Notes: A combo oneshot for #38, #39 and #62, from 'Snapshots of Smiles'. Requested by JohnKB, toobeauty, bbmcowgirl, LostAngel2 and x-Athenea-x.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.
It was one of those rare quiet evenings - as in, all the harrowing alien activity had happened that morning rather than in the middle of lunch and disrupting the afternoon - that Friday, so Jack elected, when nine o'clock rolled around, to set his watch to receive alerts and leave the Hub for Ianto's flat.
Ianto - and everybody else, come to that - had called it quits a couple of hours ago, but Jack had chosen to stay and finish off a bit of paperwork that he didn't really want Ianto doing. Mostly findings that Torchwood Two had sent them that they thought were linked to the cybermen.
They weren't. Bloody Scottish incompetence.
So at just gone nine, Jack slipped out of the Hub and walked the bracing ten-minute journey to Ianto's flat. It was in the middle of a block of flats, in an area that Jack wasn't particularly keen on. He didn't like the idea that it would be, realistically, fairly easy to break into Ianto's flat, even for a stoned teenager looking for money.
But then, Jack had been on the receiving end of one of Ianto's punches before, so he couldn't honestly claim to believe that Ianto couldn't look after himself in those sorts of situations.
Jack let himself in - he had, as boss, keys to everybody's homes via Torchwood security policy, but Ianto had given him this key when he realised that Jack's little comfort routine wasn't a one-time thing. Plus, Ianto's neighbour seemed to think that Jack was a hit man sent by some drug dealer to break Ianto's legs for a missed payment. The neighbour wasn't concerned about Ianto, but himself - he'd nearly thrown himself out of the building when he first caught sight of Jack.
It was quiet tonight though, and Jack jogged up three flights of stairs before quietly letting himself into 3C.
"Yan! It's me!" he called out as he kicked off his boots by the door and hung up his coat over Ianto's suit jacket in the hall. He didn't get an answer, and wandered into the tiny living room to find Ianto standing by the window, on the phone, and running a hand through his hair in an exasperated manner.
"I just haven't got the time!" he yelled at whoever was on the other end of the phone irritably, and Jack slid his arms around his waist. Ianto almost slumped into him, but effectively ignored Jack in favour of arguing with whoever it was. They stood there for perhaps ten more minutes, Jack slowly rocking them to the tune of the song on the radio in the kitchen, and Ianto steadily getting louder and angrier, before hanging up in disgust.
"Let me guess," Jack said. "Your mother."
Ianto glowered at him before throwing the phone at the sofa and letting Jack hug him properly.
"Why are you here?" he asked, and Jack chuckled.
"You know why I'm here," he said. "You eaten yet?"
"Yes," Ianto said, with the long-suffering air of one who'd gone through this many, many times before. And he had: the routine had started, sort of, in the days after Ianto's suspension from Torchwood, almost a year and a half ago now. Although then it had been short, angry, hostile motions that Jack had gone through for a reason he didn't understand.
Now, it was considerably friendlier.
"But not showered yet?" Jack asked, though it wasn't really a question - Ianto's hair against his was dry, and he was still dressed in his suit trousers and shirt.
"Only just finished eating," Ianto grumbled, and Jack pushed him away and towards the bathroom door with a slight slap to the arse.
"So go and get in the shower, and I'll clear up the mess you leave from dinner."
"Look who's talking," Ianto muttered, but he vanished obediently into the bathroom, and a moment later Jack heard the water start running.
There was evidence in the kitchen of a ready meal. A plastic tray that looked like it once held packet spaghetti bolognese had been abandoned in the bin, but it was satisfyingly empty. Jack rinsed off the used plate and utensils and propped them up on the draining board for Ianto to wash properly in the morning. Ianto's cat - a ginger thing that looked more feral than pet half the time - wound its way around Jack's legs hopefully, but he simply nudged it towards its already full food dish, checked it had water, and shut it in the kitchen for the night.
He drew the curtains on the living room window and then stripped down to his bare skin, abandoning the clothes in a messy heap on Ianto's tiny sofa. The entire flat was tiny, really, apart from the kitchen, which was so spacious as to be out of place. Jack wasn't even sure that Ianto had a garden or an allotment anywhere, but then, Ianto had the green thumb of a herbivore. There was a reason why Owen looked after the hothouse, and not Ianto.
The bathroom was beginning to clog up with steam when he slipped inside and joined Ianto in the shower. This required the shower door to be left open to fit the pair of them, and Jack made a mental note to watch the tiles when they got out again.
"Hello," he said, running his fingers through Ianto's drenched hair from behind. "You ready?"
"Mm," Ianto said eloquently, tilting his head back for a bit more attention as Jack reached for the shampoo bottle.
Jack had an obsession with washing Ianto's hair for him. He'd never had the same...kink, he supposed was the word for it...with anybody else, not even the girlfriend he'd had in training for the Time Agency who had had hair down to her arse in a rippling, gorgeous waterfall of gold. But he'd not had the urge to wash her hair for her.
He'd found out after the disastrous trip to the countryside. After the hospital had released Ianto, he'd taken Ianto home and offered to help him clean up a bit. As Ianto couldn't raise his arms above his shoulders - let alone his head - Jack ended up having to wash Ianto's hair for him.
And he'd really, really liked it.
He knew Ianto didn't understand it. At first, Ianto hadn't even seemed to prefer it to doing the job himself. He simply hadn't cared - it was Jack's thing, and did little to nothing for Ianto himself. But then Jack had started to give him head massages when he did it, simply to keep the right to do it, and Ianto had rather quickly let Jack take over the menial task entirely.
Jack suspected that Ianto liked the head massages.
Ianto was swaying slightly on the spot, Jack's skilled hands digging into his hair and scalp and rubbing the white foam in and around the hair expertly. Jack thought he was humming, but he couldn't really hear it properly over the noise of the pipes, and when he told Ianto to tilt his head back so he could wash off the shampoo, the faint current of noise stopped.
If Jack didn't know better, he would have called it purring.
"Done," he said, when the last of the foam was gone, and he helped Ianto out of the shower gingerly, warning him about the tiles as though Ianto wasn't used to his bathroom floor after two years of living in that flat. He left Ianto alone to dry and dress himself in his boxers and pyjama bottoms (although, to Jack's endless delight, no shirt) and went through into the bedroom to turn down the sheets and find out which side he wanted tonight.
Ianto often teased Jack about being picky over sleeping arrangements, but Jack felt the need to be. He didn't sleep much at night, and would need to be comfortable, whereas Ianto would hopefully be dead to the world all night and not notice if an earthquake struck.
Not that it was always like that.
There was a bottle of sleeping pills on the bedside table, and Jack scowled at them and stuffed them away in the drawer. Ianto took them for the nightmares that had once woken him on the hour, every hour, but from Jack's point of view, they didn't work. Ianto didn't remember his nightmares if he took them, but it was Jack who lay awake having to watch Ianto suffer because he couldn't wake up. So Jack, perhaps selfishly, hated the pills.
"Jack," Ianto said reproachfully, coming into the bedroom, dried and ready for bed, as the drawer shut. "You have to stop doing that."
Jack wouldn't, but he didn't say anything as Ianto rescued the pills and put them back where he wanted them. Jack watched carefully to make sure Ianto didn't slip any, but Ianto simply set the alarm, drew the curtains and slid into the bed beside Jack. Jack lifted an arm and let Ianto curl up with his head on his chest: a position that would give Jack pins and needle by one in the morning, but which they both found comfortable or comforting for other reasons.
"Night, Yan," Jack whispered.
His answer was the gradual loosening of muscles and cords until Ianto was a limp and heavy weight along the left side of Jack's body, fast asleep and quiet, his breathing deep and even and slower than Jack was entirely used to.
And Jack would lie there, through the night, dozing on and off and brushing light fingers through Ianto's hair for no apparent reason, until the alarm went off at half past six.
Because it was his routine, and one that he would be crushed to lose.