Betas: Many thanks to the wonderful lionessvalenti, who offered invaluable advice while I was writing this, and the most excellent used_songs, who always knows exactly the right suggestions to make.
Summary: Set after the events of Lost Souls: Gwen tries to fix a luggage mix-up, and discovers that Ianto doesn't want to be alone right now.
Disclaimer: RTD and the BBC own Torchwood.
Word Count: Approx 2,150 words.
Gwen was about to knock on the hotel room door for the second time when it finally swung open. The room inside was dark, the curtains drawn, and she saw Ianto squinting at her from inside the door, his eyes clearly needing to adjust to the brightly lit corridor.
“Ianto, hi,” said Gwen. “Look, there’s been a bit of a—”
Gwen broke off as she took in Ianto’s unusually dishevelled appearance. His hair was messed up, he’d dispensed with his waistcoat and tie at some point, and his shirt was untucked and only half-buttoned. Bare feet peeked out from beneath his trousers. She hadn’t seen him that undone since she’d caught him and Jack—
“Oh, god!” Gwen’s eyes opened wide. “I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”
“What?” Ianto blinked and ran a hand through his hair. “No, I was just—just trying to rest a bit. Not that it was doing much good.”
“Ah,” said Gwen softly. Their Swiss adventure hadn’t been easy on any of them; she could understand that rest wouldn’t come easily. “I didn’t wake you then?”
Ianto shook his head. “No.”
“Uh... would you like to come in?” asked Ianto. He turned without waiting for her reply, and switched the light on as he stepped back into the room. Gwen followed, dragging the small suitcase she’d taken from her own room behind her.
“Where’s Jack?” Gwen asked as she scanned the room.
Ianto shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “He... he needs to be on his own sometimes. He’ll be back when he’s ready.”
“I see,” said Gwen, not missing the hint of frustration in Ianto’s voice.
“Anyway,” Ianto continued, clearly wanting to change the subject, “what can I do for you, Gwen?”
“There’s been a bit of a mix-up is all,” said Gwen. “Jack’s suitcase got sent up to my room by mistake. I thought you might have my luggage in here?”
“Is that yours?” said Ianto, pointing towards a light blue backpack standing in the corner.
“That’s the one!” Gwen smiled, relieved that it hadn’t been lost. “Honestly, you’d think in a posh place like this, the staff would get it right.”
“They did get it right, actually,” said Ianto, sitting down on the end of the bed. “Martha booked this room for the Welsh ambassador and his wife. Technically, Jack should be in your room.”
“That would explain it, then.” Gwen found herself giggling suddenly, and Ianto looked up at her curiously.
“The look on Jack’s face when Martha introduced him as your assistant,” Gwen explained. “I thought he was going have a paroxysm.”
“I think the bit about you being my wife bothered him more,” said Ianto wryly. “If it wasn’t Jack that we’re talking about, I’d say it made him jealous.”
“And that would be why you played it up so much, I suppose? Taking my arm and all that?”
“All part of the job,” said Ianto with a brief nod.
“Oh, come on, admit it, Ianto,” said Gwen, perching herself beside him on the bed. “You enjoyed it.”
“Well...” Ianto smiled at her. “Maybe just a bit.”
“And I made a very convincing wife, I’m sure,” said Gwen, grinning back at him.
“My dear, you were spectacular,” said Ianto in a mock-suave tone. Then he laughed depreciatively. “Jack can pull that sort of thing off much better than me.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Gwen. “I think you made a very dashing pretend-husband.”
Ianto ducked his head shyly. “Thanks.”
Gwen looked at Ianto fondly as they sat in silence for a few moments. She still felt a little cold when she let herself think of how close she’d come to losing him earlier, so soon after Tosh and Owen. But here he was, solid and real—and if he still looked a little paler than usual, well, he would recover from that.
“Lisa and I were going to get married,” said Ianto suddenly. “We’d talked about it, anyway.”
Gwen felt her breath catch. “I’m sorry, Ianto.” She reached over and took his hand. “This must have been so hard for you today.”
“It’s okay.” He closed his eyes briefly. “It feels like she died such a long time ago now.”
“I suppose it was,” said Gwen quietly, remembering how young he’d looked when she’d first met him.
“I thought I heard her voice today, and I realised...” His voice trailed off, and he looked away.
At first, Gwen thought that Ianto wasn’t going to answer. She knew that look, the way his face shut down when he didn’t want to talk anymore. But those creatures inside the Large Hadron Collider must have shaken him even more than she realised, because moments later he began to speak.
“It’s just... I can barely remember what it was like, to have someone like that.”
“Oh, Ianto,” said Gwen, squeezing his hand, “you have Jack, don’t you?”
Ianto sighed. “I don’t think anyone has Jack. Not really.”
Gwen opened her mouth to protest, but the words caught in her throat. After all, Jack wasn’t here, was he? “I guess not,” she said.
Ianto looked so utterly miserable that Gwen leaned in towards him, intending to plant a kiss on his temple. But, as she drew closer, Ianto turned his head towards her, and somehow she found herself kissing his mouth instead, pressing her lips against his.
His mouth was soft on hers, and in those first few seconds she leaned into him instinctively, barely realising what was happening. His hand came up to cradle the back of her head, and she raised her own free hand to his neck. It was only when his tongue gently darted forward past her lips that both of them jerked back away from each other.
Several long seconds passed as they stared at each other, eyes wide.
“God, Ianto, what was that?” said Gwen finally.
Ianto blushed and looked away from her. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean—it was—I just...”
“Ianto?” Tentatively, Gwen reached out to him again, laying a hand on his forearm.
“I—maybe you should go,” he said quietly.
“Is that what you want?” asked Gwen, pulling her arm away.
Ianto nodded, and Gwen began to stand. “Okay then,” she said.
“It’s just—” Ianto began as Gwen took her first step away. “I just wanted to be close to someone,” he said. “And Jack can’t—not right now, not today. At least not with me.”
Gwen turned back to Ianto, knowing that there were at least a hundred reasons that she should just leave now, as Ianto had asked her to. Most of those reasons involved Rhys, and the promise she’d made to herself after she’d ended her affair with Owen, the promise she’d kept even when she knew she could have broken it with Jack, so very easily.
But something in Ianto’s voice, something in the way that he’d kissed her, stopped her from turning away again. Jack always said that she was the one who kept them human, and it was clear that Ianto, who’d almost died today, who’d been haunted by the voices of Lisa and Tosh and Owen, needed someone to do that for him right now.
“Ianto, I—” Gwen began. “I can stay if you like. If you need me to.”
Ianto looked up at her. “What for?”
Gwen sat back down beside him. “This,” she said. She raised a hand to his face, and turned it towards her, and kissed him purposefully this time, her lips opening on his. After a moment’s hesitation, she felt him respond easily, sweetly, his tongue causing her body to glow with unexpected warmth as it teased her upper lip.
When they pulled away from each other—slowly this time—Ianto let his forehead rest against hers.
“Jack could come back any time, you know,” he said.
“I know,” said Gwen. “And if he does, I’ll let him know exactly what I think of him running off to brood on rooftops when he’s needed elsewhere.”
“Rhys is for me to worry about, not you,” said Gwen firmly, pushing any remaining doubts away. “We won’t let this go too far,” she said. “And it’s just this one time. But you... you need someone.”
Rhys would never understand, Gwen knew that, but this was a work thing, a Torchwood thing, and like so much of her work, it wasn’t something she could explain or justify; it just was.
Ianto drew in a deep breath. “Okay.”
He kissed her again then, harder this time, but not roughly, and she closed her eyes, giving herself over to it, letting him pull her down onto the bed as his hand found its way to her breast, hooking a leg around his thigh when he drew her closer.
It didn’t surprise Gwen that he undressed her as methodically as he did everything else, starting with her boots, and ending with her blouse, and she knew that it shouldn’t surprise her that his hands and his lips seemed to set fire to her skin either, because he’d learned from Jack after all. She found herself gasping as he ran his tongue along her thigh, moaning as his hands caressed her belly. Her hands fumbled with his buttons, with his trousers, trying to get at his skin, to get at every inch of him. It was only when his hands began to tug at her underpants that she remembered to slow down.
“No,” she said, trying not to sound breathless. “Have to leave them—can’t—”
Gwen found that she couldn’t quite manage a coherent sentence, but Ianto seemed to understand her meaning. His hands stilled, and he looked up at her, flushed and waiting. After a moment, she reached out to him, and pulled him up, so their faces were aligned, and she kissed him again before rolling him onto his back and straddling him.
She moved on top of him, acutely aware of his erect cock beneath her, warm and solid through the damp layers of cotton between them. Its head poked out of the top of Ianto’s briefs, and when he bucked between her legs it was tempting, oh so tempting, to push their underwear aside and take him inside her. But the part of her brain that was still thinking rationally knew that would be a bad idea, because if she let that happen, then it would be easier to do this again another time, back in Cardiff, where Rhys needed her and everything seemed far more real.
Instead, she quickened her pace, increasing the friction between them, hoping desperately that what she was doing here was helping Ianto, helping him forget, helping him feel wanted. She trailed her fingers across his stomach, and Ianto raised a hand to her crotch, slipping his thumb between their bodies, increasing the pressure on her clit. Gwen groaned approvingly, and they moved together like that, increasing in speed until she gave a low yell and orgasm broke over her in a wave of heat. She was still trembling with it when Ianto’s hands grabbed her hips, and he thrust against her with short hard movements, until he, too, shuddered and came.
Breathing heavily, Gwen rolled off Ianto and lay back on the bed beside him as her heartbeat slowed. She closed her eyes, but she could still hear Ianto moving beside her, sitting up and reaching across to the tissues on the bedside table, cleaning himself up. She felt the mattress shift as he lay down again, and moments later, his hand slipped into hers.
“Thanks,” he said.
“No problem,” Gwen replied. Then she opened her eyes and turned her head to look at him. “Ianto... you know that later—I mean, we can’t—”
He nodded. “I know,” he said. “Once you leave the room, this never happened.”
Gwen smiled and gave his hand one final squeeze before swinging herself off the bed and retrieving her clothes from the floor.
From the corner of her eye, Gwen saw Ianto slip between the rumpled bedsheets and pull the covers up to his shoulders. As she dressed, she heard his breathing slow down, and when she finally turned back to him, he appeared to be sleeping. She tried to make as little noise as possible as she retrieved her bag from the corner, and then hesitated for a second before tip-toeing across to the bedside and pressing her lips to his forehead.
It was tempting to stay here a little longer, watching over him, but she knew that if she did, pretending to forget would be a lot more difficult. So Gwen slung her bag over her shoulder instead, and turned towards the door.
“Goodnight, Ianto,” she whispered.
He didn’t reply, but she thought she saw him smile slightly.
Gwen switched off the light and left the room, as quietly as she could.