Time marched on.
Aliens come, went or exploded. Jack found himself telling Ianto each evening about the day's events. Laughing softly at something that happened or just lamenting the long day without his coffee.
It had been a week and no change, Ianto seemed strong enough without the machines and Owen just had monitors on him now. Jack was pleased that the bed was big and some nights he had curled up beside the prone man to sleep.
The Fairies took Jasmine and Jack wept as he told Ianto how he had failed. How much the team hated him and what a failure he felt. That night he carefully gathered the sleeping beauty into his arms and held him through the night, singing softly.
Owen found him asleep and gently woke him.
"Oi, got some geezer on the phone demanding you" Owen whispered, "Brigadier something."
"Fuck!" Jack stirred and began to extricate himself from the Welshman, then he froze as Ianto moaned at the loss of comfort.
"Ianto?" Jack looked at Owen who rushed to the other side of the bed.
"Ianto?" Jack said softly, "Can you hear me poppet?"
Ianto's eyelids fluttered and one hand scrabbled across the blanket. Jack seized it and squeezed.
"I'm here baby, I'm right here" Jack crooned, "It's OK. I'm not angry, you didn't do anything wrong. You are a good boy."
To their amazement and delight he smiled. A dopey grin as he squeezed back and Jack beamed at Owen who punched the air.
"You want me to stay poppet?" Jack whispered and another squeeze.
Jack carefully climbed back onto the bed and told Owen to transfer the call down or hang up. He was busy.
Ianto snuffled and rubbed his whiskery face against Jack's shoulder and Jack made a mental note to give him a shave.
"Want a song baby?" Jack said softly and Ianto smiled again.
Tosh was the first to enter, her hands clasped as she watched Jack rocking Ianto. His beautiful voice resounding off the walls as he serenaded him.
Gwen followed and openly cried as another smile flittered across Ianto's face.
"He's still in there" Jack said with glee, "See? He's still there. I see you Ianto. I see you."
Another soft squeeze and then Ianto relaxed as he drifted again.
Tosh sat and touched Jack's arm. "Something is happening in the Breacon Barrens, missing people and …"
"Give it to Unit" Jack said without looking up from Ianto's angelic face, "Missing persons could mean anything. Probably a serial killer or a cult. We don't do domestic."
"But what if …."
"What if Ianto needs something" Jack scoffed, "We are a staff member down and two if you count the fact that I'm not leaving him. Not until he's OK."
"You hear me?" Jack said to the slumbering Welshman, "I'm right here."
Jack carefully shaved him and gave him a gentle sponge bath. He changed his PJ bottoms and tucked the blankets back. He then settled to read some more of the Harry Potter book they were on.
Owen watched from the doorway and shook his head as he saw a softer side to Jack than he could have imagined.
Jack had been so upset when he realised Ianto had been trapped, his body betraying him and was being such an attentive nursemaid.
"You know, if he comes back he might not come back the same" Owen warned him, "He is probably damaged and was never the man we knew in the first place. There is no telling who this is or how he will react to us."
"Owen, I know that!" Jack sighed, "This is not about previous feelings or misconceptions. This man has suffered enough and I want him to feel safe and secure when he comes back to us."
"He might not even remember us" Owen pointed out.
"Doesn't matter, I remember him!" Jack said dismissively, "I will help him made new memories, good ones of friendly teammates and a job he excelled at. You hear me Ianto? You are a brilliant archivist."
Tosh arrived with some soup for Jack in a cup, trying to encourage him to eat and he accepted it as he leaned back into the pillows.
"Boots on the bed" Ianto muttered and everyone froze.
"Sorry poppet, I forgot" Jack said as he toed them off and they made two loud thumps as they hit the floor. "Better babe?"
Ianto hummed as he snuggled into Jack's side and Jack grinned at Owen.
"You were saying?" Jack said with a cheeky leer.
Owen grinned back as Ianto proved him wrong, yet again.