(x-posted to my personal journal, forgiveness if some of you get this more than once)
Warnings: Spoilers for Jack's past, most notably the end of the second season
Pairing: Light Jack x Ianto
Rating: PG? Mentions of nudity, nothing descriptive
Summary: Contrary to what he previously thought, sometimes the nightmares come even when Jack's bed is occupied.
The sun is hot on his face. He shields his eyes from the penetrating rays with a raised hand and he smiles; the toothy grin all happiness and entertainment.
“Come on, brother! If we miss the shot now, we'll never win!”
Jack frowns as he sees Gray run across the dunes, the sand kicking up at his heels and carrying along with the wind, piling up a few feet away to become its own dune in due time. The boy trips and jack hears himself gasp in shock, his hand out to catch him but Gray manages to steady himself and continues to run after the creature soaring through the sky.
He has a slingshot in his right hand. As futuristic as their society is, the slingshot was the easiest method of striking the bird-like animals they caught for fun, animals known as lepi. Gray laughed in his child-like way and shot stone after stone at the animals, always turning back to see his big brother's reaction. It was as if Jack's voice didn't work, however. Each word he said fell on deaf ears, more like a two-way mirror and Jack stood on the non-reflective side.
“I can see you, Gray! I can see you!”
There were tears in his eyes as he watched the lepi come down with a mighty squawk. Its featherless wings flapped angrily against the sand as it flailed, trying to seem menacing even as the young Boeshanian ran up to it and crushed its skull with a rock. It took Gray six strikes to kill it but he cheered himself on throughout the ordeal, looking back at his brother as he scooped the now-lifeless body up and tossed it over his tiny frame, his shoulders slumping from the weight
“Ty and Sina are gonna be so mad that we won again!”
The boy grunted as he began to drag the creature back in the direction of their small community, his scarf tangling in the animal's claws but it went wholly unnoticed.
“Be careful, Gray!” Jack called out, his hands lifted and pressed against what seemed like a pane of glass, the heat of it making him retract and then repeat the action, wanting to be as close to the young boy as possible. “Don't fall!”
he boy squeaked indignantly as he tripped on the dangling scarf, again not falling, but stumbling nonetheless. Jack gasped again and bumped his head on the not-glass, forcing his cheek against it as Gray began to venture out of his line of sight, the flatness of the invisible barrier keeping him from seeing where the boy was going.
Jack felt panic rise in his throat and he cried out Gray's name loudly, suddenly coming awake in the darkness of his underground bunker. The blue light against the wall cast the room in a cold glow and he wiped away tears he didn't know he had shed, wiping his hands on the warm sheets. Their temperature made him remember that his darling butler had been in bed with him that night and he looked around the room, staring into a dark corner near the skinny cupboard he kept his shirts neatly folded within.
Ianto stood with a blanket draped over his slim body, his nakedness showing where the warm coverlet didn't reach. Barefoot on the concrete floor, he shivered, somewhat unsuccessfully trying to seem small in comparison to the fear that radiated from Jack's body like a stale odour.
“Ianto? Come to bed. Why're you standing over there?”
“You...scared me, Jack,” he admitted, stepping back over and dropping the blanket in favour of taking up his favourite spot on the small bunk.
The Captain didn't apologize for frightening the teaboy, but he knew what it had been that threw Ianto out of his bed and scrambling for the safety of the dark corner.
Jack screamed loudly in his sleep, when he had the worst of the recurring nightmares. When he had first taken to working with Torchwood, under the beastly women in the late 1800's, he had claimed the underground area as his personal living quarters. They were not yet blocked off entirely from the majority of the Hub complex, but after some years of tweaking, he had gotten it the way the women had liked it: soundproof.
Ianto rested his head on Jack's shoulder and draped an arm over his belly, as nude as the time traveler and now as chilled due to the covers being thrown off in his haste to get out of bed. Jack slipped his sock feet over around Ianto's and tried to warm him up a little more, certain that the Welshman wouldn't mind his odd bedtime behaviour if it meant warm feet in the end.
Jack always wore socks. To work, to bed, to play. Even during romantic relations, he kept his socks on. Only when he bathed did he remove them, but a fresh pair were slipped on again immediately afterward. It prevented him from getting anything between his toes. No bits of dirt or an errant crumb from a sweet cake Ianto had brought down ever made it between his pale piggies. He shivered as he even thought about it, calmed by the tightening of Ianto's arm over his quivering belly.
Bits between his toes felt like being back home. Hours and hours of watching his brother catch lepi monsters to show off to the other children, while digging his bare feet into the hot sand, teasing the tiny worms that lived there, and making little divots for the sand to collect again within a matter of minutes. Jack felt another tear slide down his cheek and tickle near his ear, angrily letting it rest there as he felt Ianto's breathing even out beside him, sleep finally claiming the hard working butler.
Jack sighed softly as he began to count the bricks in the ceiling. It would be a long night. No more sleep after a dream like that.