Rating: R - Strong mentions of sex, suicide, rape and abuse.
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Martha, Rhiannon, others may crop up as well.
Spoilers: Set after Exit Wounds, mentions of Doctor Who Series 3 finale.
Summary: After 2,000 years buried beneath Cardiff, Jack's mind is crumbling. Ianto will do anything to avoid losing him again – but how do you fix a broken man when you are falling apart yourself?
Disclaimer: If I owned Torchwood, the long-lasting repurcussions of actions and events would be properly explored. Obviously, I do not own Torchwood. Hence...FanFiction.
The lyrics to the song "Kryptonite" belong to the band 3 Doors Down. The song can be found here
"I really don't mind what happens now and then"
Ianto's coat wrapped around his legs, almost sending him hurtling to the floor as he sped down the hospital corridor. All around him there was an incessant bustling; people talking, nurses rushing, the odd cry of someone in pain or the gentle snoring of those still under the influence of general anaesthetic. The whiteness of the walls was piercing to his tired, weary eyes, sparking sharply against his retinas and causing him to blink furiously.
The only thing keeping the mechanics of his body working was the panic that was rushing through him.
He held the phone to his ear, praying quietly that this time he would get a connection. The infuriating sound of the "engaged" tone pierced his ear drums, causing him to curse violent and earning him a few dirty looks from passers by.
He really didn't care.
Catching hold of a nurse, he managed to skid to a stop.
"I'm looking…for…" he was breathing heavily, and she patiently gave him time to draw oxygen into his lungs. "Um…Jack Harkness…I got a call…I'm Torchwood."
"Torchwood? Ianto Jones?"
Ianto nodded as he drew his ID (thank God he'd had the sense, in all this madness, to remember that), confirming his identity to the blue-clad woman.
"This way please," she took his arm gently, gripping a clipboard beneath the crook of her arm as she steered him calmly in the right direction. His muscles clenched with the sudden release as he was forced to keep to her steady pace, and he felt an uncomfortable cramp beginning to work its way up his right leg.
"What happened…why is he...?"
"He was found in an alleyway. He has severe contusions to his neck – they think it was an animal attack - but he's in a stable condition. We found your number in his coat pocket, along with a note instructing us to call you should he be in any trouble."
"Ah…yes…" Ianto remembered placing that note in Jack's coat pocket some time ago, even before Tosh and Owen had…well, when there had still been five of them. As much as Jack appeared indestructible, there was always that constant worry that he would be injured and not killed – Jack had told him that these wounds, whilst healing quicker than normal, still took time to fix themselves. Or the fear that he would wake up in trouble, or endangered.
Come to think of it, the immortality thing had probably added more worries and fears than it had avoided.
Of course, he had been sure that Jack would find it and remove it. He didn't even want to begin to consider what it meant that he hadn't.
It was just too early in the morning for that.
The nurse led Ianto to a ward on the right of the corridor, a room filled with the cacophony of beeping instruments and whirring machines that he had become to accustomed to during his time at Torchwood. It was akin to being at the Hub again, with the constant reassurance of technology behind him. Ianto felt almost calmed.
And then he looked at the bed.
Jack was lying prone on the covers, wires and machines curling around and within his body. A thick, white gauze had been wrapped around his neck, tinged ever so slightly with blood that had seeped through from the wound. The steady sound of the heart monitor was not as reassuring as it should be; it was more like a ticking time bomb, reminding Ianto of each passing moment that was being wasted for them, each minute that he was regretting rather than treasuring.
But that wasn't the worst part. Ianto's eyes flickered up his body, taking in the metal that was binding him to the plastic railing of the bed, seeing the intra-venous drip pumping God-knows-what into the immortal's body. Jack's eyes were closed, yet slightly open, his whole body limp and unearthly – it wasn't like he was sleeping at all, it was more like he was trapped in unconsciousness and fighting to get out.
"He's having a nightmare," Ianto was well aware that his voice was quiet and trembling. "You have to let him wake up."
"He's been heavily sedated, Mr Jones, it was for his own…"
"And you've handcuffed him to the bed! Why would you do that?"
"Please, Mr Jones, we need you to please try to stay calm…"
"I don't give a flying fuck what you need me to do!" Ianto's voice had descended, his tone low and rumbling. "Don't you understand what you've done?"
Moving forward, Ianto knelt beside Jack's bed, his hand smoothing gently over his cheek. He could feel the effort that Jack was using to try and force his way through the sedatives coursing through him, confining him to his own mind. Something caught in the back of his throat as he brought his body closer, flattening the palm of his hand against the side of Jack's face and running the tips of his fingers through those lanky sideburns. He was so vulnerable, so unlike the man he had grown to…
Ianto swallowed hard.
"Take the handcuffs off."
"I said: take the handcuffs off."
The woman sucked in a sharp breath, setting down her clipboard and leaning her head out of the door. Ianto barely registered what she was saying as he kept up his vigil, fingers carding gently through greasy locks of Jack's usually perfectly-styled hair.
"Come on Jack, wake up for me."
Jack's head twitched ever so slightly, before snapping back to that deathly stillness, as if his strength were attached to an elastic band that had reached its limit. Ianto moved his other hand, sliding it down his arm – which was wrapped in wiring and bandages – so that he could thread his fingers in between Jack's own.
His thumb ran a steady beat over the back of Jack's hand, the pad of it running over the reassuring feel of the raised veins and the coarse, work-hardened skin. He hoped it was breaking through the drugs, but deep down he knew it was for his own comfort.
A hand rested on his shoulder, a heavy touch, but Ianto refused to lift his gaze from Jack's struggling face.
Ianto moved his head just a little, giving the words the slightest acknowledgement whilst at the same time making his rebuke clear.
"You're Mr Harkness' next of kin?"
"No, but I suppose I'm the closest you'll get," Ianto shrugged. "He's my boss."
"Okay. My name is Dr Patanjali, and I've been in charge of Mr Harkness'…"
"His name is Captain Harkness," Ianto voice was forced through his teeth in a sharp hiss, his cheeks sucked in with the effort of keeping his body and his voice steady. Dr Patanjali seemed to note this, and his hand slid conspicuously away from Ianto's tensed shoulder.
"I've been in charge of Captain Harkness' care."
"You have?" Ianto turned ever so slightly, his eyes still half focused on his prone lover as his gaze shifted accusingly. "So, would you like to tell me why he's drugged to oblivion and handcuffed – fucking handcuffed – to the bed?"
"Mr Jones, he was losing blood. The wound was deep, it's a miracle he survived…"
Ianto snorted, catching the doctor off guard.
"Um…I mean…when he regained consciousness he was in a lot of distress, and it was for his own safety and the safety of those trying to help him. He needed to be calmed down so that we could treat him, Mr Jones."
"So you decided to trap him in his nightmares and chain him up? That's your idea of a good treatment?"
"If we hadn't, who knows what might have happened…"
"No? Well, I have a pretty good idea, and it's a damned sight better than what will happen now that you've decided to stick your fucking do-gooder attitude in."
He was being unfair, he knew that. There was no way the doctors could have any idea – all they wanted to do was look after their patient, to make sure that his wounds were tended. A larger part of him, however, was sick of trading in rationality over his emotions.
Ianto stood up to his full height, his stocky frame bearing down on the slim form of the olive-skinned medic. Dr Patanjali backed away slightly, obviously shrinking under Ianto's threatening gaze. He opened his mouth, eager for one last attempt at compromise.
"We didn't know anything about him, he was brought in with no identification, our first aim was to save him, to deal with his wounds. There was nothing else we could…"
"I don't care. I don't want to hear it. I'm taking him with me."
Ianto turned back to Jack, his last comment acting as a full stop on the conversation. Bending to his knees again, he placed a hand on Jack's wrist, working his fingernails underneath the cold metal chaining him to the bed.
"Before you say anything, Dr Patanjali, I work for Torchwood. Go to your boss and quote code TW131106. We have jurisdiction over this now."
He took a deep breath, repressing the urge to bury his head in the soft hospital gown adorning Jack's torso.
"Can you please ring this number…" he reached into his pocket and handed over a crumpled piece of paper. "…and ask for Miss Martha Jones. She's in room 13. Tell her that Jack needs her help."
Dr Patanjali nodded jerkily, taking the piece of paper in his hand.
"Yes, Mr Jones."
As he turned to leave, Ianto raised his head one last time.
"Please can you close the door?"
Head bobbing in resigned assent, the young doctor took one last look at his patient and the withdrawn young man clutching at his wrist. He stepped forward suddenly, dropping a small metal object onto the bedclothes next to Ianto's hand.
"The key to the cuffs, Mr Jones," he replied to Ianto's enquiring gaze. "Look after him."
With that, the medic smiled a small smile and exited the room, closing the door gently behind him. As that blessed privacy descended over him, the young Welshman succumbed to the crushing weight pressing down on him, resting his face against Jack's chest and brushing his lips across the exposed skin peeping through the blue gown.
If he tried hard enough, he could pretend that a single tear didn't follow his lips to rest above Jack's heart.
He'd had to wait for Martha to arrive, with her alluring bed-tousled hair, easy charm and UNIT badge before he'd managed to get Jack out of the hospital. If he closed his eyes and ran a metaphorical sponge through his mind, he could force himself into believing that he hadn't spent the majority of that time fisting his hand in Jack's hospital gown, face buried in the immortals shoulder. He could, once again, pretend that everything was fine, and that he definitely, definitely, had not cried into Jack's skin.
And now here they were, Jack splayed out on the sofa of the Hub whilst they waited for the sedative to wear off. Ianto crossed his arms protectively over his chest, a fierce buzzing drilling its way through his brain as he watched the hypnotic rise and fall of his lover's chest. He could feel Martha standing behind him, gentle fingers caressing his arm worriedly, but he refused to move or turn his head.
Eventually, he heard a gentle sigh as the fingers withdrew, footsteps ringing through the Hub as she left him to take up her usual post in Jack's office. He felt irrational anger sweep through his mind, causing his muscles to bristle and tense. Jack's office. She shouldn't be in there. Jack would be angry when he was cured.
You stupid bastard, he's never going to be cured. Cut the fucking optimism and take note of reality; look what happened last time you kidded yourself everything would be fine.
Ianto shook his head fiercely, digging his fingers into his skin as he squeezed his arms tighter, hugging himself.
His lover twitched suddenly, and in a second Ianto's tensed limbs had unfurled. He crouched beside Jack, cupping the back of his head with a gentle hand as the immortal began to resurface into the waking world. Beginning to splutter, breath catching in his throat, the older man lurched forward; Ianto placed a hand against his chest, keeping him pinned firmly, but gently, into the couch. Beneath his fingertips, he felt that never-ending heart begin to speed up, its pace growing more frenetic along with his struggles, but Ianto remained firm…eyes focused on Jack's face…lips sealed defiantly shut.
After some time, he felt Jack soften beneath his fingers, leaning back into the course, ragged material. A hand came towards where his palm lay on Jack's chest, fingers pushing in between his own in an effort to link them together. Ianto's fingers remained rigid, and Jack settled for resting his hand on top of the younger man's.
Jack's voice was vulnerable, quiet, and pitiful. Hearing Jack like that, reduced to such a pathetic creature, sent another wave of painful anger shooting through Ianto's body. He hated, hated, hated this thing that had taken Jack's place.
"What were you doing?" he asked suddenly, eyes snapping to bore fiercely into Jack's grey-blue orbs. "Why did you leave?"
The immortal blinked.
A curtain of confusion descended over Jack's trusting gaze, and he pushed himself up from his position on the bench. Ianto acquiesced, getting to his feet and stepping backwards to allow Jack room to claw himself into a standing position.
Jack didn't understand the darkening look spreading over Ianto's features, and he stepped backwards just a little. Ianto liked Weevil hunting. He remembered that. It was something they did together, something they enjoyed. Was that the problem, was Ianto upset that he'd done it on his own, did he want to do it with him?
"If you wanted to come with me…"
"No, I did not want to come with you, you stupid fucker," Ianto spat the syllables out, like venom flying from the fangs of a cobra. Jack flinched backwards. The younger man loomed to his full height and took a step towards him, fist raised and finger pointing – Jack felt himself shrivel beneath the piercing gaze.
"Why would you do that? After all this time, when I – we – have been working so hard, and now you go and fuck it all up."
Ianto began to pace, his feet hitting the floor purposefully. The immortal found himself transfixed by the beat, eyes focused on the steady movement of those feet, following each ragged step. It was easier than having to look at those fierce eyes.
"I have spent too much time on you, looking after you, trying to make you better. Even when you couldn't remember who I was, I was there, I kept going, because that's what everyone fucking expects me to do. I just want you to be better, dammit, I just want you to be Jack again. And I thought we were getting somewhere, because you were fine, but then you had to go and be a fucking hero. We've worked too hard for you to fuck it up now."
Stopping his pacing, Ianto turned, the anger of his eyes swimming in tears. Jack bit his lip, his whole body trembling as the backs of his knees hit the edge of the sofa, halting his backwards movement. He braced his arm behind him on the wall, stopping himself from the falling onto the sofa – he didn't know why, but he just knew that he had to stay upright. If he stayed upright, then they couldn't get him.
"Jesus Jack, I just…" Ianto took a step forward, tensing as Jack seemed to meld further into the grotty scenery of the Hub, worming his way into the furniture and away from him. Jack was trying to get away. Jack was scared of him. Ianto felt something in him break.
He was sick of this. Fucking tired of everything. Every day something else was there to cut him, to wound him; every single second there was something else gnawing at his mind, desperate to claw him closer to insanity. His eyes met Jack's, seeing those pupils blown wide with terror. He just wanted this to be over, wanted everything to be normal.
So, before he could let a rational thought into his brain, he'd stepped forward, grabbed Jack's face between his hands, and forced their lips together…
Please review if you can. My muse feeds on comments, and you wouldn't it to starve before the cliffhanger is resolved!
Thank you for reading.