AN: I adore Kate Nash, her lyrics are just so easy to relate to, especially in this song. I was listening to it, and a story popped in to my head, and wouldn't leave me alone, so this is the end product, hope you all like it. Xx
I arrive at your house but you've just got up and you are wearing a towel and your eyes look dark.
I press the doorbell on Ianto's front door for the third time in exactly 45 seconds. Not that I've been keeping count. The morning sun is reflecting off the light covering of dew on the freshly manicured lawns of Ianto's street, the rays warming my neck as I stand on the stone steps leading to his front door, nervously drumming a nameless tune with my fingers. A week since our date, and there's still that niggling feeling that it should be easier, that it's too awkward. Deep down I know I'm mostly to blame, if not completely. But to my defence, we didn't really do have much time for talking when we arrived back at Ianto's flat after the date. Now it's time.
He finally answers the door, his features conveying how tired he is as he stands in the doorway in nothing but a towel hanging loosely on his hips. He quickly let's me in, seemingly too exhausted to argue otherwise. I know it's been tough on him since I left, and clearly he's still carrying the baggage of all the pain and stress I caused him. That's what hurts the most, not the fact that he was hurting, but the fact that it was my fault.
I help to dry your body and I see your cut, so I give you a plaster and we cover it up
Without a sound he walks to the kitchen, brewing two coffees and bringing back two mugs, which he places on the coffee table with trembling fingers. It's not nerves, Ianto doesn't show his nerves with quaking hands and bitten fingernails, no it's not nerves, it's exhaustion, his joints weakened by endless hours of tiring investigations and fieldwork. Shooting at aliens in fast cars can take it out of you. I only wish I could have been there to lighten the load.
I leave the mug untouched on the coffee table, taking his hand and leading him to the bathroom, where I pull the towel from the hips gently with nimble fingers and extra care. I notice the cuts on his thigh, the sharp lines of a harsh razorblade on his delicate skin. I take a moment to compose myself; it's certainly not a pretty sight; before rising to my feet and searching the bathroom cupboard for plasters.
I gently apply the sticky material to his leg, my fingers doing the trembling now, and stand at eye level with him. He avoids my gaze.
"Ianto, look at me." I place a finger under his chin, forcing him to look me in the eye. "We have to talk."
I say have you been crying and you say shut up, so we sit in the garden and touch grass with our hands.
He get's dressed whilst I sit in the living room watching the mugs of coffee cool, the window open to allow the breeze, and the sounds of music playing in next door's garden to drift in. It's an unusually warm day in Cardiff, and the residents are certainly taking advantage of that.
Ianto walks in to the room, announcing his presence with a small clearing of his throat. I look up from the coffee table, noticing straight away the red rimmed eyes of my Welshman. And I kick myself for not realising what effect my departure really had on Ianto.
"Ianto, will you tell me what's going on? What happened to your leg? Why have you been crying?"
So many questions, and all require an answer, or…I don't know what. I just know that I need to know what's wrong. How can I fix it if I don't know what's wrong?
I'm meet with silence for a good few seconds, before he finally answers.
"Nothing's going on. It was an accident. And I haven't been crying, it's hay fever."
I would usually admire Ianto for his skills in manipulating the truth, but even a blind man could see he was lying.
"How about we sit outside, talk? We haven't had a proper talk since I came home, and we really should."
"Home. You called Cardiff your home."
"It is. I've got so much to stay for now. And one of the most important reason's is standing in front of me, looking completely broken, and I'm scared. Please, Ianto. Help me out here."
He nods, leading me through the kitchen to the back garden. Well, I wouldn't even call it a garden, but the strip of grass and small neat row of flowers planted along the back fence is as good as it's going to get in the city centre. He sits on the ground, the green grass-stains are practically inevitable, but he seems oblivious.
So I join him.
Taking my greatcoat off and slinging over the bench before sitting next to him, watching in fascination as he rolls his head back and closes his eyes, enjoying the feeling of the sun on his face. He looks totally at peace, blissfully happy in the simplicity of the moment, and it's a moment I want to treasure.
You tell me all the things you did while I was away, and this worries me some what. You say you're fine.
As the day wears on and the sun is covered by a cloud, Ianto open's up more and more. He tells me everything. Some I want to hear, some I need to hear, some I feel sick when I hear them. Like his explanation of the cuts on his legs.
"I thought you were never coming back, Jack. What could I do? Going to clubs, the drinking and nameless fucks had gotten old. I needed that buzz again, the one you gave me. Only, this time it came in a different form. It only happened a couple of times. No big deal. But I promise, now you're back, it won't happen again."
I don't know what to say, so I don't say anything. I take Ianto's hand in mine. I'm enraged at how Ianto can just shrug it off as 'no big deal', but right now, it's too prefect a moment to ruin with serious conversations, and heartbreaking confessions. The sun pushes it's way back from behind the cloud, reinstating it's rightful place - centre stage in the mass expansion of impossibly blue British summertime sky. And we relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the moment, the sun on our faces, and the sounds of next door's music drifting on the afternoon breeze.
The grass-stains don't even cross my mind.