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!
Ianto dropped off Mica and David at school early on Friday so he'd have time to look over the plans for the digital archives one last time before Toshiko arrived. He made a few edits, then saved the documents, hoping the tech expert wouldn't laugh him all the way back to London.
Surprisingly, Toshiko was the only one in when he descend to the Hub. He hesitated approaching her, deciding to make some coffee before going over.
"Toshiko?" he asked, just the barest hint of his nervousness audible. "Could I ask you a favor?"
She looked a bit wary as she turned away her computer, but she nodded. Ianto carried Dr. Harper's vacant chair the few feet from his desk and sat down next to her.
"I was drawing out my plans for a digital archive, but I don't have the experience necessary to create the framework," he explained. "Captain Harkness suggested I ask you for advice." He barely kept himself from biting his lip, admonishing that he might do not to look like a schoolchild asking for help on a paper in addition to someone too stupid to write software in a language he'd used for four years.
To Ianto's relief, Toshiko didn't laugh. Instead, the suspicion drained off her face "What have you got?" she asked, pulling up his supposedly secure folder on the server. If Ianto hadn't spent four years in Torchwood London, where bugging employees' flats was almost expected and emails were monitored for keywords, Ianto might have been offended at the breach of privacy.
He pointed out the written plans as well as the beginnings of the code he'd written. He sat quietly for several minutes while Toshiko looked it over, occasionally muttering to herself in subclasses and delegates and embedded files. Ianto felt a bit embarrassed to have taken upon himself something that suddenly seemed so far out of his depth.
Finally, Toshiko looked up. "This is a big project," she said. Ianto wasn't sure if she were impressed or condescending or simply stating a fact. "You've got the basic principles down, but you're right, it really requires an expert."
Ianto felt unsure what to say, but realized he was tired of being unsure of what to say and decided to go for it. "Can you do it?"
She turned to him, back very straight, and looked him in the eye. That was when Ianto remembered why he was always careful with what he said around them and cursed the momentary lack of consideration.
"I can definitely do it," she said stiffly. "But it may take a while."
"I'll help you, if there's anything I can do," he rushed to say, managing to stutter once or twice. "I mean, I'm not trying to force all this work onto you, but Captain Harkness said you'd be able to do it and I-"
"I'll take care of it," she interrupted curtly, turning back to the monitors.
Ianto sat in silence for a few moments, before figuring out that he'd been dismissed. "Thank you Toshiko," he said quietly, then put Owen's chair back in its rightful place and returned to the tourist office.
He sat in the chair for ten minutes or so, feeling alone and not having anything much to do. This annoyed him: Ianto knew that, sometime soon, he'd think of something he wished he had done but hadn't been able to think of when he had time. After wracking his brains, Ianto remembered the cleaning supplies he'd gotten Captain Harkness to authorize and set out to buy them.
He returned around ten thirty and brought them down to the Hub to store in a conveniently large closet only a few rooms away from the main Hub. When he returned to the open space, it was to the sound of Dr. Harper groaning. The medic was covering his face with a file folder, the papers strewn over the workstation. Toshiko, Captain Harkness and Gwen were standing around the platform, looking on in amusement and joking amongst themselves.
"Teaboy, where have you been?" The medic complained. "Make me a coffee." Ianto diagnosed a hangover from the strong smell of alcohol that was emanating from the platform.
"He's been waiting for you since nine," Gwen commented, arms crossed. "Have you got a crush on the Teaboy, Owen?" she asked, grinning like she'd won some game.
Ianto blushed, but decided to take the initiative. "I think you could manage to be a bit more polite, Dr. Harper," he said casually.
The captain snorted.
"Fine, please make me a coffee." Ianto smiled and headed for the machine. As he left, he heard Dr. Harper muttering, "I'd like to see you drink this much and see how polite you are afterwards," to much muffled laughter.
He made a full pot and handed the mugs out to the team. They were standing around chatting, everyone having a laugh at the doctor's expense. While no one thanked him for the coffee, Gwen and even Captain Harkness smiled as he handed off their mugs. Dr. Harper snatched his and chugged half of it immediately, and Toshiko ignored him. Ianto was a bit worried he'd offended her, but didn't have much time to think about it.
"Jones!" The Captain snapped his fingers and lit up like he'd just remembered something. "I wrote those reports you asked for." He disappeared into his office for a moment and returned with a few stapled papers, and a large cardboard box. "Here."
Ianto hesitated, thumbing through the papers slowly. The captain recognized his uncertainty. "Is something wrong?" he said brazenly.
"Do- um, did you save this on the computer, sir?" Ianto asked. His dislike of correcting superiors in front of their staff came second, in this case, to his fear of having to retype all the documents.
"Of course," the captain answered. "Do you need it that way instead?"
"Yes, thank you, sir," Ianto said, holding in a sigh of relief.
"Fine," Captain Harkness nodded. "Owen!" he called, looking past Ianto, who took the opportunity to take his leave. "Now that you're awake, don't you have a call to return? Some pretty M.E. with a mysterious circumstances case?"
"Shove off," Dr. Harper groaned. As Ianto left the Hub toward the archives, he smirked.
When he reached the entrance to the archives two floors below the Hub, Ianto set the box on a table he'd cleared off and took the maps out of it. After inspecting the plans for each of the three archive levels, he did a walk-through of each one and began plotting in his head where each section would be.
When he surfaced for lunch, Gwen asked if he could order pizza. Ianto found the Jubilee's menu and ordered everyone's choice, making Dr. Harper's meat feast an extra large instead of ordering another for himself.
When the food arrived, Ianto found that he had no excuse not to sit with the team. He carried the pizza boxes up to the conference room, where the others were already seated. He passed out the servings, the vegetable next to Toshiko, extra cheese for Gwen, Hawaiian for Captain Harkness and sat next to Dr. Harper so they could share the meat feast. He glanced around anxiously as he took his seat, but no one reacted besides Gwen, who gave him a blinding smile.
The others were watching the captain, who swallowed a large bite of pizza and then started talking, apparently picking up where he'd left off when Ianto had arrived.
"So things were kinda tense, right, I mean it's not every day you see an Altrusian naked in your restaurant." He took another bite of pizza and continued talking through the decimated pie as Ianto tried to hide his cringe. "My friend and I are trying to get the damn thing back in its cage, but before we can, it catches the scent of the chef's signature dish, which is the equivalent of roast lamb, and takes off."
Dr. Harper and Toshiko both started laughing, while Gwen was just smiling along with the story. Ianto guessed that the other two had a greater knowledge of the alien the captain mentioned.
"Unfortunately, that dish was being served to the president of an interplanetary commission of weapon retailers, and his security thought the Altrusian was attacking. I'm trying to stun the poor thing and my partner's universal translator is on the blink, so he ends up tackled to the floor before he can even put his hands up. I catch the Altrusian, but not before it can grab the lamb. So here I am, I've got what looks like a hairless Egyptian cat in my arms with a huge side of meat in its fangs, squirming and screeching, four laser blasters pointed at me, and the only phrase I know of their language is 'fancy a drink?'"
The captain's storytelling was so captivating that by this point all of them were cracking up, even Ianto. Dr. Harper was slamming his fist on the glass table and Toshiko had tears streaming down her face. Gwen clutched her stomach, gasping for air and Ianto was biting his lip in an attempt not to burst into laughter.
The captain's face blushed red as he laughed at himself and his blue eyes shone from beneath the dark flop of his hair. Ianto's eyes skated down his neck as the captain tipped his head back, down his chest and his muscled arms. He watched the movement of the captain's chest as the man gasped for air.
"Luckily, one of the patrons at the restaurant spoke our language and was able to explain that we weren't attacking anyone. They let us go, but-" here Captain Harkness had wait until he stopped laughing to finish. "-but only once we'd given the president of the commission information on where to get his own pet Altrusian. Apparently he thought it was cute!"
The captain started to laugh again and Ianto stared. Somehow, even though he'd seen that face deadly and angry as it threatened him, he couldn't take his eyes off the man laughing. A tickling feeling curled in his chest while he watched, so he looked away and swallowed.
Later on, when Gwen'd had a call from her boyfriend and Captain Harkness had taken one from UNIT, Dr. Harper excused himself to go home and Toshiko left without a word. Ianto was left clearing up their dinner, but he found he was actually feeling rather good. He remembered the uproarious laughter from earlier and smiled.
Maybe life in Cardiff was beginning to look up.