La Sylphide

The sheet clings like a membrane; small interstices between limbs home to foetal movements, punctuated with unwanted yawns.

The fabric is gentle to the touch, warming. If he unwraps his head from the blankets his nose threatens to freeze in the cold air of the room. Against his back is the furnace of another's body, red hot in the iciness. He dares not turn and break the spell – he has wanted this for so long that part of him fears he is dreaming. Of all the events he has lived through, of all the times and places, this is the closest he has come to a feeling of 'home'.

A frozen foot touches his leg, making him jump. "Sorry, sir," it says.

I do love you, he thinks. It is out of character for him and sounds lame but he whispers it anyway. He can’t remember a time he’s ever said it before in bed and meant it so truthfully. The moment has gone beyond coupling, beyond sex, into a strange realm where the physical is meaningless.

The reply is soft and lilting. "You only love me because you find me attractive."

"Believe me, I know the difference," he murmurs, turning over to face him. A pair of blue eyes half closed in sleep smile back. "You let the fire go out."

Lips part impishly. "Call it an ice-breaker."

Jack laughs contentedly and snuggles up closer. "Warm enough now?"

"Not yet," Ianto says. "Not yet."