TITLE: I've Started Falling Apart

AUTHOR: Erin Giles


FANDOM: Torchwood

PAIRING: Jack/Ianto implied

SPOILERS: Set Post-Countrycide, so anything up until there.

SUMMARY: Ianto is injured in more than one after the events of Countrycide, and someone's got to make sure he doesn't have a concussion.

"Ianto?" Jack's voice was soft through the drug induced haze. He relished the feeling of complete numbness for a moment longer, contemplating the thought of a dreamless night as Jack's voice came again, more persistent, "Ianto?"

Ianto sighed inwardly almost resentful of the fact his boss was rousing him. For a moment he was disorientated, unsure of his surrounding before the gentle hum of the hub invaded his senses, the feel of Jack's sheets rubbing roughly against the stitches in his head.

"What year is it?" Jack again, insistent but calm, and Ianto could feel his hand by Jack's and had to resist the urge to grab it and never let go.

"Two thousand and seven." Ianto got out eventually, his voice dry and rasping, but before he had asked Jack was holding a glass of water before him.

"Where are we?" Jack asked again, blue eyes watching his charge so carefully as Ianto hoisted himself into a sitting position, taking a sip of water before trying to force more words from his coarse throat,

"Torchwood." Ianto paused only long enough for Jack to open his mouth before he was interrupting him, "In the bed of Captain Jack Harkness if I'm not much mistaken."

Jack smiled at Ianto cheekily, "Ok, I get it, but someone had to look after you, make sure you didn't die." Jack realized his mistake too late as the light went out of Ianto's face, handing Jack back the glass of water and lying back down in the bed before closing his eyes, thus signifying the end of conversation.

The second time Ianto was woken that night it was his own doing. He jarred himself awake so violently that for a moment he couldn't breathe, his broken ribs screaming in protest as he hung over the side of Jack's bed, throwing up the little sustenance he had consumed that day.

"Ianto?" Jack's voice was even softer than before as he placed a hand on Ianto's back, rubbing soothing circles until Ianto was done. Shame rose up in Ianto as he found tears mingling with the sweat on his face, swelling warm in his eyes before falling coolly onto his cheeks. He tired to roll back onto the bed away from Jack but firm hands held him fast, felt him shaking with fear, guilt, grief and regret.

"Oh, Ianto." Jack just made it worse, causing sobs to rack Ianto's body as Jack held him close in a vain attempt to ease even a pittance of his suffering.

"I'm sorry." Ianto found himself apologizing into Jack's shoulder, so indiscernible from his sobbing Ianto was unsure he had heard it, so repeated himself, "I'm so sorry."

"I heard you the first time." Jack whispered, a slight quiver in his voice before he released Ianto, pushing away from him, standing up and moving to the door.

"Jack?" There was a plea of helplessness in his voice as he remained perched on the bed, almost begging Jack not to leave him, but he was already gone.

Ianto lay back down, exhausted, closing his eyes again, too tired now to keep them open. He shivered slightly, feeling so cold and alone that it chilled him to the bone. His heart ached he missed Lisa so much. He felt like every beat was a chore, every breath an effort, and he hated himself for it.

"Ianto?" Jack again. Had he been asleep? Before he knew what was happening through Jack was lifting up the covers and sliding in beside Ianto, the smell of disinfectant invading his senses, no doubt as much as the smell of vomit was invading Jack's.

"Sir, what are you –"

"It was Jack a minute ago." Jack said, looking directly at Ianto, his left eye half closed and puffy, a neat row of stitches above and a vivid purple bruise beneath. Yet through it all Jack saw Ianto resign, his whole body sagging with the relief that he didn't have to go back to sleep feeling so alone in the world; and Jack knew exactly how he felt.