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I had let them all go home after getting back from the Brecon Becons. They had all jumped at the chance and headed home right away. All of them, but Ianto. Even though he had taking a pretty bad beating from those mother fucking cannibals. Sure, Gwen got shot...but she had Owen to take care of her. Ianto had no one, and he did it all to help Tosh get away. I had tried to get him to go home, but he insisted he had work that he needed to finish, not pausing to hear my reply when he pushed past me. Not wanting to hurt him any more than he was already, I turned to my side. I sighed, trudging into the Hub after him.
I wasn't too far behind the Welshman, not that he knew. As he walked, I noticed that Ianto had a slight limp. It was barely noticeable to anyone else, but not to me. There was still blood on his neck, which he had missed from when he was wiping it off earlier. It pained me to see him acting like this... He had ever since the incident with Lisa. Yes, I felt betrayed when we had found out, and I still did a little... But at some point we all had to move on and I'd rather do that sooner rather than later.
Down in the Hub, I watched as Ianto set about tidying up what mess remained from last night. I sighed quietly to myself, knowing that no matter what, I wouldn't be able to make him leave any earlier. I don't know if Ianto realised I was still standing there, or if he thought I had gone up to my office. Either way he didn't acknowledge me. At all.
In the end, I made my way over to him. Moving round to face him, I got in his way and, gently, grabbed his wrists in my hands, holding them up. He didn't look at me. He just stared of to the side. The bruises on his face were becoming more prominent now, darkening in colour.
"You really should go home, Ianto." I told him.
"I have work to do, sir." Ianto replied, quietly.
"No. You should go home. You need to go home."
For the first time since we got in the SUV and arrived back at the Hub, Ianto looked at me. Properly. I wished I could know what was going through his mind at this moment. I just wished I could know what I had to do.
Jack and I just stood there, silently. I didn't want to go back to my flat. It would just remind me of everything I lost. Everything that I had mucked up. I was confused. So confused about...well, about everything, if I was being completely honest. I had lost Lisa. I had lost the trust in my colleagues and friends. I had mucked up everything with the people I had to work with, on a daily basis. I was confused as to what I was feeling towards Jack, my boss. After a few moments, Jack released his hold on my wrists. He had been careful when he grabbed them, making sure not to put pressure on them. Struggling against rope and handcuffs was not a nice experience, and one I hoped I never had to face again. I placed my arms back down to my sides and slowly turned around to carry on with tidying up. I could feel Jack watching me as I moved around, but all I could think about was how much I ached.
I was hoping Jack would just leave me alone. Just go to his office and leave me to tidy up. But he just stood there. Watching me. As he stood there watching...it just reminded me of what had happened earlier that day. That woman watching as that bloke kicked the shit out of me. My eyes started to burn, my throat becoming dry and burning. I stopped where I was, placing the object in my hands down on the table. I didn't hear Jack move, but next thing I knew he had moved in front of me again and wrapped his arms around me. I practically collapsed against his chest as my arms snaked their way around his neck, and suddenly aware of just how tired I was and how excruciating the pain actually was.
"Like I said," Jack said, quietly. "You need to go home."
"I don't want to." I whispered, my voice muffled by his shoulder.
It was late when I woke up. Well, either late or really early. I didn't actually know where I was. I definitely wasn't at home in my bed. I wasn't in that house in the Brecon Becons. I wasn't at a mates or Rhiannon's. So then where was I. Just lying where I was, as still as I could, I tried to remember where I was and how I got there. A small movement behind me brought to my attention another person, and the fact an arm was draped over me, as well as small puffs of warm air on the back of my neck. Then it came back to me. After my whispered confession of not wanting to go home, Jack had tugged me up the stairs to his office and down the ladder into the room under it. I never knew there was a room below his office. And I knew everything. Jack moved again, behind me, this time shuffling closer and pulling me tighter against him.
"You're terrible and pretending you're still asleep." he chuckled, slightly.
I managed a small smile.
"Who said I was pretending to be asleep?" I asked, voice hoarse from the small amount of sleep I had.
Jack pressed his lips to my temple, something he had never done before. I liked it, though.
"How do you feel?" Jack asked, moving the thumb on his left hand in small circles on my chest.
"Like I have been beaten and knocked out by cannibals." I replied, closing my eyes a little and relaxing a bit. "Everything kills and still feel absolutely exhausted."
Jack tightened his hold of me slightly, pulling me closer still.
"You're having the day off tomorrow." Jack whispered. "I'll take you home at a reasonable hour. The Hub can survive without anyone for a while."
"Huh?" I asked, confused slightly by the last part of his sentence.
"Ianto, you have a concussion. I'm not going to leave you anywhere alone, until I know you're fine."
I nodded. I wouldn't voice the fact that I was quite happy with that arrangement, but not going to lie...I liked the idea of that, a lot.
"Until then," Jack added. "Sleep."
That was all that needed to be said for me to drop back off again, into the peaceful and calm blackness.
I watched Ianto as he fell asleep again. All pain, confusion and sadness left his expression, leaving a blank, neutral, peaceful expression on his young face. It was strange thinking about how young Ianto actually was. He was the youngest out of the whole team, only twenty-four. He was so young, yet he knew more than most twice his age. Ianto Jones was, and always would be, a mystery to me...but one day, I would find out what this man was truly like, and one day I would unpick his professional exterior. Until then, I just had to watch and attempt to start on the unpicking. I would get there in the end.
"Goodnight, Jones, Ianto Jones." I smiled, lightly, kissing his cheek gently.
I then settled down properly next to him on my side, on the small bed in my underground – I guess you could call it – room, slowly falling asleep.
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