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 got a text at seven on Saturday morning saying that the Rift looked clear and everyone could have the weekend off, he shrugged and decided it was time to really start getting settled in. He went to his sister's place and threw a load of laundry into the wash and cleaned their kitchen while he waited for the family to wake up.
He'd put a lot of thought into his sister's situation. Rhiannon was tough as nails, and was determined that even her recent chemotherapy treatments would not keep her down for the count. Of course, the family was learning all too quickly that determination did not always stand up against poisonous chemicals invading ones body. The siblings had discussed the matter and Ianto had decided that he would come over as much as he could, despite his busy Torchwood schedule. He wanted to help her and the kids with the normal, everyday things that always fall by the wayside when more important things are taking up attention: laundry, homework, cleaning and sweeping up. He even offered to babysit and give Johnny and Rhi a night off every once in a while. Although his sister was insistent that he didn't need to devote so much time, Ianto was resolute: he loved his family, even if he couldn't stand them half the time, and he would do anything in his power to make their lives safer, happier, and more comfortable.
When Rhiannon came into the family room to find him dusting, she said he didn't have to, as always. Ianto just ignored her until he finished and then asked for the numbers of a few old friends he'd lost contact with since he left for London five years previously. After calling around, he discovered that several former mates of his were heading to an old haunt for a game of rugby. Always the sportsman and looking to catch up, Ianto accepted an invitation.
A few hours later, toasting old times and new times in a pub while covered with mud, Ianto grinned at his friends. He started catching up with their lives, hearing the usual gossip about who'd married whom and who'd gotten whom pregnant. It was a refreshing change from work, where he'd barely had an actual conversation all week. It also reminded him that he ought to call his friends from Torchwood London and tell them the good parts of his new job.
Promising to stop by again sometime, though warning everyone that he had an all-hours job ("bleedin' Official Secrets crap, I bet it's all ruddy paperwork, eh Ifan?"), Ianto took his leave from the boys around six and stopped by Tesco to stock up his flat. He'd eaten most of his meals at the Hub that week and what he'd eaten at the flat had all been out of a box. Ianto wasn't a huge cooker but he didn't much like pizza packets or microwave dinners, so it was better to have some food in his cupboards, even if it was just canned soup.
Settling down with a bottle from a six-pack and a good DVD, Ianto had just started eating when his mobile rang. Hoping it wasn't work calling, he answered.
"Ianto? It's Gwen. I was just wondering if you were doing anything tomorrow night? My boyfriend Rhys is having a birthday party at the bowling alley and wanted me to invite some friends from work."
Ianto was pleasantly surprised to hear that he was included in the 'friends' category, but felt like a chance was slipping through his fingers. "I'm sorry Gwen, I can't. My sister would flay me if I missed Sunday dinner. She's quite convinced that, since I'm back in Cardiff, it's her opportunity to make up for all the missed time in London."
"All right then." Gwen sounded disappointed, even over the phone, which made Ianto feel both apologetic and strangely pleased. "Who knows, we might get called into work then anyway. I'll see you, then?"
"See you," he answered, and hung up, returning to his movie.
The next day was a bit quieter. Ianto hung around the flat, beginning to unpack the boxes that remained from his time living with Lisa. He found the process cathartic, although each bit of furniture or decoration reminded him of the happy relationship he'd lost, the feelings and connection he'd felt that apparently didn't mean as much to the one he'd shared them with. He put up a few pictures Rhiannon had given him and set up his kitchen, making a trip to Asda to buy a few dishes and utensils. He hadn't realized he'd forgotten them when he'd moved out, since he'd waited barely two weeks between hearing his sister's diagnosis and moving to Cardiff.
While he was there, Ianto took into account his higher salary at Torchwood Three and began to search for proper furniture. His flat wasn't that large, but it had a living room, a bedroom and a spare bedroom that all ought to be decorated in some way, unless he wanted them left blank. Ianto found he really didn't want them to remain empty, not after living with Lisa, who had painted all the walls and filled each room to overflowing, and then staying with his sister, whose small home was as full as two children and two adults could make it.
He didn't make any decisions, but took a few notes and pictures and decided he'd think about what he wanted the coloring scheme of the whole flat to look like. If Ianto felt like a bit of an idiot considering color schemes and complementing shades, he kept it to himself.
That night, he helped his sister cook the Sunday dinner (actually he cooked most of it and let her do her favorite dishes) then sat down to the one night a week Rhiannon insisted her family eat at the dinner table instead of in front of the telly. David kept trying to play his GameBoy at the table, while Mica babbled on about her art project at school and Johnny babbled on, mouth full, about his mates at work. Ianto rolled his eyes at Rhiannon and they shared a disparaging sigh.
Ianto had rarely felt more at home.
On Monday morning, Ianto stopped by Gwen's desk with a wrapped gift. "For Rhys," he explained. "I'm sorry I couldn't make the party."
She looked quite surprised, but smiled sweetly at him (the gap-tooth almost made him laugh) and thanked him for her boyfriend.
Ianto began to fall into a routine. He'd hand out coffee in the mornings, usually to silence from the others, though Gwen often offered some greeting or piece of news from the outside world. Then he'd begin shifting boxes in the archives, sorting those artifacts which already had identification into the groups he was eventually going to file them under. He'd order lunch for the team at noon, sometimes eating with them, but normally bringing a healthier meal he'd made at home into the archives while he sketched some more plans.
Gwen did decide to drag him to their lunch one day after all, ignoring the silent disapproval of her teammates, who still refused to warm up to him. She chose a café that served mostly seafood and Ianto found that most of the menu was filled with his favorites; the discovery made Gwen happier than he felt was called for. She said Rhys thanked him for the heating pad that he could strap onto his chair at work; Ianto had chosen it after Gwen mentioned Rhys' back pain. They talked more about Torchwood: Ianto learned of Gwen's tumultuous beginnings with the alien sex-mist and Ianto shared the story of spilling coffee onto his manager's lap his first day on the job. After that day, Ianto even made it to Gwen's flat once or twice to meet the boyfriend: Rhys welcomed him with open arms after discovering they both supported the same teams, much to Gwen's chagrin.
After lunch, Ianto stayed in the tourist office and began typing up the team's reports. With the exception of Toshiko, the team preferred to write mission reports by hand, and since the Rift had ended its nearly week-long rest, there were several new field missions to write up. Ianto had watched all these standing behind Toshiko's desk. He felt a bit out-of-place, but he always learned a lot about how Torchwood Cardiff worked as Captain Harkness barked orders and Dr. Harper and Gwen bickered and Toshiko blushed.
Toshiko had completed his program by Thursday mid-afternoon, a feat which made Ianto somewhat terrified of the woman's skill: he'd expected it to take two weeks at the absolute minimum. When he'd expressed his surprise, respectfully, Toshiko had been rather smug.
"It wasn't particularly difficult," she'd said dismissively.
Ianto was able to begin converting the reports saved in Cardiff's current digital archives into his new method, as well as doing all the cross-referencing to the artifacts and other reports he'd planned. Toshiko's software was simply brilliant, with prompts he could tell would be helpful for people learning to use the system and easily navigable formatting. Ianto had only basic computer science understanding but the beauty of the software blew his mind. When he mentioned the genius of the programming over dinner, Toshiko had looked shy while the captain jumped to compliment her. But when Owen said off-handedly that he wasn't surprised in the least and Tosh blushed a truly stunning shade of red, Ianto learned a bit more about his colleague.
He had begun eating dinner with the team. While he never said much and no one ever acknowledged him, he wasn't banned from the conference room and even silently pulled up a chair at the team's comedy movie night.
He went out for coffee with Connie, and then dinner and then for more coffee at his place and then he'd made them breakfast in bed. It wasn't like Ianto to move so fast, but she was playful and forward and told him that since her rota meant she was only in Cardiff two or three days a week on average, she didn't mind if he wanted to see other people. Besides the sex, they had an immediate connection and seemed to instantly feel comfortable around each other. Both of them agreed that they would be very good friends. Ianto was relieved: he needed a friend in Cardiff, even if she wasn't there much.
Life went on in peace for several weeks, during which time Ianto tried to avoid looking straight on at the Captain Harkness, particularly when he was flirting. This was something Captain Harkness managed to do a lot. Ianto saw him flirting both in the Hub and in the field when he was brought along for crowd control and Retcon dispensation a few times. Whether it was gently with Toshiko, tauntingly at Dr. Harper, somewhat seriously with Gwen, brazenly to Cardiff police officers, as a manipulation technique for suspects or comfort to victims and witnesses, it seemed to Ianto that the captain simply couldn't turn it off.
Except when it came to him.
Captain Harkness had not flirted with Ianto, not once. He winked at PCs, stood suspiciously close during interviews and made one casual passerby nearly choke on an innuendo, but Ianto had never seen so much as a glance in his direction, and for that he was professionally grateful, if inexplicably unhappy.
Whenever the captain was flirting with someone, Ianto tried not to pay attention. He tried not to focus on the man's sparkling eyes and tanned skin, his curving pink lips and even the swish of his coat. He couldn't help how he shivered when he heard the captain's voice lower salaciously, and even the curt sound of his name, "Jones!" called from the captain's lips made his mouth feel dry.
Ianto hated it all.
He'd always had a feeling that he wasn't quite straight. Though he'd lived for several months with Lisa and had relationships with other women, there'd also been a few men on whom Ianto's eyes and thoughts had lingered. The feelings never seemed to be as strong as his attraction to women, though, so he generally ignored them and whatever they signified.
His obsession with the captain, though, was stronger than he'd ever felt toward a man and Ianto was quite shaken by the fear that he might actually be attracted to Captain Harkness. He comforted himself by pointing out that the captain seemed to actively hate him. Despite the fact that Ianto and the team seemed to have settled into a neutral sort of truce, he still received hard glares and pointed silences at times that did not affect the flow of work in the Hub, from Captain Harkness, Dr. Harper and Toshiko.
Despite the hostility of his colleagues, though, Ianto was actually enjoying Cardiff. He had found good company with Gwen, Connie and his sister's family; he'd met up with his old friends at their pub a few times and had kept in contact through emails with his London crowd. At work, his plans for the archives and the databases kept him enthralled, and his limited membership to the Torchwood team gave him human contact.Six and a half weeks after he'd begun working for Torchwood Cardiff, it all fell apart.