Disclaimer: Not mine, belongs to RTD and BBC. I just like to play with them.
Notes/spoilers: Story is set between "Cyberwoman" and "Small worlds".
Summary: Ianto is struggling with the loss of his girlfriend.
Beta: Many thanks to the fantastic help of veritas6_5
Word count: 1110
The first two days were spent trying to orientate himself with the unfamiliar offices, archives, and computer filing systems. Ianto was introduced to various people, but they all seemed the same somehow. They were all prim and proper, but the suits were cheap, and the women wore just a little too much makeup. Most of the other employees were older than Ianto. Middle-aged men and women, some of them police, and others just civilian administrators. But they were all civil servants. These were the people who carried the country, he thought. These were the children of the ones who literally had built the modern society, roads, ships, railways, and houses. And these were the people who devoted their lives to maintain it all. They had been brought up to work hard and be useful. But they weren’t provided with the ambition or self-esteem to go for the really high-paying jobs. They were the minions of wage-slaves who just kept going, no matter what. Ianto wanted to see them as heroes, and he wanted to feel at home among these people, coming from a working-class environment himself. Even his sister said so, when he told her.
“I always pictured you in a job like that. In an office, in the public sector. Good for you. I’m so proud of you!”
But somewhere along the line, he had crossed over into something else. He had reinvented himself with education, moving to London, and getting a taste for expensive suits, and he no longer felt at home among people like these.
On day three, he bumped into PC Andy and they had lunch together. Ianto really wanted to become friends with him. They were of similar age, and Ianto knew Andy to be a nice guy; a normal, regular bloke. But during their lunch the conversation became a little forced, and Ianto’s witty remarks fell flat to the floor, or rather flew over Andy’s head. It became painfully obvious that they were on totally different levels, intellectually.
On the weekend, he went to his sister’s for dinner and it was nice to see the family again. But when he came back to his lonely flat, the sadness descended on him again.
He fell into the habit of spending a couple of hours at the gym after work each day, and then drinking at least a six-pack of beer in front of the telly every night, until he fell asleep. It was really hard work keeping the sorrow and the loneliness at arm’s length and some nights he failed miserably.
A few more days passed, and Ianto had his hands full, trying to organize the archives, but every little change had to go through several levels of decision-makers and he began to get frustrated with the utter inefficiency of it all. Toward the end of his second week at work, he woke up with the acute feeling that he had made a huge mistake.
Gwen, Tosh, and Owen had made a silent agreement to keep their heads down and just work. Jack had been in a foul mood ever since Ianto left, and he hadn’t been shy about taking it out on the rest of the team. And whenever he needed something from the archives, he was particularly nasty. Finally, Gwen decided she couldn’t leave it alone any longer. She stayed behind after the others had left and with a slight knot in her stomach, she took the steps up to Jack’s office.
Jack was going through a stack of paperwork, and she could almost see the dark cloud hanging over his head.
“Jack,”she began “we need to talk.” He drew in a deep breath, and leaned back in his chair. Gwen sat down across from him.
“Oh, yeah? What about?”
“No.”His answer was so quick and sounded so definite that Gwen was a bit stumped for a moment, but she was never one to give up so easily.
“Yes, Jack. We have to.” He sighed and squirmed in his seat.
“What is your problem, Gwen? I realize you are pretty new here, but you must be used to a chain of command, aren’t you? I’m your boss. When I say no, I mean no.”
“Okay, well, then, I want to talk about you. Because you have been behaving like a right prick for the last two weeks and you are creating a very hostile work environment.”
“Tough! Deal with it. I’m not here to mollycoddle you.”
“I know that. But it could actually have a negative effect on safety. When we go out into the field, we all need to be able to trust each other, and have one another’s back. With your recent mood, I find it hard to rely on you. And knowing about your immortality doesn’t help. You couldn’t care less if you happen to get killed.”
“That’s not true. I do care. And you must know that I really do care about the safety of this team.” He set his elbows on the desk and hung his head. A look of guilt came over his face and his voice lost a little of its hardness. Her argument had actually struck a chord in him. “I’ve just been under a bit of pressure lately.”
“Well, then, I suggest you find a way to snap out of it. And, may I be so bold as to recommend, you have a talk with him-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned. I’ll bet he feels just as bad as you do.”
“Have you been in touch with him?”
“Wouldn’t dare! You were quite clear that we weren’t allowed to do that.” The last part was said in a gentle attempt to bring some humor into the discussion, and Gwen followed up by leaning forward and smiling. “Call him, Jack. You both have unfinished business. I know you were fond of him, we all were. So, if for no other reason, get some closure. Please, Jack. Will you do that? For me?” she winked and tilted her head slightly. Suddenly Jack’s stern expression cracked into a smile and even a little laugh came from his lips.
“You…”he pointed his finger at her, “you…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a regular pain in the bum!”
“Well, I wouldn’t have put it quite like that, but something along those lines, yeah!”
“So, will you call him?”
“Maybe. Now go on, get out of here!” Gwen felt a bit pleased with what she had accomplished. It had been a long time since she’d seen him smile, and it felt like a victory to bring it out. She actually skipped down the stairs on her way out.