Jul. 11th, 2009

captgreatcoat: (Sometimes he can't cope)
It's been four days since he last saw Ianto. He's been willing to give Ianto a bit of space. He knows that sometimes he needs space, so why shouldn't Ianto, after everything that's happened in the past month? In giving Ianto space, he's also giving himself a chance to think over things alone, things he doesn't want to tell to Ianto. Things about his past, about his memories, things he can't share for fear of what Ianto will think. For fear of what sharing them will mean.

If he were anything resembling a proper - there's no real word for what he is - a proper friend and lover, he'd let Ianto in, go seek him out and talk to him about those things. Accept the comfort that Ianto would inevitably offer, and let him try to soothe his troubled mind.

That's exactly why he can't do it.

But he doesn't want to shut himself off from Ianto entirely. He misses his company, misses his presence beside him at night, misses the reassurance just being with him offers. If Ianto's staying away out of respect or maybe annoyance at the fact that Jack doesn't want to talk, he knows it's up to him to make the first step. So he called room 1541 yesterday, and again today, and left messages. Ianto's not answering, and he hasn't called back. That's unlike him, unless he's far more annoyed than Jack realised.

There's no answer when he knocks on the door of room 1541, either.

"Ianto?"

There's still resolute silence.

Perhaps Ianto's out, in the restaurant or lounge or out clothes-shopping or walking or something. But Ianto can't avoid him forever; Jack can just wait for him here. He has to come back to his room sometime. Jack digs into his pocket for the key for 1541 he got from the front desk at the same time Ianto got his key for 657.

He opens the door and strides into the room, but his steps falter and something twists deep in his stomach when he looks around. There wasn't much in this room; most of Ianto's belongings had migrated down to Jack's room in the days after Ianto arrived. But there were obvious signs the room was inhabited, like neatly folded shirts and suits, a couple of pairs of shoes by the door, some books on the desk.

But there's nothing here. No clothes, no books, no sign of any human occupation. When he steps into the bathroom and looks through the cupboards, there's nothing there except the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner and bars of soap provided by the hotel.

The room's been completely cleaned out.

Suddenly, this is no longer just a matter of Ianto giving him space or being annoyed with him. No matter what Jack did, Ianto wouldn't just move rooms without telling him.

This can't be happening.

It's fifteen floors to the ground floor of the hotel, but he runs down the stairs rather than taking the lift. He can't bear the thought of standing still and just waiting for the lift to arrive, or then of just standing in it waiting for it to reach the ground floor. His breath is short by the time he arrives in the lobby. He crosses the distance from the stairwell to the reception desk in moments and places both hands firmly on the desk on either side of the computer screen.

"I need to know where Ianto Jones is. His room's been cleaned out. 1541. Did he swap rooms?"

For a long moment, there's no reaction from the computer screen. If it weren't for the fact that he knows how good the speech-recognition software is, he'd think the computer didn't register the questions.

Then the answer comes.

No guest by that name registered.

Jack's chest tightens. This can't be happening, not here, not now. He needs Ianto.

"What?" Jack's voice is low and quiet, but there's an undercurrent of absolute fury in it.

"What do you mean? He was in room 1541."

The text vanishes. And then more text flashes across the screen.

No guest by that name registered.

"Of course there is," he growls. "I should know, dammit, I've been with him just about every night."

No guest by that name registered.

His head drops and he stares down at the computer screen between his hands. No. Having Ianto was the one thing that made this place bearable. Somehow he's been managing, with Ianto to convince him it will be all right, with Ianto's faith that they'll get back home. He can't lose him.

(He loves him. He can't lose everything he cares about and everything he's built and the man he loves. Not again.)

Ianto must have gone home, tried the computer in that little room and found it worked. Or been sent home by whatever or whoever is running this place. Perhaps ... Jack's head snaps up and he stares across at the door that leads to that room. If Ianto's gone, then maybe ...

He's barely conscious of his steps as his feet lead him across to the room and through the door. He presses his hand to the screen, breath catching in his throat in anticipation. Please work.

WELCOME, HARKNESS, JACK, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO TODAY?

It's hard to be patient while the computer pauses and processes and gathers whatever damn information it needs, but he tries, and he doesn't make any snappish comments in reply to the question this time.

NO DESTINATIONS AVAILABLE.

Jack braces himself against the wall, resting clenched fists against the metal. He closes his eyes and presses his forehead to his fists, breath shaking.

Ianto's gone. Might have been gone for days. And Jack has no way to find out where he's gone, if he's been sent home, if he went of his own accord, if the time travel device this place uses malfunctioned ... and no way to get out of here to find him.

Try as he might to stop them, tears well beneath his eyelids. He screws up his face.

"Not again," he moans into the wall.

Not when he's spent the past month letting himself lean on Ianto to help him through this. Not when he's stranded here, without a way to get back to the time and place he's come to think of almost as home. To the people he's come to think of as family.

This place has taken so much away from him. Now it's taken Ianto, too.

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Captain Jack Harkness

July 2014

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