Notes: The full oneshot for #75 from 'Snapshots of Smiles'. Requested by JohnKB.

Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.


That night, Jack indulged himself. Ianto was half-asleep anyway, and would probably doze off soon, so it wouldn't lead to anything. And strange as it sounded, Jack didn't really want sex tonight. He wanted something softer, something more like reassurance or connection.

And no, he never told Ianto. That would just be all kinds of embarrassing. He couldn't even explain it to himself, let alone to a man who rolled his eyes elaborately when Jack so much as used a pet name on him.

But it was safe when Ianto was half-asleep. He wasn't anywhere close to coherent then, and wouldn't remember it in the morning. And Jack often took advantage of that, but not so much tonight.

He just wanted to hold for a while.

So there he was, with his ear pressed over Ianto's chest, just above his heart, and his body curled over Ianto's left side, warming him and pressing him into the bed in a way that was reassuring and very nice, but also very non-sexual.

This wasn't about sex. Or even their sexual relationship.

It was about the rest of it.

With his ear over Ianto's heart, Jack could hear him. He could hear the steady, dull, double-thump of his heart and the gentle, pulsating, stuttering flow of thick blood squeezing through the arteries and veins with a careful reluctance. He could hear the warm rake of air in his lungs, crushing the alveoli and puffing them up powerfully alternately; it was a deep, gentle sound, but somehow dangerous and ugly at the same time. He could hear, from there, the soft ease and creak of ribs as they yielded to the internal pressure, and the sigh of resettling as they would briefly return to their comfortable position of death. Occasionally, he could hear the faint twitch and murmur of Ianto's stomach, or the hitch in his diaphragm as thoughts disturbed his doze, but they began to fade away like the light from a sunset, and all was rhythm and bass.

It was a strange kind of music, humming through Ianto's veins and crossing the skin barrier into Jack's head and chest until his own lungs and heart thumped and raked in unison, or as near as they could manage.

He could feel, as well. The ghostly tickle of hair on his cheek as Ianto's chest rose and fell; the stretch and sag of skin as the chambers of his lungs swelled and died and rose again like Lazarus from the dead. The warmth that radiated outwards burned Jack's skin where it pressed to Ianto's, but only gently bathed the opposite cheek in the sensual heat that Jack usually experienced through layers of cloth and fabric, in the harsh, cool light of the Cardiff day.

He was hyperaware of himself as well: the rasp of his stubble against Ianto's chest; the fine tremor in his fingers where they rested on the lean lines of Ianto's clavicle and shoulder; the rise and fall of his own body that had nothing to do with the breathing his own chest undertook.

He could close his eyes and fill himself with the strange scent that hung around Ianto like a veil, more addictive than any pheremones. Jack couldn't name it, couldn't liken it to something else, because there was nothing else. Here, surrounded by a smell that was both familiar and truly alien, but essentially something that he wanted imprinted on all his things forever, there were no other smells. Jack couldn't even smell himself, or the sheets, or the faint aroma of coffee that should still hang in the air from the now-cold cup on the bedside table.

Eyes closed, and reaching out with every other sense he has, there is nothing there but Ianto. Where Ianto ends and Jack begins is no longer a question because it is no longer a concept.

And when morning comes, Jack will pretend he just slept funny, and they will carry on in playful talk and small smiles over boxes of takeaway and hurried fumbles in the office until the peace of the night comes again.

And he will never tell Ianto, but he doesn't need to.

Because here, finally, Ianto is everything, and nothing else matters.