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!
AN: Sorry for the delay, my internet finally collapsed.
Ianto was curled up on his new couch with Connie under a duvet, sharing a box of ice cream, when his laptop chimed.
"Gotta get that," he said, setting the ice cream on the side table and forcing her to move out of his way so he could get off the couch.
"Can't it wait until the commercial!" she whined, trying to look around him at the telly while he opened the computer.
"Nope. Special message from Torchwood One. That sound means it's from high up, gotta pay attention."
"At least get back on the couch, you're letting in a draft," she complained. Ianto obeyed, tucking the blanket around them both, laptop on his lap. "Happy now?" he asked.
"Not with your big 'ead in the way," she tried to shove him. "What's wrong?"
Ianto's expression had become confused. "Yvonne's coming to Cardiff."
Connie's eyebrows rose in an equal approximation of Ianto's mood. "What, Yvonne Hartman? Director of Torchwood One? What's she want with your laptop?"
"I'm technically a liaison, between Cardiff and London. Not a happy position to be in," he added.
Connie Weitzman nodded sympathetically. "You told me. Your teammates still not lettin' down with the cold shoulder, eh?"
"Just Gwen," he answered, eyes scanning the official email. "God, she's coming on Monday! That's tomorrow!"
"Doesn't like to waste time, does she?"
"It must be something important," Ianto muttered to himself. "She never leaves the Tower if she doesn't have to, it's her domain. This must be big. Damn it, Captain Harkness is not going to like this," he ran a hand through his hair in anxiety.
"You know, I never got a straight answer from you," Connie noted. "Why do you still call 'im that? I mean, you've been in Cardiff a month now. And you said the others all call 'im 'Jack,'" she pointed out.
"It, I…" he failed to come up with a good answer while his mind was still focused on the Director's upcoming trip. "He still doesn't like me. I'm still the spy London blackmailed them into taking, there's no way I could be that friendly. Besides, they're not being actively cruel, for the most part, just…"
"Alienating?" Connie said, almost giggling. At a glare, she became serious again.
"There's a difference between 'formal' and actin' like a servant all the time, Yan." The blonde woman shifted between his body and the couch so she was facing him. "You've gotta stand up for yourself," she urged. "They're never gonna respect you if you let 'em walk all over you."
"It's hard," Ianto tried to explain, "because I know where they're coming from. In London, they'll send an Internal Affairs officer 'round the departments every month or so. Sometimes they were nice about it, and others were all hard about it. 'Cause it was their job, to find people who weren't doing their work up to requirements and fire them, and they knew none of us wanted them there. Now I'm one of them." He tried to chuckle and it came out sounding like a sniff.
Connie shifted and wrapped her arms around him so he was forced to hug her back. "I'm sorry you got forced into this," she murmured in his ear. "I just met you a few weeks ago and I already know you're not like that, that you'd never want to betray a colleague. You're far too honest for that, Ianto Jones," she smiled, and Ianto gave a watery laugh.
"You're the only one I can talk to about this," he whispered into her hair. "Gwen would feel torn by the others, and I can't give my sister another reason to worry about me."
"Then you can talk to me, and I'll be here," she promised, hugging him tighter and then pulling back. "Well, maybe not here here, but you've got my mobile number and all that."
Ianto snorted. "You're the best woman a man could ever ask for Connie," he said reverently, staring up at her in worship. "I don't know what I would ever do without you. Stay here forever!" he finished dramatically.
"Shut up, you daft bugger," she grinned, snagging the ice cream from the table and flopping back beside him and tugging on the duvet. "My program's back on."
Jack was also sharing a blanket with someone when his phone beeped to signify a forwarded email alert, but he wasn't exactly snuggling and he didn't stop what he was doing to check the message.
An hour later, dressed and walking the streets of Cardiff once again, he pulled out his phone. He was lucky he wasn't hit by a car when he stopped in the middle of the street. "What?"
"Again?" Connie complained. "What happened to havin' a nice quiet Sunday while I'm in town?"
"Sorry, it's the captain," Ianto answered from the bedroom. "I've got to go in. He's probably heard about Yvonne's visit and he's ready to shoot something. Or someone," he added, reentering the living room in a fully pressed suit.
Connie stared in shock. "You've only been in there two minutes!"
"It's a gift," Ianto grinned. "You want to help me with my tie, like a good girlfriend?"
The UNIT courier rolled her eyes, but surprised Ianto by actually coming over and doing up his tie. "Remember what I said: stand up for yourself."
"Yes dear," Ianto joked.
"I'm serious!" she said entreatingly. Ianto looked away from her piercing gray eyes. "However angry he is, this is not your fault. Say it with me, 'this is not my fault.'" She paused. "You're not saying it."
"Fine. This is not my fault."
"This is your fault!"
"I'm sorry sir; I don't know what she wants!" Ianto defended. His nails dug into the wood of the chair he stood behind; he hadn't even sat down in the captain's office before the shouting began.
"What did you tell her?" Captain Harkness raged. "What does she think she's got on us?"
"I don't know," Ianto said quietly. The captain was pacing his office in fury, stepping out onto the platform before coming back inside.
"Why is she coming?" Captain Harkness growled. When Ianto didn't reply he spun around to face the younger man. "Well!"
"She- the email said it was for an investigation, suspicious activities," Ianto summarized. "I don't know specifically-"
"You're going to find out!" The captain leaned into Ianto, making the Welshman notice forcefully that the other man was an inch or so taller than him, and significantly broader. "You're going to tell me what she wants, and where she got her information. And it better not have been from you!"
With that, Captain Harkness stormed out of the office. Ianto was left, standing stock-still. He could still feel the heat of the captain's words on his face, and that warm scent he'd noticed the day of the Weevil attack was subtly hanging in the air.
Ianto wasn't sure it was fear that was making his breath come heavier.
"I knew this was gonna happen!" Owen spun angrily, walking around the conference table to sit forcefully in his chair. "Bloody tosser, knew 'e was up to no good."
"You said yourself Jack, we don't know that Ianto was responsible for this!" Gwen protested to their leader.
Jack shook his head. "What else could it be? Yvonne didn't have any information on us before he came here, and now she's got enough evidence for an investigative warrant into our activities. That isn't a small thing, Gwen," he explained. "They'd have to go through Internal Affairs to investigate even a single employee. If it's directed at Torchwood Three as a whole, Yvonne would have to petition the Queen herself."
"She found out about Suzie, who's to say this information wasn't collected the same way?" Gwen was refusing to back down.
"Oh grow up, Cooper!" Owen shouted. "This is the real world! He's not gonna be any less of a traitor just 'cause you two shared some recipes."
"Give her a break, Owen," Tosh intervened. The others stopped for a moment, rather surprised.
"You haven't had much to say about Ianto, Tosh," Gwen observed. "What do you think?"
Tosh glanced at Jack, who just raised his jaw and returned her gaze. She drew a calm breath. "I believe you Gwen, when you say he's a nice person. But that doesn't mean he's not responsible for this. Lots of good people do bad things, even though they seem completely nice and friendly otherwise."
Gwen took some inference from her words and ran with the idea. "Maybe he's being coerced," she posited. "Is that possible?" she questioned Jack.
"Maybe, or maybe he's just doing what he's told," Jack said impatiently. "Torchwood London's all about 'Queen and Country,' doing your duty. It doesn't matter what his incentives are, the fact is that Yvonne will take any excuse to attack Torchwood Three. And he," Jack pointed in the direction of the tourist office, "is the one who will give her that excuse, whether we like it or not."
"What's it going to be like on Monday?" Tosh asked.
"They'll come into the Hub," Jack began. "Exchange some pleasantries, then I'll get impatient and make them tell us what they want with us. After they set out the objectives of the investigation, they'll request interviews and evidence from our mission reports or the archives or something to that effect, do some investigation. It shouldn't take more than a few days."
"Won't that interfere with watching the Rift?" Owen objected.
Jack shook his head. "They'll let us do our jobs, they're not that egotistic," he conceded. "We'll just have to be careful with what we say. Be detailed, but to the point. Don't answer any questions they don't ask, don't offer any information of your own accord. This is an attack," he stressed, outlining the words with emphatic gestures. "These people aren't going to be playing fair. Yvonne's been looking to take over Cardiff since she was Deputy Head before the new millennium, so be careful what you say." He waited until they all nodded their understanding. "And don't answer any questions from Jones, either. For all we know he's been ordered to actively gather information too."
The team filed out of the conference room. Gwen grabbed her coat and purse and headed for the cog door. She took one glance back and saw Jack watching them all from the conference room, arms crossed imposingly over his chest.
When she reached the tourist office, she nearly gasped when she saw Ianto's tall frame behind the counter. "Something wrong, Gwen?"
"No, n-nothing," she smiled. It felt completely see-through on her lips. "Aren't you going home, it's late."
Ianto shrugged. "Captain Harkness wants me to find out why London's investigatin' us, so I'm emailing a few friends. I'll head out soon."
He sounded just as honest and innocent as ever, even while talking about the investigation Jack said was his fault. Gwen swallowed. Was Ianto actually so transparent, or had he been playing her the entire time, like Owen was saying?
"Gwen? What's wrong?"
Gwen didn't answer as the door to the tourist office slammed behind her.
She'd driven perhaps a hair too fast coming home, and she stopped to catch her breath in the foyer. The smell of Rhys' cooking slowed down her anxiously beating heart.
"Gwen? Is that you?"
"Right here darlin'," she answered, walking down the steps to the living room. "What're you cooking?"
Rhys didn't return the smile. "What's all this about then, eh? I've just got a call from your Torchwood, Gwen. They said you've been involved with a murder?"
The blood drained from Gwen's face. "I've got to call Jack."