Ianto checked his watch for the fourth time that night. It was a few minutes past seven. Jack was late. That is, if he was even planning on showing in the first place.

Ianto bit his lip nervously, pacing the length of his lounge. He had no reason to think that Jack would stand him up, considering the pleading note in his voice when he'd asked him out on that date in the first place, and yet, there was a tiny knot of worry in the pit of Ianto's stomach.

When he checked his watch for the fifth time he noted with a frown that it was fifteen past. He sighed, sitting down on the couch and resting his arms on his knees, trying not to feel so disappointed. So much for their date.

His mobile rang and Ianto jumped, fishing the device from the table and noting the number belonged to Torchwood's medic. That couldn't be good.

"Owen?"

"Ianto, get back to the Hub."

"Sorry?"

"It's Jack, Ianto. He's been hurt pretty badly."

Ianto's eyes widened and he immediately stood back up. "But he'll be alright, yeah?" There was a silence. "Owen?"

"I don't know, Ianto. Just, get back here. He's asking for you."

The line clicked in his ear and Ianto swallowed hard. Jack was immortal. He couldn't die. Well, stay dead, anyway. Right? The truth was there was no way to know for sure. Except for one…

Grabbing his coat and keys Ianto left the flat, locking up behind him. He glanced at the sky, wishing he could enjoy the brilliance of the clear night, but there were far too many other things to be concerned about. What had injured Jack? Why was he in such bad shape he'd ask for Ianto? Jack hated Ianto seeing him hurt. If he could help it, he'd once said, he'd never let Ianto see him die. But in their line of work that wasn't exactly practical.

As he sped along the road that would lead him back to the Hub Ianto barely registered the lights. He was sure he'd run at least one red but couldn't be arsed to care. Even the scratch to the door of his otherwise immaculate car, which must have occurred in his car park that night, failed to make him do more than wince.

After parking Ianto sprinted toward the Hub, and once inside he was panting, having to lean his hands on his thighs in order to catch his breath before he quickly made his way over to the railing of the medical bay. There, lying on the table, attached to an IV and covered in blood, was Jack.

"Sir?" His voice sounded small, even to himself.

"Ian…to?"

"Y-yes, Jack. It's me." The Captain's eyes were slits, and he didn't turn his head. Ianto looked over at Owen and Owen shook his head. It wasn't good.

Making his way down to Jack's side Ianto let his eyes roam over the man on the table. His shirt had been cut away, and there was a roughly stitched wound over his heart, in addition to other similar damages. Ianto let out a breath, seeing the claw marks up and down his torso. His Jacket was in a pile on the ground, and by the looks of it, destroyed.

"It hurts…Ianto."

"You'll be okay, sir," Ianto told him, reaching for his hand and grasping it tightly. There was only a slight reaction and Ianto realized Jack likely could barely feel his touch. His shoulder was torn on that side.

"It's…bad, Ianto."

"You do look a bit worse for wear, sir."

"Should see…the other…guy."

Ianto smiled, brushing his fingers against Jack's cheek. Jack's eyes closed for a moment and he nudged against Ianto's hand. Small comforts, he supposed.

"Whatever those creatures were, they're bloody violent," Owen said, applying gauze to the wound on Jack's shoulder. He'd already sewn that up as well, which normally wouldn't be needed, considering Jack's healing abilities, but it was still bleeding heavily. "Never seen a thing like them, Ianto."

"Did you kill them?"

"Yes, but not before they took a chunk or two from the Captain and made a swipe at Gwen." Ianto looked around, expecting bodies. Owen shook his head, reading Ianto's thoughts. "In the SUV. Didn't have a chance to get the bloody bastards out yet. Needed the space."

Ianto nodded, squeezing Jack's hand. "You didn't die?" he asked, frowning deeply.

"No," Jack managed, turning his head slightly to face Ianto. The look of absolute agony in his eyes was enough to make tears spring to Ianto's. "Would have…welcomed that."

"I'm sorry, sir," Ianto said, kissing his forehead gently. He glanced up and caught Owen's eyes. "Where's Gwen?"

"Resting in Jack's bunker," Owen replied, gauzing and bandaging the wound over Jack's heart. "She's not so bad, in comparison. She'll be alright. Tosh is with her."

Ianto nodded, running his fingers through Jack's bloodied hair. The scrapes and scratches on his face were relatively shallow, but as any head wound would do, they'd bled heavily before clotting.

"Make it…stop…Ianto?"

Ianto's heart broke. "I can't, sir," he said softly, still stroking the man's hair. "Did you give him pain meds?" Owen just glared at him. "Right. Sorry."

"Gave him the highest potency we have," Owen explained, wiping swiftly at the deep scratches with what appeared to be antibiotic. "Still not enough, poor bloke."

"Shoot me," Jack groaned weakly, pleading with Ianto with his eyes.

"Jack, no," Ianto said, shaking his head. "I can't do that."

"He's asked me no less than four times," Owen growled. "Hippocratic Oath means nothing to the bloody bastard."

"Owen…"

"Sorry, Ianto," Owen apologized, shaking his head. "We're your friends, Jack," he explained to the man on the bed. "We want to help you, not hurt you further."

"Would be…over quickly."

"And you might not come back, sir!" Ianto's eyes flashed with sudden anger. "You can't ask us to take that risk!"

"Right," Jack sighed and then coughed, shaking as his body reacted to the unwelcome movement.

Ianto closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, before he leaned in to whisper in Jack's ear, "You need to get better, Jack. We've a date to keep."

Jack chuckled softly before hissing in pain. "Sorry…Ianto."

"Don't be," Ianto replied. He pulled up the medic's stool and sat down, stroking a hand down Jack's arm. He felt Jack tremble under his touch.

"I've done all I can for now," Owen told them, snapping off his gloves and dumping them in the trash. He pulled on a fresh pair. "I'm going to go check on our other patient."

"Thank you, Owen," said Ianto, pushing Jack's damp fringe away from his face. Owen nodded before heading up into the Hub.

"Had…plans," Jack whispered, smiling slightly.

"Yeah? Like what?"

"Dinner…movie..."

Ianto smiled. "What was dinner going to be?" he asked. He figured keeping Jack talking might keep his mind off the pain.

"Italian," Jack replied. "Made…reservations. Should call…La Boheme…"

"I'll take care of the explanations later," Ianto told him, squeezing his hand again. "If it makes you feel any better, I hear that restaurant is bloody awful."

"Been there…Ianto. It's…amazing."

"Ah, well. Everyone's a critic then, hmm?"

"Yeah. Ianto? Thank…you."

"For what, sir?"

"Saying…yes, Ianto."

"Are you surprised, sir?" Ianto asked, brushing away a tear he saw fall from Jack's eye. He wasn't sure if it was from pain or emotion, but he didn't call attention to it. "Of course I said yes."

"Didn't…have…to," he started, taking a deep breath. "Could have…said no. Not a…job requirement."

Ianto smirked. "I believe you know me better than that, sir."

Jack's eyes closed once more and Ianto's brow furrowed, but when the man's breathing evened out he realized the medication must have finally kicked in and he had fallen asleep. Ianto chewed on his lip, releasing Jack's hand and standing as he heard Owen's footfalls.

"He's sleeping," Ianto informed the medic as he made his way back down into the medical bay.

"About bloody time," replied Owen, picking up his stethoscope and listening to Jack's heartbeat via his wrist. "Blood pressure is returning to normal as well. If we've any luck at all this damned body of his has begun healing."

"Is there anything I can do for him, Owen?"

"Just stay with him, Ianto. Gwen is resting comfortably with Tosh keeping vigil, and I've got to get a few supplies."

"At this time of night?" asked Ianto, puzzled.

"Yes, well," Owen shrugged, heading up the stairs again. "I didn't meet my supplier earlier as planned, since we got a little…waylaid. If I don't meet with him now we might run out of bandages before the night is out. Jack's gone through two thirds of our remaining stock in the last hour."

Ianto nodded, sitting back down and taking Jack's hand. It might be a long night.

tw tw tw tw tw

Ianto's eyes sprang open when he felt movement from the table in front of him. He lifted his head, realizing he'd fallen asleep resting on the uninjured part of Jack's chest. Rubbing his face slowly he noticed Jack's wide eyes staring at him.

"Good morning, Ianto," Jack told him, moving to sit up.

Frowning, Ianto looked down at his watch. It was now after twelve. He'd been asleep for over four hours. "Good morning, sir," he replied with a smile. "I see you're feeling better."

"Much," agreed Jack, returning his smile. "Not sure that's ever happened before."

"Feeling better?"

"Not dying," he corrected, patting Ianto's hand. "You should go home. Get some rest."

"I believe I was doing just that," Ianto argued. "Someone woke me up."

"I meant in your own bed, Ianto. Not on some metal stool at your idiot boss's side."

"And exactly why is my boss an idiot?" questioned Ianto, folding his arms. "Well, other than begging to be shot, that is."

Jack winced. "We'll just forget about that part," he said, getting to his feet and carefully removing the IV. "And your boss is an idiot because he managed to get himself attacked."

"That happens to the best of us, sir," Ianto stated, noticing with relief that the scratches all over Jack's torso had vanished. When Jack removed the bandages and gauze he saw that those wounds, too, had healed. "Owen indicated they were a vicious species."

"Oh they were, Ianto," Jack said, dumping the medical supplies in the already overflowing rubbish bin and moving closer to Ianto. He pulled him to a standing position and cupped his face. "But after this many years, a couple of centuries, actually, you'd think I'd learn."

Ianto leaned into the touch. "That makes you human, sir," he explained. "Not an idiot."

"Yes, well," Jack said, leaning closer and pressing his lips gently to Ianto's. He took his hand, lifting it to his lips and pressing a kiss there, as well. "I'm sorry about our date, Ianto. I'll make it up to you."

"Doesn't matter," Ianto told him, moving fully into his arms and laying his head on Jack's chest. "Just glad to have you whole again, sir."

Jack wrapped his arms around him, resting his chin on Ianto's head. They stood that way for several minutes, neither of them saying a word. Ianto listened to the sound of Jack's heartbeat under his ear, letting it lull him into a perfect calm. If it hadn't been for the sound of a throat clearing Ianto might have fallen asleep again, standing up.

"Oi, you lot. If you're better you can get out of my medical bay," Owen grunted, jerking his head toward the rest of the Hub. "I need to stock the cabinet that you so nicely managed to deplete."

"Ah, sorry Owen," said Jack, keeping his hand on Ianto's back as he moved them up the stairs. Owen headed down with an armful of bandages and gauze.

"Gwen's in your bed," Owen called up as Jack and Ianto reached the top of the stairs. "You and Tea Boy will have to shag elsewhere."

Ianto felt Jack's fingers intertwine with his own. They headed for the cog door with no discussion. Ianto didn't need any words right now. He just wanted Jack beside him for as long as it took to reassure himself that the man was going to be okay.

When they got to Ianto's car Jack pulled Ianto against him, backing him against the silver vehicle and kissing him deeply. Ianto melted into his touch, allowing Jack's tongue to map out an intricate pattern in his mouth. His arms wound around the man, hands splayed on his back as he returned the kiss passionately.

Jack finally pulled back, stroking Ianto's face with his thumb. "I just want to hold you tonight, Ianto," he whispered, leaning his forehead against Ianto's. "If that's okay?"

"It's more than okay," Ianto confirmed, pulling from his embrace to remove his car keys from his pocket and depress the unlock button. He opened the passenger door and waited while Jack got inside, closing it behind him. Getting into the driver's seat a moment later he felt Jack's hand on his leg.

"Thank you, Ianto," Jack told him, squeezing his thigh.

"Always, Jack," Ianto replied, smiling. He then started the car and headed them back to his flat. He didn't need that date anyway. He just needed Jack.

~end~