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Same Shit, Different Day

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It's easier with his eyes closed he's discovered, not much but enough. The thought of touching this body even just to wash is still... uncomfortable but not washing would be a thousand times worse so he grits his teeth, grabs his wash cloth and scrubs, eyes screwed firmly shut. Somewhere in the back of his mind he is aware of the vague, desperate, slightly insane notion that maybe if he scrubs hard enough for long enough he could shed this too soft skin, like a snake, and somehow find his own familiar, decidedly imperfect form underneath. It's wishful thinking at it's best.

Every inch of skin is pink and tingling when he steps out of the shower. He's hung a sheet over the mirror, an old blue one he never uses, but its presence nags nonetheless. He dries off quickly, dumps his towel in the laundry bin and heads back to the bedroom. The suit laid out on the bed is rather horrible but wearing Lisa's things hadn't felt right and he'd been so flustered in the shop he'd just grabbed the first thing he saw in what looked like the right size. It will have to do for now.

Once again he wishes Tosh were here. Tosh would have taken all this in her stride, helped him sort out the practicalities without making him feel he couldn't cope and laughed with him at the sheer absurdity of it all. He cracks a smile at the thought of the field day Owen would have had with his current predicament but sobers quickly when he realises that he'd actually prefer Owen's caustic jibes to Gwen's hesitant smiles and Jack's concerned hovering. He's being unfair, he knows. Gwen is quietly freaking out and honestly trying her best to help and Jack... he doesn't know what to think about Jack. More than ever he feels he’s in over his head, Jack seems to be looking for reassurances that Ianto isn’t sure he can give and it really doesn’t help to find himself needing those same reassurances in return.

He's tempted, very tempted, to crawl back into bed and hide under the covers; pretend the world doesn't exist and that this in particular is not happening but he knows it won't help. Gwen will fret and Jack will look at him with those big sad eyes he does so well and, fuck, if he doesn't pull himself together he's going to start crying and arriving at the Hub red-eyed and tear stained would be a decidedly bad idea. With a sigh he pulls on the suit, fumbling a little with back-to-front buttons, and shakes out his hair. Even wet he can run his fingers through it without snagging so much as a single strand, it’s possibly the most disturbing thing he’s ever encountered.

In the kitchen he gulps down coffee and stuffs his wallet and phone into a bag, mentally cursing his lack of pockets. His mug hits the draining board with a little more force than is usual as he grips his keys awkwardly in a too-small hand and heads for the door. He risks a glance in the hall mirror as he pauses to squeeze his feet into the most impractical shoes he's ever worn. It's just about bearable with everything covered but the image reflected back at him is still undeniably female and he wonders if he’ll ever be able to think of it as him. Hoping he won't have to for much longer he tucks a lock of still-damp hair behind his ear and turns away. Ready as he’ll ever be he takes a breath and opens the door.