Characters: Ianto, Jack, Tosh, Owen, Gwen.
Summary: After a period of manic Rift activity, Ianto is feeling the worse for wear.
Word Count: 1320
Meme Fill For: thepeachymonkey, who wanted Janto and No. 4. “Do you…well…I mean…I could give you a massage?”
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto groaned miserably. He ached all over, one of the downsides of taking an inadvertent nap in an unsuitable place. Not that he was entirely to blame for that; the Rift had been going crazy for the past four days and he’d been doing his utmost to keep things running smoothly.
As General Support, his list of tasks seemed never-ending at the best of times, but now not only was he responsible for supplying the team with coffee and food, tending to the needs of the various permanent residents, sorting and maintaining the archives, and cleaning up after everyone, but he also had to take on his share of retrieval missions in order to give the others a chance for a catnap.
He supposed that nodding off now and then in the middle of carrying out some important task or other was only to be expected at times like this; it was just his bad luck that he’d been vacuuming out the SUV at the time, trying to clear up sand left behind following a retrieval at the beach before it could get ground into the carpets.
It wasn’t exactly clear to him how it had happened. Feeling beyond tired, he’d been kneeling on the front passenger seat, leaning into the driver’s foot-well with the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner clutched in his hand, sucking up the gritty particles, and the next thing he knew, he was wedged awkwardly half under the steering wheel and Jack was shaking him awake.
After being prised out of his uncomfortable resting place, he’d straightened up as much as he could, wincing at multiple twinges from abused muscles, and glanced guiltily at Jack; things were still a bit tense between them following the whole Lisa incident and the thing with the cannibals. “Sorry, Sir, I must’ve dozed off.”
“There’s nothing to apologise for, Ianto, we’re all asleep on our feet. Not the ideal place for a nap though.”
That was an understatement. “Was there something you needed me for?”
“Not right now, you just disappeared out here and didn’t come back, I was getting worried. You’ve been working harder than the rest of us put together; why don’t you stretch out on the sofa for an hour or two?”
It sounded like an excellent idea, and Ianto brightened at the thought of lying down, but sadly it wasn’t to be as at that moment, the Rift alarm had gone off again and it had been all hands on deck, dealing with multiple incoming objects.
That had been eight hours ago, and all the physical exertions during that time had done nothing to ease Ianto’s sore muscles.
Tosh looked up from her computer, wearily shoving hair out of her eyes. “That’s it, madness over,” she said with a sigh. “The Rift predictor readings show everything should be quiet for at least the next thirty-six hours, possibly longer if we’re lucky.”
“Right,” Jack called out, “good work everyone; now go home and get some rest, you’ve all earned it. Take tomorrow off”
“Don’t need to tell me twice,” Owen muttered, grabbing his jacket and heading for the cog door, Gwen practically on his heels.
Tosh paused just long enough to shut her computers down before picking up her bag and coat, trailing after the other two more slowly and calling out “Goodnight” to Jack and Ianto, even though it was only five-thirty in the afternoon.
Ianto looked gloomily at the chaos surrounding him and shook his head in resignation; the rest of the team could go home and sleep, but he still had work to do. Wearily he started collecting all the dirty mugs and plates, taking them to the kitchen for washing, and returning with a black bag for the rubbish. He winced as he bent over to pick up an empty pizza box.
“Enough, Ianto.” Suddenly Jack was beside him, tugging the bag from his hand. “I think I can pick up the rubbish, just this once, don’t you?”
“But it’s my job,” Ianto replied a bit stupidly.
“Perhaps, but you’re about ready to drop. Last thing I need is for you to doze off again and take a nose-dive off one of the catwalks.”
“Oh, yes, that wouldn’t be good.” Ianto straightened up with a groan, holding his back, and Jack winced in sympathy.
“Still bothering you?”
“Daft question. I mean yes, Sir.”
“Ianto, you don’t have to call me sir all the time, or walk on eggshells around me. You’re right, it was a daft question; you’re obviously still sore.”
“That’s what I get for picking such a ridiculous place to get my head down.” Ianto’s smile was wry and rather weak, but welcome nonetheless.
“Wouldn’t have been my choice, but I get the impression you didn’t really have much say in the matter.”
“I don’t even remember falling asleep; I was vacuuming and then you were shaking me awake.” Ianto winced again. “Now I’m paying the price. I’ll be fine though, Sir… Jack. Lying down for a few hours should help.”
“Maybe, but…” Jack frowned, suddenly seeming uncertain, much to Ianto’s puzzlement. “Look, Ianto, do you…well…I mean…I could give you a massage? If you want, that is. I’m good with my hands. No funny business, I promise, and no strings attached, just to get some of the kinks out of your muscles… I mean, not that I’d object if you wanted to, but you’re tired so this probably wouldn’t be the best time. Perhaps in a few days, or whenever…” He trailed off, just looking at Ianto, who stared back for a minute before finally managing to get his brain in gear enough to come up with an answer.
“Massage, yes, definitely, if you don’t mind.” He found himself nodding and quickly stopped.
“I wouldn’t have asked if I minded. Come on, my bunk, you can stretch out there and then it won’t matter if you fall asleep.”
“What about you?”
“I can use the couch in my office.”
“Oh, okay, sure.” Ianto let Jack steer him up the steps, through his office, and down into the dimly lit bunker below, where at Jack’s urging, he stripped down to his boxers. Moving slowly and with many a wince, he managed to arrange himself face down on the narrow but surprisingly comfortable bunk.
“Leaving your socks on, are you?” Jack sounded amused.
“Fuck. Forgot them.” Ianto started to lever himself up again, but a hand on his back stopped him.”
“I think I’m capable of removing socks.”
Ianto let his head flop back onto the pillow. “Okay, thanks.”
Before Ianto knew what was happening, the socks were gone. Jack, shirtless now, snapped open the cap on a bottle of massage oil, drizzling it over Ianto’s shoulders and back. It was cold, but Ianto didn’t care; it would warm up soon enough.
Straddling Ianto’s legs, the extra weight making the cot creak slightly, Jack set to work, making Ianto groan again, but with relief this time rather than pain.
“Ohhhhh, that feels good.”
“You’ve got more knots in your back than a piece of string; no wonder you were hurting.”
“Teach me to fall asleep in odd places,” Ianto mumbled into the pillow, drooling slightly, and half asleep already.
Jack smirked, thinking of all the odd places he’d already found his Archivist and General Support Officer napping. “I doubt it; you have a gift for the unconventional.”
There was no reply except for a soft snore, but Jack just took that as confirmation that the massage was working, and carried on, kneading out knots with practiced ease, until they were all gone and Ianto’s muscles felt as soft and pliant as putty. It was the least he could do to make amends for recent events. Jack smiled slightly. Maybe this was the first step towards regaining the camaraderie they’d had before Lisa. Given time, who knew what that might lead to?