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Everything Changes (Torchwood)


Jelloicious

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This is still probably a crap title. but at least it's masquerading as a good title.   Honestly, I'd have posted this a week ago if I'd had a title.   Gotta figure out how to weave it in.   Oh well.  Back in the spot where I know how it starts, and how it ends but I'll be making up the middle as I go.  And, of course, there will be sneezing.  Just...not in this chapter.  Sorry.

 

TWTWTWTWTW

“Whatever it is, Jack, it’s deadly.” Owen’s tone was grim, and held none of his usual lazy sarcasm.

Jack read through Owen’s report a second time, hoping to see something he’d missed before...something Owen had missed, knowing he wouldn’t find anything.

“And virulent.”

“And you think it poses a risk to humans?”

“My tests suggests it originated with humans, so, yes, I think there’s a good chance it can leap back across the species barrier. Probably started as a mild respiratory infection, mixed around with the RNA in weevil juice and mutated.”

“I suppose ‘weevil juice’ is the scientific term?” Jack asked, looking up at Owen, slightly annoyed.

“I’m happy to give your the full rundown on the genetic level of how viral RNA works, but for purposes of this discussion, I think ‘weevil juice’ is adequately specific.” Owen’s tone was steely.

Jack sighed. “Maybe the RNA has mutated too much to pass back to humans?” It was exceedingly optimistic but  maybe worth a shot, Jack thought.

Owen shrugged, but had the grace to not just dismiss the suggestion out of hand.

“Okay. Damage control? What’s your recommendation?” Above all, Jack was a man of action.

“First: Quarantine. All of the weevils. You. Ianto.” Owen hesitated, then raked a hand through his hair. “Actually, I’d recommend incineration of the weevils.”

This surprised Jack.

Well, no, not really. It was a logical step. It just wasn’t one he expected to come from Owen Harper. “You’re serious?”

Owen was grim. “This gets out, we don’t know what will happen.”

Jack steepled his fingers, thinking. “What about you?”

Owen shrugged again. “I’m dead. I can’t get it. I’m using all precautions against passive exposure.”

“Not like we can run you through an autoclave, though, is it?”

“Thanks, Jack, for making death such a pleasure. Level 4 containment should do for me.” Owen’s tone was so dry it almost cracked.

“Toshiko? Gwen?”

Owen shook his head. “They should be fine. They’ve been in London since Monday and Patient Zero wasn’t brought in until Monday night.”

“And the subsequent exposures?” Jack asked.

“Patient Zero was placed in a cell Monday night, and died this morning. Two of the three other weevils in the cells are showing respiratory symptoms. Spread appears to be related to proximity, but the sample size is too small to know for sure.”

“So, what you’re saying is you really don’t know if the other weevils will survive or not, but you want to kill them anyway?” Jack was mentally listing the reasons why they shouldn’t, feeling like this was something Owen should have been trying to talk him out of, not the other way around. Feeling like this was a very bad sign.

“Jack. This is the first trans-alien disease transmission. For all we know at this point, it could wipe out the entire planet. Want to take that chance? Because if it does, that just leaves you and me. And I don’t fancy that at all.” Owen wasn’t trying to be funny.

“I can assure you that there’s any number of species-jumping ailments in the universe.” Jack said shaking his head ruefully. Trefalian Pox had most definitely not been fun.

“Well, this is the first evidence of it that I’ve seen. No history of previous experience in the archives that I can identify. Most of our alien encounters reflect wildly diverse biological systems. This is certainly a first with the weevils.”

“Any indications of infection in the general weevil population?” Jack asked.

“None at this point, but we do know that sick or injured are carried back to the sewers. Information gathering is somewhat difficult, at that point.” Owen made a face. He didn’t especially want to go exploring the sewers under Cardiff.

“I suppose we could flush a probe. You know, check things out?” Jack suggested.

“Maybe we should.” Owen agreed.

Jack chewed a fingernail, mentally tracking back through four days of Torchwood activity, checking it against Owen’s documentation. He said nothing as he read through it all a third time. Then he thumbed his com. “Ianto, we’re going to need coffee in the conference room in 10 minutes. Shutter the tourist information center—it’s going to be closed for a few days.”

When Jack disconnected the link, Owen put a hand on his arm. “One more thing, Jack. This thing? Whatever it is? If it can pass to humans, it’s Ianto who’s had the most extensive exposure.”

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I don't know much about Torchwood (to be honest, I've only been introduced to Captain Jack Harkness in Dr Who, and to Owen and Ianto in the fic AngelEyes wrote recently) but I love the beginning of this story! I can't guess if it will be really angsty or not, and it's something I really enjoy in first parts. I mean, there are funny parts in the dialogue but the situation is very serious and I jut love that mix.

 

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That sound you just heard? Yeah, that was me squealing in delight when I saw you had a new story!!! And what a brilliant start! 

6 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

“I suppose ‘weevil juice’ is the scientific term?” Jack asked, looking up at Owen, slightly annoyed.

“I’m happy to give your the full rundown on the genetic level of how viral RNA works, but for purposes of this discussion, I think ‘weevil juice’ is adequately specific.” Owen’s tone was steely.

LOL

 

6 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Owen shrugged again. “I’m dead. I can’t get it. I’m using all precautions against passive exposure.”

“Not like we can run you through an autoclave, though, is it?”

“Thanks, Jack, for making death such a pleasure. Level 4 containment should do for me.” Owen’s tone was so dry it almost cracked.

Poor Owen. Perfect snark though!

 

6 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Jack said shaking his head ruefully. Trefalian Pox had most definitely not been fun.

Oh Jack.

 

6 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

When Jack disconnected the link, Owen put a hand on his arm. “One more thing, Jack. This thing? Whatever it is? If it can pass to humans, it’s Ianto who’s had the most extensive exposure.”

Oh no! Very worrying!

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Yay! You wrote a story! :clapping:

16 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Back in the spot where I know how it starts, and how it ends but I'll be making up the middle as I go.  And, of course, there will be sneezing.  Just...not in this chapter.  Sorry.

Ha, I love the way you 'talk' :) Also, I like the story so far.

 

16 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

When Jack disconnected the link, Owen put a hand on his arm. “One more thing, Jack. This thing? Whatever it is? If it can pass to humans, it’s Ianto who’s had the most extensive exposure.”

Oh, no, poor Ianto. I love him to pieces

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18 hours ago, Aliena H. said:

I don't know much about Torchwood (to be honest, I've only been introduced to Captain Jack Harkness in Dr Who, and to Owen and Ianto in the fic AngelEyes wrote recently) but I love the beginning of this story!

Thank you!  AngelEyes rocks! There's a few nicely done Torchwood stories on this site, some going back several years.  Hope you will hunt them all out!

12 hours ago, AngelEyes said:

That sound you just heard? Yeah, that was me squealing in delight when I saw you had a new story!!! And what a brilliant start!

Ha!  Creating our own little Torchwood Fest here, aren't we?  If you can't tell, yet, this'll be the "weevil flu" story from my random collection of prompts.  Slow start, means I'm trying to dress it up like there's a plot to be found buried in here, but no promises on that count. Hahahaha.

2 hours ago, ReidSeeker said:

Ha, I love the way you 'talk' :) Also, I like the story so far.

I'd probably prefer to just start a thread and talk about Torchwood and the characters than actually make stories.  I only write stories because there are not enough of them.  I'm sooo not done playing with these characters, goshdarnit!    

So, onward.  Still slow.  I promise there will be more sneezing.  Still building the architecture to support a plot I haven't thought out yet.  (Still relying on the fall back position of Ianto torture is just as good as actually having a plot).

 


 

TWTWTWTW

Ianto breathed a sigh of relief as he locked the Tourist Information Center door, and flipped the “Closed” sign. The fair weather of spring seemed to be starting early this year, and promised an early and punishing allergy season, if the annoying tickle  deep in his sinuses was any indication. He pinched the bridge of his nose, holding off a sneeze, but not for long. Hehh-KSHH!  He smothered a second sneeze in a rough paper serviette, gathered his coffee mug and files and headed down to the central hub, to prepare coffee and join Jack and Owen in the conference room.

With the girls out of the hub, Ianto brewed a stronger, blacker, richer coffee; the kind that was always his preference, and for which Jack had developed a taste. Owen, for his part, no longer drank coffee, but he accepted his mug anyway, taking at least some pleasure in the dark aroma. Or, you know, so Ianto assumed. They had never really discussed it.

Jack’s face was set in grim lines when he joined them from his office. “Ianto, Toshiko and Gwen are on standby to be conferenced in.” Jack passed a number across the table to Ianto, who keyed it in to the communications system, and soon, they had an image of the girls crowded into the screen. They looked well rested and extremely proud of themselves. Tosh uncharacteristically stifled a giggle, causing Gwen to laugh out loud at some private joke they’d shared. At least they were having a good time, Ianto thought with an affectionate smile.

“Oi! I thought you two were sent to London for work!” Owen said, a little more tersely than was strictly warranted.

Gwen tsked at him. “Calm down, Owen. We got what we came for. We’ll be back in time for tea. No need to get your knickers in a twist.”

“As if…!” Owen started, only to be cut off by Jack.

“OKAY, KIDS...we’ve got a problem.” Jack demanded his team’s attention firmly, silencing them. Then he looked at Owen expectantly.

Right.” Owen began. “Monday night, Jack and Ianto brought in a weevil, reportedly discovered in a public toilet by our brave local constabulary. That weevil was demonstrating signs of an infection we haven’t observed before, either in the general population, or in our captives.”

“What sort of signs?” Gwen asked.

“Primarily Respiratory. Wheezing. Coughing. Panting. What might be characterized as sneezing, if you squint, though it’s hard to say.”

“Weevil snot,” Ianto commented darkly, “Does not come out of wool.”

“So, what, the weevil equivalent to the common cold?” Tosh asked.

“Sort of. My tests show that the infection originated with a variant human rhinovirus, which is one of several hundred that can cause colds in humans.”

Tosh’s eyes widened. “You mean it’s an infection that jumped to an alien species?”

“Looks that way,” Owen said by way of confirmation.

Tosh pulled her laptop close, and began typing, rapidly. “Owen, can you send me your data?”

Ianto exchanged a look with Jack, whose face was set grimly.

“I’m not following,” Gwen began…."Surely, this can't be the first alien to human transmission of a virus."

“Stand by, “ Owen completed the process of transferring his data to Tosh’s computer and then looked up. “Actually, it can.  So far as I can tell, it is.  What's more,  if  this virus can leap from human to weevil,” he began.

“Then it can conceivably make the leap back.” Ianto followed up.

“After mixing with alien viral RNA, and converting itself into something entirely new.” Tosh concluded.

“I...don’t understand. If it’s just a cold virus, what’s the problem?” Gwen asked.

“The problem is, this is not just a case of alien sniffles. “Patient X” died this morning.” Jack said grimly. And now, two of the three weevils in the cells are now showing signs of the same infection.”

Ianto met Jack’s eyes again. “And if it can make the leap back across species, you and I have been thoroughly exposed.”

Jack nodded, holding Ianto’s gaze. Ianto swallowed and considered this.

“As of now, the Hub is on full quarantine. No one in or out.” Jack hesitated, looked at Owen, and reconsidered. “Well, no one living, anyway. Ianto, I’m going to need you to run CCTV footage, of every Tourist Information Center visitor, and any contacts you, Owen and I have had since Monday evening. We are going to need a database list in case this thing is already out.

“On it.” Ianto’s fingers were already flying across the keyboard.

“I’m going to need baseline exams and blood samples from you and Ianto both.” Owen put in.

“Toshiko, Gwen, you’re not going to be able to come back here while we are under quarantine, but you should be able to patch into the mainframe remotely. We are going to need a link into NHS and statistical analysis to pick up on anything unusual. Gwen, I’m going to need you to follow up with the local police, find out whether any officers or members of the public came into contact with our Patient X before we brought him in. And watch to see if anything out of the ordinary crops up there.”

Gwen nodded.

“Alright people, we know what we need to do, let’s get after it,” Jack said by way of dismissal.

“Jack...” Ianto began, after the remote link to Tosh and Gwen disconnected.

Jack paused, looked at Ianto. “I’m not going to tell you not to worry about this, there’s a lot we don’t know.”

“I take it as a good sign that neither you or Jack are ill, when clearly it’s spreading rapidly within our weevil population.” Owen said.

“What should we be looking for?” Ianto asked, cautiously.

Owen shrugged. "Anything. Anything at all out of the ordinary. Fever. Cough. Certainly any cold or flu-like symptoms.”

“Then you should know I’ve already been sneezing this morning,” Ianto announced, evenly.

“Shit.” Owen was to the point.

“I’m certain it’s allergies,” Ianto said rolling his eyes. “But just in case it’s not, may I suggest that your bedside manner leaves something to be desired?”

Owen ran a hand through his hair, in a gesture that Jack was beginning to think indicated that the doctor was a bit stressed. “Sorry, mate.” Owen considered this new information. “Any company up there this morning?”

Ianto frowned, then shrugged. A couple of groups none more than three or four at a time. Not hugely busy.

“Did you sneeze on any of them?

Ianto rolled his eyes. “Of course not!” He frowned. “Though, I probably did sneeze once or twice while people were in the center. Look, I’m telling you, it’s likely allergies. Makes sense that they are worse when the door is opened. I haven’t been bothered at all down here.”

Jack spoke up. “Any visitors to the TourisI Information Center will be on the CCTV. We can track them.” Then, turning his attention to Ianto, “When did your allergies first start kicking up?”

Ianto considered the question carefully. “Really, just this morning. It’s only a bit early in the season, but it’s been a lovely day out, so...”

“Any other symptoms?” Owen snapped.

Ianto shrugged. “The roof of my mouth itches?”

“Well, Teaboy, we start with you."

 

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1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

Still relying on the fall back position of Ianto torture is just as good as actually having a plot).

That's pretty much truth :) You do have a certain finesse with it! I like the slow progression little itty bits of symptoms just to build anticipation 

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1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

(Still relying on the fall back position of Ianto torture is just as good as actually having a plot).

Ianto torture is always a good thing. (Well, for us anyway. LOL)

 

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

The fair weather of spring seemed to be starting early this year, and promised an early and punishing allergy season, if the annoying tickle  deep in his sinuses was any indication.

Mmmm. Have I mentioned I'm quite on board with the idea of Ianto having allergies?

 

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

Owen, for his part, no longer drank coffee, but he accepted his mug anyway, taking at least some pleasure in the dark aroma. Or, you know, so Ianto assumed. They had never really discussed it.

Sad Owen.

 

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

“Weevil snot,” Ianto commented darkly, “Does not come out of wool.”

LOL, gross! And such a Ianto comment.

 

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

“I’m certain it’s allergies,” Ianto said rolling his eyes. “But just in case it’s not, may I suggest that your bedside manner leaves something to be desired?”

LOL

 

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

“Did you sneeze on any of them?

Ianto rolled his eyes. “Of course not!”

As if! He is the picture of decorum!

 

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

“Well, Teaboy, we start with you."

Love this!

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1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

AngelEyes rocks!

Yes!!! And she totally convinced me to watch Torchwood and meet Ianto and Owen "for real". I'll probably look at other fics when I've seen ths show.

Youir dialogues are really really good. Especially...

1 hour ago, Jelloicious said:

“I’m certain it’s allergies,” Ianto said rolling his eyes. “But just in case it’s not, may I suggest that your bedside manner leaves something to be desired?”

:D I'm sure I'll like those characters. Sarcasm is always great.

The fact that the sneezing / symptoms don't start right from the beginning makes the story even better, because I can't wait to see it finally happen! And I absolutely love medical talk.

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3 hours ago, Aliena H. said:

Yes!!! And she totally convinced me to watch Torchwood and meet Ianto and Owen "for real".

Yes!!!! A new convert! 

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On 4/24/2018 at 0:36 PM, ReidSeeker said:

like the slow progression little itty bits of symptoms just to build anticipation 

Um, that might be a good thing....still progressing....but slowly.  Might be that I like crawling inside the characters just a bit to see what makes them tick.  Then torturing.  Sad, sad, sad...

On 4/24/2018 at 0:44 PM, AngelEyes said:

Mmmm. Have I mentioned I'm quite on board with the idea of Ianto having allergies?

I'm right there with you!

 

On 4/24/2018 at 1:26 PM, Aliena H. said:

The fact that the sneezing / symptoms don't start right from the beginning makes the story even better, because I can't wait to see it finally happen! And I absolutely love medical talk.

Sweet!  I am sure Owen can be persuaded to supply you with some!

I promise, guys, there will be a payoff in her at some point.  I do like to slow creep...denial (this isn't a cold)  bargaining (please, dear universe, not now!)  and making use of paranoia (OMG am I gonna die from this?? ) and  the chagrin (good Lord, this is a stupid, annoying and absolutely un-heroic way to die...you can't be serious).  I will use them where I can.  In some story, somewhere.

 

TWTWTWTW

Owen’s exam was lengthy, thorough and involved removal of more of Ianto’s blood that Ianto thought was strictly necessary, but in the end, he declared confirmation of Ianto’s diagnoses, based on the histamine levels present in Ianto’s blood. Ianto thought about sneezing on him out of spite, after Owen took cell samples by means of an unpleasant cotton swab up Ianto’s nose, but didn’t, politely catching the several resulting eye-wateringly violent sneezes in a disposable tissue, which Owen also collected for analysis.

Ianto was slightly unnerved by Owen’s serious and focused manner during the exam, and he felt worry begin to creep up on him, as he sneezed again. It wasn’t like he didn’t know what he’d signed up for with Torchwood, and he fully recognized that most Torchwood Operatives did not live long enough to enjoy their healthy pensions. Still, when he thought about it at all, he assumed he’d die heroically defending the planet from imminent alien invasion. Not, you know, from something as mundane as an alien case of the sniffles. Hhk-SHHH!

Ianto spent the day, anxiously aware of each and every inconsequential sneeze, (and there were a few) while tracking and cross referencing as many of Torchwood’s contacts since Monday as he could identify for Toshiko, who in turn wrote a program to track each contact, gathering information on their contacts, their movements, contacts with NHS, social media and shop purchases. The resulting graphic overlaying a map of Cardiff, illustrated a complex web, entangling multiple areas of the city, and illustrating with stark clarity the probability that, if this thing (if it actually was a thing) could jump back to humans, if it already had, they had probably lost the battle before they even knew there was one. Toshiko’s graphic identified three blinking red dots, representing primary contacts who has already been identified by CCTV or NHS records or AE as demonstrating upper respiratory symptoms. One was Ellen from the dry-cleaners Ianto favored using. He’d dropped off a fresh load Tuesday, and she’d called him herself to tell Ianto that the strange substance on his jacket could not be removed. The other two, Ianto recognized as a Canadian couple who’d dropped by the TIC in search of information on how to get to Caerphilly Castle and which days were best to visit Rhossili Bay. He remembered them, as the husband had sneezed mightily several times in a row, and they’d discussed the pollen levels and early spring.

It was late by the time Ianto shoved his chair back from his computer screen, wondering if the incipient headache behind his eyes was the result of the early spring spike in pollen levels, or of too many hours squinting and cross referencing data, or of holding his shoulders tight for hours on end, or insufficient caffeine, or a sign that he would soon be an early victim of a world ending plague. He stretched, trying to loosen the tight muscles and was surprised by Jack’s firm hands on his shoulders. He looked up and Jack offered a grim smile, before moving to work through the knots of muscle in Ianto’s shoulders. Ianto allowed himself to melt into Jack’s solid grip, as his lover applied pressure in just the right spots.

“You should call it a night. Back at it fresh in the morning,” Jack suggested.

“Mmmm. So should you.” Ianto did not open his eyes.

“Time enough when this is all done, “Jack said. “But I’ll tuck you in, if you like. How are you feeling?”

Ianto smiled, stupidly, unwilling to move and give up the massage of his tight muscles. “Right now? Wonderful.” A moan escaped his lips as Jack’s fingers found a knot in his shoulder.

“You keep that up and I may have to work you over right here,” Jack murmured low into Ianto’s ear.

But not low enough. “Oi!” Owen shouted. “Get a room!”

Ianto exchanged a smirk with Jack.

“Never mind,” Owen groused. “I’m going home. I don’t want to know what you do while I’m gone.” Owen didn’t need sleep. But he did need to clear his head, to sort out a new way to tackle this problem. And he sure as hell didn’t want to stick around and see what romps Jack and Ianto were going to get up to. Nope. He was out. Even if it took every bit of a bloody half hour to satisfy a level 4 decontamination protocol before he could actually leave the hub.

Ianto did not wait out the full half hour before accepting Jack’s offered hand, and following him down to his bunker, to see about working out the rest of the tension, before getting some much needed sleep.

 

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6 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Might be that I like crawling inside the characters just a bit to see what makes them tick.  Then torturing.  Sad, sad, sad...

Well I'm not sad about it at all :lol: 

 

6 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Ianto thought about sneezing on him out of spite, after Owen took cell samples by means of an unpleasant cotton swab up Ianto’s nose, but didn’t, politely catching the several resulting eye-wateringly violent sneezes in a disposable tissue, which Owen also collected for analysis.

Funny and also induced...yeah...

Thanks for the update!

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Arright arright arright...this is a fetish board...let's get on with it.... (cue the music..da-dum...da-dum...da-dum, da-dum, da-dum) as this virus circles Ianto, looking for the perfect opportunity to strike.

 


 

TWTWTWTWTW

It took Ianto a moment to orient himself when he woke. Jack’s bunker was still and silent, and Jack was gone. Ianto frowned as he considered what might have woken him, and swallowed over a dry throat. Something so slight, he wouldn’t have given a thought to the day before. He swallowed again, and wondered if he was just being paranoid. He closed his eyes, and imagined he could feel the slightest discomfort in his sinuses, but for this he immediately blamed Owen and his cotton swab. At any rate, he decided resolutely that he would not panic. At least not until after he’d had his first cup of coffee for the day.

Fifteen minutes later, he was dressed, and holding a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee. He took a cautious sip, weighing whether anything felt amiss as he swallowed once, then twice. Satisfied that he was just working himself up over nothing, he filled two more mugs, placed them all on a tray and joined Jack and Owen in the conference room, where the table was spread with papers.

Jack’s brow was knit slightly, as he accepted his coffee, and met Ianto’s eyes. “How are you feeling?” Jack asked.

Ianto found Jack’s manner just slightly unnerving.

“Fine, thank you," he answered automatically.  He looked from Jack to Owen. “What’s wrong?”

“The samples I took from you yesterday are showing positive signs for the virus.”

“Oh.” Ianto sat down. Considered. Took a sip of coffee. “Oh.” he said again.

“Now, keep in mind that we don’t know what course this may take in humans, and Jack seems fine.”

“Of course.”  Jack was invincible.

“Now, any symptoms to report? I need everything, no matter how minor.”  Owen was all business.

Ianto shrugged. “Maybe the slightest discomfort in my sinuses? Although, that seems like it’s to be expected, given the monstrous swab you shoved up my nose yesterday.”

“Yeah, mate. I’m going to have to do that again.” Owen almost sounded apologetic and it was that alone that unnerved Ianto more than anything.

More blood samples, and another unpleasantly uncomfortable swab, which Owen delivered home with unerring precision, barely having time to withdraw it before Ianto staggered backwards two steps, eyes watering, and sneezed powerfully, almost into his tissues. HNKCHOOOOOO!!! He blinked once, might have blushed due to his own sudden uncontrolled lack of decorum, or just turned red from exertion, you wouldn’t have been able to say, but he did manage to bury the rest of the fit in a wad of tissues, Heh-CHMMPH!!! K’SHMMPH!!!!! HehCHSSSSSHHH!! HehCHSHHH!!! as his eyes continued to water. Owen waited patiently until at last Ianto seemed to gain some control, and handed him the tissue box.

“Here, mate. Something tells me you are going to be needing these,” Owen said, with no trace of sarcasm.  Ianto decided that 'obnoxiously sarcastic' Owen was far preferable to 'serious and professional" Owen.

Ianto rubbed at his nose but that did nothing to soothe the irritation. Owen’s ministrations had provoked several sneezes from him the day before, but this time, it felt somehow different. The discomfort that lingered deep in his sinuses seemed more malignant than before. The sneezes themselves were utterly unable to dispel the unpleasant sensation. After the initial uncontrolled fit, Ianto spent the rest of the morning feeling disconcertingly as if he were just on the verge of another sneeze (or six), but they stubbornly refused to come. He did his best to focus on his work despite the persistent distraction, but it was difficult, as he imagined he could feel the assault being waged by a viral army, deep in his sinuses conquering him one cell at a time, converting each conquered cell into a microscopic factory producing more soldiers to overwhelm him. He wanted desperately to sneeze them all out, to liberate himself from this assault. He wanted to go home, lounge on his couch in comfortable fleece, sip tea and sneeze into soft handkerchiefs and pretend that this was just a cold.

Finally, just as he was measuring out the leaves for a mug of tea, the sensation intensified and he drew a sudden breath and sneezed mightily, Hehhhk...SHOOOOOO!!! He sniffed and sneezed a second time Hahhh-kSHOOOO! And a third. HaaCHOOOOOO!! Be careful what you wish for, he thought to himself as he blew his nose, and was obliged to blow it yet again. Ianto swallowed, and found it oddly absurd that Owen’s world ending plague felt so much like he was just coming down with a garden variety cold, as he blew his nose, and sneezed again, and wondered when this would feel like death.

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4 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Ianto decided that 'obnoxiously sarcastic' Owen was far preferable to 'serious and professional" Owen.

... Okay, perfect line. I just love when people who normally are sarcastic suddenly stop because they're too concerned.

4 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Ianto swallowed, and found it oddly absurd that Owen’s world ending plague felt so much like he was just coming down with a garden variety cold, as he blew his nose, and sneezed again, and wondered when this would feel like death.

Can I say that I'm really sorry for him, and at the same time ridiculously pleased with Ianto's misery? This is a great story ans I'm enjoying every bit of it!!!

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On 4/26/2018 at 8:41 AM, Jelloicious said:

Ianto thought about sneezing on him out of spite, after Owen took cell samples by means of an unpleasant cotton swab up Ianto’s nose, but didn’t, politely catching the several resulting eye-wateringly violent sneezes in a disposable tissue, which Owen also collected for analysis.

I can totally see him maliciously thinking this but being entirely to polite to ever actually do this!

 

On 4/26/2018 at 8:41 AM, Jelloicious said:

Still, when he thought about it at all, he assumed he’d die heroically defending the planet from imminent alien invasion. Not, you know, from something as mundane as an alien case of the sniffles.

Poor Ianto. That would be his luck...

 

On 4/26/2018 at 8:41 AM, Jelloicious said:

“You keep that up and I may have to work you over right here,” Jack murmured low into Ianto’s ear.

But not low enough. “Oi!” Owen shouted. “Get a room!”

Ianto exchanged a smirk with Jack.

LOL!

 

On 4/27/2018 at 8:34 AM, Jelloicious said:

He did his best to focus on his work despite the persistent distraction, but it was difficult, as he imagined he could feel the assault being waged by a viral army, deep in his sinuses conquering him one cell at a time, converting each conquered cell into a microscopic factory producing more soldiers to overwhelm him.

I can totally see his mind working this way, and obsessing over it. Poor baby.

 

On 4/27/2018 at 8:34 AM, Jelloicious said:

Ianto swallowed, and found it oddly absurd that Owen’s world ending plague felt so much like he was just coming down with a garden variety cold, as he blew his nose, and sneezed again, and wondered when this would feel like death.

Oh dear!

This is magnificent!

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On 4/26/2018 at 2:54 PM, ReidSeeker said:

Well I'm not sad about it at all :lol: 

Good...I personally get as much kick out of a story "in the wild" that isn't even a fetish fic, but still pushes all the buttons.

On 4/27/2018 at 0:36 PM, Aliena H. said:

Can I say that I'm really sorry for him, and at the same time ridiculously pleased with Ianto's misery?

Just the best place to be!  Happy that this story is doing that for you!

9 hours ago, AngelEyes said:

I can totally see him maliciously thinking this but being entirely to polite to ever actually do this!

Hahahaha,  actually, I really don't think Ianto is too polite to do that...I think he still feels slightly guilty for having shot Owen.    I don't think Ianto feels any more need to be polite to Owen than Owen does to him.  Sort of a sibling relationship there, don't you think?

 

TWTWTW


 

hhhk-SHHH!! Haaa-KSHOOOOO! Ianto sat on the ratty sofa, sneezing irritably into a wad of tissues, thinking longingly of the soft handkerchiefs he kept neatly folded in his dresser drawer at his flat, and feeling rather sorry for himself. The Hub was a dreadful place to be ill, he thought. Chill and damp and underground.  He shivered, and sneezed again Heh-KSHEWW!!! and blew his nose in tissues that felt a bit like sand paper. He thought he should maybe order another brand in future. If, you know, he had a future. He thought he should keep a proper stash of handkerchiefs, and some warm, soft blankets on hand.  Yes, the Hub was definitely a dreadful place to be ill.  The Hub would be a dreadful place to die, for that matter, but he tried to be philosophical about it. K’SHOOO!!! Really, it seemed to him that so far, dying felt mostly like a cold, Hah...aahhh ahhhhSHOOO!! and to be frank, he wasn’t impressed.

The last time he was ill and at the Hub, he was able to hide himself down in the archives, to sniffle and sneeze in peaceful privacy. Now, however, Owen insisted he remain in the central Hub so he could be observed. That in itself was unsettling. Ianto hated the idea of sneezing in front of others. It was only about a thousand times worse to know that his colleagues were watching him, that Owen was probably keeping a tally of his sneezes along with all the other data he was collecting, and Jack….Jack was hovering. Hahh...Haaaah K’SHOOO!  

There was work to be done.  Critical, world-saving, essential work to be done.  Work he should be doing, except that Hehk'shhhh!!  Owen had chased him off when he couldn't stop sneezing long enough to do anything useful. 

So, dutifully, here he was, parked on the couch, clutching the last handful of tissues left from the box Owen had passed him earlier, feeling slightly ill, extremely sniffly and sneezy, and entirely unfocused. And less like a Torchwood agent than a lab rat; one that Owen poked and prodded on an hourly basis. He closed his eyes and sneezed again, darkly considering that death would at least mean he’d stop sneezing.  'chuuh!!

Jack startled him with a hand on his shoulder. Ianto hadn’t even heard the man approach, and wondered for a moment if he’d actually dozed off.

“Hey, there,” Jack said softly. “How are you feeling?”

Ianto sniffed. “Like a sideshow spectacle, thanks.”

Jack sat down next to Ianto, “No, seriously, Ianto, how are you feeling.?”

Ianto blew his nose wetly, and considered. “Like...” he shrugged. “Like I’ve come down with a cold. Nothing more, nothing less. My throat is a bit scratchy... I’ve got a bit of a headache, and” hhhk-SHHH!! hehhk-SHHH!! Haaa-KSHOOOOO! “I can’t stop sneezing.” He shrugged again, privately blaming that last on Owen and his evil swabs.

Jack took Ianto’s hand, and pressed his lips into Ianto’s hairline, gently. Ianto wanted to be annoyed, as he knew Jack was checking to see if he was running a temp, but it was hard to be annoyed when Jack was there, and he was warm and close and hk-SHHHH!!  Ianto sniffed. “You should probably keep your distance, you don’t want to catch the Weevil Plague.

Jack didn’t say anything, but, satisfied that Ianto wasn’t running a temperature, he kissed Ianto’s ear tenderly and started working his way down his neck and Ianto couldn’t help but lean into him. Ianto pushed back, however, when Jack’s lips found his. “Jack. Seriously. I don’t think we should risk exposing you….”

It was Jack’s turn to shrug. “I’ve already been exposed. Doesn’t seem to affect me. At least not yet. I’m feeling fine, so I’m likely immune anyway.” Jack leaned in for another kiss while Ianto considered this. Maybe even resented it, slightly as he turned his head and sneezed again.  K'SHOOOOO!

twtwtwtw

Somewhere around 2:30 in the afternoon, another weevil in the cells died. Ianto helped Jack carry the Weevil up to the autopsy table. Hands full of the bulk of a weevil corpse left him nothing to wipe his nose with, which ran mercilessly with the exertion. He sniffled miserably, but still couldn’t see how a cold was killing Weevils.

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OMG I LOVE this. Poor Ianto but Holy cow you've nailed Owen (he's my favorite 😍🙌) I can't wait to find out what happens next 

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11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

actually, I really don't think Ianto is too polite to do that...I think he still feels slightly guilty for having shot Owen.    I don't think Ianto feels any more need to be polite to Owen than Owen does to him.  Sort of a sibling relationship there, don't you think?

Now that you say this, I suppose at this point in the series you are right. He really doesn't take Owen that seriously as he did in the beginning. There relationship did really evolve.

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Yes, the Hub was definitely a dreadful place to be ill.  The Hub would be a dreadful place to die, for that matter, but he tried to be philosophical about it.

Sad!

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Now, however, Owen insisted he remain in the central Hub so he could be observed. That in itself was unsettling. Ianto hated the idea of sneezing in front of others. It was only about a thousand times worse to know that his colleagues were watching him, that Owen was probably keeping a tally of his sneezes along with all the other data he was collecting, and Jack….Jack was hovering.

That would be awkward!

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

So, dutifully, here he was, parked on the couch, clutching the last handful of tissues left from the box Owen had passed him earlier, feeling slightly ill, extremely sniffly and sneezy, and entirely unfocused. And less like a Torchwood agent than a lab rat; one that Owen poked and prodded on an hourly basis.

Poor baby!

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Ianto sniffed. “Like a sideshow spectacle, thanks.”

For sure!

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

It was Jack’s turn to shrug. “I’ve already been exposed. Doesn’t seem to affect me. At least not yet. I’m feeling fine, so I’m likely immune anyway.” Jack leaned in for another kiss while Ianto considered this. Maybe even resented it, slightly as he turned his head and sneezed again.  

Typical.

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Somewhere around 2:30 in the afternoon, another weevil in the cells died.

Uh oh.

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23 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Like a sideshow spectacle, thanks.”

Right?! How awkward and embarrassing to sit in the open with one guy hovering and the other waiting to poke at you some more.

also this was filled with lovely symptoms and I appreciate it so much more than poor Ianto :lol:

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17 hours ago, 2SHY222 said:

Holy cow you've nailed Owen (he's my favorite 😍🙌)

I like Owen, too.  He's all crusty on the outside but on the inside he's got a gooey center.  Or, at least a center that wants to be gooey.  Or, maybe just remembers being gooey, once.   I dunno.  I do think he wants to count for something.  To make some kind of difference.  Do amazing things.

 

13 hours ago, AngelEyes said:

That would be awkward!

All part of the torture.  If we let him suffer in peace, what fun would that be?

 

41 minutes ago, ReidSeeker said:

also this was filled with lovely symptoms and I appreciate it so much more than poor Ianto :lol:

That's why we're here!!

 

TWTWTWTW

A persistent headache was making it difficult for Ianto to concentrate on the data on his computer screen. The lukewarm dregs of his mug of tea were simply not adequate, but his long limbs felt heavy, and although he might have looked like he was dozing, he was simply mentally rallying himself for the effort involved in dragging himself up to prepare a fresh pot of tea, when his com bleated.

He automatically thumbed on the mic and answered. “The number you have reached is no longer in service.” Only, when he said it, it sounded more like “dub-ber”. He sniffed uselessly at thorooughly blocked sinuses and swallowed, as Gwen cooed maternally and asked how he was feeling.

He sniffed again, and surprised himself by admitting, “By head hurts, I cad’t breathe through by dose ad I ab stuck here id the Hub idstead of hobe od by ode couch watchig bideless televisiod,” in a rather more rushed and pathetic tone than he knew he had in him.  He coughed slightly, as if for emphasis.

“You poor thing,” Gwen supplied with an appropriate level of sympathy. “Have you taken anything?”

Ianto sniffed again, a bit more wetly than before. “Owed wod’t let be. Says he deeds to observe all the sybtobs.” Ianto knew he sounded a bit like a sullen child, but he didn’t care. He sniffed again, as his nose gave up being blocked up entirely in favor of running again.

“I'm so sorry....Can I get you anything that would make you more comfortable? I could drop off a care package in the Tourist Information Center?”

Ianto smiled affectionately and felt a bit better already, just knowing that Gwen would do that for him. He blew his nose, and answered more clearly “No, don’t worry, I’m okay. Just wallowing a bit in my misery.” He coughed. “Thank you, though.”

“Seriously, though, Ianto, I’m worried about this thing, worried about you. How are you feeling?” Gwen’s tone was more serious.

Ianto decided that the trade off for being able to breathe again through his nose was how much it then tickled with each breath. Ekh’SHHHH! Hech-Chuuuh! Hck’ CHUUUUH! He blew his nose again, no longer caring who had to listen to his misery, and sniffed.

“I’m fine, Gwen. Honestly, I feel just like I have a head cold. And I’m trapped in the hub, where it's damp and chilly, to shiver, sneeze my way through a carton of horrid paper tissues, while Owen pokes at me, instead of being allowed to go home to my nice warm bed, soft pyjamas, and sneeze into properly soft cotton handkerchiefs like a civilized person.” Ech’SHHH!!!

He wiped his nose again and grimaced. “Have I mentioned the dreadful tissues we have stocked in the hub? Like sandpaper.” He blew his nose. “Fortunately for you, I believe I will have used them all up by the time Owen lifts the quarantine, so you’ll never have to actually su….suf...hck’shuuu! suffer through them.

Gwen blessed him and laughed at this, and he felt himself smile in return, and actually decided that all things considered, that made him feel, if not better, at least as if there were a sort of warm cheery glow deep in his chest, and he was glad Gwen had called to check up on him.

“Okay, Love, feel better!,  I’ve got to upload some data for Tosh...please call me if you need anything.”

Ianto disconnected, stretched, and headed up to brew himself a pot of tea, feeling slightly more energetic, at least, as he sneezed yet again.

Twtwtwtw

“Dammit, Jack, I swear I don’t think you know what ‘quarantine’ means!” Owen was irate, as Jack stepped through the cog wheel door with a large box in his arms.

“Relax, Owen, I didn’t go anywhere and I didn’t see anyone, and the girls never entered the hub.” Jack’s demeanor only served to anger Owen further.

“The point is you could have!!! What if someone had approached you?” Owen followed Jack angrily through the Hub to the conference room.

“Me? I’m fine. Nothing to worry about.” Jack put the box down on the conference table. “Plus, I’m not a complete idiot. I checked the CCTV and knew the coast was clear.”

"Weevils are dying, Jack!  Your boy toy is already ill with the exact same virus and  YOU CAN'T  FUCKING BREAK QUARANTINE, DAMMIT JACK!!"  Owen bellowed.

Jack sighed.   Rubbed at the muscles clenched in the back of his neck and met Owen's eyes.  Finally,  "Understood."

Owen stared at him a long moment after, just to be sure Jack understood.  Just to assert that he was in charge on this one, before relenting to say, "Well, you might as well open the box, then."

Jack started working at the tape.  “Ianto! You got a care package!”

Ianto sniffed and joined the others in the conference room, as Jack started unboxing everything. There was a large thermos of soup, a package of the fancy crackers; an assortment of  fine teas; a luxuriously soft blanket, a couple of pairs of fleece track pants and warm long sleeved t shirts, and best of all stack of his own, worn in, soft, heavenly handkerchiefs, and the book he’d been reading from his bedside table. Another time, he might have felt the invasion of his home was intrusive, but right now, he was just incredibly grateful as he pulled a handkerchief from the top of the stack, and sneezed, blissfully, into its softness.


 

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Poor Ianto can't even have an aspirin! I mean, I get it, totally makes sense, but sucky! 

Nice of Gwen (I am assuming) to send that package. Can't expect him to get better without even a blanket to tuck under. Take a little nap on the couch, sweetie 

Also, assert that authority, Owen! Jack's being a bit reckless 

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11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

“Owed wod’t let be. Says he deeds to observe all the sybtobs.” Ianto knew he sounded a bit like a sullen child, but he didn’t care.

Oh Poor Baby!!!

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

“I’m fine, Gwen. Honestly, I feel just like I have a head cold. And I’m trapped in the hub, where it's damp and chilly, to shiver, sneeze my way through a carton of horrid paper tissues, while Owen pokes at me, instead of being allowed to go home to my nice warm bed, soft pyjamas, and sneeze into properly soft cotton handkerchiefs like a civilized person.” Ech’SHHH!!!

This is sad, and sweet, and adorable, and very Ianto. And I just want to cuddle him!

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

"Weevils are dying, Jack!  Your boy toy is already ill with the exact same virus and  YOU CAN'T  FUCKING BREAK QUARANTINE, DAMMIT JACK!!"  Owen bellowed.

Oh dear! I love boy toy! So Owen.

 

11 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Another time, he might have felt the invasion of his home was intrusive, but right now, he was just incredibly grateful as he pulled a handkerchief from the top of the stack, and sneezed, blissfully, into its softness.

Awwww!!!

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Ok, I am super late to the party, but damn, it was such  blast to catch up on this story! And I was glad to be able to read the parts in on sitting, because I  not sure how well I would have handeled waiting for the next part in some cases (will have to get used to that now ^^ 😁)

Your voices for the different characters are on point and I loved the slow building start at the beginning, as well as the sarcasm,wit and banter between the characters and in the narrative voice :heart: 😍

Thank you cery much for sharing your writing! Torchwood has been such long time ago, but  this makes me go into fangirl mode all over again :D 

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On 5/1/2018 at 0:58 PM, ReidSeeker said:

Nice of Gwen (I am assuming) to send that package

Gwen takes way too much flack by fandom in general.  I prefer it when she's allowed to behave like Ianto's older sister.

 

On 5/1/2018 at 10:01 PM, AngelEyes said:

This is sad, and sweet, and adorable, and very Ianto. And I just want to cuddle him!

That's why he is the favorite victim subject!

 

On 5/2/2018 at 0:32 AM, Selene said:

Torchwood has been such long time ago, but  this makes me go into fangirl mode all over again

Yay!   I've not made it properly out of fangirl mode with them.  Happy to suck you back into it!

TWTWTWTW

Ianto closed his eyes as he savored the soup Gwen had supplied, allowing it to soothe its way down his throat, and work its magic on his sinuses, pausing to dab lightly at his nose with a handkerchief, and allowed himself a moment to feel like this was just a case of the sniffles that he would be able to kick in just a day or two. It was easy enough to to do. He really didn’t feel all that ill, after all. He certainly didn’t feel like he was dying any time soon. Mostly, he just felt like he was a contender to set some sort of Welsh sneezing record, he thought as he sneezed gratefully into the heavenly softness of his handkerchief.

It was the grim set of Owen’s mouth, the scowl creased permanently between his brows these past couple of days Ianto decided, that ruined this illusion; that brought home how just how serious this really was. When Owen wasn’t poring over data, peering into a microscope at cell cultures or grousing irritably at Jack, he was watching Ianto, like some creepy, stalker zombie-vampire.

For the third time in as many days, Ianto found himself sat on the autopsy table as Owen thumped around for a vein, then plunged a needle home with which to draw out more blood. Ianto wasn’t squeamish, but he’d taken to looking away while Owen helped himself to more blood. Owen was skilled and generally the procedure wasn’t that painful, but today, Ianto sneezed at just the wrong moment, and Owen’s needle jabbed just a bit too far for comfort.

“Oww!! Can't you be careful with that?” Ianto exclaimed, irritably blaming Owen despite knowing it really wasn’t his fault.

“Oi! It’s not my fault you sneezed just then!” Owen growled back, as he watched Ianto’s blood fill the vial. Ianto knew it was true and felt the slightest pang of guilt.

Still, when Owen approached Ianto for another nasal swab, Ianto captured Owen’s hand in an iron grasp and took the swab from him. “I’m pretty sure I know just the spot you’re aiming for by now, and if you don’t mind, I’d rather do it myself.”

Owen crossed his arms. “Okay, Teaboy, have it your way, but just so you know, if you miss, I’m going to have to do it all over again.”

Ianto glared meaningfully at Owen, gripped the swab and inserted it cautiously in one nostril, working it slowly home. Ianto had been sure the reason the procedure was so unpleasant was the abrupt way Owen had been poking him with his horrid swab. He had convinced himself that slow and sure would do the trick, but it turned out that this method only prolonged and intensified the discomfort, but he was determined, and….if….he could….just...hold...out..it was no use. He barely had the chance to pull the offending swab out before sneezing. Spectacularly. Violently. Wetly. Repeatedly....Hahhh-ACHShuhhhh!! hccKSHHHHH! ACHShhhhhhhoooo!! hahhh-AShuhhhh! Hahh… Hahhh-ACHShuhhhh!! HaaCHShhhhhhhoooo!! Ihhhhhschhh! Hahhh-AkShhhhhh!!

Though he couldn’t actually see properly through streaming eyes, pressed shut against the avalanche of violent sneezes, Ianto was sure Owen took his time as he strolled lazily across the bay to pick up a box of tissues and bring it back to Ianto, who couldn’t stop long enough to glare at Owen properly.   Hahhh-ACHShuhhhh!! HaaCHShhhhhhhoooo!! Ihhhhhschhh! Hahhh-AkShhhhhh!!

When the fit at last subsided, Ianto was flush-faced, dizzy, red eyed and almost afraid to breathe. He could feel his very pulse drumming against the pressure in his sinuses. Owen casually picked up the swab from where Ianto had dropped it carelessly on the table and said, “Thanks, Ianto...your way is just so much better.”

twtwtwtwtw

The headache that followed the episode with the swab stubbornly refused to subside. Ianto found it increasingly necessary to squeeze his nostrils shut in a vain attempt to equalize the pressure in his ears. Everything was starting to sound slightly muffled, which only added to a growing feeling of being disconnected from the others. His nose ran endlessly, until even his soft cotton handkerchiefs offered no comfort. His sense of unease was steadily increasing.

Finally, realizing he’d been staring at the same page of data for a good five minutes without comprehending it, he shook himself, stood, and announced (slightly too loudly) that he was going to the vaults to check on Janet—the last remaining weevil. Owen started to protest, but Jack placed a hand on his arm to silence him, and Ianto walked out of the room, unsure if either of his colleagues had answered him.

Down in the vaults, he stood blinking stupidly at Janet’s cell, at the strange other-worldly creature, who hadn’t yet succumbed to this virus, wondering if this weevil had something special in her blood that made her resistant to this weevil flu.  And if so, whether that would save him.  Janet was pacing in a circular pattern in her cell. Ianto had not seen this behavior before, and thought perhaps she was mourning her recently deceased mates. He hoped they could discover how she’d managed to escape the virus that had claimed the other weevils, when Janet suddenly stopped her pacing and made an odd little reflexive twitch of her head. And another. And suddenly Ianto understood that she was sneezing.

He fumbled for his com, only to recall that he’d removed it due to the growing discomfort in his head. He turned his attention back to Janet. “Sorry, girl," he sniffed. "Owen’s doing all he can for us.”

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12 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Owen was skilled and generally the procedure wasn’t that painful, but today, Ianto sneezed at just the wrong moment, and Owen’s needle jabbed just a bit too far for comfort.

Ouch.

 

12 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Still, when Owen approached Ianto for another nasal swab, Ianto captured Owen’s hand in an iron grasp and took the swab from him. “I’m pretty sure I know by now just the spot you’re aiming for by now, and if you don’t mind, I’d rather do it myself.”

LOL. Oh Ianto. 

 

12 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

He barely had the chance to pull the offending swab out before sneezing. Spectacularly. Violently. Wetly. Repeatedly.

Poor baby. But mmmm. Yes.

 

12 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

Owen casually picked up the swab from where Ianto had dropped it carelessly on the table and said, “Thanks, Ianto...your way is just so much better.”

LOL, be nice Owen.

 

12 hours ago, Jelloicious said:

He turned his attention back to Janet. “Sorry, girl," he sniffed. "Owen’s doing all he can for us.”

Awwwww. My heart may have melted a bit here....

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On 5/2/2018 at 10:59 PM, AngelEyes said:

Awwwww. My heart may have melted a bit here....

awwwww... Yeah, mine too.   Ianto needs some snuggles...

 

TWTWTWTW

“Jack, go away. Go tend to your boyfriend.” Owen’s tone was that of an order.

“Owen, we are running out of time,” Jack protested. “You need my help!”

“No, Jack, I don’t need your help. I have Tosh’s, which is actually useful. Yours is not. I need YOU to bugger off and leave me alone to think! There is a solution in here somewhere and I can’t think with you here bobbing about!” Owen said tersely.

If Owen’s critique of Jack’s helpfulness stung just a bit, Jack held his tongue. Instead, he stretched overly stiffened muscles and eyed the young doctor critically. He placed a great deal of trust in this man and Owen had always seen him through before. He wondered to himself if he would be able to forgive Owen if that trust was misplaced, now. Despite his intense need to Do Something Now, Jack recognized that he himself was out of his element. And that he would be more useful to Owen with a few hours of sleep, instead of wasting time arguing with the young doctor now.

He gave up trying to think around the tension headache that had been growing since Ianto had first informed them that the final weevil in the cells had fallen ill. He cracked his neck, stretched kinked muscles again, before relenting. He gave Owen a curt nod, instructions to call if him if anything was needed and headed off to check on Ianto, who’d given up hours ago to go sleep fitfully in Jack’s bunker.

twtwtwtw

Despite Jack’s efforts to move quietly, Ianto stirred as Jack descended the ladder to the cramped room underneath Jack’s office.

“Hey, there,” Jack said, softly. “I thought you were sleeping.”

Ianto pulled himself to a sitting position, blinking in the low light at Jack, before tugging at one ear and working his jaw to see he could make it pop.

Jack, realizing Ianto probably didn’t actually hear him properly, tried again, a bit more loudly. “I thought you were sleeping!”

Ianto coughed into a fist, sniffed and answered. “I was. Hard to stay asleep whed you cad’t breathe”

In the dim light, Jack could just make out when Ianto's form stiffened slightly before jerking forward with the force of a sneeze Ianto tried to stifle, then another, that got a little further away from him,  and after a sustain pause, a third sneeze, more powerful and wet that the other two combined.  Jack winced slightly in sympathy, as Ianto tiredly tried to clear his nose with several gurgling blows. 

Jack slid onto the narrow bed beside Ianto, waiting for him to finish, rubbing his back gently.  

“How are you feeling?” Jack prompted, drawing the younger man close.

“Hmm?”

Jack gave up on trying to carry on a conversation and instead pressed a kiss gently into Ianto’s tousled hair, which was slightly damp with sweat and smelled deliciously of unwashed Ianto. He dipped down to steal a proper kiss but Ianto turned away, coughed again and said, “Ugh, Jack, I must be rank!”

Jack smiled, “Maybe. A little.” Jack’s fingers skittered along the rough line of Ianto’s unshaven jaw. “We could shower, if you like.” Ianto answered with another cough. “Might help you clear out some of that gunk," Jack suggested, matter of factly.

On some level, this sounded like an utterly horrifying proposition to Ianto, but it seemed that particular level of his brain was buried under too much snot to mount an actual protest, and so he let Jack lead him into the small bathroom,  and before he knew it they were both crowded closely under the warm spray.

The pounding hot water worked wonders on Jack’s tense muscles, and seemed to loosen Ianto’s congestion somewhat. Jack didn’t mind the series of wet sneezes as he lathered soap through his young lover’s hair and all over his body.

The warmth of the shower made them both sleepy, and not long after, Ianto drifted off sheltered in the curve of Jack’s arm, hair still damp on the pillow, snoring softly.


 

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