Alone Again

by badly_knitted [Reviews - 0]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Drama, Fluff, Romance, Standalone

Author's Notes:
Written for Prompt 153 – Insomnia at fandomweekly.

Waking up alone in Jack’s bunker for the umpteenth time, Ianto lay there in the dim light filtering through the open manhole, listening to the quiet rustling sounds coming from the office above. According to his wristwatch, it was a little after three-thirty in the morning, which meant he didn’t need to get up for another three hours.

He considered rolling over and going back to sleep the way he usually did; when you worked for Torchwood, more sleep was never a bad idea, and maybe Jack would come back to bed in a little while… not that he ever had. For several minutes Ianto lay there, thinking things over, but finally he slipped out of the narrow cot, pulled on the robe Jack had given him when he first started sleeping over, shoved his feet into his shoes, and climbed the ladder.

As he’d expected, his lover was sitting at his desk, fully dressed, doing paperwork. Ianto suspected the main reason Jack let it pile up during the day was so that he’d have something to occupy himself with late at night, once his lover grew too tired to entertain him any longer and nodded off.

“Do you ever sleep?” Ianto asked mildly, shoving his hands in his robe pockets. This late at night, the Hub seemed so much colder than it did during the day.

Jack glanced at him with a faint smile; his eyes looked tired. “I sleep. Not a lot, but I do sleep.”

“Hm, that’s not what Gwen says. I overheard her once telling Tosh that you don’t sleep at all.”

“Ah, that.” Putting his pen down, Jack pushed back from his desk, swivelling his chair to face Ianto. “She was getting too personal, wanted to know where I slept, so I lied. If I’d told her I had a room beneath my office, I have a feeling she’d have taken that as an invitation.” He huffed a laugh. “It was right after her first session on the firing range, and I think she might have got the wrong idea.”

“Really.” Ianto was smirking. “I can’t imagine why.” He’d experienced Jack’s firearms training himself on a number of occasions. Not that he’d particularly needed the training, he’d learned to shoot at Torchwood One, but Jack had been so eager, and Ianto hadn’t wanted to disappoint him.

“Hey!” Jack glared indignantly. “My teaching methods may be a bit unorthodox, but you can’t deny they’re effective. Thanks to me, every member of my team can keep focused on whatever they’re aiming at regardless of distractions.”

“And I suppose you don’t enjoy the groping at all.”

“I never said that. It’s… a perk of the job, and I stop if I’m threatened with bodily harm.”

“Not that you can be harmed, not permanently,” Ianto pointed out.

“That’s not the point. It still hurts.”

Ianto inclined his head. “Fair enough. So…” Strolling over to Jack’s desk, he perched on the corner. “Is the not sleeping much an immortal thing?”

Jack was tempted to say yes, but he found himself strangely reluctant to lie to Ianto.

“Not really,” he admitted. “I mean, I do tend to need less sleep than other people, but… it’s more of an insomnia thing. If I’ve had to heal from a serious injury then I might sleep for seven or eight hours, given the chance, but the rest of the time it’s… not so easy. The falling asleep part’s usually simple enough, especially if someone wears me out first.” Jack tried for a leer, but it was lacking its usual vigour and it quickly faded. “Staying asleep though…” He trailed off with a shrug.

“Nightmares?” Ianto hazarded.

“Nightmares, worries, doubts, a whole host of what ifs.” Jack sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. “I wake up, for whatever reason, and then I’m just lying there, thinking about all the things I manage to block out during the day, and I can’t switch off.”

“So you get up and try to distract yourself with work.”

Jack nodded. “Sometimes I’ll try to go back to sleep, but when you’re here… I don’t want to wake you. Pretty sure you need sleep more than I do. I can go without for weeks if I have to, just taking the occasional catnap, but you don’t have that luxury, and I’m not going to put your life at risk. You work too hard as it is.”

“You’re saying if I wasn’t here, you would’ve stayed in bed?”

“Maybe, maybe not. It depends.”

“On what, exactly?”

“A lot of things. What woke me up, what’s on my mind. Sometimes I do some work to take my mind off what I was dreaming about and then I can go back to sleep. Boring paperwork is good for that. Sometimes I even fall asleep at my desk.”

“Ah, that would explain the drool on some of your reports.” Smiling a bit sadly, Ianto leaned over to kiss Jack on the forehead. “What am I going to do about you?”

“Why do you need to do anything?” It still baffled Jack that Ianto cared so much about his wellbeing. He was immortal; nothing affected him for long, and if he died, either from carelessness or exhaustion, he just reset. Sometimes that was quicker and easier than trying to get enough sleep.

Ianto stood up and held out his hand. “Come back to bed.”

“But I’ll keep you awake!”

“I’m already awake, in case you didn’t notice.” Ianto gave a wry smile. “I always wake up when you’re gone; the bed gets cold without you.”

“I could buy a duvet,” Jack suggested.

“Might not be a bad idea; it’ll be winter soon and I think we’d both appreciate the extra warmth, but a duvet won’t fix everything. Tomorrow night…” Ianto paused, shaking his head. “It’s already tomorrow. Tonight, Rift permitting, come home with me. My bed’s a lot bigger than yours; if you wake up, you won’t have to get up to avoid disturbing me, and if you do get up, there are books to read, or you can watch TV in the living room until you fall asleep again, provided you keep the volume down. Just wrap yourself in a blanket and relax.”

“You really wouldn’t mind?”

“’Course not. How long has it been since you last slept in a proper bed anyway? And no, your cot does not count as a proper bed. My five-year-old niece’s bed is bigger, not to mention a lot more comfortable.”

Jack pouted. “There’s nothing wrong with my cot!” It had served him well for many years.

“You only think that because you’ve forgotten what it feels like to sleep on something big enough that you can turn over without risking falling off the edge. Are you coming back to bed or not?”

“What about my paperwork?”

“It’s not going anywhere; you can finish it in the morning.”

“But what if I can’t get back to sleep?”

Ianto raised an eyebrow. “Who said anything about sleeping?”

A grin lit up Jack’s face as he realised what Ianto was suggesting. “In that case, lead the way.” Taking his lover’s hand, he let himself be led back to his cot. Paperwork could be an effective distraction, but Ianto was a lot more fun.


The End