Characters: Jack/Ianto, Team Torchwood
Word Count: 3800
Summary: Ianto Jones wakes up on the floor one morning with no recollection of how he got there – or of Torchwood. When the team investigate a violent attack against one of Ianto’s neighbours, Jack must juggle his responsibilities to the team – and to Ianto.
Spoilers: Everything up to Adrift. Vague references to a few of the Torchwood Novels, but you don’t have to have read them to understand the reference.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, though I wouldn’t say no to a pet pterodactyl.
Authors Notes: Written for the latest Jantolution Challenge – The Harlequin Challenge. Based on this summary for the Harlequin novel Identity Unknown.
Thanks to cindergirlgrimm for the beta.
Chapter 1 can be found here.
Bookcover made by erin_giles
“Who wants to start?” Jack asked. He was sat at the head of the boardroom table addressing Tosh, Owen and Gwen. The live CCTV footage of Ianto in his cell was displayed on the plasma screen on the wall. Jack was deliberately ignoring it.
“Gwen then. What did Andy say?” Gwen took a swig of her coffee from the plastic Starbuck’s cup.
“Nothing that we didn’t know already. There’s been a number of robberies in Ianto’s building during the last six months. However, they only ever take one or two things, one week it was a laptop, another was a piece of jewellery, another time they just took money. They never take enough to be noticed if they walk past somebody.
“Miss Smith was the only person who has been able to give a description. I’m going to go back to the hospital again today. One of the nurses said they should be releasing her sometime this afternoon.”
Jack nodded his head in agreement. “Ok, good. I’ll go with you. Tosh?”
“I’ve re-routed the building CCTV so we get constant live footage of the building. I finished the tracker yesterday afternoon and placed it in the system – if anybody tries to interfere with the footage, I’ll be able to find them.
“I’ve also modified their security coding a bit. If the footage does go again, I should be able to restore it in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the hours it’s been taking their technicians.”
“Brilliant as always Tosh.” Jack beamed at her, causing Tosh to blush slightly. “Owen?”
“As far as I can tell, Ianto is not under any alien influence. All the readings are constant and match the normal levels I have on record. The only changes I’ve detected are the pheromones in the air sample increase slightly, usually during the night. However, they match the information I have on you and not the alien sex-monster Gwen got pally with last year.” Owen ignored the glare Gwen shot him and kept talking. “If – and notice I used the word if – if Ianto did attack those people, he did it fully aware of his actions.”
“We don’t know he did attack that woman.” Gwen argued.
“We still have no evidence he didn’t.”
“And we are not having this argument again.” Jack interrupted. “Anybody got anything else to say about this? Anything productive?” He added, looking pointedly at Gwen and then Owen. The girls shook their heads.
“In other news,” Owen said, “Weevil mating season is nearly upon us again. I suggest that you all wear old clothing for the next few weeks and stock up on Weevil sedation spray. I’ve improved it, as some of them were becoming immune again…and I finally managed to beat Tosh’s Tetris score last night. You may all bow down to your new God now.”
Tosh and Gwen grinned at each other.
“Should I tell him or do you want to do it?” Gwen asked.
“I’ll let you, I’m sure you’ll get more enjoyment out of it.” Owen’s face fell. He had a feeling he was about to regret the sex-alien comment.
“Tell me what?”
“This Tetris score.” Gwen said with a wide grin plastered across her face. “Would that be the one you’ve spent the last few weeks working on?” Owen nodded mutely. “The same one Tosh broke this morning?” Owen stared at Tosh in horror.
“You didn’t.” Tosh nodded.
“First attempt. Feel free to bow down to the original Tetris God anytime now Owen.” Owen banged his head off the table and started muttering under his breath. Tosh smirked. “Not quite what I had in mind but I suppose it will do.”
“Right team.” Jack said, not quite hiding his grin at Owen’s misfortune. “Back to work. Tosh keep an eye on that CCTV footage for me. And Owen?”
“What?” Owen muttered into the table.
“Make sure you do some proper work before you start playing that game again. Can I make a suggestion?”
“No.” Jack shrugged.
“Fine with me. I was just going to give you a website I found that helps improve your Tetris skills. I jumped up fifteen levels in one night.” Owen snapped his head up so quickly that had he still been able to feel pain, he would have been complaining for days.
“I relent. Give me the website.” Jack shook his head.
“I’ll think about it if you do some proper work for a bit.” Gwen, Tosh and Jack all started to laugh as Owen jumped out of his chair and ran straight to the medical bay.
“Are you really going to give him the website?” Gwen asked as she and Tosh both stood to leave.
“I told him I’d think about it.” Jack said grinning. Gwen laughed again.
“You’re an evil man Jack Harkness.”
“But you love me anyway.” Jack replied. Gwen rolled her eyes before exiting the boardroom, leaving Jack alone with only the CCTV footage of Ianto for company. He sighed and glanced up at the television.
Ianto was pacing back and forwards across his cell like a caged lion. He was getting bored and restless cooped up in the cell. The team knew they had to find some evidence either proving or disproving Ianto was the assailant quickly, before Ianto did go mad in there.
Jack started to rise from his chair and froze. He saw Ianto clutch his forehead in pain – just as he had when he had seen Gwen on Thursday morning. Jack was out of the door, bellowing ‘Owen,’ and on his way to the vaults before Ianto had hit the floor. Jack ran down to the third level and quickly opened Ianto’s cell. He was just coming round again as Jack opened the door.
“Jack?” Ianto groaned.
“It’s okay. I’m here.” He told Ianto softly. Jack sat down on the floor next to him, gently running his hand across Ianto’s forehead and pressing down lightly on his shoulder when Ianto tried to sit up. “No, stay there. Don’t move until Owen’s had a look at you. He’s coming now.” Ianto nodded and then grimaced. Jack could hear Owen’s light footfalls hurrying down the corridor. The soft clink of high-heels and trainers squeaking on the floor told Jack that Tosh and Gwen had followed Owen.
“What the hell’s going on?” Owen ordered, already pulling his stethoscope out of his bag before he had even entered the cell. Tosh and Gwen’s worried faces appeared behind his shoulder.
“I remember what happened.”
Ianto continued to hum the song that had just been playing on the radio, as he unlocked his front door and carried the ASDA carrier bags through to the kitchen.
He couldn’t decide whether he wanted to make Spaghetti Bolognese or Carbonara. He didn’t get many opportunities to cook, but he enjoyed it on the rare evening he had away from Torchwood. In the end, he’d bought the ingredients for both, wishfully thinking he could cook the other on his day off on Friday. He knew that realistically he would be called into work. He’d been called into work on his last eight days off.
The last time he’d had forty-eight hours off in a row he’d been attacked by cannibals. The time before that he’d been on suspension.
Jack had promised to try and call round after his conference call with Archie but Ianto wasn’t hopeful of seeing him again that night. Ianto had had a few phone meetings with the head of Torchwood Glasgow and the shortest conversation he’d ever had was over three hours long – and that had only ended because a spaceship full of purple, pink-winged tortoise had crash landed in Cardiff.
Deciding on Bolognese, Ianto unpacked all the ingredients and grabbed a large pan from one of the bottom cupboards.
Two hours later, Ianto had cooked, eaten and cleaned his small kitchen. He’d heard nothing from Jack, suggesting that he was still stuck on the phone. Normally Jack would have sent him messages or emails from his office, but one of Archie technicians had taught him how to video-message.
Jack had complained loudly for a week and had even asked Tosh to plant a virus in their system to break their webcams. She had refused, causing Jack to complain even more.
He stood up from where he’d been lounging on his sofa and glanced at the clock. Just before nine. He’d put a DVD in and then have an early night – assuming Jack didn’t turn up in the meantime. Ianto was skimming through the rack of DVD’s next to his television when he heard somebody scream.
Ianto jumped up and ran straight out of his apartment, not bothering to shut his door in his haste to find out who had screamed. The door to Louisa Smith’s apartment three doors down was open slightly. He knocked on the door, before poking his head through.
“Miss Smith? Louisa are you in here?” When nobody answered, Ianto walked through the door. There was a familiar female figure lying face down on the floor, wrapped in a dressing-gown. Ianto could see scratches on her face and she had a cut on the back of her head that was bleeding into her wet hair.
He ran over to her and checked for a pulse in her neck. Good, she was still breathing. Ianto reached for his phone then swore. His phone was still on his coffee table. Mentally berating himself – Jack would kill him for going anywhere unprepared – Ianto leapt up and ran back to his apartment.
He didn’t hear the soft clink of metal as the scanner he still had in his trouser pocket fell out and rolled under the table.
Ianto didn’t realise he was being watched as he left the apartment. His priority was getting an ambulance to the building as quickly as possible. He ran into his apartment and found the phone lying on the table exactly where he had left it.
Just as he was bending down to pick it up, he heard footsteps running into his apartment. Ianto tried to turn around, wondering if it was Jack coming back from work, or another of his neighbours who had heard Louisa’s scream.
They were too quick. The assailant carried on running, holding a large wooden ornament in his hands. Before Ianto could fully turn, they were standing next to him and hit him once on the back of the head, as hard as they could.
Ianto crumpled to the floor in a heap.
“Do you know who the attacker was?” Gwen asked. Ianto shook his head.
They were back in the interrogation room, though this time all five team members were there. Gwen and Ianto were sat in the same positions as last time, while Jack was refraining from pacing and was standing silently in the corner, glaring at the wall opposite.
Tosh was sat in the other corner next to the door, typing Ianto’s recollection of Wednesday night. Owen stood next to her, leaning against the wall.
“I don’t know his name, but I recognised him.” Ianto said. “I think he lives on one of the floors above me.”
“Do you think you would recognise his picture?” Gwen asked. Ianto nodded.
“I think-" Everybody turned to look at Gwen whose phone had started ringing.
“Sorry, thought I’d put it on silent.” Gwen frowned and turned to look at Jack. “It’s Andy. It might be important.” Jack nodded his head, but otherwise didn’t move from where he was stood, his arms folded protectively in front of his chest.
“Go see what he wants. Tosh can you get the pictures up on your laptop?” Tosh nodded and rose to sit in Gwen’s seat in front of Ianto as Gwen moved outside the interrogation room to answer her phone.
“Here. These are all the people who matched the description Miss Smith gave to the police. Use the navigational arrows to scroll through the pictures. Stop if you see the man that attacked you.” Ianto nodded and pulled the laptop a bit closer to him.
Nobody spoke for a few minutes while Ianto scrolled through the images. “There.” He suddenly said. “That’s him.” He turned the laptop around to face Tosh.
“Are you sure?” Jack asked from his corner of the room. Ianto nodded.
“Definitely. That’s him.” Tosh pressed a few keys on the laptop. Just as a smiling Gwen walked back into the room.
“Ianto’s identified him,” Tosh said. “His names-“
“Mark Strong. Age 23, lives on the fifth floor, apartment number 509. He was flogging the stolen items on eBay.” Everybody stared at Gwen.
“How the hell did you know that?” Tosh asked.
“The police just arrested him. They tried to pull him over – his suspension was low – and he bolted. He thought they were arresting him for the break-ins so he drove off. Andy wants to know if we want to question him, seeing as how we officially took over the case.” Jack shook his head.
“No. Let them do their job.” Gwen turned and left the room again.
Jack let out a large sigh of relief. “Thank God this is nearly over. Ianto, we need to ask you some more questions, but let’s move it to the boardroom, yeah? I hate these rooms.” Ianto and Owen both made noises of agreement.
“Can’t it wait ‘till tomorrow?” Tosh asked as she closed her laptop.
“No.” Tosh raised her eyebrows. Both Jack and Ianto had answered simultaneously.
“It’s better to get this over and done with.” Jack replied. “It shouldn’t take too long, but we need to get this recorded. We actually have a form that needs to be filled out if a Torchwood member of staff is wrongly accused of committing a crime. Form 37A?” Jack asked Ianto.
“Close 37B. 37A is for members of staff who get arrested by the Shadow Proclamation. And besides,” Ianto turned back to Tosh “once today is over, I never want to think about the last few days again. I just want it over.” Tosh nodded her head before leading the way back to the boardroom, listening to Owen and Jack discuss their love of stupid criminals.
“Did you at anytime believe you were a dragon, pixie or any other ‘mythical’ creature that the Torchwood Archives shows has in the past, present or future existed?”
“You’re kidding right?” Owen asked incredulously. Tosh shook her head and turned her laptop round so Owen and Gwen could look quizzically at the form she was filling out.
“Who wrote these questions?” Gwen asked as she turned the laptop back towards Tosh.
“Andrew Stevenage.” Ianto replied. “He was head of communications between the Torchwood branches at Torchwood Glasgow in the early 1900’s. There’s a list in the archives of who invented each form and when it was first put into circulation if you’re interested.”
“Not that interested.” Gwen grinned.
“You should see some of the questions on the forms he has to fill in.” Ianto said, while indicating Jack, who was sat at the opposite end of the boardroom table with a nod of his head. “And the answer is no, Tosh. At no time did I believe that I was a mythical creature that the Torchwood Archives shows has in the past, present or future existed.” Tosh nodded and typed in his answer.
“Did you at anytime believe you were an ogre, witch/wizard or any other ‘mythical’ creature that the Torchwood Archives currently shows does not exist in the past, present or future?” Owen groaned.
“How many of these ridiculous questions are left Tosh? The last sensible question was about fifty questions ago.”
“This is the last one.” She replied.
“Thank God. Why on Earth do you need so many questions on one form?”
“Is that you volunteering to re-design the form Owen?” Jack asked grinning.
“No. Not at all. There’s nothing wrong with the forms, the forms are great. In fact- the guy who wrote them should get a posthumous award for being so brilliant.” Everybody laughed.
“How are you supposed to know every creature Torchwood does or doesn’t have evidence for?” Gwen asked.
“That’s what I’m here for.” Ianto replied. “And no, Tosh.” Ianto said. “I did not believe I was any type of ‘mythical’ creature, real or otherwise.”
Tosh nodded and saved the report. “All done.” She said and smiled at Ianto.
“Do you have anything else to add?” Jack asked Ianto, who shook his head in reply. “You have everything you need for the reports?” He asked. Tosh and Owen nodded. “Right. Go home. Unless the Rift explodes again, nobody has to come back in until tomorrow lunch-time.”
Nobody was quite sure who moved first, but before the rest of the team had even stood up, Jack and Ianto were stood in the middle of the boardroom, arms wrapped around each other. The rest of the team gathered in the corner, watching the reunion. “I’m sorry.” Jack kept repeating in-between kisses, his arms still tightly wrapped around Ianto.
Finally Ianto pulled back slightly, remembering their audience, though he didn’t move completely out of Jack’s embrace. “It’s okay, I understand. You did what you had to.” Jack nodded before kissing Ianto’s forehead.
“What do you want to do tonight? We can stay here if you don’t want to go home. Or I can book us into a hotel, if you don’t want to stay at either.” Ianto shook his head.
“I need to go home. Is Louisa alright?” Jack nodded before pulling Ianto closer to him again.
“She’s fine. We’ll call in on her on the way home so you can see for yourself.”
“Thank you.” Ianto replied before closing his eyes and leaning his head against Jack’s shoulder.
Jack kissed Ianto once more before pulling back. “Come on. I’ll go sort the Hub out. If Gwen doesn’t inspect you for herself in the next twenty second’s I dread to think what she’ll do to me.” Ianto laughed and reluctantly loosened his tight grip on Jack.
Jack had barely moved two steps, before Gwen had thrown herself at Ianto. Jack laughed at the startled look that briefly flashed across Ianto’s face as Gwen launched herself at him. Ianto kissed her forehead the same way Jack had his a few moments earlier. Ianto could hear Jack still chuckling to himself as he left the boardroom.
“I missed you.” Gwen said, slightly loosening her tight grip from around his neck.
“I missed you too. Thank you, for bringing all that stuff down for me.”
“I had to do something; I hated seeing you down there.”
“Don’t think about it. It’s over now.” Ianto ordered. Gwen nodded.
“Are you going to be alright tonight?”
“I’ll be fine. Jack’ll look after me.” Ianto laughed at the sceptical expression on Gwen’s face, clearly indicating what she thought of Jack’s comforting skills. “Trust me Gwen, I’ll be okay. All I need tonight is Jack and a good bottle of wine.”
“If you’re sure. Call me if you want anything.” Ianto nodded and kissed her cheek.
Gwen finally separated herself from Ianto who placed his arm around her shoulders as they walked towards Tosh and Owen, who were still standing in the corner of the boardroom. Tosh was a lot more restrained than Gwen had been. She simply said ‘welcome back, Ianto’ before giving him a chaste kiss on his cheek.
Both girls walked away towards the door, and the main section of the Hub, leaving Owen alone with Ianto. Owen looked at the floor and shuffled his feet. “I owe you an apology.” Owen said, still looking at the floor. “I said some things I didn’t mean and-“
“Don’t worry about it.” Ianto interrupted.
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to know what you said, it’s over and done with. I just want to forget everything and go back to normal.”
“You mean Jack hasn’t already told you?” Ianto shook his head.
“And he’s not going to…I didn’t realise you felt guilt.” Owen grinned at him, grateful for the opening Ianto had provided to move back to their usual bickering.
“I don’t. I just don’t want your boyfriend using me as target practice.”
“He doesn’t need to practice. Though he does like playing board games. We could cut you open and play operation.”
“No way! Gwen told me about the games the two of you play.”
“What’s the matter? Jealous that you can’t join in.”
“…There’s no right way for me to answer that, is there?”
The pair started to laugh. Owen patted Ianto on the back. “Look, don’t let him come in tomorrow. Me and the Girls will take care of the Weevils and anything that comes through the Rift.”
“Are you sure?” Ianto asked. Owen nodded.
“King of the Weevils remember.” Owen smirked. “And besides, I think the girls want a good rummage through Jack’s private stash of CCTV footage, and I think it would be better all round if you weren’t here when they did it.”
“Do me a favour? Don’t tell me what they find. There are some things I’d rather not know.”
Owen laughed and the pair made their way out of the boardroom. Jack, Gwen and Tosh were waiting at the bottom of the stairs. “You ready to go?” Jack asked Ianto, already wearing his greatcoat and holding one of Ianto’s spare jackets in his hands. “Yep.” Ianto replied, letting Jack help him into his coat. This silently reaffirmed what he had told Gwen earlier- Jack would look after him tonight.
“Gwen’s spent the last five minutes telling me about this great bottle of wine she and Rhys had the other night.” Jack said as all five of them crowded onto the invisible lift. “What does that tell you?”
“To look up the number for a local AA meeting?” Gwen’s punch to his shoulder was nullified by the grin she was sporting as the rest of the team laughed. Jack pressed the relevant buttons on his wrist-strap to start the lift, before resting his hand on Ianto’s back.
Ianto smiled, the memories of the last few days already seemed like light-years away. Owen and Gwen were arguing about the latest Sci-Fi film that was being advertised, while occasionally calling on Tosh to support or contradict their opinions. He had missed this.
Ianto raised his head and closed his eyes. Relishing the fresh air that was coming through the hole in the Hub ceiling. When he opened his eyes again, it was to see Jack grinning at him. Jack moved the hand that was resting on his back so it was around his waist. Ianto moved further into Jack’s embrace, who kissed the top of his head again.
“You okay?” Jack muttered into Ianto’s hair. Ignoring the others crammed onto the lift with them, Ianto wrapped his arms around Jack’s neck, before leaning in to kiss Jack properly.
Like it? Love it? Loathe it? Let me know. :c)
Also – bonus points to anybody who spotted the reference to a misswinterhill fic in the previous chapter.
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