At the pub, around a mouthful of chips, Owen mumbled, "Jack's hands shake now."
Ianto looked up from his beer sharply and then sighed, "Not all the time."
"No. Not all the time. But they never shook before," Owen said after swallowing.
"Dunno how they never shook," Gwen offered, "Mine shook the whole three months he was gone." She took a drink, "Too much to think about running Torchwood."
Tosh offered, "He's watching us a lot, too." Her teammates looked back at her for more. "He stands at the rail watching us, he mills around the workstations, too. Never used to do it much. Sometimes, but not this much."
Gwen sighed, "Office door's never shut these days, either. He keeps it open."
Ianto looked at his teammates, sitting in a booth at the pub, just the four of them. It had become a weekly thing while Jack was gone and it didn't occur to them to stop once he returned.
"Nightmares," he said quietly. The team swung their eyes to him.
"Shagging him again already, Tea-Boy?" Owen jibed darkly.
"No. Not that it's any of your business, but no." Ianto took another swig of his beer and then stared into the glass. "I come in early some days. If I can't sleep." He paused and took a deep breath. "I couldn't sleep well while he was gone, and I'd come in early. Still do it some days. I've come in early a few times since he came back and he's sleeping, having nightmares. Screams a lot. And loud. I've helped him come out of it once or twice, but he won't talk about it."
He has just given his colleagues more about his relationship with Jack than he ever has before, and they look like they know it.
Tosh looks around the table. "Something bad happened to him. It's clear." They all nodded softly.
"He's still a bastard for leaving," Owen grumbled.
"I didn't think he slept," Gwen said to Ianto.
"He sleeps. Not as much as we do, but he does. I think he's sleeping more since he got back, too. Even without the nightmares he's always in his bunker when I come in," Ianto replied.
They were all quiet for a few minutes, drinking and eating and listening to the lively noise of the crowd around them.
"Something bad happened to him," Tosh repeated with an accusatory look at her teammates.
"We know, Tosh," Gwen retorted, "We see it."
"We didn't know at first, though, bastard was acting too cool," Owen added, taking a long swig.
"We should ask him to join us next time," Gwen postulated. Everyone nodded.
"We should ask him what the hell happened to him," Owen said.
"No," Ianto's eyes shone wet in the light of the pub. "No, he'll talk about it if he needs to, when he needs to." After a pause he explained. "We can't force him. You know what Jack does when he's cornered," he added quietly.
"Runs," Gwen answered, nodding.
"Lies," Owen corrected.
"Covers," Tosh insisted.
They were quiet again, unsure of how to proceed.
"He asked me out on a proper date," Ianto said, looking up with a quirk of a smile on his lips.
Tosh giggled, "Have you gone?"
"No. No chance yet," Ianto smiled back at her.
Gwen reached over and put her hand on his with a gleam in her eye, "How proper?"
Ianto laughed, "Well, it's Jack. How proper can it be? He did mention dinner and a movie."
"He'll probably take you to a porn film," Owen chuckled.
"No," Ianto's voice came out soft, and they all looked at him quickly. "Jack knows how to do this. He just hasn't tried in a while, I imagine. Something made him want to try," he said thoughtfully.
Tosh nodded, "I think it's sweet."
Gwen agreed, "You should milk this," she said, grinning. Ianto chuckled. She continued, "Seriously! This is Jack Harkness we're talking about, mate! He's been around awhile; make him work at it again. Take you somewhere posh, a walk around Cardiff, and a handshake at the door," she smirked. "Then make him do it again." Tosh and Owen were laughing, and Ianto was blushing.
"A handshake? That'd be torture for him," Tosh said, and suddenly the table was quiet again for a minute. Tosh spoke again, in a small voice, "Do you think that's what happened?"
Owen looked sick. "Shakes, nightmares, needs to be around people, acting different. . . shit."
Ianto took a deep breath, and Gwen and Tosh pushed their food away.
"There was that thing with Saxon and him being a public enemy. And Saxon disappeared after the President was shot," Tosh postulated.
"Jack wouldn't do anything against his country," Ianto said, "And he came back soon after all of that mess."
"What do we do?" Gwen asked, "How do we help?"
Ianto sighed, "Nothing changed. He's still Jack, and he'll still cover if we ask." He looked carefully at his teammates, "We just have to be there for him. We have to stop being angry."
"I was really angry," Tosh said forcefully, and the rest of them looked surprised.
"We all were," Gwen added.
"That's okay," Owen said quietly, "It's okay that we were pissed, and maybe he wasn't tortured. But maybe we should be done with it and move on. Put things back to normal ourselves and maybe he'll follow."
"Go on a date," Ianto said almost to himself.
"Invite him to the pub," Gwen added.
Tosh ruminated with tears glistening in her eyes, "It's in the past. Let's leave it there unless he needs something different." She turned to Ianto, "Wear red. You look good in red." And they all grinned as Ianto blushed again.
A/N: I tend to think folks are too hard on the whole team in their YTNW stories, though it often works. I thought I'd try one where they all understand. They all get it. They'll all do their part to help him recover. And am I the only one who relishes the image of these folks sitting around a pub just hanging out? I love that thought.