TITLE: Take My Pieces and Build Them Up
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
SUMMARY: A series of drabbles in which Ianto get's sick and Jack takes it upon himself to look after him. Post Cyberwoman.
NOTES: For those of you that don't know the movie that Jack is watching is My Fair Lady. And for an explanation to the post-it note please refer to the lyrics of the song Jack is singing.
He only sat down while the coffee was brewing, and now he can't get back up he aches so much. He knows he has to make it to Jack's office with coffee otherwise Jack'll suspect.
Nausea takes hold of Ianto and it's a battle of wills whether he's going to throw up on his brand new shoes or reach the bathroom. He decides that his shoes have never done anything so cruel to deserve the punishment of seeing this morning's muesli.
He ends up making a diversion on the way via Tosh's bin, never ending up at his intended destination.
"Was someone sick in my bin?"
Tosh looks disgusted and Ianto is quick to offer to clean it up, shame and guilt rising up to make him look even more flushed than he already is.
"Are you alright Ianto?"
Ianto mumbles the word fine, retreating as he undoes his top button, loosening his tie slightly as the sight of his breakfast threatens a repeat performance with this morning's coffee.
He takes the last few stairs down to the bathroom in one stride, almost tripping over his feet.
He doesn't see Jack watching him with concerned eyes from his office window.
Ianto suddenly sits upright, trying to look attentive again, but his mind is already wandering to other mundane things like if he put the dishwasher on or if he remembered to buy fabric softener. His addled mind can barely concentrate on these simple facts though.
"You asked me how my guy is? He's still dead."
Ianto looks curiously at Owen for a minute, wondering who died, and then wondering if whatever said guy died from might have been passed onto Ianto. He's being stupid he realizes, he has the very common, very boring cold.
"What did he die from though?"
"Are you alright?"
Jack's hand is firm round his arm, and showing no signs of relinquishing anytime soon.
He wants to sink into those arms though and be held tight, told everything's alright and nothing bad is ever going to happen to him ever again.
He wants to tell Jack that he's not fine, that he'll never be fine.
He's lost the love of his life.
He's seen things he could never even dream of seeing, not even in his worst nightmares.
He's not strong enough for this, and he will never be alright.
He can't though.
"I'm fine, Sir."
"What are you doing in here?"
Ianto can't move, won't move, because he knows that it'll hurt down to his bones, but the cold in the cell where he's lain is getting to him and Jack's glare is burning a hole in the top of his throbbing head.
Jack catches him as he takes a nosedive for the floor, threatening to go into a tailspin before strong arms are half carrying him, half dragging him away, and he finds he doesn't have to say anything.
He already knows what Jack thinks without his strong but fair words.
"You're such an idiot."
He lets the warm water slide over him in great waves, head resting gently on the other man's shoulder, and he wants so badly to sit down. He finds himself relishing the thought of just him, a duvet and Jack.
He smiles, delusionally content with the world at large as he feels fingers running through his hair.
His eyes are closed and heavy lidded with the flu, but he can still feel Jack watching him with tender blue eyes.
He doesn't know who needs the most reassurance at this moment in time, so he says it aloud.
"'M okay, now."
Ianto wakes to the sound of his own lungs trying to strangle him, the number's 7:08 blinking back at him with venom in their redness. He tries to pull back the covers as the numbers are obscured by a mug with the words 'Tidy Like!' written on it.
"Where are you going?"
Ianto manages to croak out the word work before Jack's pushing him back into the bed, propping him up with pillows and handing him the mug of tea he's made him.
"Today I'm the tea boy."
Jack smiles lovingly before kissing Ianto affectionately on the head.
Jack finds him propping up the wall in the hallway of his flat, half dressed, wearing odd socks and looking flushed and bewildered.
"Where are my keys?"
Jack knows he's going for indignant but it just comes out as oddly pathetic and endearingly sweet.
"You really think you're fit to drive?"
Ianto sags slightly against the wall as if these words have just reminded him that he's sick.
"Maybe," Ianto's voice is disappearing along with the colour from his face, "After I lie down for a minute."
Ianto slumps towards the floor and Jack has to lunge for him.
Ianto awakes to fingers in his hair, cocooned in a duvet, Jack as his pillow and the smell of Vick's Vapour rub in the air. He turns his head slightly towards the television, the sounds of Eliza Doolittle declaring that her Aunt supposedly died of influenza.
"You gonna do me in?"
Jack chuckles as Audrey Hepburn repeats his words.
"For a straw hat you don't own?"
Ianto is already drifting back to sleep though and Jack finds himself singing the words to 'I Could Have Danced All Night', no longer watching the television but staring longingly at Ianto's flushed and exhausted features.
When Ianto finally returns to work three days later no one has questioned his whereabouts. The office is just as tidy as he left it, everything has been filed away neatly and there are no pizza boxes lurking in the depths of the hub with half eaten crusts.
The only thing that is out of place is a mug of tea on his work station next to the coffee machine, a post-it note on it.
'I've done a thousand things I've never done before.'
Ianto looks up and finds Jack turning his back on the hub. Ianto can't help but smile.