TITLE: Sick Psyche
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
SUMMARY: Both Jack and Ianto have had thoughts inside of their head that aren't their own, and at the end of the day Ianto's too tired to think while Jack, as usual, can't stop thinking.
A/N: This is a coda to my fic 'Twisted Mind', which is a synonym of the title of this fic (because sometimes I'm smart with words). My beta, pinkfairy727, wanted to see Jack & Ianto snuggles after everything that happened between them, so this is for her.
The streetlights were flickering through the front windscreen in a steady rhythm as Jack drove the familiar road back to Ianto's flat. It bore a striking resemblance to the journey he'd made two days previously, Ianto curled in on himself in the passenger seat with the most horrific headache possible and Jack quietly worrying his bottom lip.
Jack tried to keep his voice quiet as he drove smoothly down the residential streets, a stark contrast to his usual breakneck speed. His gaze flicked to the passenger seat where Ianto was still holding his head in one hand, like he was afraid if he let go it would fall off.
"Will you..." Ianto paused, trying to turn his head to no doubt give Jack a meaningful look, but Jack was already two steps ahead of him.
"I'm not going anywhere tonight."
Jack reached across to squeeze Ianto's knee in reassurance before he finally took a right into Ianto's street. As usual the woman on the bottom floor – Mrs. Heaney, Ianto had called her – was stood by her twitching curtains. Jack said let her look, especially when they stumbled over their own feet, already tugging on clothes as they tried to get in the front door. Tonight, though, Jack caught a confused but sympathetic look from her as he helped Ianto out the car. Ianto stumbled away up the path as Jack locked the SUV up before he heard the sound of keys clattering off concrete.
He turned to find Ianto struggling to retrieve his keys, looking like a chronic drunk. Jack managed to reach him before he took a nosedive into the patch of begonias by the front door, a hand going to the small of Ianto's back while Jack opened the door with the other.
"Come on, let's get you cleaned up," Jack coaxed.
Jack was standing in Ianto's bathroom looking at the reflection of himself in the mirror. He looked less than immaculate. His hair was matted with blood, a second shirt ruined in as many days and black bags under his eyes.
"I think you need to clean up more than I do," Ianto said quietly from the doorway, squinting into the brightly lit bathroom. Jack turned to look at him. He was the picture of exhaustion; shoulders hunched and head hanging low so that his chin was almost resting on his rumpled shirt. There were bags under Ianto's eyes that looked more like cabin trunks. He'd divested himself of his jacket and tie now and Jack could see them resting in a heap on the end of the bed.
"You know we never tested your bath to see if it holds two fully grown men," Jack voiced softly as he flicked out the main bathroom light and turned the dimmer one above the sink on. Ianto seemed to consider this for a moment a pained expression crossing his face, like the effort of thinking was too great. Jack moved towards him, pulling Ianto into his embrace, a hand automatically going to the back of his head to run soothing fingers through it.
"Let me do this," Jack whispered next to Ianto's ear, almost pleading. This wasn't about making Ianto feel better as much as it was about allowing Jack the comfort of knowing that Ianto was himself again and he was going to be alright, for now at least.
"'k," Ianto managed to mutter after a moment, reluctantly breaking out of Jack's hold, mumbling something about candles and disappearing back into the bedroom. Jack watched him go forlornly and somewhat amazed that Ianto was still upright before he turned to regard Ianto's bath. He didn't really think it was big enough for two grown men, but that wasn't going to stop them from trying. As long as his knees weren't under his chin and Ianto's elbows weren't digging into inappropriate places he would consider it a success.
The bath ended up being bigger than Jack had thought. Jack's feet just reached the other end of the tub, Ianto's resting above his, one on the hot tap and one on the cold. Jack was using a rolled up towel as a pillow while Ianto was using the whole of Jack's chest, swatting away ineffectually at bubbles when they got too close to his nose. In that moment Jack would have been quite content to lie in the bath until he shrivelled up into a prune.
As he started to relax the past few days drifted through his mind, ebbing like the water in the bath as Ianto's breathing evened out. Jack let him doze, an arm across Ianto's chest keeping him above the water as Jack watched the candlelight flickering on the ceiling above them.
Jack let his eyes lose focus as he thought of all the words that had both been said and left unsaid between himself and Ianto. He tried not to dwell on it, tried to live in the moment, feeling Ianto's hairy chest beneath his fingers, Ianto's wet hair rubbing against the underside of his chin, Ianto's whole body pressed against his in lazy sleep-deprived relaxation as a quiet snore broke free from his barely parted lips.
Jack breathed Ianto in, spending a moment longer in quiet contemplation before his free hand was reaching out for the bottle of shampoo that was a fingertip out of reach. Ianto's hand was there, grasping it in an uncoordinated movement, passing it back to Jack and almost giving him a black eye in the process.
Ianto moaned in both pain and pleasure as Jack started working the shampoo into a lather on his head, adept fingers trying to sooth away the pain. Some part of Jack was trying to literally wash away the thoughts that hadn't been Ianto's but undoubtedly still lingered in his head.
"You still awake?" Jack questioned, his voice bouncing loudly off the tiled walls of the bathroom as he rinsed the shampoo from Ianto's head with cupped hands.
"No," Ianto mumbled in reply, his voice thick with sleep and hurt. Jack chuckled slightly, jostling Ianto who emitted another low moan.
Jack stopped laughing immediately, a frown replacing the look of mirth on his face. "Sorry." Jack pressed a lingering kiss to Ianto's forehead, holding him a bit closer as he buried his nose in Ianto's wet hair.
"You okay?" Jack asked. There was a long pause before Ianto replied. He turned slightly so the water sloshed against the side of the bath, his head turned into Jack's chest more as a hand came up to clutch at Jack's.
Ianto struggled to stand up in the bath after they were done, everything had clearly caught up with him now as Jack manhandled him onto the bathmat and wrapped a bath sheet round him that had been hanging over the towel rail.
"Sorry you have to do this," Ianto garbled into Jack's neck, his head resting on Jack's shoulder as Jack tried to dry him off.
"What did I tell you earlier about apologising?"
There was a long pause where Ianto was clearly trying to remember what had been said while Jack shifted Ianto away from him so he could dry off below Ianto's waist.
"Can't 'member." Ianto's speech was losing half of the words and sentences now.
"Stop apologising," Jack told him calmly as he pulled himself back up to his full height, grabbing hold of Ianto just in time as he started to sway back towards the bath. The water in it was a disgusting brown now, the clothes next to it not much better. Jack wasn't sure if Ianto was listening either, his eyes were closed as he leant in towards Jack again.
Ianto wobbled on unsteady feet into the bedroom, Jack holding him upright with a firm grip on his biceps. They were leaving a trail of wet footprints behind them but neither noticed or cared at that moment in time. Jack dressed Ianto like he was a child, pulling on a pair of worn pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt that was advertising Guinness. He left Ianto perched on the side of the bed while he went to deal with the bathroom.
He took some painkillers for himself, the dull throb at the back of his head still niggling him as he regarded himself in the bathroom mirror. He didn't anywhere near match Ianto in exhaustion stakes but he still looked worried. There was a deep-set crease on his brow as he tried to force down all his thoughts, busying himself with the mess of clothes on the floor and letting out the dirty bathwater. He even went as far as to shower the scummy tide mark off the sides, watching as a days worth of dirt washed down the drain. Blood and mud and grit all mingled in together. Jack tried to wash his thoughts down with them.
Ianto was curled up on one side of the bed, his head half buried underneath one of the pillows. Jack watched him from the bathroom doorway for a long moment. Ianto hadn't even bothered to pull the covers back, hadn't bothered to close the curtains so that the sulphuric glow of the streetlights was still glaring across the bedroom and reflecting in the wardrobe mirror.
"Being creepy," Ianto said in a gruff whisper and Jack reanimated himself, moving towards Ianto.
"Here," Jack encouraged, holding out a glass of water and some more painkillers for Ianto. Ianto peered out at him from underneath the pillow, considering the effort involved in taking the drugs and if it would be beneficial in the long run.
Ianto struggled into a half sitting position and took the water and painkillers from Jack in shaky hands. Jack moved to close the curtains as Ianto sipped at the water, his entire frame shaking with pain and exhaustion as the glass clattered onto the bedside table before he was lying gingerly back down again.
"You'll get cold," Jack reprimanded as he moved back round to Ianto's side of the bed and dug the covers out from underneath Ianto, lifting his legs slightly to slide them underneath the duvet.
"You make a good boyfriend," Ianto mumbled, already half asleep and blatantly unaware of what he was saying. Jack paused in his ministrations, one hand on the top of Ianto's head where he'd been sweeping back his wet hair and the other pulling the covers up to his chin. His stomach turned like a tumble dryer for a fraction of second, thoughts flitting through his head at a hundred miles an hour, every one his own now.
"Yeah, I do," Jack whispered in reply, bending to kiss Ianto on the forehead and lingering. He pulled back slightly, a hand still stroking through Ianto's hair, watching Ianto's closed eyelids until a soft snuffling snore rose up.
Jack lay in the bed beside Ianto, an arm behind his head as he stared up at Ianto's ceiling. He was still trying to chew through everything that had taken place that day, thoughts continuing to run rampant as he lay next to a sleeping Ianto. Jack frowned as his head began to ache. He rolled over in the bed so he was facing Ianto, scooting forward so that he was now spooning Ianto.
Ianto didn't stir as Jack wrapped an arm around him, pulling him closer so that Jack's nose was buried in the shoulder of Ianto's t-shirt. He closed his eyes, listening to Ianto's even breaths, feeling the drowsy heat of it curling over Ianto's shoulder, smelling the remainder of aftershave that Ianto splashed on absentmindedly every morning, tasting the remainder of soap that lingered on his skin as Jack pressed supple lips to Ianto's neck. With nothing but Ianto filling his senses and thoughts Jack's headache finally receded enough for him to slip quietly into sleep.