A/N: My first Torchwood fic! :) I have fallen in love with this show, so expect more from me. Janto is too adorable to resist! :D I don't own Torchwood etc. unfortunately. This story is inspired by Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" song, which I also don't own. Beautiful song! There are two parts. Part I takes place after 1x06 "Countrycide". Enjoy! :)
I also highly recommend viewing this fanvid made by the AWESOME Angelustatt to accompany this fic! You can find it http: / /www .youtube. com/ watch? v= 4bthhEPrSWE (just remove the spaces!) It is fit to the song, and it absolutely brilliant! You won't regret it :)
Need You Now: Part I
Picture perfect memories scattered all around the floor
Reaching for the phone 'cause I can't fight it anymore
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time
Jack drove them all back to the Hub, the only one that was really fit to drive anyway. Ianto was dimly aware of Owen sitting next to him, in the middle, because he'd insisted on keeping Gwen and Ianto in the back with him to 'watch over them'. They'd all been bundled in with blankets to keep them warm.
The blanket was scratchy against his skin.
He turned away from Gwen and Owen's clasped hands, and surrendered himself to watching the countryside blur into an inenarrable mess. Carefully avoiding Jack's gaze in the rear-view mirror.
They didn't stay at the Hub very long. Ianto was told to stay in the car, along with Tosh, while Jack went in briefly. Owen gave him a light squeeze on the shoulder before leaving with Gwen. Ianto watched them drive away, swallowing thickly in the sudden silence in the SUV.
"Ianto?" Tosh turned around in the front seat. Ianto forced himself to look at her, and saw concern in her eyes, thinly veiling a shadow of horror. He wondered if it would ever disappear. He wondered what his own eyes looked like.
Ianto cleared his throat.
"How are you feeling, Tosh? You look like you took some rough blows." He made a genuine attempt at smiling, but suspected he only managed a grimace.
"Nothing some rest won't cure," Tosh replied, with that little cautious smile of hers. "Are you – are you okay?" she asked softly. Something inside of Ianto twisted coldly, and he suppressed a shudder.
It was just too much. It was like he'd said. Who protected them? Who protected them when they were captured by – by cannibals – and were inches away from being hung on meat hooks? Who protected them when they were about to be chopped to pieces and eaten?
Ianto couldn't answer Tosh, just looked down at his feet. On the floor of the SUV there was an old coke bottle and several chocolate wrappers scattered. He'd have to clean them up.
In under five minutes, Jack returned with a map to each of their houses.
"Don't worry about your cars, they'll be safe here." Ianto wanted to retort that they'd thought the SUV would be safe at their campsite, and it hadn't, but somehow he couldn't muster the energy.
"Take Tosh home first," was what he did manage to get out, catching Jack's eyes in the rear-view mirror this time as he spoke. Their gazes were locked, just for a second, before Ianto ripped his eyes away to stare, unfocused, out of the window again.
The drive to Tosh's seemed to go by in a second. Jack opened Tosh's door for her, and Tosh came over to the car window by Ianto.
"Take care, Ianto," she said quietly. Ianto simply nodded in reply, swallowing past a permanent lump lodged in his throat. Jack walked her to her door, embraced her, and then strode back to the SUV.
"Won't be long, Ianto," he said. "You don't live far away from Tosh, did you know?"
He didn't know. But that wasn't really true, because he was hardly ever at his apartment. With Lisa... he'd been in the basement mostly, only venturing out to get food. And after Lisa... the archives. There was a lot that needed filing, after all. And the whole system had been screwed up to begin with. How Jack had ended up in charge of it, Ianto was at a loss.
Ianto was jolted out of his reverie by Jack's car door slamming shut. They were there. Ianto slid the blanket off his shoulders. Jack opened Ianto's door, paused a second, and offered a hand to help Ianto out. Ianto held his breath and reached out to take it. Jack's warm fingers gripped Ianto's cold ones tightly, and he gently pulled Ianto out of the SUV.
He stumbled slightly over his feet, as if they had forgotten how to work. Ianto bit back a curse, but before he could steady himself, strong arms wrapped around Ianto's waist, effectively holding Ianto upright.
Jack. Of course.
"I can manage, sir," Ianto mumbled, closing his eyes against his headache. Owen had given him something for the pain. It didn't seem to be doing much. However, closing his eyes proved to be a very bad idea. The darkness pressed in on him, just like when he'd had his head covered with that bloody sack – he could feel the scratchy material against his skin – and he couldn't breathe. He tore his eyes open and took a few deep breaths, trying to be subtle about it. A difficult task when his chest was so close against Jack's, but Ianto tried nonetheless.
"Ianto?" Ianto kept his eyes on Jack's coat buttons, standing straight and stiff in Jack's arms. "Ianto, look at me."
Jack raised one hand to gently lift Ianto's chin, so that he was looking at Jack.
"Do you... do you want me to stay with you tonight?"
A wave of helplessness swept through Ianto, nearly allowing himself to say yes. It was so tempting. There was no way he wanted to be alone tonight – and yet. He couldn't. He didn't need Jack to discover even more of Ianto's weaknesses... there had been quite enough of them exposed lately. Besides, Tosh hadn't needed Jack to stay – Gwen hadn't even needed Jack to drive her home.
He had to be strong.
"No thanks sir, I'm just fine."
Jack stared at Ianto as if he hadn't even spoken, and Ianto was unconsciously drawn back to Jack's earlier stare, after Gwen had began asking them all who their last snog had been. He'd answered Lisa, only to receive an intense, deathly stare from Jack. If he was referring to the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation... well.
Ianto cleared his throat. Jack tightened his grip around Ianto ever so slightly.
"So, I'll see you tomorrow sir?" Ianto raised an eyebrow. Trying to convince Jack that he was fine, was his normal self. Convince himself.
Jack blinked, and answered,
"I've given everyone the day off tomorrow. Give you time to rest." To recover.
It would take more than a day, Ianto was sure of that.
"Right, sir," Ianto avoided letting a tremor slip into his voice. "Well, if that's all..."
Please Jack, don't listen to me. Don't let me go into my flat alone. Don't leave me.
Jack sighed imperceptibly, and let his arms drop their hold on Ianto, fingertips brushing Ianto's sides as they fell.
"Let me walk you to your door." The concern in Jack's voice was sincere, and somehow, Ianto let himself be lead across the road, across the pavement, up his front steps. When they were standing at his door, however, Ianto realised that he didn't know where his keys were.
"Uh... I don't know where my keys are..." Ianto looked at Jack, biting his lip, but Jack grinned and reached into his pocket.
"Here. You left them at the Hub." Jack dropped them into Ianto's waiting palm, and he turned to unlock his door. He pushed it open a foot – it was completely black inside. Ianto swallowed past a lump and looked over his shoulder at Jack.
"Thank you for the ride home sir."
Jack fixed Ianto with that stare again, and Ianto was filled with the desire to – he didn't know what. Do something to stop Jack from concentrating so deeply on Ianto. Acting as if Ianto was all he cared about, at that moment. Because it was all just too much – he couldn't handle it – didn't want to. But – at the same time, he didn't want Jack to stop. He needed Jack to not stop. The indecision tore at Ianto, wrung itself out inside of him.
Come in with me Jack.
But Jack found his answer to his unspoken question in Ianto's hesitation, and Jack broke their eye contact.
"Okay then. I'll be at the Hub, call me if you need me."
"I won't," Ianto injected a cheerful, near mechanical note into the words.
"Good night, Ianto," he said softly. Ianto nodded, holding back a choking breath, and managed a smile in farewell. Jack turned, returned to the SUV, and without deliberating upon it Ianto quickly pushed his way into his apartment and slammed the door shut behind him.
It seemed even darker without the street lamps to guide Ianto. He actually squeezed his eyes shut and fumbled for the light switch. Opening his eyes, Ianto breathed a sigh of relief to find his apartment exactly as he had left it. Less than 24 hours ago. It felt... like much longer. He robotically slipped off his shoes, and bent down to set them beside the neat row of his other shoes, by the door.
Refusing to remember the haphazard pile of shoes down in the cell.
God, he wanted a shower. The hot water would probably do him good. He straightened up and winced as the aching muscles stretched. Perhaps not – he could just feel his bruises and cuts burning painfully at the thought. But he couldn't sleep in this grimy state. If he had any chance of sleeping at all, that was.
He definitely wasn't hungry either.
Maybe coffee would make him feel better. Coffee always made him feel better.
Right. Coffee first, shower after.
Ianto washed his hands before fetching his coffee beans from the cupboard. Prepared his coffee machine, and then turned to get the milk.
Out of the fridge.
Ianto froze, his hand inches away from the fridge handle. Quickly swallowed the rising bile in his throat, face twisting into a grimace. Stop being stupid. It was just a fridge, with... perfectly normal food in it.
Ianto flexed his outstretched fingers into a fist, and lowered his arm.
Skip the coffee then.
For once, he left his kitchen as it was, and strode straight into his bathroom. Ianto flicked the hot water on, and braced himself against his sink, in front of the mirror, looking for the first time at his appearance.
Ianto caught his breath at the sight of his face, so quickly fixed his gaze on something else. His clothes were ruined – well, they'd need dry cleaning, at least. Blood stains were the hardest to get out, once they had soaked in. Slowly, Ianto brought his eyes up to his face, and let out the breath he'd been holding.
It could have been worse. Bruise or two on his cheekbones. Lump and a cut, now patched up courtesy of Owen, on his forehead where – where he had bashed him with the butt of the rifle. Ianto's fingers trembled as he brought them up to touch it, and hissed quietly when he did. Okay, bad idea. He lowered his fingers to his nose, where he had blocked his airway. Gagged him. The flashes of memory whipped around Ianto – he could feel the metal blade stroking his chin – taste the dirty material in his mouth. And his own blood.
Ianto choked back a sob and wrenched away from the sink. He roughly turned the shower off again and swallowed against the returning bile, and panic, inside of him. He needed to calm the hell down. He swept out of the bathroom into his living room, and began pacing around the small area.
It wasn't enough. He felt frantic – like there was something he should be doing – like he couldn't think, couldn't breathe. He shoved his still shaking hands into his pockets, and flinched as one hand brushed again something. His cell phone.
Pulling it out, Ianto took an unsteady breath and bit his lip. He said he wouldn't call. He said he'd be fine. Ianto nearly laughed – fine. Yeah. Right.
Jack would be back at the Hub by now. There was no way he'd want to drive out all this way again.
He couldn't call.
He tapped over his contacts, down to Jack. It was weird. Jack was 'sir', or at the very least, Captain Jack Harkness. But... on his cell phone, it was Jack. Just Jack.
Ianto, not quite able to believe he was about to do this, pursed his lips and firmly pressed the call button.
Oh god oh god oh god. Ringing echoed loudly in his ear, but only for a short second – Ianto's ear was then filled with a warm, familiar voice.
"Jack," Ianto replied, shoulders slumping slightly. He let out a long breath and closed his eyes briefly.
"Are you okay? What do you need?" Once again, Jack's concern was evident.
"I need –" Ianto bit back the automatic response threatening to spill out.
You. I need you, Jack.
"– you to leave the camping gear just outside the Archives. I need to make sure all of the pieces are there before I put them back away. And can you please make sure the instruction manuals are there too? I think Owen through them somewhere. And –"
"Ianto?" Jack's soft voice interrupted Ianto's babbling, and he clenched his teeth together, feeling an angry, embarrassed flush heat his neck. Great. He knew this had been a bad idea. "Ianto, are... are you okay?"
"I..." he forced out. He had to fix this, place back his mask. "I –" A choking gasp of air cut Ianto off, and he shut his mouth again.
"Ianto. What do you need?" Jack was doing it again – he cared. He really cared. Something inside of Ianto slipped and shattered, and words rushed out in a half sob.
"I need you, Jack."
"Already on my way," Jack replied, and Ianto could hear a car engine revving in the background as confirmation. "I'll be ten minutes, tops. Ianto?" Jack paused. "Stay on the phone with me, okay? You're going to be alright."
Ianto nodded numbly, barely realising that Jack couldn't see him. He blinked, shoving back a sudden onslaught of tears, brought on by this – this shattering. By Jack. He needed something to occupy his brain until Jack arrived. He had to keep it together until then. Ianto strode into his kitchen, clutching the phone tightly to his ear.
"Ianto? You still there?"
"Yes." Ianto cast his eyes over his half prepared coffee machine, and then turned to the fridge. Okay. "I need to clean out my fridge." Ianto scrubbed his knuckles over his dry eyes and stood staring at the offending object.
"Okay," Jack said after a long pause. Ianto snorted humourlessly, knowing how crazy he must sound. Ignoring the gentle understanding in Jack's tone.
Ianto reached out a hand, wrapped it around the fridge handle securely. This was not going to beat him. In one fluid motion, he threw the door open, gripping the phone so tightly he feared it would break.
The shelves were stacked with normal, unopened food. He pulled out a container at random, glanced at the expiry date. Long gone. Swallowing, Ianto took out another – expired.
"No, no, no, no, no!" Ianto bit out, frantically sorting through the shelves.
"Ianto? Hey, talk to me! What's wrong?"
"It's all rotten!" he roared, making himself jump, and furiously swiped a hand across one of the shelves, sending items showering to the kitchen floor. Biting his bottom lip and holding his breath in case a sob overcame him, Ianto sank to the floor as well and shuffled over to the corner of the kitchen.
"I'm nearly at your place, Ianto. Just hold on, please!" Jack's voice was strained, or was it just that Ianto's now slack hand was drifting the phone away from his ear? Then his phone slipped right between his fingers and hit the floor with a metallic clatter. Ianto ignored Jack's worried voice and drew his knees closer to his chest.
It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now
"Ianto? Ianto! You still there? Hey, speak to me!" Jack frowned, forehead creasing, when he received no answer. He squarely set his jaw and pushed harder on the SUV's accelerator.
Jack's instincts had told him not to leave Ianto alone tonight, but had he listened? Hell, Ianto had received the worst of any of them today. Even worse than Gwen's gunshot wound... Ianto had the mental scarring, ten times as painful as any bullet. Jack was unfortunately an expert in that particular area.
He should never have suggested for Ianto to join them, on their 'camping outing'. Jack thought that it would be good for him, to get out of the Hub, see some daylight – he hadn't been out much at all since... the incident. But this... this was Jack's fault.
It was definitely a good idea to give Ianto some proper field training after this. Despite his anxiety for Ianto, Jack felt a thrill of excitement and grinned softly at the thought – teaching someone as hot as Ianto to use firearms would unquestionably be a fun way to spend an afternoon – or evening. Or both.
Jack had given up trying to get a response from Ianto, and was simply concentrating on driving as fast and as safely as possible. Ianto had sounded much worse on the phone than he had when Jack had dropped him off home. He had such a careful, practiced mask... and it seemed like it had finally fallen.
A short sigh of relief escaped Jack when he turned the corner into Ianto's street. He screeched to a halt on the side of the road, and was out of the SUV barely before he'd turned the engine off. Sprinted across the road, leapt up the stairs.
"Ianto! It's me!" Jack knocked loudly, not particularly caring if he woke any neighbours up. Silence met him. "Hey! Open up!" He started banging harder.
After several more seconds, Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out a copy of Ianto's key. Torchwood policy... just in case. He slid it into the lock carefully, and pushed open Ianto's door. The lights were on, which was a good sign. He slammed the door shut behind him, striding quickly into the apartment.
"Ianto?" he called, quieter now, but no less urgently. Oh god, where was he? Not in the living room... he looked to his left, into the kitchen, and a good part of his heart broke.
Ianto, the gorgeous Welshman, who was so meticulous in the way he cleared up after the team, and kept everything running smoothly, was curled up in the corner of his kitchen, sitting on the floor, surrounded by piles of fallen food. Some had split open and had leaked onto the tiles, but Ianto, for once, didn't seem to notice. He was staring blankly at nothing – Jack didn't even know if Ianto had seen him.
"Ianto," Jack whispered – he couldn't manage anything louder – and was crouched on the floor next to him in less than a second. Ianto blinked and looked at him, and Jack stared into his anguished eyes.
"Jack. You're here." His voice cracked with unshed tears, thickening his accent.
"I wouldn't be anywhere else," Jack promised him, and slung an arm around Ianto's shoulders. "Come on, what do you say to a nice hot shower?"
"It'll hurt," Ianto mumbled, closing his eyes. Jack could feel tremors running through Ianto's body, and pressed himself closer to him.
"You'll feel a load better afterwards though. And you'll be clean – you like clean!" Jack gently persuaded him, and Ianto slowly nodded – or at least, Jack thought he did – leaning unconsciously into Jack's neck. "Come on, on your feet."
Jack half lifted Ianto to his feet, and led him out of the kitchen. Luckily, the layout of the apartment was pretty logical, and he steered Ianto into his bathroom. He flicked the hot water on, and turned back to Ianto.
Ianto was still standing there, frozen, miserably looking at Jack. He didn't look like he was going to say anything – looked like he couldn't – and so Jack gave him a reassuring smile, before starting to unbutton his bloody shirt. He cleared his throat conspicuously as he smoothed his hands up Ianto's chest, to his shoulders, to slip the shirt gently to the floor. Jack noticed the bruising around Ianto's ribs, and frowned.
"You should have had Owen take a look at this."
"S'okay, it not that bad," Ianto muttered indistinctly.
Jack sighed, and couldn't resist running his fingers back down Ianto's sides, avoiding the bruises, and rest on his hips, just above Ianto's belt. He bit his lip and moved determinedly to Ianto's belt clasp, but before he could start undoing it, Ianto suddenly grabbed his arm.
"It's okay, I can do it." Jack cleared his throat again and took a step back, and Ianto awkwardly undid his belt, and pushed his trousers down to the floor. Grimaced as he straightened back up. Jack tried to focus on the task at hand, despite letting his eyes roam over Ianto's naked torso, and his boxer clad bottom-half. God, his ass looked even better than in those suits of his, Jack grinned inwardly. He returned his eyes to Ianto's face, and his amusement vanished. Ianto's face was paler, his jaw set firmly.
"Alright, into the shower," Jack gently helped Ianto under the stream of hot water, feeling something inside of him wrench. This was his fault. The effect of the water was instantaneous on Ianto; he hissed and screwed his eyes shut.
"Jack. It hurts," he bit out, and Jack looked around wildly.
"It's okay, it's okay, I'll – I'll turn down the heat. Here, I –" Jack cut himself off when he realised the Welshman was just standing there, trembling, eyes shut, face twisted with pain.
Right. Given the circumstances... well, Jack had earned a shower himself anyway.
Jack quickly stripped, mixing his clothes into a pile with Ianto's, and stepped carefully into the shower. He stood behind Ianto, and gathered some soap between his hands, and started massaging it into Ianto's back. Ianto jumped violently at Jack's first touch, and took a sharp breath.
"Sir? Erm, what –"
"Do you think you could drop the 'sir' now?" Jack said, with a small smile playing on his lips. He could imagine Ianto's blush.
"... Jack. What... what are you doing, exactly?"
"Just shush, and relax," Jack soothed, rubbing his hands softly over Ianto's skin. The idea of Ianto hurt, and Jack being responsible, kept Jack's mind clear, and he dedicated his energy to cleaning Ianto – to healing him. Ianto's occasional hisses of pain alerted him to press lighter, and for the most part, the younger man's eyes stayed closed. Which also made things easier.
After washing Ianto, Jack gave himself a quick soap over, and then turned off the water. Ianto stood there, hair dripping into his eyes, and Jack smiled despite his worry.
"There. Much better."
Ianto didn't answer, but started shivering slightly, goose bumps rising over his skin. Right, towels.
"Ianto, where do you keep your towels?"
"Cupboard in the hall, first on the left."
Jack climbed out of the shower and fetched a towel for Ianto, and wrapped another around himself. He handed the other to Ianto, who took it gratefully.
Ianto inclined his head as a reply, and after an apparent internal debate, stretched his hand out tentatively. Jack grinned and took it immediately in his own, fitting the spaces between Ianto's fingers perfectly. They walked to Ianto's bedroom and turned the light on. It was just how Jack could have imagined – neat, simple. Double bed – handy.
"Would you like me to give you some privacy?"
"I bet that's the first time you've ever asked that before," Ianto quipped with a half smile, and Jack smiled back. The shower seemed to have done some good.
"I'll just go and get a spare change of clothes from the SUV. I'll be two seconds," Jack promised, as the tiniest shadows of panic flew over Ianto's face. "Get yourself dry and warm."
Jack jogged back through Ianto's apartment and outside, not caring in the slightest if anyone saw him, half naked, at two in the morning. Not that anyone was outside at that time anyway. Jack scrounged around for a casual t-shirt and a pair of pants in the boot – he never knew when he was going to need them. Ran back inside, pulled the clothes on. Glanced into the kitchen at the food – he'd clean that up later, when Ianto was asleep, perhaps. He strode straight past and into to Ianto's room. Ianto had got changed as well, wearing the same casual attire as Jack. He was briefly distracted – God, was there anything he didn't look good in?
However, at the moment, Ianto was looking very small. He was sitting cross legged on his bed, arms unconsciously folded into himself, and staring at Jack. Jack saw that just in the time it had taken for him to dash outside, Ianto had... well. Jack crossed the room and enveloped Ianto in his arms.
"Come on, let's get you warm," Jack murmured in Ianto's ear, and he let Ianto crawl underneath the blankets of his bed.
"Jack? I –" Ianto cleared his throat, not meeting Jack's eyes. "I'd like for you to stay, if..."
"Wasn't planning on leaving," Jack smiled, and slid under the blankets too. He could feel Ianto's body heat from the shower radiating off, but Ianto was also shaking ever so imperceptibly. Seeing as Jack had never been one to keep to the rules between a boss and an employee, Jack slowly, so as not to startle Ianto, shuffled closer and delicately wrapped an arm around Ianto's waist.
Ianto let out a deep breath, relaxing into Jack, breathing with him. Jack was breathing in Ianto's scent, closing his eyes to enjoy it. Ianto gave a more violent shiver, and Jack held onto him tighter. He had to help make this right – help Ianto heal.
Somewhere in a state between being awake and dreaming, Ianto pressed himself even closer to Jack, miles beyond caring. He didn't know if he was going to be able to sleep well tonight – or tomorrow night – but that didn't matter right now. All that mattered... was that he had Jack.
He needed Jack.
"Jack?" he murmured.
"Yeah?" the breathy reply came in his ear, and Ianto shivered again, this time not from shock or cold.
"I... I'm glad you're here."
Jack pressed his lips lightly against the nape of Ianto's neck.
-End. Hope you liked it! :) Let me know what you thought of it.