Warnings: Alien sex gas in one section.
5 Nights Ianto Jones Didn't Spend In His Own Bed (And One Time He Didn't Mind).
Ianto blinked at the unfamiliar ceiling several times before turning his head to survey his surroundings. To his right, Gwen and Tosh were sleeping on a pulled-out sofa bed, their backs to each other. Neither of them had removed their make-up the night before so the remains of their mascara and foundation had smeared all down their faces and across their shared quilt. There was no visible sign of Owen but the loud snores coming from the open door, which Ianto realised led to Owen's bedroom, suggested that the doctor had at least managed to get himself to a bed before he passed out.
Ianto himself was lying on top of several blankets with Jack lying motionless- and shirtless- across his chest. Despite the blankets, the floor was hard and uncomfortable and Ianto knew as soon as he moved he would be able to add back pain to the thumping headache and the dead arm he already had.
Ianto pushed at Jack's shoulders with his free hand- his other was trapped underneath Jack, whose head was tucked securely under Ianto's chin- in a futile attempt to make him move. Jack's only response was to mutter something under his breath and tighten his grip on Ianto, where his arm was wrapped tight around Ianto's waist.
Quickly realising Jack was not going to be moving any time soon, Ianto thought back to the previous night, trying to work out why they had all returned to Owen's posh, one-bedroom apartment and why he felt as though a herd of angry Weevils were tap-dancing in his head.
The majority of the night was lost in a haze of beer and bad music. The last thing Ianto remembered was being pulled onto a dance floor by Jack- the girls had each grabbed the arm of a very reluctant Owen- and being subjected to a hundred or so people singing along to Addicted to Love.
Ianto decided he was probably better off not knowing what had happened after that, or why an unfamiliar Labrador puppy, which mostly definitely didn't belong to Owen, was currently eating his favourite dress shirt.
Shivering involuntarily, Ianto rubbed his hands up and down his arms. If he was being honest with himself, he had hoped the cavalry would have arrived been now. He had already been forced to spend one night in this cold, dark cell and he really didn't want to stay here any longer than necessary.
His six-foot, green, gerbil-like captors seemed pleasant enough- the whole kidnapping thing aside- but he was cold and he could really do with a cup of coffee. And a thick blanket. Maybe a couple of pillows as well- big fluffy ones. Jack always made a good substitute pillow...
Sighing, Ianto started to pace around the small cell. Having paced his cell at regular intervals over the last twelve hours, Ianto knew the cell was exactly seven steps long and four steps wide. This was the longest he'd ever spent in a cell. He had been in one of the police cells for under an hour before his furious and disbelieving father had turned up that one time he'd been caught shop-lifting, and even that small amount of time had been enough for Ianto to decide he'd never find himself in one again, not if he could help it. He was starting to feel a little claustrophobic, the walls seemed to be getting closer and he missed the extensive open spaces of the Hub.
He stopped suddenly, three paces into his current turn about the room, as several loud bangs sounded from somewhere outside his cell. The bangs were immediately followed by squealing and a familiar voice demanding that, "If you like your tails where they are you'll open this door right now!"
Turning so he was facing the door, Ianto leant against the wall, attempting a casual and indifferent pose which he suspected looked about as stupid as it felt. By the time the door had crashed open revealing his four relieved teammates, Ianto's arms were folded tightly across his chest and a well practised 'I am not amused' look was fixed onto his face.
"What took you so long?" Ianto griped but he couldn't help the small smile that appeared on his face as Jack took four strides across the stone floor and pulled Ianto into his arms.
The main section of the Hub was empty as Gwen stepped out of the lift and through the cog door. She glanced around the vast space as she placed her bag on her desk and removed her coat, hanging it on the back of her chair. Voices were rising up from the medical bay so, with a sense of trepidation, Gwen cautiously crossed the room and stepped onto the metal balcony.
"Oh my God, what the hell happened?" she exclaimed, clinging onto the metal railing as if it was the only thing keeping her upright.
"He's going to be fine," Owen reassured her, nodding to the prone figure asleep on the autopsy table. "I gave him some of the good stuff to help him sleep."
Ianto was lying motionless, his face deathly white. His shirt had been removed and Gwen could see several large gashes across his shoulder. Underneath his dark hair, Ianto's chest was a canvas of blue, purple and yellow bruises, starting from his collarbone, trailing down his torso and ending somewhere below the waistband of his trousers.
Even as she stared at Ianto, her eyes trailing up and down his body inspecting his injuries, Gwen couldn't help but wonder if the purple mark, paler than all the other bruises that littered Ianto's skin, was also a result from last night's accident or if it was from some of his and Jack's out-of-work-hours activities. She smiled despite the situation, remembering how cheerful he'd been during their coffee-break yesterday, the two of them gossiping and giggling like school-children.
Her happy visual was shattered the second she look at Jack. He was sitting on one of the stools Owen kept in the room, his cheek grazed and one of Ianto's hands clasped tightly between two of his own. He didn't turn around or acknowledge Gwen's presence in any way, he just kept staring at Ianto, occasionally pressing a kiss to the hand he was holding.
Gwen frequently forgot that Ianto, with his clever wit and smart suits, was actually the youngest of them all. But as she watched him sleeping, it seemed to Gwen that years had vanished from Ianto's appearance; he looked young and almost fragile. In comparison, Jack looked like he had aged several decades. His entire posture screamed tension, weariness and- despite Owen's reassurances- fear, but Gwen knew better than to suggest Jack get some rest. She knew she would be the same if their positions were reversed and it was Rhys lying injured.
"What happened?" Gwen repeated, her voice quieter but no less worried. Tosh, who was standing next to Gwen and keeping her own silent vigil over Ianto, squeezed Gwen's hand reassuringly.
"Weevil attack," Jack replied with a hoarse voice, his eyes still focused on Ianto's sleeping face.
When it became obvious that Jack wasn't going to expand on this Owen continued, "He's mostly just bruised but the cuts on his shoulder are quite deep and he bashed his ribs when one of the bastards threw him into a wall."
As one, Tosh, Gwen and Owen all returned their focus to Ianto as he gave a small groan of pain.
"Owen, I think he's coming round," Jack said needlessly, standing up and moving closer to Ianto. Owen didn't even attempt to move Jack, working around him instead.
"Jack?" Ianto asked hoarsely, and Jack responded with a light kiss to Ianto's head.
"I'm here. It's okay, you're safe," Jack said, running his hand through Ianto's hair as he spoke. Ianto tried to sit up but was quickly pushed back down by Owen.
"Right, first things first," Owen ordered, shining a light into Ianto's eyes. "Name?"
Ianto sighed. "Ianto Jones, aged 24, Torchwood Agent 3517, General Support for Torchwood Cardiff, the current Prime Minister is Brian Green and I'm not telling you the code to the secure archives so don't even bother asking."
"Told you he was fine," Owen said, looking up at Gwen with a smile as he grabbed a packet of tablets from his desk. "Right two of these every four hours," Owen informed Ianto as he shoved the packet into his hands, "for the next two weeks, you're off field duty until your ribs have healed and no shagging until I say otherwise. But, as I'm feeling generous, I'll not limit your caffeine intake."
"How kind of you," Ianto replied sarcastically. "Can I at least sit-up now?"
Owen responded with a wave of his hand, which Ianto interpreted as 'go ahead.'
"You okay?" Ianto asked Jack once he was sitting up straight, gently tracing around the cut on Jack's cheek with one of fingers.
"I should be asking you that," Jack remarked with a bitter laugh. "I'm feeling a lot better now you're awake again," he added seriously, squeezing Ianto's hand which he was still clutching tightly before continuing in a soft, quiet voice. "You scared the hell out of me."
"Come on, Tosh," Gwen said with a smile, glancing fondly one final time at Jack and Ianto who were now whispering with their heads together. "I'll buy you breakfast; I think we should leave those two alone for a while."
Ianto was only vaguely aware of being shoved into one of the vaults by a hazmat suit-wearing Owen and a quiet voice in the back of his head protesting that the shirt Jack was, literally, tearing off him was both expensive and brand new.
Ianto knew that this probably had something to do with that box on Jack's desk- the one that had suddenly started omitting a pleasant smelling yellow gas- and the alarms that he could hear faintly through the ringing in his ears and the never-ending mantra of more, more, more!
Ianto also knew he would be incredibly embarrassed in the morning and that his still sore shoulder would no doubt protest at being thrown against a cold, hard wall, but the combination of finally getting Jack's t-shirt over his head and Jack biting on that spot on his neck meant Ianto really couldn't bring himself to care.
Blood…Metal…People screaming…He couldn't move…They were getting closer…closer…"You are not compatible. You will be deleted."…
Ianto woke with a start, the Cyberman's voice fading away into the night. He rolled over to the other-side of the bed, automatically seeking out the comfort and protection Jack's presence offered after a nightmare. He shivered as his skin came into contact with cold, un-slept-on sheets instead of Jack's warm and strong arms.
He sighed; for a few blissful seconds Ianto had forgotten why he had been suffering the same nightmare for the last three nights running. Telephone calls and video conferences with government and UNIT officials were awful at the best of times but face-to-face meetings were always dire affairs and he really hoped that the decision to put himself and all the UNIT representatives up at the Canary Wharf Hilton was nothing more than an over-sight.
He hated having to justify the work they did, what Jack did, and asking UNIT to 'Please keep the hell out of Cardiff, Torchwood have enough messes to clean up,' never went down well.
Ianto rolled onto his back, deliberately not looking at the curtains that were blocking out the light of the crescent moon and, more importantly, the now fully re-built Canary Wharf. The first thing Ianto had done upon entering the room three days ago was to close the curtains; he'd not opened them since.
He missed home. It was strange how quickly Cardiff had finally become home again- it hadn't been his home since he was sixteen. Not since the day he'd left Rhiannon, still in her funeral outfit, with barely a good-bye. London had become his home after that, moving from temp job to temp job until he'd suddenly found himself in Torchwood Tower, with friends and loved ones for the first time since the day he'd run out on his sister.
Hopefully, he'd be able to visit London again one day without all the ghosts of his past haunting him at every turn, but no matter how many times he returned it would never be home again. Home was now a two-bedroom flat, where the tap in the kitchen sink always drips and his wardrobe became over-run with blue shirts when he wasn't looking.
Home was a large, damp, under-ground base- one with a pet pterodactyl and full of misfits, all of whom are fabulous in their own way.
Home was warm arms and a steady heartbeat driving away the bad days and the worse nights.
Ianto didn't stop to think- he just reached across for his phone and hit speed-dial two.
"Jack Harkness," a sleepy voice said when the ringing suddenly ceased and Ianto couldn't help but smile, feeling the last tendrils of his nightmare slip away.
"Did I wake you?"
"Yep," Jack said through a yawn. "But don't worry about it; my desk isn't the most comfortable place to sleep."
Ianto frowned. "Everything okay?"
"Hmmm," Jack murmured and Ianto winced when he heard something pop, probably Jack's shoulder. Ianto could easily imagine Jack stretching, a sleepy and bemused look on his face as he worked out the kinks in his neck, trying to work out when he fell asleep.
"That's better," Jack said, sounding a bit more awake now and breaking Ianto out of his daze as he remembered the last time he had found Jack asleep at his desk, his hair sticking up at one side and half a report plastered to his cheek. "Everything's fine- just a few Weevils and an invasion of evil pink kittens. Nothing we can't handle. You okay?" Jack asked sounding concerned.
This time Ianto hmmed in reply, not really wanting to admit how much his nightmare had freaked him out and how home sick he was feeling. He only had one more night left after this and then he would be on the last train home to Cardiff, to Jack.
"We haven't spoken in a couple of days, thought I'd see how everything is going."
"And you thought a phone call at three in the morning would be the best way to go?"
Ianto swore, looking at the alarm clock beside his bed for the first time. "Sorry, I didn't realise it was so late."
"It's fine," Jack interrupted sternly before Ianto could even suggest calling back in the morning. "I don't mind. Want to tell me what's up?"
Ianto sighed. "It's just this place...I've not been back here since..."
"Bad dreams?" Jack guessed. Ianto nodded and ran his hand over his face before realising that Jack couldn't actually see him. Jack interpreted his silence correctly. "I'm sorry I had to send you on your own," Jack continued softly.
"It's okay, I understand," Ianto replied and was surprised to find he actually believed what he was saying. "Honestly, I dread to think what would have happened had you sent Owen."
"Chances are UNIT would hate us more than they already do and we'd suddenly find the treasury have slashed our budget in half. That's what happened last time, anyway."
"You actually sent Owen to one of these things?!" Ianto asked incredulously, trying to imaging Owen explaining to the Defence Minister why Torchwood should be kept separate from UNIT and why, instead of merging Torchwood Two, Three and UNIT together to save money, they should actually increase Torchwood's funding and leave Jack and Archie to get on with their jobs.
"Him and Suzie," Jack explained. "I think they spent more time shagging than anything else. Apparently they only went to one of the meetings and by the end of it Suzie had punched somebody's PA and Owen almost got his ass kicked by the Shadow Secretary after calling her a stupid cow."
"That explains a lot," Ianto said, settling back further into his pillows. "I wondered why she kept giving me funny looks."
"Everything else going okay?" Jack asked, "And, more importantly, have you managed to steal one of those UNIT caps yet? I don't think Martha would be impressed if I ask her for another one."
"No, we do seem to go through quite a few of them," Ianto replied and he could practically see the leer on Jack's face.
"You say that like it's a bad thing!" Jack exclaimed. "Besides, that last thing with the marmite was your idea."
Ianto laughed, remembering that night fondly before coming to a sudden conclusion. For the first time since he'd said good-bye to the team in Cardiff he felt...content. He still wanted to be back home but now another twenty-four hours fighting with MP's and UNIT didn't seem as long as it had when he'd collapsed into bed earlier that evening. Even though they were in different cities, different countries even, Jack was still managing to chase his nightmares away.
"Thank you," Ianto said softly once he'd stopped chuckling. "I needed this."
"You're welcome," Jack replied just as softly. Ianto could hear the warm sincerity in Jack's voice, along with fondness and another emotion he thought he recognised but which he wasn't even going to think about. Not yet.
"So," Jack said after a few seconds of silence, "what are you wearing?"
*~* And One Time He Didn't Mind *~*
The bright moonlight was streaming through the open curtains, a complete contrast to the last time Ianto had stayed in a hotel. He smiled, sitting on the large window seat, surveying the debris littering the room. Clothes were strewn everywhere and a few lone carrots were the sole remains of two plates of Bangers and Mash, delivered by room service several hours earlier. Ianto knew they would be leaving a generous tip behind and he was glad he wasn't the one who would have to get the strawberry cheesecake stains out of the bed sheets.
They were staying in a four-star hotel about an hour out of Cardiff- far enough away to forget about Weevils, living-dead doctors and the Rift spitting out space-junk at all hours of the day but close enough to be accessible in an end-of-the world emergency.
He turned to look out of the window once more, admiring the beautiful Welsh countryside. There were sheep sleeping in a field next to the hotel and a full moon was slowly floating through the star-strewn sky. Having lived in London and Cardiff his entire life, Ianto had never seen as many stars as were glinting above him now and he couldn't not be moved by their simple beauty. He wondered how many of them Jack had been too and how many more he'd visit in the future.
Ianto didn't know how long he'd been sitting there, just watching the stars and the progress of one sheep as it meandered around the field in the dark, before a pair of lips were pressed to his shoulder followed by an arm wrapped around his back.
"You're cold," Jack reprimanded. Ianto leaned backwards so his head was resting against Jack's stomach as Jack started to rub his shoulder.
"I didn't notice," Ianto replied honestly, tilting his head so he could see Jack's face reflected in the glass.
"What were you thinking about?" Jack asked with a small smile, pressing a kiss into Ianto's hair.
Ianto smiled back at the reflection. "Just admiring the view."
"Come back to bed," Jack insisted after a few minutes in silence. "You're freezing."
Ianto allowed Jack to pull him to his feet and it wasn't until he stumbled into Jack's bare, but still warm, chest that Ianto realised just how cold he had become sitting at the closed window. Ianto had barely begun to cocoon himself in the warm quilt when he was halted by Jack wrapping an arm around his waist, manoeuvring the pair of them so they were lying in the middle of the bed, Ianto's head pillowed on Jack's chest. After a few moments work, mostly by Jack, Ianto was feeling delightfully snug- the quilt thick and heavy against his back and wrapped securely around his feet while Jack radiated heat underneath him, his hand trailing slowly up and down Ianto's back.
Jack always seemed to know what he needed, when he needed it, Ianto mused. Whether that was extra quilt on the bed or a kiss and a cup of tea when he was starting to feel run down or if he needed to get as far away from Torchwood as they could for a few hours.
"Thank you," Ianto murmured, turning his head slightly to kiss Jack's chest. For everything.
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