Day 5

Title: Day 5
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Torchwood
Rating: PG
Pairing: Ianto/Jack
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: At Torchwood, Ianto simply can't take a sick day.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2014 project for Anonymous

Concentrating on what he was writing, Ianto didn’t hear Jack approach. He didn’t even know Jack was there until lips brushed his forehead with a soft kiss. He gave a start, raising his head sharply. Jack half-sat on the edge of Ianto’s desk, folding his hands on his thigh. “Good morning, Ianto Jones. You busy figuring out the meaning of life there?”

Ianto shook his head. “Just writing out today’s To Do list, Sir.”

“Ah,” Jack nodded thoughtfully. “Let me guess. Item 1: make tea. Item 2: drink tea. Item 3: cover nose when sneezing. Item 4: go home and get into bed. Item 5: repeat items 1 through 3.”

It sounded appealing; Ianto had to give him that much. He didn’t feel well at all, but that didn’t mean he could just take off. Not after they’d lost half their team and Gwen was out of town for the weekend at some family function. “Hardly. First item is desk duty in the office until noon. The tourism bureau is cracking down and we’ve got to… to… maintain the cov-er-ehHeyshhh!” He had a handkerchief out for this one, catching the sneeze entirely along with a few wet sniffles.

Jack breathed out in an almost sigh. “Got a box of tissues behind the desk up there?”

Ianto nodded.

“Go on, then.” Jack pointed back toward the door. “I’ll just find my way around the kitchen without you.”

Smiling, Ianto squeezed a new item at the top of the list, right below the To Do title. As if he didn’t have enough to do already. “Well, look at this. It seems that I have time to make a spot of tea before opening the office after all.”

“Good man.” Jack reached over and clapped him on the arm.

Though he wouldn’t admit it, the tea was as much for his benefit as for Jack’s. He sipped it as he stood in the office, watching tourists paw over the postcards in the spinning rack. He clutched the cup with both cold hands as he tried to explain that walking from the bay to Cardiff Castle was a bad idea. And he breathed in the steam from it as he crossed the office to pluck the proper train timetables out of their holder on the far wall. He tried to make the one cup last as long as possible, but, eventually, it started to grow cold. So he downed it in a few gulps and swallowed the last bit with a smile on his face as he tasted with it the bit of sugar that had settled at the bottom.

Facing the rest of the morning without its warmth was a nightmare. Oh, it wasn’t like being attacked by cybermen… or weevils… or psycho cannibals… but it was its own sort of torture when his nose absolutely refused to quit running. He answered tourists’ questions with a balled-up tissue pressed under his nose; the only thing ruder than that would have been letting his nose run… or maybe wiping with his sleeve or his tie, and he shuddered at the thought of that. He started giving advice on where to eat or what museums to visit based on the ease of direction-giving, wanting to move the tourists out as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t see him sneeze or cough as much and think something was wrong. By the end of his shift, he was not only exhausted but people were beginning to comment about his red nose and the congestion in his voice, which was softer and slightly deeper than normal, not that they would know.

So by the time he flipped the closed sign on the door of the office, he was ready to call it a day. He walked back to the desk, picked up a pen, and drew a checkmark next to the second item on his list. A quick skimming of the page showed he had eight more items left before he could even think about heading home to his bed.


Ianto hadn’t even heard the door open. But, just as he turned to see Jack standing there, he caught sight of the security camera that showed a pizza delivery man coming round toward the door. “Extra cheese, Sir?”

“Mmhmm. Grab your coat. We’ll eat it outside. The fresh air will do you some good.” It was bright and sunny down by the water. They sat on a bench, watching the water, the pizza box and a small stack of napkins between them

Ianto nibbled on his slice of pizza, not particularly hungry. But he’d forgotten to put lunch on his To Do list, and now it seemed like an oversight. He wasn’t going to get better without proper food and drink—not that pizza was the healthiest thing he could be eating, but at least it was warm. And the company was good.

“How much more do you have on your list?” Jack asked, taking his third slice of pizza from the box.

“Too… too buch… hahh-Ehshuhhh! E’Knchhhh!” He helped himself to another napkin and rubbed at his nose. He’d been through four napkins already, and his pocket was getting full of the discarded ones.

“And you’re sure it’s nothing that can’t wait until you’re feeling better?”

Ianto nodded.

“Then we’d better get back to the Hub and get to work.”

Ianto sniffed and wiped his nose again. He looked down at the greasy half-piece of pizza in his hand. It actually looked pretty good. “There’s tibe to fidish ludch first.”

Jack reached his arm across the back of the bench and rubbed his hand against the back of Ianto’s neck. “If you say so.” He took another bite of pizza and looked back at the waves while Ianto alternated rubbing his nose and eating.

Ianto managed to just about eat a whole slice. When he had just the crust left, there was a crash of thunder. Ianto looked up just in time to see the gray clouds roll in and open up over them. Jack closed the box and grabbed the rest of the pizza. The couple napkins left were soaked with rain. The two of them sprinted for the tourist info entrance. Though they were only out there for a few minutes, they were drenched by the time they got inside.

Ianto tried hard not to shiver, but he couldn’t help it. He was already ill and sniffly, now he was wet to boot. His teeth chattered. His nose ran. His hair dripped. His throat itched. His arms broke out in goosebumps. His head burned with fever. “Want to borrow some clothes? I’ve got a t-shirt and sweatpants with your name on them.”

Ianto shook his head. “I have a chadge of clothes, but thagks.”

Jack nodded. “Yeah, probably would be warmer than a suit, but they’re not your style. And they might not fit you anyway.”

Ianto thought about it a moment. He was always comfortable enough in his shirt, suit, and tie. He didn’t need anything else. But he was freezing and wet and “ihhh-Hihshhhh!

“Gesundheit.” Jack tossed Ianto a towel before heading to his office to get changed into dry clothes.

Ianto wiped his face, dried his hair, and then buried his face in the towel again. “ihhKffff! Huchmmfff! H’shmphhh!” When he lifted his head, Jack was back, wearing just a towel.  “Actually… a t-shirt add sweats would be warber…”

Jack nodded. “Good thinking. I’ll go get you some.”

Ianto changed hurriedly, the cold air inside the Hub catching his still-damp hair and making him shiver more. He dropped his wet suit jacket and stripped off his bright blue button-down shirt. He dropped his trousers, half expecting some new emergency to come up when he was half naked in the Hub—that always seemed to happen. But, this time, he escaped unscathed. It was a relief to pull on the sweatshirt Jack and brought for him, shoving his hands into the front pockets and rubbing one sock-clad foot against the other until he warmed up a bit.

Ianto’s To Do list was waiting for him when he returned to his desk. The number of items on it had not changed, of course, but somehow it felt much longer to him. Perhaps that was just due to the next item on it: inventorying the vaults.

It was bad enough knowing that when you died, you were set down on one of these slabs and locked away into a vault. But every six months he had to perform an inventory and make sure each body was where it was supposed to be and in the condition it was supposed to be in. This was one of Ianto’s least favorite jobs and one he hadn’t done since they’d lost Tosh and Owen. He knew it had to be done, but how did you prepare for seeing your colleagues—your friends—dead again? Ianto stood in front of the wall of drawers, holding the list in one hand, a scanner in the other, and a box of tissues crunched under one arm. He’d put this off for as long as he could. He had to do this now.

“Let me help,” came Jack’s voice over his shoulder, soft and reassuring. Ianto felt a hand at the small of his back. Then Jack eased the scanner out of his hand. “You read out their names and ID numbers; I’ll scan.” And, with that arrangement, it went twice as fast, even with Ianto sneezing every few minutes.

Jack was patient and thorough, using the scanner to verify the identities based on a thumbprint or iris scan. And, because he was ill, Ianto was able to dab a tissue at his eyes and sniffle without Jack thinking he wasn’t being professional. Tosh’s body was last on the list, and Ianto’s hands shook, the page with the numbers moving as he tried to read them out. But his throat closed up, and coughing couldn’t clear it.

“It’s all right,” Jack interrupted him. “It’s definitely Toshiko.” He brushed a hand over her forehead and bent, whispering something to her before sliding her body back into its locker. Then Jack set down the scanner and eclipsed Ianto in a hug. It was a warm, tight, two-arm hug. And if Jack could feel how much Ianto was shaking, he didn’t say anything. He just held Ianto close, reassuringly. “Why don’t you go lie down now? There can’t be anything else that’s that important on your list.”

“I… ehh!” Caught in Jack’s embrace, he tried to pull away. But Jack held him too tight. He couldn’t even get his arms or hands up in time to cover his nose and mouth. All he could do was sneeze into Jack’s shoulder. “ehh-CSHhhh!

He had to admit that the idea of lying down was alluring. His eyes still stung with tears. His feet hurt from being on them all morning. And then there was the cold on top of all that. He longed to crawl into his bed and stretch out under the blankets without a care… and maybe with a cup of hot, herbal tea that would help him sleep through the rest of this cold. All it would take was one good night of sleep and he was sure he’d be able to fight off the rest of the sniffles.

But then the rift alarm sounded. Ianto wasn’t surprised. In fact, it was on his list: respond immediately to any rift-related emergencies. They had had more and more lately, so Ianto always put it on a day’s list, just to be sure to have time to address such emergencies when they arose. Sniffling, Ianto tore himself away and went straight to the monitors at what used to be Tosh’s station. “Weevil by the warehouses. We should… sh… shuhhh-uhhh-Ehshooo!” Ianto sneezed into his arm. “I’ll get the sniff, sniff, keys to the SUV.”

“Ohhhh no you don’t. I’m not letting you drive in that condition. You’re staying here.”

Ianto shook his head. “You cad’t brig a weevil in by yourself. Besides, you deed be to track it.” Ianto gestured toward one of the monitors which showed CCTV footage of the weevil skulking around the outside of a warehouse.

Jack considered a moment. “All right. I suppose you can monitor from the passenger seat. And you’re probably fine to shoot a gun to back me up, right?” He started toward the door. Ianto grabbed a laptop and hurried behind him, stopping to pick up a tissue box off his desk, though he didn’t remember putting one there earlier… next to his To Do list. “You can aim straight then? Can you fire without sneezing your head off?”

Ianto pulled a tissue out of the box. “ehhh… IHShuhhhh! Maybe I should just stay here and track it?”

Jack stood in the doorway and gave a firm nod. “You’re right. That would probably be best.” He tapped his earpiece. “Stay in contact. And try to not to sneeze too much.”

Ianto sunk into his chair, surprised to find a blanket draped over the back of it. Shivering, he pulled the blanket around his shoulders. “Sir, did you leave this for be?”

There was no reply through the communications channel. Ianto checked to make sure his earpiece was on; it was. “It’s edterig warehouse 48.”


So it was definitely working then. Ianto tilted his head, rubbing his cheek against the soft, plush blanket, but keeping his eyes on the monitors. The weevil was walking through the warehouse now in no great hurry. In fact, for whole minutes he just stood there, sniffing the air. And Ianto just sat there, sniffing as well. His eyes wanted to close. They were tired. Tired of being open. Tired of being used. Tired of trying not to tear up. They wanted to close. For just a second. Or two.

Ianto pulled them open and tried to shake off the urge to sleep. Maybe he could take just a quick nap while Jack was en route? But, as his eyes closed, he happened to catch a glimpse of his To Do list. There was more to do. Of course there was. And he could do the paperwork at least while he kept an eye on the monitors. His eye. Both his eyes. So tired.

Maybe he could just shut them for one second. One second to rest them and then they would feel better when he opened them again?

“Ianto? I’m at the warehouse. Where is it?”

Ianto sat up straight in his seat. There was no sign of it on the monitors. Damn. Jack was there already? How long had Ianto been asleep? Certainly more than a second or two. But the weevil. Where was it? Ianto cycled through cameras. “It’s… ih… it’s… ihhh-Hshhhhh! Hehshooo! ehhhShuhhh! ihShuhhhh!

“Gesundheit. The weevil?”

Ianto caught some movement on one of the monitors. “Secod floor, Sir. He’s… he…”

“I’m on my way.”

Ianto nodded, mouth open. “ihhh… Ihhh-HIHShhhhh! H’Ishhhh!” Blindly, he pulled new tissues out of the box and switched them out at his nose. “ihhhKshhhh! Hehshuhhhh!”  Through the comm, he heard gunshots. Pinching his tickling nose, he watched the monitors again. Jack was slapping chains on the weevil’s wrists.

Filled with relief, Ianto’s gaze dropped down to his To Do list. He had to make the rounds down in the cells, feed Myfanwy, and maybe make another pot of tea for himself. With the blanket still around his shoulders, he prepared the food. He was careful to wash his hands. Jack always claimed that germs couldn’t touch his advanced immune system. Probably weevils and the other aliens couldn’t catch his cold either, but he didn’t really want to find out.

Jack returned with the new weevil just as feeding time ended. Good timing, really, as Ianto was starting to feel dizzy, faint.

“Whoa there.” Jack had an arm around Ianto’s back and pulled him close again to keep him steady, keep him upright. “Can’t get through the rest of your To Do list if you pass out, now can you?”

Ianto tried to shake his head no. He tried to push away and stand on his own. But the dizziness made the world spin around him. And the next thing he knew, he was waking up in Jack’s bed. Heavy blankets covered him, three pillows propped him up, and a box of tissues was cradled in his arm. Ianto tried to get up, but Jack appeared in the doorway with two cups of tea and a smile. And when he settled on the bed, he set the cups aside and put a hand on Ianto’s chest, holding him down.

“Sir… I—“

“Oh, quit with the ‘Sir,’ would you? You always get so professional when you’re insecure.”

“Dot id… ihhh… idseh…”

“Yes you are. Of course you are. You’re ill.”

ihhh…” Ianto pulled several tissues out of the box in a hurry. “ihhh-Hitchhhh! ehChuhhh!” Sniffling, he rubbed a fresh tissue at his nose. “But I cad’t lie here all day. I have a list…”

“So do I.” Jack smiled one of his dashing, charming Jack smiles. “Yeah, that’s right. It’s Ianto Jones rubbing off on me. I make To Do lists now. And the top item on today’s? Take care of Ianto, whether he wants me to or not.” He rubbed Ianto’s chest through the sweatshirt and pulled the blanket up a little more to cover the man. “You warm enough?”

Ianto started to nod, then shook his head.

“I brought tea.”

Ianto shook his head no again. He threw off the covers.


“Get udder here with be. That’ll warb be ub.”

“Whatever you say.” With another one of those smiles of his—this one a little slyer than the one before—Jack slid up against Ianto and pulled the blankets up over them both. His hand slid over Ianto’s stomach and hooked ‘round his side. His face nuzzled against Ianto’s cheek, shoulder, and neck.

“Jack… what’s dext od your To Do list?”

“This,” Jack whispered, placing a kiss just in front of Ianto’s ear.



Ianto woke as the bed shook. Blinking in the near darkness of Jack’s bedroom, he moved his tissue box from his right side to his left, squeezing it between their bodies. “Gesundheit, Jack.”

Nodding his appreciation, Jack took a tissue and cupped it to his face just in time. “hah-SHNXXTTT!” he groaned and closed his eyes as Ianto reached over and felt his forehead then leaned over and kissed it.

Ianto glanced around, seeing the clock beside the bed. “It’s two id the bordig,” Ianto said, somehow even more stuffed-up now than he’d been all day. He coughed from the congestion and blew his nose a couple times.

“Sorry to wake you,” Jack said, actually sounding sorry.

“It’s a bradd dew day,” Ianto continued. “That beads a dew To Do list.”


But he ignored the sound of warning in Jack’s voice. “Iteb 1: brew tea. Iteb 2: dridk tea. Iteb 3: cover dose whed sdeezig—“

Jack finished for him. “Item 4: repeat?”