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Okay, this one has probably been discussed up & down & sideways at the time somewhere else without me ever noticing, because I just wasn't very interested in Jack/Gwen other than not seeing it happen, but from Gwen's comment in Sleeper about Jack's manners in bed, with a hastily added 'Apparently, so I've heard,'did she ever sleep with Jack, or just talk to Ianto a lot while Jack was away? And if it's the former, when would that have happened?

I still find all the sudden Jack/Gwen not-even-subtext in S2 a bit odd, because as I saw it in S1 the sexual tension between them more or less evaporated after Ghost Machine when Jack let the silence stretch for a little too long after Gwen's 'Doesn't it get lonely at night?', and Gwen turned to Owen for comfort a couple of episodes later. But it's undeniably there in S2—and it's not even so much Jack, who may love her in whatever not-quite-platonic way he does, and may not be happy at the prospect of possibly losing her to her non-TW life, but I think has always been always realistic enough to know that he'll never be someone who'll make her happy; it's Gwen who does seem to be waiting for him to say something when she says 'Well, no one else will have me', only once again he doesn't. Or again when they talk about the wedding at the end of Sleeper. And Jack sends her home again—'Keep doing what we do', and in the looks exchanged between them there does seem to be a sort of understanding that it isn't going to happen, although it's definitely seems to be more his decision than hers.

Strange.

Comments

solitary_summer
Oct. 26th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: 2/2
No, thank you! Also, you're talking about TW again! Er. Apologies.

I don't really think anything happened either, because that would have been something too big not to have come up at one point or the other, but the attraction between then seems to be more openly acknowledged by both of them in S2 than in S1. In hindsight, I wonder—was that part of the original arc where Ianto was supposed to die in S2, and the writers keeping their options open for some kind of future Jack/Gwen/Rhys triangle?

And I agree that it was always more of an emotional bond; there's one thing I thought, (re)watching Gwen and Jack in the first couple of episodes: It never was the kind of intense, instant sexual attraction that was so tangible in Jack's first meeting with Ianto. In Everything Changes it's essentially a cat and mouse game, Jack is a bit condescending and his flirting isn't anything out of the ordinary; it's only in Day One that the connection is really established, especially once Gwen is willing to risk her life for Carys. And maybe in Jack's mind this kind of bond translated into sexual attraction for a moment, but I think he recognised even then that in the long run he wouldn't make her happy or be able to give her what she wanted, especially, although that wasn't canon then, considering how catastrophic the family thing had already turned out for him. Gwen, I think, realises that at the end of Adrift.

I think the relationship with Ianto only worked, because it didn't start as one; they were together for how long, two years, more? is there any official chronology? before Ianto even started discussing the terms of their relationship, and it took this long for Jack to be ready to have this conversation. Gwen would never have gone along with something like that.

Edited at 2009-10-26 07:06 pm (UTC)
elisi
Oct. 26th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: 2/2
there's one thing I thought, (re)watching Gwen and Jack in the first couple of episodes: It never was the kind of intense, instant sexual attraction that was so tangible in Jack's first meeting with Ianto. In Everything Changes it's essentially a cat and mouse game, Jack is a bit condescending and his flirting isn't anything out of the ordinary; it's only in Day One that the connection is really established, especially once Gwen is willing to risk her life for Carys.
::nods:: I thought the same! (I re-watched those eps not long ago.) I think actually that he gives Gwen her job slightly on a whim - a spur-of-the-moment thing, when he sees how spectacularly wrong things have gone with Suzie - since Gwen is very much the anti-Suzie. I don't think it's until Day One, and her focus on the human side etc, that he decides to keep her on for good.
rivier
Oct. 26th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: 2/2
Yes - and even without knowing anything of the Fragments backstory, Everything Changes makes it clear that Jack has a sexual or at least flirtatious interest in Ianto, but one that Ianto is parying off quite calmly. As it turns out, of course, Ianto is playing Jack completely at this point, and regardless of whether you think they had any kind of physical relationship before Cyberwoman or not (or if so, how much), it's tempting to read Jack's wild and furious reaction as stemming at least in part from Ianto's betrayal of him for Lisa - Jack's feelings appear to be completely irrelevant to Ianto at that point. He's deceived Jack, AND for someone he's truly in love with.

Whereas Jack with Gwen has a fundamental imbalance from the start - she is quite literally trailing open-mouthed in his wake, while he plays with her. He allows her to see into the secret kingdom, then takes it away from her against her will and only jokes that it's a pity she won't be able to remember him either. Seen from Gwen's perspective, the Jack of those first few eps is both utterly captivating, and capable of casual cruelty.

When I saw Fragments, I commented then on the parallel between Owen and Tosh, who Jack stalks or pursues and pretty much drags back to work for him, regardless of what they want. Ianto and Gwen, on the other hand, pursue Jack / Torchwood, and force Jack to take notice of them. But it's also interesting, I think, that it really is only Ianto who explicitly makes Jack change his mind - as you say, Jack's hiring of Gwen is shown to be almost a casual thing on his part, a whim: she's there, Suzie's job is vacant, he needs the anti-Suzie... At that point, Gwen was merely trying to find out what the mysterious Torchwood was, not to get herself a job. There's an interesting question over whether Jack hired Ianto - the only one of the four who hunted him down and had his own agenda. Was it the way he handled catching Myfanwy? Was it something that impressed Jack in Ianto's ability to keep changing his pitch until he found one that worked (another conman, indeed)? Was it just that coup de foudre moment, lying under him in the warehouse?
elisi
Oct. 26th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: 2/2
He allows her to see into the secret kingdom, then takes it away from her against her will and only jokes that it's a pity she won't be able to remember him either.
This just made me realise another way in which Gwen and Ianto are opposites (sort of) - Gwen is trying to discover a secret kingdom, something that seems magical and impossible, and - as you say - Jack gives it to her, only to take it back. Ianto on the other hand knows *exactly* what Torchwood is ('That's what Torchwood does - it ruins your life!'), and Jack does the opposite - he refuses to take away Ianto's traumatic experiences, both after Canary Wharf, and again after Cyberwoman. (Not that Ianto exactly asks for retcon, but in Fragments at least, Jack very clearly says 'You're not my problem!')

If I was more awake I might be able to make more of this. I love your thoughts!
solitary_summer
Oct. 26th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
Re: 2/2
and Jack does the opposite - he refuses to take away Ianto's traumatic experiences, both after Canary Wharf, and again after Cyberwoman. (Not that Ianto exactly asks for retcon, but in Fragments at least, Jack very clearly says 'You're not my problem!')

I may be mistaken, but I think that after Cyberwoman he would have, if Ianto had wanted it and had left, but I also think he was impressed when Ianto chose to live with the memories, the pain and the consequences.
elisi
Oct. 27th, 2009 09:18 am (UTC)
Re: 2/2
I think Ianto probably *expected* him to (like Owen - there's no walking away), so they might have been caught between Ianto's expectations of Jack just doing it, and Jack waiting for Ianto to ask... Which is where we enter fic territory. :)

But as you say, I think Jack was impressed - both with Ianto's choice, and also with the fact that he'd managed to fool Jack so completely. Conning a conman is quite the feat!
solitary_summer
Oct. 26th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: 2/2
Was it just that coup de foudre moment, lying under him in the warehouse?

Don't know what elisi will say, but for me it was mostly, although not entirely, that. Jack still wouldn't have hired him if Ianto had proven himself totally incompetent and unsuitable, but he was fascinated from the start, and it only took a moment where he didn't have time to think any further than that he didn't want Ianto to walk away, in fact didn't think a lot at all, at least not with his brain, to overcome his objections to Ianto's Torchwood past.

But it's also interesting, I think, that it really is only Ianto who explicitly makes Jack change his mind

And managed to drive him into an utter rage, and then continued to surprise and challenge him in all kinds of ways, right until the end. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think part of what Jack fascinated about Ianto was that even with all the support and love he gave Jack, he was always a bit outside his control.

elisi
Oct. 27th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
Re: 2/2
it's tempting to read Jack's wild and furious reaction as stemming at least in part from Ianto's betrayal of him for Lisa - Jack's feelings appear to be completely irrelevant to Ianto at that point. He's deceived Jack, AND for someone he's truly in love with.
::nods:: I don't think Jack's feelings are irrelevant to Ianto, but when he has to make a choice he chooses Lisa. (Oh it's all so DELIGHTFULLY complicated and messed up and I love it to bits!!!)

There's an interesting question over whether Jack hired Ianto - the only one of the four who hunted him down and had his own agenda. Was it the way he handled catching Myfanwy? Was it something that impressed Jack in Ianto's ability to keep changing his pitch until he found one that worked (another conman, indeed)? Was it just that coup de foudre moment, lying under him in the warehouse?
Hmm. I don't think it was the last one. It might have contributed, but I think Jack was certainly interested right from the start and yet perfectly happy to walk away. I think it was partly persistence, and partly that Ianto showed himself to have brains, initiative and self-reliance (not sure that's the right word, but you probably know what I mean). The suit was part of it, as was the dissing of TW3's lack of equipment (Ianto had a rift-activity locator!), the fact that he'd caught the pteradon by himself, and had worked out what it liked to eat. It's miles away from turning up with a cup of coffee begging for a job. (Maybe being up for more than just work was just an added perk, I think.) And Ianto is also a mystery, something he of course plays on to his advantage.

Anyway, I must run. This is fascinating! :)

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