Genre: Angst, Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Word count:: 14,134
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own the wonder that is Torchwood or its characters. No infringement is intended.
Summary: Jack's plans for a romantic break with Ianto don't go quite according to plan.
The following week consisted of the same routine - Jack an almost constant presence at Ianto's side, Owen monitoring, tending, moaning, and complaining to Jack that he was in the way – an old argument that he still did not win. Tosh came by nearly as much, but there was always one very noticeable absence – Gwen Cooper. Although Jack had spoken to her about the whole situation not being her fault, she still seemed distant. She came to work and did her shift without complaint or conversation. She always had an excuse not to hang around after hours – Rhys, her mum, washing her hair. The usual lame excuses that Jack was beginning to see right through. It was only when Ianto expressed his concern and worry that Jack had decided enough was enough and he called her into his office.
Jack did not move from his desk when Gwen entered. Instead, he continued to read through the paperwork that had built up enormously over the past seven days. I really need to get a secretary, he thought. Nope! Ianto would kill me. He laughed inwardly as Gwen stood expectantly at his desk. He could imagine her brain ticking over; thinking up an excuse to leave, but he refused to make it easy for her.
“Jack...” she began before the captain stood and moved to stand in front of her.
“Look, Gwen, I don't know what I have to do or say that will convince you that none of this is your fault. Guilt is a terrible thing to live with. It will eat away at you inside.” He covered Gwen's lips with his finger when he sensed she was about to protest. “Ianto is a little hurt that you haven't been to see him. He thinks he's done something wrong.”
“What? No! Oh, Jack. I have never felt so bad about anything before. I can't face him because I'm afraid he will blame me. Oh I know you don' t, and Tosh and Owen, but I'm afraid that he'll take one look at me and see that woman...what she did to him.” Gwen began to sob and Jack pulled her into his arms and he kissed the top of her head.
“I think you're getting things a little out of proportion here. He's not so far damaged that he'll blame you.”
“Damaged? Is he still having the nightmares?”
“Some. But they are few and far between now.”
She pushed away from him and wiped her eyes with sleeve of her top. “I just wish I could make it up to you somehow.”
“Well, there is one thing you could do for me please, Gwen, but it's not to pay me back, I am asking you as a friend to do this for me.”
“Of course, Jack. Anything.” Her face lit up so brightly, that Jack felt a huge sense of relief that he was finally getting an important member of his team back.
“And just where the fuck do you think you're going?”
“Eloquent as always, Owen. I just need to get out of here,” stated Ianto as he attempted to sit up on the bed in the autopsy room. Tosh had requisitioned one when she realized Ianto was going to be staying a while. She didn't think he would appreciate sleeping on an autopsy table given his recent experience, not to mention it was uncomfortable as hell.
“I just need to get out of here, Owen. I'm feeling a little hemmed in. I could do with some fresh air.”
“Look, Ianto. I don't want you leaving here until I know you are one hundred percent fit. Your wounds haven't healed fully and I'm still concerned that you will...” he paused, thinking better of what he was about to say.
“Crack up?” he finished for him.
“Well I wouldn't put it quite like that, but yeah, pretty much.”
“Well how about a supervised outing then?” he asked hopefully.
“I suppose...yeah OK. Get you out of my hair for a while at least. You haven't been one of my best patients you know.”
“You mean I'm living and I can answer you back?”
Owen laughed and shook his head at Ianto's returning humor or what passed for humor in the normally sedate Welshman. “Leave it with me for a while. And stay there!” he added as he left the room.
“No way am I getting in that thing, Owen. I'm not a cripple you know.”
“I know you're not a bloody cripple you stubborn git, but you are not fit enough to be walking around as though nothing has happened. It's either this, or you stay here for the foreseeable.”
Owen's tone was firm and Ianto could see the determination in his eyes. He did so want to get out for a while and if this was going to be his best offer, he relented and decided he had better take it.
The doctor eased him into a sitting position, mindful of his still sensitive wounds. The sheet covering the Welshman fell from his body and Ianto glared at the doctor.
“What are you looking at me like that for?” asked Owen as the younger man stilled.
“I can't exactly go outside like this now can I?
“Aah. See your point. Jack's just gone to fetch you a few things. He should be back any minute.”
Right on cue, Jack Harkness walked into the autopsy bay, clothes in hand and a beaming smile that made Ianto's heart skip a beat.
“Your clothes, sir,” he stated in the best English accent he could muster.
“Give me strength,” said Owen as he rolled his eyes, and not for the first time where Jack and Ianto were concerned.
Ianto coughed as the doctor continued to stand in front of him.
“It's a bit late to be worrying about your modesty now, teaboy. I've seen all there is to see and then some.”
Jack laughed and Ianto blushed as the medic turned his back. He mumbled something about Ianto being extremely well blessed and that there was nothing to be ashamed of.
“You are so lucky you are dead right now, Harper,” warned Jack jokingly.
“Hey! I didn't mean, that you know, that I'd been looking in that erm way. You know. Oh fuck it!” he stated. He was sure he could feel his face redden, although he knew it was impossible.
“Enough already! Ianto, your chariot awaits.” He moved in to help his lover ease himself into the waiting wheelchair. Ianto grunted at the pain but waved off his lover's concern. “I'm alright, Jack. Just get me out of here.”
“Two hours max, Harkness. I mean it. And if he shows any sign of relapse you get him straight back here.
“Yes, sir,” replied the captain with a mock salute.
“I mean it, Jack!”
“I know you do, Owen. Thanks.”
“Yep, thanks, Owen,” Ianto reiterated Jack's statement. He was thankful, truly thankful that Owen was still with the team. He knew he could be a pig at times, but his heart was in the right place and he was after all, a damn fine medic. And as much as he tried to show otherwise, he did actually care about each and everyone of them.
“Have you spoken to Gwen again, Jack? She still hasn't been to see me you know.” Ianto closed his eyes as a gentle breeze from the harbor brushed over his skin. It felt so good to be outside again; to experience the sights and sounds and indeed smells of the city he had begun to love so much. It felt so good to be alive. He sighed deeply at the thought of what would have become of him if the team and his captain had not rescued him in time. He shivered and Jack immediately took off his ever present greatcoat and placed it around the young man's shoulders.
“I only need a plaid blanket and slippers now,” he joked – half-hearted.
Jack attempted to smile but the thought of losing Ianto in such a horrific way, hell, losing Ianto at all resurfaced full force. The statement reminded him too keenly of poor old Albert Wyatt, who's only crime was to question the actions of his psychotic wife – the woman whom he no doubt loved, and in some strange way, he knew that his love had been returned. William could have almost certainly passed as her husband, yet Isobel chose to keep her husband close. So in some sick way, he did actually believe she loved him – maybe just not enough. He thought of the pain the man had gone through – of the pain his lover had gone through and suddenly it became too much. He stood sharply and walked to the waters edge.
“I'm sorry, Jack,” came a quiet voice almost inaudible over the quickening breeze.
“You have nothing to be sorry for, Ianto. I'm the one who should be apologizing, not you, not Gwen, but me. I should have kept you safe. I should always keep you safe and I have failed to do that.”
“Don't be ridiculous, Jack! You do keep me safe. Every minute of every day, I am here now, safe because of you. And don't think I don't know that you and Owen have been conspiring to monitor me for signs that I am falling apart. I know what you are up to because that is you keeping me safe. You always do.” Ianto had managed to stand and walk to Jack at the railings. The captain had been so caught up in his inner turmoil that he hadn't even realized. It was Ianto's ragged breaths that had him turning towards him.
“Ianto! What the hell do think you are doing?” He caught his lover just in time as he crumpled at his feet. “I'm so in trouble with Owen for this one.”
“I'm OK, Jack. Just a little tired. I'll tell Owen it was all my fau...” he closed his eyes and his head lolled against Jack's shoulder.
“He's fine, Jack. Just exhausted. I knew it was a bad idea letting him out of bed so soon,” snarked Owen as he hooked Ianto up once again to various monitors. Satisfied that his patient was not in any danger he turned to face the captain.
“He may be fine this time, but from now on he stays here until I am satisfied he's fully recovered. And no amount of whining from him - or you is going to have an effect on my decision. Is that clear?”
“Crystal. And by the way, I happen to be with you on this one. I'm not taking any more chances with his health and well being. Ever!”
“Good. Well then you better make yourself comfortable because it's not going to be a pleasant ride.”
"Excuse me! I am here you know."
Jack just laughed. Isobel Wyatt had told him that he was formidable, but that title, he felt, firmly rested with Ianto Jones.