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!
When Ianto returned to the tourist office, a little smugly, he would admit, he downloaded the forms for the Hub's petty cash fund. Having begun to get a feel for the way things were handled in Cardiff, Ianto was guessing that whatever fund they had operated on a take-what-you-need basis, and he'd be very surprised if they kept records of the transactions.
While he was beginning to fill out the forms, he heard a clanging noise and the sound of something heavy falling from the outer wall. Frowning suspiciously, he opened the front door of the office.
"May I help you?" he asked politely to the young woman who had begun to walk away from the Hub. She turned around, and Ianto realized she was wearing the combat green uniform and black cap of a UNIT courier that he recognized from Torchwood London. She had fair skin with a few dark freckles and pretty gray eyes. Ianto guessed she was even younger than his own twenty-four years, and she was several inches shorter than his own 5'11".
The courier looked down and took in his suit, then looked back at his face unsurely. "I just dropped off some mail, that's all," she told him. Ianto nearly smiled at her strong Northern accent that reminded him of a friend at Torchwood One.
"I'll just take a look at it then, shall I?" He stepped back into the building, making sure the woman didn't see his smirk when she ducked in after him.
"Wait!" she cried. "It's not for the tourist office." She grabbed his arm. "It's classified," she told him seriously.
Ianto chuckled, walking behind the service counter. He reached under it for his badge and saw the messenger's arm flinch toward her waist. "I'm not armed," he promised, slowly drawing his wallet from the counter. He held it forward and let it drop open so his Torchwood credentials were showing.
The courier inspected the ID and then let out a sigh, her shoulders relaxing. "Sorry," she said with an embarrassed smile. "I'm new on the job. I guess all those safety and security lectures got me a bit spooked."
Ianto shook his head, "I was the same way. Torchwood London before I was here," and smiled at her surprise.
"They're even worse than us, I heard!" She grinned, sticking out her hand. "Connie, Connie March. It's a pleasure to meet you."
Ianto shook her hand. "Ianto Jones." He checked his watch and saw that it was around three. "You have time for a cuppa?" he inquired. "If you've no more deliveries, that is. I've just made a fresh pot." He indicated the batch he'd been planning to bring down to the team.
Connie smiled. "I guess I have time."
Ianto took two mugs from the back room and poured their cups. When he turned back, he stopped. Connie had taken off her uniform jacket and cap, letting shoulder length blonde hair spill out and curl slightly around her heart-shaped face. When she saw his surprise, the young woman laughed.
"Well if a handsome bloke's gonna serve me coffee, I'd better be off duty, eh?" She tilted her head and gave him a flirtatious look.
"Good thing, too," Ianto replied, slipping easily out of his working persona of calm efficiency. "Wouldn't want anyone to think we were fraternizin' on the job." He handed her the mug, their fingers brushing. Connie's eyes met his daringly as she raised it to her lips.
Then she gasped, mid-sip, and started coughing.
"Are you all right?" Ianto asked immediately, coming around the counter and steadying her as she leaned against the counter, even taking the mug out of her hand and setting it safely on the flat surface. "Connie, can you try to speak for me?"
"That-" she spluttered, then coughed and started again, "That was bloody brilliant!" She looked up at him, laughter dancing in her eyes even as she had to clear her throat again. "Who are you?"
Ianto let out a real, full laugh for what felt like the first time since he'd heard his sister's news, and he was surprised by how much lighter it made him feel. "I'm just Cardiff's own Ianto Jones, I'm afraid," he admitted. "And I've never seen someone react to my coffee quite that way."
Connie blushed and looked down. Then she cursed. "I got coffee on my blouse!"
Ianto looked down, realized the view the angle of his height afforded him, and looked away, grabbing a tissue from the counter and holding it out.
Connie smiled at him that particular way again as she took it. "What would I do without you, Ianto Jones?"
"You wouldn't be paying to have that stain removed, I suppose."
Of course, it was just when she was laughing beautifully and touching his shoulder, standing just a hair too close to be proper, that Ianto heard the door to the Hub engaging. He stepped back just in time to regain professional distance when Captain Harkness walked in.
The man's intelligent eyes landed on Connie and he stepped forward. "Well hello beautiful! I'm Captain Jack Harkness, and it is wonderful to meet you." He moved close and kissed her hand instead of shaking it.
Ianto had retreated behind the counter and had the perfect view of the captain's coy expression. Those deep blue orbs seemed to glow as they focused completely on the being in front of him. Ianto shifted his weight, feeling awkward, but unable to look away as the captain held Connie's hand to his lips far too long. For some reason, that gaze made him blush, like even being it the room with it was too much.
"Ensign March, sir. It's an honor." If Ianto hadn't been monitoring his facial expressions his eyebrows would've jumped off his forehead. Far from the playful tone she'd taken with him, the young woman sounded painfully formal, almost cold.
Captain Harkness, though obviously not being aware of the contrast, definitely seemed to get the impression that his advances were not welcome. He took a subtle step back and turned his attention to Ianto. "Have you got that paper ready Jones?" he asked.
Ianto stiffened against the return of the exponentially less friendly tone than the captain had used with Connie. For a bare instant, he wished that he could be the recipient of such a kind overture. Then, blinking, he answered. "Almost, sir. It'll be on your desk by the time you get back. When do you expect that'll be, sir?"
"You should get started on the archives," the captain ordered, "they're not going to wait forever." He looked at Connie, but she had turned her back on him, so he exited through the front door.
The moment it slammed shut behind him, Connie let out a long sound of frustration. "Smarmy git," she muttered. "Blokes like that so rub me the wrong way!"
Ianto dredged up a wry grin. "I'm sure if you asked nicely," he winked. Connie was startled into laughter, which broke the odd tension.
"It's far too soon into our acquaintance for you to be makin' jokes like that, Jones," she grinned. "He doesn't seem to like you," she commented offhand.
Ianto shrugged. "I'm new here in Cardiff. I expect it'll take him some time to warm up to me." If he ever does, he finished in his head. "And you didn't seem to like him very much either."
Connie rolled her eyes. "Like I said, I hate wankers like that, that think that just 'cause they've got looks, a girl'll swoon into their arms. I had enough of that in University, and there's even more of 'em in UNIT."
Ianto had to squash the urge to defend the captain, even though he had no idea if Connie was right. But it was rooted deep inside of Ianto to protect his own, even if his Captain Harkness was only related to him by the loosest of definitions.
"Anyway, he's not my type," Connie finished, blind to the confusion inside Ianto's mind. "You, on the other hand," she added, jumping from brooding to playful in an instant. "You wanna go out for somethin' next time I'm in town? I promise not to spill anythin' on you."
"I'd be delighted," he answered, watching Connie's gray eyes sparkled as she smiled.
After she left, he made a new pot of coffee and brought it down to the Hub along with the petty cash form. After leaving that on Jack's desk, he served Dr. Harper and Toshiko, who didn't seem to notice, and then Gwen, who gave him a blinding smile. "I'm so sorry about earlier. I talked to them and-"
"There's nothing to worry about Gwen, nothing at all," Ianto assured her. "If you still want that talk?" He held up the remaining mug of coffee.
Gwen nodded, taking hers and nursing it as they walked to the boardroom.
"So, tell me about Torchwood London!" Gwen began excitedly. "Why did you decide to transfer to Cardiff?"
Ianto remembered Captain Harkness' words the previous night and wondered if Gwen, at least, might believe that he hadn't been sent as a spy. "One is very different," he started. "For one thing, it looks like a normal office building from the outside, none of this under-the-water-tower sneaking around that we have in Cardiff. I worked in the basement, in the archives. The main archives are dozens upon dozens of rooms, all filled with filing cabinets. Very boring to look at, actually, but the information inside them is amazing if you take a look. I liked to read random files in my spare time. Then there's the artifact archive, where all the alien tech are stored. What's not being used is stored in a gigantic subbasement that looks like the back of a department store. You need huge ladders to reach things. What they're actively studying is kept in this big warehouse-like room that takes up the fourth and fifth story. The entire thing is… absolutely incredible," he sighed. "I wanted to see everything, all of it, study it all."
Gwen looked entranced. "Then why did you leave?"
Ianto's eyes lost their faraway gleam. "My sister, she developed breast cancer. I had to move back to Cardiff to help care for her and her family. She has two kids," he explained, "and she can't work for a while, so money's stretched a bit thin."
"My God, I'm so sorry Ianto." Gwen looked devastated. She reached out to grab his hand. Ianto was surprised by the gesture, but put his other hand over hers.
"It's a bit odd," he admitted. "She was always the strong one, she took care of me. Even now, in her sickbed, she's always trying to get me to talk to her, tell her how I feel. Cry on her shoulder," he snorted.
"Why's that?" his colleague asked sympathetically.
Ianto looked away. "When I left London, I had to leave behind my girlfriend, Lisa. Well, no, that's not entirely true," he confessed. "It was a long time coming. Lisa was a climber, she wanted me to become a manager, go for promotions, all that. I was happy where I was, in the basement." He shrugged. "She broke up with me, said she didn't want to date someone who was going nowhere."
"That's her loss, Ianto," Gwen said fiercely. Her hand tightened over his until he met her eyes. "It's not your fault."
Ianto blinked, clearing the shimmer that had snuck over them. "I know. And I knew it was coming, we hadn't been well for a while, but… I really had thought I could love her, that we might, y'know…" he blushed. "We might end up married or something."
"You'll find someone else," Gwen soothed. "I know it doesn't seem likely, here in Cardiff," she joked, "but it'll happen."
Ianto gave her a shaky smile. "Thanks, Gwen. You know, you're a bit easy to talk to," he said, surprised at himself for telling so much. "Maybe too easy. I've been going on for a while; tell me how you met this boyfriend of yours," he suggested, eager to steer on to happier subjects.
Gwen immediately perked up. An hour later, Ianto had not only learned all about Gwen's boyfriend Rhys, but also about his parents, including his nightmare of a mother, his business and what she wanted their wedding to be like. He'd also managed to turn the subject to work and, after asking a few leading questions, felt much more confident about what exactly the team did and his ability to fill out the required forms.
He was just finishing his second coffee refill when his mobile rang. Seeing that it was his sister, Ianto excused himself to take it.
"What is it Rhi?... Mica?... Where's Johnny?... No, it's no trouble, none at all… No, I'll be there as soon as I can… Sure… I love you too Rhi," he hung up.
"Is there a problem?" Gwen asked, having obviously heard the conversation.
"My niece is sick, and they can't reach her father at work. I have to pick up some medicine and drop off her brother at football practice. Do you think Captain Harkness will mind if I leave early?" Ianto asked nervously.
Gwen hesitated, which nearly sent Ianto's blood pressure skyrocketing, but then she shook her head. "I'll straighten it out with him. You go take care of you family, pet."
"Thank you so much, Gwen," Ianto called on his way out the door. "I really owe you one for this!"