TITLE: Better
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
RATING: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is property of the BBC and RTD.
WORDS: 1335
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: Jack/Ianto

SUMMARY: It's been one hell of a week for Torchwood, but Jack has only just realised that there's one person who can make it better.


Jack was chewing on the end of his pen, pretending to do the crossword when he was really watching Ianto who was slumped so far down in the couch his arse would be touching the floor any minute. He was struggling to keep his eyes open as he watched the ten o'clock news, his bare feet propped on the coffee table.

"You'll get a sore neck." Jack said eventually as Ianto jerked himself awake for the umpteenth time. It had been a long week, countless Weevils invading the streets of Cardiff, spaceships in the sky and nearly the end of the world – again. Jack wasn't surprised that Ianto was struggling to stay awake. Ianto turned lethargically to look at Jack, blinking a couple of times before he let his upper body flop down onto Jack's lap.

Jack just chuckled. "You know going to bed would be much comfier."

Ianto gave a non-committal grunt in reply as Jack put the newspaper down on the arm of the sofa. He wiggled the end of his pen in Ianto's hair for a moment, poking him, trying to get him to move but all he did was grunt for a second time in annoyance before slapping Jack's knee pathetically with his hand. Jack smiled fondly before putting the pen on the arm of the sofa as well, his fingers replacing it in Ianto's hair.

Ianto gave a groan of approval in reply as Jack started to massage his scalp, absentmindedly watching the end of the news. Nothing of the week's events had been reported on truthfully. Jack wondered why so many people believed it was terrorists these days. As much as he loved Cardiff as a city, he didn't think terrorists would deem Cardiff worthy of attacking. That didn't stop aliens though.

Jack's hand moved to the nape of Ianto's neck, trying to de-knot the muscles there, causing Ianto to tense slightly before he was relaxing into Jack's touch. And it suddenly didn't matter that Torchwood had had the week from hell, had almost faced the end of the world. Jack was sat on Ianto's living room couch, Ianto's head in his lap as Jack lavished attention on him. He was doing ordinary Friday night couple-y things and for once Jack had no desire for excitement and adventure. He found some days he craved this. When he was negotiating with aliens and bargaining for planets he found himself thinking about the mundane, like making dinner for Ianto, or watching the television or just sleeping next to a warm body in freshly washed sheets.

He loved the excitement, loved the thrill of adrenaline in his veins – and the running, he could never get enough of that. But Jack found that that wasn't enough anymore, and he realised something quite suddenly.

"When did we become something more than a quick fumble in row M of the archives?" Jack mused aloud. He waited for a moment, watching the steady rise and fall of Ianto's chest.

"Don't know. Forgot to set the stopwatch." Ianto mumbled sleepily and Jack had to laugh. His hand stilled for a moment on Ianto's left shoulder, thinking, before he resumed slow rhythmic circles.

"Oh, Ianto Jones." Jack sighed wistfully, staring up at the ceiling of Ianto's living room for a moment before looking back down at the half asleep form in his lap.

"Some days I don't know what I'd do without you." Jack smiled fondly.

"Good job you're not without me then." Ianto mumbled round a yawn.

"Yup. It is." Jack's gaze was solely on Ianto, listening to the slow and steady breaths he was now taking.

"That's what I love about you." Jack whispered softly, waiting for a reply, but Ianto was not forthcoming with one. Jack continued to massage the back of Ianto's neck, earning a relaxed sigh in reply.

"You're always there no matter what with what I need, sometimes even before I've realised I need it. You'd have made a great soldier." Jack mused. "I suppose you are in a way, I must be rubbing off on you."

Jack felt Ianto's chest heave slightly from a brief chuckle.

"I didn't mean that way." Jack reprimanded. "Two loyal soldiers fighting to save the world. We could have our own movie." Jack smiled at the idea of that. "Jones and Harkness has a nice ring to it don't you think?"

Ianto gave a little 'mmm' of approval but nothing more. Jack could tell he was close to falling asleep as Jack's hands moved back into his hair, running through it slowly.

"You make everything more bearable. Days when I feel like giving up on the world, and those days come more often than I think I'm comfortable with, but it doesn't matter because you're there with your shy smile, or quick wit, or heavenly coffee, or even just a touch, when you think no one's looking and you suddenly make everything better without even realising." Jack sighed tiredly himself now.

"Ianto Jones you make things better by just being you." Jack said with a note of finality about his voice.

"You make forever more bearable." Jack whispered into the air thick with sleep. Jack glanced down at Ianto, leaning over him slightly to find his eyes were completely closed and his mouth open slightly in sleep.

Jack had to smile. "See, you even make it better when I'm pouring my heart out to you by falling asleep and thus avoiding the awkward conversation afterwards." Jack bent to kiss Ianto on the side of the head before he was lifting his head up to slide himself out from underneath Ianto, knocking the newspaper and pen to the floor in the process. He ignored them, placing a cushion under Ianto's head instead and lifting his feet up onto the couch. He disappeared into Ianto's bedroom, pulling the throw from the end of the bed. When he returned he tucked the throw round Ianto, bending down beside him to watch his face in blissful slumber for a moment.

"I'm a changed man because of you Ianto Jones." Jack whispered, leaning forward to kiss Ianto on the forehead, lingering longer than he should before he was pulling back. "Changed for the better."

Jack pulled himself to his feet, shutting the television off and retrieving his pen and paper before retreating from the living room with one last lingering look at Ianto over his shoulder.


Jack awoke sometime later, grateful to find a warm body pressed against him in the bed, although it's feet were cold.

"'m cold." Ianto mumbled sleepily into Jack's neck as arms came round Jack's middle, his cold feet pressing against Jack's calves 'causing him to shudder.

"So you're going to leech my heat then are you?" Jack asked sleepily.

"Yup." Ianto replied, tightening his grip so Jack couldn't squirm away. "You were the one who left me on the couch."

"You were the one who fell asleep on me." Jack retorted almost immediately into the pillow as he felt Ianto breathing softly on the back of his neck. There was a brief pause where Ianto was presumably thinking of an appropriate comeback, but the best he came up with was;

"I was tired."

Jack chuckled, pulling himself free of Ianto for a moment and getting out the bed.

"Where you going?" Ianto asked, frowning at Jack as he retrieved a pair of socks from the chest of drawers, crossing back over to the bed and lifting the bottom of the duvet before slipping his prize onto Ianto's feet. He shuddered slightly as he suddenly realised how cold it actually was outwith the confines of the duvet before he flipped the duvet back over Ianto's feet, climbing back up the length of the bed before burrowing in beside Ianto again.

"Better?" Jack asked as he now faced Ianto, their noses almost brushing as Ianto rubbed at his arms in an attempt to warm Jack up. Ianto smiled, rubbing his newly socked feet against Jack's calves.

"Better."