The Year is finally over; Jack’s back in Cardiff, surrounded by his team, although they’re still angry about the way he abandoned them. He can’t honestly say he blames them; he’d thought the Doctor would be able to bring him back before they missed him too much. That’s the beauty of time travel; not that the Doctor’s ever been that good at arriving where and when he’s supposed to.
It’s not entirely the Doctor’s fault this time; thanks to the paradox, bringing Jack back sooner wouldn’t have been safe. If he could tell his team that, explain the reasons, they might be more forgiving, but he can’t so he’ll just have to accept their recriminations, try to make up for the hurt he’s caused. It’s a small price to pay for being home among the people he thinks of as his family. He’s missed them all, especially Ianto.
Thanks to getting shunted back in time a few hours by John’s departure they’ll be spending the night avoiding themselves; having just survived one paradox Jack has no intention of risking another. The hotel they check into goes some way towards smoothing the team’s ruffled feathers. It’s luxurious, with a spa, a pool, room service…
Owen predictably hits the bar, Tosh and Gwen decide to check out the spa for some well-deserved pampering. Under other circumstances Jack might have joined them, but his back still aches; all he wants is to lie down, preferably on something soft. He can’t remember the last time he slept on a bed instead of trying to rest while dangling from chains in the Valliant’s hot and stinking engine room.
“You need a bath.”
The voice beside Jack startles him; he’d almost forgotten how quietly Ianto can move when he chooses to. If he’s surprised the Welshman is following him he does his best not to show it.
“Do I smell that bad?”
“You’re in pain; a soak in hot water will help.” Taking Jack by the elbow, Ianto steers him towards a luxury double room. “I told reception we wouldn’t be needing the poky little single you booked for yourself.” Using the keycard, Ianto lets them in and instructs Jack to get undressed. “I’ll run your bath.”
Undressing takes longer than Jack would have expected. Every movement sends pain shooting through his back so Ianto ends up helping him, but at last he’s settled in hot, lavender-scented water and it’s heavenly. He settles back with a groan, feeling the heat soothing away his aches.
“Someone has to take care of you.” Ianto’s tone is gruff, but there’s concern in his eyes. “I’ll order room service.”
This is Jack’s definition of heaven; a hot bath, real food, a soft and comfortable bed… The only thing that could make it more perfect would be Ianto’s coffee, but he’ll have to wait for that. Right now he’s content with bodily comfort and the presence of a certain Welshman, taking care of him the way only Ianto can.