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.
Posted with links to all chapters on my journal!
When Jack and Jones had disappeared into the depths of the Hub, Owen spoke up. "What the bloody hell was that?" he half-shouted. "'e's wearin' a tossin' suit!"
"I thought it looked nice, Owen," Gwen admonished. "And I think we should give him a chance."
"A chance to stab us in the back while we're doing all the bloody paperwork he's gonna force on us," Owen retorted. He chucked his wireless mouse onto his desk, causing a mug on pens to spill out over his desk. "Shit."
"We've only just met him!" Gwen insisted. "We can't assume the worst about someone without even knowing what they're like!"
"I do know what 'e's like," said flatly. "He'll walk in here with a bunch of coffees, sayin' 'sir' and 'ma'am' and generally makin' himself a right arse, then expect us to fall in line and become fucking Torchwood One drones. They're all the same." He stood up and jerked his lab coat off the back of his chair before storming into the medical bay.
Gwen was about to follow him and continue the argument, but Tosh stopped her. "He's just in a bad mood today."
"Today isn't any different than yesterday Tosh, he's a wanker, and that's that." She crossed her arms on the couch. "I'm not lettin' this go. I'm not going to treat him like a leper without even getting to know him!"
Tosh saved her current project and left her desk, sitting next to Gwen on the sofa. "You know why he's here, right?" she asked quietly.
Gwen looked around, suddenly paranoid. "Because none of us knows how to fill out the Institute's forms, and Jack doesn't have any patience for politics?"
"He's a spy, Gwen," Tosh murmured. "He's here to report us if we go against London's regulations. That's why Jack's so worried. We do a lot of things here that London wouldn't agree with," she explained. "If any of that got back to them…" she shrugged, her expression telling Gwen how worried she was.
Gwen considered this. "That's what you think, and I know you'd know better than me," she said in a placating manner, "but I can't do this. I can't just take it for granted that we can't trust him, when he could just be a normal bloke, wantin' a job."
Tosh nodded. "I can't say I expected anything different from you," she said with a small smile.
Gwen replied in kind. "Then at least you're not surprised." She patted Tosh's shoulder then went to her desk.
It might have been a half hour later when Gwen looked up from her computer and jumped. "Oh, sorry!" she squeaked. "I didn't hear you!"
"My apologies, ma'am," Jones answered, face blank. "Would you like some coffee?"
"Yes, thank you," Gwen breathed, smiling after her shock. A clean white mug was placed on her desk amidst the clutter and she picked it up to take a sip. "This is… possibly the best coffee I've ever had," she murmured, feeling like her taste buds were being lulled into post-coital bliss.
"So I've heard." Jones gave her a small smile and suddenly, Gwen noticed that, in addition to being Welsh and the new guy, Jones was actually very handsome.
"Do you want to go out for drinks?" she blurted, then colored. Jones looked startled, and awkward. "Not, like, I mean… I have a boyfriend," she stuttered. "But, as colleagues. So we can get to know you," she clarified.
Jones smiled warmly. "Thank you for the offer, but I'm afraid I'm going to be busy this evening." He actually did look sorry, which was what gave Gwen the confidence to continue.
"Tomorrow for lunch, then. I'm not taking no for an answer!" She gave him her brightest smile, and could almost see his resistance splintering.
"All right, then. If you insist," Jones nodded one last time before taking his tray of coffees and moving off toward the others. Gwen smiled, feeling very accomplished, and didn't feel a bit guilty about watching him leave.
A few moments later, Gwen frowned. Tosh had accepted the coffee with barely a 'thank you' and placed it on her desk, not even trying it. Gwen stood up to shadow Jones into the medical bay.
The suited man offered Owen the last mug. "Coffee, Doctor?"
Owen grimaced. "Beautiful. Another sample for me to analyze."
Jones looked confused. "I can assure you, Dr. Harper, there's nothing but coffee beans, hot water and milk."
"Well I'm hardly gonna take your word on it, am I? Just leave it there Teaboy, I'll get around to it." Owen waved a hand wildly in the direction of the autopsy table, and Jones carefully set the mug there. Gwen caught sight of a look of disappointment before Jones' face was fixed into a polite expression once again.
"Team, you can go. Jones, I want to see you in my office."
Ianto could hear the shout all the way from the kitchen, where he was washing the coffee mugs. Captain Harkness had taken a token sip of his, Tosh had drunk about twice that, and Gwen had drained two cups before he kindly denied her a third. She'd begged, then sighed in defeat when he admitted he'd run out of beans.
Owen's coffee had ended up in a mass spectrometer.
It did not slip past Ianto how, at a few points during the day, the captain had managed to address the other three as 'the team', pointedly leaving Ianto on the outside of that circle. It was merely another sign that this posting was going to be just as lonely as the silent London archives.
"Good night Ianto!" Gwen called, giving him a dazzling smile and she headed for the door. She leaned in closer as she passed him. "And don't worry, Jack doesn't really bite. Well," she considered, "if you ask, he'll tell you some good stories, but that's not usually anything to worry about," she grinned. "See you tomorrow!"
Ianto smiled, generally enjoying a shared joke at the boss' expense, even if he didn't quite understand it. Maybe there was to be a bright point in his cold, isolated days.
He climbed the steps into the captain's office, taking the opportunity to survey the cluttered room. The captain's desk was straight across from the doors and he gestured for Ianto to close the glass barriers behind him.
Ianto sat, mentally comparing the offices of the two heads of Torchwood branches that he'd met. Corner office on a skyscraper versus dingy basement. Somehow, the Hub seemed even more impressive to him than the business suite appearance of the Tower.
"So." Captain Harkness began abruptly. "There are some things we need to talk about."
Ianto nodded, letting the other man take the lead.
"First of all, I know why you're here."
Ianto frowned. He'd assumed Yvonne would've filled the captain in on his sister's situation, but why that was a cause for concern, he wasn't sure. "Yes sir. I requested a transfer so I-"
"Sure, yeah," Captain Harkness spoke over him. "I don't doubt that you have a bunch of great reasons for coming to Cardiff."
Stung, Ianto let a bit of his annoyance seep into his tone. "Well I am a native, sir."
"Surprisingly, I'd figured that out already." Ianto was bristling at the hostility in his new boss' tone, but, as ever, he held his cards close to his chest and didn't allow the sentiment to show through.
"You're here because Yvonne wants to have eyes and ears in Torchwood Three. And I get that, I do, I understand it," the captain held up his hand to stop Ianto's protests. "It's a game she and I play. The only reason I hired you is because one of her contacts dug up some dirt on my team. And I have quite a few friends in London who keep an eye on things for me."
Ianto let out a quiet sigh of relief. At least now he understood why everyone was so hostile toward him. He probably wouldn't take being blackmailed into accepting a colleague very kindly either. "I wasn't aware that the circumstances of my hiring were so… influenced, sir."
"Mm." From his expression, Ianto could tell the captain didn't believe him. "So I'm sure she asked you to pass her some illicit information, maybe a bit of investigation, sabotage," he listed off casually, eyes never leaving their intense study of Ianto's face. The archivist was struck by how similar the captain looked to Yvonne when she had first put him in this position.
"Nothing like that, sir," Ianto said firmly. "I would never put operative's lives in danger by sabotage, and there's nothing in my orders about investigating Torchwood Three."
"But she does want you to spy on us," Captain Harkness fired back, hands flat on his desk.
Ianto lifted his chin a hair. "I am to send a report detailing the general events of the week," he stated. "Nothing illicit whatsoever." And how was he meant to convince the captain when Yvonne had failed to convince him?
"But she does want you to keep an eye on us." Captain Harkness repeated flatly.
Ianto nodded slowly. "That… may have been implied, sir." He prayed the other man could sense his reticence, that he just wanted to fit in at Torchwood Three and care for his sister. Despite his inner pleas, he kept his face impassive. Playing the game. This right here was why he'd never gone into Management.
The captain gave him a rather lopsided, twisted grin. "I'm sure. I have just one thing to say to you, Jones." He leaned forward, partially across the desk. "If anything happens to my team because of your 'simple little report', I will erase your memories of your four years in Torchwood and convince you you're the civil servant you've been telling your family you are. And if I were less of a nice guy, you wouldn't see thirty. Do you understand me?"
The cold promise in Captain Harkness' voice assured Ianto that this was not a mere threat. His stomach clenched.
"Crystal clear, sir."
"Good." The captain sat back in his chair, ice blue eyes still daring Ianto to object. "Do you have anything to say?"
What could he say? He could tell the captain that he wanted nothing to do with his political tug-of-war, that he'd only come to Cardiff for his family, that he'd never even heard of any of Cardiff's supposed transgressions. That the archivists never talked at work, but met up at the pub and left Torchwood behind them. That Lisa had dumped him because he wasn't going to be climbing in the organization and that all he wanted from Torchwood Cardiff was a quiet place to mend his heart and get back on his feet? And if he said that, did he honestly think that captain would believe a word of it?
"Then you're dismissed." Captain Harkness got up and walked out of the office through the side door, leaving Ianto alone in the silence of the Hub.