Jack set a cup of steaming tea on the table in front of Ianto. The man was curled into the side of the couch, staring straight ahead of him. He'd been there since they'd arrived back at the flat, resisting Jack's attempts to further comfort him.
"We need to talk about it at some point," said Jack softly, sitting down on the couch beside him.
"Please, Jack, just…let it be."
"Will you drink your tea at least?" Ianto's eyes flitted to the cup and then back up to a space somewhere in the distance. "Please?"
Ianto nodded, but didn't look at him and didn't move to pick up the cup. Jack knew how devastated the Welshman was. It was his entire childhood coming back to him in a roll of emotions, and feelings he hadn't had to deal with in many years were flooding his mind. Like every victim of abuse Jack had ever come into contact with or heard about, Ianto was blaming himself. And nothing Jack said to him seemed to help.
"Would you like me to run you a bath?"
Ianto didn't answer at first and Jack wasn't sure he would, but eventually he shook his head. "No thank you."
"Okay. I'm going to fix us something to eat."
Getting up from his place on the couch Jack walked into the kitchen. He wasn't much of a cook but he didn't think a takeaway was appropriate at a time like this. Instead he would make a recipe he remembered his ex wife making for him decades ago, a simple meatloaf. It wasn't fancy, but it was comfort food, and Ianto needed comfort.
As he pulled the ingredients out he sighed. At some point he'd have to contact Dr. Singh to see what he could do for the man. Obviously it would take time, but he wanted to be there for him, to be someone Ianto could turn to. Unfortunately Ianto wasn't ready for that yet.
After Dr. Singh had left the room he'd held the Welshman tight, trying to be the support he needed as he cried out his frustration and pain at the injustice of his situation. That had only lasted a few minutes, however, and then Ianto had stiffened and pulled back.
While they'd shared a much closer emotional relationship after the accident, and Ianto had been significantly more open about his feelings, it was as if the triggering of his memory had also reconstructed the wall that Ianto had carefully built around his heart. He'd shut him out, and Jack wasn't sure how to get back in.
He defrosted the meat in the microwave. Ianto couldn't stand when he did that, usually telling him that the meat tasted differently when it wasn't allowed to defrost naturally. Given the state Ianto was in at the moment, however, Jack figured Ianto wouldn't mind.
Once the meat was ready Jack added the rest of the ingredients, placing the loaf he'd created into the oven to bake. He put everything away and washed his hands, moving to the door of the kitchen and watching Ianto sitting on the couch. He was slowly sipping his tea and Jack took a breath of relief. At least it was something.
Jack returned to the lounge and took the seat beside Ianto once more. He wanted to reach out and put a hand on his knee, but the last time he'd tried that Ianto had jumped and moved away from him. He didn't want any physical contact right now.
"How's your tea?"
Ianto swallowed his mouthful. "It's fine, Jack. Thank you."
"Would you like to watch a movie? James Bond, maybe?"
Ianto seemed to consider that for a moment. "The World is Not Enough?"
Jack smiled. "Your wish is my command."
Getting to his feet, Jack went over to the movie cabinet and pulled out the DVD, opening it and placing the disc in the machine. He returned to the couch to sit next to Ianto, grabbing the remote and turning on the television and DVD player. Just as he was about to hit play Ianto's mobile phone rang.
Ianto jumped, looking down at the phone. When his eyes widened in fear Jack frowned, putting down the remote and picking up the mobile. The number displayed was Rhiannon's, and Jack immediately understood. The last thing Ianto needed at the moment was another reminder of his childhood when he obviously wanted to get his mind off of it.
"Okay if I reject the call?" he asked Ianto. The Welshman nodded, eyes still wide. Jack ignored the call and turned the mobile off. "There. No harm done."
"I can't talk to her," Ianto murmured, sinking back into the corner of the couch.
"I can't face her."
"I understand, Ianto."
The Welshman looked at him with sad eyes. "She'll never forgive me."
Jack's brow furrowed. "Forgive you? What do you need forgiveness for?"
"I treated her badly."
Jack shook his head. "Ianto, she treated you badly, not the other way around. She didn't want to accept that you had your own life, and other people who cared about you. That you had me."
Ianto swallowed, looking down at his hands. "How can I tell her?"
"About what happened?" The other man nodded. "You just do. When you're ready. But not until then."
"She was right, Jack. I needed her. I couldn't look after myself."
Jack moved closer to Ianto, ignoring the wall between them and taking Ianto's hand in his. "When you were a little boy, yes. Yes, you needed her. And she wasn't there for you. She should have protected you, Ianto."
Ianto's chin began to tremble and Jack wrapped his arm around him, drawing him closer. The Welshman didn't fight him, allowing Jack to pull him against his chest. When the tears started to fall Jack knew they were at the beginning of the healing process. The man was starting to accept what had happened to him. But there would be a long road ahead of them.
An hour later, Ianto was dozing on the sofa. Jack was watching him sleep, contemplating moving him into the bedroom where he would undoubtedly be more comfortable. He didn't want to wake him up, however, and so when the timer chimed for their dinner to be ready, Jack winced. Ianto didn't jerk awake, though, instead blinking his eyes open slowly and then yawning.
"Hey sleepyhead, dinner's ready. You hungry?"
Ianto gave him a small smile. "Famished."
"Good. I'll get the food ready. Are you okay with us just eating in here?"
Ianto murmured an affirmative and Jack headed into the kitchen. He dished up their meals, putting the leftovers in the refrigerator, and poured them a couple of waters. Making his way back to the lounge with Ianto's plate and glass he saw that Ianto had the remote in his hand.
"We didn't get to watch the movie."
"No we didn't," Jack agreed, setting down Ianto's dinner and drink. "Go ahead and start it and I'll grab my food."
A few minutes later they were settled onto the couch with their meal, quietly watching the film. Jack wasn't really a Bond fan, but Ianto's love of the series was enough for him. Besides, he didn't mind a good adventure drama, and the men who'd played James Bond over the years were nothing to thumb his nose at. He was especially fond of the bathing shorts they sometimes sported. And the Bond girls? Wow.
When the movie ended Jack cleaned up, even though Ianto protested. He thought he should be the one to do it. "I just want you to take it easy," Jack had argued, and had taken the dishes into the kitchen. He'd then washed them, dried them, put them away, and proceeded to wipe down every available surface.
"You didn't have to do all that," Ianto told him when he'd returned to the lounge. "I could have done something."
"You always do," Jack replied, smiling gently. "It's time I took care of you for a while."
"I don't want to be a charity case."
Jack frowned. "Do you really think that's what's happening here?"
Ianto sighed, shaking his head. "No. I guess not. I just…"
"I know," said Jack. "You've been dealt one hell of a blow and you're still reeling. But you just found out today. It's going to take time to get back to normal."
"My normal isn't what I thought it was."
"Yeah. C'mon." Jack reached out a hand to Ianto and to his relief, Ianto took it, pulling himself off the couch. "I'll run that bath for you."
Ianto smiled, following him out to the hall. He didn't let go of Jack's hand.