Pairing/Character: Jack/Ianto, team.
Warnings: D/s relationship.
Rating: NC-17 (just in case)
Summary: No one can keep up the pretence forever and really, Jack and Ianto aren't even trying.
Author's Notes: So I’ve been asked – ever since I established the D/s relationship for Jack and Ianto that I still keep up – to write a fic about the way that affects them on the field. And, given that the requests came from several different fanfiction platforms, I decided it was time to get around to writing it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and, as always feedback is appreciated!
Also posted on FF.net and AO3.
Jack poured the last remains of the alien evaporating spray they had over the massive body of the predator that they’d been chasing for the bigger part of the day, and then threw a look at his team. Owen and Tosh had somehow limped to the SUV – after Owen had taken care of Ianto’s gunshot wound – and Ianto himself was kneeling on the ground next to Gwen, wrapping a bandage around her knee.
“Better take the back seat,” Jack heard him say. “Easier that way; Owen said that you’ve got to keep it closer to yourself.”
“Excuse me,” Jack called out as he got closer to him, “who died and made you the boss?”
“You did,” Ianto countered, earning a weak chuckle out of Gwen. Jack glared at him, well-aware that he’d walked into that one and still preferring not to delve on the double nature of it, and then stood in Ianto’s way as the young man made for the driver’s seat.
“No way,” he said, pushing him towards the other end of the SUV. “You’re not driving in that state.”
“Driving the team around is in my contract as it so happens,” Ianto grumbled, reluctantly climbing in the passenger’s seat. Jack raised an eyebrow, ignoring the curious looks from the team for the time being.
“Wanna talk about your contract, do you? Because, as it so happens, nearly dying in the field has no part in it.”
“You’ll find it after ‘building maintenance’ and ‘Archive updating’, actually,” Ianto retorted. “It’s labelled under, ‘and everything else up to and including Torchwood’s ultimate goal of protecting the peoples of Great Britain and the world’.”
Jack decided not to grace that with a response but focused on the road instead. “Once we get back to the Hub,” he said through gritted teeth,” I want us to have a few minutes of damage assessment and then everyone can go home.”
There were no protests, just a few suspicious looks, and soon enough they ended up back in their base. They’d done this before and everyone knew how, so, before Jack had ever opened his mouth, they’d lined up in front of him. Owen and Tosh would be fine, he decided, with a few days without anything too strenuous. He took Gwen’s gun from her hands and held it up in disdain. It was half-dissolved by the acid the alien had spit at Gwen. It hadn’t reached her, luckily, but it’d done enough damage to show just how dangerous it could be.
“Ianto, Gwen’s going to need a new gun,” he said and Ianto nodded.
“On it. I’ll find her the same one if we have it in the armoury and if not, I’ll look into getting it from somewhere else.”
“You do that.” He stepped in front of Ianto himself. “Give me your gun.”
Ianto frowned. “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he said slowly. “Gwen’s not used to my gun, Jack, and it’s really no trouble to find her–”
“I don’t think you understand,” Jack cut him off, voice as sharp as possible. “I don’t want to give your gun to Gwen; I just want to take it. I’m relieving you from field duty.”
Well, he’d finally found a way to keep the team completely quiet, Jack thought ruefully. That was, of course, until the comments began. Ianto started it with, “Jack, don’t you think that’s a bit over the top–” and was quickly followed by Gwen.
“Jack, this is ridiculous,” she put in. “We all get hurt and it’s not like it was his fault.”
“Thank you, Gwen,” Jack acknowledged without facing her, then held out his hand. “Ianto?”
He knew that it would be near impossible to have Ianto part with his gun. The Walther PPK had come with him from London- although Jack had no clue how he’d actually acquired it there – and he rarely left it at home, no matter how mundane their mission was. He was almost as obsessively focused on it as Jack was on his Webley, so the Captain wasn’t really surprised when Ianto emptied the magazine in his outstretched hand without breaking eye contact and then tucked it back into its holster. “That good enough for you?”
“Perfect.” Jack gave him a tight smile. “Dismissed. Everyone can go home now.”
Jack sighed at the storm that quickly rose in front of him despite the fact that he’d expected it to happen. Owen shrugged and made to leave while Gwen and Tosh engaged in a rather loud protest of everything said in the last five minutes. Fortunately, Ianto was the one who reacted to it first.
“It’s all right,” he said, raising his voice enough to be able to speak over them. “The Captain is just following the protocol, I suppose.” When the girls both gave him an incredulous look, he turned to Jack with a bright smile. “It’s a good thing I can do the same, right?”
“What do you mean?” Jack asked suspiciously, taking an instinctive step back. There was something slightly frantic in Ianto’s eyes that usually showed up when he was upset, determined, or both. It didn’t take long for him to realise that it was both, not with the smile that still accompanied said look.
“Believe it or not, Captain, the original protocols of Torchwood Three include a rule regarding situations like this. If an employee has been denied the right of doing something related to their job, the current leader is obliged to set up a test for them – a skill assessment of sorts – and define the rules. If the one being assessed follows all the instructions and wins, he regains the rights which had been previously taken away.”
Jack had to admit that he was a little taken aback. It wasn’t that he was surprised that Ianto had somehow got hold of that information – it was his job to snoop around the past of Torchwood, after all – but it was definitely unexpected to see Gwen nodding in support to it.
“And since when do we follow the rules Emily Holroyd set up, if I may ask?”
“Since you left,” Gwen said, tone scathing. “We wanted to know who had to be the leader, so we researched everything we could. And he’s telling the truth. There’s really a procedure that can do just that.”
If Jack hadn’t been as angry and confused by his own emotions as he was, he might have wondered when had this happened. When had Ianto managed to seamlessly become a part of the team to the point where they would defend his right to be a field agent?
“Okay,” he said at last. “Fine. All thanks to yourselves, you can now stay an additional hour or two while Ianto tries to prove he’s capable.” To prove that he still has the power, no matter where we are. Jack couldn’t be sure whether the shiver he felt at that was one of relief or fear. He pointed a finger at his lover. “You – my office, now.”
Ianto dutifully followed him up the stairs and, once the door was closed, Jack crowded him against the wall. “What is this about?”
“Funny, I could ask you exactly the same thing.” Ianto pushed him away roughly. “What the hell was that for, Jack? I became a field agent when you weren’t here and I have no intention of going back to the sidelines because you can’t handle a little worrying.”
“This isn’t about me worrying,” Jack insisted. It wasn’t a lie – it was only partially about worry, even if the fear could be suffocating sometimes. “This is about you ignoring my authority whenever you get the chance. Giving orders and–”
“I’m not giving orders to anyone, Jack,” Ianto hissed, his eyes still burning. “I’m trying to help where I can. I’m not forcing anyone to follow my lead.”
Jack cowered a little under the implication. “This isn’t about us,” he managed at last, trying to keep his voice from shaking.”
“Isn’t it?” Ianto raised an eyebrow. “And what is it about then, hm? If it isn’t about me supposedly undermining your authority, then what? I’m trying to help. You can’t take care of four other people, Jack. We’ve got heads on our shoulders.”
“How many times has this happened?” Jack’s question, much to his mortification, sounded almost like a plea. “You, giving orders when you think you know what’s best; don’t you ever stop and think that I can’t help but react?”
It hurt having to say it, but it was still a relief. They’d agreed long ago – actually, when they’d fallen into the roles they’d subconsciously had had since the very beginning – that they wouldn’t let it get in the way of work. At work, Jack was still Ianto’s boss, no matter what they did behind closed doors, but it was getting increasingly hard to do it. It was one of the reasons why Jack didn’t really like taking him out in the field – it was messing with his head to have to give orders when Ianto was there and it definitely was difficult to not look up to him to make a choice whenever one had to be made.
It was humiliating, for one. He’d always been aware of his– urge to follow someone else’s command, but he’d never dared to act on it. Sure, he’d done scenes – plenty of them – but never anything full-time, and it was scaring the hell out of him. Ianto had seen through it – had seen through Jack himself, really – and the Captain had thrown himself in his arms and his feet at the first opportunity, not paying any mind to all the things that could go wrong.
Ianto’s voice shook him from his further descent into misery and the younger man drew him in his arms, carding his fingers through the strands of Jack’s hair. He felt himself melt against his body but suddenly couldn’t be less bothered about it. That was both the best and the worst part of it all – when Ianto held him like that, it didn’t feel like anything could go wrong. He let out a helpless sob. “I’ve always known there was something wrong with me, but this–”
Ianto pulled away and held him at an arm’s length. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Jack,” he said, voice hard. “We’ve talked about this. There’s nothing wrong with how you feel. You’re supposed to know that! You’re the one who always lectures us all about how backwater this century is, aren’t you?”
“This is different,” Jack said, clearing his throat. “It’s– it’s all in my mind, and I get that, but when I try to resist it, it just doesn’t work. I don’t think that’s changed much through the centuries.”
It almost hurt, sometimes, how much he depended on this. Ianto always tried to downplay it; make it seem as if he wasn’t really doing that much, and Jack was too embarrassed to admit what the significance of it was, but the effect was always the same. It made him feel cherished in a way in a way that few other things had, and Ianto’s next words made him believe that even more.
“What you feel is perfectly natural, Jack. You’re a great leader– yes, you are,” he insisted when Jack have a snort of disbelief. “You might not be good at giving orders – and we might not be good at following them – but you’re brilliant. You’re smart and beautiful and amazing and we all trust you. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not – we believe in you.”
Jack looked up at him from where he was still huddled against Ianto’s side. Being in this position always made him feel ridiculously small despite the fact that they were the same height. “I appreciate it,” he said and it came every bit as earnest as he’d intended it to be. He sent a small smile Ianto’s way. “You know, I wasn’t actually intending to stop you from doing field work.”
His lover returned the smile along with a caress down Jack’s cheek. “I know.”
“I was just angry,” he continued. “I was scared, because I didn’t know how you were supposed to react. I didn’t know what to do.”
“I told you, Jack.” The hand stroking his face wrapped around Jack’s shoulder and, just for a moment, everything else disappeared, including the fact that the entire team was still downstairs waiting for him to make a decision. “I don’t want to give you orders unless you ask me to. Otherwise I’m just trying to give you what you need.”
“You are what I need,” Jack assured him, dropping his eyes again as Ianto’s arms tightened around him. For as long as I can keep you.