A/N Sorry this took so long, all the snow has been very distracting and I've spent most my days off college sleeping. I know, I'm useless.
One or two chapters left of this :) Thanks to everyone who's been keeping up, I really appreciate it :) x
Jack lifted his head from where it was resting in his hands, his eyes red rimmed and swollen. Martha offered him a soft, sympathetic smile and came further into the room, perching on the edge of Jack's desk.
Jack let out a breath and closed his eyes. "How is he?"
"He's in a lot of pain but I think he's going to be fine. Although if you want to see him I'd go now before he goes back to sleep, he's lost a lot of blood and needs his rest."
Jack nodded and sighed, leaning back in his chair. Martha watched him for a long moment, waiting for him to speak.
"I really messed up, didn't I?"
Martha dropped her gaze to his hands and squeezed one gently. "We all did, in our own way."
"Except you," Jack said softly, his lips quirking into a small smile. "You've made quite a habit of saving my ass."
Martha laughed then. "Well you can't be the hero all the time, Jack."
"I guess not," Jack shook his head, smile fading as he planned his next words. "I thought that was it, you know. When I was sat there, watching him point a gun at a member of my team. I hadn't felt that helpless since...well," he met Martha's eyes and Martha nodded in understanding.
"I know," she spoke quietly. "It's okay."
Jack was silent for a moment while Martha pondered whether or not to ask the question that was really bugging her. In the end temptation overwhelmed her and she found the words spilling out of their own accord.
"What are you going to do with John?"
Jack slowly raised his eyes to meet hers again and shook his head slightly. "Honestly? I'm not sure yet. I should kill him for what he did, but..."
"That's what he would do," Martha finished for him. "And you're not like him, Jack. You're really not."
Jack smiled softly but remained quiet, lost in his thoughts. Martha studied him for a moment before nudging him gently on the shoulder.
"Forget John for now, I'm sure Ianto would like to see you."
Jack smiled and stood up, grasping Martha's hand as he moved. "Thank you Martha, for everything."
She smiled back, pulling him into a quick hug before she pushed him towards the door.
"You're welcome. Now go! He won't be awake long you know."
Gwen was still fussing over Ianto when he reached the autopsy bay and Jack was sure he must be getting irritated with all the attention. Ianto didn't take well to too much attention; he was usually the one looking after everyone else. Jack smiled at the thought and slowly made his way down the steps, his eyes fixed on the Welshman the entire time. Gwen noticed him approaching out the corner of her eye and stepped back, her eyes shifting to Jack, to Ianto and then back to Jack. She gave Ianto's hand one last squeeze before stepping around Jack and heading back up the steps.
Jack moved forward cautiously, flinching as he eyed the younger man's wounds, particularly the gash across his cheek. Ianto didn't meet his eyes, just stared up at the ceiling and licked his lips nervously.
"How are you doing?" Jack asked quietly, slipping his hands into his pockets when he didn't really know what to do with them. Ianto didn't reply straight away and Jack briefly wondered if he'd even heard him. His eyes stayed fixed on the ceiling as he spoke.
"I'm sorry Jack," he eventually croaked out. Jack frowned and took one hand out of his pocket to place on Ianto's arm.
"This wasn't your fault," Jack replied, softly but sternly so Ianto got the message. "You didn't know what he was like."
Ianto shook his head and sat up. His knees automatically swung over the side of the table so they were just touching Jack's thighs and the sudden contact seemed to surprise them both. Jack quickly took a step back while Ianto just averted his eyes to the floor.
"Sorry," Ianto murmured.
After a moment of awkward silence Ianto broke the tension. "I should've listened to you. You knew what he was like and I just ignored you. I was stubborn and selfish and look where it got me," he sighed and looked down at his bandaged thigh, wincing a little as he shifted.
"We all make mistakes," said Jack, his hands moving back to his pockets. "I'm just glad you've come out of it alive."
Ianto looked at Jack then, his eyes glossy with unshed tears. Jack ached to just reach out for him but he was sure Ianto wouldn't appreciate it. Or maybe he would...Jack had no idea anymore.
"Did he hurt you?" Ianto asked, his voice barely above a whisper. Jack sighed and shook his head.
Ianto looked unconvinced but didn't push it. Jack's gaze moved to Ianto's hands and he realised the younger man was gripping the table like his life depended on it. He reached out to brush his fingers over Ianto's knuckles.
"Careful," he said quietly, his hand lingering over the other man's. Ianto looked down at their hands and slowly loosened his hold on the table, quickly moving his hands to his lap to avoid further contact with Jack.
"I'm so stupid," he whispered, eyes flitting to Jack and then back to his lap. Jack sighed.
"You need to stop blaming yourself. John's always been a killer at heart, you couldn't change that."
Ianto smiled sadly and raised his head to meet Jack's eyes. "I wasn't talking about John..."
Jack stared at him, not quite knowing what to say. He was hoping they could avoid the subject of their relationship, at least until Ianto was better.
"I'm not sure it's the best time to be having this conversation, Ianto."
Ianto frowned. "I just need to tell you this, Jack."
Jack eyed him curiously before nodding. "Fine, go ahead."
Ianto let his gaze fall back to his lap and inhaled a long breath. "What I did, running away like that just to get your attention was stupid. You couldn't...you can't give me what I want so I should've just dealt with that and moved on instead of acting...well, like I did," he paused to phrase his next sentence. "If you'd rather I wasn't around when I recover, I'll understand."
Jack's heart nearly stopped on hearing those words. He didn't want Ianto to leave, he wanted Ianto back.
"Jack!" Gwen's voice came over his comm."John's just woken up in the cells, what do you want me to do with him?"
Jack sighed, offering Ianto a tight smile before replying. "I'll be right there, Gwen."
"John?" Ianto asked, biting his lip anxiously.
"Yeah," said Jack, a hard edge to his voice. "I'm gonna have to go help Gwen."
Ianto nodded sadly, staring at his feet. Jack reached a hand out to him without thinking and tilted his chin up. Their eyes met and Ianto swallowed, his eyes drifting closed of their own accord. Jack smiled fondly.
"We'll talk later, I promise."
Ianto nodded again, his eyes still closed. God, he'd missed Jack's touch. He almost whimpered when Jack brushed a thumb over his jaw but then the warmth was gone and Ianto opened his eyes to find Jack already halfway up the steps. He let out a long breath and lay back down on the table, soon drifting off once again into a deep sleep and dreams of Jack.