Walter

Chapter 33

The hospital room was so sterile that Ianto was afraid to touch anything.

When the kind taxi driver had picked him up off the pavement and driven him to the hospital, he was too in shock to realise how filthy he was. Now he sat there, all he could see was a red wine stain on his best tan trousers Jack had given him after the fire.

Gwen was talking to him again but Ianto could see a sliver of green glass in the turn of his sock and he was wondering how to pluck it out. She touched his arm.

"Ianto?" She squatted by the chair and looked at the glass as well.

"I dropped it," he whispered, and he sighed.

"It's okay, John's paid for it and picked up the SUV, hon." She rubbed his arm and he looked at her bleakly.

"Seems I'm destined to have lovely ladies on that arm." He smiled blandly as she realised that it was the arm Myfanwy had injured, and she laughed despite herself.

She left to check on John's progress with the phone trace on the informant after kissing Ianto's cheek, and he pulled the chair closer to the bed.

"See that?" he whispered to the unconscious man in the bed. "Bet I could tap that!"

He snorted softly and then took one of Jack's hands in his own. "The Jones Charm strikes again!"

Silence.

"It's no fun when you don't have a snipe back, you know, sir."

The machines beeped and Jack breathed in. Ianto kissed his knuckles. He breathed out.

"I've been thinking about that comment you made the other day. The one about us getting a house together? Do you really think I'm capable of a long-term relationship? I am pretty flaky, you know, sir." Ianto ran his fingers through Jack's soft hair. He made a mental note to get more gel.

"John offered to keep your side of the bed warm for you." Ianto looked desperately for any response, then sighed.

"They said you might be able to hear me. That talking to you might help. Do you think that's true? Or just something they say to make us feel better, instead of sitting here in silence thinking the worst?

"This must be the longest I've ever watched you and not seen a smile. I watch you sometimes when you're sleeping. So many times I've laid there with the moonlight spilling across the bed. Watching you sleep. Did you know that? Watched you dream. What do you dream about, Jack? Sophia? Your lovely little girl Melissa? I've hoped you were dreaming of me." Ianto snorted at the absurdity of it.

"Let's be honest, Jack. I'm only a paragraph in your book of life. Do you dream of them? Your real family? Or me? The one you'll settle for?"

"Will you? Settle for me?" Ianto whispered, then buried his face in Jack's neck as he let a few tears escape.

"If no one is there to see you cry, are you really crying?" he asked Jack with his head tilted.

"What am I to you, Jack?"

"Not."

Ianto looked up in shock. "Jack?"

"Not paragraph."

Ianto tenderly kissed his lover, and he felt Jack's lips move into a smile.

"Hey, sleeping beauty." Ianto swallowed a sob as he tried to smile bravely.

"I broke a '72 Merlot in the middle of Tesco's and then ran off without paying," Ianto whispered softly. "Do you think that makes me a bad boy, Captain?"

Jack squeezed Ianto's hand and smiled softly as he struggled to open his eyes.

What else was there to do? Ianto kissed him again.

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