Layton Colt (laytoncolt) wrote in nixa_jane,
Layton Colt
laytoncolt
nixa_jane

TW: Love Like A Bullet (R), Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa.

Hate won't destroy the world, but love just might.



He's still got her blood on his hands, and every time he closes his eyes he sees the firing squad, Gwen and Tosh and Owen and Jack, and no way to know which of them fired the killing shot.

He wants to feel betrayed but fair is fair and he screwed them all over first.

He half expects them to raise their guns again, aimed at him, for what he's done, but the rest of him still doesn't think he's done anything wrong, because he did it for the sake of love. All of it for love, and what purer motivation was there than that?

"She was dead already," Jack says quietly, and he'd long ago holstered his gun. The others had followed his example because they didn't know what else to do. "You were in love with a ghost, Ianto. You were in love with the thing that killed her."

Ianto wants to scream, at the top of his lungs, he wants to rage and fight and maybe try to kill Jack, if only because he doesn't quite think it possible, and he's sure Jack'll kill him first. It might be nice. Might be peaceful. He might find Lisa there.

Owen slips away first. Never was very close with him, Ianto thinks. Consoling someone half-mad with grief didn't quite fall under the obligations of the general work acquaintance, and he's not surprised at all when Tosh follows him out. Gwen hovers by the door, her compassion again, maybe, or maybe she just didn't want him alone with Jack.

No way to tell which of them she was worried about.

"It's fine," Jack tells her. "Go home, Gwen."

She goes. Ianto mostly expected that. She hasn't gone against Jack's orders yet. Takes time for people to work up to defying him, usually, though Ianto's been lying to him from the very start.

Jack sticks his hands in his pockets then, looking down at him with cool detachment and none of that desperate rage Ianto had seen in his eyes before--this was the Jack he knew, this one, all perfect glossy features and smiles and marble everywhere underneath. "What to do with you?" he says, softly and almost curious, like he expects Ianto to actually answer.

Lisa was already in Torchwood's morgue. Drawer 347. Ianto couldn't watch, but he heard it click shut. They had locks on all the drawers here, probably the only morgue in the world that might need them. Jack checked the one on hers twice.

"Ianto?" Jack says. He's closer now, but Ianto never heard him move. "I'm going to give you one chance to forget." Jack grabs his hand roughly, still all covered in blood, dried and flaking like a grotesque glove and Jack just presses a pill bottle into the palm like he doesn't even notice and wraps his fingers around it before letting go. "Take them and you can leave," Jack continues. "You won't remember any of us. You can go live a perfectly normal life somewhere else. Never have to think of this again."

It's tempting, god, it's tempting, Jack knows it is. Except he knows he'd have to take enough to forget, if not Lisa entirely, then at least to the point he found her, saved her or damned her or whatever it was he'd done when he'd pulled her screaming away.

He wouldn't remember Torchwood Three, even if he still remembered the ruins of Torchwood One, he wouldn't remember Owen, and he could live with that, but Tosh and Gwen were both kind of remarkable in their own ways, and he thinks he might miss them, if something that can't be remembered can be missed.

Then there was Jack.

"Take them," Jack says, again, and without ever actually meeting Ianto's eyes. "You're screwed up for life if you don't."

Ianto's fingers loosen and he watches the pill bottle tumble from his hand, and then roll across the floor before coming to a stop at the toe of Jack's boot. He can imagine how it would happen. He would wake up with bruises he doesn't remember getting and a year's worth of missing time, but he'd move on, decide he was better off not knowing, get a job somewhere, maybe meet another girl, maybe one that would live.

But that was the coward's way out. Ianto might be terrified but he was going to face what he'd done, even if it killed him, especially then, because he's pretty certain it's what he deserves.

"Have it your way," Jack says. He reaches down and pockets the pills, and Ianto waits for him to pull out his gun instead, to ask Ianto to get down on his knees, maybe close his eyes, maybe turn around, but more likely Jack would just look him straight in the eye.

But he doesn't, he just sighs and looks at the floor instead. "It's not that we never asked," he says.

This confession catches him completely off guard, and he blinks stupidly up at Jack, shivering now even though he's burning up and the smell is making him nauseous, blood and burnt wire and ashes. "What?" Ianto says, and he's so tired all the sudden, barely breathing. Everything hurts, every single part of him, and why is Jack dragging it out?

He should put him out of his misery. After everything that's happened, Jack owes him that. Ianto's cleaned up enough of his messes that he deserves just this one, this one time, for Jack to mop up the blood and lock away the bodies and leave no trace of him behind.

"We tried, Ianto, we asked, you just didn't hear us--we invited you out and you turned us down, we asked you to come out in the field and you just smiled and said some other time, and after awhile we gave up. Of course we gave up. We thought you wanted us to."

He barely remembers shouting something about this, it's vague and just another piece of the nightmare, right there with calling Jack a monster and almost shooting him in the head.

"Please," Ianto says. "Just get it over with." Jack doesn't pretend he doesn't understand. He's not that cruel, but he doesn't pull his gun out either, and it's grating on Ianto's nerves. "I said do it!" he shouts.

"It's over," Jack says.

"Not for me," Ianto says. "Not yet, so do it. It's what you promised."

"It wasn't a promise," Jack says. "It was a threat, and probably an empty one at that."

"I would have shot you," Ianto tells him, not sure which of them he'd like to convince, but almost certain all the same. He'd nearly done it. Yesterday the thought would have been insane, shooting Jack, who had one of the sweetest smiles Ianto had ever seen, and one of the wickedest ones too. Things had changed so much so quickly and he could have done it, might still be able to.

Mostly because he can hear Lisa's screams, because it was Lisa's voice, Lisa's pain, Ianto knows that. He won't be convinced that she was beyond saving, he can't accept that, because that would mean he'd spent a year in love with an electric powered corpse.

"Maybe," Jack says. "Probably. I would have shot you, too, if I'd had to. I didn't. Now I don't."

Ianto's on his feet before he knows what he's doing, strength coming from somewhere, some hidden reserve, and he wraps his hands around Jack's braces and knocks him into the wall. "Then I'll give you a reason," Ianto shouts.

Jack hits the snap on his holster and pulls out his gun, presses it in Ianto's hand the same way he had the pills, the same exact way, really, both meant an out, both meant oblivion.

"There's nothing you can do that'll make me do that," Jack tells him. "But you go ahead and kill me, if you can."

Ianto steps back and aims, right between Jack's eyes, and his hands are shaking, but Jack's as calm as anything. "If you believe half of what you said to me before," Jack tells him, "then do it. I'm not going to do it for you, and I'm not going to end it for you, so this is what we're left with, Ianto. The ball's in your court."

"I should," Ianto says, desperate beyond all reason. His fingers move a little closer, tighten a little more, and he can almost hear the gears turning, feel that pressure that comes before the release.

"Would it help if I said I wouldn't mind?" Jack asks. "I'd forgive you for it. I'm sure Lisa's forgiven you too."

Maybe it was Jack saying her name that had done it, but Ianto let out a shout of rage and the gun clicked, the trigger pushed, and for one horrified moment Ianto actually expects to see Jack drop dead.

Except it was out of bullets. Jack had used them all on Lisa, and hadn't bothered to reload.

Jack let's out a breath that isn't quite relief and Ianto stumbles back, dropping the gun as he does, sickened at what he'd almost done, what he'd done. If Jack had fired one less time at Lisa he'd be dead now himself.

"Feel better?" Jack asks quietly.

Ianto feels worse, if anything, and he's starting to think he's the monster, he's the villain--because villains often start out with the purest of motivations, love or loss or grief, and they don't always get that they're the bad guys at first, sometimes they still believe they're the one that's right. Maybe that's him. Maybe that's what he's become. Him and the basement and his Frankenstein bride.

He laughs then, a little crazily, and crumbles to his knees. Jack walks over and Ianto watches his feet, one step after another, measured almost perfectly, silent even though he's wearing heavy boots. This is it. He's given Jack more than enough reason by now, and he closes his eyes, and waits for Jack to reload.

Jack just kneels down beside him instead. "It's okay," he says. "I didn't actually think you'd do it, but it's fine, it's done. If you still want me dead you can always try again tomorrow."

Ianto lets out a sob that gets caught halfway finished in another hacking laugh, and he doesn't know what the hell Jack is trying to teach him. Maybe he was just holding up a mirror, showing Ianto how out of control he really was--but he put his life at risk to do it, because Ianto's almost certain Jack was as surprised as he was that there were no bullets left.

Jack presses his lips briefly to Ianto's burning forehead. "I just had to know if you really could have done it."

"Now you know," Ianto whispers. "And you know what you have to do."

"Yeah," Jack says. "Lock up the gun case, for awhile at least."

"You're supposed to kill me," Ianto says, breathing hard, trying to be still and still and still--but his heart is pounding, and he can't stop that.

"You want to be punished, Ianto, and this is the worse punishment," Jack tells him, slipping away, out of his reach. "Believe me, I know."
Tags: jack/ianto, preslash, torchwood
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