asra_fic: Ralph Clarke (Default)
[personal profile] asra_fic
Title: Have you ever seen the rain
Characters: Ianto/Jack
Rating: PG-13
Words: 2,007
Warnings/Spoilers: None.
Summary: How Ianto and Jack spend Ianto’s birthday.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Happy birthday, Ianto! (Belated, sorry.) A sequel to Leaves of Grass, vaguely inspired by CCR’s Have you ever seen the rain.

‘Anywhere?’ Ianto asks, looking at the vortex manipulator on Jack’s wrist.

‘Anywhere, any time,’ Jack confirms. ‘Where and when would you like to go?’

It’s a good idea, really, Jack thinks to himself, leaning back in his chair and linking his fingers behind his head, his eyes sparkling with delight and anticipation as he watches Ianto’s brow furrow with indecision: to spend some quality time together by engaging in a little time travel, so that there’s no danger of leaving the team short-staffed should the Rift throw up something unmanageable. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s Ianto’s birthday and Jack feels rather pleased with himself for having come up with yet another way to impress the young man.

‘Is this a one-time-only offer, sir?’ Ianto asks finally, carefully.

‘No,’ Jack says quickly, almost startled into silence at the unexpected question. ‘No, of course not. We can go on as many trips as you like. I’m surprised it didn’t occur to me before.’

‘Well, then. I’d like to go back to last night. To my flat.’

Jack blinks. ‘You can go anywhere you like, to whatever time you like, and you want to go back to your flat?’

Ianto nods. ‘We were at the Hub last night, and we were out all day. So my flat will be empty, and peaceful, for a whole night and day.’

‘A whole twenty-four hours of uninterrupted bliss?’ Jack smiles, cottoning on.

‘Something like that, yes.’ Ianto smiles back, and Jack feels something catch in his chest. Only Ianto can surprise him this way; offer him the treasures of the universe, and all he chooses to ask for is a day off.

‘If you’d rather spend some alone time, I’ll show you how to use it,’ Jack says, reaching to undo his wrist strap.

Ianto’s hand closes over his. ‘I want you there,’ he says firmly, and Jack releases a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding.


It’s not the perfect start to what Jack had wanted to be the perfect day. To begin with, it’s raining heavily when they go back twenty-four hours in their own timeline and arrive in front of Ianto’s flat. The manipulator is a bit off as usual, and Jack thanks his stars that it’s only off by a few hundred metres this time, rather than a few light years. Ianto doesn’t seem to mind materialising in the middle of a downpour, retaining his grip on Jack’s wrist as he laughingly tugs him into the building. Jack smiles despite himself, leaning into Ianto to steal a kiss as the lift doors slide shut.

‘Something wrong?’ Ianto asks, sensing his mood.

Jack shrugs, fingers playing idly with the cuff of Ianto’s shirt, his thumb slipping beneath to caress the warm skin of his lover’s wrist. ‘Forgot how heavily it had rained last night.’

‘It’s just a little rain. Besides, if it weren’t raining, I couldn’t do this.’ Ianto leans closer and brushes his lips against a raindrop on Jack’s neck, tastes the rain on Jack’s skin with the briefest touch of his tongue, and a shiver runs through Jack that has nothing to do with the cold. And suddenly, the day has the potential to be perfect, after all.


In all his time of being alive, in all the worlds he’s travelled, he’s never really seen the rain until he sees Ianto Jones turn his face up to the night sky and welcome the drops of rain that caress his skin.

It is several minutes since they entered the flat, and for once, just this once, there is no imperative to reach for each other immediately, to make full use of their limited time together, because tonight, they have all the time that they need. For the moment, Jack is content to watch as a freshly-showered Ianto, dressed in close-fitting jeans and a dark t-shirt, leans backward over the railing of his balcony, delighting in the touch of the rain against his face. Jack has never seen rain this way before; he has never been so warm in the rain, never felt contentment and affection curl lazily around each other in his chest as they are doing now, while he watches Ianto, all of twenty-seven years old, show him something that he, for all the several lifetimes’ worth that he has lived, has never seen.

‘You think far too loudly,’ Ianto smiles, without looking in Jack’s direction.

‘Then make me stop.’ Jack holds out his hand and Ianto takes it, letting Jack pull him close. It is the first time they have ever kissed in the rain, and Jack feels absurdly pleased to have fulfilled this essential ritual with Ianto. It is yet another first for him, for he has never tasted the rain quite this way before. The combined taste of Ianto and the rain is a heady combination, like melodies played by two different instruments that merge unexpectedly, flawlessly, turning simple tunes into a soaring symphony.


Later, they lie in each other’s arms on the living room floor, Jack’s head on Ianto’s chest, Ianto’s strong, steady heartbeat musical and reassuring in Jack’s ear, Ianto’s fingers playing contentedly with the silky hair just above the nape of Jack’s neck. Jack lifts his head for a kiss, and his gaze falls on the bookshelf behind them.

‘You’re not moving house, are you?’ he murmurs against Ianto’s lips.

‘Nope.’ Ianto smiles up at him, his eyes that sultry blue that they get after a particularly satisfying round of lovemaking. ‘Why do you ask?’

Jack inclines his head toward a pile of books on the floor beside the shelf. ‘Those look like they’re going somewhere.’

‘Nah. I wanted to arrange them differently, but you call me in to work every time I think of getting around to it.’ Ianto’s voice is teasingly soft, and Jack can’t resist claiming another kiss.

‘How did you want to arrange them?’

Ianto props himself up on an elbow, glances at the precariously tall pile of books. ‘You’ll laugh if I tell you.’

‘Try me.’

‘By mood.’


‘Yep. F’rinstance, these here.’ He runs a fingertip over the spines of several books at the bottom of the pile. ‘Each of these has something to do with the rain.’

‘You think of rain as a mood?’ Jack grins.

Ianto laughs, the sound effortless, musical, throwing his head back, impossibly young. ‘I told you you’d laugh.’

Jack wants to respond to that, but his senses are already beguiled yet again by Ianto’s closeness, by the fragrance of rain on Ianto’s bare skin, and he gives in to the temptation to fit his face into the elegant curve of Ianto’s neck. ‘Read me something about the rain?’

‘Only if you promise not to start yawning histrionically before I’m even halfway through, and demanding sex as recompense for boring you to tears.’

‘When have I ever?’ Jack says in his most wounded-puppy tone, and is silenced by a look from Ianto. ‘All right, all right, I promise to be on my best behaviour.’

So Ianto gives in, and tells him a story about lovers, and rain, and loss.


‘This is a poem about a man who is exiled from his homeland, which is being ravaged by violence,’ Ianto says. ‘He’s written many, many letters to his lover, but they’ve all gone unanswered. Finally, in desperation, he goes back to look for his lover.’

…Phantom heart,

pray he’s alive. I have returned in rain
to find him, to learn why he never wrote.
…Without a lamp
I look for him in houses buried, empty—
He may be alive, opening doors of smoke,
breathing in the dark his ash-refrain:

‘Everything is finished, nothing remains.’
I must force silence to be a mirror
to see his voice again for directions.

‘The speaker learns that the postal service was completely disrupted in the city, and that his lover could not post the letters that he wrote to him. He finds the lost letters in the dark and ruined minaret of a mosque, and learns that his lover had taken up the role of the muezzin, the priest who makes the daily calls to prayer, after the man had been killed. One of the letters his lover wrote to him says:

‘The entire map of the lost will be cancelled.
I’m keeper of the minaret since the muezzin died.
Come soon, I’m alive…
Come before I’m killed, my voice cancelled.

…This is a shrine
of words. You’ll find your letters to me. And mine
to you. Come soon and tear open these vanished

‘The last stanza has the speaker in the minaret on a rainy night, reading his lover’s last, unsent letters to him, holding on to him the only way he knows how: by embracing the cause his lover probably died for. It’s the only way he can remember him, hold on to him.'

It’s raining as I write this. I have no prayer.
…The lost are like this:
They bribe the air for dawn, this their dark purpose.
But there’s no sun here. There is no sun here.

Then be pitiless you whom I could not save—
Send your cries to me, if only in this way:
I’ve found a prisoner’s letters to a lover—
One begins: ‘These words may never reach you.’
Another ends: ‘The skin dissolves in dew
without your touch.’ And I want to answer:
I want to live forever. What else can I say?
It rains as I write this. Mad heart, be brave.

‘I keep coming back to them so often in my mind,’ Ianto says, resting the now-closed book on Jack’s bare back, his finger between the pages. ‘Those nameless lovers who die in the same place but apart from each other, remembering nothing but each other in their last moments. Nothing else matters, not the war, not the cause.'


‘That,’ Jack says fervently as Ianto finishes, ‘has got to be the most depressing poem I’ve ever heard. Why the fuck did they have to go and die?’

Ianto chuckles. ‘It’s more romantic that way, I s’pose. Happily-ever-afters aren’t exactly memorable.’

‘Rubbish,’ Jack says with feeling, dropping a kiss on the tip of Ianto’s nose. ‘I’ll take a happy ending any day.’

‘Why, Captain Jack, I had no idea you were such a softie at heart.’

‘Only someone with a heart of steel could walk away from that poem unscathed.’ Jack shudders theatrically, taking the book from Ianto’s hand and placing it on the shelf. ‘Can we please do something happy now?’

Ianto laughs, sitting up and slipping his arms around Jack, nuzzling the top of his head. ‘What did you have in mind?’

Jack gets to his feet, holding out a hand to help Ianto up. ‘We’ll need clothes for this.’

‘Never thought I’d hear those words from you.’ Ianto has just enough time to roll his eyes before Jack silences him with a kiss and proceeds to dress him just as thoroughly as he had undressed him earlier.


At the end of their day together, they lie on a blanket in a field of grass, watching the last rays of the sun dance across the glittering surface of a lake.

A phrase from the poem lingers in Jack’s mind: you whom I could not save. And another, its meaning made clearer and stronger by the memory of hearing it in Ianto’s voice: I want to live forever.

I’ll always save you, Jack resolves silently in his mind, rearranging his arms carefully around Ianto as he begins to drift easily into sleep, his breathing calm and even, a serene rhythm. Here, on this day of firsts—the first time they kissed in the rain, the first time they travelled through time together, the first time they spent an uninterrupted day together—anything seems possible. The sun disappears below the horizon, leaving the warm, contented glow of dusk over the lake, and the rain-drenched grass, and the lovers curled in each other’s arms. Jack smiles, following Ianto into sleep, hoping they will dream the same dream.

All quotes from Agha Shahid Ali’s The Country Without a Post Office.


asra_fic: Ralph Clarke (Default)

June 2011


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