?

Log in

No account? Create an account
bluedrama

One for the Ages by chimosa (TW)

Title: One For the Ages
Author: chimosa
Fandom: Torchwood
Pairing: Jack/ Ianto
Rating: R
AN: I posted the first section of this…an embarrassingly long time ago. But I finally finished it, reworked the first part, so here it is in entirety. Enjoy!

Summary: "Can you imagine, looking as old as that in a matter of hours? Wrinkles and all?"






Of course, if it had been anyone else who'd taken a hit from alien technology and come out of it looking twenty years older, they would be scrambling to find a cure. Owen would be taking brain scans and Tosh would be typing away calculations. Ianto would be doing whatever needed to be done while Gwen probably held the person's hand and soulfully consoled with round-eyed empathy. At the least there would be a great deal more running about.

Instead, Jack sauntered in with all his usual coat-swirling and joke-telling and not a single mention was made of the silver threading through his thick, dark hair or the deep grooves at the corners of his mouth. Ianto stared open-mouthed. The tray in his hands swayed, threatening to spill the carefully prepared mugs of coffee, as the rest of the team traipsed silently behind him.

"Ah, coffee," Jack said as he spotted Ianto in the shadows, grinning his approval. "Good man."

Worldlessly, Ianto offered Jack his blue-striped mug.

****

"He says it's not particularly dangerous," Tosh comments in a hushed voice as she gingerly explored the bit of octagonal metal in her hands. Despite her words, Ianto's fingers itched to start combing the archives, the databases, the internet, the tabloids, religious texts, anything. The need to know was an addiction he fully blamed on Captain Jack Harkness and all his bloody secrets.

"Well," Gwen breathes, eyes glancing upward to Jack's office door. "Not for him, at any rate."

“Apparently the hit he took began the rapid aging process and after Jack dies he’ll revert back to the apparent age he started. Just like any other death, he says, just more… lingering.” Tosh paused, though contemplating her words or the alien tech in her hands it was hard to say. “Strange weapon, when you think about it. It’s not a particularly useful form of self defense, to rapidly age someone until they die of natural causes. Less immediate than a gun.”

“Maybe it’s more a form of mercy killing,” suggested Gwen hopefully. “Like when someone is in a coma and the issue’s quality of life?” The lilt in her tone suggested she was struggling to believe that herself.

“A death sentence without the messy electrocution bits more likely,” Owen commented darkly.

Green lights flash across the metal's worn sides and Ianto couldn't help but imagine it as a blink of agreement. His eyes narrowed suspiciously before taking a sip of his luke-warm tea.

"How long should it take, do you reckon?"

Tosh sighed, putting the alien sort-of weapon down on the table before rubbing her eyelids tiredly. "Ten days? A fortnight? It's hard to say but judging from how quickly he's changed over the last few hours I wouldn't guess any more than that." She shook her head in disbelief. "Can you imagine, looking as old as that in a matter of hours? Wrinkles and all?"

"As vain as he is you'd think he'd be more bothered. Or ordering us to buy some dye for those grey hairs." A mischievous smirk darted across Gwen's face as she leaned in. "Though, have to admit the salt and pepper does make him look dead sexy. Not that he wasn't before but now it's a more distinguished-and-proper sort," she giggled, glancing sideways at Ianto.

"Alright," Owen broke in as he drained his mug and slammed it on the table. "As much as I love to rate Jack's sex appeal- and believe me, I don't- I have an alien's innards to slice up."

***

Jack's hands on his shoulders pressed Ianto firmly down onto the conference table. He had hardly taken his next breath before Jack's knees had Ianto's thighs spread wide, skin sliding slickly across the recently polished surface. Sparing a brief glance to the cleaning supplies that'd crashed to the floor when Jack found him in the meeting room, he could see the glass cleaner seeping blue along the floor's cracks.

"It's after hours, Ianto," Jack panted before swooping down to suck stinging kisses to Ianto's collarbone. "That means no more cleaning."

"Just wanted to -oh- finish uh," Ianto lost track of his words when Jack's hungry mouth discovered the sensitive spot under his jaw and latched on. Jack chuckled at the sound. He mumbled something about beautiful and obsessive compulsive but anything more was lost to Ianto's skin. No matter what Jack teased, it wasn't Ianto's compulsions that had driven him to a tidying frenzy at four in the morning.

"I wasn't finished with you yet," Jack punctuated each word with a nip as he made his way down Ianto's splayed body.

Ianto used to be able to count on one hand the number of times he had seen Jack asleep and still have fingers to spare. But for the fifth time in as many nights, Jack had fallen asleep after shagging. Watching Jack lay limp and snoring had been unsettling. Unnatural. So Ianto had eased out from beneath Jack's possessive arm and sought solace in the pleasingly mindless task of de-cluttering Gwen's desk. And mopping the autopsy bay. And, of course, polishing the table.

The Hub's subtle light played across Jack's hair, the few strands of brown hardly noticeably amongst the shock of white. Ianto buried his hand in the thick coarseness, clutching when Jack's hot mouth surrounded his cock and greedily began to suck. A fingertip brushed Ianto's entrance.

By the time Jack had Ianto's knees pressed to his chest and was thrusting into him with the kind of grace borne from countless decades of practice, all Ianto's previously worries were effectively shagged from his mind. And when Jack went boneless after he came, gasped for breath unlike Ianto had heard from him, gasping like he really was as old as his appearance had become, Ianto ignored the tendrils of worry curling in his gut.

Instead he held Jack to his chest, sweaty and panting as he was, a finger tracing the deep lines of Jack's brow until his expression eased and his breath slowed to a light doze.

***

"Any severe headaches?"

"—no."

"Fatigue? Chest pains?"

"—no. no."

"Blood when you piss?"

"—noooooo—"

Ianto ran the rag in his hand back and forth across the autopsy bay's railing, his gaze locked on his task as though cleaning the rail was a duty that required full attention to detail. In actuality, Ianto was shamelessly eavesdropping on Jack's check up with Owen. Jack, on the other hand, was not even trying for subtle as he blatantly leered at Ianto, lounging topless on the examining table.

Owen looked up from his clipboard, "I'd ask about erectile dysfunction but you've already answered that one."

Ianto choked, scrubbing feverishly as Jack laughed. He confided to Owen in an exaggerated whisper. "It's those rubber cleaning gloves of his that do it for me. Once they come out-"

Jack's undershirt flying into his face muffled the rest of his words, "That's enough, get your kit on and get out."

"I'm sure that's not the first time you've said those words," Jack replied cheekily but obeyed, pulling his undershirt on and reaching for his deep blue button down.

"But I assure you I've never meant them more. Alright," Owen glanced at his notes. "You're going to need glasses if you have any desire to see for the next seven days, which is how long I give before your blood pressure explodes and you stroke out."

"He's got high blood pressure?" Ianto gave up the polishing and focused on Owen's words.

"Not a huge surprise for a man his age—"

"Hey," Jack warned, pointing his index finger into Owen's chest.

"But I'd suggest laying off the caffeine—"

"Yeah, right. No chance of that."

"—and the take away. Lower his sodium intake." Jack snorted at the suggestion but Ianto nodded. Jack might think he was in charge, but at the end of the day it was Ianto who took care of the team's dietary needs. He'd have to make a trip to storage and find the recipe book his mother had insisted on when he got his first flat. Ianto's disinterest in cooking had been a constant disappointment to her, she would be pleased to hear he finally had use for the book.

"And for God sake, lower your stress level before you keel over. I don't care what you say, chasing Weevils is not therapeutic."

***

Ianto transferred the serving tray to one hand, the dry, sweet scent of peppermint tea curling from the striped coffee mug. Between Owen’s rantings and Ianto’s glib sidelong comments Jack might have been bullied out of drinking actual coffee, but far be it for Ianto to convince him to change his habits enough to use a proper teacup. Jack Harkness, for all his talk of time wandering and his much-vaunted adaptability was still at his core a man profoundly prone to habit. Ianto rapped softly on Jack’s office door, pushing it open without waiting for a response. Jack was engrossed in paperwork, his bent head not moving as Ianto made his way to his side.

In the last couple days his dark hair had vanished, leaving a thick shock of white-and-silver in its wake. Thank Christ he hadn’t gone bald, though the mental image Ianto indulged in was enough to make him smirk, an expression Jack caught with a quizzical smile. Ianto shook his head; wouldn’t do to let Jack be privy to all his secrets. Jack accepted Ianto’s silence with a good-natured suit-yourself shrug, light glinting off the metal rim of Jack’s new spectacles.

Those had been less of a trial to get Jack to accept than expected, especially when Gwen had teased that all the squinting he was doing was probably making the lines around his eyes even more pronounced, which Tosh had followed up with an earnest, wide-eyed offering of her anti-age crème.

As Ianto set the tray down on Jack’s paper-strewn desk he glanced down, examining what Jack was working on. Expense reports, though the familiar formatting was the only indication of that. How Jack had made it through the Victorian era without proper penmanship was a question for the ages.

“Gwen was right,” Ianto offered along with the mug of tea.

“She has her moments,” Jack agreed, blowing on his drink with the kind of concerted effort men of a certain age tended to use. “About what?”

“The glasses,” Ianto said and Jack winced automatically at the reminder. “They do give you a certain distinguished look.”

“’Distinguished?’ I distinctly heard her say ‘dead sexy.’”

Which, to be fair, was what Gwen had taken to teasing behind Jack’s back since this whole mess had begun. Apparently, Gwen had a thing for older men.

“If you insist on eavesdropping every time we talk about you, sir,” Ianto started, touching the tip of a finger to the glasses in question. “You’re never going to get any work done.”

“That’s why I have you here, to keep me focused,” Jack said, tossing his pen aside with a flick, the next moment capturing Ianto’s wrist and pulling him halfway across his desk with a practiced maneuver. “Keep me on track.”

“Despite all evidence to the contrary,” Ianto sent a meaningful look to the papers his new perch was scattering.

“Contrary. Yeah, that’s a good word for you. Go on,” Jack goaded. “Say it again, you know what your vowels do to me.”

“There’s a good word for men your age,” Ianto teased, as Jack reeled him in even nearer. ’Lecherous.’ Shall I say that one again?”

“No need,” Jack assured as he angled his face upwards, drawing their lips together for a surprisingly gentle kiss, almost chaste, with only a slip of mischievous tongue as Ianto pulled away.

Jack buried his nose in the juncture of Ianto’s jaw. “Mmm,” he said taking a loud inhale, air drawing shivers across Ianto’s skin. “You smell like coffee.”

“Do I?” Ianto’s voice came out breathless, though he didn’t care much; Jack knew he tended to have that affect. Jack’s head came down on Ianto’s shoulder, a sudden, defeated weight. “God I miss coffee.”

“Drink your tea,” Ianto gently chided, hand affectionately brushing the nape of Jack’s neck before pulling away to stand.

“The things I do for you,” Jack groused before obediently grabbing the mug and taking a rough swig, maintaining eye contact all the while.

***

Ianto saw the cut of Jack’s silhouette sitting on a bench overlooking the water and called out his name.

He would recognize that figure instinctively in any circumstance, even as stooped as the posture had become over the course of a fortnight, though when the distant shadow failed to respond to his shout he wasn’t particularly surprised. Just as he wasn’t surprised when Jack hadn’t responded to his comm when the team realized they had lost track of him in the first place and began their hour long search of the Hub and the surrounding areas. Jack’s hearing had gotten progressively worse and to capture his attention Ianto had been forced to improvise around the subtler practices he had adopted over his tenure at Torchwood Three.

“Jack,” he said again as he laid a bracing hand on his shoulder, but that silver head remained firmly bowed, hands covering the deeply lined face that still shocked on occasion. “Jack, are you alright?”

“Got a headache,” came the grunted response.

Ianto settled onto the bench next to Jack, leaving his hand in place in firm support. It was probably a flight of fancy, but he imagined he could feel Jack had become more fragile from even that simple touch. “Take your time.”

“I could really use a perculator.”

Ianto waited a moment for the request to make sense to his mind but he couldn’t parse it out. He could feel his forehead creasing in a frown as he asked Jack to repeat himself.

“A percu…” he trailed off, raising his head as if he could follow the train of thought better if he looked for it. His jaw worked for a moment. “A perculator?”

His helpless, befuddled expression made Ianto’s throat go dry, a prickle that something was terribly wrong sparked across his skin but he kept his face neutral, bland. “Try that one again?”

“I. I need?” he halted, words slurring as he tried to force them out. “A percula- no. The boot. On the perculator- Where?”

Ianto raised his free hand to his ear, slowly, as if activating his comm might be the thing that sent Jack into a panic. “Owen. I found him. Could you come outside for a moment?”

“’Nto?”

“I’m here.”

(A stroke, Owen will diagnose later. A minor one, but somehow that lacks reassurance and Gwen gently steers a still-muddled Jack out of the Hub, probably with the intention of settling him in her apartment but Ianto thwarts that plan with a firm press of his flat’s key to her palm and printed directions there. He tells her to wait with Jack until he gets everything sorted for the night at the Hub, which ought to somewhat assuage her mother hen instincts. She seems about to protest but stops herself at the steady look Ianto levels at her and just nods in agreement.)

***

His flat was dark when he arrived, a strange eerie stillness to the place despite the faint strains of music rustling the air. Gershwin would be Ianto’s guess, though he could barely make any of it out. It’s what he had left Jack listening to that morning, at any rate. He slipped out of his shoes and padded softly to the bedroom, loosening his tie as he went.

Jack was in bed, which was where he tended to be in the days since his stroke. He appeared asleep, arms crossed loosely across his chest. Ianto took the moment to examine him from the doorway; to catalogue the changes that day had wrought.

“Gwen stopped by earlier,” Jack said, unmoving, eyelids still closed. “Rhys made soup, it’s in the refrigerator.”

Ianto didn’t say anything as he slid off his tie; gingerly he began work on unbuttoning his shirt. Sometimes he wondered how Jack always knew when he entered a room without looking, if he had ever started conversations into the air with nobody around. He could check the CCTV, do some research but he supposed it was best to leave Jack with some mystery.

As he was hanging his trousers in the closet Jack looked up, gaze runny. “Make sure you get the key to your flat back when this is all over. She’s probably walked into enough at work and I know how modest you are.”

“Someone has to be with you around,” and Jack smiled, though it didn’t alleviate the grey hue his skin had taken recently. Down to his pants Ianto tiredly stepped to the bed as Jack shifted to make room for him, movements slow and murky.

“How’s the shoulder?”

“Healing,” Ianto replied as he settled, eyes trained on the ceiling. He wasn’t angry at Jack, though he could understand why the others might he think he was. Weevil hunting wasn’t the sort of thing to be done on one’s own unless one happened to be immortal, but that’s what he had had to do since Jack was relieved of his Torchwood duties until he got sorted. “Go home and die it off,” was Owen’s official recommendation. Yes, Jack should have been there, but it was just as true that Ianto shouldn’t have tried it alone. The nasty bite he’d received before he had the damn thing bagged was just as much his own fault as anyone else’s.

“I should have…” Jack’s voice trailed off as it often did, his mind addled and wandering. “I. Thing is, this is the one death I never thought I’d have. Old age, in my sleep….”

Ianto let the silence linger, wondering if it wouldn’t be much longer now. He brushed his hand along the sunken plane of Jack’s chest, his ribcage, and waited it out. Eventually Jack seemed to rouse himself, eyes sliding sideways to catch Ianto’s.

“I know I could have been done with this days ago. Killed myself, got back to Torchwood, the Rift. Duty…” Ianto watched him lose the thread of thought, find it again. “I suppose it’s selfish. I’m a selfish man….”

This time Ianto brought him back by firmly palming his jaw line, meeting his gaze with a teasing demi-smile. “Is it everything you dreamed it would be?”

“And more,” Jack replied, smile relieved, which Ianto accepted with a nod, his hand slipping to the vulnerable curve of Jack’s throat.

He didn’t understand Jack’s fascination with death, his drive to collect it in all its forms. He didn’t have to. It was like so much that motivated the man: Jack wanted to do it, so Jack did it. Simple as that. And he had been at Jack’s side long enough to accept that as its own kind of understanding.

“I’m a selfish man,” he repeated, eyelashes fluttering closed when Ianto brushed strands of snowy hair from his temple.

“I already knew that,” Ianto whispered fondly and Jack softly chuckled as his breath deepened and he dropped into sleep.

Ianto indulged in the moment, tracing the deep crow’s-feet at Jack’s eye as the minutes clicked by, the melancholy strains of a clarinet washing across the room. There was more that needed doing, the lights were still on, the blinds needed to be drawn, and he ought to wash the dishes Gwen and Jack no doubt left in the sink but instead he closed his eyes and allowed the wet rattle of Jack’s breathing to lull him to sleep.

It was still dark out when Ianto woke hours later, disorientated by the music playing and the glowing lamp light. The ache of his shoulder wound was now throbbing. Sitting up, mindful of the sleeping weight at his side, Ianto made his way to the bathroom and the relief to be found in the medicine cabinet therein. Fuzzily he drank the tablets down with a glass of water and brushed his teeth.

It wasn’t until he switched off the stereo that he noticed the viscous wheeze had vanished from the room, replaced by the soft even inhales Ianto hadn’t heard in weeks.

And when he pressed his lips to the firm line of Jack’s, clear blue eyes, unlined by age, opened to meet his own.

End.


“And as birds seek refuge in the leafy recesses of a tree, feelings escape into the shaded wrinkles, the awkward movements, and inconspicuous blemishes of the body we love, where they can lie low in safety. And no passer-by would guess that it is just here, in what is defective and censurable, that the fleeting darts of adoration nestle.”
-A Berlin Chronicle Walter Benjamin

Comments

That's really lovely. I rather like the idea of Jack getting to leave peacefully in his sleep, just the once.
Thanks for reading! I'm happy you enjoyed it :-)
This is indeed a unique take on Jack's wish to die a "natural" death of old age. And Ianto's acceptance of Jack's decision to experience and "collect" death in all its forms is so touching and to me shows a deepening of their relationship more than anything else I've read.

Very nicely done and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks for sharing.
Yeah, it was something I thought would be interesting to tackle since he always gets the violent deaths. I'm relieved you thought so too, lol.

Re: nice

Oh really? Cool! Link me so I can check it out

Re: nice

ooooo nice! Thanks, now I have something to read tonight
I LOVED the story, but the quote at the end really got me... I'm all teary now, but in a good way. Thanks. :)
Thanks!! yeah i just got done reading a compilation of some of Benjamin's writing- some of it is astounding... some i think i need to reread cuz it went over my head.... but you should def check him out. A Berlin Chronicle is filled with all kinds of snippets of wonderful
That was probably the hardest, but easiest death for Jack. I do like that Jack got to actually live out his 'old age' in order to reset. The ending was so very lovely too. :)
I'm so happy you liked it!!! Thanks for readin
Oh, this was a really interesting idea! It was nice to see Jack get a chance at a peaceful death. Very bittersweet. Nice job. :)
Thanks! I'm glad I finally got around to finishing it! Its been languishing in my docs for too long
Oh wow ... but it must be weird for Jack to die so peacefully of old age to come back again, more so than dying violently, know how it could have been if ...

Fantastic.
Thanks!! I'm so happy you enjoyed this bizarre little idea of mine! :-)
Oh. He got to grow old with Ianto! This was astoundingly lovely, given its theme. Really enjoyed it.
Aw you're right he totally did! haha, I didn't think of it in quite that way before but thats so true! Thanks for reading
A really unique idea and I love it. Especially the moments in which Ianto cares for Jack. Thanks so much.
Oh good, I'm glad you enjoyed it- thanks for reading!!
This was absolutely beautiful. Excellent take on Jack, and I can so see him making this choice. Great job!
Thanks!! I got kinda worried about if he really would shirk his responsibilities with the rift and all to go through with this but then i was like hold on a sec- Captain Jack "Run-Towards-Funny-Sounds-and-Time-Traveling-Boxes" Harkness. Doing something selfish? Hells yeah, lol!
I enjoyed muchly. So in-character.
oh good! thanks for reading!
Lovely.

He didn’t understand Jack’s fascination with death, his drive to collect it in all its forms. He didn’t have to. It was like so much that motivated the man: Jack wanted to do it, so Jack did it. Simple as that. And he had been at Jack’s side long enough to accept that as its own kind of understanding.

That pretty much sums them up.
:-D Thanks!! Happy to hear your enjoyed it!
That was different ... and quite lovely.
Thank you
Thank *you* for reading it!!
It's a really well-thought-out idea, this. Having him get that experience and Ianto not having a problem with it.
Wistful and sad, but beautifully done with a touch of humor. Everyone very much in character.
Oh good! I've been sitting on it for quite a while so I"m happy it felt thought out (cuz it totally was, lol!)

Thanks so much for reading!!
Oh, I just love this. Knowing full well how weird this would sound to anyone but a TW fan, I'm so glad Jack got the kind of death he's hoped for, even if temporary.
Haha, yeah we probably read more deathfic in this fandom than in any other, lol. i'm happy you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for reading
name

June 2013

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      
Powered by LiveJournal.com