Okay, so, this is my second Torchwood fic, but my first completed one. There will hopefully be a sequel, but it might not be for a while. Hope somebody enjoys it, at least; it was good fun to write.
Obviously, I don't own anything but the plot (of which there really isn't any). Not that anyone ever sues for fanfic writing.
This is really just pure whump, with nothing else. Oh well.
He woke up shivering. It took him a few minutes to become aware of his surroundings, disoriented from vague dreams, wispy images of pain and confusion. Sitting up, he groaned. His head pounded in time with his heart, and he ached all over. His throat burned and his chest felt tight and constricted. He shivered again and coughed, painfully. Hauling himself to his feet, he staggered across the room for another blanket, almost falling as he returned to the bed when a wave of dizziness assailed him. Curling up under the blankets again as his shivering increased, he sighed resignedly. He'd thought this might happen. He'd been feeling increasingly ill for days. The whole team had had their flu shots, courtesy of Owen, but, as he'd suspected, the nanogene variants in his body that helped fight against illness in the 51st century had negated it's affects on him. And of course, they had no effect in helping prevent or cure a flu virus from the 21st century, conveniently leaving him without any protection against the nasty bug rampaging across Cardiff. Wonderful. He LOVED technology. Really.
Oh well. At least he wouldn't get his team sick. And really, thousands of people suffered from the flu every year. If they could deal with it, so could he. He'd just curl up here and wait it out. Shivering, he pulled his blankets further around his chin, and fell into a fitful sleep.
The next time he woke, he was burning. Sweat rolled down his forehead as he kicked off his pile off blankets, and his shirt was clinging to him. Coughing miserably, he pulled it off, dropping it to the floor beside him. His headache was, if possible, worse, and his chest felt even tighter than before. God, he was hot. And not in the way he wanted. More coughs ripped from his throat, and the headache went up another notch. Tossing and turning, he remembered, miserably.
The last time he'd felt like this had been when he'd travelled with the Doctor. He remembered walking into the control centre of the TARDIS one morning, desperately trying to act normally, feeling as if he might collapse at any moment. The Doctor had taken one look at him and ordered him back to bed. Turned out that something about the magnetic field on the last planet they'd visited had shut his mechanical germ killers down. The Doctor had fixed them but he'd still had to suffer out the rest of the illness. The Doctor had sat by him for three days, talking to him, teasing him, and generally making him feel better. On the fourth day, he had woken up feeling much improved, only to find Rose at his bedside. Grinning, she informed him that his fever had broken, and that she had sent the Doctor to get some rest, before "he got sick too". And then the Doctor had come bouncing in spouting some nonsense about "not being able to get sick like you primitive humans" and everything had been good. Jack knew he was remembering through Rose-tinted glasses - he chuckled hoarsely at the pun - but still…it had been nice to have someone who cared. He'd been alone for so long before he met the Doctor.
He coughed again, absently noting that his throat was getting worse too, and rolled over to check the clock by his bed. 6:00am. Time to get up. Groaning, he flopped out of bed, quickly grabbing at the wall to stay upright as his legs wobbled and threatened to collapse beneath him. Despite getting what was, for him, a good night's sleep, he felt tired and weak; as if someone had drained all the energy out of his limbs.
Twenty minutes later, staggering out of the shower, in which he'd run the water as cold as he could stand, he bent at the waist, hands on knees, gasping desperately for breath through his congested lungs. He could hear the Doctor's voice in his head; "You're sick, Captain. And we all know where sick little boys should be, don't we?" He remembered answering that with a particularly lewd comment, which the Doctor had completely ignored, steering him back to bed. He coughed again, throat burning. "Sorry Doctor", he murmured. "Not this time. I've got work to do. Responsibilities. You know how it is". The voice was silent, but he could just picture the Doctor's face - big grin, head cocked to one side, his expression a mixture of childish disappointment and, if you knew how to look, concern. "Only you," Jack muttered out loud. "Only you could nag a man from halfway across the galaxy. And now you have me talking to myself. Great. Thanks. I'm gonna end up as crazy as you."
Two hours later, as he sat behind his desk, he was cold again. His arms prickled with goosebumps as shiver after shiver wracked his body. He saw Ianto approaching out of the corner of his eye, and made a conscious effort to stop them, clenching all his muscles tight. He looked up as Ianto reached him. "Morning Ianto", he murmured, keeping his voice low to try and minimise the strain on his throat. It was agony anyway.
"Good Morning Sir. Can I get you a coffee?" Ianto was looking at him searchingly, he noticed. Jack grinned up at him, saying "Sounds great, thanks, Ianto. You're a Godsend!" The younger man flushed slightly, smiling back, and went to complete his task. Jack took the opportunity to cough softly, muffling the sound into a handkerchief. He'd only been up for a couple of hours, and already he felt like he was about to pass out. The Flu was not fun, he decided. Not fun at all. Why did he like the 21st century again?
Ianto was back, he realised, holding a steaming cup of coffee. Jack took it from him gratefully, desperate for any warmth he could get. He suppressed another shiver, willing Ianto to leave, so that he could suffer in peace. But Ianto was staring at him again. "Are you feeling alright sir?" he asked, after a moment. "You're looking a little pale." Damn! Jack cursed silently. Putting on his best 'I'm fine' grin, he nodded and chuckled softly, sending new shards of agony through his throat and head. "I'm fine, thanks, Ianto. Just need to get out more. Get some of that good old Welsh sunshine!" Ianto grinned slightly; it was pouring with rain outside. Then he sobered up again. "Are you sure, sir? You sound rather hoarse, too." Jack held his smile, even while inside he was cursing Ianto in every language he knew. A cough was building up in his throat, and he was desperately willing the other man to leave. "Really, Ianto, I'm fine. Honestly". Ianto stared at him for a moment, then smiled and nodded, turning to leave. He'd just cleared the door, when Jack couldn't hold the cough in any longer; he desperately muffled it into his sleeve, but it was still audible. Ianto didn't turn round, though, so Jack sighed in relief, deciding he must not have heard after all.
A minute later, he heard the grating of the doors, and Ianto's soft greeting and offer of coffee to Tosh as she shed her coat and wrung the excess water out of her hair.
Ten minutes after that, he heard the door open again, and Owen and Gwen entered together, Owen complaining loudly about the weather. Jack shivered again, wishing he could wear his coat without arousing suspicion - it might have been cold outside, but in the hub it was pleasantly warm. As he heard Ianto and Tosh greet the others, he thanked whatever deity had made today a paperwork day; he didn't think he would have been able to cope with any sort of expedition. Now he just had to hope and pray that there were no emergencies, and try and stay conscious throughout the whole day; a task which was seeming more and more impossible. He muffled yet another cough into his handkerchief, this one leading into a bigger fit, his chest screaming as he tried to keep them quiet. He determinedly ignored the Doctor-like voice in his head telling him that he was sick, and he should give up and go to bed, before he passed out like a little girl. He could even see Rose turning and smacking him for the comment. It had never happened, but it was so clear. He wished he were with them, tucked up in bed with the Doctor teasing him and telling ridiculous stories, made all the more amusing by the fact that some of them were true.
Had he bothered to look out of his door at that moment, he would have seen Ianto talking quietly and urgently to Owen, both of them sending covert glances towards his office, but he did not look. He was too busy trying to breath, shiver, and stop himself from coughing, all at once. Therefore, he was taken by surprise, when, a few minutes later, Owen popped his head round the door.
"Rotten weather," he remarked, conversationally. "Remind me again why we have to do this in Wales? What's wrong with Spain, I ask you? Or even France? Except for the fact that they all speak Spanish or French, of course." Jack looked up and smiled, raising an eyebrow enquiringly, but did not speak. He very much doubted that Owen would believe him of he claimed to be 'fine' after hearing his voice - the man was a Doctor, after all. His thoughts turned briefly towards another Doctor, but he pushed them away as Owen went on in the same conversational tone, "Ianto says you're sick. I can see he's right just by looking at you. Why the hell are you even here?"
Jack sighed; the gig was up. He made one last attempt at distraction. "I don't know. Divine intervention?" Owen opened his mouth to respond, paused, blinked, and grinned. "Nice try," he acknowledged. "Can you make it to the Med bay, or do I need to bring my stuff in here?"
Jack grimaced. "Nether. Look, I'm fine. Maybe a touch of a cold. It's nothing." He tried a grin again, but knew it wasn't working. "Anyway, I have work to do, and so do you, so…" he trailed off. If he was appealing to Owen's sense of duty to paperwork, he was doomed. Now he was going to be a burden. His team would feel obliged to look after him, when it was HIS job to be looking after them. What little energy he had left drained out of him like sand in a timer, and all his symptoms seemed to pile on top of him, crushing him. He coughed, covering his mouth with his handkerchief, but not bothering to muffle the sound this time, and let his head sink forward onto his desk. Owen was beside him in a flash. "Jack?". He sounded worried, Jack realised. Maybe he thinks I've passed out or something. He probably doesn't want to have to drag me through the corridors…He struggled to raise his head again, resigning himself to a morning in bed. He wasn't going to get any decent work done like this anyway, and he'd just distract the others…A cool hand felt his forehead, and there was a muffled curse, before Owen's voice shouted "Ianto!" The Welshman's head popped around the door immediately, leaving Jack to suspect that he'd been waiting outside, listening in. Wonderful.
He tried to glare at him, but he was still struggling to lift his head off the table, and the world was starting to go blurry round the edges. He heard Owen's voice snapping "I need my kit", and then they were all there, staring at him, and his brain was too foggy to care. He felt something slide into his ear, and he shivered again. He was sooooo cold. Wasn't there ANY heat in here?
There was the murmur of voices above his bowed head, and then hands were helping him to sit up, leaning him back in his chair, and Owen was in front of him, speaking softly, as if he knew that Jack had a headache. "Jack, can you hear me?" He dragged the world back into focus and sat up a little straighter. He narrowed his eyes at Owen. "I'm not…deaf", he managed to rasp out painfully.
"Good," was the reply. "That would have complicated things. Can you tell me how you feel?" His voice was gentle, soothing. Jack was surprised; he hadn't realised that Owen could be so…professional. Voice rasping painfully, he ground out, "I'm not…stupid….either. It's…nothing. Just the…flu. My…body chemistry…rejected the…shot."
Owen raised an eyebrow. "And how did it manage that?" He shook his head. "Never mind. It's not important right now. I agree with your diagnosis, but the flu isn't 'nothing', Jack. Why did you think I was so insistent about the shots?" It was Jack's turn to raise an eyebrow. "'Cos you didn't want…to have to look after…a bunch of people with…the flu."
Owen let a grin flash across his face. "Well, that too. But it can get pretty nasty, especially if the patient is an idiot who comes into work sick and doesn't call his Doctor and so ends up with a chest infection as well…in both lungs, by the sounds of it." he gestured to the stethoscope in his hand. Jack hadn't even noticed him getting it out if his kit, let alone using it on him.
"Oh." was all he could say. "But…I don't feel…that bad…" he trailed of as he was faced with four hard stares, ranging from amused to worried to frustrated. "…what?"
Owen rolled his eyes. "Jack, you have a fever of over 40 degrees. Any higher and I'll have to put you in an ice bath. Ah ah ah!" He held up a hand as Jack opened his mouth to protest. "You're burning up, you're coughing, you have a nasty chest infection and you probably hurt all over." Jack bowed his head slightly, and Owen softened his voice. "Seriously, Jack, you should never have got out of bed. You should have called me as soon as you started feeling like this. I need to get you on antibiotics, and they have a better chance of working if you start them before the infection gets a good hold. And besides," he winked, "you're worrying the girls. And Ianto, which is practically the same thing if you think about it…"
He sounded so much like the Doctor at that moment that Jack couldn't bear it. He pushed his chair back abruptly, forcing himself to his feet, staggering slightly as he fought for balance. "Alright already!" He rasped out, voice grating. "Stop…fussing. I'm…fine. You don't need to…look after me." And then the darkness swept over his vision and he couldn't stop it. He crumpled to the floor, not even hearing Owen's shout of surprise or feeling Ianto's arms close firmly around him from behind. He was unconscious before he even stared to fall.
When he woke again, he knew it was night. He was lying in what felt like his own bed, a light sheet over him and a mound of pillows behind his head. Blinking slowly, he let his eyes adjust to the light, wincing as it sent sharp spikes of pain into his head. He coughed softly, and then harder, and then there were hands helping him sit up, rubbing his back, and helping him sip at a cool glass of water when it was over. As the coughs trailed off, he looked up into Gwen's relieved face, and she beamed at him. "It's so good to see you awake," she whispered. "It's been nearly three days since you passed out. You scared us all nearly to death!"
Jack opened his mouth to reply, but Gwen laid a finger across his lips. "Sssshhhh. Don't try to talk. Owen says your throat was red raw. You need to rest it." She smiled at him again, and they sat in silence for a while. Gwen broke it after a few minutes, frowning. "Why didn't you tell us you were sick?" She didn't sound upset, just concerned. "Owen said that you must have been feeling under the weather for days before you got to this point." Jack blinked slowly and turned his head away, refusing to make eye contact. Gwen sat back in her chair , staring hard at him. After a minute, she said, "You're not a burden, you know." Jack's head snapped round to stare at her. "You talk in your sleep," she said, by way of explanation. "But you know…we're a team, aren't we? You don't have to always be the one looking after us. It can work the other way, too. We WANT it to work the other way. You don't have to suffer alone any more, Jack." He blinked at her, not knowing what to think. She turned away, smiling. "Anyway, I should let the others know you're awake. We've all been really worried." She gestured, and Jack's gaze turned to the end of the bed, where Owen, Ianto and Tosh sat slumped in various uncomfortable positions in their chairs, fast asleep.
Owen was snoring softly, and Tosh was muttering under her breath. Gwen shook them all in turn, pointing to Jack and murmuring softly. Owen immediately started checking his vitals, muttering under his breath about silly fools who woke up several hours too early, and the others gathered round his bed, telling him eagerly how glad they were to see him awake. Ianto caught hold of his hand and held it tightly. It didn't look like it he was going to let go any time soon. As he stared up at them all, gathered round and beaming at him, he realised that he felt…lighter. Physically, he felt like crap, but something inside had been lifted, just a little. Looking round at the smiling faces, he reflected that, well, they might not be the Doctor, but maybe they didn't have to be. They were his team, and they cared, and that was enough.
So there you go. Sappy, huh? Hope someone enjoyed it. I'd really appreciate any reviews…
Thanx for reading,