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 arrived the next morning, he was quite surprised to find the whole team already in. After the past two days, Ianto had just assumed that Gwen and Dr. Harper had shifts that began later than the captain and Ms. Sato.
He used the coffee machine in the Hub to create one of his favorite blends, one that the archivists back in London had particularly loved in the mornings. He made five cups and handed them out.
Captain Harkness didn't look up as he placed the mug on his desk, for which Ianto was mildly grateful. Dr. Harper was next, and he took the coffee straight from Ianto's hands and immediately began to drink it without a word of thanks. Ianto squashed a hint of annoyance. When he went to silently place Ms. Sato's mug on her desk, though, her small hands interrupted the movement, holding around his fingers on the mug.
For what may have been the first time since he'd arrived in Cardiff, the Japanese woman was looking directly at his face.
"I wanted to say thank you," she told him. She spoke so quietly that he had to lean forward to hear her. "For yesterday," she clarified.
"You're welcome, Ms. Sato," Ianto replied politely, and tried to move away.
Her hands still held his to the mug. "And… you can call me Toshiko," she murmured. Ianto peered at her curiously. When he caught her nervous glance behind him, in the direction of Captain Harkness' and Dr. Harper's desks, he nodded and gave her a small smile. An even smaller one was offered in return.
Ianto continued to Gwen's desk, feeling a real, happy smile come over his face. Gwen said "Thank you Ianto" when he gave her the second-to-last mug, and he almost moved into the rest of his day in a good mood.
Then he remembered. "Gwen, what was that all about last night? It seemed rather tense."
His good mood faded as Gwen glared at her desk. "It's nothing you need to worry about, Ianto. Just Jack being Jack."
Sensing that continued inquiry would not be welcome, Ianto headed off to the tourist office with his coffee. He spent the morning finishing up what he had for his report to London and continuing his plans for the archives.
The main question was what sort of organizational plan he would use. Most people tended to go in alphabetical order, since it was what everyone learned since birth. However, Ianto knew this wouldn't work after working in the London archives. There were already a multitude of different alphabets in place on Earth alone, and there were hundreds more that they knew of from other planets. If they tried to organize them in English, or any other Earth language, the whole system would fall apart.
Next to consider was organization by date, chronological. In a place like Torchwood Three, this would mean items would be placed by when they came into the organization's hands. That was what Ianto was most comfortable with, since it was straightforward and wouldn't be confused by off-worlder's methods of dating as they might be if he logged things according to what time they came from.
However, there were more problems even if he used chronological order. What if two items came through the Rift in quick succession that could not be stored together? Or what if one of those pieces was part of a set that had appeared earlier?
In the end, what Ianto chose was something similar to the Dewey Decimal Classification. Except for aliens, he thought with a snigger. The multitude of artifacts would be broken up into groups depending on their use, whether that was personal hygiene, communications, clothing, cooking, music, children's toys, monetary, household furniture or any other sort of item. There would be areas with somewhat higher security for sensitive items like medical tools, complicated electronics or items that could be dangerous if the user didn't know what they were doing. There would also be rooms for larger items or things that needed to be stored separately, like if they emitted radiation or had magnetic fields which might affect other items.
Inside these categories, Ianto planned to organize everything chronologically, and what would seem to be a confusing classification system if you walked right into the storage areas would be easy to understand and access when it was backed up by a computer index. That index he planned to have fully cross-referenced with mission reports, medical reports, linked to the employee who found the item and studied it and connected to other artifacts which were identified to be of the same race or time period.
Ianto cracked his fingers. For one archivist, alone, to take on the entire hundred and thirty years of Torchwood Three's backed-up jumble of artifacts and miscellaneous alien flotsam and jetsam? That was insane. Ianto couldn't wait.
Thursday passed quickly. Ianto served another round of coffee around lunch and took the opportunity to ask Gwen what sort of things the team liked for lunch. She pointed him to a drawer full of take-away menus with everyone's preference circled, and Ianto called in an order of Thai. Gwen asked if he wanted to eat with them, but, mind racing over his project, Ianto barely heard her. He took the order down to the conference room when it arrived and returned to his work.
Before he realized it, the light streaming in through the windows of the tourist office were flickering and fluorescent. He only recognized that it was nighttime when he sat back from the desktop to rub his temples, aching from multiple hours of exposure to the computer screen.
"Have you even looked up from that monitor since lunch?"
Ianto jerked in his seat and had to blink several times before his eyes would focus on the broad figure of Captain Harkness in the door to the Hub. The captain was resting against the doorframe comfortably, as thought he'd been there for a while, and Ianto was thrown off to see that his smile was gentle and teasing rather than malicious.
"I, I don't believe so, sir." He looked at his watch and was startled to see that it was gone seven. "I didn't order dinner!" Ianto stood up from his chair with a clatter, already reaching for the phone. "I'm so sorry, sir. What would you like?"
Captain Harkness waved his hand. "They've all gone home. It's been quiet the past few days; I let them go a few hours ago. Was about to lock down the Hub when I saw there was someone else here. What are you working on?" he asked, walking behind Ianto at the desk.
"Plans for the archives, sir. I've determined a classification system that I hope will be both manageable to use and easy to access quickly. I've been trying to set up a framework for the digital archives, but coding like this really needs an expert," he explained, rubbing his hands over his forehead tiredly. Seeing the captain's drawn brows as he read the screen, Ianto clicked to the enumerated list he was trying to translate into code to convert the current system of digital reports to his method. "This is what I want the system to look like when it's done, but I'm really not good enough with computers."
The captain drew back. "I'm impressed, Jones. This system does look better than what we have now. Show your plans to Toshiko tomorrow and she can work on the code. If I know her, she'll have it done before you know what you want to do next," he grinned.
Ianto was feeling very off-balance from the captain's good mood, but he decided to take advantage of it. "If I could request plans for the archive floors of the Hub, sir?" When the captain looked at him, Ianto hastened to explain. "I want people to be able to find what they need quickly in the archives as well as on the server, and, respectfully put, sir, the current method seems to be 'stick it where there's room.'"
Captain Harkness gave a genuine smile at that. "I'll get them to you by tomorrow. Now go home, Jones," he ordered.
Captain Harkness turned off the monitor and took Ianto's elbow to steer him toward the door. When both of them walked between the counter and the wall at the same time, they were pressed so close their bodies were almost touching and Ianto didn't breathe until they were standing apart in the middle of the office again. The captain let go of his elbow, cold air rushing in to cover the area beneath his warm hand.
"Very well, sir." He nearly said 'I'll see you in the morning,' but, the captain's current good mood aside, that seemed much too familiar for them. Plus, he was having trouble forming words at the moment, feeling all-too-aware that it was just him and Captain Harkness in the small room. He left as quickly as he could without rushing, and made it all the way to his car in the garage before realizing he'd left his coat.
Jack chuckled, watching the flustered Mr. Jones leave the tourist office in only a suit shirt and a tie. For all he knew, Jones was straight, and Jack's gaydar was usually pretty accurate, but it was definitely entertaining to see how uncomfortable he was in Jack's presence.
The immortal returned downstairs, going to reread the email that had put him in such a good mood. One of the patients at Flat Holm had made a full recovery and was going to be released back into the world. The chief medical officer had even cleared him to make contact with his family, as long as he never told anyone that he'd actually been away for three years, living with a warrior tribe in the savannah of Grmsiohk instead of the one year it had been in Cardiff.
This was the first Flat Holm patient to ever be released from care, and for Jack, it was a clear sign that he'd done something right. Just this once, he'd saved a life that had been ruined. This meant that he was doing enough, that he hadn't completely failed the Rift refugees. And maybe, the release of this one man would be a hope for the others, convincing them to work harder at their recoveries so they could leave as well.
Jack was so ecstatic at the news that he was even inclined to be nice to Jones, and after having a quick celebratory drink, he typed up the reports the new archivist had requested and printed them out.