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.
Posted with links to all chapters on my journal!
Author's Note: It has been brought to my attention (several times: *ouch*) that the NHS in the UK would be providing Rhiannon's treatment. Since, well, most of my story is based around them having trouble paying for the treatment, I suppose one can assume that either the NHS does not exist in this AU, or the money they are having trouble with is all the things insurance would not cover, like money lost when the patient missed work, gas bills for hospital trips, any cosmetic costs, etc. Cancer ain't cheap.
The next morning went a lot smoother for Ianto. Since he'd gotten home late, Myca and David had stayed up late, and were too tired in the morning to cause much fuss. He managed to get into work by eight.
He started off the morning with coffee for Toshiko and Captain Harkness, who were the only ones there. The he headed up to the tourist office. He'd spent most of yesterday cleaning it and the kitchen, not to mention the archives, so the room no longer had the cloying smell of dust that had been so thick the previous day.
Signing into the Torchwood Three server with his new username and password, Ianto found the few shared files that pertained to the archives. He spent an hour or so studying the way Cardiff's archives were organized, very quickly realizing just how little structure there was. Far from seeing it as a detriment, however, Ianto considered this a wonderful challenge.
"Three floors of alien artifacts, a dozen rooms full of filing cabinets and a few hundred gigabytes of randomly titled file folders, and I get to create my own archives, just the way I want them," Ianto thought. For the first time at Torchwood Three, Ianto felt like he was in heaven.
Next, he logged onto the Torchwood One server. After answering a few emails from his colleagues and the usual office messages, Ianto downloaded the forms he would have to file with the main office as part of his new posting. These included weekly summaries of his duties and the rest of the team's. Also present was a document straight from Yvonne herself, wishing him a pleasant and successful time at Torchwood Cardiff. Ianto reveled in rolling his eyes and snorting, far away from where anyone could see him.
Figuring he might as well get a head start, Ianto began to write his first weekly summary. Although it wasn't due until Friday, Ianto knew far too well how emergencies could arise at Torchwood. He also knew that personnel refused to accept 'attacked by an alien' as an excuse for incomplete paperwork.
Ianto quickly realized that he was unable to fill out the forms, seeing as he didn't know the beginning of what went on at Torchwood Three. He checked the time and saw that it was almost noon. Saving the beginnings of his report in his folder on the server, he headed down to the Hub.
Despite the fact that no one had passed through the tourist office after him that morning, Gwen and Dr. Harper had arrived and were busy working. Or, in Dr. Harper's case, playing space invaders again. Ianto noted that there must be another entrance while wondering if Owen ever did any work.
Deciding that the platform was not the place to be after Captain Harkness glared at him from his office, Ianto swerved toward Gwen's desk, right next to the cogwheel door. She was speaking on the phone, but said her goodbyes and hung up just as he reached her.
"Perfect timing Ianto, I'm just about ready to go," she said, standing up and getting her coat.
"Gwen!" Toshiko called from the platform, looking down at them above her glasses. "Jack said he was treating us to lunch today. You're not going to miss it, are you?"
"But…" Gwen looked surprised. "I told you I was eating with Ianto today."
The captain and Dr. Harper appeared at Toshiko's shoulder, coats on and looking ready to leave. "Are you coming, Gwen?"
Gwen was blatantly confused, looking between Ianto and the others with eyes as big as doorknobs and stuttering. "Well, I, um-"
Ianto took pity on her. "I do have some work I need to do Gwen, settling in," he made up on the spot. "Perhaps another time?"
Gwen shut her mouth and nodded silently, staring at the floor as she walked out through the cog door. Captain Harkness strode after her, leaving Toshiko and the doctor to file past Ianto. Toshiko didn't spare him a glance as she walked by, but Dr. Harper gave Ianto a nasty grin and announced, "Too bad there's only room for four, Teaboy," as he passed.
The door closed behind them, sirens heralding their departure. For a moment, Ianto stood next to Gwen's desk, feeling the weight of loneliness on his shoulders.
He didn't feel bad about letting Gwen leave, Ianto told himself as he watched the door they'd left by. He didn't want her to lose her friends, she was obviously almost as new as he himself.
Ianto turned around and surveyed the main Hub, taking in the various free papers covering most of the desks and much of the floor, assorted take-away containers, and the usual detritus of four people working in a small area and apparently being unable to locate the trash bins. He decided to give the area a good tidying-up.
He'd thought coming to Cardiff, working on a small team, would be less lonely than the days after days of filing artifacts and folders away in the deathly quiet London archives. But as Ianto fetched a trash bag and began loading it with empty pizza boxes, he realized he'd traded one silent hell for another.
"Gwen, you're being quiet," Jack commented once they'd reached the restaurant. It wasn't anyplace special, but a café with a menu that covered the likes and dislikes of four people with very different tastes was rarely found.
Gwen pushed her baked cod across her plate. "What was that about, back at the Hub?" she asked, looking up with a hard expression.
"I said I was going to take you guys out today," Jack reminded her. "It's not our fault you forgot and made other plans."
"I mean, the united front, the obvious exclusion," Gwen retorted. Owen and Tosh's conversation petered to a halt and they began to watch. "There aren't reservations here, we could've invited Ianto as well.
"Oh, so 'e's Ianto now, is he?" Owen's voice took on the teasing tone Gwen had identified within the first month of her employment: it was bitter and warned of stinging jabs rather than lighter jokes. She braced himself. "You already forget about your perfect beau back home, wanna shag the Teaboy?" Owen challenged.
"I want to treat him like a colleague, not a leper!" Gwen shot back angrily.
"Gwen, calm down," Jack ordered, seeing a few heads turn.
"I will not calm down!" Gwen said. Her voice rose in pitch, but she did quiet down. "I don't understand why you all refuse to even give him a chance!"
"Because the moment he finds out anything about us, he'll write it up and send it off to Hartman, and we'll never hear the end of it," Owen told her. "IF London found out about the stunt you pulled with the alien gas, you'd already be retconned and back with Cardiff's finest, if you were that lucky!"
Gwen colored at the reminder of her mistake, but asked challengingly, "Do you all believe that? That Ianto would be that two-faced? Because I don't," she asserted. She looked in each of their eyes. Owen raised his eyebrows and nodded, as if to say 'obviously'. Tosh looked a bit guilty, but nodded as well. Jack answered.
"It's his job," he said. "If he doesn't, it'll be his head on the platter."
"If it's not his choice then, if he's got to do it, do we have to be so unkind?" Gwen pleaded.
Owen shook his head, returning to his fried shrimp. Tosh looked at Jack for an answer.
The captain considered. "Fine. We'll have dinner at the Hub tonight, strike up some conversation. We'll all get to know each other. Are you happy now?" He asked with just enough sincere curiosity that Gwen couldn't reply to the obvious sarcasm.
"It'll have to do," she replied.
When they returned to the Hub, Gwen intended to apologize to Ianto and explain what had happened, but when they descended into the main Hub on the invisible lift, she was too amazed to check if he was there.
"What happened here?" Owen asked, shocked. They were all staring at the Hub, which had become exponentially cleaner in their absence. No more cluttered papers, no more candy wrappers or strewn about tools, no more scattered pens. Their desks had been polished, computers and picture frames dusted and the glass windows of Jack's office looked like empty space, so cleanly they had been shined.
"I always thought they were opaque," Tosh muttered.
"Did we fall through time or something?" Gwen asked, only half-joking.
"I don't think so," Jack answered. Then he shouted. "Jones!"
There was a small clatter from the medical bay, then the neatly suited body of their new colleague appeared on the stairs. "Sorry sir, I didn't hear you come in," he explained. "Do you need something?"
"Did you do this?" Jack questioned, gesturing toward the clean desks.
Ianto nodded. "I thought it could use a bit of a touch-up," he explained. A worried expression came over his pale face. "I hope I haven't overstepped my bounds."
There was a momentary silence wherein the team stared at Ianto in surprise and Ianto stared back in confusion. Then Owen broke it was a yelp.
"Hey, what were you doing in my medical bay?" he shouted, taking the stairs down two at a time. Ianto followed.
"There were some unidentifiable stains on the floor and autopsy table, I was taking a stab at them. I hadn't gotten around to cleaning your desk yet," he said apologetically.
Gwen raised her eyebrows. "I bet I could see my reflection in that," she wondered, admiring the shining metal autopsy table.
Ianto shrugged. "It's not as good as it would be if I had some proper cleaning supplies, but there wasn't much in the Hub. If you have a petty cash fund, sir, I could appropriate some proper detergents?" he asked Jack respectfully.
"Is there a form for that?"
Gwen was prepared to take the mickey out of Jack for his sarcasm, but Ianto replied before she could say anything. "Of course, sir. Appendix B, subcategory general supplies in the appropriations for employee use section of the common-use forms registry. There are actually three forms, but you only have to sign one, sir."
Gwen smirked, and Jack appeared at a loss for words. "O-kay then, Jones, get right on that."
Ianto nodded, then said a quiet goodbye to Gwen as he passed her on the way to the cog door. The remaining for stood in stupefaction until it had closed behind him.
Owen scratched his head. "Are we sure he's human?"