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Fic: Or Under His Autumnal Frost

Or Under His Autumnal Frost
Rated R

(Not quite as grim as the title's poem would suggest.)

Ianto almost died today.

Jack and Owen sit by his bed for hours waiting to see if he'll wake up. There are a thousand things Jack wants to do. He wants to find a way to fix it. He wants to do something to make it better. He snaps at Owen and shouts at Gwen when she tries to make him go get rest.

He tells her he doesn't sleep, not ever, so she can back the fuck off and just let him be. And stop looking at him like that, for fuck's sake, he's just worried.

He sees them all staring at him, looking, like they want to remind him that six months ago he held a gun to Ianto's head and said he'd shoot. He knows, he remembers, but they don't know. They don't know what Ianto does and what he is, not really. Not any more than they know what Jack himself is, and what Jack does.

They don't know that Jack doesn't know if he can do it anymore without Ianto. They don't know. None of them know. Fucking idiots, he seethes. And then Ianto's hand twitches and Owen's on his feet and Jack's pushing Owen out of the way.

"Ianto?" Jack whispers, leaning over Ianto's body. So pale, so still, so beautiful, so dead.

Not dead. Not dead.

"Not dead," Ianto whispers, his mouth barely moving. "Jack."

"Get out of m'fuckin' way, Harkness," Owen growls, wielding medical equipment. Jack relents to Owen's expertise. Owen pokes and prods at Ianto, then whispers something in a voice Jack can't hear. It's always a surprise to see Owen so - tender, human. To see that spark of caring come alive in him.

He wonders if Ianto and Owen have ever had sex.

No, no, can't think about it, won't. Wouldn't do to punch Owen out while he's trying to save Ianto's life.

It isn't true, anyway. Ianto's not the kind of person to give himself to more than one person. If Jack's sure of anything, it's of Ianto's ability to cling to a percieved (sometimes perverted) loyalty. Lisa knew that, Lisa used it. Now Jack knows it, and Jack uses it. But he doesn't think he's hurting Ianto. He just likes not being lonely. He likes looking after the boy, protecting him, having him to fuck and then talk with and lay beside and touch. It's human contact and Jack's spent all of his long life craving it and wanting more of it. (Nonhuman contact, too, sometimes, but not lately, nothing but Ianto lately. If he's going to manipulate someone he has the decency to not fuck around on them.)

"He's out again," Owen announces. "But he came to for a few seconds, and that's something. That's good."

"Next time you'll let me talk to him," Jack says.

Owen glares. "Next time you'll let me do my job straight off and maybe he'll still be around tomorrow to talk to. I'm going to get some coffee. Gwen, Tosh? Wanna come with?"

Gwen seems reluctant, but Tosh agrees straightaway. After a few seconds of staring at Jack in a way that he assumes is supposed to be meaningful and poignant, Gwen goes with them.

Jack takes the chair beside Ianto's bed.

It's a few hours before Ianto comes to again. Gwen's gone home to sleep. Tosh is sleeping, too, but she never makes it past the sofa. Owen sits with her, sometimes talking in a low voice. He may be holding her hand.

When he sees Ianto's eyes flicker open, Jack knows he should be calling Owen over, but he does.

His breath catches at the terror and pain in Ianto's eyes. He covers Ianto's hand with his own and very lightly squeezes. "It's okay. You're at Torchwood. We've got you, 'yanto. I've got you."

Ianto swallows and winces.

"Do you want some water? Something to drink? Can you talk?" Jack gingerly touches Ianto's face, and Ianto's head turns into it just a little.

"Hurts," Ianto whispers, rough and scratchy. He stares up at Jack pleading for something, but Jack doesn't know what.

"Owen!" Jack shouts out. "He's awake."

Jack can't fix it, maybe, but Owen can make it better. He gives Ianto some sort of shot to numb the pain and hooks up an IV. Tosh watches fearfully when the machine gives a beep or two, but it calms down. Ianto is still awake, and looking somewhat more alert. His eyes fix on Jack. Jack nods a little and musters up a smile.

The tension dims but doesn't break completely. Jack shuts himself up in his office for a few hours, drinks and cuts himself just to watch the skin heal over. Gwen comes to try and talk to him, and he plunges a knife into his arm so she'll shut the fuck up and go away. She's a good girl, really, but he just doesn't have time for that right now. He's too busy being self destructive (with no fear of consequence).

Owen announces that Ianto is definitely improving, and that they're past the danger point. If the internal injuries haven't killed him already, they probably won't. Now they watch for other obstacles: something they've overlooking pushing to the forefront, or infection setting in. It's not a matter of hours now, but days, and then he'll (they'll) be in the clear.

Hours later, it's Tosh that finally comes to him: "He's asking for you. He's pretty coherant now."

Maybe they think he's less likely to yell at Tosh than the rest. They're probably right. He likes Tosh, he wants to protect her in the same way he wants to protect Ianto. Only less interest in seeing her naked, most of the time. He nods and follows her down to the makeshift trauma room where Ianto is propped up by pillows sipping water from a straw.

The rest file out of the room. Tosh shuts the door behind them.

"They think you've gone mad," Ianto says with a hint of a smile. He's bruised up and doped up but beautiful.

"Maybe they're right," Jack admits, shoulder's dropping.

He's tired and still restless, frustrated and replying the events of the past twenty-four hours in his mind to see how he failed (Ianto) and how he let them (him) down, why exactly he almost lost one of the few people he's invested in. But he stops and takes a breath and, for Ianto, he has a smile.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2006 12:30 am (UTC)
Um, wow. I don't know what to say to that. It literally left me just sitting here gaping at my computer screen. I just...asdfjkl;! The ending especially was so unexpected but so completely perfect, but the rest was so amazing too! *gives up on explaining*

See? Torchwood fic is so much better than the show itself.
Dec. 23rd, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, until they get to the gritty QAF-like gay sex scenes, then fic is definitely better. :D
Dec. 23rd, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
Gosh. That's the type of fic that puts others (looks away from mine LOL) to shame. Every character was spot on perfect. Excellent scenario.

Don't think i need to say that I loved it. But I will away. LOVED IT!
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, but your fic is one of the few TW fics that I have been rereading like... every two or three days. GLOWING IANTO IS SO HOT, WTF!! You win for that.
Dec. 23rd, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
I love caring-Jack. ♥ This is lovely and just the right sort of ouch.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!
Dec. 23rd, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
that was beautiful.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Dec. 23rd, 2006 05:17 am (UTC)
That was wonderful. It is nice to see another side of Jack.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
Jack is such a multi-faceted creature. Thanks!
Dec. 23rd, 2006 05:48 am (UTC)
You know I really do love this fic, hell... I love anything you write with these two.

I will admit my favourite part being Ianto asking for Jack. It seems so, silly but in my head it makes me all squishy inside.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
Dec. 23rd, 2006 10:17 am (UTC)
*squee* You wrote hurt/comfort! *Brilliant* hurt/comfort! Oh, that just about made my day. I really hope we'll be seeing more from you, because this is quality.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :) There's a fair bit of Jack/Ianto here on myfanwyfic that I haven't linked to comms yet, if you want to check it out.
Dec. 23rd, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
That was just so damn perfect I don't think there are enough words to describe it in a way that'll do your wonderful fic justice.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
*blushes* That's so flattering - thank you!
Dec. 23rd, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, very very sweet. Thanks.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Dec. 23rd, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
Bang on perfect characterisation. Love it. Pure skill.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks!
Dec. 24th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
Oh, that really is lovely. A complete wallow in woobiedom. :-)
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
And what a wonderful thing to wallow in.
Dec. 24th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
hats off, thumbs up. loved it. super characterization. there's something about the h/c in this fandom that works works WORKS!
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I am definitely a fan of the h/c.
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
Kick ass h/c! Love Jack dissing Gwen. >:-)

(Looking for crit?)
Dec. 24th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, bring it on! :)
Dec. 26th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
OK! It's mostly just nitpicks: "anymore should be any more, percieved should be perceived, coherant coherent should be coherent, but he does should be but he doesn't."Ianto" should be pronounced "Yanto" - two syllables - but sometimes gets anglicised to "Ee-yan-tow"; so I'm not sure about Jack's 'yanto.

With Owen ending up in hospital at the end of Combat, I wonder if you need a line to explain why Ianto is being kept at the Hub, rather than taken to hospital - eg his wounds could not be explained away as a mugging, animal attack, etc.

Write the bits of story that come before and after! :-)

*reads poem* Blimey!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )