timephobia (timephobia) wrote,

"Guess we're all a little fragile" (1/8)

Author: Time Phobia
Rating: PG (this part)
Pairing: Jack/Ianto (discussed, Gwen/Owen, Tosh/Mary)
Spoilers: TW through "Greeks Bearing Gifts" (mention of info in "Fragments")
Summary: Tosh has been reading minds and Ianto's worried--and Jack's gotta deal with it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, nor it's characters.


            From his office, Jack watched Toshiko leave the boardroom and head along to the upper walkway. He imagined she’d used that exit to try and avoid her colleagues, but instead she’d walked right into Gwen and Owen. Something was definitely going on there. Owen must’ve finally gotten Gwen into bed, Jack thought idly as he ignored his office door opening. Good for him, I guess. But really, I thought Gwen had different tastes. Slowly he swept his gaze back towards the door and saw Ianto staring out through the glass at the walkway.

            “Something I can help you with?” Jack asked, a little annoyed if all Ianto was going to do was watch his teammates. He walked over to his desk to sit down.

            Ianto looked concerned, worried even, though he dropped the file onto his desk without a word, and that put Jack in a different mood. What the hell did Ianto have to worry about? Jack wondered. He hadn’t been the one at knife point, or the one having to fool an alien into taking a one-way ticket to the sun. All Ianto’d had to do this time was stay perfectly still and let Jack do his job. Ianto went over to the window and started staring again. Finally, he asked, “How much do you think she picked up?”

            And Jack immediately understood what was bugging Ianto. He wasn’t sure if he was more annoyed or less to have figured it out. After all, the whole team was likely to realize that they’d started having sex if they kept at it. Someone was bound to walk in on them when their guard started slipping, or someone was more likely to pick up on the subtle changes in their behavior towards each other. Despite Ianto’s best efforts to carry on as if nothing had happened, he certainly couldn’t help walking around like a man who was finally having sex again. And hell, Jack had even toned down the flirting the last week and a half. All key signs to anyone paying attention that something was going on between the two of them, though if the events of the last few days told Jack anything, his team was certainly doing everything but paying attention to one another.

            Does four times make it an arrangement or a relationship? Jack thought. More importantly, what does HE think is going on here? Jack replied evenly, “Don’t really know.”

            “She didn’t really tell me what she heard. She limited it to what I’d need for the archives,” Ianto continued.

            Jack grinned, though he knew he wasn’t keeping the annoyance out of his facial expression. “If you’re worried about being outted, you can just ask her what she picked up.”

            Ianto’s face fell into a deep scowl and Jack cursed to himself, Damn, might be ending whatever this is if I’m not careful. They stared at each other’s eyes in silence until Jack dropped his gaze down to his desk. Can’t believe I’m doing this, he mused. “Sorry,” Jack said with a sigh before looking back up. “Little insensitive of me.”

            Ianto raised his eyebrows in a gesture of, ‘You think?’ and then turned back to look through the office window.

            “Look, whatever she could have gotten, it wasn’t from me,” Jack told him. “She couldn’t read my mind.”

            “Are you sure?”

            “Yeah,” Jack replied. “I’ve had enough psychic training to keep someone out of my head when they’re wearing a fancy toy.”

            Ianto was still tense and staring out the window.

            Sighing, Jack rose from his seat and grabbed his coat. “Look, if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll see if I can figure out what, if anything, she knows, okay?” Forgot to get the damn pendant from her anyway.

            Ianto gave a short nod before disappearing out the office door, and presumably, up towards the coffee.

            Owen was down by his computer, but he was finishing up for the day. Gwen was already gone. Really, Jack hoped that the affair between Gwen and Owen would be short-lived. Sure, he had different morals when sexuality came around, but those two, compatible? Only for the short-term. Passionate relationships were fine, physically passionate relationships were even better. But with those two? In this workplace? A bomb in the Hub would do less damage than the two of them couple-arguing. And Jack really hated arguments. Especially his own. Probably why he was on his way up to the Plass to see how Tosh was and not bickering with Ianto that his teammates wouldn’t toss him out of the Hub for sleeping with his boss or a man.

            Given the way things were going, the others probably wouldn’t give a shit.

            Jack sighed to himself in the elevator. He really was shit at being leader, wasn’t he? Couldn’t even get four people to like each other well enough to look out for one another. Nights like this, Jack thought that Torchwood: London might have had the right idea. Might being the keyword there.

            Luckily, Tosh hadn’t gone far. She sat on a bench, on the verge of crying, and she glanced up at Jack as he approached. Like she was expecting him. He sat down on the bench and just let the silence stay between them. Tosh had had a bad night, and Jack was determined to be sensitive to that.

            “Is our deal off?” Toshiko asked finally.

            Jack hadn’t been looking at her, but he thought he heard her sniff a little. With a deep sigh, he admitted, “If I got rid of someone every time they made a mistake around here, I’d always be training new people.” He couldn’t help a wry grin as he looked at her, “’Sides, Tosh, it’s not like this is even the worse thing someone’s done this year.”

            Tosh shared the grin for a moment. “I suppose it’s not.” Then she dropped her gaze down and after a pause, said, “Why are you here, Jack?”

            Good question. Could manage to go anywhere and when I want and I choose to stick it out here. Because of Him, Jack thought to himself. Of course, that’s not what Toshiko meant, so he answered, “I wanted to see how you are.”

            “You wanted to know what I heard,” Toshiko replied, a little bitterly.

            “All right, that too,” Jack admitted. “But I’m worried about you.”

            “Yes, I know Gwen and Owen are having an affair,” Tosh began. She had continued staring into the ground, but now she looked up into Jack’s eyes. “And I know about you and Ianto.”

            Jack let out a deep breath and looked away for a second. He could feel Tosh’s eyes still watching him. Expecting him to do something, say something. What was he supposed to do? Admonish her for gleaning the truth?

            Eventually, Jack turned back towards her a little to look at her. “He--”

            “Doesn’t want anyone to know,” Tosh said quickly. “I gathered that too. He’s scared we’ll hate him or something stupid. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything.”

            “He’s a little unsure of who he is right now,” Jack told her.

            “Guess we’re all a little fragile,” Tosh replied.

            “Part of being human,” Jack said, recognizing the rising lecture tone in his voice. “Even when we figure out who we are, something could easily upset how we view ourselves. Put everything we know about ourselves in question. And all we can do is look at the pieces of our old self and figure out how the new ones fit in.”

            “Are you talking about me and Mary?” Tosh asked quietly.

            No, but while we’re here, Jack thought. “Do you want to talk about it?”

            “I was just lonely,” Tosh said. “Seemed like everyone had someone but me. Mary preyed on that. I was an idiot.”

            “It’s what conartists do,” Jack told her. “Prey on your weaknesses to try and get what they really want out of you.”

            “All she had to do was hand me a pendant and think I was pretty,” Tosh said. She stared down at the pendant in her hands.

            Jack wasn’t sure what to say and he looked away, choosing to stare straight out ahead. Before he could decide how to approach the subject, Tosh changed it.

            “It’s funny. Such a small thing,” Tosh began. “Could be the most powerful piece of technology we’ve ever found…”

            And now we’re going to have this conversation. Okay, Jack thought. They navigated through the subject. Jack smiled at a passerby. Nice smile on that guy. Bad timing for the thought, sure, but when most of the moments were spread between crisis or the fallouts, he didn’t have a lot of ‘appropriate’ time. He really hated when women cried, or anyone for that matter. Always made him feel useless.

            “Why couldn’t I read your mind?” Tosh asked.

            “I don’t know,” Jack lied. He tried to smile at her. “I could feel you scrabbling around in there.” His attempted laugh came off sounding weak.

            “But I got nothing,” Tosh insisted. “It’s like you were, I don’t know, dead.”

            Jack’s smile faded. Fast. He didn’t turn back to look at Tosh. Didn’t want to give any hint on how close that was to the truth and yet how far. His team wasn’t ready to know that about him. And that’s what he’d been protecting Tosh from when she delved into his mind. His secrets, and there’s too many of those these days, aren’t there?

            Jack decided it was his turn to change the topic of the conversation. He didn’t want to spend all night out here with Tosh philosophizing and feeling guilty. Or to have to keep lying.

            Tosh tried to change the subject back on him. He could tell she was still beat up about it, but in reality, there wasn’t much more he could do for her. What she’d learned about humans, about humanity, she would have to cope with herself. He reached out and squeezed her knee gently and then stood. Tears brimmed her eyes and one finally fell. Silently, he reached out and caught the first one, and then, after giving her a reassuring smile, he walked away back to the Hub entrance.

            They’re all going to need to be a lot stronger.

            Jack took the elevator back down. By this time, Owen had left too. Just him and Ianto.

            Ianto had been cleaning the kitchen area, but he abandoned that now Jack was back. He came down to meet Jack near the first staircase and put his hands on his hips with an expression very much demanding ‘So?’

            Truth or lies, Jack considered. He read Ianto’s body language. What did he want right now? Oh, Jack knew, but did he indulge Ianto or tell him the truth?

Part 2: http://timephobia.livejournal.com/7185.html


Tags: fanfics, fanfiction, ianto, jack, janto, ships, torchwood, toshiko

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