Title: Capturing the Unpredictable
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Torchwood
Rating: FRT15

Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Disclaimer: I donít own these boys, much as Iíd like to. Therefore, this is just for fun and I donít make any money from it
Summery: Ianto isnít feeling well and doesnít want to leave the hub.
Spoilers: Massive spoilers for Torchwood Series 2

Challenge: Written for WWOMB Authorís Choice #349: Head cold - any pairing - any length. Use this list of words in a story of some sort (drabble/poem/snippet): Head cold, swollen, lounger, stormy, Cancun


Capturing the Unpredictable


Captain Jack Harkness is a lot of things. Heís handsome and sexy, brilliant and experienced, strong and, oh yeah, immortal. Jack is also unpredictable. He lives and works here in the Torchwood hub, yet itís impossible to know when heíll actually be here. This morning, I needed his signature on a stack of formsóyouíd think that saving Cardiff from monsters day in and day out would give you some sort of tax exemption for your secret organizationís public front, but no. Jack was nowhere to be found when I needed him, so I left the paperwork on his desk and carried on.


Once upon a time, we had five capable people working here. Now weíre down to three and the workload is only growing. I donít mind a hard dayís workÖ I would just prefer to do it with Jack around and without the raging head cold.


The weevilís wet eyes stare straight at me, and I turn away. Feeding time is hard enough without it evaluating me and, most likely, deciding I am too weak to put up a fight. The cell will hold, however, keeping it from me. And now what I need is some tea to help me hold out for the rest of the day.


Torchwood wasnít your typical nine-to-five workplace. There could beóand usually isórift activity in the middle of the night or some super alien crisis to protect the planet from when you least expect it. Feeling a bit under the weather is no excuse to go home. Of course, now that we are doctor-less, there are no fancy advanced pills to combat dreadful symptoms. Iíll have to rely on common sense: a hot cup of tea and a good rest would probably do wonders for my ailment.


I trudge up the stairs, shivering a bit. Itís not especially chilly down there, but I do always seem to run a slight fever when Iím ill. The chills will most assuredly dissipate in the presence of tea. I run water into the kettle and put it on a burner. The microwave would be faster, I realize, as Iím only making this for one person. But I could probably finish off an entire pot alone right now, so itís just as well I let my autopilot take over.


I lean against a counter, staring at the kettle. My eyelids droop down, head bows. Iím exhausted and I feel like I havenít done anything to make me tired. There are times, when working here, I canít even make it home and have to make do with the couch here in the hub or, if Iím lucky, Jackís bed. For someone who claims he doesnít sleep, Jack sure does have an amazing bed. Itís always warm, soft, and clean with pillows you sink into and a comforter so thick it weights you down like a welcome body. Iíd give almost anything to be able to crawl into that bed right now and sleep for a weekótwo, if I could swing it.


My eyes open. How long have they been closed? I couldnít have been asleep for more than a minute. How long as the water been heating? Two minutes? Three? Feels like twenty. My head is pounding. A shiver courses through me. My nose runs and I sniff too hard in reaction. My scratchy throat protests, even though it knows tea is on the way. I direct the coughs into my sleeve, quieting them only a little. They sound bad. I sound ill.


ďWe donít have anything major going on,Ē Jack says, walking with his usual swagger as he enters the kitchen. ďYou should go home if youíre feeling sick.Ē


He sounds so sure of himself, so cold and boss-like, so very American. I want to tell him thereís nothing wrong with my stomach, that itís all in my head. A bloody awful head cold I thought for sure Iíd be able to shake by now but that just keeps getting worse and worse until, Iím fairly certain, it will flood my head and make it explode under the pressure.


ďNo, Iím fine.Ē


Jack puts whatever he retrieved from the fridge onto the counter and turns to face me, the range in-between us. He leans against the counter, too, but not for support. He does it in that casual, suave sort of way thatís both egotistical and so fucking sexy Iíd jump over there and rip his clothes off if I could.


Saved by the kettle whistle. I dive for it and pour water over tealeaves I donít even remember measuring out. I donít even care that itís burning hot and not done steeping when I lift the cup to my lips and drink a bit of hot liquid down. It coats my throat, and the scratches seem instantly gone. I sigh a little louder that I meant to and shake my head. ďReally, Jack, Iím fine.Ē


He winks and gives me that look, like heís the big bad wolf and wants to eat me up. ďOh yes you are fine.Ē He steps forward. ďBut youíve also got one hell of a virus and should be at home in bed.Ē


I shake my head and cup the mug in both hands. Itís comforting just holding it. Itís a wrench when I have to put it down, but I feel a sneeze coming on and the last thing I need is to burn myself. My breath catches as I raise my arm, and my whole body shakes with the strength of the sneeze. Itís wet and messy and, oh God, my suitís going to need a good cleaning now. I search my pocket. Thereís a fresh hanky somewhere. I put four in this morning. But I canít find the fourth. Maybe I only had three. Or maybe I went through four already and Iíve lost count.


Jack clears his throat and I look up just as he shoves a bunch of tissues into my face. Where they came from, exactly, I donít know, but I donít care. I snuffle and sniffle and cough and manage them with one hand while reaching for the tea with the other. I lean into the counter more for support and alternate rubbing and sipping until I feel Jackís hands on my shoulders.


He moves his hands inward, fingers rubbing then scanning and pressing. I cringe and pull back before he finds out how swollen my lymph nodes are.


ďDidnít think youíd mind me checking, seeing as how youíre fine.Ē When I donít offer myself up, he grins. ďYouíve either got a cold or youíre well and will let me verify it. Which will it be?Ē


ďIím not ill.Ē But another sneeze is on its way, about to prove Jackís point and thereís nothing I can do to stop it. Iíve got to sneeze. ďI-iihhhhÖĒ My eyes flutter closed and he takes the tea Iíve forgotten about from my hand. ďIhhhhTchushhhhh!Ē Itís dreadfully wet and terrible, but when Jack takes me in his arms, damn it, Iím sort of glad for it. Heís here. Iím just not sure for how long.


He strokes the back of my head. I burrow against his greatcoat, wondering if he went out just to get me Kleenex when all he needed to do to make me feel better was this. ďFine. Iím ill. Donít make me go home,Ē I mumble. ďJust sniff take me to bed.Ē I cough and add, ďand bring the tea.Ē


Itís one in the afternoon when I am installed in Jackís bed. Iíve never been much of a lounger during the day, especially when thereís work to be done. But my headís pounding away and if I donít hold a tissue to my nose I donít like to imagine what could happen. That makes it pretty impossible to get any quality work done. At least the weevilís been fed.


Jack braved the stormy weather outside for more than just a pack of tissues. Iíve got boxes of them, two kinds of cough drops, a hot water bottle, pain killers, and a bottle of some goopy purple syrup that looks so putrid I find myself expecting Owen to come back to life a second time just to laugh at me attempting to drink it.


Nothing makes me feel as good as when Jack joins me under the covers. I donít even care that weíre both wearing some semblance of clothes that get in the way, because Iím too tired to respond if he makes a move, which he doesnít, surprisingly. He just slides up behind me and wraps his arms around me. I shiver a little and he feels my forehead with the back of his hand to see if I have a fever. Itís just a head cold. Itís not even cause to worry. Itís just enough to make me feel miserable, but not enough to knock me out. Itís enough to make me feel like I should be doing something, not enough to incapacitate me. Itís enough to make me wish I could do more than lie there with Jack against me.


ďGuess that trip to Cancunís out.Ē


I smile at the thought, as if such a thing had even been on the table. Weíve barely gone out in public, let alone out on holiday. But as nice was hot, sandy beaches far far away from any rifts in time and space sound, going somewhere surrounded by beautiful young men and women wearing virtually nothing and catching Jackís eye doesnít sound so appealing. If we went somewhere, Iíd want him all to myself. How is it possible to be self-conscious and jealous of the entire population of a city while in bed, being held tight by this man?


My nose needs blowing, and I turn my head into the pillow. It sounds awful. Where is all this coming from? And why does it have to be this bad? Why isnít it one of those simple little head colds with a couple sneezes and coughs that hangs around a day or two before vanishing? This thing just keeps getting worse. Pretty soon all Iíll be able to do is lie here and sneeze and look so pathetic and alone.




I turn my head a little, barely able to glimpse him behind me.


His smile does lovely, squirmy, tingly things to my body, and he squeezes me tighter against his hard body. ďQuit thinking and just go to sleep or youíll never get any better.Ē He presses a kiss to the back of my neck, and then another. Normally, it might make me shiver, but the repetition is more comforting than anything else. Jack doesnít sleep, so I wonder if heíll still be kissing me like this when I wake up.