Day 10

Title: Day 10
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Torchwood
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Ianto/Jack
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my 'verse. I don't get paid a cent to play. Please don't sue and make things worse.
Summary: Jack’s sneezing is dangerous.
Note: Part of the 12 Ficlets in 12 Days project 2011-2012. Requested by rainbowbluebird .


Day 10

Ianto could remember precisely where he had been when the power first went out: in the shower with Captain Jack Harkness. The Hub had certain security measures in place to prevent a complete failure, as such a thing would be catastrophic in regards to the residents down in the cells or in cold storage. The problem was, it was the nature of the backup systems that had gone wonky. The outside power channels that supplied electricity were the ones that stayed on during the outage, and all of the systems that relied on alien power sources were the ones that shut off.

When the power went off, Ianto couldn’t see Jack in the shower, but their ears were filled with the screaming alert of systems going offline and backup generators not yet kicking in. Jack moved closer, reassuring Ianto of his presence with a kiss, before the two scrambled to get out. Ianto grabbed a towel, but Jack darted out of the shower stall naked. He was nearly to the stairs when the alert sound stopped and power came back, systems roaring back to life.

Jack stood, dripping, confused, as Ianto came up to him. “What was that?” Ianto asked.

Jack shook his head. “Nothing good.”

Later, Toshiko’s computers told them the power had only been out for a total of six and a quarter seconds—not enough to do damage, but enough to make them worry.


“Results of the diagnostics,” Tosh said, placing papers on the table in the conference room. “I can’t find anything wrong with our systems that would account for losing power. According to our readings, there was absolutely no rift activity.”

Ianto looked up from the stacks of books and boxes of records. “I went through all the digitized records for documented occurrences of power failures and every one of them has been explained.” He shifted the papers around and pulled out a notepad. “Rift activity, alien attack, alien jamming device, dimensional shift, that sort of thing.”

“All of which I’ve ruled out so far,” Tosh said, nodding.

“I’m reading through the undigitized records now, but it’s slow-going.” He lifted his head and smiled at Jack. “Some interesting reading, though. Did you really win a fistfight against a Sontaran?”

Jack beamed. “Not one of my best victories, and it killed me three times before I finally got it, but yes.”

“In the meantime,” Gwen piped up, “I’ve been looking into that report just outside town. It seems the man not only claimed to see aliens, but described them in great detail.”

“Weevils?” Jack guessed.

“Weevils,” Gwen confirmed.

“Then you’d better take Owen.”

Gwen got up at once and headed out of the conference room.

That left them with only the matter of the power failure on the table. 

Jack sat back in his chair and rubbed his hand over his face. He spun around in his chair, his back to them as he thought out loud. “All right. The power failure must have been some fluke. As long as it doesn’t happen again, I think we can safely assume—” He paused, as if sensing something was about to happen.

The lights flickered and all of the monitoring stations around the hub snapped to black. The screech of power units without power made them all jump. Ianto raced out of the room, not sure what he could do to help but wanting to be able to do something. But as quickly as it had begun, it ended. The computer systems came back on, rebooting on their own or resuming their normal functions. 

“You had to say that?” Ianto said, cocking his head at Jack, standing at the doorway.

Jack sighed. “Not a fluke, then. Keep looking. There’s got to be something.”


Toshiko rigged up a battery backup system, which could tap into Cardiff’s grid at the flick of a switch. The amount of pure energy the Hub required to operate would deplete Cardiff in a matter of hours, but she managed to work around the sudden drain that would cause a town—if not country-wide—blackout. She also made a clock that counted up from the last outage, so they could keep track of how long the intervals were. So far, they were at two hours, twenty-two minutes, eighteen seconds and counting. Nineteen seconds. Twenty seconds. Twenty-one seconds…

Ianto, on the other hand, had had absolutely no luck finding any similar problem in all of Torchwood Three’s history. Checking other Torchwood records he had access to—which weren’t much—would be the next step, but considering the Hub was right on top of the rift, usually their problems were isolated incidents.

Having all of the alien equipment in the building fail at exactly the same moment—twice—was extremely disconcerting. And there was only one thing Ianto knew how to do when something extremely unsettling occurred: make tea.

With Gwen and Owen out, Ianto used one of the smaller teapots but one of the stronger teas. He prepared the cups exactly the way each remaining team member liked it and took them around, using his mug and Jack’s to hold Tosh’s in place against his chest as he walked. “Tea!” he announced, feeling bad for a moment about interrupting her.

Tosh, pencil cross-ways in her mouth, let the pencil drop and took her mug with both hands. She blew upon the surface and took a cautious sip. Then she sighed and smiled gratefully. “Thanks. I needed this. If I can’t figure this out in the next hour, I’m going to have to go out in the snow and check the perimeter sensors manually.”

He gave her his most sympathetic smile. “I’ll have a warm blanket and a hot tea waiting for you when you come back in,” he promised.

He headed to Jack’s office, sipping his own tea along the way.

Ianto was sure that as long as he lived, he would never forget the sound of Jack’s first sneeze. It was soft, insanely wet, and unpredictably high-pitched. “et-Chiiiii!

About to burst in and bless him politely, Ianto was distracted by the power going out again. In fact, he almost dropped the cups of tea in surprise. This one lasted slightly longer than the others—perhaps ten seconds or so. The noise drowned out all hope of hearing anything else or even thinking about anything else. When it was over, Ianto heard Jack swearing in the other room.

“Just a coincidence,” he said, around curse words and strong sniffs. “Damn it, it’s got to be.”

Ianto hesitated. He didn’t like barging in on Jack when the man was in a bad mood. Jack was so much easier to handle when he was relaxed or excited or horny—well, maybe not horny, because Jack was just about always in the mood. Bravely, Ianto took a deep breath and entered the office.

Jack looked up from the stack of papers on his desk. “Ianto. What…” His voice died away as his gaze fell on the mug of tea. Then a slow but determined grin filled his face. “You read my mind. How did you know that was just what I needed? And you were just what I wanted…” He took the tea and then reached out, taking a hold of Ianto. He pulled Ianto close so that Ianto sat upon one of the man’s thighs.

Ianto put his arm around Jack’s shoulders to steady himself. He couldn’t help but notice the look in Jack’s eyes. It wasn’t an emotion he saw there—it was a fever. That sneeze he had heard hadn’t been just a sneeze. But Jack didn’t say anything about it and Ianto had a feeling that Jack didn’t want him to know. “Is it my imagination, or is it colder in here than it should be?”

Ianto was perfectly warm, especially in Jack’s office, leaning against Jack’s warm body. But he replied the way he thought Jack would want him to, with a “Yes, I think it is. Maybe it has something to do with these power issues?”

Jack hesitated before replying, “It could.”

“Drink your tea while it’s still hot. I can make more later, even if the power goes off.” He was glad the stove ran on non-alien power sources, because standing in the kitchen, holding a teakettle over a handful of wax candles was not his idea of efficient tea-making procedures.

 Jack squeezed him in appreciation and let him go free. Ianto stood outside Jack’s office for a few minutes, listening. But Jack didn’t sneeze again. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the power throughout the Hub stayed on.


Ianto was in the kitchen, washing dishes by hand, when he heard noise coming from the direction of Owen’s infirmary. Curious, Ianto went to investigate. From a safe vantage point on the stairs, he spotted Jack going through drawers. The captain was definitely looking for something in particular—possibly medicine.

Ianto didn’t have to wait long before he got to see Jack sneeze for the very first time. First, there were several sniffs and Jack helped himself to a few tissues—one after the other—from the tissue box on one of the infirmary counters, blowing or just rubbing at a nose that clearly looked like it must be bothering him greatly.

A few minutes later, Jack swore and pinched his nose between his thumb and forefinger. That seemed to have absolutely no effect. His breath hitched, eyes closed, mouth dropped open. And as the sneeze struck, the lights began to flicker. “ih-Ch—“ That was all Ianto could hear before the alien power systems went out again. Ianto watched as Jack doubled over with the force of not one but six separate sneezes. When they were done, he cupped his nose in a tissue and blew. The various systems, including much of Owen’s equipment came back on again.

Jack deposited the used tissues in the bin and kept searching the drawers. After another ten minutes of occasional sniffles, he pulled out a thermometer.

Ianto hadn’t needed one to guess the man was ill, but Jack probably knew by now as well and just wanted to determine how bad it was. Given that Jack’s sneezes seemed to take out almost all of Torchwood each time, Ianto couldn’t imagine that finding out how high a fever it was would make much difference.

Not wanting to let Jack know he was on to him and certainly not wanting to startle Jack by suddenly and pretending he didn’t know, Ianto stepped back into the shadows. He remained near the infirmary long enough to hear Jack groan and cough and sniff again. The results from the thermometer were, apparently, not so good.

As Jack went through some more drawers and cabinets looking for something else—this time, it most likely was medicine—Ianto headed to Jack’s office and room.

The Hub really wasn’t the best place to care for someone who was ill. First of all, the sheets on Jack’s bed would need changing; the only thing they’d been used for lately was lovemaking. Second, there was nothing to provide entertainment, like a television or bookshelf. Third, there was no window to provide fresh air. Fourth… there was a pterodactyl. And fifth, apparently the Hub didn’t like it when someone sneezed. Though, his last head cold hadn’t been so bad. It had passed in a few days of rough coughs and sneezes, rather uneventful. It was more likely that the Hub just didn’t like it when Jack sneezed.

Ianto found Jack’s greatcoat draped over the edge of the bed, and picked it up. Instead of hanging it up while he changed the sheets, Ianto put it on. The size and fit weren’t quite right, but the wool was thick and warm. It wasn’t as good as crawling into a warm bed, but Jack should be wearing it if he felt chilled. Ianto kept it on while changing the sheets and tucking several layers of blankets at the bottom.

The lights flickered again and systems screamed. This time, Ianto smiled. This cold of Jack’s wasn’t going to be much fun for any of them. And there wasn’t much to do to fight a cold; waiting it out was usually the best you could do. He wondered if Jack had ever been sick before in the Hub. And he wondered if Jack would finally admit it to his team so they could stop trying to figure out the power outages.

Ianto heard footsteps on the stairs and, not knowing what else to do, he dove under Jack’s desk. Only when he felt the blue wool scratch his cheek did he realize he still wore the greatcoat. Ianto pulled it off and threw it onto the back of the chair just in time.

Sniffling, Jack made his dramatic entrance. He surveyed the room and went straight for his coat. Still warm from Ianto’s body heat, Jack moaned with happiness as he pulled it on. Then he retreated to his bedroom, leaving Ianto free to crawl out on his own.


Three power fluctuations later, Ianto rapped his knuckles against the doorjamb. Jack, snuggled in bed, beneath the layers of blankets, lifted his head. It seemed to take him a moment to figure out what Ianto was doing there with a steaming cup of tea. But then he closed his eyes and let his head sink deep into his freshly-plumped pillows. “How’d you know?”

“It’s my super power,” Ianto said. “Owen gets to be King of the Weevils, Gwen gets to be Mrs. Rhys Williams, Toshiko is the new soldier whisperer… and I’m still the tea boy.” He sat down on the bed and helped Jack rearrange the pillows until the man was sitting up. Then he handed over the cup. As Jack drank, Ianto fussed with the blankets.

“So my question is…”

“It’s a cold,” Jack told him.

Ianto looked up, confused. “Yes, of course it is. That wasn’t what I was going to ask.”

Jack nodded and drank more.

“My question is: do you realize Toshiko is outside right now?” She was testing each one of the perimeter sensors in case one of them is causing some sort of warning signal to disable the alien technology inside the Hub. It was a painstakingly long process and she had to have been miserable out there doing it in the freezing cold, snow, and ice.

Jack’s smile seemed forced. “So we’re alone here together? I like when we’re alone together…” He reached out, cupping Ianto’s face in his hand.

The come-on lasted only a second before Jack pulled back “ihhh-CHiiii!” This time, Ianto both saw and heard it. Even though the alerts sounded loudly, he was sitting so close to Jack on the bed that he could still hear.

“Jack, if you’re not here when you sneeze, is it still going to do that?”

Jack blew his nose with one hand, the other still holding his teacup, and he sat in bed looking thoughtful for some time. “I really don’t know.”

“I think it’s worth finding out.”

Jack shrugged, clearly not thrilled with the idea. Quietly, “I didn’t have anywhere to go.”

Ianto had to fight to not get annoyed with Jack over this. “Of course you do. Come with me.”

With the warmth of the tea still filling him and a thick comforter wrapped around his shoulders, Jack followed Ianto out of the Hub by way of the Cardiff tourism office. On their way out, they passed Gwen and Owen heading in. They were both covered in mud and Gwen had a scratch on her cheek. The two pairs stared at each other for a moment. Everyone looked curious and equally unwilling to explain So Ianto just nodded at them and Owen nodded back, and they passed silently, apart from a couple sniffles from Jack and the uneven footsteps of Gwen limping.

Ianto directed Jack around to his car by way of Toshiko. She had a handheld alien device in front of one of the camouflaged sensors that she had taken care to dig out of the snow.

Jack clutched Ianto’s arm so tightly Ianto winced. He knew what it meant—a sneeze was coming. He put his arm around Jack’s shoulders and held him close. Shivering, Jack pitched forward with, “hhhhh’IHchiiii!

Tosh swore, slapping her hand against the reader that had suddenly gone dead. A few seconds later, the neon green screen had reappeared and she resumed taking readings with it.

“Tosh!” Ianto called. She jumped a mile, but turned, spotting them because they were difficult to miss. “Go back inside. Give me a call on my cell if the power goes out again. We’re going to go try something?”

“What’s that?”

“Just an experiment. Call me, all right?”

She nodded and promised to do so.

Ianto practically threw Jack in the car and sped back to his apartment. Once, he heard Jack’s breath hitching. “Not yet. Don’t sneeze yet.”


“Oh no you don’t.” Driving with only one hand, he reached over and pinched Jack’s nose. A few moments later, Jack relaxed and closed his eyes, not in danger of sneezing again.

Ianto’s car lost traction briefly in the snow once, but they made it intact into what was probably a parking place, though the painted lines couldn’t be seen beneath the snow layer. The flat was a walk-up on the fifth floor, and Jack kept his nose pinched between thumb and forefinger the entire time they were in the stairwell, probably knowing his sneezes were likely to echo in the small space.

Jack sniffled the whole time and collapsed onto the couch the second Ianto let him in. Ianto tossed a box of tissues Jack’s way. And one wasn’t even out of the box before that look of desperate sneeziness crossed his face. “Nuhh…now?”

“Now,” Ianto assured him, sitting down on the edge of the couch.

Jack buried his nose in a whole handful of tissues, which enveloped practically his whole face, as he sneezed. “ihhh-Chiiiihhh! Hit-Chiiiihhhh! Ih… ihhh… ihhhChiiishhh!

With his cell phone on and in hand, they both waited for the call. They gave it a few seconds. Then a few minutes. Then Ianto called Tosh and Jack blew his nose to great relief.

“Did you experience any problems with the power just now?” Ianto asked, once Tosh had picked up the phone. She sounded warmer now, but he suddenly felt bad about not being there to brew up another pot of tea, as he had said he would. He was distracted from his concern for her by a hand stroking his thigh. Jack hadn’t been there five minutes and he was already trying to jump Ianto.

Ianto concentrated on the sound of Tosh’s voice. “No fluctuations as all. Everything’s running just fine. What was the problem?”

“Jack,” Ianto explained. And the hand sliding inward, cupping Ianto’s groin tenderly. Ianto cleared his throat. “Ah, but I’d better leave it to him to explain. Later. He’s not feeling too well at the moment.” He thought about telling her to go home, but in the end he just asked her to contact Gwen and Owen and said he’d be back in the morning.

He was barely off the phone when Jack pitched forward with another sneeze. “HIHTchiii!” As he convulsed, his hand tightened, squeezing Ianto’s cock. Ianto moaned. “God, Jack. You can’t do this. You’re sick.”

“I am.” He sat up and released Ianto. Then, just as quickly, slid his hand down the waist of Ianto’s trousers. “But sniff you’re not.”

Ianto felt himself being eased back onto the couch. Clothes came off. Cocks sprung to attention. Sniffles gave way to kisses and flicks of the tongue. This was silly. This wasn’t good for Jack. But Ianto gave up protesting the instant Jack slid into him.

The strong and steady rhythm of Jack’s thrusts was reassuring, not to mention sexy. He lay on his back, ankles propped up on the far arm of the couch, Jack in front of him, between his legs. He’d dreamed of having Jack in his flat—not quite like this, of course. Jack was here not because he wanted to pay Ianto a social visit but because he was ill, which was evident from the way Jack’s nostrils were twitching again.

Ianto reached for a tissue from the box, but not fast enough. “heh-CHIIIIH!” Ianto felt a bit of the spray against his skin, but he hardly noticed that. The sneeze had thrown Jack forward, driving him deeper into Ianto. Ianto cried out, remembering too late that he was at home, in a building with thin walls, not alone with Jack at the Hub. He didn’t care, though. Not as long as Jack kept doing that.

“Sneeze again,” Ianto pleaded. “Please…”

“Wod’t be a… ihhh… a broblem…” He barely had time to ask before another sneeze built. “heh…ihhh-IHtchhhh!

Jack was amazing without even trying. Feeling the second now anticipated jab at his prostate, Ianto came explosively, moaning with pleasure as Jack’s hand and his own milked his cock, fingers tingling and intertwining in their shared, pleasurable purpose.

Ianto had a vague sense that Jack came as well. He thought perhaps he recalled Jack freeing himself from between Ianto’s legs. And he could later sort of recall Jack using tissues from the box to wipe them both clean. But Ianto had never been in such a state of bliss before and that was something he knew he would remember for the rest of his life.

Jack cuddled against him on the couch, a blanket wrapped around them both, a tissue box crunched between the back of the couch and the pile of cushions propping Jack’s head up to help him breathe. And when Jack sneezed again, the memory of what it had done to Ianto made his cock twitch again with longing.

Ianto began to laugh.

Jack snuffled and lifted his head. “Are you goig to tell be what’s so fuddy or bake be guess?”

“Not even a cold can reduce your sex drive and, somehow, you’ve made yourself even more attractive to me now. How do you do it?”

Though he began to answer, and Ianto was incredibly curious about what he would say, Jack broke off as another sneeze had its way with him. His mouth opened and head tilted back. His gorgeous eyes closed and his chest rose. “ihhhhhhh—HITChooo!

Every light in Ianto’s flat went out. The digital timer on the range, the lamp in the living room, the clock on the DVD player. They were plunged into blackness. “Uhh…” Ianto started. “Must be the snowstorm. You don’t happen to have a torch on you, do you?” he asked the completely naked man.

“I’ve got sobethig better.” He ground his crotch against Ianto’s thigh and resumed kissing.