Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood.

Authors Note: This is all Erin Giles' fault - she knows why.

Tea and Sympathy

The words on the computer screen continued to blur and merge into each other no matter how many times Jack blinked or rubbed his tired eyes. He rubbed his head once again, willing away the pounding headache that had been plaguing him ever since Owen had put a bullet through his brain at lunchtime.

Technically, it had been a shape shifter in Owen's form- the unexpected rise in the number of Nostrovites they were dealing with recently was starting to worry Jack- but knowing that he wasn't facing another mutiny did not make the pain any easier to deal with. Coming back to life was always exhausting and incredibly painful, but the headache from a fatal head wound lingered for days, usually resulting in an irate Jack and a wary team trying to avoid him.

Jack started slightly when cool hands gently moved his own fingers away from his head before taking on the job of softly rubbing his temple. He leaned into the touch, dropping his hand from his forehead to draw nonsensical patterns on Ianto's thigh, who was now standing in front of Jack and leaning against his desk.

It was a sign of how much the pain had distracted Jack that he had not noticed Ianto enter his office and place two cups onto his desk. Ianto twisted slightly and reached behind him to pull the cups across Jack's desk. He handed one to Jack along with two of Owen's extra-strong painkillers before restarting his attempt to soothe Jack's headache.

"Thank you," Jack replied accepting his cup. He froze before he took a sip, staring quizzically into his blue and white cup. "This isn't coffee," he said, sniffing the cup warily.

"Your powers of observation never cease to amaze me," Ianto replied with a straight face, grinning when Jack chuckled as he swallowed the two tables with a large gulp of tea.

"My Mam always said tea cures all ills," Ianto said, nudging Jack's leg with one of his own. "That and Heinz Tomato Soup."

Jack shuddered. "I hate tomato soup."

"Hence the tea, though I still can't believe you don't like tomato soup," Ianto replied with a fond shake of his head.

"It's not my fault," Jack protested. "You saw what Gwen and Tosh were like when I got food poisoning." Ianto grimaced, remembering the way Tosh and Gwen had fussed and mothered Jack after the last time they had ventured to the local Frankie & Benny's. The smell of tomato soup had lingered in the Hub for days.

"Besides," Jack smirked, "it's not as if I'm the only one with a weird taste aversion."

"That is completely different," Ianto replied sternly. "Besides, it's not that unusual."

"Of course not," Jack mocked. "I mean lots of people go pale at just the thought of a piece of toast, one drowning in margarine and all soft and-"

"Okay, I take it back," Ianto interrupted, looking faintly nauseous. "There's nothing wrong with not liking tomato soup. Can we change the subject now?"

Jack chuckled quietly as he took another sip of tea. His headache was receding now- thanks to both the pleasant company and the tablets. When Ianto first walked into his office his head had been thumping, as if the entire Edinburgh Tattoo were patrolling inside his head, but now it had lowered to a dull ache. The warmth from the tea was slowly spreading through his body, making his limbs heavy and Jack longed for a warm duvet he and Ianto could both snuggle up under.

"What time is it? I feel like I've been staring at that for hours," Jack said, gesturing to the computer monitor- which was showing his still only half-written report about the now deceased Nostrovite- with his cup.

"You have," Ianto replied, glancing at his watch briefly. "It's ten-thirty. Gwen and Owen left hours ago and Tosh at about nine-thirty."

A comfortable silence followed this exchange, where they just sat facing each other, enjoying their drinks and each other's company. Ianto eventually broke the silence with a question. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Jack smiled. He may not have a blanket in his office, and he really didn't want to move to fetch one from the room under his office, but he was nothing if not adaptive.

"Come here," Jack replied, putting his half-empty cup onto the desk and holding his arms out. Ianto placed his own cup next to Jack's before pushing himself away from the desk and allowing himself to be pulled onto Jack's lap.

"You know, this chair really isn't big enough for the two of us," Ianto said softly, one of his hands rubbing the back of Jack's neck while the other rested on Jack's back. Jack wrapped his arms around Ianto's waist, holding him in place and resting his head against Ianto's chest, listening to the steady thump of Ianto's heart.

"I'll buy a new one," Jack replied, his words muffled by Ianto's shirt and his own fatigue before making a quiet murmur of approval as Ianto's fingers started gently carding through his hair.

They returned to silence once more, both content to just sit and draw strength from the other.

"Thank you," Jack said eventually, kissing the warm spot on Ianto's shirt where he had been resting his head.

"Come on," Ianto replied, kissing the top of Jack's head before getting to his feet once more.

"I love it when you're bossy," Jack said with a tired smile, accepting the hand Ianto was offering him and pulling himself upright.

"Where are we going?" he asked, watching as Ianto removed the RAF Greatcoat from the coat stand with his free hand and draped it over his arm.

Ianto squeezed Jack's hand as he turned to face him, a small smile on his face that only Jack ever got to see, before giving Jack a one-word answer.


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