direction he'd come.
“Do you think anybody saw us?” Ianto asked as he closed his bedroom door and huddled back into his bed, satisfied.
“Only everybody. They'll gloat that you didn't even try to run tomorrow, y'know.”
Ianto shrugged, yawning. “Maybe it'll keep them distracted from what we're really doing.”
“Maybe,” Borrower Jack conceded. “Decided what you're writing on your next postcard yet?”
“Not yet. I'll wait for inspiration to hit.”
“Mmm,” nodded Borrower Jack. “So – are we going to sleep now?”
Ianto yawned again. “I hope so,” he murmured into his pillow. “Mmmmm I hope so...”
Sure enough, Officer Cooper brought Dr. Sato straight to his cell for their next appointment. Jack set his jaw as the door clanged shut and locked, sitting down on his bed as Sato resumed her seat on the rickety chair.
“How are you?” she asked.
“Been up to much?”
“What's 'the usual'?”
Jack sighed, then tried to explain to her that prison life was pretty dull, mundane and repetitive. She wasn't so bad, he'd realised. She was nice, and maybe a little awkward herself. She hadn't even asked about Ianto at their last session, but Jack had a feeling she was going to broach the subject fairly soon. After trying to burn up as much of her time as possible on the details of his week in prison, he wondered if being the first to talk about him meant he earned Brownie points towards not having to see her again.
“Look,” he said, “why don't we just cut to the chase and talk about what you're here to talk about?”
“What would that be, Captain Harkness?”
“Ianto. My cell mate. Ex-cell mate.”
A crease appeared between her eyebrows as she weighed him up. Jack found his eyes drifting to it, thinking that despite the fact she was a shrink, she really was gorgeous. He brought himself back to the present, realising she was speaking.
“What about him?”
Jack made choked on a laugh. “What do you mean, 'what about him?'? Didn't they brief you?”
Dr. Sato gave him an almost knowing smile, but didn't reply. She was waiting.
Clearing his throat, Jack realised he had no idea what to say. In the end, he decided not to say anything. Folding his arms, he flung his legs up onto the bed and lay down. “If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you.”
To his frustration, she laughed. Chuckling, she retrieved her Blackberry from her bag. “That's fine by me. I'll just carry on with my other work until Officer Cooper comes to let me out, so don't mind me.”
“Go ahead.” He welcomed the concept. From under his pillow, he retrieved Dorian Gray and flicked to the page he was currently up to and happily began to read. After about two minutes, though, he had to stop. The tap-tap-tapping of Blackberry keys was echoing around his cell like water droplets from a leaky shower head. Dr. Sato was typing so fast her fingertips were nearly blurred, her lower lip slightly bitten in concentration as she continued working in obliviousness to how bloody annoying she was.
After a long succession of clicking, she finally paused. Jack was about to breathe a sight of relief as the silence continued for longer than a few moments – only to force himself not to growl as the tapping resumed with full force. If she carried on, he was fairly certain he was going to break her fingers.
“Will you stop!” he snapped, and Dr. Sato didn't even flinch.
“Are you all right, Captain?” she asked innocently.
Jack pursed his lips. “I'm fine. Just … stop with the tapping.”
“If you insist,” she nodded, and slipped the Blackberry back into her bag. Jack settled down to read, only to find himself once again unnerved by Dr. Sato simply sitting still in silence.
“You could knock and get her to let you out,” Jack advised.
“I could. But I'm on company hours, Captain Harkness. I have work to do.”
“Sitting there doing nothing isn't 'working'.”
She shrugged, checked her watch, and then shuffled in her seat. “We still have forty-five minutes,” she informed him. “Any particular reason you chose that book?”
“I like it?”
“Fair enough. You've read it before, then?”
“A few times. It's the only book I have here.”
“There's a library. Why not rent one?”
“I'm happy with just this one.”
“Why just that one?”
“Because I like it.”
“It speaks to you.”
“Yes. No. Why?”
Dr. Sato shrugged again. “I like Dorian Gray, too. But more from a morbid fascination viewpoint. I'm guessing that for you, the book runs deeper than that?”
He didn't reply, choosing instead to glare at her. Politely, she continued smiling back. Jack finally snapped the book shut and tucked it back under his pillow. “I like the subtext.”
“The subtext that got old Oscar in an awful lot of trouble?”
“That's the one.”
“You like that there's a secret between you and the author. You understand each other.”
“Well … I understand most of what he says. A lot of it's a load of flowery bullshit.”
Dr. Sato made a sound that could have been a surprised laugh. “Yes... The writers of that time did favour long sentences, didn't they?” she mused. “Just be grateful you'll never be forced to read Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter.”
“Is it bad?”
“The first sentence is also the first paragraph. He is also apparently incapable of using nouns and must only communicate with adjectives. 'Door' becomes 'wooden edifice'.”
“I failed my draft coursework about it. It came back with a big red scribble on it saying, 'The film ends differently from the book, Tosh.'”
Jack found himself chuckling along with her. “You studied English?”
“My parents made me. I always preferred Maths. Never a wrong answer.”
“If you like a right answer, why are you a psychiatrist?”
“Parents,” she repeated. “To be honest, I don't even like people that much.”
“That is also true.”
“And this is dangerous work in a prison.”
“I can handle myself,” she assured him.
They chatted about this and that for a bit, and Jack began to forget she was supposed to be a shrink. She was easy to talk to, and didn't push him, and was happy to just gossip and joke rather than talk about deep, over-bearing issues buried deep in his psyche thanks to his upbringing or whatever.
When she left, he almost didn't want her to go. He said goodbye to her as she exited through the door, the space she had occupied a moment before instantly filled by a very grumpy Owen Harper.
“Postcard,” he grunted, shoving it into Jack's hand. With a pang, Jack realised that the whole time he'd been speaking to Dr. Sato, he hadn't thought about Ianto once. Not properly. Jack wondered if he should feel guilty about enjoying his short respite from his grief, and stared at the photo on the postcard before turning it over.
“His handwriting is almost illegible now,” he muttered, mainly to himself. He felt a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently, and he felt emotion swell within him and prick at the back of his eyes.
“C'mere,” Owen offered, hugging him tightly and feeling Jack's shoulders shake, “It'll be all right.”
“Yeah,” Owen agreed, trying to sound soothing. It didn't really work, but Jack sort of appreciated the gesture. Heavily, he sat down on his bunk, and Owen sat beside him. “What does the card say?”
Jack frowned at it. “What is his obsession with stamping on things?”
“Stamping as in feet or stamping as in 'Fragile!' stamps?”
Jack shrugged, standing. “Maybe he's trying to tell me something. It's only the last few that have been stamping. And he's mentioned hiding twice...” Something niggled in his brain, as if he'd forgotten to do something he was supposed to or had missed something off the shopping list but couldn't quite figure out what.
With a shrug, he dropped it onto the pile of other postcards on the shelf.
“I'm sure he's fine, Jack. Well … as fine as he can be,” Owen tried.
“Mmm,” Jack nodded, blowing his nose and flushing the tissue before sitting back on his bed. “I just … None of this is his fault. He just takes the flack for the mistakes other people have made, and he's done nothing to deserve it. And now … He's clever. Why isn't he trying to tell me anything?”
“Maybe he is and you're missing it.”
Jack flopped over to the side, his face half buried in his pillow. “Probably,” he mumbled. “That bloody woman – she made me all emotional.”
“She does that. Need a minute?”
“No. I'll be fine.”
“Do you want a cup of tea?”
“If you're going to go and fetch it.”
Owen grumbled, but agreed, knowing that Jack really did need a moment of space despite his front. Jack heard him leave, the metal of the door scraping gently on the concrete floor where it was growing heavy on its hinges. He got up and washed his face with cold water, wishing his eyes weren't quite so red and puffy.
As he examined his reflection, a huge roar went up from the main room downstairs, followed by chants of 'Fight, fight, fight, fight!'. With a sigh, he ignored it, leaning over the sink and closing his eyes, concentrating on breathing deeply.
As suddenly as it started, it all stopped. Silence fell. He couldn't here Guppy or Holroyd reading the riot act, or Cooper shouting her orders. There was too much silence.
Quietly, Jack emerged onto the walkway to look down into the cafeteria. He already knew what this silence meant; he didn't have to ask.
Somebody had died.
Oh my Lord - HOW LONG? I'm so proud of myself for FINALLY sitting down and writing something. It was definitely weird that the words actually came out...
It's summer now, so hopefully I'll have more time, too!
Please, please, please comment. It'll only take a second, and maybe some love and guidance might spur me on ;)
On a slight side note, a friend of mine has asked me to ask if there's anybody interested in a fancy, professional camera with all its accessories? It's used, but cared for, and there's nothing wrong with it as she's just upgrading. More details are in the text box:
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