Characters/Pairings: Pre Jack/Ianto, Jasmine
Word Count: ~900
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood.
Summary: Part of my pirate!Torchwood AU. In which Jack and Ianto talk about the past and come to terms with a crew member leaving.
Author’s Notes: So I wrote this about 4 months ago and then kept forgetting about it. I think it’s about time it saw the light of day. Thank you to morbid_sparks for the read-through.
“Here,” Ianto says, handing Jack a mug of coffee. Jack jumps slightly, but accepts the cup before turning back towards the horizon. There is a ship just barely visible, and Ianto knows it will have disappeared completely by morning.
“Shouldn’t you be asleep?” Jack asks without facing Ianto.
“I could ask you the same thing.” Jack hmmms in reply, blowing his coffee once before taking a sip. He glances sideways at Ianto and attempts to fake a carefree grin.
“Does Rhys know you’re the Midnight Thief who’s been breaking into his kitchen?”
“I’m not – that’s Owen and Adam. I’m not daft enough to steal biscuits and nobody else touches the coffee. As long as I clean up after myself Rhys turns a blind eye.”
Jack looks down into his coffee cup and sighs. “Why are you here, Ianto?”
Ianto frowns. “Where else would I be?”
“You know what I mean. Why are you talking to me? Shouldn’t you hate me like everybody else?” Jack sighs again. “I’m half-expecting a mutiny and to suddenly find myself thrown over-board.”
Ianto turns so he is now looking at Jack and leaning against the side of the ship. He uses one hand to hold his cup against his chest, the warmth bleeding through the thin material of his shirt, and squeezes Jack’s shoulder with the other. “She wanted to go, Jack. They’re her family.”
Jack doesn’t respond, but Ianto takes comfort in the fact that Jack has not moved away from Ianto’s touch.
“They’re also a bunch of cut-throat, blood-thirsty bastards who would sell their own mother for the right price.”
“You couldn’t force her to stay, Jack. Jasmine wanted to go with them.”
“I know,” Jack mumbles quietly.
“Her Grandmother, Estelle,” Jack says after several minutes of silence, “was my nanny when I was a kid. I ran away from home when I was 14, snuck onto a ship. I was lucky they didn’t just chuck me over the side. Instead the Captain, Doctor Smith, gave me a job. It was just scrubbing decks and being the general lackey, but I was at sea.
“I got my own ship when I was 23, just a tiny little thing. I took it home to show my Mom and brother, I thought they would be impressed, that they would see I was doing something with my life. I’ve not been home since; pirate is not the sort of respectable job my Mother had in mind for me.
“Estelle, on the other hand, insisted she was coming with me.” Jack smiles fondly into his cup. It’s a smile Ianto’s not used to, but he will be happy to see more of it. “She said I’d gotten too skinny and that I clearly needed somebody to keep an eye on me. I told her she was insane, and that a ship was no place to raise Jasmine. She told me I was talking nonsense and that being raised at sea had done her no harm. Her parents worked on Torchwood 1 before it sunk.” Jack adds at Ianto’s confused look.
“What happened to Estelle?” Ianto asks softly.
“I’m sorry,” Ianto says, squeezing Jack’s shoulder where his hand is still resting.
Jack nods and for the first time since they’d started talking, he turns to face Ianto. “I know it’s been hard for her here since Estelle died, but, I just...”
“You feel like you’ve lost the last piece of Estelle you had left?”
Jack sighs once again, for at least the third or fourth time – Ianto wonders when he started counting – and looks to the floor. “You think they’re right,” Ianto says quietly in amazement. “You’ve not been taking watch all night because you’re annoyed that you’re crew are giving you the silent treatment – it’s penance. Jack, you’re not a monster for letting her go, or for feeling this way.”
“She’s just gone 16, she’s still a kid,” Jack mutters, downing the last of his coffee and placing the cup on the deck of the ship before turning once again to face the horizon and the quickly disappearing ship.
“She’s old enough to make her own decisions,” Ianto replies, putting his own empty mug on the floor and turning himself so he and Jack are now standing side-by-side, their shoulders brushing together. “Besides, you just said you left home when you were 14!”
“....That was different. I was... and my family...”
“Sometimes,” Ianto replies, reaching across and squeezing Jack’s nearest hand. “Sometimes, you just have to let them go. She’ll be okay. She’s got a good head on her shoulders.”
“Yeah... Yeah, you’re probably right.”
They stand in silence for a few minutes more and watch as the ship containing Jasmine vanishes into the distance.
“You should go back to bed, it’s cold out here,” Jack says, pulling his long blue coat tighter around him to keep out the chill wind that has been steadily increasing. Ianto starts a denial about how he’s not that cold, really, but stops when a violent shudder causes Jack to give him a pointed look.
“What about you?” Ianto asks in return. “You can’t stay awake all night.”
“I’ll be fine.” Ianto doesn’t comment on the way Jack refuses to meet his gaze or the way his fingers tighten on the side of the ship.
Ianto nods silently, and with one final squeeze of Jack’s hand, he bends down to retrieve both their empty cups and slowly makes his way back below deck.
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