Title: Defining Ianto
Genres: Slash, angst, humor, friendship, spiritual
Summary: Torchwood Three is blackmailed into accepting a London agent into their midst, and they're not happy about it. Meet Ianto Jones, friendly archivist who's trying to figure out who he is and find a place in Cardiff.
Goodbyes in London were hard. It wasn't that Ianto was ever particularly popular, but working in the archives and making the best coffee in the Tower gave you a lot of opportunities for making friends. For Ianto's last week, news had gotten out about his transfer, and everyone had something to say, from the engineers he'd brew for when they came off sixteen-hour shifts to colleagues he'd never met who were amazed to meet someone who was going to join the oft-discussed Torchwood Cardiff.
After his last day of work, Ianto's archive gang took him out for one last pub night. Thankfully, they chose a different pub than the one they'd used for his birthday party, barely two weeks previously. The night was full of slurred toasts and teary farewells (which most of them would not remember in the morning) and when he woke up with a horrible headache the next morning Ianto had never been more grateful for his friends.
Lisa was conspicuously not at the flat when he returned to load the last of his things into the Camry. He took a final look around the apartment they'd shared for seven months and shut the door behind him.
Once he arrived in Cardiff, Ianto had two weeks before he was meant to report for duty at Torchwood Three. He stuffed his boxes into a corner of the guest room at his sister's house and promptly went forth with organizing the place. Since Rhiannon was laid down with breast cancer, the cramped house was even more of a mess. Johnny was working as many shifts as he could grab to try and keep up with his wife's medical bills and Mica and David, his sister's children, had little to no supervision and had spread their behavior out until it coated the entire house with dropped popsicles and scattered sweet wrappers.
Ianto knew he was giving up his title of 'lenient uncle' when he began forcing his niece and nephew into a cleaning and homework regimen, but he was not afraid to sit the two down and tell them how much their parents needed them to cooperate. It took a few days to sink in, but Ianto realized that much of their conduct had been caused by fear for their mother, and he was able to comfort them and convince them that bad behavior was not going to aid their mother's health.
Rhiannon was being so brave, and was determined not to let the disease affect her, but treatments knocked her down for days on end and she was unable to keep up with the housework. Ianto cared for her when the medications made her nauseous or tired, craving food or unable to eat. He made sure she was stocked up with her favorite DVDs and magazines and took over most of her duties.
In between becoming the new caretaker of his sister's family, Ianto searched for an apartment. Much as he cared for his family, living in such close quarters was doing his head in. Ianto was a friendly individual, but one who valued both peace and time alone. He found an apartment a few days before his leave time was over that was close enough to Torchwood Three's headquarters that he could walk if it was nice enough outside, but not too close that he'd feel environmentally unfriendly if he drove. He did little unpacking, preferring to set up the essentials and get back to his sister's home to cook another meal or take in another load of laundry.
The day he was meant to show up for work at Torchwood Three, Ianto's morning did not start off well. Mica hadn't finished her lego tower the night before and kept trying to work on it instead of getting ready for school. Ianto was making their pack lunches and pulling David away from his video game when he heard a retching from his sister's room. He sternly told David to finish getting Mica ready and went to Rhiannon.
"It's all right Ianto, I can clean it off," Rhiannon insisted, shakily pulling the covers away from the puddle on the floor. "You take care of Mica and David."
"Not a chance, Rhi," Ianto motioned back to the bed. "Rest, I can handle it."
After cleaning up the vomit and forcing Mica (wailing and crying) away from her lego tower, they were ten minutes late. David's school didn't start for a half hour after Mica's, so Ianto dropped him off, then walked Mica in and personally apologized to her teacher. Luckily, the immaculate suit and his tired charm won her over, and she took the apologies gracefully.
By the time Ianto arrived at the tourist office tucked into a nondescript corner of the marina, it was past eight thirty. Ianto had never been so late for work in his life, and he was mortified. Judging by the imposing figure glaring at him from the door, he had reason to be.
"You must be Jones." The man in the coat somehow managed to look at Ianto down his nose, which was quite a feat considering they were almost the same height. "Is this what they call work hours in London?"
Ianto winced. "I'm very sorry sir, there was an emergency. I was-"
"Don't let it happen again."
Ianto blinked twice, then followed the abruptly vanished man into the building. Almost immediately he had to fight a sneeze at the thick smell of dust in the room.
"This is the tourist office," the man explained. "It's our cover for getting in and out of Torchwood." He slammed his hand flat on a black button on the side of the service counter. A moment ago Ianto would've guessed it was a panic button, but behind him, a door disguised in the wall flew open. Having expected something subtle like that, he was not surprised, and if he wasn't mistaken, the man in the coat's scowl deepened when he didn't flinch.
The blue-eyes man stomped through the door and down the dark corridor behind it. Ianto walked quickly to keep up. "Might I assume I'm addressing Captain Harkness?" he asked politely.
"That's me." The captain walked straight into the elevator at the end of the hallway and spun around. "You coming or what?"
Ianto followed him into the lift wordlessly, beginning to understand that he'd been misled by Yvonne Hartman. It would seem that Captain Harkness was not the charming rogue he'd been briefed about when applying for the transfer, either that or his grudge against Torchwood One was much larger that Yvonne had implied. Either way, Ianto was not feeling very optimistic about his new job.
The ride passed quickly and in complete silence. When the doors opened at the end, Captain Harkness strode out, once again leaving Ianto to follow. They descended a few steps, then walked into the main Hub through a metal cage and sirens.
When Ianto felt this uncomfortable in a situation, he usually made it a point not to show his emotions. However, the entrance seemed to call for some description. Trying to keep his eyes from jumping out of his skull at the dimensions of the Hub, all completely hidden beneath the unsuspecting feet of Cardiff's population, Ianto said quietly, "Very impressive, sir."
The captain snorted. "Nothing like the Tower, I'm sure."
Ianto shrugged minutely. "It's unique." He meant it as a compliment, but from the way the other man's face twitched deeper into a frown, Ianto was sure it was not taken as such.
The captain led the way up onto a cement platform filled with workstations and a couch and introduced the people who were waiting there.
"Gwen Cooper, Toshiko Sato, Owen Harper," he announced quickly. Ianto looked at a Welshwoman with wide, nervous eyes on the couch, a Japanese-looking woman who barely glanced at him from her multiple computer screens, and a man who didn't look away at all from what appeared to be a game of space invaders on his computer. "This is Ianto Jones. Ianto Jones, the team."
"It's a pleasure." Ianto tried out a smile, hoping these people would be more receptive than the captain had been. Gwen looked toward Captain Harkness nervously before giving him a small, gap-toothed smile, and he thought Toshiko's head may have nodded slightly. The moment of silence stretched on pointedly too long.
"I'll give you the tour," Captain Harkness said, a false smile twisting his face. Once again, he walked off, expecting Ianto to follow.
The archives were a mess. Used to the immaculate shelves and filing system of Torchwood London's archives, the pervasive scent of mold and the water damage readily apparent were enough to give Ianto nightmares.
The coffee machine, though, was a different story. It was a technological wonder. None of the dozens of oddly placed buttons of levers were labeled, but Ianto had seen machines like it and was positive he could figure it out. He pulled out the bag of beans he'd brought along to make a good impression and got to work, conscious of captain Harkness' eyes watching his every move.
When he turned around, a white mug filled with steaming coffee in his hand, Ianto felt much better. The frosty reception had worried him, but no one was able to resist Jones coffee. He held out the mug as an offering. "I assume you take your coffee black, sir?"
The grunt to the affirmative was accompanied by a distrusting look as the captain slowly raised the cup to his lips. After a sip, the crease between his eyes disappeared and he looked into the mug. For a moment, Ianto could almost see the normal man beneath the attitude, and he smiled unconsciously. The captain looked up at him and the glare was back.
The last spark of hope in Ianto's chest died an ice-blue death.