Characters: Jack, Ianto, Owen somewhat, Tosh and Gwen barely
Rating: PG-13 (just this chapter, very minor language)
Spoilers: Brief reference to post-End of Days
Set: Sometime in season 2
Summary: Backup arrives, and Ianto finds support from an unlikely source.
Parts: 1 2
Owen let out the air of the blood pressure cuff that was around Jack’s arm and pulled the earpieces of his stethoscope out. “His BP, pulse, and respirations are high, but that’s normal for someone running a fever as high as his,” he said, undoing the Velcro from the device and rolling it back up. “And nothing’s dangerously high, either—I think a couple days of rest should have him back to normal.”
“But why was he hallucinating?” Ianto had positioned himself behind Jack in a protective hug, the two of them leaning against the bureau. He kept his voice low, careful not to disturb the sleeping captain. “I’ve never seen him scared like that.”
“I don’t know. It’s possible that whatever this is affects him differently, or that something else is going on.” As Owen spoke, he took out a set of vacuum vials and a needle. With an alcohol swab, he cleaned a small area in the crook of Jack’s arm and swiftly filled three of the small containers with blood. “Everything points to some kind of infection though—I’m not terribly concerned.”
“You didn’t see him arguing with invisible captors.” Ianto looked down at Jack, stroking his hair.
“Did it stop on its own?” Owen inquired, looking around in his bag.
Ianto flushed. “Well, I—I Retconned him.”
Owen stared at Ianto. “You Retconned your boyfriend? Our boss?”
“Oh, like you haven’t used it on a one-night stand before.” Ianto didn’t often get defensive, but he had been terrified that he had made the wrong choice by using the amnesia pill on Jack. At Owen’s shocked look, he finished, “I do inventory the medical supplies, Doctor Harper.”
“Right then, moving on,” Owen said, a bit too loudly, pulling out a small rigid case from his bag. He opened it and pulled out a syringe, needle, and a small vial. While preparing the injection, he explained, “This should bring his fever down, and if it doesn’t in the next few hours, give me a call and I’ll come back.”
“Thank you, Owen,” Ianto said, a small smile crossing his lips. “I didn’t want to pull you away from the investigation, but I didn’t know what else to do.”
Owen let out a snort of laughter and shook his head. “You know as well as I do that Torchwood functions a thousand times better when he’s around.” He wiped off a patch of skin closer to Jack’s shoulder. “Just paracetamol,” he explained, administering the injection in one fluid motion and setting the syringe aside.
“Shall we get him back to the bed?” The two men shifted positions and lifted their leader off of the floor. Ianto covered him with the sheet and knelt down beside him, running his fingers through the older man’s hair. After reassuring himself that Jack was not in any immediate danger, he stood and turned to Owen. “I’ll call you if anything changes.”
Snapping his bag shut with all his tools safely inside, Owen nodded. “Anytime.” Ianto nodded in acknowledgement and moved to turn back to his sleeping lover, but Owen’s hand on his shoulder stopped him. “Ianto.”
“What?” The Welshman looked at the doctor, trying to conceal his exhaustion. Every word he spoke, every move he made was taxing—he wanted nothing more than to lie down next to Jack and wait for him to get better.
“You look like shit,” Owen started, ignoring the indignant look that flashed across the other man’s face. “Have you slept at all since you got here?”
Ianto shook his head. “I didn’t want something to happen while I was asleep—I’m here to watch him.”
Owen lifted his hand off of Ianto’s shoulder. “Why don’t you shower and get some sleep? I’ll stay and watch Jack for a while.”
Ianto felt relief just at the thought of a few hours’ rest. As he tiredly searched for the words to thank his coworker, he realized just how stunned he was by the kindness of the doctor’s offer. He and Owen had never gotten long particularly well—no matter if it was Ianto overstepping his boundaries by going hunting with Jack, personal differences, or something else. It seemed out of character for Owen, so often callous and apathetic, to suddenly offer what Ianto very much needed, but would never venture to ask.
“I’m sure you have work you need to be doing,” Ianto protested. “I’ll be fine—he’ll wake up soon.”
Shaking his head, Owen put his bag back down and gently nudged Ianto in the direction of the bathroom. “Look,” he said, his voice laced with his usual sarcasm, “I’m not going to be happy if I have to come out here in a few days because you’re down with the same thing he’s got.”
Ianto smiled, no longer politely trying to resist. “Thank you, Owen.”
“We’ve got to watch out for each other.” Across the room, Jack stirred, mumbling a stream of incoherent words in his sleep. Ianto turned on one foot, but Owen stopped him from moving any farther. “Ianto. I’ve got him. Take care of yourself.”
Ianto watched as the doctor, in an interesting mixture of professionalism and intense familiarity, spoke to the captain in hushed tones while assessing his pupils with his penlight. In spite of the inevitable conflicts that the men of Torchwood Three had amongst each other, Owen was right—they needed to watch out for each other. Sometimes that meant standing guard with a pistol, sometimes it meant making that extra pot of coffee, and in times like this, it meant enforcing a much-needed break.
Ianto showered, dressed, and climbed into bed next to Jack, not even minding the fact that Owen was sitting mere feet away. It couldn’t hurt to have someone watch over him for a few hours as well.
Thank you to everyone for the kind reviews--it's been years since I've published fanfiction, and it's really nice to come back to such an excellent community!