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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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The Clash of Worlds: The Fellowship of Necessity
Submitter: Date: 2011/10/30 Views: 304
Chapter 8

Tosh and Owen stopped outside Jack and Ianto's room when they heard raised voices and leaned against the wall to wait it out. They knew what it would be, again. Everyone except Ianto had figured out that Jack thought that having Ianto divorce him over it and never speak to him again was preferable to seeing him die. For some reason, Ianto hadn't yet called him a twat and walked, but that could be partly due to the fact that self-preservation and a desperate desire not to lose Ianto to anything had kept Jack from being particularly patronising, up to now at least.

When they heard the thump of a fist hitting a jaw, clear even through the door, Owen pushed the door open and walked in. Jack was sitting on the bed with the fingers of one hand pressed to his jaw, looking surprised and tired and sad and also slightly hopeful. Ianto was glaring at him, as tense as a spring, and Owen had to catch him and turn him back into the room when he tried to stride out. "Tosh, close the door, and stay on this side of it."

She shut it firmly and was leaning against it with her arms folded when he glanced back at her, so he shoved Ianto on the bed next to Jack and mirrored her pose right in front of them, watching as Jack forewent probing his tender jaw to reach out to Ianto, who batted him off. "Grow up, kids," he snapped. "Ianto, will you just accept that Jack's going to keep trying to protect you until he can't any more. Jack, will you please spare yourself a broken jaw and put up with the fact that he's not letting you go off alone?"

They both looked away from each other, one defeated and one angry. Jack was the first to sag, even further as it happened, and sigh. "I'm sorry. I just..."

"I'm not a child, Jack. I get to make my own choices. I've made my own choices," he stressed without looking around.

"I know," he dropped his hands between his knees and didn't look at anyone. "But can't I have credit for caring if you live or die?"

"Jack..." Ianto buried his face in his hands and Owen relaxed slightly. "What do we do now?"

"We go to Geneva," Owen told them firmly. "All of us. And we take it from there. One day, one step at a time. And we keep each other safe, right?"

"Owen..."

"You're going to need a real doctor on this mission, quest, thing," he pointed out.

"So why are you coming, Owen?" Ianto asked caustically.

Jack looked up at Owen, opening his mouth to protest, but then nodded and kept his head down. "Yeah."

"You don't need to sound so defeated, Jack," Tosh murmured by the door.

"How else am I supposed to sound, Tosh?" he demanded, standing up. Owen took a step back as Jack towered over him again, anger flaring slightly. "It would be nice if occasionally you'd all accept that I can afford to throw my life away and not insist on throwing yours away too, but I don't think you'll actually learn that soon enough."

Tosh saw the look in his eyes and stepped out of the doorway. "We'll be here."

He nodded at her once and left without saying anything else, so Owen sank onto the bed next to Ianto. "You don't think it might be an idea for him to win this one?"

"And what, die here instead?" Ianto sighed. "With no guarantees on my survival anywhere, I'm just going to stay as close to him as I can. He just swings between understanding that and mindfucking fear."

"He cares about you, Ianto," Tosh pointed out. "He loves you. He's just not very good at it."

"I know, I know. I'm just... God, I shouldn't have hit him, but... I'm going after him," he stood up and glared at Owen who moved between him and the door. "Owen?"

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"Yes," he pushed past him, rolling his eyes. "I need to give him the opportunity to thump me back."

"Remember that he heals faster than you," Owen called out after him.

Ianto found Jack in the darkened common room, sitting at the counter with a bag of frozen peas pressed against his jaw. After a glance, unreadable in the darkness, he went back to staring at the wall, only a slight tension across his shoulders showing that he was aware of Ianto's continuing presence as he approached. "I'm sorry," he whispered against the back of Jack's neck. "Let me see?"

With a sigh, Jack pulled the peas away and tilted his head. The dim light from the door and the open freezer weren't enough to show details, just the shadows of Jack's face throwing his features into a strange relief because of the angle, but the darkening bruise on his jaw was visible. Ianto leaned in and kissed it lightly, then took the peas from Jack and held them in place himself, guiding Jack's head to rest against his shoulder. They sat like that in silence, just the sound of their breathing and the crinkle of the bag of peas whenever Ianto shifted it, and the occasional drip as crystallised ice melted onto the floor. Jack was the first to break the silence with a sigh, pushing Ianto's hand away to probe the bruise gently. "I can't feel it any more, and those peas are really..."

"Cold, damp, lumpy?" Ianto set them down on the counter and flexed his hand, letting Jack take it and manoeuvre it when he reached out. Jack squeezed the heel of his palm between thumb and finger, then guided the hand against his chest and flattened his own on top of it. "Frozen peas tend to be like that."

"You have cold hands."

"And you have a sore jaw, both because I lost my temper when I shouldn't have," he slid his arm further across Jack's chest and held onto him tighter. "Why do you put up with me?"

"Same reason you won't go home, I reckon," Jack sighed and leaned back into him even more. "Can't let a moment slip away."

Ianto nodded and his cheek rubbed against Jack's. "You drive me mad, that's probably how I cope."

"I think I might have been already mad," Jack chuckled and it rumbled against Ianto's chest. "I don't know though, mad seems like a nice enough place to be."

They gathered in the foyer of the main building as darkness fell outside, talking in hushed voices without realising it. The Doctor was the last to appear, coming from a closed meeting with the Brigadier, Colonel Odooyo and Captain Mace. He looked tired as he looked over them, his gaze lingering on each of them, but then the tiredness vanished when he shouldered his bag and jogged down the steps to stand directly in front of Jack. "Your adventure, Jack," he smiled and raised an eyebrow. "We follow your lead."

He returned the smile and looked past the Doctor to the Brigadier, snapping to attention and saluting sharply. "Sir Alastair."

Alastair returned it and leaned heavily on his stick. "Good luck, all of you. Because God knows you're going to need it."

Jack turned to Ianto and smiled wryly, asking quietly, "Am I going left or right out of the door?"

"Left."

"Right," he straightened up and looked around at his newly formed group. "Let's go save the world."

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