Characters: Jack, Ianto, Owen somewhat, Tosh and Gwen barely
Spoilers: Brief reference to post-End of Days
Set: Sometime in season 2
Summary: Even Jack needs a sick day once in a while, although he's loathe to admit it.
Sixty-five seconds. Plenty of time for Jack to come to the door, Ianto decided, knocking again. The Captain hadn’t shown up that morning, had left no notice as to where he was, but Tosh had tracked his mobile back to the flat. Seventy seconds. Jack had moved into the modest living space a few months back at the urging of the team, who believed that it would do him good to take some space for himself outside of Hub. Eighty seconds. Ianto tried the door once more, confirming that it was, indeed, locked. He eyed the latch—he knew it was the weakest point and would yield with enough force. Eight-five seconds. He straightened his suit jacket and took a step back, preparing himself for the kick. Launching himself forward, the door opened just as he was about to make contact, revealing a tired- and surprised-looking Jack. Ianto tumbled forward, knocking the other man over and landing in a heap on top of him.
“Christ, Jack,” the Welshman said, catching his breath, “Took you long enough.”
“I was asleep.”
Ianto rolled off of Jack and stood. “You do realize it’s two in the afternoon? And that you’re still dressed from yesterday.”
Jack shrugged. “Long night.”
Choosing not to question the Captain’s reasoning, Ianto offered a hand to Jack, helping the other to his feet. “Gwen’s talking to the girl’s mother, Tosh is looking for rift changes in the past 24 hours, and Owen’s waiting for you to head to the school to investigate.”
Grabbing his greatcoat from the hook on the adjacent wall, Jack donned it and stood in the doorway, his hand on the knob. “Let’s go, then.”
Ianto looked at the Captain, a puzzled expression on his face. “Ah—Jack?”
“What?” Jack looked impatient and beckoned Ianto to the door with his free hand.
“You might want to put on shoes.”
Jack looked down, and then back up. Stepping forward, Ianto gently lifted the Captain’s hand off of the knob and led him back inside. He closed the door behind them, and hesitantly pressed the back of his hand to Jack’s forehead, and then his cheek, and then his neck.
“You’re burning up.”
With a sly smile, Jack murmured coyly, “You’re pretty sexy too, but we’ve got work to do. Kids disappearing and such?”
Ianto shook his head and said softly, “You’re sick, Jack.”
Letting out a snort of laughter, Jack looked ready to counter with another joke that might have been funny in any other situation, but Ianto silenced him with a pointed look. Jack sighed and nodded. Wordlessly, Ianto walked the Captain into his bedroom. He gripped the lapels of Jack’s coat and lifted them up and back, slipping the garment off entirely and setting it on the foot of the bed. With swift care, he unbuttoned Jack’s shirt, sliding the other man’s braces off and continuing to undress him. He noticed the Captain shivering, and quickly found him clothes suitable for bed. Once Jack was dressed, Ianto helped him under the covers and knelt beside him.
“Why didn’t you say something, Jack?” The Welshman combed his fingers through Jack's hair. “You could have called any of us—you could have called me.”
His eyes closed, Jack sighed. “It’s not that bad.”
Ianto kissed the Captain’s forehead. “Why don’t you rest, and I’ll be the judge of how bad it is?”
Jack nodded. “Just a few hours. The team’s waiting.”
“You have a second-in-command for a reason, Jack.”
“Take a few days. Rest. You’re the only one who never takes a day off.”
Jack shook his head. “Because I’m the leader. I can’t just leave.”
Ianto pulled his hand back, his breath hitching. He didn’t like thinking about the time that Jack did just leave, about the time that they had to do without him. He stood, keeping his eyes averted from the Captain, and picked up the laptop from the desk across the room. Walking it back to the bed, he sat down next to Jack. “Then it’s a good thing that you’re not just leaving, you’re staying here with me.”
Opening the laptop, he typed a series of commands, and Tosh’s face appeared on screen. “Ianto!” she exclaimed, “Did you find Jack?”
“He’s right here,” Ianto said, swiveling the computer to show Jack, who smiled weakly. “Could you get Owen to his terminal for a transfer?”
“Is he okay?” Tosh asked, concern visible on her face even on the video feed.
Ianto nodded. “He’s a bit under the weather. I’m enforcing some time off.”
“Feel better, Jack,” she directed at the other man. “I’ll go get Owen. Take care.” Ianto watched as Tosh disappeared, and then the feed transferred to Owen’s computer. The doctor looked bothered, as usual, and raised an eyebrow as if to say, ‘Well?’ Ianto turned the computer back to Jack.
The Captain cleared his throat. “This is Captain Jack Harkness, authorizing a transfer of control over Torchwood Three to Dr. Owen Harper.” He recited a nine-digit code, and after Owen repeated the correlate of Jack’s statement and a different code, visibly relaxed against the headboard, dropping his professional tone now that the transfer was complete. “Thanks, Owen.”
“Anytime,” the doctor replied, “Get some rest—you look rough.”
Jack smirked. “Come on, that’s just the lighting in here.”
“He’s lying!” Ianto chimed in from his side of the bed.
“Let your tea boy take care of you so you can get back to work,” Owen ordered, “We’ll see you in a few days.”
Closing the laptop and handing it to Ianto, Jack closed his eyes and sighed. “I don’t understand why I’m so tired.”
“Never been sick before?” Ianto got off of the bed and set the laptop down before circling back to Jack’s side.
“Never in this time—and I’m pretty sure 53rd century sickness and 18th century treatments are way different from the way things are now.” Turning his head away from the other man, Jack coughed, grimacing when he turned back to Ianto. “Is it supposed to hurt like this?”
“Mhmm,” Ianto affirmed, pressing a kiss to Jack’s forehead. “I’ll go get you some paracetamol. Where do you keep it?”
Jack shook his head. “Don’t have any. Never been sick before.”
Ianto stood. “Well then, I’ll have to change that. Need anything else?”
Shaking his head again, Jack reached out from under the covers and took Ianto’s hand. “Come back quickly.”
“Of course.” Ianto took a ring of keys from Jack’s coat and left, closing the door behind him. When he returned to the flat, he quietly made his way inside, setting down a plastic shopping bag on the floor next to the bed. He smiled at the Captain, who had fallen asleep and was uncharacteristically snoring, undoubtedly due to being sick. Ianto removed his shoes and sat next to Jack, checking the Captain’s temperature with the back of his hand every now and then. He didn’t want to wake the other man, and decided that any medicating could wait until after some much-needed sleep. Working on the laptop, Ianto occasionally covered his lover with blankets when he noticed the other shivering, or helped him remove them when he started to kick them off.
Around nine that night, illuminated by the blue glow of the computer screen, Jack stirred and sat up. He glanced around the room, at Ianto, at the window, and mumbled, “’S night already?”
His voice was hoarse, and he had barely finished his sentence when he started coughing again. Ianto set the computer down and drew Jack into his arms, pressing his lips against the other’s neck. “Did you sleep well?”
Jack shook his head, sniffling and rubbing at the underside of his nose with his hand. “Nightmares. Not anything that I haven’t seen before, though.”
“I hate seeing you so sick,” Ianto murmured.
“I hate being sick,” Jack replied, falling into another coughing fit.
Letting go of the other man, Ianto got out of bed and retrieved a few small bottles from the shopping bag, reading the labels and handing Jack an assortment of pills, pointing to each one before opening a bottle of water from the bag. “Paracetamol for your fever, this one’s for your cough, and this one for your nose and to help you sleep.”
Jack tossed the pills in his mouth and followed them with a mouthful of water, smiling at the man in front of him and leaning closer for a kiss. Ianto moved closer as well, but planted his kiss just to the side of the Captain’s mouth, causing the older man to pout. “Not fair.”
“No kissing until you’re better,” Ianto insisted, standing. “Are you hungry?”
Jack shook his head again. “I think I might sleep some more.”
Ianto lay down next to the other man and held him close. “I’ll be right here if you need anything. Feel better, love.”
Jack smiled and nuzzled against Ianto’s neck, easily falling back to sleep, facilitated by the medicine. Ianto stayed awake, enjoying the other’s breath on his shoulder and too-warm skin against his own. Every time Jack mumbled in his sleep, Ianto was quick with gentle words and reassuring touches. The hours passed quickly, and, in spite of the circumstances, Ianto didn’t mind the quiet company of his sleeping lover.